Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Can't Believe I'm This Rich!

It all depends on where you've been . . .

Keith is a worry wart. He worries incessantly over every single thing. Me - not so much. I mean, yes, I worry about his health. I worry about PD and what it will do to him. I worry about all the things that go along with that - how it will affect the kids, do we have enough money and insurance, etc., etc. But I simply don't worry nearly as much as he does. My biggest stresses in my day to day life are more along the lines of worrying about the dishes and laundry piling up, worried that Hailey won't get his science project turned in on time, or that Rielly-Anne will plunge head-first off the sofa. I generally don't worry about the things I have no control over. There's just no point to it. No matter how bad it gets, things will always get better, and we have been blessed by God enough for me to know that the Lord will provide - we will be taken care of.

A few nights ago Keith was venting to me his worries about having PD and what it might mean for us financially in the future. He said, "What are we going to do if it gets really bad? Between just trying to pay for the cable and cell phones and the basics, we're barely scraping by!" Now, Keith says stuff like this all the time, and though I do understand what he's trying to say, and I know it IS a very serious subject, I can't help but laugh. It's just so funny to me that he really thinks we are "barely scraping by."

I said, "We are NOT barely scraping by. Believe me, I've been to barely scraping by, and honey, this ain't it! If we were barely scraping by, we wouldn't have internet, cable, two cell phones, four vehicles, a nice home on the lake, kids who couldn't want for a single thing, and the ability to go out to eat two or three times a week And we are only a year away from being completely debt free!"

"But honey," he said, "we're poor!"

Again, I laughed. "No, we're not!" We just looked at each other for a minute, then we both began laughing hysterically. We are definitely from opposite ends of the class structure!

It's not that Keith grew up rich. He just didn't grow up like I did. There are seven kids in my family. My mother was always a stay-at-home mom, and my dad was the one who earned the living. We certainly weren't destitute, but there wasn't a lot of money to spare. We were poor, but the kind of poor where you don't really know it until someone points it out to you. We had everything we could possibly want, and then some, but most of it was hand-me-downs. Our vehicles were usually used, our clothes came from goodwill. We had to wait until Christmas to get new toys and clothes. Going out to eat was a special treat, but even then, we went to McDonald's. Yes, we were poor, and looking back maybe you could say that we were "barely scraping by," especially if you compared it to how Keith and I live now.

Later, when I married and had Hailey, we really were scraping by. I stayed home with Hailey for a year, but his father only made about $200 per week. Yeah, that's right. Try raising a family on $800 a month. Yeah, we were PO', as Oprah would say. We were poor and we knew it. We had none of the little luxuries that most take for granted today. We lived in a tiny garage apartment, had one vehicle, no cable. We used food stamps briefly before I went back to work.

After our divorce I flipped back and forth between barely scraping by and rolling in the dough, depending on where I lived and worked. But I've never had as much money or as much stuff as I do now. To me, we are rich. I know we are not what most people would consider rich. All four of our vehicles are used with tons of miles on them, our house is tiny and needs fixing up. We shop at the Dollar Tree and clip coupons. We have to pinch and save to pay for our family vacation this year. But still, to ME, we are rich. I have more than I ever imagined I could possibly have.

Keith, on the other hand, is used to having way more. For most of his adult life he has worked in high level sales positions, traveling all over the world, making what I consider to be a TON of money. When I met him, he lived in a condo with an outdoor hot tub, owned a boat, a couple of jet skis, a Harley. He was used to vacationing in the Bahamas and Cancun. So, though I've "stepped up" in the world, he feels that financially, he's "stepped down." Sometimes when I go grocery shopping, he'll tell me to try and keep it down because we only have $--- amount of money in the bank. And I think, "what the hell is he talking about?? That's a lot of money, and he gets paid again in two days!" Not that I freely spend a ton of money - my upbringing has taught me to be very thrifty, but come on! (giggle, giggle)

Yes, it's all on where we've been . . .

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