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.
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.