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Trade Offs

My visit to the Million Dollar House turned out to be quite a lesson in compromise. The house itself was far less lavish that I’d imagined. I’d forgotten that when you live 25 minutes outside of NYC, a million don’t buy much. While certainly not modest, the house was not the amazing mansion I’d envisioned. And it was kind of crappy–a sad combination of uninteresting Victorian and ugly 70’s add-ons. It was also dreary, cold and filthy. My own house is (far smaller but) much nicer. (Lengthy aside: When we arrived, Mrs. Rich greeted us with the announcement that the housekeeper had not come that week. The house was in fact a FUCKING WRECK! But not just an I-have-two-young-kids wreck, which I’ve seen before. An I’m-accustomed-to-having-slaves-clean-for-me kind of wreck. I know lots of people have cleaning services and I don’t pretend I could keep a house that size clean, but I find it depressing when people don’t do their own housekeeping. It’s just a thing I’ve got. So, the house was filthy and Mrs. Rich, whom I described as attractive and fashionable, was covered in spitup and clearly worn down. HA!) 
On the other hand, the town in which the house is located is vibrant and filled with shops and restaurants and great schools if you happen to have kids, all within walking distance. While I’m fond of my city and neighborhodd, they do have a bit of a rust belt flavor and are far from hip. So–great town or great house? Me…I come down on the side of great house in perfectly reasonable town. Another point of compromise had to do with the fact that Mrs. Rich gave up her career to have kids. She clearly feels sad about that, and mentioned that she struggles with not resenting Mr. Rich. Women having to make this choice is old news and I don’t want to dwell on it, but she said point blank that she envies me. Of course, she doesn’t know what I’m going through, and if I had to choose between never having kids and never having a career, I’d certainly choose not having a career. Maybe just because I have had the chance to experience pursuing and attaining a dream, so I know it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I still hope I can have both. 
A third point of compromise had to do with the fact that Mr. Rich works quite late (he’s usually not home until 8pm) and so doesn’t see much of his kids. In general, he seemed like a crappy parent (my middle name is Judgey McCritical Pants, by the way). Like, while Mrs. Rich was taking Little Rich Girl to school, Mr. Rich was in charge of taking care of Little Rich Boy. He plopped him down in front of the TV and fucked around on his blackberry, totally forgetting to feed his kid breakfast! Who forgets to feed a one year old? Unfed one year old = BAD NEWS. So, again, while having a lot of money and a fancy job might have advantages, I’d choose a husband with enough time to be a father. IN SUMMARY, the inadequacy I feared was not felt. Not one iota.
The rest of our trip was very nice, though it did not stop me from thinking about pregnancy every fucking moment. ‘Cause nothing can. The MFs show was great, of course. Mr. Bunny admired my stylish outfit (see Figure 1) and I felt reasonably City. On Sunday we went to the Met and tried to find the items described in From the MixedUp Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Is there any other reason to go to the Met? Sadly, the bed is no longer on display and the cat statue was on loan, but it was fun to have a mission. I confess that I had a powerful vision of telling Trixie about doing this when she was just a tiny embryo in my uterus and that made me really sad, but I shook it off. Sort of. Okay, not really–it was also the day of peaking progesterone and thus high emotion. BUT, we had a lovely dinner at a low key restaurant near our hotel and then Mr. Bunny graciously allowed me to watch figure skating. ‘Cause that’s love.
14 Comments Post a comment
  1. JB #

    1) Well, Judgey McCritical Pants Bunny, I think it's actually quite reasonable and even healthy to observe other parents and judge them to a degree. All the time I've spent waiting has given me opportunities to take mental notes about parenting skills, ranging from the admirable to the hurry-up-call-child-services-before-these-ingrates-murder-their-baby. Sadly, the latter tend to be hillbilly family members. Anyway, it can help to serve as a reminder that our family choices are pretty well-fucking vetted, and that nothing is more important than building a healthy family. Not even a crackberry is more important. Or having slave labor scrub your toilets. (I will cop to having a housekeeping service come twice a month to clean, but I have to keep this hovel in working condition the other 28+ days. And no matter how much money we have, I am not cool with lazy-to-the-point-of-living-like-hoarders and blaming it on the "help.")2) Love the NYC outfit. I covet your belt. 3) I got to watch skating, too! Of course, the trade-off was watching more luge than I cared to see (KB is not an enthusiast, but I think the drama around it intrigued him….).

    February 15, 2010
  2. My brother and SIL are quite well off. He makes a ton of money at his job. But, he works all the time and is traveling 2 weeks a month. She is a SAHM and I wouldn't trade places with her. Their house is cold too…only ONE picture of the two of them is on the walls. It looks like a model home…and not in a good way. I don't think you are judging, I think you are taking a critical look at how others live. Love the outfit…very snazzy.

    February 15, 2010
  3. City Bunny! Looking good! I love that outfit! Also, not feeding your children and spending all your time on your rich person Blackberry in your filthy house is lame. Judge away. It sounds like you had a good weekend getaway. Glad to have you back!

    February 15, 2010
  4. Cutie in that stylin' city outfit. You have a great life and a great hubs. Sometimes it takes a weekend with the Richies to realize just how good it is (and WILL be). Thinking of you! Welcome home!!!

    February 15, 2010
  5. I like Judgey McCritical Pants:) So glad the weekend turned out well. A high school acquaintance recently looked me up and same story: I'm raising the tykes and I'm so jealous that you're still working. The grass is always greener, I suppose, but good grief! Glad you were able to push back the sad (even if it was frequently there underneath).I loved FTMUFOMBEF! Best children's book ever. I think of it every time I go in the Met and see the beds with draperies…

    February 15, 2010
  6. JC #

    I'm glad the visit w/ the Richies went better than you expected…better meaning your life is way better than theirs =). Your outfit turned out SUPER CUTE!!!!!

    February 15, 2010
  7. I really like your outfit. Very cute. I would rather have a real husband who participated than a rich one any day.

    February 15, 2010
  8. Bunny, you crack me up! I'm so glad you had a good weekend.

    February 16, 2010
  9. The captcha for my last comment was "calmish." That's gotta be a sign.

    February 16, 2010
  10. What a freakin disaster with the house. I am glad you were able to have a good time anyway. I love the outfit, looked awesome.

    February 16, 2010
  11. It's amazing what we discover when we get a peak into other people's lives….I totally judge other people's parenting all the time btw, and I don't feel one bit guilty about it :).LOVE the outfit! So cute! And super stylish!

    February 16, 2010
  12. You crack me up – I would have thought the exact same thing!! Your outfit is super cute! Glad you had a good weekend.

    February 16, 2010
  13. Glad the weekend wasn't the inferiority-complex-inducing-marathon you had feared. Good oul Riches, turned out to be messy, and even envious, ironically enough.The dress is lovely! V clever of you to make it.

    February 16, 2010
  14. Glum Bunny = GLAM Bunny. Yeeoow! 🙂 I actually thought of you and your MF date on Sunday. Glad to hear it was a safe trip and a fun date (in that respect, anyway). I've done this before, too–preemptively steeling myself against a possible shit storm of feelings of inadequacy…only to leave that particular event feeling way more confident in my own choices and path. You would think that we'd have this all figured out by now and would have learned the lesson well already. Oh well. 😉 I did child protective services for 8 years, where my JOB was to assess (ahem, scrutinize) parenting. Even though I don't do that any longer (THANK GAWD) I still look at everyone through that lens. Can't help it. And my vote is for great house…because that's where you spend most of your time anyway! Our town is okay, but we live geographically smack in the center of a triangle of three different hip cities, and that's good enough for me!

    February 16, 2010

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