Author Topic: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge? Sort of Update @ 45  (Read 11612 times)

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Yarnspinner

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Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge? Sort of Update @ 45
« on: August 18, 2013, 03:35:09 PM »
Let's hope this doesn't take long.  I've talked about my brother and his wife and their antics where my father is concerned before.  No matter how many weeks Dad visits with me, the two of them can't or won't take their vacation while he is with me.  It has been happening for years and the idea is that, though Dad is pretty independent and healthy, he has a host of chronic conditions that can put him out of commission at any moment.  Bro and SIL have noted in the past that somehow I should be sending them hundreds of dollars a month I don't have to pay for his rent and that I really don't need a "real" vacation because I am single and don't have all their stress.  (They should work with me.)  The two of them together make almost two and a  half times my salary if that matters.  And I am always, always  always getting messages that go like this:

1) Miss U.  Come and visit soon.

and

2) When we lived in town, U visited every other week.  Now we see U twice a year if that.  What gives?

What gives is they moved from the northeast to down south.  I am not sure why they can't get that. 

SInce I can't visit every weekend to be with Dad so they can go on long weekends the compromise is that he stays with me anywhere from six week to four months so they can, in theory, go on vacation.  But that never seems to happen.  Invariably, I spend a whole bunch of my vacation time flying down south so they can take vacation and not worry that Dad is alone.

 My Dad spend six weeks with me earlier this summer.  During that time, because he was a guest, I kept a supply of food I knew he liked, bought his various lotto tickets, scratch card games (to the tune of forty to fifty bucks a week), bought him dinner out and so on.  During that time as some of you know, the air conditioner in his room broke down and he paid to have it fixed which was the highest end of three figures before you hit four figures.  I figured I shouldn't gripe about having to spend almost the same amount on food, gas (I drove him everywhere), dinners out and his hobbies since he had saved me from putting the ac on the credit card.

However, before he returned home, my brother called to ask if I had enough vacation time to fly to Other State while they took the vacation they were supposed to take while Dad was with me. I thought he would cry when Bro asked him to ask me.  He was pretty annoyed that they did this, knowing they could have had time to go on vacation while he was with me and not worry about him being alone.

Well, of course I agreed to to make the trip: I had no other vacation going on , couldnt afford it anyway, and hey, you know what they say about a bad day fishing in comparison to a good day at work.

Dad also said that if I would come, he would pay for my air fare.

So, here I am at the end of the almost two weeks.  And, yes, Dad did in fact pay my airfare...which money I have used to buy dog food, gerbil food  and other items for the various pets.  I had to buy all the food we have been eating the last couple of weeks as well as my father's preferred foods, paid for the one dinner out and have been washing towels, sheets and so on.  Also have been fielding calls from various of my sister's clients AND dealing with a NEW dog they have that doesn't get on with the other dogs and pets.  (It's been a lot like dealing with the reality challenged people I deal with at work.)   The last of the cash just went to pay the landscapers my brother employs....and not a word was said.  I did say something about "Gee, it's a good thing you gave me cash for my airfare, Dad, since I wouldn't have been able to pay for all this otherwise." 

He did say he would give me back the money for the landscaper before I left, but I am not holding my breath.  Dad forgets.

 My SIL made a comment over the phone (while she was visiting with friends) that she has the best SIL in the world since I was willing to take on all these new pets.  I made a joke that "Oh, but you are paying me thirty bucks a day like you pay your other staff, right?"  She said "Well, I guess the next time we need you to take care of the pets we will have to pay your airfare."  I didn't respond to that. 

I just feel, basically, that I have been used to stock the fridge, care for the animals and make sure Dad has someone to advocate for him if he becomes incapacitated.  And I am really, really annoyed that even though I am the guest, I had to buy my preferred food, Dad's food, the pet food and anything else that was needed here.  I am not going to ask to be reimbursed because I KNOW the notion is "Well, you had access to our swimming poool, hot tub, car, etc...." and I am not going to leave here in an ugly scene.

The thing is, I know this will happen again next year.  Every year I get a spine and tell them they have to make arrangements and every year they say they will and every year they leave me and my father hanging and they just don't see what is wrong because...well, they don't.  "We're family, aren't we?"

If it's a matter of family doing for others, , how about your brother comes and stays here and takes care of the pets and the plants, SIL, and Dad can stay with me?

Dad, how about when you are staying with me, you HAND ME THE MONEY required for scratch tickets? 

Am I being a mean, selfish relative or am I somewhat justified in my outlook?  I love my family, but this money/vacation thing is killing me every year and no matter what I say it's brushed off as I'm not being a team player.  (One year they wanted to give Dad a present from the three of us and they were disappointed when I gave them a third of the cost of the gift.  I realized later they expected me to pay half.  Which I did not roll over and do. 

I am almost afraid to hit th post button since Iknow I need a spine and to grow a pair, but every time I have done so in the past and pointed out that they still do pretty much as they please or that I have Dad for long periods during the year, things either get ugly or they change the subject.  I really don'tknow how to make them listen.

 I DO know that this year for CHristmas, unless someone else mentions it, we are not going to their favorite restaurant because I am not offering to take everyone out for dinner.  And I will get by on whatever food is available.  It will be good for my waistline anyway.   ;D
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 03:41:59 PM by Yarnspinner »

camlan

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 03:53:48 PM »
Yarnspinner, you are not selfish. Nor are you being Scrooge like.

Your brother and SIL are taking advantage of you. If I recall correctly, you were more than willing to keep your father with you, but they insisted that he move down to live with them.

You do realize that they are probably not taking vacation when you have your father specifically so they can get more time away from him? Four months with you is a four months vacation from him for them. Then they pressure you into coming down to look after him when they finally do go on vacation=more time for them without the trouble of looking after your father.

And all the things you were paying for while at their house? The food I can see, sort of, although it does seem stingy on their part. The pet food I can't see--those aren't your pets. The landscapers? I've have told them, "My brother didn't leave any money to pay you. Here's his cell number. He'll be back on MM/DD." I certainly would not have paid for maintenance for a property I did not own.

But until you tell these people "no" and follow through with that "no," you are going to be dealing with this. And you will need to be prepared to deal with their tantrums when they realize that this time, you really aren't coming down to look after Dad.

But the only solution I can think of to make them change, since none of your words have altered the situation in the slightest, is to change your actions.

Take your dad for 4 months. If DB and SIL don't go on vacation then, too bad, so sad, looks like they will either not get to take vacation or they will have to hire someone to look after your father.

You will need to let things get ugly. It's not until things get ugly that stuff like this changes, in my experience. If you can accept that fact and prepare for it, it will make things easier.

Pre-book your vacation time so that you can honestly tell them, "Sorry, but I had Dad for 4 months. I've already scheduled my vacation time for this year based on the fact that you told me you were taking your vacation during those 4 months. Why didn't you go then? I can't help you out now."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Zizi-K

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 04:00:57 PM »
It sounds like your family has an unhealthy, sort of co-dependent dynamic going on. You are a very good candidate for the advice: "Don't articulate your boundaries, live them." It sounds to me as though you get in trouble when you try to get your family to see your point of view. I can see why you want their understanding, but frankly that is just allowing them to take advantage of you. I'm not quite sure, from your description, whether you dad is sort of the same - is he taking advantage of you, does he feel owed, or does he simply forget to reimburse you for things?

If you are doing them all the favor of coming to watch your father AND taking personal vacation to cover them, your food should absolutely be covered, not to mention the food and caring of the animals that you are doing them the favor of watching. Who cares if you have the use of the hot tub? It doesn't sounds like an actual vacation for you in any sense of the word. If you do something like this again, you need to make your boundaries clear. Before they leave, tell them ONCE that you will not be purchasing any food for the animals while they're gone. They need to stock up before they leave, because you're not running the errands to get it either. In terms of your dad, there's nothing wrong with letting him foot the bill for dinner sometimes, and definitely for his own lotto tickets. How on earth did you get roped into buying those?? If it comes up again that he expects you to pay, I would just stand at the register, wallet firmly in pocket, and simply look at him. Say, "I'm sorry, I can't afford to buy those anymore, but I'm happy to pick them up for you if you want to have them." If your dad if your guest, it makes sense that you would provide some of the food, but (unless he is destitute) he should be reciprocating in some way. This situation really isn't exactly like a host-guest situation, because your dad has become something of a dependent, and you are to some extent taking care of him while he's with you. This means that it is NOT on you to fully fund his vacation.

Finally, when the plan is for your brother to take his vacation during the 6 weeks and again they do not do so, SAY NO when they ask you to come down there. Just say no! You don't have to give a reason. They won't die without a vacation, or maybe they'll have to pony up some money for a health aide to visit a bit. It doesn't matter, it's not your problem. You give them SIX weeks to take a vacation, and they can't get it together? They are taking advantage of you, and they will continue to do so until you put a stop to it. No need for a big confrontation, just decide what you're willing and not willing to do, and let the chips fall where they may.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 04:07:33 PM by Zizi-K »

Girly

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 04:06:34 PM »
But until you tell these people "no" and follow through with that "no," you are going to be dealing with this. And you will need to be prepared to deal with their tantrums when they realize that this time, you really aren't coming down to look after Dad.

This here.

Why would they change their actions, when in the end they get what they want anyway (with, it sounds like, minimal fuss from you)?

blue2000

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 04:09:33 PM »
My sympathies for the situation. It sounds like things only get ugly when you say the word NO. And you don't want to. You don't like the ugly times. I can understand that, I have bad relatives of my own.

However, you can't keep giving them whatever they want. You can't afford to. Sooner or later you are going to run out of time/money and there just won't be any to give them. And they will get ugly anyway. So you need to bite the bullet - like a tantrumming toddler you need to teach them that no means no. I promise they do learn eventually. After umpteen years of no, my mother still pouts and whines, but it is short-lived because she knows her mean, awful ungrateful daughter won't change her mind after saying no.

Don't wait for them to listen. They won't. How many toddlers do you know who will listen to reason?? None! Alternatively, how many crazy patrons will listen? They don't either. But if you say no and mean it, your family will have to make other plans.
You are only young once. After that you have to think up some other excuse.

lilihob

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 04:10:10 PM »
The problem is, you want us to give you a solution where it won't get unpleasant. There is no  such solution.
Your family is used to you caving, they won't accept you not caving without an ugly fight.
For years they have done as they pleased and you have gone along with it, maybe with a few token protests, but you have done what they wanted.
I know that you love and worry about your father, and you don't want to put him in the middle, but your choices are stark. Either you do as they please until your father passes away, to the point of retiring up there to be their unpaid flunky. Or you fight for your life, with all the unpleasantness it will bring. Tell your father that you are going to take your life back from your brother and his wife, then do it.

Carotte

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 04:10:39 PM »
You will need to let things get ugly. It's not until things get ugly that stuff like this changes, in my experience. If you can accept that fact and prepare for it, it will make things easier.


POD here.
Pets food and landscaping? Not your responsibility. If there is a next time, call/text/mail your brother and say "you didn't leave enough food for Fido and Mr.Whiskers, please transfer me the money before Monday and I will get it during the week." -
"The landscape guy was/will be here Tuesday, would you rather transfer me the money so that I pay him in cash or should I tell him to wait for you?"

If they argue, repeat ad noseatum "those things are not my responsibility" ad once "they are your pets (that I am watching for free)/your lawn, if I don't have the money I am afraid I will have to find a boarding solution (that they will have to pay to get their pets back) - leave you to deal with landscaping guy."

Always ask for the money upfront, always, and have an escape route if it's not provided. You get there and ask if they left you the pet's food money and enough to at least cover your dads meal, if not, turn your back and go home.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 04:13:54 PM by Carotte »

*inviteseller

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 04:17:28 PM »
They are taking such advantage of you.  From now on, if they don't take their vacation while your dad is with you, tough, they don't get a vacation.  And as far as you having to pay for their animals food and their landscaper?  Oh nonono.  When I go away, I make sure my animal food is all stocked up plus I leave money for emergencies.  I would never expect my sister (my usual sitter) to pay to restock all the food when they are not her animals.  Is it possible to move your dad to be with you permanently?   

JenJay

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 04:23:30 PM »
I understand that you don't feel you can say "No, I'm sorry, I'm not available to stay with dad while you're on vacation." (Although I think you'd be perfectly justified!) Why in the world, though, don't you say "I cannot provide Dad's groceries, pay your landscaper and provide the food for your pets."??? That is just ridiculous. They are taking advantage of you! I mean... they're just leaving town with bills due and expecting you to whip out the checkbook and pay them? I'm stunned.

I think when you get home you need to write to them and say "This is how it will be from now on..." State what you are willing (and able) to pay for and make very clear that is all. I could understand spending half of your vacation time down there, providing your own groceries, pitching in for your Dad's, taking him out for a meal or two, etc. Their bills and pet costs shouldn't even be on the table.

Edited to add - As far as expensive specialty foods, meals out, lottery tickets, etc. I think that's between you and your dad. If you can't afford to spoil him, say so. He'll bring cash when he comes to visit or adjust his expectations.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 04:28:30 PM by JenJay »

VorFemme

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 04:32:55 PM »
Heck - tell them that until they pay you back for the pet food, the landscaping fees, the food for the two weeks, and whatever else you can tack on (how much would it cost daily for a pet sitter to stop by the house AND someone to stay with your dad or at least check on him a couple of times a day - however often he needs it?). 

Bill them that and if they don't pay - too bad, so sad, you have spent all the spare money you had, you can't fly out for the holidays this December, you don't have money to buy or send presents, you can't have Dad stay for more than TWO weeks next year and they have to pay for his airfare, food, transportation costs, and scratch tickets, too - as well as the money they cost you.

If you added it all up over the last few years since they moved to the South, I wonder if you'd have a nice balance in your savings toward retirement.  The question is whether it would be five figures or six figures.....as I'm pretty sure you'd have MORE money in savings.
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weeblewobble

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 04:48:07 PM »
No, you're not being selfish or miserly.  That made my stomach twist up in knots just reading it.  These people are greedy, selfish, shallow, obtuse users.

Dream

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 05:07:58 PM »
Quite simply put, the reason they don't take their holidays when you have Dad with you is because they also want a built in house and pet sitter who will, as a bonus, cover the cost of bills in their absence.

They have no reason to change and will resist any attempt for you to do so. This is a cushy number they are enjoying and I would put an end to it as soon as possible.

Your Dad's expenses are a more tricky situation, as I know all too well. It is very hard when you are buying things consistently for people to have to put your hand out and ask for money each time, especially when it is your Dad. I have tried everything in my similar situation but have found that each doesn't work as well as I'd hoped. It makes me feel awful to have to wave receipts under his nose and even then half the time he glances at them, intends to pay me later and never does. Sadly covering some expenses for Dad may be inevitable but the cost of those scratch cards and all food costs really shouldn't have to be absorbed by you. Maybe working out a budget ahead of shopping time but I know that even that sometimes doesn't help. Good luck.

AnnaJ

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 05:17:48 PM »
First of all, my sympathy on your situation - even though my brothers and I were generally on the same page when it came to caring for my parents, there were still stressful times.

No, you're not being a Scrooge.  When your father stays with you, he's that odd duck - not actually a guest, but he doesn't live there full time - so I think it's reasonable to expect him to occasionally pick up groceries; and lottery tickets?  On his dime, I think, unless you like the idea of buying him small gifts while he's staying with you.

Is there a reason your father can't just stay with you while your brother is on vacation?  Even if you pay all of your father's expenses while he stays with you, it's still cheaper than having those expenses plus feeding your brother's pets and paying his miscellaneous bill, plus your airfare.

Since your brother and SIL can't seem to schedule their vacation while your dad is at your house for four months, accept that but put forth your terms...tell them "When are you guys taking your vacation this year?  I'll plan for dad to come here for that time."  If they say they don't know, then give them a window, "Hmmmm, well, I've got a conference in March and I'm gone in June, and dad's already here between August and November...guess that leaves sometime in January, February, April, May, or December."

If they protest that you need to come to their house so they won't have to hire a pet/housesitter, just say that your vacation time is already committed for the year and you will not be able to take time off.  In short, give them the choice of sending dad to stay with you and taking a vacation, or not taking a vacation at all.

I know this is far easier for me to write than for you to say, but for the sake of your financial future and sanity, you need to talk to your brother now.

rain

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 05:21:41 PM »
they're just taking advantage of you


shine up you spine 'o steel  (your Bro & SIL seem to be a different breed of k'nihaves)
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Money Woes: Am I Being Scrooge Like, Profligate or Am I Justified?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 05:38:03 PM »
You should ask to be reimbursed for the pet food and lawn care.

Who pays for your Dads food and lottery tickets when your not around? If he has his own income, it should still be used when he us with you. If he doesn't, I can see you paying when with him, but you need to set limits. Tell him you can't afford lottery tickets and fancy food, he has to pick one or the other.