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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-04-2007, 04:51 PM   #61
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

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Right now, the kids are very tolerant of the "old man." I babysit sick grandkids so mom and dad don't miss excessive time from their engineering jobs, drive the oldest with cerebral palsey to Easter Seals twice a week and spend a number of hours (gladly) working with him on his therapies at home, do most of their home maintenance, fund the grandkids' college savings plans, buy them a new car every couple of years, do their taxes, manage my personal finances ensuring they'll more than likely receive a hefty inheritance and a bunch of other little stuff. No one is happier than them that I retired early.great fun!
Can I be your kid?

Grandkid?
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-04-2007, 05:49 PM   #62
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Right now I'm firmly in the "won't miss 'em" camp and just about ready to e-mail Dr. Phil. My apologies for yet another long occupational-therapy post but hopefully my lessons learned will help some of you avoid repeating our mistakes-- or maybe you guys have suggestions.

After our two decades of military experience, spouse and I have some credibility with "emotional distancing" and we know a thing or two about packing & moving. Her parents are going way overboard in all categories and moving day is still over three weeks away, but heaven forbid that they talk about it with us "kids". I don't know what's fueling their behavior but my FIL, in particular, is heading for cardiac jeopardy. We also appear to have been assigned the role of 24/7 crisis response.

For his last decade of retirement this man, now almost 74 years old, has never arisen before 10 AM. Yet in the last two weeks I've had two "come over right now" calls at 8 AM asking for tools or obsessing over the packing list. They're also giving us many of their possessions as "too heavy to be worth moving back to the Mainland" yet demanding that we get them out of their house now now now. So we attempt to respond promptly to each "crisis" within one day-- but we've turned off the phone ringers until March. MIL claims nothing's wrong.

......

Everything's fine. "OK, fine!"
Nords -

Looks like you really needed to vent - and with good reason! OMG, you guys HAVE to be doing those "Happy Dances"! Remind me to thank my sister for dealing with our parents - and they really aren't that bad (altho, the SIL's might disagree with my opinion....) My dad likes to give "advice" to them -- on things he should KNOW that they know!

But, YOUR PIL's sound like a real piece of work! I think CFB hit it on the head - you are simply intimidating his need to be the dominant male. We have 2 DD's so don't know how my own DH would handle that one - this whole subject actually could make a very good Dr. Phil story ...........

Anyway, thanks for sharing - it really does help to conmiserate on stuff like this. We have been dealing with DH's mom going into a nursing home (about a year ago due to dimensia). Sometimes if you don't laugh you will just lose it! And I have to thank you, Nords, cause I sure did get a couple good laughs out of your story!

I really hope they don't bag out on you for the trip! - You could always call their bluff if they try to weasle out of it by saying you will just take DD with you (assuming they just want you to stay to help them pack and stuff). Then lay on the guilt of how much extra money this is going to cost you and DW, etc. If you think that would matter to them? Anyway, I agree you should be mentally ready for them to bail just in case.

Everything's fine!

Jane



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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 10:13 AM   #63
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Hey Nords, it's about time for an update. Is everything still "fine"?

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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 11:01 AM   #64
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

I have been wondering how things are going also. You are a very good SIL! Keep us up to date.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 12:12 PM   #65
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Hey Nords, it's about time for an update. Is everything still "fine"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
I have been wondering how things are going also. Keep us up to date.
We've been blissfully-ignorant hermits this week. We haven't even been answering the phone.

With apologies to Samuel Johnson, "No noose is good noose." We haven't had any panicked calls or self-imposed crises. Today is two weeks to moving day.

They say they've spent the week packing and cleaning and packing some more. They did manage to sell their living room sofa/loveseat set to a Craigslist antiques dealer who appropriately oohed and aahed and made them feel good about collecting a couple hundred bucks. They also dumped a carload of old gardening tools & computer parts on us... a continuing series of trips to be made. FIL insisted on teaching spouse how to use the hand-cranked fertilizer spreader so that she'd be able to properly give it away on FreeCycle, and she got another 10-minute lecture on the correct application of slug bait to keep them from chewing our landscaping. There was a raging debate on what to do with the picture hooks. He's very intense & emphatic and the words just tumble out of him as if he's standing on the embassy roof, about to board the last helicopter out of Saigon with the rotor wash whipping his hair. I don't think he's aware of how he behaves at times like this.

He's developed a distorted perspective on value-- he's quite attached to a $6.59 bag of rock salt but he happily dumped on me an "old" computer & printer worth $50 in parts. Of course I'll give him the proceeds but he's already argued that people are fools, it's worth nothing and that's what he should get, and then he'll eventually agree to keep the money. On our last hauling trip we pulled into the driveway as he was "cleaning" the computer's hard drive (with a hammer & chisel) and I've never seen a case/frame as torn apart or cards so popped out of their sockets as he achieved in extracting that HD. Once again I could've helped him field-strip it blindfolded in two minutes but he just won't call for help on things that he feels ignorant of. Lately we just get the calls to bring tools & muscle to help work on the things he knows he knows (like changing the kitchen light fixture).

It's easy to take that kind of behavior personally but now I'm beginning to think it's age-appropriate (thanks, Rich). I'm learning to relax and let him run the show. Spouse is... well... we'll work on her feelings after they're gone. I suggested that we all get together for one final group photo portrait but I was told that's not gonna happen.

I asked MIL what "lasts" they're counting down. She couldn't think of a single one-- the last trip to a North Shore beach, their last shopping expedition at the Swap Meet, their last trip to Waikiki-- nothing. (Yo, Grandma, how 'bout a last event with your grandkid, eh?) They're totally obsessed focused on packing, cleaning, and the upcoming closing and they haven't even gone out of the house except for walks. Right now they don't see much outside their personal space. Maybe they feel as if they've overstayed their resort vacation and just want to get the heck out.

We're celebrating FIL's birthday this weekend so I'll probably have an update next week. REW, thank you very much for the DayClocks.com post-- he's a clock aficionado and they're getting the walnut model as a combination birthday/housewarming gift. We're mailing it ahead so that they don't have to pack it or carry it!

Spouse has authorized me to use deadly force if she ever starts acting like her parents. Of course we've already procreated so I guess she's just trying to limit the damage that she might inflict on subsequent generations. What worries me is that we might change so slowly & subtly that we'll never notice what we've become!
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 12:52 PM   #66
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

when are they actually boarding a plane and saying goodbye?
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 12:53 PM   #67
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords:

I've been away for a week or two so I'm a little late for original comment, however I really enjoyed reading about this.

Everyone here can relate to difficult family and difficult family situations.

The funny thing is that once they are away, beleive it or not, you will miss them.

Keep us posted of all the details
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 02:12 PM   #68
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

[quote author=Nords link=topic=11276.msg225310#msg225310 date=1171390334

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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 02:47 PM   #69
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Thanks Nords for posting this whole ordeal. It really makes me seriously think about my plans for the future and what I'll allow myself to get involved with as far as family is concerned. You've done a good job with keeping things as sane as possible - I don't think I could have.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 03:35 PM   #70
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Thanks for helping me appreciate that my in-laws live in Sweden.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 07:24 PM   #71
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

And making me reconsider Fallbrook.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-13-2007, 10:18 PM   #72
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
when are they actually boarding a plane and saying goodbye?
Ah, yeah, about that.

They've scheduled their move for the last two days of this month and have been sending clear signals that they want to be out of here as soon as the moving truck turns the corner. The closing on their new condo is also the last day of the month (their son is handling that with a POA) and occupancy is 1 March. It seems to be frustrating the heck out of them that they'll be homeowners on 1 Mar (and paying a mortgage) but that they won't be occupants until we return from the Mainland. Unfortunately this comes across as "We're stuck here with our granddaughter when we should be going to our new home." They're totally oblivious to that interpretation of their kvetching. I'm trying to decide if being oblivious means that we shouldn't be offended by their selfish concerns.

To make matters even more self-imposed crazy, the best redeye fare to the Mainland that week is the night that spouse & I return from the Mainland. So my MIL booked a flight out that's less than six hours after we return. I was admonished last week that I'd better make our connections and be home on time or they'd have to take a $50 taxi to the airport. ("Gee, Mom, and your teenage granddaughter might end up spending a night by herself, too!") Since the tix are non-refundable, changing to a more flexible date (like the next day) is not only more expensive to begin with but now also non-negotiable. I told her that gives her no choices if we have weather or aircraft problems and her best response has been "Ha ha, you better not!"

It gets weirder. We tried to set up a date for Grandpa's birthday dinner next week and we're sorting through various schedule conflicts. But then Grandma, in all apparent seriousness, proposed the birthday dinner for the "open" six-hour period between our return from the Mainland and their departure for it. I guess she thought we'd finish an eight-hour flight, get our car out of the airport garage, pick up them and their luggage (during weekday afternoon rush hour), take everyone to the restaurant, have a good ol' time, and drop them at the airport on our way home. The reality is that even if we landed early and the schedule clicked perfectly, both of them would be sitting in the restaurant tapping their feet and wondering if they should order takeout for the departure lounge. Not exactly the time to be singing "Happy Birthday." Spouse, who rarely puts her foot down with her parents, stomped the heck out of this proposal. We're going to make one more try with a couple other dates and then just drop the subject.

As a son-in-law, I wonder if they're still healthy. I'm sure there's something driving them to get back to the Mainland before somebody's health fails, but everybody insists that everything's fine.

So then I wonder if any of this is early-stage dementia or some other mental-health problem. Unfortunately I think this is "just" their reaction to self-imposed stress.

Then as a parent, I wonder who's gonna be taking care of our grandkid while we're on the Mainland. And who's gonna be watching the caretakers?

Then for myself and my spouse, I've decided that I have to treat her parents like the grownups they are, respect that they're mature enough to handle the consequences of their own decisions, and bite my lip.

I've also decided that this is a great opportunity for a 14-year-old to learn a lot of life lessons. She'll probably be mostly on her own that week, although presumably G&G will return to our house around sundown to get some sleep. Our kid is already perfectly capable of caring for herself and the house while she's on her own, and this is a pretty low-risk practice opportunity. She'll be extremely busy with boyfriends in the empty house underage driving of the unused car in our garage underage drinking of the beer in the fridge school, basketball practice, and homework. How bad could it be?

She'll also start to understand why we parents have been having all these grandparent conversations that stop when the kid enters the room. I guess it's better for her to learn it first-hand.

Once again, guys, thanks for listening. 20 more days.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 12:29 AM   #73
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
And making me reconsider Fallbrook.
You know, DW is in the medical field, and our best friends are a Pulminologist and a Pediatrician, built in friends for your wife....
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 12:38 AM   #74
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
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Ah, yeah, about that.

Dude. Wow. Just keep telling yourself they really are doing you a favor, since they'll probably only get weirder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords


I've also decided that this is a great opportunity for a 14-year-old to learn a lot of life lessons. She'll probably be mostly on her own that week, although presumably G&G will return to our house around sundown to get some sleep. Our kid is already perfectly capable of caring for herself and the house while she's on her own, and this is a pretty low-risk practice opportunity. She'll be extremely busy with boyfriends in the empty house underage driving of the unused car in our garage underage drinking of the beer in the fridge school, basketball practice, and homework. How bad could it be?
Is this the point that I tell you I found out Saturday DW's cousin gave birth to a son....at age 16....in her bedroom...and no one knew she was pregnant? Seriously, not making it up. So the totally freaky worst nightmare thing already happend to somebody you know, so your safe.

I got so mad about that and told DW I don't want my daughters hanging around at family events with their cousins and learning some perverted sense of normal. Lots of...single moms in that group, but this one takes the cake.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 07:02 AM   #75
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
As a son-in-law, I wonder if they're still healthy. I'm sure there's something driving them to get back to the Mainland before somebody's health fails, but everybody insists that everything's fine.
Nords -

I have been thinking and worrying about that since your previous posts of the big hurry involved. I wasn't sure if you would see it - being so close at hand to the situation. Of course, we are looking at this as RATIONAL people, and since your in-laws seem to be anything but .......... Maybe it is just some wierd bug they got up their ..... Let's hope it is nothing more serious than that.

As to DD being more or less on her own while you are away, having much experience with our two dd's (now 18 and 21) --I would sit down and talk with her prior - warn her somewhat and let her know she call call you guys if need be, etc. Also, do you have a "back-up" person to help out in case of emergency (or insanity) that she call call upon if things get too hairy for her? Back-up plans are always good, plus you and spouse will rest easier, too. When do you leave for your furlow?

We are all empathizing with you guys. Hang in there!

Jane
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 08:09 AM   #76
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords:

Please accept my belated support to this saga. Makes me glad I live 1,000 miles from my parents, though they get weirded out in a very different way. They are adults and free to make their own mistakes decisions. I suspect as we get older, how we handle stress becomes more of a caricature of our younger selves. Unfortuately even if there is a more serious underlying problem emerging, it is not the time nor the severity to intervene.

Deep breaths, make sure DD has a a friend's parents she can call if needed, and watch the calendar as you scratch off the days.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 08:49 AM   #77
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

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You know, DW is in the medical field, and our best friends are a Pulminologist and a Pediatrician, built in friends for your wife....
Yeah well, i half heartedly floated the idea with my wifes parents when they were over for lunch the other day and it sounded like a non-starter.

Resistance is futile. I have been assimilated.

Nords...when things look nonsensical, its often because there are multiple conflicting causes and symptoms. You're trying to correlate the flu syptoms with a flesh wound. They're old folks that are in my experience a little off the wall sometimes already , they miss their old friends and home, they're feeling vulnerable, they're losing control of their faculties, and they're in the company of folks anxiously shifting from one foot to the other and trying to keep their hands at their sides in defiance of the obvious need to help someone who is mortally afraid of needing the help.

This too shall pass.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 09:03 AM   #78
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Nords,

I hope that everything works out well with your trip. I would second Sandy's suggestion of having some other adults on standby, just in case things get even worse with a time crunch. I think that you, your wife and your DD would all feel better. I am sure that your DD would be fine caring for herself and the house, but just in case, it would be nice to have other adults ready. Good luck!
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 10:04 AM   #79
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Laurence-- yikes. I hope everyone's OK. Kinda puts my sniveling into perspective!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane_Doe
I would sit down and talk with her prior - warn her somewhat and let her know she call call you guys if need be, etc. Also, do you have a "back-up" person to help out in case of emergency (or insanity) that she call call upon if things get too hairy for her? Back-up plans are always good, plus you and spouse will rest easier, too. When do you leave for your furlow?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
I hope that everything works out well with your trip. I would second Sandy's suggestion of having some other adults on standby, just in case things get even worse with a time crunch. I think that you, your wife and your DD would all feel better. I am sure that your DD would be fine caring for herself and the house, but just in case, it would be nice to have other adults ready. Good luck!
Considering her ancestors (me included) I'm surprised at how competent and self-sufficient our 14-year-old daughter has turned out.

She'll be fine. A little emotional jostling & bumping-- no problem. She's seen the Cosby episode of "Living in the Real World" and she thinks of this as a challenge-- her test to run as she pleases, or to run away to the neighbors. Everyone'll be watching out for her while we're away.
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?
Old 02-14-2007, 07:09 PM   #80
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Re: Movin' back to the Mainland?

Everybody's fine, there is a branch of the family where pictures illicit questions along the lines of, "where are the adult men?", this case of single motherhood was just a little extreme, even for them.
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