The Odd Wife

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Money, Money, Money, Money....

loungeThey say money makes the world go ‘round, and I suppose to some extent it does. But I really wouldn’t know for sure. I’ve turned my back on money more times than I can count. And yes, there are days I regret it. Almost.

I grew up a child of the 80’s. For a period of time, my stepfather was very successful and money flowed freely in my home. My mother taught me that quality was to be regarded over quantity and I was supremely conscious of the labels on my possessions. At 14, my first cosmetics were all Clinique. My shoes were Reeboks. My jeans were Guess. My department stores were Lord & Taylors, Macy’s and Burdines. If it didn't have a brand-recognition factor and a large price tag, Mom hustled me past it. When I came home with cheap make-up, Mom enrolled me in a fancy department store cosmetics class to teach me why the $37 lipstick was superior to me tube of 99 cent Passion Pink.

I briefly dated a visiting British television actor who was the most handsome man (before EH, of course) I had ever laid eyes on. He was smitten fast and actually asked me to move to England. He was going to set me up in a super career and buy me an apartment. I turned it down. I had no real interest in him for some bizarre reason (chemistry?) and even the money wasn't going to change that.

When I met EH, I was engaged to my childhood sweetheart. He was good to me and a wonderful guy and I thought we were just supposed to get married. He was a stockbroker and came from a large Italian family with a lot of money. We were offered the choice of a wedding or a house. I chose the was a $150,000 wedding complete with 9 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen. Foolish child that I was. But in the end, fortunate, since I ran away with EH the very day I returned home from my 7 day Las Vegas honeymoon. And I am fairly certain there is still a mafia level hit on me…it was a very Italian family.

And in doing so, I turned my back again on money.

I’ve always had a sharp mind and a strong work ethic. I was hired at a large, national corporation and in 9 months I worked my way up from an entry level secretarial position to an executive level Public Relations position reporting to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. I had the fancy parking space, the penthouse level office suite overlooking the city and box seats for any sporting or concert event I liked…and yes, I had an impressive salary. My senior supervisor resigned and I began to do her tasks as well. I had a Senior Vice Presidency in front of me if I worked it right.

So, of course, I promptly resigned. I decided to start my own small business for awhile. And it worked - the business was steady from day one. And I worked from home for about 3-4 years. Until it was time to reenter the work force.

EH and I have always lived on our own terms. Sure, I wish for that winning lottery ticket from time to time, but the bottom line is our bills get paid and we never realy seem to miss the money. When our cash-plenty friends complain that it's too expensive for them to do fun things together, EH and I look at each other in confusion. $20 picnic lunch and some beach towels make for an awesome day at the beach. $10 lunch and a stroll on Las Olas. A $5 kite and a walk to the park. $2 pet fee and a day at the dog park. $6 cocktail and a night on the sand watching the stars. $3 hot chocolate and a blanket during a meteor shower. We are forever having a blast on a dime and a prayer.

There is one thing that we crave that money is needed for. A home. We are dying to buy a house. In our area, the housing prices are skyrocketing out of control. The townhouse we currently rent for a song is valued at over $750,000. There is not a single family residence to be found ANYWHERE in South Florida today for under $275,000 unless it is a 1 bedroom crack den with the roof ripped off.

So, it begs to consider if we should move to another state.

A scary thought, really. Both EH and I have lived in South Florida for our entire life and both of our entire families live here. But here’s the thing…it’s EH and our little family of three that make me happy. And I’ve always been the sort of person who can get a job anywhere, in any industry and become an expert in a week or two. And I believe I can earn a living – a decent, if modest living, anywhere.

The housing prices in other states are significantly more modest. And I wonder if it’s the only chance we really have at owning a home. I have to admit, the idea of a more rural life has some appeal. A small town, maybe. A place with a change of seasons. A place we might actually see snow once in awhile (a novelty to a native Floridian). Maybe a small town?

It’s a thought. It’s on our minds. It’s appealing.

I'm looking at the Pennsylvania, Virginia areas at the moment. I like the proximity of them to Washington DC and New York City for a dose of metropolitan life. I want to find that town where SG can still play outside safely. Where the people are a bit friendlier. Where you can see the stars at night.

Any suggestions?

Posted by Red :: 8:26 AM :: |
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