Thursday, July 9, 2009

La Petite Poorgeoisie

Italian terracotta Great Dane decoys. Price upon request.

I used to think I would make an excellent rich person. Because it would seem that so many very rich people suck at having money. They buy horribly ugly things: ticky tacky ceramic dogs and lucite panthers. They coat their lives with Swavorski crystals seemingly because they can.

Bright "Escape" jumpsuit (quotation marks not mine). $1950.00.

Very often the very rich dress like shit. Victims of either L.L. Bean or Paris, their eyes are obscured by rare gold coins and their wallets are housed in $24,000 handbags. I find this ridonkulous, perhaps because I am jealous, who knows? But the very rich often seem sad, too, alcoholic-y, lost, and I've always thought that if I were very rich I would be happy, found, massaged. Especially if I had the good sense not to spend $2k on a tie-dyed cotton fugly jumpsuit...
Swavorski crystal marlin. No worries if orange is not in your color scheme as it is also available in pink and yellow! $5000.00.

But what I am finding lately is that I am exceptionally good at being poor. Ish. Not poor, because I'm not; it's a relative poor and I'm poor compared to what I used to be. So I am good at being poorish. A member of the post-economic meltdown Petite Poorgeoisie, I am good at making do with leftovers, creating cute outfits out of what is already in my closet. I am good at garnishing dinner with the basil that I grew, watering down juice, I am good at poorifying my life. A step above the new poorletariat, but I am only so-so at making puns out of poor. Leaded crystal Baccarat Leaping Panther otherwise known as a big fat WHY? $1500.00.

Sure I still want to be rich. I want facials and organic everything, a Mercedes Benz station wagon, Mallorca, I want these. But I also want what I already have which is not a lot and everything, and that, is all I need.

So what would you want if you were very very rich? Assuming you are not already. And what are you good at as a member of La Petite Poorgeoisie?


Anonymous said...

I am no poorer than I was 3 years ago, but it sure feels better now that I have some company. I don't like watching friends struggle with job loss or having to cut back, but I KNOW they are strong and smart and will get through it too. I am embracing the idea of eating in, not going to Japan on vacation this year (or maybe ever), sticking with my job of drudgery instead of opening a boutique, driving my American car for 10 more years. We are all in it together and suddenly not being able to afford those Jimmy Choos my friend had does not make me sad or jealous. It makes me feel smart and happy to have enough love around me that I don't care. I say THANK YOU to this recession. If you have food on the table and a family that loves you, you are finally (for the first time in modern history) RICH.

Vanessa said...

I went to a private school all my young life, on a scholarship. I've seen both sides of the coin. And it is so, so, so true that money does not buy happiness. I'm so glad I grew up with such rich kids but still had my middle class family at home. I swear I will never, ever look to money to make me happy. Because in so many cases it can make things worse. And besides, who wants to wear L.L. Bean? Ech.

sunshine said...

I am a believer that; "a BIG part of finding happiness is not having the things you want"

Probably the only reason why I would like to be rich is to travel; see places, meet people and have wonderful experiences with other cultures... but not backpacking! (been there, done that and loved it at the time).

I agree that is ridiculous how sometimes rich people don't even know what to do with their money so they just buy useless things to show their "good taste".

Anyway, always remember that the best things in life money can't buy.

BTW, love reading your blog, thanks for sharing!

hmrubes said...

I knew I was sick, sick, sick when budgeting became fun - like a game. I'm grateful for what I have and like to dream about what I would do with money (it would probably involve some lucite but not in panther form - I'm thinking furniture).

Brandi said...

If I were rich, I would buy a maid. Yes, I would buy her...I would buy my old boss and make her my maid. Then I would give her that bitchy look and say, "you figure it out." when she doesn't know how to detail my McDonald's set of glassware. can buy happiness. This is fun! Oh right, and I would give some to charity...for the children...and the animals...yeah...maybe.

Sarahviz said...

First up: lipo, a tummy tuck and a boob job. Sososososo shallow, but true.

I don't believe the notion that money doesn't buy happiness. I'd certainly like to give it a shot.

stephanie said...

seriously, i can't stand to read one more 'woe is me' post from you! can't stand it!!!!!!

go volunteer somewhere, get of the fucking internet susannah. you need to see what really poor looks like, and then MAYBE you can talk about 'i'm good at being poor-ish.' PLEASE.

GAH! used to love your blog, but serioulsy you are SO self absorbed and need a reality check SO BAD.


Gin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petunia Face said...

Anonymous--I couldn't agree more.

I would also like a maid. And someone to teach me how to do my hair.

Stephanie--I didn't think this post was woe is me at all. If anything, I'm saying I'm happy with what I have, and what a great discovery that is. And it is all relative, as I said. But if you think I should volunteer--is there anything I can do for you? Perhaps help you pull that jagged stick out of your ass?


jane said...

if i were rich, i would get a big diamond ring, a convertible, and a place in waikiki beach with a view of diamond head and a walk to the beach.

since i am not.. i enjoy the little things. i am now baking bread, growing a garden, wearing all the clothes that i love (that are already in my closet), and soaking up the sun.

the way i see it - you are volunteering. this blog provides daily reading to many many people. it is your gift, and you are sharing it. and you are doing it while you are being a mom.

Vanessa said...

If I were really, really rich, I would buy Stephanie some manners.

Miss to Mrs said...

If I was really rich I would fly you to my house where we could drink wine, eat chocolates and think of ways for Stephanie to unlodge that gigantic stick up her ass. Then when that was over I would take Brandi's advice and buy my old boss and force her to clean my toilet.

Petunia Face said...

Gin--for some reason I can't see what you're linking to? It says video not available?

Jane and V--thanks for the support :)

In the past I've posted pictures of my haircuts, yesterday I wrote about MY VAGINA and this is the post I get called self-absorbed for? People baffle me, I tell you. I'm just here to have fun!


Petunia Face said...

Misplaced Country Girl, why I would love to eat chocolate and drink red wine with you! Thanks for the invite :)

I would totally buy my old boss to be my maid, too, but I doubt she'd be any good. She would totally leave dust bunnies under the bed and would never clean the lint filter--she was a lazy bum.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to have enough money to do a lot of nice travel, fly business class and also enough $$ to do lots of nice things for my friends. Last of all, it would be nice not to have to worry about paying for college for my December baby.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Petunia Face said...

I just got another mean comment from an anonymous saying that my content lately is shit. And here's the thing: I don't want that kind of back and forth negativity here. Call it what you will--say I'm a wuss for only wanting supportive or nice comments. I'm not going to defend myself. This is my blog, my place to express myself and have fun. It's simple--if you think I suck then go elsewhere.

I'd rather spend my energy on other things.

That is all.


Gin said...

Ok, I was trying to be slick and then my linky no worky. Here: I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night. It's just a song I sang in show choir in HS (there I go, letting my geek flag fly) that is sort of obnoxiously cheery and can help one keep things in perspective when one is eating store brand mac and cheese for dinner.

Brandi said...

Don't worry're still my "IT" Girl!

Michelle in KY said...

Oh Susannah...
WTF??? I missed all the deleted posts not tuning in til so late. Who gives a sht what Stephanie or anyone else saysfor that matter. I completely got the point...she didn't, or perhaps she DID and she has not reached the level of understanding that you have with your situation. You are already rich my dear, with that family, that glorious Mom of yours who only seems to have fantastic accolades for you, and your family here on your blog. I love to tune in everyday whether you are whiny, bitchy, self absorbed...or whatever because at some point in the day, I've probably felt the same as you. Chin up girl, chin up!

Meghan M said...

Aren't blogs, by definition and utility, supposed to be self-absorbed? I have yet to find one that's not. That's why I read 'em. Maybe I'm missing something and should be outraged instead. Or maybe I'm generally happy.
I like happy.

Erienne said...

Thank god for your blog and your fantastic writing. I look forward to reading what you have to say because it means something and because so many of us can relate in this crazy time! I'm pretty sure Stephanie would be running scared seeing a crap ton of Susannah supporters coming to unlodge that stick.

Now, if I were rich I would have a room for my shoes {my one and only self-absorbed flaw ; ) yea, right} pay off loans, debts, houses, cars, etc., and blow the rest on charities for animals. I think I may buy a former boss or awful coworker to help clean the humane!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog via decorno I think, about 2 years ago. since then, yeah...your tone has changed and you do seem more 'memememe' whereas before it was all about the joys/trials of raising your daughter. and it does seem like you're...i don't know, out of touch? out of focus? I think it rubs some people the wrong way because you seem to have a lot and yet you don't seem to give back much. writing a blog is not giving back, its a luxury. especially when you accept donations to do it.

amber {daisy chain} said...

I totally agree with you. I've learned (after my first lay-off), that being poor stimulates creativity. With food, with kid-crafts, clothes and decorating the house. That said, yeah...I'd like to have an endless cash flow, too! Id buy beach houses all over the world for family & friends to gather in, wouldn't that be dreamy?

Robin said...

I guess I am odd that I never wanted to be richrichrich. Comfortable, yes but not anything crazy. We have relatives who are very wealthy and they are the saddest most fucked up lot you can imagine.

So, I agree, poor-ish is a pretty nice place to be. More free time, more creativity...all good.

To people who attack Susannah: WHY? You are under no obligation to read this blog and you don't know her personally; lashing out is really thoughtless and rude. Please stop.


Petunia Face said...

Thank you everyone with your nice comments. I wish it didn't hurt so much, but those mean comments really kill me, I admit it.

And here's the thing--out of the hundreds of blogs I read, some of them personal, some of them whiny, I can only think of about three that talk about how they give back to their community. There are blogs out there that talk about also being laid off, downsizing, blogs that post about the $600 faucets they're installing in their renovated bathroom, but I never once thought to comment about how they're out of touch. Or self-absorbed. By its very nature a blog is an act of self-absorption. Their blog is their reality. I have been annoyed at blogs before, rolled my eyes, come back or even stopped reading, but I have NEVER left a scathing comment. And I never will. I don't see the point other than making someone feel like shit, hit and run, and that's not my style.

Anyway, that's that. Thank you guys for your support, really. Off to put the comment moderation back on! :)


Adriene said...

I live very comfortably, more so than I ever dreamed really. My husband continues to works hard and has lofty goals....
I sincerely tell him that I want nothing more...just for him to work less.....UNless, he wants to become what I call "airplane rich". That would be life changing, your own jet/pilot at your beck and call. Otherwise, it is just things lose their thrill quickly. However, Maid= pure bliss

I am really good at making junk shop antiques useful....much to his chagrin. And I always water down our juice and we eat leftovers.

I think you beautifully share that you love your marvel that you dont miss the things you might have expected to miss. Some people cant confront their own issues, so they get all high and mighty on you....forget them!

Anonymous said...

so, after several questions about 'where do you volunteer your time/effort since you're not working' you still haven't answered...why not? so weird. why not just tell us? if you open up your personal life to the public via this blog, you should expect a little criticism once in a while. even a nasty comment or two, to go along with all the good.

Petunia Face said...


I didn't answer because I think you're a bully. A dick. And I don't owe you an explanation or anything at all.

But here goes: While I AM unemployed and looking for a job, I am actually really busy with being a mom (first), then writing. I write this blog, I write over at a travel blog, I wrote a children's book that is currently being shopped around to editors, and I'm working on a book of fiction. I also do freelance writing, although that has dried up a bit in this economy. So I AM working, probably harder than most people with a "job" job.

That being said, in the past 6 months we have donated money to Goodwill, to the Children's Leukemia Foundation and to our local schools.

I doubt this will stop your criticism, whatever you want to call it. But my blog is NOT for me to tout my own philanthropy, or lack thereof, whatever you believe. I don't know where you got the idea that I owe it to readers to explain where my money and/or time goes. Honestly, I blog because it's fun. Sometimes I write about my daughter, my family, sometimes I write about vaginas, sometimes I am whiny, more often I think I'm grateful. If you want to read please do so. If not, then don't. But please don't come here demanding to know where I volunteer and saying that I should accept the criticism even when it is harsh. Quite simply, I don't need to roll over and accept it when people are just flat-out mean. I don't have to, and I won't.


Cindy said...

Let's also remember that S just moved into a different house. I know I, for one, am not one of those people whose new home looks like I've been living there forever, within the first 2 weeks.


Cindy said...

Ya know, I want to say something else. I won't be eloquent like *someone*, but goshdarnit, I'm gonna say it anyway.

I work 40 hours a week because I have to, to help support my family. I rush through almost every day, loving and serving my family the best I can, but it never seems like enough.

I have never once taken the time to love my father by writing a touching tribute to him, so all the world can catch a glimpse of my love for him. I have never once taken the time to think about how good my house smells. I don't take enough photos of my gorgeous little boy (let alone the big kids in our family). Sometimes I take my vagina for granted. Haha!

S, you give in ways that others of us can only wish for.


Anonymous said...

If money were no object I would help my best friend, who is 1st grade teacher and makes no money, send her very gifted teenager to college.
Next, I would jet off to Rome to celebrate my husbands's birthday under the stars.
Perhaps next I would buy a beautiful boat for my dad to sail around Greece - show him my deep gratitude for adopting me and teaching me empathy, kindness and grace.
Purchase a larger home so that guests would have more privacy and lastly begin an organization to help overworked, over-stressed moms.
These things would really make me happy. Yeah, having major money would make me happy.

Anonymous said...

I have plenty of money. No, not private plane money, nor do i aspire to that, but enough that I never have to work again if I don't want to.

And here's the thing about people who have plenty of money AND who were raised right: you'd pass us on the street and never know it. Read some of the work of Barbara Blouin, who has done decades of research on the wealthy. In piece after piece, she states that for every Paris Hilton (or, I assume, person buying a crystal panther), there are a hundred multi-millionaires who drive Hondas and give quietly but generously to charity and fly economy... and even then, usually during seat sales.

But, even in this dreadful economy, people dream of being rich not so they can live modestly and help others and have a safe cushion for themselves and loved ones in old age; it's about boob jobs and maids and massages. I find it discouraging and makes me think that we've learned absolutely nothing whatsoever from this whole financial meltdown.

Petunia Face said...

Hi Anon @ 9:20--
You raise an interesting perspective.

I wrote this post in a light-hearted frame of mind. And while I WOULD like a masseuse and a maid, a more reliable car (mine is a 15 year old Honda), I swear if I were uber-rich I would definitely give a lot to charities. I wouldn't even know where to start: MS Foundation, Childhood diseases, breast cancer, I would love to start a school somewhere less fortunate. Not to sound like a bad Miss America contestant, but I'd like to give to animals, the people of Darfur. Honestly I wouldn't know where to start or end.

I think when you're not there--uber-rich, sometimes it's just fun to imagine the selfish stuff you'd want. It becomes a game in your head, an escape, and it's fun.

I was also trying to point out that I USED to think about this more often, but because of this financial meltdown I have realized how much I DO have and how happy I am with just that. I think that's a valuable lesson.

Anyway, thanks for chiming in :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I'm a loyal reader who chimes in often but went Anon this time bc I didn't want to "out" myself as a Richie Rich: Enemy of The People.

I *heart* you, your blog and your wit and, yeah, I do get it. I actually play that game quite often. "If I had the money, I'd get..." For the record, my answer includes: fresh flowers in my home at all times, a nose job, a porch to replace the rotting one out back. But at that point, Mr. Anon usually turns to me with an Ex-queeze me, Baby, You've got $X in your Bank Account and you Could Afford to do Any of That but instead you pay for 2 Alzheimer's- Ridden Oldies whom you've never met to Live the Seniors' Home.

Maybe I'm feeling bitter because I've seen too many friends who've fantasized in the other direction: of being rich and giving lots to charity and sending poor kids to college and supporting rape crisis centers... But with their swelling bank accounts come desires for things they'd never before known existed, along a sense of entitlement to own two of each, and before you know it they've got a million dollar's worth of jewelry and massages and fresh flowers and nose jobs, and I wonder What Happened to all Those Other Dreams?

Anonymous said...

you should trademark "La Petite Pooreoisie" or whatever it is people do when they come up with a great something that describes something....I always say ('cause I'm a granny..not really)...things are easier to bear if you can laugh about

jen said...

Mostly what I would want if I were rich is to NOT have to worry about Things. Things like paying the bills, finding money for college and a retirement that does not include my hub and I working until we're too old and feeble to enjoy NOT working.

If I were rich, I would love, selfishly, to have a pool and a property that could include some space and some animals. I would also looooooooooove to travel to anywhere I wished and to be able to stay long enough once I got there to really soak it all up.

Unselfishly, I would love to be able to write a check for the Things that make the people in my life worry. I would love to see my friends' faces upon discovering their mortgages were paid.

As for my poorish skills---I can make the cheapest food taste like it came from a fine restaurant.

mosey (kim) said...

oh ugh. I was away for a couple of weeks and am just catching up on my favourite (and much missed) sites. I just commented on your post about your daughter's health scare as a baby and was so glad to read your perspective on it, but I certainly hope you didn't feel you owed anything to anybody because of the some of the vitriol spewed here.

Decorno said...

I think it's funny that some people insist that everyone run around "volunteering" and yet they won't help their own mother in Baltimore, you know? Like they need to soup-kitchen-ify their generosity to make it mean something. I don't think Miss Petunia owes anyone anything except her own family and her daughter. Everyone needs to take care of their own, and then write checks if they have the means. Because any well-run charity will tell you, they don't need more hands on deck to fuck things up, they need cash flow.