Saturday, January 29, 2011

Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight...

I attended a pizza party with 24 members of my extended family tonight. It was fine. I mean, I always feel awkward and out of place at family get togethers, to a greater or lesser extent. That much-older, never been married, no kids, slightly out of place cousin... that's me! Tonight I was worrying about looking "fat" (aka the belly sticking out) or especially busty, so that was one more thing to be self conscious about. But it was fine. And thankfully, didn't last too long.

One of my cousins hosted in her beautiful apartment with a gorgeous view overlooking Central Park. Another cousin there owns two apartments joined together to form a home bigger than most freestanding single family homes... but his is located in the heart of the Upper West Side. His children have their own wing of the apartment.

After the evening and the long schlepp back to Brooklyn (thanks F train! I loved waiting nearly a half an hour for you to arrive), I found myself lying on the couch (big surprise, that!) and thinking about money. First, I found myself wishing for more. I was thinking about my cousin with the double apartment, and how I overheard his wife telling a story about how she told the housekeeper not to let her even look at her computer before going to the gym... but then she peeked at it, and never made it to the gym after all. So, she's got three kids in full time private school, is a full time stay at home mom, has a housekeeper (when I went there for dinner once with my mom, they had TWO staff people serving dinner... and the dinner was prepared food from a local upscale supermarket... not exactly complicated to either serve or clean up from.... but I digress), and still... is stressed about time? Wow. Anyway, they have money for three kids to be in private school, and to all go away to camp in the summer, and have every luxury they could want.

I get it that money doesn't buy happiness. Truly, I do. And I enjoy my life a lot, even with not so much money. And I don't particularly wish it to be different. But still... I was thinking how nice that would be, to have plenty of money. For a moment, I wished I  could have a fancy home, too. But then, looking around, I realized that I like my apartment an awful lot. A bigger place would just mean more space to clean, more possibilities of accumulating crap (I'm an anti-clutter girl), and not particularly useful. It would be nice, however, to leave in a more hip and certainly more convenient location.

This is not a post about counting my blessings. In case you were wondering.

When I decided to get pregnant, I more or less decided to go in for a total personality change, as far as finances were concerned. I decided to adopt others' attitude of "the universe will provide." Although I can't quite see this working, according to some numbers I crunched with my mom, changes in my tax status once I give birth plus not putting any money towards retirement plus getting a raise I'm owed... SHOULD mean that I can cover daycare without being in the red every month. Of course, once I factor in diapers and shoes and trombone lessons (presumably I won't be paying for diapers and trombone lessons at the same time... one can hope), I will certainly in the red. But hopefully not by TOO much each month. And anyway, this is what savings are for, right? This is that proverbial rainy day. This baby, this life we will have, this is what I want more than anything. What I have saved for my entire life.

The really good thing about my life, our life, is that I work only 8-4 every day, and it's at an extremely popular (lottery only) public school in Brooklyn, where my child is more or less guaranteed acceptance. And best of all, I have summers off. I have sort of a hard time with a lot of unstructured free time, and so have arranged to work at least part of each summer I've been off, as a summer camp nurse. I actually worry about this upcoming summer, and what on earth I will do with myself during all of July and presumably some of August (the Lentil is due August 6, 2011) when I'm not just without occupation but also hugely pregnant and presumably without work to do. But anyway, I presume that I will be glad to have the time off (versus more money that I could earn with a job without summers off) when I have a child. If not, of course, I always have the option to find a new job. But I do love and enjoy my job, so it's not like I only keep it because of the hours.

No, as I was lying here fantasizing about having more money, what I realized is that I wished I had enough money so that I didn't have to worry about it. I like the idea of living "the simple life" and working relatively few hours and I don't mind my slightly out of the way neighborhood so much. And the Lentil and I won't need more than our one bedroom for quite a while, anyway, I reckon.

And it occurred to me: if I'm going to wish for enough money to not have to worry about it, I should put a number on it. Then I can write it down. I don't know if I'm actually a believer, but I am at least a suspecter that there's some truth to the idea that you need to verbalize your goal to the universe.

And so I'm trying to decide how much money I would need to earn (or to have, if there's some other way to get money) for me to not worry about money. I think I'm a worrier by nature... but I'd like to come up with a figure. And I have no idea how to do that.

What do you think? Any suggestions on how to figure this out?

(And forgive me if this is a superbly boring post... I feel like it was important for me to even just this out into the universe... even if it makes for dull reading.)


  1. The thing is, whenever you have more money, you always end up with more expenses. I don't know how it happens, it just does.

    Your job sounds wonderful for being a mom - especially the part about the guaranteed admission to your school. I know how hard it can be to get a good school in NYC!

  2. The $ thing is hard. I teach a a private school, and a lot of the parents were very upset when they saw that I was pregnant. When was I coming back? Who would my replacement be? etc. When I told them that I would be back after my short leave, the SAME PARENTS said "I know that you love your job, but believe it or not, you will love your baby more. Are you sure you want to come back?" UMMMMMMMMMMM
    First, I'll love my baby more than my job? REALLY?!?! I am shocked!! I never expected to love my own child more than my precious JOB!! I hope that you are reading my intense sarcasm here. and, UMMMMMMMMMMM Am I sure that I want to come back? WELL, it blows my mind that it didn't occur to ANYONE that I actually NEEDED my job to, you know, make money. I have no choice but to work. I DO love my job, and I cry every day when I drop off my daughter. The money thing is hard. People don't get that.

  3. V, I know, I LOVE it when people ask me if I plan to keep working after the baby is born.

    Yes, EXACTLY, ummmmmmm.... yes, I plan to keep working? because I don't have any other source of income? and i don't want to bring a baby into the world so that we can live in a cardboard box on the street together? that while quality time together is good, sometimes, eating is even better???

    and yes, I totally got your sarcasm!

    and Shannon, excellent point... and one I lose track of sometimes!

    and thanks for responding, both of you! i love comments... and just knowing that someone reads this! it's totally addictive!