What a novel idea. That hadn't occurred to us before.
Oh wait...yes it has.
We are planning to move and have been for some time.
But we are planning to move out of state, which is not something that can be accomplished on the spur of the moment. We have mapped out a five year plan, the first phase of which (paying off all unsecured debt) we have recently accomplished.
We still have two homes (main residence and rental property) that we need to sell, and both of them need substantial improvements before they are ready to go on the market. At least, they do if we want to get top dollar.
That takes money. Yannow, that thing that is in short supply these days. That stuff that we need to keep our kids fed and clothing on their backs? Yeah, that.
Also, the rental property has legal issues attached to it which make selling it impossible until those issues are resolved. It's a big mess, and will take some doing to straighten out. Again, that takes money. We simply don't have the cold hard cash to plunk down for a lawyer. We did consult one not long ago and he advised that unless we had about $15,000 dollars to throw away, we should probably just let the matter bide for now.
Then of course, there is the small matter of a job and place to live.
But let's assume we're going to sell our home and move closer to the city, as reader x suggests. Let's assume our house is in market ready condition.
We bought our home for $130,0000 12 years ago. Our mortgage payment is lower than most folks' combined car payments. This would not be the case if we bought a home today, especially if we tried to buy a home inside the perimeter.
Some friends of ours bought a home near Candler Park several years ago and paid three times what we did for a house that was half the size. Of course, they had the added bonus of drug dealers on every corner and a three liquor stores within walking distance, so I suppose that the convenience alone made it worth the asking price.
G'head, ask me if they still live there.
Atlanta is just not a family friendly city, like say...Chicago. When I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago, there were families everywhere. That's because Chicago has housing, schools, a reliable and well laid out mass transit system, grocery stores, schools, social amenities and cultural venues within easy access to residential areas. I freakin LOVE Chicago for that reason. I could see myself living there very easily.
Atlanta is making an effort to entice more families inside the perimeter, but I don't think it's a trend that is going to be embraced any time soon. Another friend of ours recently bought a condo downtown after getting divorced. He says the city is a ghost town on the weekends unless you go to a club or a bar or a sporting event.
Why? Because families don't live down there. The only housing is high rise living and who wants to do that with a kid? There are homes downtown of course, but the cost of owning one is prohibitive to anyone but the upper crust, unless you are willing to put up with the uh...local color.
So there's that.
Then there's the fact that I have children. I have to think about where and how they are being educated. Our boys used to go to private school, but we knew that we couldn't afford that for very long if I stayed at home. So, when Pubescent One was in second grade, they made the move to public.
We live in a county that is known as one of the best in the state for education. And, we live in an area of the county that is particularly well known for it's excellence in that respect. I don't know if I agree with that, but I think the shortcomings suffered by the school my boys attens are those that any public education system is bound to be plagued with. In general, the schools here are the best you will find in Georgia, which is exactly why we bought the house in the first place.
I'm not willing to sacrifice that. Period.
Why am I explaining all this to you? After all, I don't have to justify my life choices to anyone. And usually, I don't. But I see this disturbing thing happening in the blogopshere. Sadly, it's not a new thing, but it seems particularly virulent lately.
That is, people judging people soley on the basis of what they write on their blogs.
Now, judgementalism is nothing new. Not in real life and not on the internet. I've seen more flame wars and encountered more competimommies, trolls, whack jobs and ne'er do wells than you can possibly imagine. Believe me, you can't. Possibly imagine. What I've been through. I'll tell you about it sometime.
But it seems that bloggers and blog readers are particularly quick to judge and also particularly quick to offer unsolicited advice to people who are perfect strangers.
Now...I understand that when one blogs, and one shares one's life, one opens one's self up to a certain amount of scrutiny, judgement and commentary. I get that. I accept that. I usually just ignore it and move on. I know you people think you know me, but you don't, so I try not to let criticism or disapproval bother me.
But we do think and feel that we know people whose blogs we read. It's weird, isn't it? The intimacy that blogging creates? It's an unusual kind of intimacy. I say things here that I often wouldn't say in real life, so in some respects, my readers know me on a deeper level than the people I encounter daily.
But you don't know me on a personal level. In many ways, the me you know, is a manufactured me. I let you see what I want you to see. I try to be genuine, and I think to some degree I succeed.
But you've never seen me lose my cool with my kids, or snipe at my husband for something completely inconsequential, or pick my nose, or talk too much, or not follow through on a promise or drop the ball on something I committed to, or...whatever. You get the idea.
I create a persona unconsciously by filtering the content of my blog. I think it's just human nature to celebrate that which is good, and positive. We talk and write about what's good because it feels good.
And also, though you know some of my deepest thoughts and feelings...you don't know the minutaie of my life.
Anyway...the point of all this is....
Offering someone a pat solution and flip advice based on the little snippets that are gleaned from a one sided portryal of that person's life is....not...constructive, really. Or realistic.
Though I do understand that it's well intentioned. Most of the time.
I try not to do it, though I don't always succeed. I know I'm guilty of it sometimes, and I think we all are on occasion.
I'm going to try harder.
One last thing...
Why does my son have a cell phone? Because he's 13. And every other 13 year old on the face of the planet has one.
I could try to sell it as a safety issue, a convenience issue, but it really boils down to the fact that he needs one to feel as if he fits in.
I grew up in a household with three children and barely enough money to feed us all. I had a good childhood because I had loving supportive parents who did their best to give us a good life. But I wore second hand clothing and I never had the latest thing until I was old enough to earn money and buy those things myself.
It sucked more than I could ever possibly express.
I can't give my kids every material thing their heart desires. I wouldn't if I could because I don't want my kids to grow up thinking the world owes them something. I don't want to raise spoiled brats with entitlement issues.
But I can give them some of the things that they want and they think are important. Because to a kid, especially a teenager, they are important. And all my ranting and raving about materialism, consumerism, elitism and individualism won't change that.
It is your god given right to disagree with that decision and the reason behind it. It is also your right to decide differently for your child.
But unless my parenting choices cause harm to my child, those choices are none of your damn business.
EVEN if I write about them on my blog.
Now, I'm not saying...don't comment. I'm not saying...don't share your opinion. I'm not saying that we should all blow sunshine and roses up each other's asses.
I like comments. I like opinions. I like debate.
But let's temper that with some kindness and common sense, please.
Most of us think through our life choices very carefully. Maybe too carefully. I think a common trait among bloggers is that of overthinking.
All I'm saying is that let's not look at blogging as just a series of opportunities to judge one another.
Blogging is more and better than that. If we make it so.
(P.S. This post and the previous one are two stellar examples of why Wordless Wednesday is not for me.)