Confession: my parents are pretty rich. Not in a "everyone that lives in America is richer than most of the world" rich but "holy crap, that's your house?" rich. For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while you may have already guessed that. Why else would my Dad constantly give me small sums of money so that he could continue to pass judgment on my life? How did I get so awful with money in the first place and end up in this mess? I don't think growing up I ever felt "rich," however, since I was surrounded by equally if not richer folk.
So with that important piece of background information, I bring you my Thanksgiving holiday redux. Boyfriend and I spent our first Thanksgiving together (last year we were dating but he was out of the country). Miles were driven, cats were traumatized, a ten year high school reunion was attended, and the George Washington Bridge was crossed three times in as many days.
This Thanksgiving was the first time I didn't spend the entire holiday with my own family and therefore the first time I realized just how different the holiday can be with other families. As embarrassing as it sounds, I grew incredibly homesick when I realized that there were no mini-quiches, linen napkins, chandeliers and mulled cider. Instead I was treated to folding chairs and homemade pie. Boyfriend and I even went out for dinner on Wednesday with his parents and they made him split the bill! That sort of thing would never happen in my family.
After visiting Boyfriend's parents we visited my family and learned that talking about money is now apparently allowed despite its previous ban in polite conversation. Here is what I learned:
- My mom claims to have lost "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in her retirement accounts. I asked her if she was exaggerating but she insisted she wasn't.
- My sister and her new husband are leaving NYC to live in the suburbs in an apartment owned by my parents for next to nothing. This is quite possibly the only financially responsible move my sister has ever made.
- A friend (age 30) was laid off from her job in the financial sector.
- Another friend (age 31) was laid off from her dot com job, despite spending $35k to get pregnant (it worked!) and now is forced to put her apartment on the market.
- A friend's mother who works for the financial industry has stored $10,000 under her mattress in case of emergencies. This is no joke. She's the richest woman I know and if she's this scared then holy crap!
- My brother works retail and unfortunately they are cutting his hours.
That was my Thanksgiving. My parents warned it would be a "lean Christmas" but I don't believe them. I don't need any presents but I can't imagine my mom not buying tons of things anyway. Sigh.