Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Remember the post I wrote about Planning for Jet's Birthday this week? I found an ABC article that illustrates perfectly the outrageous lengths people will go to in order to "celebrate" their child's birthday. I wonder how many of the people in that article can really afford those types of things, and how many are plunging themselves deeper into debt in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, as if the Joneses really care.

This makes me think of the date that Knight and I had this past weekend. I won a trivia contest on the radio a month or so ago, and the prize was lunch for two at Sullivan's Steakhouse, a ritzy place in downtown Austin. Since we live and work 30+ minutes away from said ritzy steakhouse, there was no way we could make it for lunch. I contacted the restaurant manager and he said he would give us credit for dinner.

We dropped off Jet at his Aunt Duh-Ahnna's (that's how he says it) house on Saturday night and headed out. We love to try new things together, espcially restaurants, so we were pretty excited. Knight, in particular, was looking forward to it because they have steaks.

We ended up late for our reservations because there was a bike race downtown, the path of which circled our restaurant, effectively blocking all vehicular access. We parked a couple of blocks away and walked, yielding for hordes of speeding bicyclists. Thank heavens for traffic directors. I had visions of trying to cross the street and getting run over, limbs and wheels and chains tangling... I was sure I would lose any battle between me and these Lance-wannabes.

Anyway, the moral of this story is coming up, I promise. As we were relishing cajun ribeye and crab-stuffed shrimp in a place where the cheapest entree is $30, I looked around to see who else was there with us. I wondered aloud to Knight about the financial status of everyone else. Who could afford it? Who couldn't? I've always harbored a bit of envy for people who had real money -- those who truly could afford to eat like this every weekend and not worry about what it was doing to their monthly budget.

There were a few families who had brought along their children (and this was not a place I would consider child-friendly). There were groups of college-age students, dressed to the nines. There were groups of older folks, dressed in business-casual. There were other couples like us, seemingly on a date.

We figured that the families with children were the ones who could really afford it. Someday, we'll be in that place, too. For now, we're working our way toward it by only going to places like that when we have gift certificates, instead of charging it on a credit card.

I just don't know if I'll ever be in a place where I don't automatically consider the budget when deciding whether or not to eat out. I don't think I'll ever spend $30,000 on a birthday party for a toddler. Maybe that's a good thing.


Absolutely Bananas said...

I don't know how people can spend that money on a birthday party, no matter how rich they are. It's just irresponsible. And hey, I notice you're currently reading The Red Tent... and I just finished it yesterday! Great book!

Deanna said...

I think it's obscene to spend so much on a birthday party, these people live in la-la land.

ann said...

sing it sister! you have a head on your shoulders, and your prioritites are in the right place. most importantly of all - you are a good steward of your resources which are - a gift from God! i know that you budget, not only to stretch the money as far as it will reach, but also, to give Him glory. all that we have (money included) is from God. all that we have and do should glorify Him. if $30+ per plate brought Him glory in some kind of situation - i DO NOT doubt you would find a way. in the mean time - gift certificates are wonderful!