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interesting party talk

December 13th, 2010 at 10:01 am

So, my party was yesterday. Thanks for the food ideas. Unfortunately, we had a blizzard, so half of the guest list canceled. Still, we had about 12 people over.

In such a small group, the conversation took a weird financial-related turn a couple of times. It surprised me, because people don't usually talk about that kind of stuff.

First, a friend of mine from grade school came. I only see him once every 10 years or so. Anyway, he has 3 kids 3 and under and says his wife wants to keep having them. I ribbed him about it, wondering how we could possibly pay for college for more and more kids. That's a pretty normal joke in our circle, but he took the opportunity to share his plan.

"Debt is my plan. Just go into debt to pay for it."

Eek. I felt kind of bad. My plan is not debt. My plan is to have $100k saved for each kid by age 18,and what that doesn't cover, we pay for out of pocket. I didn't ask any more.

We also started talking about our plans to move to the best school district. His reply "Are you rich or something?"

I didn't know how to answer that. I just kind of turned red and stuttered. I didn't think of our planned destination as only for rich people. How do you say, No, not rich by any stretch, but not not rich. As in, no mortgage, no cc debt, etc., so a move is possible?

The school talk sparked a lot of yelling from other guests. There is another couple with a son our age who moved into our neighborhood. I have known them most of my life, and we used to be good friends, but lately they may as well be strangers. We never see them, and when we do, we never know if the wife is has decided if she loves us or hates us that day. We're planning to just let them go (friend dump, technically), but not in a mean way. We love them, it's just too hurtful to be friends with them.

Anyway, said wife is very opinionated. She said in no uncertain terms that moving is a horrible decision and our kids will grow up surrounded by spoiled rich kids, and that we should be happy with one of the neighborhood schools, because THEY think they are just fine.

I didn't feel like justifying our decision to move. It's about schools, yes, but it's also about make sure we have the free cash to help pay for our parents' care when they are elderly and property taxes on the land we may inherit. Ergo, paying tuition isn't an option. Never mind that hubby doesn't believe in religious education, which is our only private option.

She was mad because she wanted our kids to be in school with her son. I didn't say it, but frankly, we can't plan around that. I love her son, but we don't know what is going to happen to him. He has significant developmental delays due to some congenital health problems. I don't want to say, "We don't know if he'll be in the same grade as X," or the same class even. I can't plan around them. I have to do what's right for my family and kids.

She also pulled out the holier than though diversity card, saying if we moved, our sons would just be around rich white kids. If we sent him to our neighborhood school, it's more diverse. We clearly have different definitions of diversity. I think an economic and racial mixture of ALL kinds of folks. I love that. I don't think of 99 percent of one race, white or black, is diverse.

But, I said nothing. I just said the district is one of the best in the state, we don't want to pay tuition, and we want the best for the kids. We also like the neighborhood. Hubby could bike to work, and there would actually be parks, shopping, schools we could WALK to!

It was a real headache. Luckily, I had some eggnog to dull the pain.

9 Responses to “interesting party talk”

  1. MonkeyMama Says:

    I am personally not much one for spending a fortune on education, but usually only voice my opinion when someone asks. I couldn't imagine being a guest in your home, and being so rude. Yikes!

    Sounds like a fun party? Big Grin
    I do find it interesting. Around here, the masses will pay a fortune for the best school districts. They all think I am the crazy one. Wink

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I could totally relate on the culturally diverse comment. Probably different ethnic groups here, but we moved from a very culturally diverse city to a MORE culturally diverse city. The thing is - more white people and Europeans. So many family and friends have pitied we have moved to such a "monotone white" city. I just have to roll my eyes. The kids' school district literally boasts the 2nd most culturally diverse in the nation, and #1 did NOT go to San Francisco. Wink

  3. Petunia 100 Says:

    Sometimes people speak before thinking. She may have felt disappointed, because she wants her son to have the advantage of attending school with your kids.

    Of course you have to do what you feel is best for your family.

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    I could do public grad school, but the middle and high schools are all terrible. Magnets open and close every year, etc. so I would likely be stuck with private school tuition starting in 6th grade.

    That said, I never thought I would pay more to live in a school district, but it's really only paying more--for a house-- in the short term. Once we figure in the cost of private, which would be inevitable, even if we did public grade school, it's cheaper to move. If we stay, pennywise and pound foolish, so they say.

    Also, these people don't understand the situation unique to us-- two aging mothers, who may need our help at exactly the time our kids would have to start private school (ergo, tuition) even if we went public for grade school. AND, one of those moms is hell bent on leaving us her property-- which has significant upkeep, is 1000 miles away, and has a $50,000 a year property tax burden. That was not a typo.

    We want to be in good shape so we can help our moms if the need arises, and paying tuition at the same time they need us, is not the way to go.

    If we move now, and find the right house, we could have it paid off within 5 years, and then be back to mortgage free, tuition, free, etc. by the time baby 2 hits kindergarten. No tuition bills, etc., when the moms will need us most.

    How can you say that at a party? Also, the wife in question is very opinionated and is always holier than thou with her assessments. She thinks she knows what's best all the time. It's frustrating.

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    Well, maybe her issue is she knows she can't afford to move OR to pay for private middle/high school, so what you're painting as not an option is her ONLY option. I mean, lots of people who HAVE to send their kids to the middle and high schools because of financial reasons might get defensive if you basically painted two options--move or private school--as if the middle/high schools were SO bad that the option didn't even exist in your mind, and that is exactly where they plan on sending their kids.

    (I'm not saying you're wrong about the schools, because I have no idea how they are. I know there are some pretty bad schools out there. But SOMEONE sends their kids there, or the schools wouldn't exist. Either they think the schools are fine and would feel offended that you think their judgment is so poor, or they have no choice and would feel defensive because they know they're putting their kids in a bad place.)

    Regardless, it's really rude and immature and unnecessary to get up in someone's face when they're hosting a party. They could've just changed the subject or pretended to have a headache, then go home and gossip about you there. ;-) That's what I assume some of my friends do who are on a really different page from my family. That's certainly what I do!

  6. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    oh jeez, next year just have a party without these folks!! go to the movies!!

    ditto that the mom who got on the soapbox was probably masking internal disappointment. we are in a magnet school in an already very good (and diversified, ie 30-40% latino) district.

    Happy bday, do over!

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I don't think she's disappointed. I think her plan is public grade school or, if that doesn't work out, the local private catholic school, which is an okay school, but not super great.

    I just think if they were real friends they wouldn't jump all over us or get their feelings hurt about it. If we were friends like we used to be, they would know we're dealing with financially and in the future with our parents. But the relationship has been strained for a while, and this is just am example that it's getting worse.

  8. momcents Says:


    I believe a friend "fade" is in order. "Dump" seems harsh, fade seems better ...

  9. ThriftoRama Says:

    I like that term Momcents. Friend Fade. I love them, I just can't take the wife being hot and cold with us. It makes it impossible to be open emotionally, and to be the kind of friend you want to be.

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