Monday, October 08, 2007

Feeling wealthy

I've never felt wealthy. Not when I paid cash for my first car back in 1999 (near the height of the internet bubble). The benefit of that was that when the bubble burst in 2001, I didn't feel poor either.

I didn't feel wealthy when I wrote Google a check to exercise my stock options, a month after I started at the company, wiping out a couple of years worth of savings. (Yes, some loved ones did raise an eyebrow, but it was a safe investment, as safe as any such investment can be)

I didn't feel wealthy at Google's IPO. I did write a check to pay off my mom's mortgage, which was a rather smart move I was making the monthly payments anyway, and the mortgage was at 8% or so and refinancing was impossible since nobody wanted to refinance for so little money.

I didn't even feel wealthy when I started shopping for a custom frame. For someone who rides much more than he drives, even a new custom bike every year doesn't come close to the cost of a car.

But a few weeks ago Lisa and I decided to engage a cleaning service --- we were just overwhelmed by all the housework that we had to do that we just didn't enjoy doing. We weren't good at it, and we weren't good about it. And I looked at my assets and thought: "Ok, let's find out how much a cleaning service is, and throw money at the problem to make it go away." We asked the concierge at work for a recommendation, called him up, and he showed up to give us a quote last week, and they came by today and cleaned up the house.

Lisa's reaction at the results when she came home was one of amazement. She got on the phone with the housecleaning service and raved at the owner with praise for a good 20 minutes. I was pretty impressed. It felt like coming to a B&B, everything all laid out, the sinks polished, etc. So for the first time in our lives, at least, we felt wealthy.

The thing is, we live in a small Silicon Valley apartment. The quote for the service was embarrassingly small. We could have afforded it ages ago, but it always felt like a luxury, and indeed it is one. This little luxury, more than any object we've ever purchased, wasn't just an object, it was time away from doing things we didn't enjoy doing, yet done with amazing professionalism. So if you want to feel wealthy, treat yourself to a really good cleaning service.
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