Show Me the Money

Due to the state of Minnesota’s seeming unquenchable desire to do construction on roads that I need to drive on every single day, I’ve recently had to explore some new routes to and from work. Where I used to zip in on the freeway, I now take a slower drive down one of the most famous streets in my city, a street lined on both sides by grand homes and marked by a towering cathedral at the end.

Cathedral_of_St._Paul_9

Every time I drive down this street, I shamelessly gawk at the amazing homes and find myself wondering things like “when, exactly, does a home shift from being a house to being a mansion?” and “who lives there? Like, no really, who lives there?

I am what my husband calls a “Nosy Parker” and so I find that what I really want is for each of these grand houses to have an informational sign in front of them that answers all of my questions, like how much is the mortgage payment on this sucker? And what is the electric bill? And do you hire a housekeeper like as a given? And how much money do you have to make and have to live in a place like this:

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(Currently on the market! Price recently reduced by $200,000! A steal at just over $1.4 million)

I also want to know even nosier things like: are you happy here? Do you think you are rich? Can you borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbors or is that weird and something you’d send your housekeeper to do? Can kids do sidewalk chalk on the sidewalks here or are children in neighborhoods like this both unseen and unheard?

Sometimes I day dream about being rich (these day dreams usually involve writing a best selling novel and then selling the movie rights and then getting to meet Idris Elba nobody is as handsome as my husband) and being able to shop for houses like this. But I know, in a fundamental sort of way, that I’ll never really live on a block like this and I’m okay with that. I love my neighborhood and the sounds of kids shrieking and playing in my backyard.

But, still. Don’t you ever just wonder what financial life looks like on the fanciest block in your town?

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5 thoughts on “Show Me the Money

  1. Swistle says:

    YES. I want to know MORE. I want to ASK QUESTIONS too. Like, do you guys have rooms you don’t even go into, and pretty much you live in the same number of rooms my house has? And when you have that many rooms, do they get super-specialized, like Candy Spelling’s famous gift-wrapping room (which, frankly, is one of the first Extra-Specialized Rooms I’d want)? And is there still clutter, or does clutter stop at a certain level of money, as I find I’ve been assuming it does, probably because of celebrity-home photo spreads in People magazine? And do you sometimes think, what the hell are we doing in this big empty mansion? We could easily live in, like, 10% of this? or does it feel totally normal after awhile and you can’t imagine how cramped and crazy it is to live in a house the size of mine?

    • Wendy says:

      Yes! Exactly.

      And I also want to know if they decorated themselves or hires someone and, if they hired someone, what percentage of the furniture was chosen for looks and what percent was chosen for comfy cozy book reading. Is comfy even a word in the home decorating vocabulary when you have a mansion? I want to KNOW.

  2. Dianne says:

    I always want to go in these homes and check out the craftsmanship…wood, stained glass, etc.
    We had our wedding reception many years ago at 490 Summit Avenue. I always said that if I couldn’t live in a mansion, I would rent one for a day.

  3. Catherine says:

    I live in a rich county of England and YES – I have spent years driving by large country homes with names and gated off driveways. It really makes you wonder what is going on behind those doors. I also remember going to Harare for the first time and boy, some of those ‘houses’ are extreme. You wonder when a mansion becomes a personal palace. It does fill the mind with questions – how do you fill up all that space? Does clutter grow with the amount of space you have or is it a negative exponential relationship? Doesn’t it feel lonely? How do you keep it clean? Well, cleaners I guess. But what is it like being a child in those homes? So many questions. I do envy the gardens of the very rich though – I’d love to have a huge closed off garden, and water features etc. I suppose they also have gardeners, so I imagine their gardens must be quite something.

  4. Bethanyg says:

    Nah, I promise, we’re just normal folks. People with clutter and crazy and definitely not rich (especially when property taxes are due), people who hang out with the neighbors and do our own mowing in general and who kind of love old houses but our battiness stops there. Summit is full of all kinds — older people who have lived in their homes forever, new families, multi-generation households, places that look a lot bigger than they are, places that somehow seem super-small.

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