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What do you do? How do you handle the situation?

So, one of the adult children wants to have their children’s (our grandchildren) birthday party at our house. They asked if that could happen at the end of the month.

Sounds simple, right? Sure, go ahead! We love you. We love them. No problem!

But there is history. There is always history.

They have done this once before. Asked if they could use the house and yard for a birthday party and we said that was fine. Very little communication with them between the ask and the event.

Day of the event comes and we find out it is a four hour “open house” where people can just drop in and hang out. 40 people show up (not including family and many of whom we don’t know) at various times during this open house. The kids, on a very limited budget, didn’t plan or budget for said party. They didn’t have enough supplies for said party. They didn’t have enough food for said party. They had no alternative plans for said party if the weather was crappy that day. They didn’t stick around long after the open house was over to clean up.

Guess who picked up all the slack, both in time and expense? I guess you don’t need to guess since you know it was us.

So, what do you do this time when they ask? Just let them do it, no questions asked? Or, do you put limitations on it? Do you set expectations, or do you just go with the flow?

Loaded questions, because you know how I would handle it (at least you should by now). But, the other person in the house doesn’t think it should be handled that way.

What is reasonable, logical, and practical?

Stacked up

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The work is stacking up and there is no sight to get it all done. Not any time soon.

More and more things are being added but nothing is being taken away. There is no time to focus on anything, so projects that would help clients aren’t getting done. Instead, dealing with “immediate needs” is eating up all our time.

I am not sure how I will be able to dig myself out of the backlog of work. My projects have been pushed and pushed and pushed.

Anyone else find it hard to go to (in whatever form that looks like) work when they are constantly feeling behind?

Grow up

blue white ribbon on pink box

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It never ceases to amaze me at how adult family members can be so immature, especially family members who are in their late 50’s.

A few details about my BNL. Single. Lives alone. Makes great money as a machinist in a local shop. Like to talk about himself, but that mostly includes his cats and his job (which he talks in technical jargon so no one can understand what he is talking about). Is a bit out there in ideology, but not extremist by any means. Likes rocks, gems, and nature photography.

Now, he always shows up at holiday celebrations. Rarely shows up for birthday celebrations, other than for his parents. Always comes to consume, but almost never contributes. Never participates in planning get-togethers and never shares in the expense, even though he will show up for them. When asked to bring something, he feigns not knowing what to bring, and if he is asked to bring something specifically it is never enough for size of the gathering.

Over the weekend, my FNL had his 80th birthday. His daughters (even one from out of town) planned the gathering and provided nearly everything for it. BNL showed up before the gathering and didn’t help with setup, tried to carry on conversations while we were setting up (as in, watched while we worked), didn’t offer to help, didn’t offer to help with expenses, nothing. But he made sure he was next to first in line for food. The only thing he actually did, or offered for the whole thing….he picked up some folding chairs at the end. Otherwise, he was busy hiding in the house and doing other things.

Time for someone to grow up and not think of themselves? Yeah, pretty much. Why do none of his siblings say anything to him about it? I have no clue.

Maybe there is history I don’t know about, but I am pretty sure he would have already told me if I stood there to listen to him long enough.

Irritating, you know?

The city

canal nature outdoors park

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Just had a guy from the city stop by.

I called a month ago to see if I could get someone to come out and take a look at the ditch that runs in front of the house. Of course, the lockdown thing was keeping them from being able to come out and take a look so I figured I would disappear to someone’s “Yeah, we may or may not get to it” file.

The ditch out front of the house is a pain in the rear. Ultimately, since it is in the city’s right of way, I would like to have them put a pipe in it and then make it disappear so the front of the yard doesn’t have that stupid thing. The last guy that lived here tried to fill it himself and the city made him dig it back up because he didn’t do it correctly. As such, it has needed maintenance ever since.

So, the guy comes out. Asks some questions. Wants to know what I would like to have happen. He becomes non-committal about the options they have and then suggests maybe I could clean it out. I politely informed him that I am not going to do the work of the city if it is in their right of way. He said he would talk to some people and get back to me.

So, now I suppose I am officially in the “Yeah, we may or may not get to it” file.

What’s irritating is that they suggested, the first time I called the city, that I do it myself and pay for the supplies and the engineering company, with permits, of course, to fill in the ditch with pipe. Yeah, not gonna happen. What might happen is that I do pay for the supplies and just do it myself in the middle of the night…but then, of course, someone would find out and then I probably would end up either having to dig it out or pay the fees (because governments are always quick to make sure they get their fees) for them to dig it out and do it correctly…not gonna happen.

So, it will just sit there and be useless and unsightly.

Man, I hate that ditch.

Tag-alongs

five white sheep on farm

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Nope. I’m not talking about small, over-priced cookies distributed by your little local vested gang…

I am talking about family members (adult children, really) who don’t ever make any plans on their own, but just “tag-along” on the plans of others.

Birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc…never their own plans, always the question that comes one of two ways, “What are the plans?” or “What are you doing?”

Both of those questions are then followed up by the assumption that they are automatically invited to the event (even if it doesn’t really involve them) and don’t have to put in any effort into it. Sure, sometimes they offer to bring something minimal but most of the time they just show up and consume with little to no appreciation.

I have watched from afar and up close and personal, so here’s an example of which I speak:

Mother’s Day planning is done for an elderly mother. Plans are made, set, decided upon, and food is purchased for said get together. Planning has been done by the child of this mother BUT what soon follows is the children (the adult grandchildren of the elderly mother) of said mother doing the planning don’t plan anything for their own mom. Instead, the children just horn in on the plans for the grandmother – they don’t make any effort to plan anything for their own mother, other than just going to the gathering for the grandmother.

Does that make sense? I tried to explain that as clearly as possible, but I am not sure I did it successfully.

Anyway, this kind of tag-along thing happens all the time and, quite frankly, the mother needs to say something about it but doesn’t have the heart to speak up and tell the kids they need to do their own planning.

Of course, I can’t speak up either because that is a battle I can’t win no matter how I approach it. I am sure you can assume you know how that would all go over.

Irritating, really. And all I can do is sit back and watch it happen…

Unsolicited Advice? If you have are an adult child with parents who are still around, make your damn own plans! That might be challenging depending on family situations and timing, but the effort is noticed and appreciated. DON’T just tag-along (even if you are invited to). Grow up, be responsible, and truly appreciate your parents instead of just relying on them.

 

Ingratitude

horse laughing laughing horse

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Rampant.

What do you do when you feel as though your kindness and generosity are being taken advantage of? What do you do when there is a lack of gratitude from someone who should be extremely appreciative of the way you have bent over backwards for them?

I think most of us don’t do things for others because we want to be celebrated. I don’t think we do things for others because we are looking for publicity or because we want accolades. We do things for others because we see a need and want to meet it. For some of us, it’s in our nature. For others, well, we have to work at it on a regular basis.

But, how do you handle a situation where you stepped out of what your “normal” everyday life is like, to rearrange and disrupt your life for a while, to help someone out only to have them act in a way that shows little to no gratitude or actually appears they are taking advantage of the situation?

Yeah, strangers likely wouldn’t act this way.

Family? Family, on the other hand, usually does.

I found out last night that appearances aren’t what they seem and there has been some talking going on behind that back of some family members about other family members. Mind you, the secretive discussions are from those who are getting help (and desperately needed it at the time) about those who are giving the help (who saw the need and stepped in to help despite major misgivings).

Seems a bit shocking, doesn’t it? It actually doesn’t really surprise me. I mean it does, and it doesn’t. That has been the trend all along. Family bends over backwards to help other family members, only to find out that it cause issues inside the family and causes the ones helping to regret they helped.

Lessons learned? You would think so, but no. That’s the problem with having a generous, helping heart.

Ingratitude. Expectation. Greed. Under-appreciation. Irresponsibility.

It’s cliche, but that phrase “Looking a gift horse in the mouth” actually does mean something.

 

Listen

photography of person peeking

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It really sucks to see stuff happen to people.

But then again, there’s a reason the phrase “I told you so” often comes up in conversations after the fact. So, maybe it doesn’t suck. Dare I say it’s deserved?

It’s weird, isn’t it? How someone may (or may not have) ask for advice and you give it, and they ignore it. Then, almost as predictable as a fat kid near cake, what you predicted would happen happens and the only thing you can do is shake your head and bit your tongue as you think, “I told you so.”

When you ask someone with more life experience and they give you advice I would recommend you listen. Don’t just ask because you think it is the right thing to do or because you are looking for confirmation on the answer you want to hear. And if you don’t hear the answer you are looking for, certainly don’t go charging into the *insert problem/issue/dilemma/etc. here* without some serious other considerations. Ask more people. Sleep on it. Consider other options. Change course and see if something else will happen or something better comes about.

I hate being right.

No, actually, I don’t. I like being right.

Call me a jerk, if you want. But deep down, I know you like it too. And, secretly, we all like to be vindicated when we give advice and someone ignores it.

Are we bad people? No.

Should we celebrate in it? No. But we can secretly break our own arms patting ourselves on the back…go ahead and do it.

Feels nice, right?

At least that is better than sitting in public, pointing, and laughing. Of course, there may be a place for that too. But that’s a topic for another day.

Got away

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

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I’m late.

Sorry.

The day got away from me. I started working on a project for work and just lost track of time. I supposed that means I won’t Piss and Moan about anything…

Or maybe I will!

Life sucking, or money sucking, family members.

There. How do you feel about that?

There are members of families all over the world that seem to be the parasite, a leech, a blight upon the family. The neediness doesn’t stop and when some people in the family try to stop it, others of the family continue to enable it.

It might be the individual’s fault, or maybe just bad luck (or no luck at all), or maybe they are just the victim of circumstances, doesn’t really matter because they still seem to need something all the time. Want. Need. Whatever. Hand’s always out, looking for something.

“Help.” “Can you lend a hand?” “I was wondering…?” The approach may be different and sometimes it’s even a little veiled to make it look like they aren’t asking for help, but in reality they are. It’s always the same, but different.

Tiring. That’s what it is.

Day 5

man sitting and closing eyes on teal bench

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Vacation, Day 5:

The last day of official vacation.

It has been one for the record books. Not so much that it was epic but more like it was about as uneventful and boring as if I was sitting at home on the couch. Oh wait! I was doing that…mostly.

Today’s plans? More of the same. The sun is out but should I be optimistic about sticking around? Come on, do you know me by now or what? LOL Maybe I’ll go for a drive and reacquaint myself with some countryside I have seen in a while. Maybe not.

The only thing that isn’t the same today is that it is my youngest’s birthday. She is 17 today. There was already a Zoom birthday party for her in the middle of last week (queue the cancelled vacation plans this week), so I am not even sure I’ll get to see her today other than virtually. That sucks, but as she is getting older with more responsibilities so I know it will become more common regardless of a lockdown or not. Still, not sure what today holds for that and her.

I am pretty sure I’ll end today with a fire and a beer. Can’t decide if the fire should be in the fire pit or just set the house on fire and enjoy the fireworks from the front lawn.

This was the most uneventful and worst vacation ever.

Expenses and new adulthood

man sitting on sofa reading book

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Here’s a TOUGH question for you?

At what point do you have your adult children fend for themselves?

Specifically, a child has graduated from high school almost a year ago and is now 19. Oh, and I’ll add that the child is not currently living in your home. Said child has college expenses covered already (tuition and housing), but has no job.

What do you think?

What do you continue to support/provide and what do you not? What would you consider “extra” versus necessary?

There are some difficult discussions coming up and I am curious how you see this topic. I realize this is a bit of an open ended question and can be taken in a lot of different directions, so I am open to any and all responses.