Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Response to Katie's blog...

So Katie's blog entry made me think (very dangerous as you read my ramblings below). I wrote a long comment on her blog and then decided to just post it here:

Nowadays, just having a college education will not guarantee that you will have an income to even survive in the US... we have friends that the husband was a teacher and the wife stayed at home and they qualified for WIC and DSHS health care for the children! Both college educated! And what does this say about how we regard teachers... they can't afford to take care of their own families? What does it say about how important our children are when we don't pay teachers a decent salary? I always try to look at things as needs v. wants. We need baby formula. That's a given. We need Paul's insulin and my meds. We didn't WANT to be in the hospital (and meet petros' and my out of pocket deductible for the year), but we need to pay the bill that comes in the mail every month. And sometimes we do need new clothes. or new shoes. The part I struggle with is that I would love to be able to buy the things we need with a minimal effect on the environment (Like what Fr. Paul was talking about in his sermon the other night). Like trying to by things that are not made by slave labor overseas. Or free range meat. Or organic vegetables. BUT when Pavlos needs new shoes and I only have a minimal amount of money to pay for them, what do I do? Most of the time we are fortunate enough to have hand me downs from my nephew and only need to buy a few new items. And right now, I am lamenting that I have two weddings coming up in the next two weeks and I would really like to buy a new dress because I haven't bought a new dress in two years (I did buy two skirts in June, though). I sometimes tear myself apart with should I, shouldn't I?!?! And I read articles about being frugal but I do all of those things they suggest!

I really don't want to complain because we are richer than most people in the world. And we do own our own home. And we choose to send Pavlos to Agia Sophia. And I remember the poor years growing up... but my parents made a decision to send us to private schools, even though we didn't have a lot of money. And they did own their own home and instead of buying a new one, they added two more bedrooms (and my dad didn't take out a loan to build the new rooms... every week, he bought with cash what he could afford to buy... whether it was two nails or another 2x4). And I had a wonderful childhood in a wonderful family... my parents stayed together (and are obviously still together) after 35 years of marriage. And we spent our vacations camping rather than going on exotic trips (OK, we did take a couple of trips to Greece, but my dad went for 14 years without seeing his own parents. Fourteen years! But we went to Greece to see family, not just a whim of a trip). And my granma would make my sister and I really nice dresses that we loved.

OK. I think that's enough. I think that there are more people in our stage of life that struggle financially. They say that we are the first generation that will not be financially better than our parents. I believe it.


Mimi said...

I very much agree with you, Christina. I have been through the lean times and the times when there's a bit of extra money.

And, even though I know about child labor, I still buy shoes for the kids at Payless. Gulp.

Good thoughts.

Xenia Kathryn said...

Thanks for the response/blog, Christina!

Wow, that's unreal about your teacher/stay-at-home-mom friends.

I admire folks like your parents (and mine) who've done their fair share of scrimping and saving to ensure the well-being of their children.

Of course, avoiding exploitation is very good, but there is definetley a "hierarchy of needs." And it's sad that sometimes our core needs (not the superfluous ones) might overlap with the issues Fr. Paul talked about.

Have you ever thought about looking around Goodwill? The one here in Tigard is AMAZING. You just might find a wonderful dress... who knows? :) Next time I go I'll keep an eye out for you!

Susan said...

Christina, you just have to ask your mom and she will be glad to buy you new duds for the weddings.
You deserve them. After all, you are just post pregnancy.
I do think there is a difference between being frugal and living simply, and being practical.
You sometimes need new clothes!!
Take it from me, the mom who only had two bras for years!!HA

Christina said...

Mimi... I did buy Pavlos new shoes... and they were from Target. And on sale. And I used a gift card that he received for his birthday.

Katie... I have never really been a thrift store shopper (just like I don't really do garage sales). But maybe, on of these days, we can go together and you can show me the ropes:)

Mom/Susan... I'm only concerned really about Christy's wedding because I don't really have anything that formal to wear (the invitation even says that at the country club men must wear jacket and tie... rob/paul's excited about that:) Maybe we can go shopping next mon or tues or wed?!?!?

To all... I was truly trying not to have a pity party or to bring attention to the fact that we do not have a lot of money. We make do with what we have. I hope I came across not as complaining, but as stating a situation that so many people that I know of are currently in...

Susan said...

I dont think anyone took your comments as complaining.
We (dad and I) discussed FatherPauls sermon last night.
It is well and good to say you dont buy from clothes made by child slaves etc. But, the fact is, that is the way this country survives.
Im sorry thats the way it is.
I try to buy organic, locally grown,but I will not pay 3.50 for a pint of cherries!!
It is a sorry state of affairs.
We just do what we can.
As the Greeks said 2500 years ago,
"Everything in moderation!"