Editor’s Note: In fairness I did warn a few months back that while I was coming to terms with the whole broken uterus thing and what it’s done to me I would likely have some infertility hairballs to expel. Here are two of them…
So a funny thing happened on the way to remodeling our house. We knew it would be expensive, aggravate our neighbors, test our marriage, and bring a whole new meaning to the word inconvenient — bathrooms and the kitchen (running water, etc.) are hard to live without.
We also knew that we would be subject to all sorts of fees that have nothing to do with our project but offer the city, nonetheless, an excuse to extract money from us. One of the fees stopped me in my tracks. It’s called the “School Impact Fee.” To the tune of $2,500.
Pretty ironic given that the house in question belongs to an infertile couple.
Now I’ve come to accept that a significant portion of our taxes go to fund services in the community and education sphere that we’ll never have chance to use. The party line is that we all benefit because good schools and strong family-centric communities maintain good housing values. Fine. But, that bright shiny, newly renovated elementary school within walking distance of our house. Never been on the inside. Never will be. (By the way, didn’t our last huge bond issue pay for that?)
For $2,500 I expect to have one of those mini chairs that first graders sit in contain a plaque with my name on it.
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Ever on alert for news of pregnancies I noticed that one of the guests at the surprise birthday party I threw for my guy was sipping ginger ale … while everyone else was sampling gorgeous looking cocktails. I tossed back my cocktail and told myself: Get over yourself. This is just the universe messing with you (again!) on a night that is not supposed to be about you or your uterus.
My suspicions were confirmed the next week. Said woman revealed to my better half that she was “knocked up.”
Note to women who get pregnant without having a team of reproductive experts at the ready: Don’t act like you don’t know how “it” happened — especially when it is not your first pregnancy. It’s, well, offensive to those who can’t get “knocked up” (yes, said woman knows we’re infertile) and makes you look positively ungrateful. The words: I’m pregnant or I’m expecting more than suffice, thank you very much.
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And for those parents who need a little more reminding about “knowing your audience,” I’d like to share an article sent to me by one of my lovely readers, Robyn, from Down Under. The author of the piece “Don’t Kid Yourself” is a parent herself so she and Robyn have earned a place in my Act of Kindness category.
October 7, 2008 4:28 pm
That article was fabulous! Love your comments on the $2,500 chair with your name on it, lol. I generally don’t mind helping to educate the next generation — “it takes a village,” etc. etc. — but it does seem like the tax structure, like so many other things, is geared to benefit families with children. Here in Canada, parents can apply for a child tax credit, as well as tax credits for enrolling their kids in organized sports activities. About a year ago, they finally implemented a tax credit for people who buy monthly transit passes. Dh & I said, “Finally, a tax break that applies to us!!”
October 7, 2008 5:49 pm
As one who has relegated herself to quietly playing computer games while talking on the phone with friends who go on and on about their kids, thank you Robyn for passing along that article. I might just post it on my forehead.
October 7, 2008 6:03 pm
Loved the article.
October 7, 2008 7:45 pm
I honestly think there should be an exemption for those school levy taxes for people without children (by choice or not) and the elderly. Our property taxes here are huge, and yes my children have benefited so WE should be paying but in a perfect world some intelligent law maker should come up with a way for those not directly benefiting, to abstain from paying. I know it isn’t realistic but it seems like the right thing to do.
October 7, 2008 7:47 pm
Loved that article! I have experienced something very much like that work luncheon with my sister regarding her kids… who ought to know better, but apparently didn’t.
And I just paid my personal property tax. The majority of it went to my local schools. At least it wasn’t $2500, though.
October 7, 2008 8:01 pm
Pam, the New York Times just started a new blog called “Motherlode” all about kid sh**. Can’t you contact them and write one for the rest of us? Please? Pretty please? You would be fabulous!
October 7, 2008 8:42 pm
Fact is, do we ever come to terms?
October 10, 2008 3:42 am
Sigh. I’m still trying to figure that one out.
October 7, 2008 10:44 pm
Oh no! I have been reminded that not everyone wants to hear potty training stories as much as I love to tell them.
October 8, 2008 12:31 pm
I think the occasional hairball is unavoidable, PJ. I found myself chuckling at the idea of first-graders sitting in chairs with plaques of infertile taxpayers names on them. Great idea!
Off to read the linked article…
October 8, 2008 12:40 pm
Coming back to comment again after reading that article. I agree with the author. I think the world would be a much more fabulous place if we all took the time to be more compassionate with each other. Everyone has issues … it isn’t that hard to be sensitive to them.
October 8, 2008 5:24 pm
Can the city provide an explanation of that fee? It seems like they could at least tell you what the $2,500 buys you.
Love the article–and its good advice. We need to revive the dying art of etiquette, tact, and concern for others as an expected social skill, not just some Cheney-esque “personal virtue.”
October 8, 2008 5:26 pm
What a great article indeed…… I am fighting the urge to send the link to everyone I know.
October 8, 2008 5:38 pm
ugh on the fees. nothing like throwing salt in the wound, huh?
and about the party scenario. I actually had to ASK a friend once who was sheepishly hiding it from me. yeah, that felt good.
I’m sure those hairballs will keep resurfacing with me too.
October 9, 2008 2:29 am
Hope it’s better to have those hairballs out, although, frankly, $2500 is a big old hairball… hope the new place (old new place) looks fab afterwards, for the money and trouble!
October 9, 2008 3:18 am
My comment got eaten! I think. My browser jammed.
I never foist detail about my children on people, unless they specifically ask. I know how it feels when you don’t have any, and besides, as the author in the herald sun article points out, few people actually care. If we’re being really honest!
Oh, and pregnancy announcements never lose their sting.
October 9, 2008 3:47 pm
This is so true. Can I add a personal rant about a common comment I hear? Every new mother tells me, “Oh you just don’t know the depth of the joy, love, etc (of having a child) until you have your own.” This to me is akin to telling a starving person, “You just don’t know how good this food is until you’ve eaten it.” Well, duh! But why on earth would you say such a thing to someone who was starving and obviously doesn’t have the food?
I’m just weary of some of the comments that people say without thinking. Those who don’t know my infertile status are, of course, excused from this.
October 9, 2008 4:46 pm
You are not alone. You, me and I suspect many of our sisters feel the same way!
October 12, 2008 6:22 am
How ironic… I just posted a blog about parents who thought their children’s behavior was cute and hilarious. What behavior you might ask? How about screaming at the top of their lungs in the grocery store.
For a long time.
Isn’t that adorable???
I wasn’t laughing.
You and I seem to be on the same wavelength sometimes…