Monday, January 19, 2009

There's Always Money for Books

I have been tiptoeing around, financially speaking, for about a month now, knowing that in February I will have the pleasure of starting to pay back the money I borrowed for law school. It was pretty easy to borrow, I must say. Waiting to hear the monthly payment number has not been so easy. With a 6-month grace period, an uncomfortably long wait for reliable employment, some juggling of the repayment terms, and consideration of whether I qualified for any kind of reduction or further deferment, I never knew the exact payment amount until just a few days ago. Tonight I reformulated my budget, and wonder of wonders, I may actually be able to pay it!

I'm only half joking about being "fortunate" enough to pay. Quite a few of my fellow graduates have not found work, which must be truly excruciating. Even the fact that loans can be completely deferred doesn't ease the pain of hard work and high achievement in law school for 3 or 4 years, followed by the discovery that the market for new lawyers has dried up. So I am fully aware that I am darn lucky to be able to make payments. As for the fact that I'll enjoy this privilege for the rest of my life . . . so what? It's only money.

Speaking of enjoyment, C.S. and I enjoyed a whirlwind trip to St. Petersburg that contained many of our favorite things:

1. Two wonderful bookstores (Haslam's New & Used Books and Mojo Books & Music--and let me just say, their websites are totally inadequate for communicating how fabulous they both are!);

2. Two memorably low-key and delicious meals (Junior's Diner for breakfast before we hit the road, where we had the Best Bacon-Eggs-Sausage-Pancakes-Biscuits & Gravy Breakfast Ever, cooked by Junior himself, and El Cap's for a burger and fries lunch after we arrived); and

3. A late night drink at the historic, beautiful Vinoy hotel bar. (These are Marriott promotional photos, not taken by me--though I wish they were!)
And no, there was nothing creepy about the hotel at all. We stayed on the mezzanine level and although I generally think mezzanines are prime territory for spooky occurrences (something about being between floors), I never had a scary moment. If I had to guess, any ghosts are pleased to see the old place bustling with activity and looking so good (Marriott photo, again). The lobby includes a very professionally presented history of the hotel, from its heyday in the 1920's, its slow slide into total disrepair in the 1970's (room rates fell to $7.00 per night before it was shuttered and nearly abandoned to demolition), and its multi-million dollar restoration to its former glory in the 1990's.
I managed to escape without buying any touristy souvenirs, but I scooped up a trio of nice books: a new copy of The Gathering (the 2007 Man Booker winner) at Haslam's and two trade paperback-to-hardcover upgrades at Mojo, The Feast of Love and The Blind Assassin, both in "fine" condition for $8.99 each. No matter what twists and turns my budget takes, there's always money for books!


  1. Oops, I should probably clarify that these were not taken by me. I wish they were!

    It is beautiful, isn't it?

  2. I consider books an investment, so what better souvenirs could you have found?

    Congratulations on the job and being able to pay the loans. I've interviewed job candidates who couldn't take a job in their field of study because they needed something that paid much higher due to their student loans. You are indeed fortunate.

  3. Absolutely, Hula! Books make the best souvenir and the best decor. I often think about where I bought them when I see them on the shelf.

    As for the job, yep, counting my blessings every day that I am doing work that I love and that actually pays. That's a joy on many levels.


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