Suburban Snapshots


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Steve and I have a recurring conversation that starts at random and goes like this:

"Hey, remember when I'd, like, go buy a new iPod on my way home from work?" "Yeah. We used to be so rich."

Or like this:

"Remember how we used to go to dinner, like, every Friday, just to try a new place?" "Yeah. We used to be so rich."

Those are good memories, and our current inability to drop three-hundred bucks between leaving work and catching a train isn't due to the newest member of our family — the kid hardly eats, plays happily with utensils and washcloths, and costs almost nothing on my health insurance policy. We left the city so that things would get easier and cheaper, and somehow we've managed to accomplish just the opposite.

It's true we rarely sit in traffic anymore, but it costs $10 a night for Steve to get back and forth the twenty-five easy miles to work. We live near a bargain grocery store, but because it's up the block we end up shopping sixty-two times a week. We had to get a second car, more insurance, and all of the other peripherals of homeownership you don't factor in when looking at your mortgage estimate. There are lawn mowers, snow blowers, rakes, shovels, tools, plungers, there are projects and wish lists and appliances that are barely hanging on, I didn't intend to launch into such a complainy post.

We are happy, though it's been a lean few years managing bills and expenses, alternating who's working when, hoping to find ourselves both employed at the same time, but then wondering how we'll afford full-time day care. It feels like we've done little besides work and yet we're that family the news financial segments constantly warn viewers not to become - the one a paycheck away from nothing. We were lucky enough to modify our mortgage while Steve was laid off, but the few credit cards we had got either maxed out or forced us out with astronomical percentage increases.

I feel lucky to have the job I do, with great benefits, a home office, and the best supervisor anyone could ask for who also happens to read this blog. I don't need to be able to drop three Benjamins on a whim, but I'd like to remember what it was like to have the security of a little buffer in the bank, one that we could almost forget was there.

We'll be alright and I know we're far better off than a lot of people. I'd just like to get back to the place where security isn't such a luxury.

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