Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

It Got Me Thinking…About Catalogues November 20, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

I can’t even remember what it was that I ordered, but at some point in the last couple of years I purchased a gift online for a niece or nephew, and BAM! Now I’m on everyone’s mailing list.

By everyone, I mean every company that makes stuff for kids—bedding, clothing, toys, gear—and as we rev up for holiday shopping, I’m getting catalogues from all of them. Cute kids in Santa-themed PJs, cute kids playing with cute dogs while cute parents look on with pride and joy, cute kids who are healthy and happy. Just shoot me now! The promotional flyer that really put me over the edge was for organizational systems especially for parents. I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to do (I couldn’t quite bring myself to look at the Web site), but maybe I don’t understand it because I’m not a parent. Whatever!

You know, I also buy my fair share of chocolate. You’d think I’d be inundated by catalogues brimming with sweet things for me, but noooooo.

Say it with me: The Holiday Season Sucks!

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.

 

It Got Me Thinking…About $25,000 January 31, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Two of my close friends are preschool shopping. In both cases, they submitted multiple applications shortly after the births of their children, because public schools are not an option (a topic for another post or a Whiny Wednesday) and getting into San Francisco’s private schools is very competitive. This is insane enough, in my mind, but here’s the kicker: Tuition for one child, for one year, is a whopping $25,000. “But it’s $35,000 in New York City,” one friend told me, as if that would make Californians seem frugal by comparison.

Twenty-five thousand dollars! That’s 250 $100 bills or 100,000 quarters! And that got me thinking…. If I had that amount of money to spare, how might I spend it? Here are a few options:

  • With parking at $2 an hour here, I could feed meters (with my 100,000 quarters) while running 12,500 hours of errands. Let’s do some math: At 3 hours each week, I’d be set for 4,167 weeks, or 80 years!
  • A new car! ConsumerReports.org compiled a list of the best cars under $25,000. I’m eyeing the Mini Cooper with a stick shift.
  • Six friends and I could stay in “Premiere Inns” while on Backroads’ multisport adventure in Costa Rica—biking, hiking, and soaking in hot springs in a forest setting. Sweet!
  • Since I could buy in bulk and get a discount, I’d order 468 12-packs of my favorite 82% cacao extra dark chocolate bars from Scharffenberger. At 210 calories per bar, that works out to….oh, screw that! I’ll…
  • …hire a personal trainer! The going rate is $75 an hour, so I’d get 333 hours of crunching abs and burning fat, roughly 6 hours of training each week for one year. Hmmm…I could get in shape for the Boston Marathon…or American’s Next Top Model!
  • 833 mani/pedis ($30) at the little spa down the street. If I visited once a week, I could indulge in 16 years of pampering!

With the exception of the car, all of the above seem extravagant—if not ludicrous—to me. But it is fun to think about. If you won $25,000 in the lottery today, how might you spend it?

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. Right now, she’s thinking about running out to the store to buy a bar of chocolate.