Tuesday, July 01, 2008

“Who’s that?” I asked about a slender man of medium height with a mop of curly black hair. The kind of hair that the possessor washes, towels dry, and shakes and he’s ready to go. My compatriots looked over at the man who had the appearance of a young college professor in a rumpled linen suit, bow tie and thick framed, black glasses. It occurs to me that there is something Oedipal about the daughter of a university professor squeezing her knees together about a man who has the appearance of one, but we’ll leave that alone.

The café is definitely a local place, down a side street few tourists find it and the food while good, isn’t special enough that many travel from other neighborhoods. Like all local places it has its little cliques, not unlike a high school cafeteria, each with its own table. No one recognized him and then Marlene came in and said hello to him before joining us. The question was posed to her, and her response was “taken”, he recently moved into her building with a partner and an adorable little boy. Oh well.


Chris has hit a bit of a wall in her adjustment to Paris. Not that I came home to find her curled up in a fetal position in tears or anything, but she did come home and confess that she had breakfast and lunch at McDonalds, it was my turn to give her a hug.


This weekend is my families annual get together, with L’Armada coming up and several clients having events there, not to mention Kim & Co hosting a reception for our clients and other projects, I didn’t feel that I could spare the time. I told Dad and my sisters and they were disappointed but understood, and then I began thinking about what I’d be missing, all my grand parents will be there and since we have started holding it near the Chesapeake, Dad’s siblings who live in DC have been coming and sometimes their families. Plus if I didn’t go I wouldn’t see how much the kids have grown. So in the end I decided to fly out Thursday evening and comeback Sunday.



Anonymous VJ said...

Good thoughts on the visit. I wish I had done more while young. And now they're all gone too. But yeah, we do the rumpled prof look. But only while dressed up. The rest of the time it's the regulation chino's & polo shirt. 90% of the time down South, it's all you need. Winters it's only adding a coat to the 'ensemble'.

But I never asked, and feel free to not answer if you like, but on a simple Prof's salary, how is everyone always traveling around the world like your dad does, (as well as the rest of the fam)? We can hardly keep up with most of the cars. Just wondering.

Sorry to hear about Chris' adjustment problems. Just for her we have the 'feel good story' of the day, from Canada natch, on Canada Day:

"Morgentaler among those named to Order of Canada". CBC

"Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean has named a leading abortion rights crusader to the Order of Canada, news that has outraged anti-abortion groups.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler is one of 75 Canadians to receive honours for their contribution to the country. The Governor General announced the new inductees on Tuesday after the names were recommended by an advisory panel."


Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

10:20 AM  
Anonymous VJ said...

You know, I may have forgotten if I've asked that same question way back when, but I may have, now thinking about it more. It could be worse. You could be in front of me, and I'll be forgetting your name... Cheers, 'VJ'

10:22 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

VJ, how gauche. But anonymity does allow for some questions and answers.

Dad, easy, an inheritance of good size, received young and invested well. Also as long as I can remember he had interests outside of teaching. When he finally retired he entered the business world and knowing what he did (does, as he still consults)his income would have been comfortable. But he really is only the gild on Juliette's lily.

Looking back on my childhood, I realize that my parents lived on the income from Dad's teaching and Mom's business, while the saved nearly everything else. When my mother died I was surprised at the size of her estate.

Grace & Robert - Wall Street
Leah & David - 2 attorney's, no kids. Plus they are as thrifty as church mice.
Kenny & Catherine - K's travel was job related and it brought him to or near Paris several time a year. That's no longer the case so I only see him at this event or if I get near their home.

That leaves Moi. The biz is doing fine and when ever possible I plan around a trip that's billable. And lest you forget, there is the matter of the prior career, which was lucrative and I had the foresight to save and invest. If I want or want to do something and its not a business expense and I can't cover the cost in my current income, I'll dip into the whore's wages.

I bet you're cheap to dress VJ.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Well it's good to know you're doing well Kim. Me, I'm constantly being told that I'm 'gauche' in so many words. (We don't do much French here in Ga., but it still fills the bill).

But it's a fairly unique and fortunate set up as you lay it out. Thanks for the insight. I was just wondering about all the travel, and what made it possible. That's actually getting to be rare in some circles.

As I mentioned elsewhere we've managed to double our income this year, even in a recession. Which is unusual. But more satisfyingly we now make more than our miserable Congresscritter, which is about all I can ask for really. The rest is gravy and we're saving for the day we're going to be taxed extra for pleasure of all those 15-18hr work days. But I've got a very low threshold for 'success'. And yes, I've always been pretty cheap to dress! I call it my 'inner redneck'. Cheers & Thanks again, 'VJ'

10:17 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Is it really that unusual? Thinking back on my college class for every person like my former roommate Katey, who came from a poor or working class background there were ten whose parents income placed them in the upper 10% or so in household income. Enormous benefits accrued to us because of our family of origin, whether we acknowledge that or not.

Just the college I went to has paid me back greatly in contacts that have helped Kim & Co. I was surprised, though in retrospect I shouldn't have been, at the number of now corporate executives and professional partners that graduated from there 20 or more years ago. Being an alumni granted me an audience and I've been able to take advantage of that.

What's really unusual are people like Katey and Christine who are transcending their backgrounds and have already achieved great success in life (though not necessarily financial) than I may ever. They are putting themselves in the position to do for their children what my parents and the parents of my peers did for us.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Good points Kim. Still the 'income/upward mobility' issue is a tricky one. There are very few who are born on the bottom who make it to the top. On average, if you're lucky, you move up a few notches. Still it's actually far worse in the US than it is in Europe or even (gasp) France. And the Nordic folks have it all over us too. So over all, growing up middling and the wife from a fairly poor background we're tremendously fortunate, and we recognize that. Statistically, for this and a few more reasons, we really should scarcely exist, that's how rare it is for someone from a family as poor as the wife's was to grow up to eventually become as rich as we are now. But there's tons of fine economic studies on the topic. I recall with a mixture of horror and some pride to realize that what we've achieved would be next to impossible to replicate in today's environment.

My colleges have been next to worthless to us down in the South. Both fine undergrad institutions but they'd be almost unknown (or lesser known) down here. I finished up my degrees at a local state school, (the one rival across the border), but despite having a strong program in my field, I rarely practice it. The school is mostly known for it's fine and winning football team! The wife's can't even claim that though. So rarely do any of our schools ever come up in our business relations. You must have gone to a very fine school indeed. We're mostly just known for our crazy colorful football fans. I tell folks regularly that the bottom of the SEC can probably whip up on any of the Ivy League in football, any day & time. I've rarely gotten any arguments. But that's the extent to which 'colleges' in general are talked about down here. Sad to say! Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

6:20 AM  

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