Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: cattlekid on August 01, 2013, 09:46:09 AM

Title: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 01, 2013, 09:46:09 AM
For those who followed the Dear Prudence thread on the redecorating MIL, I have a follow up. 

For those that didn’t follow that thread, the short version is that my SIL, in the guise of “helping”, pulled up several expensive plants from my front yard that were put there by my mom and aunt on the occasion of my kidney transplant this past April.  SIL was NOT asked to come to my home, she was tagging along with BIL and FIL who were there to cut branches from a tree in the front yard.  FWIW, BIL and FIL were also not asked to do this, they insisted that it had to be done immediately and that they had to do it, where we could have easily scheduled a professional to come and take care of it at a more convenient time. 

Needless to say, I was infuriated when I saw the damage that had been done.  I am trying to focus on the boundary trampling and not on the plants themselves, because every time I try to discuss this issue with DH, he says “it’s just plants”. 

I told DH that SIL is no longer welcome in our home when I am there unless she a) apologizes and b) UNDERSTANDS why what she did was so out of bounds.    Right now, I can’t even fathom how I could have a civil conversation with SIL at this point.

Yesterday, MIL stopped by to pick up their chainsaw that was left at our house and she said offhandedly, “SIL is really sorry about the plants”.  I calmly told MIL that I needed to hear that from SIL directly.  I know MIL is trying to smooth everything over and it’s not going to work this time.   

I am close to considering this my hill to die on.  My ILs (all of them) have a hard time understanding that our home is OUR home, not theirs.  They are welcome as guests but that is it.  I would not dream of going into their home and making changes to suit my tastes, but they do not extend the same courtesy to me.  When they are called out on their behavior (such as in this situation), they act hurt and confused that I do not welcome their “help”. 

DH has agreed that we can take a break from his family for a while.  However, we have a family christening coming up where we will all be placed at the same table for dinner or, if there is no seating chart, MIL and FIL will expect that we will sit with the rest of the family.  At this point, it’s going to take every ounce of energy I have to put on a fake smile and sit at the same table with SIL because I doubt I will ever receive the apology that I am seeking.

Every time I think about this or look out my window and see the missing plants, my blood pressure goes up 10 points.  In order for me to get back to a happy place, I have some questions:

1.    Am I wrong to feel hurt and trampled in this situation?
2.   Am I wrong to insist on an apology from SIL? 
3.   How can I get the ILs to understand that I am trying to enforce boundaries, not reject them totally?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Jocelyn on August 01, 2013, 09:58:49 AM
You are not wrong to feel how you feel.
I agree that SIL should apologize, and not send it half-heartedly via MIL. However, I agree with you that you probably won't get one.
I'm not sure there's anything you can do to make people understand a particular point of view. Is your DH supporting you? What is he saying to his family? Because if he's saying anything that minimizes your point of view, you're sunk.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: zyrs on August 01, 2013, 10:00:05 AM
1.  No you are not wrong to feel hurt and trampled in this situation. 

2.  You are not wrong to insist on an apology directly from your SIL, she is the one that pulled up the plants.

3.  I don't know that you can.  Some people cannot understand that other people do not want them touching their things.   
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cwm on August 01, 2013, 10:02:03 AM
1. No, you're not wrong at all. You told them all specifically NOT to come over, they ignored you and your wishes and your property was damaged/removed.

2. Not in the least bit. I'd also insist on one from FIL and BIL in that situation as well. They ALL ignored your requests. SIL was the one who removed the plants, but if FIL and BIL hadn't insisted on taking care of the tree for you, none of it would have happened.

3. Once you've calmed down and things are smoothed over, sit down with them together and calmly discuss things. Explain to them that this is your home and while you appreciate their offers of help, you would prefer to weigh all of your options and make plans based on what is best for your home and family. If they still don't get it, offer to come redecorate their house and then when they decline, tell them that when they come in and do things like they did, it feels like they made the offer, you declined and they did it anyway, and ask them how they would feel if you still came in and redecorated everything without their permission.

Some people don't get it and never will. Some people have to have a bit of persuasion to understand what's going on. Hopefully your ILs are neither and will understand once you sit them down.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 01, 2013, 10:02:48 AM
DH is playing Switzerland.  He's had it with his family as well for other reasons but he won't actually call them out on their behavior towards him.  So he agrees with me as long as I keep it about boundaries and not the plants themselves, but then he won't back me up with his family other than to placate me by saying that we don't see them that often anyhow.   

You are not wrong to feel how you feel.
I agree that SIL should apologize, and not send it half-heartedly via MIL. However, I agree with you that you probably won't get one.
I'm not sure there's anything you can do to make people understand a particular point of view. Is your DH supporting you? What is he saying to his family? Because if he's saying anything that minimizes your point of view, you're sunk.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: camlan on August 01, 2013, 10:07:15 AM
Well, somebody agreed to let FIL and BIL come to trim the bushes, and it doesn't sound as if it were you. And how did FIL and BIL know about the bushes, if you don't see them that often now?

There's two parts to this problem. One is DH's family. The other is DH.

You both need to start telling his family "no." If he can't do that, then there is a deeper issue here between the two of you. He is not willing to support you against his family.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jaxsue on August 01, 2013, 10:12:51 AM
Well, somebody agreed to let FIL and BIL come to trim the bushes, and it doesn't sound as if it were you. And how did FIL and BIL know about the bushes, if you don't see them that often now?

There's two parts to this problem. One is DH's family. The other is DH.

You both need to start telling his family "no." If he can't do that, then there is a deeper issue here between the two of you. He is not willing to support you against his family.

ITA.

My X-DH was just like this. My late MIL was the queen of boundary trampling. She was also verbally abusive to DH and myself, and physically and verbally abusive to X-FIL. DH ignored all of it. There is no doubt that that contributed to the demise of our marriage. I'm not saying that the OP's IL's are this toxic; this is just my experience.

OP, I hope your DH can see this situation for what it is.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JenJay on August 01, 2013, 10:18:01 AM
DH is playing Switzerland.  He's had it with his family as well for other reasons but he won't actually call them out on their behavior towards him.  So he agrees with me as long as I keep it about boundaries and not the plants themselves, but then he won't back me up with his family other than to placate me by saying that we don't see them that often anyhow.   

I'd turn this back around on him.

"They were not just plants, they were an expensive and thoughtful gift that my Mother and Sister gave to me to commemorate an important turning point in my life! The fact that the gift was a plant is irrelevant, if your sister had come into our home and thrown away an expensive knick-knack you'd see my point, right? It doesn't matter what they threw away - they shouldn't have touched anything!"

As for your SIL I personally wouldn't let my husband's lack of spine stop me from saying something. He should back you up but if he's not I don't see why you should just let it drop. I'd tell her exactly what the plants were and why they were so important, how much they meant to you, how difficult and expensive they'll be to replace, etc. Let her feel terrible - she should! Not that you plan to let her step foot onto your property without supervision, but maybe this will make her stop in her tracks the next time she's tempted to come over behind your back.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: gramma dishes on August 01, 2013, 10:20:29 AM
...    I am trying to focus on the boundary trampling and not on the plants themselves, because every time I try to discuss this issue with DH, he says “it’s just plants”.  ...

This sentence bothers me.  A lot.

No, they weren't "just plants".   They were very special plants that were given to you as a gift during a difficult time by people (your Mom and your Aunt) who truly love you a lot. 

I don't understand why your husband can't understand your emotional attachment to those particular, specific plants and see the difference between them and weeds which are also "plants".  If HE doesn't get it, it's quite probable that his family won't ever get it either.  And that's sad.

In answer to your questions:
1.  No, you are being trampled.
2.  No, you're not wrong to insist, but that doesn't mean it's ever going to happen.
3.  Tell them.  Tell them your Aunt and Mom planted those (expensive) flowers for you right after your transplant.  Tell them how much they meant to you.  Tell them how incredibly sad (and angry) you were to come home and find them missing.  Tell them you don't want them "helping" in ways that hurt you.  Tell them you want to get along with them, but you don't want them touching your stuff without your permission.

And tell your husband too!   >:(
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: artk2002 on August 01, 2013, 10:22:39 AM
DH is playing Switzerland.  He's had it with his family as well for other reasons but he won't actually call them out on their behavior towards him.  So he agrees with me as long as I keep it about boundaries and not the plants themselves, but then he won't back me up with his family other than to placate me by saying that we don't see them that often anyhow.   

The thing is, Switzerland's neutrality in WWII was useful to both sides. In this case, his 'neutrality' isn't useful to you, which means he's really taking their side.  There is no 'neutrality' in this situation -- he married you, he's supposed to be on your side. That's what all those marriage vows are about.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 01, 2013, 10:52:16 AM
Thanks everyone, I appreciate your comments very much. 

I agree that DH needs to step up and be willing to confront his family.  However, the avoidance behavior is entrenched for him and will take quite a bit of serious counseling for him to shed. 

However, I also have a role to play here.  I've spent the last 10 years sublimating my wants and feelings around his family for the sake of "fitting in" and I'm done.  I did step a toe in this water last night when I told my MIL that I wanted an apology directly from SIL and that the plants were planted by my mom and aunt and I can't get those back.  She dropped the topic after that but the look on her face told me everything I needed to know...that she didn't appreciate that I didn't back down. 

Guess she's going to not appreciate a lot of things from now on.  Oh well.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JenJay on August 01, 2013, 10:55:41 AM
Thanks everyone, I appreciate your comments very much. 

I agree that DH needs to step up and be willing to confront his family.  However, the avoidance behavior is entrenched for him and will take quite a bit of serious counseling for him to shed. 

However, I also have a role to play here.  I've spent the last 10 years sublimating my wants and feelings around his family for the sake of "fitting in" and I'm done.  I did step a toe in this water last night when I told my MIL that I wanted an apology directly from SIL and that the plants were planted by my mom and aunt and I can't get those back.  She dropped the topic after that but the look on her face told me everything I needed to know...that she didn't appreciate that I didn't back down. 

Guess she's going to not appreciate a lot of things from now on.  Oh well.

The bolded should be the official motto stitched into the cloth that everyone uses to polish their spine!  ;D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: camlan on August 01, 2013, 11:02:15 AM
You could maybe try sitting down with DH and explaining that it's not just about the plants.

"DH, the plants are a symptom of a larger problem. For the past 10 years, I have tried very hard to put up with your family, in the hopes of making your life more peaceful. But the plants are the final straw.

"When you say to me, 'It's just plants,' what I hear is that the gift my mother and sister gave to me at a time when I was very ill isn't important. What I hear is that I have no say in what plants are in my yard. What I hear is that you don't care that I am upset by the loss of this gift. What I hear is that you would rather keep your family happy than keep me happy. What I hear is that I have no say in this house and this yard, which I have worked for and helped to pay for and which is not theirs, but mine and yours. What I hear is that the opinions of your family, about my behavior, about trimming our trees, about everything, is more important than my opinion. What I hear is that *I* am not at all important to you.

"I need you to hear this: I am not happy. I haven't been happy for a long time. And I am not going to put up with this behavior from your family anymore."
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: wheeitsme on August 01, 2013, 11:10:34 AM

...every time I try to discuss this issue with DH, he says “it’s just plants”. 


So, DH, what you're saying is that it's okay for me to go over to MIL's and pull up and throw away her rosebushes/lilies/cut down her tree, because "it's just plants"? 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 01, 2013, 11:16:19 AM
Ah yes, but here's the rub.  They have ZERO landscaping on their property other than grass.  They have an active dislike of all ornamental plants and a fear of all trees.  They are convinced that trees = branches through the roof and therefore trees are evil and need to be avoided at all costs. 

It would have to be something more along the lines of "I threw out these family pictures because I didn't know the people in them and besides, they were just cluttering up the place anyhow".


...every time I try to discuss this issue with DH, he says “it’s just plants”. 


So, DH, what you're saying is that it's okay for me to go over to MIL's and pull up and throw away her rosebushes/lilies/cut down her tree, because "it's just plants"?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: BarensMom on August 01, 2013, 11:22:46 AM

...every time I try to discuss this issue with DH, he says “it’s just plants”. 


So, DH, what you're saying is that it's okay for me to go over to MIL's and pull up and throw away her rosebushes/lilies/cut down her tree, because "it's just plants"?

Phrase it this way, "DH, are you saying it would be okay for my family member to come over and destroy your golf clubs (Rolex, car, other valuable thing)?  After all, they're only golf clubs (or whatever). 

My mother and sister placed those plants to commemorate the fact that I survived a difficult and dangerous time in my life.  I had a kidney transplant - not a hangnail, and those plants were important to me.  Your sister tore those plants out of my yard without permission.  In doing so, she not only destroyed my mother and sister's hard work, but disrespected the suffering I've been through."

I've tried to go along with your family's shenanigans for the past several years while dealing with my own serious health issues, and this is how I'm rewarded.  It stops now.  You took vows to forsake all others and cleave only to me, so it's time for you to man up and support your wife."

...or something like that.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: gramma dishes on August 01, 2013, 11:22:53 AM


,,,   It would have to be something more along the lines of "I threw out these family pictures because I didn't know the people in them and besides, they were just cluttering up the place anyhow".

That's actually a very good analogy.  They (including your husband) need to understand that what THEY might consider important is not necessarily what YOU consider important and vice versa.  The thing is you leave their stuff at their house alone because you know it's important to them.  They need to show your stuff at your house the same respect.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cwm on August 01, 2013, 11:26:37 AM
You could maybe try sitting down with DH and explaining that it's not just about the plants.

"DH, the plants are a symptom of a larger problem. For the past 10 years, I have tried very hard to put up with your family, in the hopes of making your life more peaceful. But the plants are the final straw.

"When you say to me, 'It's just plants,' what I hear is that the gift my mother and sister gave to me at a time when I was very ill isn't important. What I hear is that I have no say in what plants are in my yard. What I hear is that you don't care that I am upset by the loss of this gift. What I hear is that you would rather keep your family happy than keep me happy. What I hear is that I have no say in this house and this yard, which I have worked for and helped to pay for and which is not theirs, but mine and yours. What I hear is that the opinions of your family, about my behavior, about trimming our trees, about everything, is more important than my opinion. What I hear is that *I* am not at all important to you.

"I need you to hear this: I am not happy. I haven't been happy for a long time. And I am not going to put up with this behavior from your family anymore."

THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!!!

Thanks everyone, I appreciate your comments very much. 

I agree that DH needs to step up and be willing to confront his family.  However, the avoidance behavior is entrenched for him and will take quite a bit of serious counseling for him to shed. 

However, I also have a role to play here.  I've spent the last 10 years sublimating my wants and feelings around his family for the sake of "fitting in" and I'm done.  I did step a toe in this water last night when I told my MIL that I wanted an apology directly from SIL and that the plants were planted by my mom and aunt and I can't get those back.  She dropped the topic after that but the look on her face told me everything I needed to know...that she didn't appreciate that I didn't back down. 

Guess she's going to not appreciate a lot of things from now on.  Oh well.

The bolded should be the official motto stitched into the cloth that everyone uses to polish their spine!  ;D

Also, this.

Seriously, if your DH won't back you up in the management of your yard on your property that you two jointly own, do you trust him to back you up in other situations? It's time to polish that shiny spine and start standing up for yourself. And if the ILs don't like it or get disappointed, it's not your fault. They expect you to back down, and when they stop getting their way all the time either they'll change or they'll become distant. Hopefully they change.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: *inviteseller on August 01, 2013, 11:36:30 AM
The most freeing moment for me was when I decided to no longer care what my MIL thought of me and that I was going to quit trying to bow and scrape to her like she was the queen.  What she was was a female dog who had no idea that her kids were having separate lives that did not need her interference.  And good luck getting your husband to come over from the dark side..remember, they have been brain washed since birth by these people, so don't expect results over night.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: heartmug on August 01, 2013, 11:41:13 AM
The most freeing moment for me was when I decided to no longer care what my MIL thought of me

Me also.  When I woke up and realized my MIL did not care about my feelings, my wants, or my needs, I stopped trying.  It took awhile, but my DH is fully supportive of me now.

I too have a yard, sounds like their's, with little to no landscaping.  Don't really like gardening, though I am trying out a rose bush now.  But I would NEVER expect any family member to have their yard the same way as mine.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: wheeitsme on August 01, 2013, 12:09:39 PM


,,,   It would have to be something more along the lines of "I threw out these family pictures because I didn't know the people in them and besides, they were just cluttering up the place anyhow".

That's actually a very good analogy.  They (including your husband) need to understand that what THEY might consider important is not necessarily what YOU consider important and vice versa.  The thing is you leave their stuff at their house alone because you know it's important to them.  They need to show your stuff at your house the same respect.

This.

"DH - for whatever reason, do you understand that those "just plants" were mine? And that I cared about them? Is it okay for me to go over to SIL's or MIL's and destroy something of theirs because I don't care about it or don't value it?"  "And DH, here's an interesting question.  Is it okay for someone to destroy someone else's things as long as you are related to that person? Does that mean that you have more respect and concern for strangers than for family?"
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Baby Snakes on August 01, 2013, 12:18:48 PM
The most freeing moment for me was when I decided to no longer care what my MIL thought of me and that I was going to quit trying to bow and scrape to her like she was the queen.  What she was was a female dog who had no idea that her kids were having separate lives that did not need her interference.  And good luck getting your husband to come over from the dark side..remember, they have been brain washed since birth by these people, so don't expect results over night.

Aaaaaand, this is why I no longer have a realtionship with my SIL (my MIL and FIL are both deceased).  She has never once apologized for any of the rotten things she has said and done over the years.  It's always "oh, I didn't realize" which is complete BS, so I dialed way back on dealing with her and when we do have to be together I am as fake nice as I can be!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: weeblewobble on August 01, 2013, 12:23:08 PM
DH is playing Switzerland.  He's had it with his family as well for other reasons but he won't actually call them out on their behavior towards him.  So he agrees with me as long as I keep it about boundaries and not the plants themselves, but then he won't back me up with his family other than to placate me by saying that we don't see them that often anyhow.   

You are not wrong to feel how you feel.
I agree that SIL should apologize, and not send it half-heartedly via MIL. However, I agree with you that you probably won't get one.
I'm not sure there's anything you can do to make people understand a particular point of view. Is your DH supporting you? What is he saying to his family? Because if he's saying anything that minimizes your point of view, you're sunk.

You might point out that this puts you in the exceedingly carpy position of the tension being your "fault."  DH is angry with his family, but refuses to speak up about it, making it your job to stand up for you AND him. And when you do speak up, it gives his family the impression that all objections are coming from you.  This is two-fold unfair as 1) you take all of the heat during any confrontation and 2) they can pretend that the tension isn't THEIR fault, everything would be OK if it wasn't for mean old cattlekid causing all this trouble.

I know it's been a few months since your surgery, but your health is still pretty delicate.  You don't need this sort of stress.  Is he really so concerned about not causing waves with his family that he's willing to put stress and anxiety on someone who needs his help and support?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Editeer on August 01, 2013, 01:06:33 PM
It's not "just plants." It doesn't matter whether they were plants or something else. They threw away *your stuff* while doing something you never asked them to do in the first place. If SIL had gone through DH's dresser and thrown away his favorite T-shirts because they looked worn-out (in her opinion), would he say something to her?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: GoTwins on August 01, 2013, 01:21:57 PM
You could maybe try sitting down with DH and explaining that it's not just about the plants.

"DH, the plants are a symptom of a larger problem. For the past 10 years, I have tried very hard to put up with your family, in the hopes of making your life more peaceful. But the plants are the final straw.

"When you say to me, 'It's just plants,' what I hear is that the gift my mother and sister gave to me at a time when I was very ill isn't important. What I hear is that I have no say in what plants are in my yard. What I hear is that you don't care that I am upset by the loss of this gift. What I hear is that you would rather keep your family happy than keep me happy. What I hear is that I have no say in this house and this yard, which I have worked for and helped to pay for and which is not theirs, but mine and yours. What I hear is that the opinions of your family, about my behavior, about trimming our trees, about everything, is more important than my opinion. What I hear is that *I* am not at all important to you.

"I need you to hear this: I am not happy. I haven't been happy for a long time. And I am not going to put up with this behavior from your family anymore."
This is good stuff.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 01, 2013, 01:34:52 PM
Just because it bears repeating one more time.

You could maybe try sitting down with DH and explaining that it's not just about the plants.

"DH, the plants are a symptom of a larger problem. For the past 10 years, I have tried very hard to put up with your family, in the hopes of making your life more peaceful. But the plants are the final straw.

"When you say to me, 'It's just plants,' what I hear is that the gift my mother and sister gave to me at a time when I was very ill isn't important. What I hear is that I have no say in what plants are in my yard. What I hear is that you don't care that I am upset by the loss of this gift. What I hear is that you would rather keep your family happy than keep me happy. What I hear is that I have no say in this house and this yard, which I have worked for and helped to pay for and which is not theirs, but mine and yours. What I hear is that the opinions of your family, about my behavior, about trimming our trees, about everything, is more important than my opinion. What I hear is that *I* am not at all important to you.

"I need you to hear this: I am not happy. I haven't been happy for a long time. And I am not going to put up with this behavior from your family anymore."
This is good stuff.

It may require professional assistance to get this through his skull.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: lowspark on August 01, 2013, 03:03:59 PM
It's not "just plants." It doesn't matter whether they were plants or something else. They threw away *your stuff* while doing something you never asked them to do in the first place. If SIL had gone through DH's dresser and thrown away his favorite T-shirts because they looked worn-out (in her opinion), would he say something to her?

This is exactly what I was thinking. The argument "they're just plants" is specious. Yes, to him they are "just plants". To SIL they are "just plants". To you, they are much more than that.

Everyone owns things that they value greatly that someone else sees little or no value in. Everyone. Including DH & SIL. It's oh-so-easy for someone to say "it's just xyz" about someone else's stuff. Try applying it to most of the stuff you own and you'll see that when it's yours, it's not "just".

The most freeing moment for me was when I decided to no longer care what my MIL thought of me

Same here. Actually, I never reached this point with my first MIL. But the second time I was getting married, I swore I'd never again worry one whit about what my ILs thought of me. And what a difference that made to my own peace of mind!

I am who I am. Lots of people like me just the way I am. If my ILs (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't like me, that's their perogative of course, but I'm not going to move one millimeter away from who I am in order to try to please them.

You go girl!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Cami on August 01, 2013, 03:48:57 PM
I was talking to someone else today dealing with a husband who has no spine with his family, but plenty of spine with her in that he allows his family to trample all over her wishes and needs, but has no problem telling HER to just be quiet about her unhappiness. It's amazing how he cannot find the spine to stand up to his family, but has zippo problem telling her to shut up because he didn't want to hear about her unhappiness. I asked her when he started being as dismissive of her feelings as his family is.

I suggested that they get marital counseling and/or that when he enables or tries to dismiss her feelings because it's more important or easier to dismiss her feelings to keep mommy happy, that she start making it MORE difficult for him to dismiss her feelings. If the guy responds only to the stick approach, then get a bigger stick. Or talk to a doctor about having the part of your brain with feelings removed, because you're going to keep getting hurt for the rest of your life.

(For me, I wouldn't want to be in a relationship like that. But it's not my relationship.)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Redneck Gravy on August 01, 2013, 04:17:39 PM
You could maybe try sitting down with DH and explaining that it's not just about the plants.

"DH, the plants are a symptom of a larger problem. For the past 10 years, I have tried very hard to put up with your family, in the hopes of making your life more peaceful. But the plants are the final straw.

"When you say to me, 'It's just plants,' what I hear is that the gift my mother and sister gave to me at a time when I was very ill isn't important. What I hear is that I have no say in what plants are in my yard. What I hear is that you don't care that I am upset by the loss of this gift. What I hear is that you would rather keep your family happy than keep me happy. What I hear is that I have no say in this house and this yard, which I have worked for and helped to pay for and which is not theirs, but mine and yours. What I hear is that the opinions of your family, about my behavior, about trimming our trees, about everything, is more important than my opinion. What I hear is that *I* am not at all important to you.

"I need you to hear this: I am not happy. I haven't been happy for a long time. And I am not going to put up with this behavior from your family anymore."
This is good stuff.

POD!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Redneck Gravy on August 01, 2013, 04:19:00 PM
From cmw

3. Once you've calmed down and things are smoothed over, sit down with them together and calmly discuss things. Explain to them that this is your home and while you appreciate their offers of help, you would prefer to weigh all of your options and make plans based on what is best for your home and family. If they still don't get it, offer to come redecorate their house and then when they decline, tell them that when they come in and do things like they did, it feels like they made the offer, you declined and they did it anyway, and ask them how they would feel if you still came in and redecorated everything without their permission.

This is good stuff too! 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: bopper on August 01, 2013, 04:34:10 PM
I would turn down all further offers of help.
I would not invite them to my home.
I would attend the christening but feel too ill for the lunch afterwards.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JoyinVirginia on August 01, 2013, 05:02:13 PM
I would turn down all further offers of help.
I would not invite them to my home.
I would attend the christening but feel too ill for the lunch afterwards.
Or, if you attend the lunch, don't sit with them. So they expect it? Big whoop. Sit where you please. Next to people you like.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Kiwichick on August 01, 2013, 05:59:00 PM
I'd ring SIL and say 'So, MIL tells me you want to apologise for destroying my garden.' Then just wait.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JenJay on August 01, 2013, 06:10:31 PM
I'd ring SIL and say 'So, MIL tells me you want to apologise for destroying my garden.' Then just wait.

Oooh I like that!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 01, 2013, 06:31:35 PM
I'd ring SIL and say 'So, MIL tells me you want to apologise for destroying my garden that my Mother and Aunt travelled so far and went to so much effort to plant for me while I was undergoing my kidney transplant..' Then just wait.

Oooh I like that!

Go ahead and lay on the guilt.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Erich L-ster on August 01, 2013, 06:37:19 PM
With regard to "They're just plants"; when plants are killed, they're dead. It's not as if she broke a vase and it can be glued or you can buy a replica. Plants take time to get established. You can't buy time back. Even if she found the same type of plant at the same stage of maturity (which she should do anyway) the plants won't be established with their roots spread until more time passes.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: GrammarNerd on August 01, 2013, 07:49:47 PM
One of the basic rules I TRY to teach my kids is that "if it's not yours, you keep your hands off of it."  This is a basic rule for KIDS.  SIL, as an adult, should have this down pat.  Emphasis on SHOULD.

I fear, OP, that if you say anything to SIL, she's going to go with the "I was only trying to HEEELLLLLLPPPPP" line (whine) and go all dramatic martyr on you, like YOU are wronging HER for daring to be mad at what she did.  And at that point, you just have to thicken up that skin and say icily, "I never asked for your help.  I never wanted your help.  And the fact is that you DIDN'T help.  You didn't know anything about the area in which you tried to 'help', and you destroyed something precious to me.  You just didn't CARE." 

And if she says she 'didn't know' how precious they were (as if that absolves her), you can always go back to the fact of, "but you didn't ask.  You didn't CARE to ask or make sure that you knew what you were doing.  You just came in and destroyed my belongings.  And do you realize how thoroughly ridiculous that sounds as an excuse?  What do you expect me to do....go through each and every item in my home and tell you how important it is to me, just so you don't destroy anything else?  Sheesh!"

And I would CERTAINLY ask her to reimburse you for the plants.  Tell her that if she's really sorry, there shouldn't be any issue with this.  And even if she's not sorry, she still has the obligation to reimburse you.  (And if you want to go one better, tell her that you'll be hiring professional landscapers to undo her mess, and she'll be the one receiving the bill.  Either that, or she can buy you new plants and buy the plane tickets for your mom to visit you and replant the plants.  Personally, I think you should throw this little nugget out there.  Make her sweat it.  Make it hurt for her.  She needs to be uncomfortable, and THAT is the only thing that will make an impression.)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: BarensMom on August 02, 2013, 12:06:21 PM
I've said this before and I'll reiterate:  Why do these people (men and women) think that their FOO is more important than the person they took legal (and in some cases, sacred) vows to honor, cherish, obey and FORSAKE ALL OTHERS? 

 >:D Personally, I'd rather keep the person who is in the same environment happy, if only because the potential for daily doses of misery is much higher than a FOO member who doesn't have access to my food, toiletries, and clothing. >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JeanFromBNA on August 02, 2013, 02:10:02 PM
I'd ring SIL and say 'So, MIL tells me you want to apologise for destroying my garden that my Mother and Aunt travelled so far and went to so much effort to plant for me while I was undergoing my kidney transplant..' Then just wait.

Oooh I like that!

Go ahead and lay on the guilt.

I like it, too.  I would add, "I would like you to pay for their replacement.  My mother will be coming over on (date) and I would like to have them for her to re-plant then."  If your Mom is not local, you should ask DH to do this on her behalf.  This reinforces the consequence of their actions in a way that word alone will not.  I also think that you would feel much better if the plants were replaced, both physically and mentally.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 02, 2013, 02:30:33 PM
I like the ideas about having SIL pay for and replant the plants.  Every day when I pull out of the driveway on the way to work or pull in the driveway on the way home, I see the bare flowerbed and it sends my blood pressure into the stratosphere.  Periwinkle isn't available again until next spring, so I'm going to have to find something of equivalent value for her to put in the ground until next spring when periwinkle is available again and she can pay for replacements and I can plant them then. 

Of course, it's all pie in the sky anyhow because I'm sure she won't do this for me, but it will make me feel better to ask.  I like the PP's ideas of really making it hurt.  I tend to play down my feelings so I really need to turn it up a few notches on this one without devolving into hysterics like I can sometimes do.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 02, 2013, 02:52:13 PM
Even if the thing with SIL doesn't work out, I would encourage you to do something in that spot, so you don't have that little dose of bad feeling each time.


Also--DO give your SIL a little space in which to genuinely apologize. If people feel attacked, they don't feel like apologizing.

So I wouldn't actually suggest you call up and ask for an apology. That's not what you want. It won't make you feel that much better--and you're not likely to get it.

The ideal would be for your DH to stop saying "they're just plants," and go to his sis and say, "I don't think you realize that it's not *just* that you messed with our stuff without permission, etc. It's also that the thing you destroyed and treated like garbage is irreplaceable and had a huge emotional meaning. It's the plants that her mom and aunt planted for her during the kidney thing.
    "This is really a bigger deal than you think. She's really hurt. This is really upsetting for her. It would probably help a lot if you could apologize sincerely."

And then leave it. And see what happens.

I think if you call her up and ask for an apology, esp. since you KNOW that MIL did not tell you she was ready to give you one, you are only going to get a bunch of defensiveness. It's a very human reaction. Don't trigger it.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Petticoats on August 02, 2013, 02:55:44 PM
The ideal would be for your DH to stop saying "they're just plants," and go to his sis and say, "I don't think you realize that it's not *just* that you messed with our stuff without permission, etc. It's also that the thing you destroyed and treated like garbage is irreplaceable and had a huge emotional meaning. It's the plants that her mom and aunt planted for her during the kidney thing."

Ah, but he has to come to understand this himself before he can impress it upon SIL. And it sounds like he doesn't get it at all.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: gramma dishes on August 02, 2013, 03:02:03 PM

...   The ideal would be for your DH to stop saying "they're just plants," and go to his sis and say, "I don't think you realize that it's not *just* that you messed with our stuff without permission, etc. It's also that the thing you destroyed and treated like garbage is irreplaceable and had a huge emotional meaning. It's the plants that her mom and aunt planted for her during the kidney thing.
    "This is really a bigger deal than you think. She's really hurt. This is really upsetting for her. It would probably help a lot if you could apologize sincerely."

And then leave it. And see what happens.

I like Toots' words and agree that your asking for an apology will not have the desired effect for exactly the reasons Toots mentions.  Not only that, but if even after you ask for an apology she still does not apologize, you're going to be just that much more angry and frustrated. 

In addition to that, since part of the problem is that even your husband doesn't seem to understand why you're so upset, this should clue him in too and make him realize that certain actions have serious and lasting repercussions.  Besides, they're his family, so he's the one who should handle it.  This is your DH's job now to request an apology to you, but it's still likely that it won't happen.  At least though it might make you feel like at last he 'gets it' and will stand up for you and that would, I think, make you feel better -- at least toward him! 

Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LifeOnPluto on August 03, 2013, 02:06:52 AM
I would turn down all further offers of help.
I would not invite them to my home.
I would attend the christening but feel too ill for the lunch afterwards.
Or, if you attend the lunch, don't sit with them. So they expect it? Big whoop. Sit where you please. Next to people you like.

Unfortunately, this isn't going to work if there is planned seating, and the OP is seated with her in-laws.

OP, is there any way you can find out in advance if there is going to be planned seating? If not, then go to the lunch, and don't sit with them.

If there is no way of asking politely about the seating arrangements, and you suspect you'll be seated with your in-laws, I would attend the christening, but decline the lunch part.

And I agree that you should have a conversation (at some point) with your SIL. I agree with PPs who say it would be a bad idea to ask upfront for an apology. But I think you should tell your SIL, in no uncertain terms, that you feel VERY hurt and offended that she pulled up your flowers without permission. No doubt she'll give you the "but I was only trying to heeeeeelp" line. In that case, keep on repeating "Yes, but can you understand that your actions - well intentioned or not - resulted in something very valuable to me being destroyed?"

I would also ask her to reimburse me the cost of the flowers. Eg "SIL, the flowers cost $x. I'd appreciate it if you would reimburse me this amount. You can pay me back [insert most convenient method for you]".

If she refuses, ask her "Am I correct in understanding that you're not going to pay for my property, which you destroyed?"
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 03, 2013, 08:40:30 AM
Quote
But I think you should tell your SIL, in no uncertain terms, that you feel VERY hurt and offended that she pulled up your flowers without permission. No doubt she'll give you the "but I was only trying to heeeeeelp" line. In that case, keep on repeating "Yes, but can you understand that your actions - well intentioned or not - resulted in something very valuable to me being destroyed?"


I do think this is really the only effective approach that the OP can make to her SIL. Not to scold, but to share. In a way, saying, "I want you to understand me more deeply." Which is actually a way of drawing people closer, instead of pushing them away. Counterintuitive. But often the most counterintuitive things are most effective. (want a loud little kid to listen to you? whisper. want the comedy-club audience to laugh at your jokes? slow down, and speak more softly)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Acadianna on August 03, 2013, 11:18:41 AM
Not to scold, but to share. In a way, saying, "I want you to understand me more deeply." Which is actually a way of drawing people closer, instead of pushing them away.)

This is one of the best approaches I've ever seen on eHell, one that applies to countless situations.  It's definitely going into my "Responses Toolbox."

Thanks, Toots!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: lowspark on August 05, 2013, 09:06:07 AM
The ideal would be for your DH to stop saying "they're just plants," and go to his sis and say, "I don't think you realize that it's not *just* that you messed with our stuff without permission, etc. It's also that the thing you destroyed and treated like garbage is irreplaceable and had a huge emotional meaning. It's the plants that her mom and aunt planted for her during the kidney thing."

Ah, but he has to come to understand this himself before he can impress it upon SIL. And it sounds like he doesn't get it at all.

Yeah, this is the aspect of all of this that is bothering me the most. SIL did a terrible thing and apparently doesn't really get how awful her behavior was and is not apologizing and and and. HOWEVER, she is not married to the OP. DH is.

And the fact that he is not empathizing with the OP, and in fact, belittling her reaction by citing the "it's just plants" argument is (in my opinion) fueling the whole thing. I think that maybe if he'd taken cattlekid's side in the first place, sharing her indignation without exclusion, it wouldn't be hurting as much. His attitude can go a long way toward either mittigating the pain or aggravating it.

And yes, as Petticoats says, it would be easier and maybe even intuitive for DH to argue cattlekid's case to his family if he actually understood and shared her feelings.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 05, 2013, 09:20:16 AM
It might also help DH if cattlekid's reaction became full of "i'm sad!!" instead of "I'm mad!!"

Right now it seems as if the whole thing is being framed by the idea of "they messed with my stuff" and "they are awful," instead of "I'm so incredibly sad."

Sad is easy to empathize with. Mad makes people uncomfortable.

Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: CaffeineKatie on August 05, 2013, 10:17:20 AM
I have a feeling OP's husband is like mine.  He had a nagging, fairly passive-agressive mother, and he dealt with it by selective deafness.  I didn't realize for many years that when I would complain to him about anything (including his family's treatment of me), his brain just heard "nagging female = shutdown listening centers"  He would nod and agree and do nothing.  It's very difficult to overcome.  Good luck.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 05, 2013, 11:08:47 AM
And I think if you want to cut through that natural (and probably healthy) resistance, you need to make sure that *your* complaints are delivered in a way that is completely counter to *their* complaints.

The emotional appeal for consolation, instead of the angry demand for action, etc.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 11:11:02 AM
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 05, 2013, 11:12:38 AM
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

It's not about concealing her true feelings.

It's about choosing the *expression* of her true feelings that is most likely to get through to her audience.


It's about choosing a route that puts her DH on her side before demanding an action or response from him.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: gramma dishes on August 05, 2013, 11:14:08 AM
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

How so?  She really IS sad.

She's also justifiably angry, but he doesn't get that.  Maybe he'll understand better when he realizes that the loss of "just plants" has made her sad because they weren't 'just plants' to her.  They were very special.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 11:15:20 AM
Why should she have to conceal her true feelings? That is manipulation.

It's not about concealing her true feelings.

It's about choosing the *expression* of her true feelings that is most likely to get through to her audience.


It's about choosing a route that puts her DH on her side before demanding an action or response from him.

No, it's lying. It's using emotions to get someone to respond to a lie. Women are allowed to be angry. They shouldn't have to be sad in order to get their husbands to deal with issues.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 05, 2013, 11:18:54 AM
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jaxsue on August 05, 2013, 11:19:44 AM
I have a feeling OP's husband is like mine.  He had a nagging, fairly passive-agressive mother, and he dealt with it by selective deafness.  I didn't realize for many years that when I would complain to him about anything (including his family's treatment of me), his brain just heard "nagging female = shutdown listening centers"  He would nod and agree and do nothing.  It's very difficult to overcome.  Good luck.

That was exactly my experience with my X-DH. She'd even openly insult me in his presence (as well as FIL's presence), and he never "heard" it.   :-[
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 11:21:20 AM
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.

So, she should continue the manipulation? Advising her to conceal her emotion and present a false one is advising her to lie, to do what his mother did.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: asb8 on August 05, 2013, 11:30:52 AM
How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 11:41:21 AM
How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you THINK YOU had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

I'd add those two words.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 05, 2013, 11:49:49 AM
Honestly, she'd probably laugh in my face, or blatantly ignore my request.  And it would have to be in a one on one, or the rest of the family would gang up on me and tell me how they were "just plants" and that I am being selfish and how dare I tell them that what their daughter/wife did was wrong.

How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 05, 2013, 11:53:42 AM
Yup.  Dad was mentally, verbally and occasionally physically abusive.  Mom didn't do anything to stop it. 

I have been witness to ONE of FIL's tirades towards DH.  It was ugly, to say the least.  If it was even close to what he had to go through as a child, I don't know why he hasn't completely gone the cut direct route. 

I completely realize that DH's coping mechanisms are few.  So I don't force him to go to bat for me with his family because I know he can't even do it for himself.  I do try (very gently, but directly) to get him to realize that he doesn't have to expose himself to their ugliness and it's perfectly acceptable to minimize contact with them.  No one is going to die because he didn't talk to them for a few days, even though MIL likes to think she will.

He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: gramma dishes on August 05, 2013, 11:55:51 AM
Honestly, she'd probably laugh in my face, or blatantly ignore my request.  And it would have to be in a one on one, or the rest of the family would gang up on me and tell me how they were "just plants" and that I am being selfish and how dare I tell them that what their daughter/wife did was wrong.

How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

Did you ever explain to them why they weren't "just plants"? 

I mean obviously she SHOULD pay for them anyway, even if you'd gotten a $1 packet of seeds and tossed them into the ground all by yourself and they had no emotional significance.  But the fact that these were such special plants makes them different.

Edited to add that although I think your husband should ideally be the one sticking up for you here since they're HIS relatives, he obviously hasn't done so and probably won't.  So the time has come for you to stick up for yourself and let them know how you feel about what they did.  Make very clear exactly why their actions hurt you and also made you angry.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 05, 2013, 12:02:51 PM
When MIL stopped by last week and told me that "SIL is sorry about the plants", I did tell MIL that these particular plants were planted by my mom and aunt while they were here during my convalescence.  I also told MIL that I wanted an apology directly from SIL and all I got in return was a smirk.  So I'm sure that the message was not passed along. 

I know I need to confront SIL directly about this but I'm still at a loss for how to do so.  I think I need to find someone to role play with so that when I do confront SIL, it doesn't just devolve into me either shouting or crying or worse which is how I tend to react when I feel that I am not being heard.

Did you ever explain to them why they weren't "just plants"? 

I mean obviously she SHOULD pay for them anyway, even if you'd gotten a $1 packet of seeds and tossed them into the ground all by yourself and they had no emotional significance.  But the fact that these were such special plants makes them different.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: TootsNYC on August 05, 2013, 12:05:29 PM
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.

So, she should continue the manipulation? Advising her to conceal her emotion and present a false one is advising her to lie, to do what his mother did.

I almost feel as though you are deliberately misunderstanding, but perhaps I just see it very differently than you do, or I'm not good at explaining my point.

And so please don't feel that I'm ignoring you if I don't continue this debate. I've made my argument--people who are reading can decide whether they are comfortable with it or not.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: SPuck on August 05, 2013, 12:09:31 PM
I have a feeling that trying to talk to your sister-in-law is going to be like throwing water balloons at a brick wall and expecting damage. Your not going to get anything except a wet wall and wasted water. Pulling back on your relationship with your in-laws and getting your husband into counseling (he married you, he has to understand why your upset) might be the best course of action.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: doodlemor on August 05, 2013, 12:41:55 PM
I have a feeling that trying to talk to your sister-in-law is going to be like throwing water balloons at a brick wall and expecting damage. Your not going to get anything except a wet wall and wasted water. Pulling back on your relationship with your in-laws and getting your husband into counseling (he married you, he has to understand why your upset) might be the best course of action.

POD. 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 12:43:23 PM
He's a person. He has defensive reactions built up through a lifetime of unreasonable manipulation. That's a reality.

It's a form of a handicap. If he were deaf, she'd need to write her communication, or learn sign language. Instead of simply demanding that he should be able to hear her using her preferred form of communication.

Nobody's saying she should just suck it up. And it's not manipulation to communicate honestly, nor to choose the form and format of your communication.

So, she should continue the manipulation? Advising her to conceal her emotion and present a false one is advising her to lie, to do what his mother did.

I almost feel as though you are deliberately misunderstanding, but perhaps I just see it very differently than you do, or I'm not good at explaining my point.

And so please don't feel that I'm ignoring you if I don't continue this debate. I've made my argument--people who are reading can decide whether they are comfortable with it or not.

Oh, I get your point. I just don't agree with it.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: BarensMom on August 05, 2013, 12:57:09 PM
Golly, I hate to say this, because it's dragging in other family.  However, if DH is that cowed by his family and, you, OP, don't feel that you can confront SIL yourself, how about having YOUR Mom call SIL and say, "I heard you tore up the plants I paid for and placed in my daughter's yard to commemorate her kidney transplant.  I just want to let you know I don't appreciate you doing that.  I don't care if you were trying to help, you still destroyed my work and caused my daughter stress that she just doesn't need."

SIL might tell your mom to go do something interesting to herself, but it also puts DH's family on notice that their antics are not going unnoticed by the world at large.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: wheeitsme on August 05, 2013, 01:09:10 PM
I think at this point your best and most direct conversation with your SIL probably needs to go something like this:

CK:  "SIL, This is just a heads-up that you may not touch/remove/help with anything at our residence.  Ever.  You have shown that you are not to be trusted with knowing what is important to other people and with other people's property. "

(cue: "I was just trying to heeeeelp")

CK:  "I understand that.  And the way you did it has shown that you are not to be trusted with knowing what is important to other people and with other people's property.  So while I appreciate the thought, you may not touch/remove/help with anything at our residence."

...she'll probably get a little shirty, but try to just stay calm and state those two facts.  If she tries to escalate, just try to stay calm and state those two facts.  At this point, I think the best goal is just to get those two facts said to her. 

If your secondary goal of her actually paying attention to what you said and doing/not doing it happens, great.  But I think that might take longer.  There will probably be a "Do you remember when I said "this".  I meant it.  You are no longer welcome at our house because you cannot be trusted" moment ahead.

Good luck.

When MIL stopped by last week and told me that "SIL is sorry about the plants", I did tell MIL that these particular plants were planted by my mom and aunt while they were here during my convalescence.  I also told MIL that I wanted an apology directly from SIL and all I got in return was a smirk.  So I'm sure that the message was not passed along. 

I know I need to confront SIL directly about this but I'm still at a loss for how to do so.  I think I need to find someone to role play with so that when I do confront SIL, it doesn't just devolve into me either shouting or crying or worse which is how I tend to react when I feel that I am not being heard.

Did you ever explain to them why they weren't "just plants"? 

I mean obviously she SHOULD pay for them anyway, even if you'd gotten a $1 packet of seeds and tossed them into the ground all by yourself and they had no emotional significance.  But the fact that these were such special plants makes them different.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Wordgeek on August 05, 2013, 01:22:36 PM
I've made my argument--people who are reading can decide whether they are comfortable with it or not.

Darn straight.  As has been pointed out to you in the past, people are allowed to disagree with you.  You are not the almighty authority on all topics.  Other people can and will have their own opinions.  As LeveeWoman says, quite nicely, she understands your point, she just doesn't agree with you.

So, drop it.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Bethalize on August 05, 2013, 01:23:35 PM
Cattlekid, you'll never make them happy. I suggest you stop trying to come up with a win-win situation because they don't care about your win. Instead, get your win by doing what you want for yourself. Don't want to go to dinner? Don't. Stop enabling your husband in this situation. Let him deal with the fall out from both sides. He's an adult, he can make choices.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: SPuck on August 05, 2013, 01:27:35 PM
Stop enabling your husband in this situation. Let him deal with the fall out from both sides. He's an adult, he can make choices.

Also he'll probably end up seeing them less if her has to deal with the agony more himself, and doesn't have anyone else to push it on to.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: JeanFromBNA on August 05, 2013, 02:05:19 PM
Cattlekid, you'll never make them happy. I suggest you stop trying to come up with a win-win situation because they don't care about your win. Instead, get your win by doing what you want for yourself. Don't want to go to dinner? Don't. Stop enabling your husband in this situation. Let him deal with the fall out from both sides. He's an adult, he can make choices.
Given your update about your SIL's likely response to a request for reimbursement and an apology, I now have to agree with this.  I would find something better to do than go to that christening. 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 02:51:51 PM
Cattlekid, you'll never make them happy. I suggest you stop trying to come up with a win-win situation because they don't care about your win. Instead, get your win by doing what you want for yourself. Don't want to go to dinner? Don't. Stop enabling your husband in this situation. Let him deal with the fall out from both sides. He's an adult, he can make choices.
Given your update about your SIL's likely response to a request for reimbursement and an apology, I now have to agree with this.  I would find something better to do than go to that christening.

I'd stay home. Hubby can go and take whatever present he buys. If they think badly of me, so what?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 05, 2013, 03:05:05 PM
Neither of us have any interest in going to the christening.  It's for DH's cousin that we see once a year if that and we have never even met his wife.  I am going to send them some money in a card and call it a day.  We knew we were a obligatory invitation anyhow.  MIL and FIL will have a fit, but that's fine by me.

I'd stay home. Hubby can go and take whatever present he buys. If they think badly of me, so what?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LeveeWoman on August 05, 2013, 03:07:43 PM
Neither of us have any interest in going to the christening.  It's for DH's cousin that we see once a year if that and we have never even met his wife.  I am going to send them some money in a card and call it a day.  We knew we were a obligatory invitation anyhow.  MIL and FIL will have a fit, but that's fine by me.

I'd stay home. Hubby can go and take whatever present he buys. If they think badly of me, so what?

If they called me to let me share their pitching a fit, I'd hang up!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Kaypeep on August 05, 2013, 07:47:01 PM
Neither of us have any interest in going to the christening.  It's for DH's cousin that we see once a year if that and we have never even met his wife.  I am going to send them some money in a card and call it a day.  We knew we were a obligatory invitation anyhow.  MIL and FIL will have a fit, but that's fine by me.

I'd stay home. Hubby can go and take whatever present he buys. If they think badly of me, so what?

If they called me to let me share their pitching a fit, I'd hang up!

Tell them you couldn't go because you had to spend your only free time and extra money to repair the damage that SIL made to your yard.  THEN let them know the cat is on fire and you have to hang up now....
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: zyrs on August 05, 2013, 10:08:38 PM
Neither of us have any interest in going to the christening.  It's for DH's cousin that we see once a year if that and we have never even met his wife.  I am going to send them some money in a card and call it a day.  We knew we were a obligatory invitation anyhow.  MIL and FIL will have a fit, but that's fine by me.

I'd stay home. Hubby can go and take whatever present he buys. If they think badly of me, so what?

I like this - although I would just probably not bother to answer the phone.

If they called me to let me share their pitching a fit, I'd hang up!

Tell them you couldn't go because you had to spend your only free time and extra money to repair the damage that SIL made to your yard.  THEN let them know the cat is on fire and you have to hang up now....
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: twiggy on August 05, 2013, 10:47:29 PM
It might also help DH if cattlekid's reaction became full of "i'm sad!!" instead of "I'm mad!!"

Right now it seems as if the whole thing is being framed by the idea of "they messed with my stuff" and "they are awful," instead of "I'm so incredibly sad."

Sad is easy to empathize with. Mad makes people uncomfortable.

I don't mesh well with DH's oldest sister. We went over to their house last night for dinner and I was so stressed out that I had an anxiety episode and actually threw up from the stress. DH has never seen this reaction from me. He sees me suck it up, go spend time, and hears me seethe and vent in the car on the way home.

I have lots of emotions about the time spent with/around SIL, but all he saw was me being mad. From his POV I was being childish and sniping at his sister after what he thought was a perfectly lovely evening.

Last night we were driving home and started arguing about going back over in 2 weeks. Due to the nature of the event, I'm not comfortable going. DH thought I was pitching a fit because I just don't like SIL. We fought some more and went to bed angry.

This afternoon we met DH for lunch and I told him everything. Me being mad just got him defensive and made him angry that I "just hate his whole family!" Me being sad got him saying "you're being oversensitive/she didn't mean it that way." Me being stressed out/depressed really hit him hard. And we're not going over for that particular event.

So, I was feeling all those feelings, but the way I expressed myself, and which emotion I focused on led to a reaction from DH ranging from anger to indifference, to finally understanding.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LifeOnPluto on August 05, 2013, 10:54:02 PM
Honestly, she'd probably laugh in my face, or blatantly ignore my request.  And it would have to be in a one on one, or the rest of the family would gang up on me and tell me how they were "just plants" and that I am being selfish and how dare I tell them that what their daughter/wife did was wrong.

How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

I personally would not back down from this.

So your SIL laughs in your face? I'd wait patiently until the laughter dies down. Then I'd tell her again, calmly: "You owe me $X for the destroyed plants. Want to pay me by cash or check?"

If the rest of the family accuses you of being selfish and mean to SIL? I'd wait patiently until they shut up. Then say again, calmly. "Nonetheless, SIL caused $X worth of damage. SIL, will you be paying me back by cash or check?"

And keep on repeating and repeating and repeating, until it sinks in that you are not going to let this go, and they can't just brush it off.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: GrammarNerd on August 05, 2013, 11:19:27 PM
Honestly, she'd probably laugh in my face, or blatantly ignore my request.  And it would have to be in a one on one, or the rest of the family would gang up on me and tell me how they were "just plants" and that I am being selfish and how dare I tell them that what their daughter/wife did was wrong.

How would your SIL respond to a blunt request to 'make it right' ie pay for the plants?

SIL: But I was just trying to heeeelllp....
OP: I understand you had good intentions but you caused $XX amount of damage by disposing of my landscaping.  Can you give me cash or would you prefer to write a check?

I personally would not back down from this.

So your SIL laughs in your face? I'd wait patiently until the laughter dies down. Then I'd tell her again, calmly: "You owe me $X for the destroyed plants. Want to pay me by cash or check?"

If the rest of the family accuses you of being selfish and mean to SIL? I'd wait patiently until they shut up. Then say again, calmly. "Nonetheless, SIL caused $X worth of damage. SIL, will you be paying me back by cash or check?"

And keep on repeating and repeating and repeating, until it sinks in that you are not going to let this go, and they can't just brush it off.

I actually kinda like this.  And KEEP bringing it up.  ALL the time.  EVERY time you see her.  Make it extremely uncomfortable for her to NOT pay you for the damage.  Because she will know that you'll bring it up EVERY time you're around her.  And the plus side is that even if she never pays you, it's almost a guarantee that she'll start avoiding you because she knows that you're going to ask for the money.

Make her uncomfortable.  That's the key.

 (And of course, just keep repeating the rationale of "you destroyed my property.  you need to pay for it."  And I suppose you could always remind her that vandalism is against the law. ;) )
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Elisabunny on August 06, 2013, 08:50:36 PM
It might also help DH if cattlekid's reaction became full of "i'm sad!!" instead of "I'm mad!!"

Right now it seems as if the whole thing is being framed by the idea of "they messed with my stuff" and "they are awful," instead of "I'm so incredibly sad."

Sad is easy to empathize with. Mad makes people uncomfortable.

I don't mesh well with DH's oldest sister. We went over to their house last night for dinner and I was so stressed out that I had an anxiety episode and actually threw up from the stress. DH has never seen this reaction from me. He sees me suck it up, go spend time, and hears me seethe and vent in the car on the way home.

I have lots of emotions about the time spent with/around SIL, but all he saw was me being mad. From his POV I was being childish and sniping at his sister after what he thought was a perfectly lovely evening.

Last night we were driving home and started arguing about going back over in 2 weeks. Due to the nature of the event, I'm not comfortable going. DH thought I was pitching a fit because I just don't like SIL. We fought some more and went to bed angry.

This afternoon we met DH for lunch and I told him everything. Me being mad just got him defensive and made him angry that I "just hate his whole family!" Me being sad got him saying "you're being oversensitive/she didn't mean it that way." Me being stressed out/depressed really hit him hard. And we're not going over for that particular event.

So, I was feeling all those feelings, but the way I expressed myself, and which emotion I focused on led to a reaction from DH ranging from anger to indifference, to finally understanding.

It's basically the same concept as Love Languages.  ANY feelings have to be expressed in a way the other person is able to understand.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: AmethystAnne on August 06, 2013, 10:55:45 PM
I've been thinking about this.

Say, for instance, a lovely lady Alice can only speak French and Italian, and she meets a nice man, Bob. She wants to talk with him in a way that they both understand and their relationship deepens. But Bob speaks only English and Italian.

It would counterproductive if Alice insisted on speaking only French with Bob. So she speaks Italian instead. 

You go with what works. It's not manipulation.



In my own real life relationship with my DH, I know that his sad feelings come out in angry-sounding words. I would be interpreted as being pouting because when I'm sad, I kind of withdraw to get myself together.

Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on August 07, 2013, 02:30:24 AM
OP. I've btdt. ONLY thing I could do is to 'Drop the Rope' and Shun them all. They ceased to exist.

Your Husband can do what he wants. But, he can see them without you.

Once he no longer has the 'buffer' of you dealing with his Folks. He may well come to a new revolution himself. When he has to deal with them all alone.

Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on August 08, 2013, 10:45:09 AM
OP, How are you ?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 11, 2013, 04:51:29 PM
I'm okay.  I went home to visit my parents this weekend for my 25 year high school reunion (eek!) and I had to break the news to my mom that the periwinkle was gone.  She amazingly took it better than I thought she was going to.  I thought for sure there would be tears and she would be booking a flight back here with me to tear into my SIL.

I still haven't heard anything from anyone on DH's side.  So I'm going to have one more conversation with DH about attending the christening in two weeks.  I know in his heart he doesn't want to have anything to do with his family either so I am trying to make him see that distance right now is a good thing and that he is not an evil monster for wanting it. 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Delia DeLyons on August 11, 2013, 10:16:12 PM
I say cut your losses...your in-laws sound emotionally exhausting.

It's situations like these where having Judge Judy around to settle conflicts would be the only way you'd get justice... Sigh.. I wish I could have her over for dinner...
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Redneck Gravy on August 12, 2013, 09:30:50 AM
I say cut your losses...your in-laws sound emotionally exhausting.

It's situations like these where having Judge Judy around to settle conflicts would be the only way you'd get justice... Sigh.. I wish I could have her over for dinner...


I wish I could have her over for dinner too! Maybe next family reunion...  >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: dhk on August 14, 2013, 06:37:44 AM

>Ah yes, but here's the rub.  They have ZERO landscaping on their property other than grass.  They have an active dislike of all ornamental plants and a fear of all trees.  They are convinced that trees = branches through the roof and therefore trees are evil and need to be avoided at all costs.

Excellent!   DH's family sound incredibly dense, but an example that that might get through their brain is to enthusiastically say you are going to go to their house and plant some lovely plants and trees in their yard, right by the house so they can see them from the windows.   

It's it great you want to help them with their barren landscaping! ;-)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: White Lotus on August 19, 2013, 10:56:47 AM
The Arbor Day society will, in return for a small donation, send you a whole lot of little baby trees!  I might enthusiastically tell them I am going to make the donation and plant all the trees in their yard, since it is so barren!  Of course, they'll have to pay for sprinklers but, hey, it is so totally your business to landscape their yard to your tastes!  Maybe that might sink in.
You can always make the donation and plant the little baby trees somewhere else.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: MommyPenguin on August 20, 2013, 06:42:12 AM
Now that makes me want a whole lot of little baby trees!  They sound so cute!  Of course, we back to woods, so we probably don't need any more.  :)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LadyClaire on August 20, 2013, 06:53:31 AM
The Arbor Day society will, in return for a small donation, send you a whole lot of little baby trees!  I might enthusiastically tell them I am going to make the donation and plant all the trees in their yard, since it is so barren!  Of course, they'll have to pay for sprinklers but, hey, it is so totally your business to landscape their yard to your tastes!  Maybe that might sink in.
You can always make the donation and plant the little baby trees somewhere else.

ha..I just got a packet from them in the mail. I think for a $20 donation they would send something like 10 or 15 trees.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: VorFemme on August 20, 2013, 11:18:53 AM
Too bad that a nice two story tall tree to shade the front porch would be so expensive.....

Snarky and Evil were plotting on how to get three or four nice, good sized trees to put around your ILs' house(s) - one front and one back minimum.

Nothing less than two stories tall.  Bonus points for something with seed pods AND indestructible leaves (pine needles AND pine cones or magnolia leaves the size of luncheon plates that never seem to go away - as a bonus, the magnolia also has seed pods the size of small apples from those lovely ivory flowers).

They've taken notes on what you have to pick up before mowing the yard or use a net to get out of the swimming pool.....
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 20, 2013, 01:03:54 PM
The Arbor Day society will, in return for a small donation, send you a whole lot of little baby trees!  I might enthusiastically tell them I am going to make the donation and plant all the trees in their yard, since it is so barren!  Of course, they'll have to pay for sprinklers but, hey, it is so totally your business to landscape their yard to your tastes!  Maybe that might sink in.
You can always make the donation and plant the little baby trees somewhere else.

ha..I just got a packet from them in the mail. I think for a $20 donation they would send something like 10 or 15 trees.

If we need some trees when (if) DH finally find a house, I am SO remembering that.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 20, 2013, 01:16:23 PM
Too bad that a nice two story tall tree to shade the front porch would be so expensive.....

Snarky and Evil were plotting on how to get three or four nice, good sized trees to put around your ILs' house(s) - one front and one back minimum.

Nothing less than two stories tall.  Bonus points for something with seed pods AND indestructible leaves (pine needles AND pine cones or magnolia leaves the size of luncheon plates that never seem to go away - as a bonus, the magnolia also has seed pods the size of small apples from those lovely ivory flowers).

They've taken notes on what you have to pick up before mowing the yard or use a net to get out of the swimming pool.....

Or a nice big oak with lots of acorns.  That attract every [redacted] squirrel in 10 square miles.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Tea Drinker on August 20, 2013, 01:25:02 PM
Maples are nice. Pretty, light-green flowers early in the spring, lots of cute seed pods drifting down to add more maples, and glorious fall colors.

If I ever have a yard and a choice of what to plant, it will probably include a maple, even though I know that means spending a lot of time pulling up tiny seedlings before they become difficult-to-yank saplings near the house.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 20, 2013, 02:25:31 PM
mmmm Sugar Maples :)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LadyClaire on August 20, 2013, 03:20:16 PM
Hickory trees, people.

Hickory nuts are encased in bright green cases that pop open into 4 sections and drop the nut out when the nuts are ripe. Sometimes the whole thing falls off the tree. Inside the case, they're a bit bigger than a golf ball. The sections of the case are hard and brittle and hurt like a you-know-what to step on, since the ends are pointy.

The shells of the nuts themselves look like little boats when they're split open. They also attract every crow and squirrel in the area. I don't know why, but crows seem to love hickory nuts. The squirrels and crows leave the little hickory shells all over the yard. Also, Hickory trees grow quite tall, though their trunk diameter doesn't get as impressive as, say, an oak tree does.

We have a very small hickory tree growing in our back yard right now. This is the first year it has made nuts. DH took one look at it and said "it has to go" because those nuts turn into projectiles if hit by the mower, and neither of us want to go outside with a bucket to pick every single nut that falls.

Barring hickory trees, sweet gums. Hundreds of prickly little seed balls that fall off come fall..yep. they're also a messy, messy tree.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 20, 2013, 03:32:31 PM
Apple trees, unless anyone in the house is allergic to bee stings. Bees love apples. Especially after they've been sitting on the ground for a while, fermenting. Bees get drunk on fermenting apples, and then you can just pick the apples up (even covered in bees) and toss them wherever and the bees just either hold on for dear life, or wobbily follow the apple's flight path.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 20, 2013, 03:43:30 PM
I like this one.  It will keep FIL busy spray painting and relocating squirrels.  He actually did that once when a squirrel got in the attic.  He trapped the squirrel, spray painted it orange, then drove it across a river to make sure it didn't come back.

Too bad that a nice two story tall tree to shade the front porch would be so expensive.....

Snarky and Evil were plotting on how to get three or four nice, good sized trees to put around your ILs' house(s) - one front and one back minimum.

Nothing less than two stories tall.  Bonus points for something with seed pods AND indestructible leaves (pine needles AND pine cones or magnolia leaves the size of luncheon plates that never seem to go away - as a bonus, the magnolia also has seed pods the size of small apples from those lovely ivory flowers).

They've taken notes on what you have to pick up before mowing the yard or use a net to get out of the swimming pool.....

Or a nice big oak with lots of acorns.  That attract every [redacted] squirrel in 10 square miles.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: wheeitsme on August 20, 2013, 03:58:13 PM
I like this one.  It will keep FIL busy spray painting and relocating squirrels.  He actually did that once when a squirrel got in the attic.  He trapped the squirrel, spray painted it orange, then drove it across a river to make sure it didn't come back.

Too bad that a nice two story tall tree to shade the front porch would be so expensive.....

Snarky and Evil were plotting on how to get three or four nice, good sized trees to put around your ILs' house(s) - one front and one back minimum.

Nothing less than two stories tall.  Bonus points for something with seed pods AND indestructible leaves (pine needles AND pine cones or magnolia leaves the size of luncheon plates that never seem to go away - as a bonus, the magnolia also has seed pods the size of small apples from those lovely ivory flowers).

They've taken notes on what you have to pick up before mowing the yard or use a net to get out of the swimming pool.....

Or a nice big oak with lots of acorns.  That attract every [redacted] squirrel in 10 square miles.

Oh poor squirrel!  That was cruel.  If the paint didn't kill it, the predators sure as heck did!
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: stkatie00 on August 20, 2013, 04:02:29 PM
*Snip*

Barring hickory trees, sweet gums. Hundreds of prickly little seed balls that fall off come fall..yep. they're also a messy, messy tree.

I was going to suggest sweet gums. We have them, and they are a PAIN.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: sidi-ji on August 20, 2013, 05:12:03 PM
Or a few female ginkgo trees: beautiful flowers, and vile  smelling fruit. >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 20, 2013, 05:32:32 PM
Durian.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 20, 2013, 05:57:52 PM
Durian.

That is just evil
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Tea Drinker on August 20, 2013, 06:00:20 PM
Or a few female ginkgo trees: beautiful flowers, and vile  smelling fruit. >:D

What flowers? They aren't flowering trees, and from the female ginkgos in my old neighborhood, I don't remember anything resembling flowers. (The leaves go a very pretty yellow in the fall, though.)

[Yes, this is OT, but arguably so is the entire last page.]
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 20, 2013, 06:07:08 PM
Yes female Ginkgo trees do have flowers, they are tiny, but they start out green and will turn white or pink.  They bloom in the spring and the fruit usually shows up in the fall
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: aiki on August 20, 2013, 06:48:12 PM
Yes female Ginkgo trees do have flowers, they are tiny, but they start out green and will turn white or pink.  They bloom in the spring and the fruit usually shows up in the fall

And the fruit smells like St Hidas Charitable Home for Incontinent Tomcats. Perfect.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: snowfire on August 20, 2013, 07:07:08 PM
Yes female Ginkgo trees do have flowers, they are tiny, but they start out green and will turn white or pink.  They bloom in the spring and the fruit usually shows up in the fall
And the fruit smells like St Hidas Charitable Home for Incontinent Tomcats. Perfect.
ROFLMAO
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: StarFaerie on August 21, 2013, 03:03:15 AM
Yes female Ginkgo trees do have flowers, they are tiny, but they start out green and will turn white or pink.  They bloom in the spring and the fruit usually shows up in the fall

I believe they aren't technically flowers, they are merely an ovule in females and a cone in the males. They do look a lot like a flower though.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: zyrs on August 21, 2013, 10:06:51 AM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: amylouky on August 21, 2013, 10:52:37 AM
*Snip*

Barring hickory trees, sweet gums. Hundreds of prickly little seed balls that fall off come fall..yep. they're also a messy, messy tree.

I was going to suggest sweet gums. We have them, and they are a PAIN.

Sweet gums are by far the most annoying tree I've ever seen. Those spiky balls cover EVERYTHING, and they hurt. I actually drew blood stepping on one barefoot. We had seven of them in our front yard (which was not large) when we moved in to our house. We've had all but one removed.. hate 'em.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: SCMagnolia on August 21, 2013, 11:31:01 AM
Quote
Hickory trees, people.

Hickory nuts are encased in bright green cases that pop open into 4 sections and drop the nut out when the nuts are ripe. Sometimes the whole thing falls off the tree. Inside the case, they're a bit bigger than a golf ball. The sections of the case are hard and brittle and hurt like a you-know-what to step on, since the ends are pointy.


This.  Definitely this.  My yard is full of hickory trees (and squirrels, chipmunks, and any bird that can carry off a hickory nut in the shell.)  When the nuts start falling off, it looks like it SNOWED the little buggers and they are absolutely treacherous to try to walk on.  Not to mention the fun of hitting them with a lawnmower ...  INCOMING!!!!!!   >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LadyClaire on August 21, 2013, 01:27:01 PM
*Snip*

Barring hickory trees, sweet gums. Hundreds of prickly little seed balls that fall off come fall..yep. they're also a messy, messy tree.

I was going to suggest sweet gums. We have them, and they are a PAIN.


Sweet gums are by far the most annoying tree I've ever seen. Those spiky balls cover EVERYTHING, and they hurt. I actually drew blood stepping on one barefoot. We had seven of them in our front yard (which was not large) when we moved in to our house. We've had all but one removed.. hate 'em.

There's a large sweet gum tree in my subdivision, towards the entrance. The subdivision is on a slight slope, and the sweet gum is at the top of the slope. It's a HUGE tree. Every fall, the road is absolutely full of those balls because they fall off the tree and roll down the street. They collect along the curbs and when we get heavy rain, they wash out of the sewers and re-circulate around the place.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: LadyClaire on August 21, 2013, 01:29:17 PM
Quote
Hickory trees, people.

Hickory nuts are encased in bright green cases that pop open into 4 sections and drop the nut out when the nuts are ripe. Sometimes the whole thing falls off the tree. Inside the case, they're a bit bigger than a golf ball. The sections of the case are hard and brittle and hurt like a you-know-what to step on, since the ends are pointy.


This.  Definitely this.  My yard is full of hickory trees (and squirrels, chipmunks, and any bird that can carry off a hickory nut in the shell.)  When the nuts start falling off, it looks like it SNOWED the little buggers and they are absolutely treacherous to try to walk on.  Not to mention the fun of hitting them with a lawnmower ...  INCOMING!!!!!!   >:D

When I was a kid, our next door neighbor had two massive old hickory trees and a sweet gum in his yard. He'd pay me and his daughter a few dollars each to go around the yard in fall with buckets and collect all the nuts and sweet gum balls, and then he'd have a bonfire with the contents of the buckets.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Thipu1 on August 22, 2013, 07:05:37 AM
Magnolias.

They're beautiful trees but when those fat flower petals fall, the pavement can get extremely slippery.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: VorFemme on August 22, 2013, 09:30:27 AM
Magnolias.

They're beautiful trees but when those fat flower petals fall, the pavement can get extremely slippery.

Don't forget the seed pods.  The leaves don't break down very fast - the waxy look seems to be something protective so they have to be raked up and gotten rid of deliberately.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Mel the Redcap on August 22, 2013, 10:30:19 AM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Lady Snowdon on August 22, 2013, 11:15:20 AM
Aspen trees are great too!  They grow very fast (we have three 30 year old aspens in our backyard, and they're each over 30 feet tall - a foot a year isn't a bad growth rate!), and they are honestly the messiest trees I've encountered.  Any breeze is enough to drop leaves on the yard, and strong storms will leave the yard littered with sticks and branches.  Plus the leaves every fall - aspens are some of the first to drop their leaves, so it can be quite unexpected if you've never had them before. :P

I love my huge aspen trees - in addition to all the horrors, they shade our house and yard wonderfully, and actually helped shield our roof from some hail damage a couple weeks ago (still need to replace the roof, but the insurance guy said without the aspens it might have been an emergency "hole in the ceiling" type of repair). 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 22, 2013, 01:28:22 PM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D

They will sprout into seedlings but the fungus that attacks them will kill them before they can really mature :(
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 22, 2013, 02:05:37 PM
We are a gloriously evil bunch here.  >:D
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: zyrs on August 22, 2013, 04:03:42 PM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D

They will sprout into seedlings but the fungus that attacks them will kill them before they can really mature :(

Yeah, it's so sad.  There were a lot where I grew up and they are all gone now.   :-[
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: doodlemor on August 22, 2013, 05:42:29 PM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D

They will sprout into seedlings but the fungus that attacks them will kill them before they can really mature :(

We were given a chestnut seedling from a wilderness area to grow in our yard.  The theory is to keep the species alive until the fungus can be eradicated.  Our chestnut is about 20 feet tall - I just went out to check.  It also has some of the spiny green things on it that I hadn't noticed before.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Winterlight on August 22, 2013, 07:15:43 PM
What, no kudzu?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: CuriousParty on August 22, 2013, 08:25:33 PM
Magnolias.

They're beautiful trees but when those fat flower petals fall, the pavement can get extremely slippery.

Don't forget the seed pods.  The leaves don't break down very fast - the waxy look seems to be something protective so they have to be raked up and gotten rid of deliberately.
Yes, the seed pods that are ankle breakers, and the leaves that fall all.year.round and NEVER decompose as far as I can tell, and the slippery petals. <looking ruefully out the front window> 
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 22, 2013, 10:52:26 PM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D

They will sprout into seedlings but the fungus that attacks them will kill them before they can really mature :(

We were given a chestnut seedling from a wilderness area to grow in our yard.  The theory is to keep the species alive until the fungus can be eradicated.  Our chestnut is about 20 feet tall - I just went out to check.  It also has some of the spiny green things on it that I hadn't noticed before.

That's usually the limit of their growth before the fungus gets to them.  Are there any oaks in your yard or neighborhood?  Red oaks are actually hosts for the fungus so keep an eye out for them.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: jedikaiti on August 22, 2013, 11:41:34 PM
What, no kudzu?

I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Not unless I could also wish goats upon them.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Asharah on August 23, 2013, 12:22:40 AM
What, no kudzu?

I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Not unless I could also wish goats upon them.
Great idea! Does OP's MIL like goat cheese? What a great gift! Now she can make her own. Once she gets done breeding them so they actually produce milk. And figures out to milk them.
And how about some chickens so she can have fresh eggs. Providing she figures out how to get them away from the chicken without losing a hand in the process.  ;D
Ooops, I forgot the cow. (http://terrafirmascapers.com/Smileys/default/cowsleep.gif)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Specky on August 23, 2013, 01:01:14 AM
Air potatoes.  This is the vine that gives kudzu a run for its money.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: BarensMom on August 23, 2013, 01:12:11 AM
There's a flowering plant with a hard black seed that once it gets going, it's almost impossible to get rid of.  I wish I knew what it was, because OP could accidentally on purpose toss a few of those seeds around MIL/SIL's yard and it'll be off to the races.

I first saw it as a kid (45+ years ago).  It was a single plant at the corner of 26th & McBryde.  We kids liked the seeds and would pick them and carry them all over the place.  I think the homeowners all over North & East Richmond are to this very day still trying to eradicate it.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: nayberry on August 23, 2013, 04:59:26 AM
bamboo  or mint,  both spread so fast and if in the ground you're never getting rid of them
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: Craftymom on August 23, 2013, 05:59:16 AM
bamboo  or mint,  both spread so fast and if in the ground you're never getting rid of them

I would add blackberries to this list...
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: squeakers on August 23, 2013, 09:25:31 AM
There's a flowering plant with a hard black seed that once it gets going, it's almost impossible to get rid of.  I wish I knew what it was, because OP could accidentally on purpose toss a few of those seeds around MIL/SIL's yard and it'll be off to the races.

I first saw it as a kid (45+ years ago).  It was a single plant at the corner of 26th & McBryde.  We kids liked the seeds and would pick them and carry them all over the place.  I think the homeowners all over North & East Richmond are to this very day are still trying to eradicate it.

Morning Glory?
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 23, 2013, 10:13:01 AM
I was thinking wisteria
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: doodlemor on August 23, 2013, 11:09:04 AM
It's too bad that American Chestnuts have taken such a hit, the seedpods were very, very spiny and a real pain to get rid of

Well then clearly it would be a good thing to start re-introducing them into (hehheh) barren areas, yes? >:D

They will sprout into seedlings but the fungus that attacks them will kill them before they can really mature :(

We were given a chestnut seedling from a wilderness area to grow in our yard.  The theory is to keep the species alive until the fungus can be eradicated.  Our chestnut is about 20 feet tall - I just went out to check.  It also has some of the spiny green things on it that I hadn't noticed before.

That's usually the limit of their growth before the fungus gets to them.  Are there any oaks in your yard or neighborhood?  Red oaks are actually hosts for the fungus so keep an eye out for them.

We don't have any oaks, mostly maples and pines.  I haven't seen any oaks in the neighborhood, but there is a forested hillside nearby that could have anything.  I'll be sad to see it go.  I suspect that we should be saving the seeds - I'll have to check that with my DH.
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: cattlekid on August 23, 2013, 02:16:09 PM
Now this would play right to their strengths.  They would LOVE to have animals on their property that they could eventually kill and eat (at least FIL would).  He already has a smokehouse in his backyard.  Think "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" but a different ethnicity.  FIL routinely barbecues pigs and lambs for any occasion he can make up and smokes his own Canadian bacon.

Great idea! Does OP's MIL like goat cheese? What a great gift! Now she can make her own. Once she gets done breeding them so they actually produce milk. And figures out to milk them.
And how about some chickens so she can have fresh eggs. Providing she figures out how to get them away from the chicken without losing a hand in the process.  ;D
Ooops, I forgot the cow. (http://terrafirmascapers.com/Smileys/default/cowsleep.gif)
Title: Re: S/O: MIL redecorating....SIL and boundary trampling
Post by: ladyknight1 on August 23, 2013, 02:34:50 PM
I vote for Sycamore saplings in their yard when they return from vacation, also some creeping vine that sneaks up on them.