Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Capt. Obvious, at your service: Seattle is expensive

The Seattle P-I online paper recently ran a story entitled Not your imagination: It really does cost more to live in Seattle and after reading just the headline I had to ask, who lives in this city and after paying all of their bills each month says, "Wow, it really seems expensive to live here... But I'm probably just imagining that"?

Clearly, you're not imagining your utility bill, or rent/mortgage, or food costs so the headline writer did a disservice to the article and readers.

Perhaps a more suitable headline would be, "Seattle residents ask: Holy $#*t! Where'd my money go?!"

Or maybe "Seattle: expensive, but worth it for high paying jobs, clean air and water."

I once read a schnarky letter to the editor of a women's magazine about an article on the difficult tradeoffs that families make when deciding whether one or both parents should work. It went something like this:
Dear Mag for Women - I read with interest your story about the work or stay-at-home dilemma but couldn't help but think, "What dilemma?"

If you have been blessed enough to give birth through your hallowed loins, for the next 18 years (at minimum) you should forsake any other task that does not relate to caring for and nurturing the tiny life to which you have been entrusted.
That's what my husband and I did: I quit my job to stay home with our children and it's been the best thing to happen to us. Sure, we had to give up frivolous expenses like eating out, new clothes, fancy cars, and any vacation beyond our immediate neighborhood. But our children's well-being is my most important mission and being there for them every minute of every day is my most important contribution to the world. 
Also, the smile on my child's face when I wake him up from a nap is worth more than a big house or fancy job title. In fact, I think his smile should be bankable currency, because I'd be so rich beyond belief that I would run out of deposit slips at my local financial institution.

So I think the "mothers" in your article (if that's what they call themselves when they leave their child to go to work each day) should be ashamed of themselves for being so selfish and not giving up the trappings of success to which they've become enslaved. If we can live on one salary, they can too.
Smugly Signed,
Judy Judgemental
Smalltown with extremely low cost-of-living, and home prices well south of $100,000, USA 
I so wanted write back in and suggest that Judy come to Seattle or go to any urban area and see how well her approach would fare in an expensive city. Sure, there are those who are able to do it, but as the P-I article shows, unless one or both parents has a very high income, it's not easy.

Regardless, people should simply acknowledge that whatever choices people make in life, most of them are doing the best they can given what they know and their resources and options at the time.

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