Three Miles From The Beach
I grew up on Long Beach, Long Island. The beach was one block one way; the bay was one block the other way. We were dirt poor and on welfare, so every summer my mother and two sisters spent every day at the beach. It was free, fun and easy. It was also a nightmare, hell childhood filled with my mother’s alcoholism, beatings and surprise visits into my bedroom late at night from her boyfriend of the moment.
My life got better when I became an adult. Unfortunately, I was the only one to get out of that damning circle of welfare because I was blessed with good brains and a hard work ethic. My first husband was a lazy, “settle for less”, steal free cable, get disability if possible, go on worker’s comp, etc. type of guy…..the opposite of me, a go-getter. The marriage didn’t last. My second husband was extremely successful. More success and financial stability than I had ever known.
Chris, my second husband, told me…”my previous two wives were greedy, self-righteous, sneaky witches. You are a ray of sunshine. You deserve to be treated like a princess.” Well, dear….be careful what you wish for. Because….he made me a princess. Chris was very generous to me. He was making an excellent 6 figure salary and bought me so very many diamonds; we took our three boys on at least two big vacations a year; we lavished our boys with a ridiculous amount of gifts on Christmas.
Chris paid for all of the boy’s college tuition as well as buying them each their own first vehicle. He is very, very generous. The boys are grown now with career jobs and have flown the nest.
Chris is still working but frantic. He is 61. He truly believes he will live to be 120. Yes, he does believe that. That being said, he is misering his money now so that he will be able to afford to live that long.
And so….we now have a new regime. Austerity. Why do we need so much toilet paper? Didn’t you just buy paper towels? Don’t give the dog so many treats, they’re expensive. Ok, ok. I get it. So, I’m trying to cooperate like a good partner.
Yes….I will tell you. It is better to have had a golden goose and then loose it then to never have had it. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved.
However, a recent trip brought the reality of this new regime smack dab into my face like a brick. We decided to go visit the Wilmington, North Carolina area to see if it was an area that we would want to move to since our current home in the Northeast is now way too large for us now that all the children are grown and moved out. We just do not need 5 bedrooms and $22k in taxes. The plan was to mix it up. Go to the beach area of Wilmington; visit properties and also spend time enjoying the beach.
I did lots of research before we left. I had properties, addresses, agents, etc. lined up for us to check out. It was a long but fun drive. We enjoy long car rides together. And, the further south you drive, the prettier the countryside is, and the faster/crazier people drive!
We arrived at our hotel. I booked a Hilton which was listed on TripAdvisor as the #2 hotel in the area. No no no no no no! Ok, I understand. We no longer will be staying in a Ritz Carlton, and a Hilton is just great with me. But when we arrived, it was not a Hilton. It was a Hilton Comfort Suites; meaning “low-ball”. No room service, no bathrobe, no place to get food; just a room. Ok, fine. So where is the beach for our down time? Oh, “Ma’am, the beach is just 3 miles down the road, it’s a real quick drive.” What the heck? I completely thought we were either beachfront or a block or two from the beach.
Reality hits me. Shock. Shit. Fuck. Damn. Yes girlfriend. This is your new life….and it’s going to get more frugal because he is going to retire. No more giving gifts to people, no more getting a blowout once a week. Oh boy….I have no idea what awaits. Well, I do….just a bit…what awaits is the word “NO!”
Welfare….one block from the beach.
Upper middle class …. 3 miles from the beach.
Silly girl. Enjoyed the life lavished on you and thought it would last forever. But fairytales sometimes do not end happily ever; the afternoon is just a sundown and the sun is on the water.
You get what you get and shut the fuck up.