Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: xanne on January 08, 2013, 10:36:32 AM

Title: In-Law's furniture
Post by: xanne on January 08, 2013, 10:36:32 AM
Kind of a long story.  My husband bought the house that is now ours from his parents, when we married, I sold my house and the new mortgage is in both names - we are now married 10 years.  The ILs left just about everything behind and moved to another state.  When DH took ownership, he was told that he had to keep his Mother's organ until she died and the dining room furniture would still belong to them.  Their furniture is definitely not my taste and after a few years of telling DH how much I hated the giant faux early American hutch and trestle table with benches, I gave him 2 options.  Buy new furniture we both like, or live with a piece of furniture that would never get dusted or cleaned again, ever. I resented having to care for something I truly didn't like and it is a high maintenance piece.  the hutch moved into a bedroom, it was too heavy to carry up or down stairs and MIL might want it if she moves back up here.  I will spare you all the gory details of getting accused of throwing out their things, the kicker was the plastic insert that allows you to play 45s on a regular record player that had been left in a drawer, did I mention that they moved 25 years ago?  Yes, I dd throw it out along with tons of other crap that they might want some day. Evil DIL.

So, last year MIL passed away.  FIL decided to give the organ to his church up here.  Wonderful, then he tells us that they aren't going to make a decision for a year, so we tell him we are going to sell it.  After the second buyer made an offer, he tells us the day before he left the church said they would take it.  50lb block of salt with that one.  He paid to have the organ repaired and now we wait for the church.  It is an old model with tubes that needs special handling (expensive) or we would stick it on a trailer and take it over.  So we come to the china hutch.  Am I wrong in not asking if it can go? If I can't sell it, I am going to donate it. I know if I ask, I will never be rid of it. The organ and hutch take up a large portion of what I would like to use as a home office. 

FWIW, MIL was a very controlling person and this was her hold over me since my husband didn't want to make waves, and frankly, I am not the female dog type, I try to be nice.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: amylouky on January 08, 2013, 10:41:35 AM
I wouldn't ask, but I would tell FIL you are planning on disposing of it, to give him first refusal. I'd just tell him, "FIL, if you want this china hutch, we'll need you to make arrangements to get it by X date, otherwise we'll be selling/donating it".
I understand DH not wanting to make waves, but it's YOUR house and you shouldn't have to have anything in it that you don't want.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: SamiHami on January 08, 2013, 10:46:01 AM
If your IL's wanted their items saved, they should have sprung for a storage unit. Instead they bullied your "don't make waves" DH into taking the property indefinitely...and still managed to give you grief over it through the years. Yeah, sounds like a great deal to me.

You've been a doormat long enough. Time to polish that spine and tell your FIL that he has two weeks to get any and all of his property out of your house or it's getting donated/trashed/disposed of...and no excuses of "oh, the church is coming next month! Can't you wait til then!"

Stick to your guns-you'll feel so much better for it!
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Mental Magpie on January 08, 2013, 11:01:40 AM
I'll just pod the posters above me.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: cicero on January 08, 2013, 11:25:27 AM
I'll just pod the posters above me.
me too
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Sharnita on January 08, 2013, 11:26:39 AM
I might have missed it but what would your husband like to do?
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: xanne on January 08, 2013, 11:43:22 AM
Husband would like me to be happy.  Just before he got laid off from his job we had decided that all of the IL's stuff was going to go into storage and if we had to pay we would since we could afford it at that time.  DH is not a big one for change, but recently he has been a lot more flexible since I think he finally internalized that it really is our house.  We did a bathroom re-model about 8 years back when I put my hand through the wall leaning on the tile to clean it.  We still have the old tub :(  IL's "we paid so much money for that tub", it became such an issue with them that it wasn't worth our marriage to get my way.  This summer when we clean out the basement, all of the stuff that we saved after we made changes is going out.  The carriage lamp on a huge turned wooden pole complete with eagle that was at the end of the kitchen island, the cheap lamps, and other assorted relics of the 1970s will get tossed.  It wasn't worth the grief to throw the stuff out.  I moved a dry sink my FIL made and my husband got a hysterical call at work asking what I had done with it.  If they looked behind them when they came over to do laundry, they would have seen it.  I think that was the beginning of my husband's realization that there was a bigger issue.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Alpacas on January 08, 2013, 12:19:30 PM
Sounds like your DH needs to remind FIL that he sold the house.
If another couple had bought the house none of these things would have probably survived for long as the couple would have made the house their own.
From what you told us it kind of sounds like you and DH are living in the Inlaws Storagehouse, not in your own house. ~
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Luci on January 08, 2013, 01:14:11 PM
I do have to brag about my parents. They sold our childhood home to my brother. The only thing they left behind was a crate of his stuff. There was a tray as decoration over the fireplace that was to be left per contract.

I have heard so many stories like the poster's in real life that it just makes me angry that some people think their junk is so good that everyone wants it or expect the children not to have autonomy - which is a pretty strong word for this situation, but I have strong feelings.

OP, please keep clearing with your husband's approval. It's your life, too!
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Nuala on January 08, 2013, 01:25:43 PM
Husband would like me to be happy.  Just before he got laid off from his job we had decided that all of the IL's stuff was going to go into storage and if we had to pay we would since we could afford it at that time.  DH is not a big one for change, but recently he has been a lot more flexible since I think he finally internalized that it really is our house.  We did a bathroom re-model about 8 years back when I put my hand through the wall leaning on the tile to clean it.  We still have the old tub :(  IL's "we paid so much money for that tub", it became such an issue with them that it wasn't worth our marriage to get my way.  This summer when we clean out the basement, all of the stuff that we saved after we made changes is going out.  The carriage lamp on a huge turned wooden pole complete with eagle that was at the end of the kitchen island, the cheap lamps, and other assorted relics of the 1970s will get tossed.  It wasn't worth the grief to throw the stuff out.  I moved a dry sink my FIL made and my husband got a hysterical call at work asking what I had done with it.  If they looked behind them when they came over to do laundry, they would have seen it.  I think that was the beginning of my husband's realization that there was a bigger issue.

The ILs seemed to think they'd sold you a museum, not a home.

I can understand why it might be difficult for him to make changes to the house. For him the eagle and all the rest have always been there. But it's not fair to you to live in his parents' museum.

Out with it all! And DH can explain to his father that the home belongs to both of you now.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: SPuck on January 08, 2013, 01:32:00 PM
Your not being a female dog decorating the home you bought to your taste. If they were strangers they wouldn't have had any say what goes on in your house for all these years. At this point it is time to spine up and do things your own way.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: mrs_deb on January 08, 2013, 01:55:24 PM
I'm sorry - I MUST be misunderstanding this - are you saying this debacle has been going on for TWENTY FIVE YEARS?

Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: xanne on January 08, 2013, 02:01:25 PM
DL bought the house 15 years ago after renting from them for 5 - we have owned it for 10.  Nuala, those are my words exactly, I don't want to live in someone else's museum.  I gave up years ago expecting the ILs to say something looks nice.  Different = bad!  The ironic part is my FIL has been making changes to the house where he lives now, things MIL wouldn't let him do.... 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: SPuck on January 08, 2013, 02:38:24 PM
I'd say everything else expect for the piano just get rid of. Since the main force keeping everything in stasis has passed it is now a good a time as any. For the piano, contact the church itself. Say they need to come and get it by X date or you will start the process of selling it.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Redneck Gravy on January 08, 2013, 02:48:44 PM
I am with the previous posters as well.

Give FIL a date to get it or give it up - then dispose of it. 

Are there any other children (DH's siblings) having to deal with anything like this?  Do any of them want to come and get some things?

After two years this little drama would have been over for me. 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: cheyne on January 09, 2013, 10:59:48 AM
Call the church today, as in right now.  Tell them they have 2 weeks to pick up the organ.  If they can't or won't get it within two weeks, put an ad in the paper, Craigslist or whatever to get rid of it. Or put it in the dumpster (see below).

If DH has siblings, call them today and ask them if they want any of your IL's stuff.  They need to pick it up within two weeks.  Then call FIL and tell him if he wants anything he has two weeks to get it out of your home.

Order a dumpster from your local waste management service.  In two weeks and one day, all IL's carp is thrown into it and hauled away. 

I would have been over this within 6 months of signing the mortgage paperwork, female dog or no.  If I am paying for a home, it's MY home not a storage facility or waste disposal site. 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: xanne on January 09, 2013, 01:40:31 PM
As much as I would like to just burn the whole lot of it, my FIL did make some of the furniture and DH would like to keep it.  FIL and SIL live over a day's drive away, there is no way for them to come and get their stuff in a timely fashion.  SIL did not fall far from the tree. One of the items that was left behind was a '69 Chrysler Newport convertible, all 19 feet of it in our garage.  DH let ILs know it had to go, offered to put it on a trailer and drive it to SILs house.  No, no room to keep it.  We finally sold the car and then comes the call from MIL that SIL was hysterically crying that she would have taken the car if she thought we really would sell it.  On what I found as a funny note, when SIL and BIL were up for MIL's funeral, BIL said now you can finally get  rid of the organ, and we can get rid of the piano.   SIL did come around when I offered to give her all of the furniture to take home.  She lives in a small condo that is a 3 story walk-up.  DH had brought her the piano before I knew him and helped carry it up.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: alkira6 on January 09, 2013, 01:46:17 PM
On the bright side, they know that you are serious when you say to get something (car incident) so set a date for removal and stick to it.   It suck to not be able to have your own stuff in your house because it's filled with someone else's stuff.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Amara on January 09, 2013, 02:41:18 PM
I never fail to be amazed at how many people there are who want you to store their inherited stuff for them because they don't have the room. And feel no need to get or make room since you can keep it in the family. For them. For however long they want to hang onto it.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: snappylt on January 09, 2013, 04:27:59 PM
It sounds like you are likely to be criticized by various members of your husband's family if/when you get rid of the stuff.  I'd suggest that you might preempt some of that criticism if you make a point of giving a deadline for the removal of the stuff - and then telling lots of family members about the deadline.  This will make it harder for those who left the stuff behind to whine that they would have retrieved the stuff if only you had warned them.

I'm remembering a story about one of my relatives.  (I'll call her "Gracie".)   Gracie's mother passed away many years ago when Gracie was a young adult.  Gracie's father was devastated at the time and just left Gracie's mother's belongings where they were in their home.  (He offered Gracie's mothers things to Gracie, but Gracie never got around to moving any of them.)  Well, after several years as a widower, Gracie's father married a very nice lady (let's call her "Sarah").  He and Sarah decided to live in his house after their wedding, but there was a problem: all of Gracie's mother's things were still there.

For years now Gracie has told the relatives that her father and Sarah just tossed all of Gracie's mother's things without ever giving Gracie a chance to have anything.  I found that hard to believe, because it didn't match up with the kind way Gracie's father and Sarah have always behaved toward me and my own family, but of course I just kept my mouth shut and listened without comment when Gracie would whine about it.

Well, I stayed behind at the end of a recent holiday gathering to help, and I ended up having a long private conversation with Sarah.  Sarah asked me point bank, "Does Gracie say bad things about me to you?"  I avoided answering the question directly and replied by quoting some of the nice things Gracie has said about Sarah recently.  Well, Sarah went on to tell me that other relatives had been telling her about Gracie whining to them about Sarah tossing out Gracie's mother's things.  Sarah said to me, "You know, Snappy, Gracie's dad offered all of those things to Gracie when her mother died.  Gracie would never come get them.  Then, when her dad and I planned to get married, her dad sat Gracie down and told Gracie he would not have room to keep her mother's things any longer.  He gave Gracie a deadline four months in advance and told Gracie that any of her mother's things that were not removed by the end of the four months would be given to other relatives or to Goodwill.

Well, Gracie never came to get any of her mother's things!  Sara told me that her husband even waited a few extra weeks after the deadline, but still Gracie would not pick up the stuff.  Finally, Gracie's dad donated it all to Goodwill.  And then Gracie started complaining to the other relatives that her mothers belongings had been tossed out before Gracie had a chance to get them.

Now I've heard two stories, Gracie's story and Sarah's story.  Frankly, because of what i have observed over the years of the way the two women behave, I believe Sarah's version over Gracie's.  (Not that it matters what I believe!)  In any case, I'm suggesting to the OP that, if you're able to let all the relatives know about any deadlines you set, it may make it more difficult for the ones who get upset with you to distort the truth around the others.

Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: magicdomino on January 09, 2013, 04:36:54 PM
On the bright side, they know that you are serious when you say to get something (car incident) so set a date for removal and stick to it.   It suck to not be able to have your own stuff in your house because it's filled with someone else's stuff.

Agreed.   :)

My mother would have been the same way if I had bought my house instead of renting it (Dirt cheap rent, but it came furnished with Stuff, and Heaven help me if a piece of junk furniture disappeared.) 

For that matter, one of my older brothers was very upset to hear that I'd completely cleared out the basement and his childhood arrowhead collection was probably thrown out.  Dearest Brother, those arrowheads were in the basement since you moved out in the 1960's.  Granted no one knew where they were, but you stayed here for three weeks after Mom died.  Remember finding your baseball card collection?  You looked; you didn't find the arrowheads.  I looked; I didn't find the arrowheads.   I'm sorry the people I hired to empty the basement carried them to the dump, but I had other people coming in to get the asbestos tile off the floor the next day.  ::)

Then there were the antiques from his in-laws that were stored in my basement for a year or two (pre-asbestos removal and installation of drains).  Yes, I have plenty of room down there.  Yes, I'm sorry you had health problems and couldn't drive up here to pick it up like you planned.   Believe it or not, I simply do not want to store someone else's Stuff.  Blasted Stuff multiplies as it is, it doesn't need more breeding material. 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Margo on January 09, 2013, 04:42:16 PM
I agree with PPs - give FIL a deadline, spell out what will happen when it passes, and follow through.

With the Organ, I'd second the suggestion to call the church direct - tell them that you understand from FiL he would like the organ to go to them, that you're happy with this (you bought the house it is presumably yours, not his, to dispose of!) but that you cannot store it after [deadline] so if they want it, they need to arrange to pick it up before then.

Copying SIL and any other siblings in on the e-mail to FIL would also be reasonable.

Good Luck
Title: Updated Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: xanne on March 20, 2013, 09:43:08 AM
So, Habitat for Humanity came and picked up the china hutch.  FIL will find out when he comes to visit. I called the Church, twice, unfortunately they don't call me back, but they call FIL when I call, but he doesn't call me.  FIL wants to be there when the organ is donated, he wants to clean it up and he has to pay to have it moved, which will probably be a couple of hundred dollars.  If FIL doesn't show up this summer (his new lady friend doesn't want him to) the organ will be leaving one way or the other.  I have a July 1 date set for it to be re-homed.  Next will be the items not in my living space, i.e. the basement and attic.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: YummyMummy66 on March 20, 2013, 11:55:05 AM
OP, I think it is a good idea of finally getting rid of these things.

You said you set a date for certain things.  Did you tell FIL?   I would do this first, if you ahve not already done so.

Make a list of everythng you no longer want in the house and let him know that if he has not done somethign with these items by such and such a date, you will.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: strawbabies on March 20, 2013, 10:05:17 PM
Tell your FIL he has to come get it or make arrangements for it to be picked up by such-and-such date, or it will be sold/donated.  Either way, it'll be gone after that date. 

They don't get to use your house as a free storage unit forever. 

I put my foot down years ago when my DHs parents wanted to store a bunch of their things in our (already stuffed) garage.  DH had agreed to let them do it without consulting me.  I found out when another family member accidentally spilled the beans because they didn't know I hadn't been kept in the loop.  And I ripped DH a new one for it. 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: Miss Tickle on March 20, 2013, 10:27:35 PM
You might want to see if the church will write you a receipt for the transportation costs of the organ as a donation for your taxes. If it's something you can manage, do it as a favour to your FIL who must also be grieving the loss of his wife and might be handling the extra stress of some decade old issue poorly.
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: jane7166 on March 21, 2013, 03:31:14 PM
You might want to see if the church will write you a receipt for the transportation costs of the organ as a donation for your taxes. If it's something you can manage, do it as a favour to your FIL who must also be grieving the loss of his wife and might be handling the extra stress of some decade old issue poorly.

Since FIL has a new lady friend, I think he's past the heavy grieving stage.  I'm sure he's still grieving the loss of his wife but I wonder how long it will take for the new lady friend to make some changes if they ever share a living space.  And FIL won't even see the irony in that, I'll bet. 
Title: Re: In-Law's furniture
Post by: LifeOnPluto on March 21, 2013, 09:48:51 PM
You might want to see if the church will write you a receipt for the transportation costs of the organ as a donation for your taxes. If it's something you can manage, do it as a favour to your FIL who must also be grieving the loss of his wife and might be handling the extra stress of some decade old issue poorly.

Since FIL has a new lady friend, I think he's past the heavy grieving stage.  I'm sure he's still grieving the loss of his wife but I wonder how long it will take for the new lady friend to make some changes if they ever share a living space.  And FIL won't even see the irony in that, I'll bet.

My thoughts exactly!