Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poverty amid affluence

I don’t approve of updating for the sake of updating, but one does start to panic when one’s blog has been unattended for too long. I am breaking my own rule, out of a craven belief that if I don’t put SOME sort of text up here, my tiny number of readers will dry up and satisfy their desire for crankiness at someone else’s blog.

What’s likely to become a recurrent theme here is our Year of Poverty, brought on by having two kids in college. There is, at least, a sense of accomplishment in paying two tuitions. It’s not just the tuition, it’s paying our mortgage, plus rent on two apartments. Can you imagine if you suddenly rented two apartments? Lest you think my kids are lazy, Ian has a job translating Latin texts and he worked full time all summer, and Brigid had a summer job and saved her money but she is much too busy to have a job right now.

We aren’t really “poor,” of course. This is a self-inflicted affluent sort of poverty, a badge to wear rather than a stigma. Yet last week we got a letter from a group of charlatans who buy houses from people who are unable to afford upkeep and mortgage costs. The letter didn’t specifically say that our house fits their profile, but someone must have seen the peeling paint on the roof and front garden of ill repute and thought we might be ready to unload a burden we can’t handle. To them, I say, TWO KIDS IN COLLEGE, MOTHERFUCKERS.

I was musing on our “poverty” and I considered doing some sort of blog wardrobe challenge. I thought I could abstain from buying any new clothes for myself, find new, creative ways to wear the clothes I have and post pictures of what I wore on my blog. The problem is, this has been done before, and I am already bored, just writing about it. Besides, such a project would force me to really forgo ANY new clothes, or be a fraud.


  1. A couple of other local bloggers and I were considering challenging ourselves to only shop at local consignment and thrift shops, but none of us has taken the plunge. Feel free to take that idea and run with it. :-)

  2. I feel your pain. I've got two in college too, the eldest who presents eloquent arguments for quitting just shy of 18 hours after 7 years I am not convinced nor amused. A political science degree may be a hair superior to a degree in basketweaving, but it is a DEGREE for chrissakes. Children. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. (kidding!)

  3. I spent a year buying only consumable goods--it was an interesting experiment.
    I hope you really said that to the charlatans--kids alone is enough cause for poverty, kids in college makes it worse.

  4. We also have had two kids at College. One completed her degree and is now working in forensics, but our dear boy chmaged his mind after a year and came out with just a diploma.

    Now he's thinking of going back, AND he's moved back in with us.
    I love him dearly, but sometimes I wish he'd make up his bloody mind.

    Good luck with yours. BTW, don't you find it quite liberating as the house becomes emptier?