16 May 2008

Give it Up!

Have you given up anything in order to live in this town, in this state? Let's face it, Hillsborough is a fairly expensive town to live in, in one of the most expensive states in the U.S.

So, what is it? Our sacrifices started about three years before we moved here - in our three room walk-up apartment in Freehold Township. I don't think we went to the movies, or went out to dinner more than two or three times in three years. We skipped vacations and worked overtime - saving every penny for a down payment on our dream house.

Even today, as I look around the house I see we still have some builder's grade wall-to-wall carpet here and there - 15 years old, the sofa and loveseat in the family room - 14 years old, the couches in the living room - 17 years old, and the dinette set in the kitchen that we bought in 1989! And this is in a neighborhood where we have seen some of our neighbors completely re-do their whole house every three or four years!

But there is one thing we did not sacrifice. We wanted our kids, when they were young, to have a parent at home full time. We didn't want day-care or latch-key kids. We wanted our kids to have the kind of childhood we had, where a parent was always there. And we also wanted to live in the kind of town that we grew up in. A town where our kids would be safe and happy.

To have both, we've made some sacrifices. But you know what? In the end, we'll have all the material things we could ever really want - and we'll have something more.

I can live with that!


  1. I can certainly relate to your version of life, having made a similar decision myself. One of us was going to be home for the kids, and we were neck to neck salary-wise in our race to finish last and win the role of the stay-at-home parent. As a cousin who also made the same life-choice liked to say, "if anyone is going to screw up my kids, by golly, it's going to be me!"

    Kidding aside Greg, my first is now 21, and my baby will be living across the country as he starts college in the fall, and we STILL are making those sacrifices.

    I have finally come to accept the reality that despite spending a lifetime collecting New Home and Building magazines, I am never going to have the experience of building my own dream house. Perhaps not even remodeling a kitchen. I will live out my days with a hodge-podge of good enough rooms and too much of everything else jammed into them, or at best I will slowly cull the clutter in my life, leaving a leaner, simpler and more restful environment.

    But I will also miss out on the experience of having constant debt hanging over my head, and nothing left over with which to enjoy life itself. I can live without the fancy new construction, the McMansion, and the gleaming new kitchen. And in the end, my life will have been filled with the riches that matter most.

  2. Val - as you may have guessed, I wrote this blog entry after reading a couple of nasty comments over at tne NJ.com forum.

    I don't envy any of those rat-racers and accumulaters who put me down for "not having a job". What a joke! And what an insult to the many generations of American stay-at-home-moms. No one better tell my mother she didn't have a job when we were kids.

    And anyway, I already have more than those yuppies will ever have - even with my 15-year-old thread-bare carpeting! (which we are almost rid of, slowly but surely.)

  3. No, I didn't guess. I don't read the long insulting posts. I thought most of those references were directed at Glenn.

    Well, time to shoot the duck, again. And again. And ....