My bank balance is very small right now.

This is because I’ve made #1 son’s tuition payment. Now I have to gather up enough funds to make #2 son’s tuition payment.

#2 son is worrying about these payments, and well he might. Between the two, the boys’ monthly tuition payments almost equal my husband’s entire income.

#2 son remembers when #2 daughter was at her expensive private college, and we all scrimped to get her through school.

“We live so lavishly now,” he said sorrowfully, expressing his distress at requiring sacrifice of his family.

When he says we live lavishly, he means we can have pizza delivered every week if we want to, and fix our cars when they break down, and pay all our bills on time.

I never did amass the kind of fortune required to have my dental work done.

However, I have to admit that it has been nice, this little spell of affluence. I bought enough clothes to be able to teach every day if need be, and new tires for the car, and a good bicycle for #1 son. I paid off a couple of credit cards, and was able to cover the overhead for my business. I didn’t have to worry about money at all, which is pleasant. We’ve always had a large family and a modest income, so worrying about money has been a recurring feature of my life. I’m happy to give it up.

I still owe my parents money, though, and I still need the dental work done, so I never got into any extravagant habits which I’d now have to give up. I tried to establish the habit of going out to Sunday lunch once a month, but my husband couldn’t bear the thought, so that didn’t happen. I never took up recreational shopping or golfing or anything.

The choirlet were talking about pedicures the other night. This is probably the most common extravagant habit in my set, apart from travel. My daughters go out for mani-pedis, and many of the women I know make a social event of it. I’m doing well to get to a hairdresser on a regular basis, and have never considered having my nails done.

All the ladies agreed that pedicures were wonderful and I should take up the habit, too. My impression is that you sit in a room full of noxious odors and some stranger fools around with your feet. But no, they say that it’s wonderful.

A couple of them had taken their husbands along once, and the men had enjoyed it, but never been willing to return for a second visit. The young man who does her nails, one said, had told her that not very many men had it done.

“And most of them are, you know…” she began meaningfully. I suppose we all speculated on what “you know” might cover. She continued, “…bankers.”

Whatever group of men I might have guessed would be in the mani-pedi crowd, I wouldn’t have thought bankers.

“Bankers?” I said, rasing an eyebrow.

“You know,” my friend explained, “when they have guests over to swim they want to look completely well-groomed.”

I just didn’t know this about bankers. You learn something every day.

I had a meeting about my pro-bono website yesterday afternoon, in the elegant home of one of the ladies. Her house looks as though Frank Lloyd Wright designed it, all wood and glass and native stone walls on the inside,which looks amazingly cool. Fountains and breathtaking views outside. She was quite well-groomed, wearing the sort of gear that you could do yoga in but which costs more for one thing like a sweatshirt than I spend on a suit.

This woman is the director of a museum, and I think she’s wonderful. I don’t remember her feet. She might have been wearing shoes. But I bet she has pedicures.

I think that #2 son’s education will be a good investment. If I hadn’t lost my job last year, we would never have been able to send him to this school; he didn’t get the kind of scholarships #2 daughter did. He plans to continue working on scholarships, and to apply for an RA-ship at the college and for Governor’s School next summer. I just have to keep working as much as I have been. #2 daughter has been entirely self-supporting since she left school and we don’t have to worry about her at all. #2 son will be the same, I’m sure. And #1 son has a plan to live in #2 son’s basement, so they’ll all be taken care of.