Author Topic: Relatives who just don't get it  (Read 1582273 times)

Tass

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5000 on: November 07, 2018, 04:56:47 PM »
My college jobs gave me a LOT of experience that I still draw on, both in actual work and in resume-building. But maybe I was uncommonly lucky (and granted, I am only 3 years out of college). I was a laboratory assistant and an RA.

My boyfriend got a six-figures software developer job immediately out of college based on a computer science minor, four years at our campus IT, and a lot of hobby work.

There is more value to be had from your school years than just what's found in the classroom.

Imma

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5001 on: November 08, 2018, 12:45:38 AM »
Brother is convinced. Starts applying for jobs. Tells my mother.

She convinces him to not get a job because they'll keep paying for everything while he's in school.

??????
This seems reasonable for me.  His job is to finish school asap and learn everything he can so he can start a real job making good money.  Spending 20-30 hours a week earning min wage just risks wasting money on classes that are flunked or not learning what he could of given time and focus.

It's same reason I discourage working during high school (assuming conditions permit).  Spend that extra time in high school for instance taking advanced college courses.  That said, a short summer job flipping burgers will teach you the value of money and provided me lots of motivation in college when I considered the alternative to finishing my report/projects.

This assumes he isn't being wasteful or excessive in his expenses in college.

But who would hire a college graduate with a blank CV? It's not that employers think flipping burgers or stacking shelves is relevant to your future job, but it shows work ethic and good character.

A friend of mine's parents also felt school was her job. She had a very hard time finding a job after graduating with a degree in an exotic language and an empty CV. She started her career at the reception desk and worked her way up eventually.

Kitsune

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5002 on: November 08, 2018, 06:57:58 AM »
Brother is convinced. Starts applying for jobs. Tells my mother.

She convinces him to not get a job because they'll keep paying for everything while he's in school.

??????
This seems reasonable for me.  His job is to finish school asap and learn everything he can so he can start a real job making good money.  Spending 20-30 hours a week earning min wage just risks wasting money on classes that are flunked or not learning what he could of given time and focus.

It's same reason I discourage working during high school (assuming conditions permit).  Spend that extra time in high school for instance taking advanced college courses.  That said, a short summer job flipping burgers will teach you the value of money and provided me lots of motivation in college when I considered the alternative to finishing my report/projects.

This assumes he isn't being wasteful or excessive in his expenses in college.

I mean. If he was studying and focused and finishing a program in the allotted time without adding years by having issues/changing programs/changing programs again? I might agree with you. As it stands, what should have been 5 years is more like 8-9 assuming everything goes perfectly from now on. (Editing to clarify: some of that is for perfectly valid health reasons... but. Not most.)

But if the boy can spend 20+ hours playing video games and smoking weed every week, boy can spend an evening or two bartending and making bank, y'know. Or can have a fixed budget and learn to stay within it. MULTIPLE options.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2018, 07:10:43 AM by Kitsune »

Kitsune

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5003 on: November 08, 2018, 07:11:33 AM »
My college jobs gave me a LOT of experience that I still draw on, both in actual work and in resume-building. But maybe I was uncommonly lucky (and granted, I am only 3 years out of college). I was a laboratory assistant and an RA.

My boyfriend got a six-figures software developer job immediately out of college based on a computer science minor, four years at our campus IT, and a lot of hobby work.

There is more value to be had from your school years than just what's found in the classroom.

This. I built a career out of an English Lit degree and student work. No student work? Oooooh boy different kettle of fish.

EricEng

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5004 on: November 08, 2018, 03:41:02 PM »
But who would hire a college graduate with a blank CV? It's not that employers think flipping burgers or stacking shelves is relevant to your future job, but it shows work ethic and good character.

A friend of mine's parents also felt school was her job. She had a very hard time finding a job after graduating with a degree in an exotic language and an empty CV. She started her career at the reception desk and worked her way up eventually.
My work is hiring any and all atm we are so desperate for engineering grads. That aside...

I forgot to mention internships in your field.  Those are absolutely worth it as they are almost part of the degree.  Job's flipping burgers, being a lifeguard, or retail are not a productive use of your time and don't help your resume as much as having a higher GPA would.  For my work though, most internships are summer only so as to not interfere with the degree.

onlykelsey

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5005 on: November 08, 2018, 03:45:06 PM »
But who would hire a college graduate with a blank CV? It's not that employers think flipping burgers or stacking shelves is relevant to your future job, but it shows work ethic and good character.

A friend of mine's parents also felt school was her job. She had a very hard time finding a job after graduating with a degree in an exotic language and an empty CV. She started her career at the reception desk and worked her way up eventually.
My work is hiring any and all atm we are so desperate for engineering grads. That aside...

I forgot to mention internships in your field.  Those are absolutely worth it as they are almost part of the degree.  Job's flipping burgers, being a lifeguard, or retail are not a productive use of your time and don't help your resume as much as having a higher GPA would.  For my work though, most internships are summer only so as to not interfere with the degree.
I would 100% prefer a 22 year old with a job flipping burgers or doing building maintenance over an undergrad internship.  Anecdata, to be sure, but in my experience the ones with internships are Bank of Mom and Dad kids without the work ethic or ability to relate to folks from different backgrounds that the burger flippers have.  Obviously different for more senior positions where relevant experience is needed.

ysette9

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5006 on: November 08, 2018, 03:50:47 PM »
In engineering at least having a summer internship is a huge factor in making it easier to get a job out of college.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5007 on: November 08, 2018, 04:12:13 PM »
In engineering at least having a summer internship is a huge factor in making it easier to get a job out of college.

It can be. One of the national labs in the state where I live has a thriving intern program, and I'm acquainted with a person who runs part of it and supervises what amounts to a herd of engineers who are working on a master's or Ph.D degree. (I'm constantly on the lookout for places to direct the students I mentor.)

At this particular lab, STEM students come for a few months, generally through the summer, it's a paid internship so they aren't depending on family money for living expenses, and at the end of it the lab snaps up any and all interns who show signs of proactivity. Grades have to be high enough to make a cutoff (and I'm told the minimum cutoff was fairly high), but provided they meet this "good enough" threshold and are eligible for a security clearance they don't split hairs over GPA when deciding whom to hire. They prefer a proactive approach to work, decent communication skills, basic professionalism, punctuality, organization skills, and the ability to stay focused and on task. Those attributes are what make the difference between departments fighting over who gets to present the first offer to a given intern, and whether that intern draws any offers at all.

According to my friend, between 80 and 90 percent of the interns, despite being competitive in their various graduate-level programs and looking like academic wizards on paper, simply don't have the ability to function as adults in the workplace. They won't reliably get up and come to work on time, they goof off instead of getting their work done, and they simply cannot work unsupervised. Many lack interpersonal skills and have to be told basics like the fact that showering and wearing clean clothing is not optional. For most of them, this is their first actual job with a paycheck despite the fact they're in their early to mid-twenties, because they did not have summer jobs or part-time jobs during high school or undergrad. It appeared to my friend-- and this was after a good ten years of herding interns-- that there was a relationship between even the "burger flipping" jobs that people look down on and the ability to display basic professionalism.

Knowing those facts, if I were interviewing someone who interned at a national lab and was NOT hired, I would want to know the reason why. It generally means they were immature or defective in some way, or they had some personal conflict such as a dislike for their assignment or an unwillingness to permanently relocate to that part of the country.

I am also *very* reluctant to hire anyone who has reached their mid-twenties with no significant work experience.

For the record, I've flipped burgers, done landscaping labor, looked after kids, delivered papers, and all kinds of other things to put myself through school and don't see why so many people sneer at that kind of work when it frequently pays better than what they're doing and can be a way to avoid unnecessary debt. Most of the students who are being encouraged to "focus on their education" instead of working are not using the surplus time to take harder courses or more of them; instead they're basically socializing. Nor do they necessarily get better grades.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5008 on: November 08, 2018, 04:44:55 PM »
I am also *very* reluctant to hire anyone who has reached their mid-twenties with no significant work experience.

Agreed! 

I would much rather hire the person with some time-clock punching work experience.  When they get to the boring parts of work, or parts where SOMEONE needs to finish the copying / filing / data entry and they are the junior delegate...... they might not like it, but are thinking "hey, this beats carrying drywall on the construction site for minimum wage..."   

tralfamadorian

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5009 on: November 08, 2018, 06:50:38 PM »
I am also *very* reluctant to hire anyone who has reached their mid-twenties with no significant work experience.

Agreed! 

I would much rather hire the person with some time-clock punching work experience.  When they get to the boring parts of work, or parts where SOMEONE needs to finish the copying / filing / data entry and they are the junior delegate...... they might not like it, but are thinking "hey, this beats carrying drywall on the construction site for minimum wage..."

+2

In a prior career, I did many, many new hire interviews for which new undergrads and masters grads applied. New hires would go into a kiddie pool then be divvied up in about three months into their permanent positions, of which one of the possibilities could be my department. Prior paid work experience was one of the best predictors of the new hires who became the most desired when it came to permanent placement.

DaMa

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5010 on: November 08, 2018, 07:52:39 PM »
I am also *very* reluctant to hire anyone who has reached their mid-twenties with no significant work experience.

Agreed! 

I would much rather hire the person with some time-clock punching work experience.  When they get to the boring parts of work, or parts where SOMEONE needs to finish the copying / filing / data entry and they are the junior delegate...... they might not like it, but are thinking "hey, this beats carrying drywall on the construction site for minimum wage..."

+3
Give me a candidate fresh out of college with a GPA around 3.0 and 4 or more years of work history doing anything that shows a work ethic.  I'd hire that guy over a 4.0 GPA with no work history.

Dave1442397

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5011 on: November 09, 2018, 06:15:35 AM »
For the record, I've flipped burgers, done landscaping labor, looked after kids, delivered papers, and all kinds of other things to put myself through school and don't see why so many people sneer at that kind of work when it frequently pays better than what they're doing and can be a way to avoid unnecessary debt.

I loved doing those jobs. I delivered milk (in glass bottles!), did landscaping on 95F+ days, painted houses, worked at McDonald's, and did phone surveys. I enjoyed the work, and found it rewarding to see another cut lawn, painted house, etc.

I have to say that McDonald's was the most fun. I worked the closing shift, so we stayed for a couple of hours after the store closed to clean up and prepare for the breakfast crew. It's a good thing we had no security cameras back then, because hormonal employees had way more fun than corporate would have approved of.

marion10

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5012 on: November 09, 2018, 09:26:54 AM »
I have to second the concerns about students with no work experience. The worst hire we ever made was a young woman who had a masters and no paid work experience. It was a disaster- there were other issues- but I believe part of it was as others have said- she simply didn't know how to work in an office. Yu don't want students to work too much in college but a small part time job or summer work is very beneficial.

Ever_Anon

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5013 on: November 09, 2018, 10:01:53 AM »
Today I learned that if my mother asks me to buy her new clothes and I reply "Sorry, it's not in the budget," that means one of two things.
  • I am in dire financial straits, likely as a result of my evil wife dragging me into whatever degenerate vices lesbians are into these days.
  • I am a total bitch who refuses to help my poor old parents out of the cruelty of my cold black heart.
Isn't family fun?

EricEng

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5014 on: November 09, 2018, 10:56:55 AM »
Quote
According to my friend, between 80 and 90 percent of the interns, despite being competitive in their various graduate-level programs and looking like academic wizards on paper, simply don't have the ability to function as adults in the workplace. They won't reliably get up and come to work on time, they goof off instead of getting their work done, and they simply cannot work unsupervised. Many lack i
That has not been my experience.  We have had dozens of new hire engineers straight out of college and only 1-2 duds.  Had 0 problem with them showing up on time, clean, dressed and ready to work.  Yeah, a lot don't know what to do without hand holding, but that is to be expected of entry level hires from college.  They all come in full of energy and put forth great effort.

Our worst hires tend to be the mid level "experienced" engineers with 10-20 years under their belt.  They look and sound great, but 50%+ are worthless, lazy, incompetent.

Nederstash

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5015 on: November 09, 2018, 01:18:56 PM »
Regarding work experience - I skipped over hiring someone with no work experience and chose someone else. Then I got the green light to hire another paralegal and she did get hired. So I got someone with experience and someone without experience. Boy, let me tell you... my instincts SUCKED. The one with experience turned out to be a dud and the green girl is now one of my top paralegals.

I learned my lesson there: always give someone a chance if you can.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5016 on: November 09, 2018, 01:57:13 PM »


For the record, I've flipped burgers, done landscaping labor, looked after kids, delivered papers, and all kinds of other things to put myself through school and don't see why so many people sneer at that kind of work when it frequently pays better than what they're doing and can be a way to avoid unnecessary debt. Most of the students who are being encouraged to "focus on their education" instead of working are not using the surplus time to take harder courses or more of them; instead they're basically socializing. Nor do they necessarily get better grades.
I sometimes think this is related to where your family falls in the socio-economic hierarchy.

I grew up in a blue collar town to blue and pink collar parents.  Most of my family members are blue/ pink collar.  I was the first kid to go to college right out of high school.  Though several of us went.  So, hard work was a thing.  It was taught.  Kids who stayed home after high school and work paid rent.  They bought their own cars.  Jobs were not plentiful in my small town, but my sisters were able to baby sit in high school.  I got a job senior year in HS only because my mom knew the wife of the general manager at the grocery store (that's how everyone got a job there).

So, I bagged groceries at a grocery store.  I worked for the gas company one summer (also because I knew someone, they only hired 3 summer interns).  I moved lawns there, loaded and unloaded pipe, weed-whacked the field, cleaned the bathroom and the windows, gassed up the trucks, and helped dig exactly one ditch (there were a lot of people out that day).  While in college I worked at the pizza place (work-study) both making pizza and at the cash register.  I did some programming one summer (I was not good at that).  I painted dorms one summer.  And 2 of the 3 summers I was required to spend 4 weeks with the Navy for ROTC.

Of course, this all taught me hard work, showing up on time, how to deal with sexist men, etc.  It was in college when I first encountered people of a different socio economic class.  Their job was to get good grades.  Some of them had cars, and their own computers!  (This was the 80s).  One of them, right before graduation, sneered at me "oh, isn't it so sad that you are going into the Navy with a salary of less than half of everyone else's?"  I said "nope, I'm just lucky to be here.  Happy to repay the US for my first class education."  (And I can't believe I didn't point out that despite not working and having daddy pay for everything he pulled a 2.2 and I had a 3.7.  But I digress...)

So now I'm firmly upper middle class, and my kids are still young. Several of our friends have kids who are in college right now, and many of them have jobs.  But, my neighborhood is mixed with blue collar and white collar, and so hard work is still valued.  For some families.   Other families really just push their kids for sports, grades, and whatever extra curricular activities will get them into a top school.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5017 on: November 09, 2018, 02:09:13 PM »
Quote
According to my friend, between 80 and 90 percent of the interns, despite being competitive in their various graduate-level programs and looking like academic wizards on paper, simply don't have the ability to function as adults in the workplace. They won't reliably get up and come to work on time, they goof off instead of getting their work done, and they simply cannot work unsupervised. Many lack i
That has not been my experience.  We have had dozens of new hire engineers straight out of college and only 1-2 duds.  Had 0 problem with them showing up on time, clean, dressed and ready to work.  Yeah, a lot don't know what to do without hand holding, but that is to be expected of entry level hires from college.  They all come in full of energy and put forth great effort.

Our worst hires tend to be the mid level "experienced" engineers with 10-20 years under their belt.  They look and sound great, but 50%+ are worthless, lazy, incompetent.

We had a string of these in my semiconductor company.  And I have a theory why.

At some point, you learn the lingo.  That string of people we had - well, they were really good at talking the talk.  They know the industry.  They know how to talk like they know what they are doing.  But they were not at all able to perform.  In our case, most of them were around 40-50 years old.  We had problems in almost every single division.

With enough experience you can make yourself sound great, even if you are unable to perform.

I tend to be super nice and give people the benefit of the doubt - way too much really.  For some of these people, they sucked because they were used to working in large companies, and we are a start up.  We do not have the infrastructure that they are used to. No, there is nobody keeping up with your inventory.  You have to do that.  For others, they just stopped sticking their necks out at work.  We had at least one person who apparently was awesome in his younger days.  But later?  He could not solve a problem by himself.  He kept asking for help.  For months.  With 30 years experience.  He would also only work on problems that his immediate supervisor assigned to him, even though his area had many problems.  Other people were clearly just climbing the corporate ladder, so to speak.

When it came to hiring experienced people, the only ones that really worked out were the ones that somebody knew personally.

ketchup

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5018 on: November 09, 2018, 08:46:14 PM »
I have to second the concerns about students with no work experience. The worst hire we ever made was a young woman who had a masters and no paid work experience. It was a disaster- there were other issues- but I believe part of it was as others have said- she simply didn't know how to work in an office. Yu don't want students to work too much in college but a small part time job or summer work is very beneficial.
We had a guy like that once at work.  I didn't have to deal with him much, but hiring an overeducated 30-year-old into his first job ever went about as well as you'd expect.  I think he lasted a month.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5019 on: November 10, 2018, 10:20:21 PM »


For the record, I've flipped burgers, done landscaping labor, looked after kids, delivered papers, and all kinds of other things to put myself through school and don't see why so many people sneer at that kind of work when it frequently pays better than what they're doing and can be a way to avoid unnecessary debt. Most of the students who are being encouraged to "focus on their education" instead of working are not using the surplus time to take harder courses or more of them; instead they're basically socializing. Nor do they necessarily get better grades.
I sometimes think this is related to where your family falls in the socio-economic hierarchy.

More like where your family expects *you* to be in the socio-economic hierarchy, and how amenable you are to their suggestions.

My mom's family was transplanted rural aristocracy and my father was raised working-class but found some highly compensated work in a niche industry and ended up nouveau-riche. I think it started out as one of those "chemistry" type things but it ended up lasting fifty years and counting. They wanted very badly for my brother to be an engineer and to eventually own a construction or machining company, and for me to be a female or possibly a lawyer. We both fucked up royally in terms of our respective assignments and were crushing disappointments, but work ethic was never a problem because we both connected money with the creation of value for other humans.

We wanted independence from family politics and stupidity, therefore we needed money. Therefore we worked. I gained my independence chiefly because I was able to leave the country and because I was able to keep my expenses low enough to not fuck up badly enough to require parental intervention. My brother's story is less happy and contains more vertical swive, but it's really not mine to tell except to say that I hope he breaks free soon before the two of them crush what's left of his personal initiative.

I think that families where people basically like each other, and where the parents actually like their children, probably do a better job of passing on whatever values they have.

Zikoris

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5020 on: November 11, 2018, 12:43:00 PM »
I have to say, I am SO GLAD I worked throughout high school, because I ended up needing Fuck You money very early on. It meant that when I was in my late teens and my mom married someone I hated, I could randomly decide to pack up and leave in two weeks, buy a cross-country bus ticket, and have the references and experience to find a job right away and start my adult life. Otherwise I would have had to do things very differently, I imagine. Instead I started my adult life with a big "Fuck This Shit I'm Out", the mindset of which has continued ever since. It worked out very well.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5021 on: November 11, 2018, 08:22:00 PM »
I have to say, I am SO GLAD I worked throughout high school, because I ended up needing Fuck You money very early on. It meant that when I was in my late teens and my mom married someone I hated, I could randomly decide to pack up and leave in two weeks, buy a cross-country bus ticket, and have the references and experience to find a job right away and start my adult life. Otherwise I would have had to do things very differently, I imagine. Instead I started my adult life with a big "Fuck This Shit I'm Out", the mindset of which has continued ever since. It worked out very well.
...This is maybe the happiest story I've ever read here. Thank you for sharing it.

MgoSam

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5022 on: November 12, 2018, 02:42:51 PM »
Regarding work experience - I skipped over hiring someone with no work experience and chose someone else. Then I got the green light to hire another paralegal and she did get hired. So I got someone with experience and someone without experience. Boy, let me tell you... my instincts SUCKED. The one with experience turned out to be a dud and the green girl is now one of my top paralegals.

I learned my lesson there: always give someone a chance if you can.

Best employee I've ever had was a guy with one of the worst resumes I've seen. It turned out that he just moved to the US from Spain and essentially just translated his resume from Spanish to English without correcting the grammar or syntax. His English was very good, no clue why he did it that way but he absolutely killed any sales targets we gave him. I miss having him around.

Dee

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5023 on: November 12, 2018, 08:45:02 PM »
Yeah, @Zikoris, that is an awesome FU money story. Is your mom still married to that man? Have your views of him changed over time?

Zikoris

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5024 on: November 12, 2018, 11:27:58 PM »
Yeah, @Zikoris, that is an awesome FU money story. Is your mom still married to that man? Have your views of him changed over time?

Yes, they're still married. No, my views have not changed - I refuse to see him, talk to him, or have anything to do with him. It's not a huge issue since she lives very far away and rarely visits, but when she comes to town I just visit with her on her own. I've never been that close with my mom, so a relationship where we email each other funny stuff here and there and go for lunch once or twice a year is actually perfect for me.

Dee

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5025 on: November 13, 2018, 06:50:40 PM »
Thanks for answering, @Zikoris. Really glad for you that you were able to exercise the option of getting out while you were young and taking advantage of the distance our vast country offers.

Just Joe

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5026 on: November 18, 2018, 07:23:10 PM »
So anyone have any holiday specific dysfunctional family stories?

Roadrunner53

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5027 on: November 19, 2018, 06:00:09 AM »
Yes, my dysfunctional in laws. This was years ago and they are no longer alive. I am an only child so this dysfunction was alarming to me! They had a small house and would invite around 14 people over for dinner. Their table only fit the normal 8 at best. Then they had a smaller table for several kids. The adults got to eat in 'shifts'. UGH! Plus, there was never any organization and someone would have to run to the store at the last minute to pick up something or another. Too crowded, eating in shifts and disorganization. I despised every minute of it! There was no real joy in eating. If you were the first shift you kind of had to hurry up so the second shift could eat. By second shift, food was cold. Then the one brother in law had a very bad temper and would always cause drama by screaming and hollering about something. UGH!

Kitsune

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5028 on: November 19, 2018, 07:45:09 AM »
So anyone have any holiday specific dysfunctional family stories?

... enough to write a novel.

I think my favorite not-hurtful dysfunction was the couple of friends my mother had invited over one year - we all live in the country, they were spending Christmas alone...

So, setting: full country. We have a gate closing off a long driveway, because that keeps the animals in, the predators out, and the neighbor's gigantic bull with large horns OUT of the orchard where it knocks down trees and knocks down the other fence to get to the 2nd neighbor's purebred cows (... farm, ok. FARM.) It's a typical country setting: you get to a place,  you open the gate, move the car, close it behind you, move on. Kind of a hassle, but just part of the environment. When we know that guests are coming over, we try and open the gates before they get there and then walk down to close it (because it's a balance of livestock containment and hassle for guests), but, y'know. Country farm. It's just kind of part of life.

So those friends get there a half hour early, see the closed gate at the bottom of a farmhouse driveway, get Terribly Offended, and drive home. An hour after they're expected (so an hour and a half after that...) my mom calls them, because she's worried that they're sick/injured/whatever and they RIP into her for DARING to invite them over and not opening the farmhouse gate a half hour early in preparation for their arrival. The phrase 'we hope everyone's Christmas is RUINED' was actually uttered.

It was just the most outlandish overreaction... *rolls eyes* Let's say it was the last time they were invited to ANYTHING.

merula

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5029 on: November 19, 2018, 09:34:11 AM »
Cast of characters: Sister (my sister), BIL (sister's husband), MIL (BIL's mom), FIL (BIL's dad), SDIL (step-dad-in-law, MIL's husband), Brother (BIL's brother, my sister's brother-in-law).

Sister married a guy with divorced parents (BIL), but her FIL is pretty anti-social and anti-holiday that he just went with whatever post-divorce. Her MIL is used to 100% involvement from her children for holidays, even though that typically just meant "kids spend Christmas Day at home, playing with Christmas presents and maybe a board game". Not anywhere near a "We've coordinated 30 extended family members who want to see you, you need to show up at exactly this time or Great Auntie Mabel will be very upset she missed you".

So, post-marriage, sister and BIL try to figure out a way to schedule Christmas. My side of the family is difficult because with other in-law-obligation issues we have to get together on Christmas Day. Sister and BIL arrange to meet with FIL at some random weekend around Christmas, and spend all of Christmas Eve with MIL. About a week before Christmas, MIL realizes that this means that she won't see sister and BIL at all on Christmas Day. She gets upset.

In an effort to keep the peace, BIL offers to come over on Christmas morning, but they have to leave by 10 to get to my family's gathering. Ok, great, says MIL. Sister and BIL get up at the buttcrack of dawn ON CHRISTMAS to get to MIL's at 8 as agreed. MIL, SDIL and Brother are all in pajamas and haven't started breakfast. Sister and BIL sit around while they get dressed and putter around making a fancy breakfast. They all eat breakfast together. It's now 10:15. Sister and BIL are already late to their main Christmas obligation.

MIL starts crying. "Can't you just stay for one board game? We hardly got to see you at all."

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5030 on: November 19, 2018, 10:23:35 AM »
In an effort to keep the peace, BIL offers to come over on Christmas morning, but they have to leave by 10 to get to my family's gathering. Ok, great, says MIL. Sister and BIL get up at the buttcrack of dawn ON CHRISTMAS to get to MIL's at 8 as agreed. MIL, SDIL and Brother are all in pajamas and haven't started breakfast. Sister and BIL sit around while they get dressed and putter around making a fancy breakfast. They all eat breakfast together. It's now 10:15. Sister and BIL are already late to their main Christmas obligation.

MIL starts crying. "Can't you just stay for one board game? We hardly got to see you at all."

This reminds me of the one time DH and I attempted to see both sides of the family on Thanksgiving.  Typically we alternated years, one year with DH's family, the next year with mine and so on.   I don't remember why we tried this but only once convinced us to go back to alternating.  On this day, we were going to SIL's in the afternoon and then my uncle's home for the evening.  There involved an hour's driving time between SIL and uncle.

We arrive at SIL's house, as SIL insisted that all family celebrations be at her house (a topic for another post).   Turns that we are not the only ones planning to see other relatives, SIL's MIL and her boyfriend were planning to see boyfriend's family afterward.  SIL is taking her sweet time getting everything on table, she needs me and MIL to help her out do most of the work to finally get things moving.   We finally sit down crammed around the kitchen table.  Then, when dinner is over, SIL says we have to stay for birthday cake as nephew's birthday is around Thanksgiving.   Oh, but wait, the birthday cake is in the freezer, it's only right then she takes it out to thaw.  None of us (me, DH, SIL's MIL and boyfriend) want to act like a jerk around nephew (who is around 7) by saying we don't want to stick around for cake and deprive him of his "happy birthday" as we are aunt (me), uncle (DH), grandmother (SIL MIL) and sort of step-grandfather (the boyfriend) to this kid.

Finally get through the "happy birthday" and cake thing then we immediately get up to go.  SIL doesn't understand why we have to leave, what part of we have to get to another family Thanksgiving doesn't she understand.   Things get a little testy but we finally get out of there and on the way to uncle's house.  SIL MIL and boyfriend leave at same time, clearly annoyed.  Arrive at uncle's house late but that's ok because uncle procrastinates like crazy and relatives were still waiting to sit down to dinner.

I told DH we would never try that again.  MIL has always complained about her daughter, but this is where SIL's passive agressiveness was in full display.  At least we didn't take it personally because she was doing the same thing to her MIL, her supposedly "best friend".  That was telling.  Still annoying though.   At least this time, my uncle's own quirkiness worked in our favor.

These days, the family gatherings on the in-law side have changed, and we no longer go.   Long story for another post but considering all the drama we hear about afterward, it's probably a blessing.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5031 on: November 19, 2018, 10:53:21 AM »
I have decided to fuck off for the holidays this year: I'm taking the Venomous Spaz Beast and either hiding out or going on the road.

No more waiting around, alone, while the special meal I fixed gets cold and all the invited guests Have Other Plans or just plain don't show up.

No more having people show up late, several hours after the meal and with uninvited extras in tow, asking for "to-go" boxes after all the food has been put away. No more having the few attendees bitch about this, that, or the other thing... or refuse to eat anything because they've already eaten somewhere else.

No more putting up decorations for people who aren't going to show because they have other parties with more important and more interesting people. Given that they haven't been bothered to show up at my place for three years running, I feel no need to continue to provide what they don't want.

No more buying gifts for my daughter or for others and receiving fuck-all in return.

Just no more.

I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

The day after, I'm hosting a Wolfenoot open house from 4 to 7 PM, as an alternative to Black Friday. Because fuck Thanksgiving.

For Giftmas this year, I'll be stuffing stockings for the kids and telling them that because they've blown me off for three years straight, this is it: if they still continue to give gifts to other people and not acknowledge me with so much as a pair of fuzzy socks, I will be making no holiday gifts in the future. It's the end of the road for the one-way street.

Then, I will literally drive off into the sunset with a six-pack of Dos Equis and the Venomous Spaz Beast. I hope to visit a national park and spend time with the one creature on this green Earth who loves and appreciates me and who isn't either wrapped up in her own problems or trying to gouge me for as much as she can get.

/bliss
/freedom
/doggie kisses

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5032 on: November 19, 2018, 11:08:10 AM »
I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

LOL'd at this.   I would love to know what's in this recipe!

On the serious side, I don't blame you at all for making different holiday plans.  DH and I do our own thing for Christmas Eve instead of attending his family's insane Giftmas.  He's not willing to give a bunch of gifts to a bunch of family members he barely even sees. 

PrairieBeardstache

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5033 on: November 19, 2018, 11:29:14 AM »
I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

LOL'd at this.   I would love to know what's in this recipe!

On the serious side, I don't blame you at all for making different holiday plans.  DH and I do our own thing for Christmas Eve instead of attending his family's insane Giftmas.  He's not willing to give a bunch of gifts to a bunch of family members he barely even sees.

Last year I went on a ski vacation. Much better.

Family insists on giving gifts - why? I don't understand the purpose. None of them have even _seen_ the place that I live. It's not like it's an uncomfortable place to be, it's a loft space in a trendy area. Why do I need to give them gifts or they give them to me?

This year I think I'm going to chill in my little space and enjoy how quiet it is.

Sugaree

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5034 on: November 19, 2018, 11:38:33 AM »
So anyone have any holiday specific dysfunctional family stories?

Not necessarily my family, but more like my chosen family (my long-time best friend's family).  Christmas at their house has always been....obnoxious.   They've never had a whole lot of money.  Best friend has paid her mom and dad's rent since she was 15.  At 21 she was able to claim 6 or 7 dependents on her taxes because she was the only adult in the household working.  On paper anyway.  But somehow they manage to pull off huge Christmases.  Like Mt. St. Nick erupted in their living rooms.  I know that they are really into Black Friday shopping and stuff, but there's no way that they aren't spending $1000 per kid/grandkid now.  I hate taking my kid over there because I know that sooner or later he's going to start to ask why her daughter, who is the same age, gets so much stuff from her family, and he only gets one "big" gift and a couple of other smaller things.

Cassie

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5035 on: November 19, 2018, 12:23:13 PM »
We invite family and friends over for lunch on Xmas. I make the main dish and everyone brings something.  Everyone brings a white elephant gift that they made or something they own that they donít want. You draw numbers to see who gets to pick a gift first and stealing is allowed. Itís a lot of fun and doesnít cost anything.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5036 on: November 19, 2018, 01:19:14 PM »
Hardcore Cornography

Ingredients:
6 cups corn, uncooked (canned or frozen is fine, but thaw and drain it)
12 oz. bacon, sliced and then cut into 1 cm strips cross-wise
2/3 cup chopped green onions
Optional: 1/3 cup diced green chile
Salt, paprika, and pepper to taste

In as good-sized skillet, cook the chopped-up bacon in its own grease.
Once the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan temporarily.
I find it good to do the bacon in two or three rounds.
In the bacon grease coated pan, saute the corn just enough to blacken it.
Add the bacon back in along with the green onions and the (optional) green chile.
Remove from heat. Stir.
Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. (I find salt unnecessary because of the bacon.)
Dump the whole mess in a bowl and serve it hot.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5037 on: November 19, 2018, 01:50:25 PM »
In an effort to keep the peace, BIL offers to come over on Christmas morning, but they have to leave by 10 to get to my family's gathering. Ok, great, says MIL. Sister and BIL get up at the buttcrack of dawn ON CHRISTMAS to get to MIL's at 8 as agreed. MIL, SDIL and Brother are all in pajamas and haven't started breakfast. Sister and BIL sit around while they get dressed and putter around making a fancy breakfast. They all eat breakfast together. It's now 10:15. Sister and BIL are already late to their main Christmas obligation.

MIL starts crying. "Can't you just stay for one board game? We hardly got to see you at all."

This reminds me of the one time DH and I attempted to see both sides of the family on Thanksgiving.  Typically we alternated years, one year with DH's family, the next year with mine and so on.   I don't remember why we tried this but only once convinced us to go back to alternating.  On this day, we were going to SIL's in the afternoon and then my uncle's home for the evening.  There involved an hour's driving time between SIL and uncle.

We arrive at SIL's house, as SIL insisted that all family celebrations be at her house (a topic for another post).   Turns that we are not the only ones planning to see other relatives, SIL's MIL and her boyfriend were planning to see boyfriend's family afterward.  SIL is taking her sweet time getting everything on table, she needs me and MIL to help her out do most of the work to finally get things moving.   We finally sit down crammed around the kitchen table.  Then, when dinner is over, SIL says we have to stay for birthday cake as nephew's birthday is around Thanksgiving.   Oh, but wait, the birthday cake is in the freezer, it's only right then she takes it out to thaw.  None of us (me, DH, SIL's MIL and boyfriend) want to act like a jerk around nephew (who is around 7) by saying we don't want to stick around for cake and deprive him of his "happy birthday" as we are aunt (me), uncle (DH), grandmother (SIL MIL) and sort of step-grandfather (the boyfriend) to this kid.

Finally get through the "happy birthday" and cake thing then we immediately get up to go.  SIL doesn't understand why we have to leave, what part of we have to get to another family Thanksgiving doesn't she understand.   Things get a little testy but we finally get out of there and on the way to uncle's house.  SIL MIL and boyfriend leave at same time, clearly annoyed.  Arrive at uncle's house late but that's ok because uncle procrastinates like crazy and relatives were still waiting to sit down to dinner.

I told DH we would never try that again.  MIL has always complained about her daughter, but this is where SIL's passive agressiveness was in full display.  At least we didn't take it personally because she was doing the same thing to her MIL, her supposedly "best friend".  That was telling.  Still annoying though.   At least this time, my uncle's own quirkiness worked in our favor.

These days, the family gatherings on the in-law side have changed, and we no longer go.   Long story for another post but considering all the drama we hear about afterward, it's probably a blessing.
Years ago when I was in the Navy, I met a new guy in my office.  He was 22, recently married to his HS sweetheart.  I asked him what he was doing for Thanksgiving (or Christmas?)  He said "nothing".  I thought that it was a bit odd because he was only 22, we lived in DC, which wasn't too far from his hometown in PA.  But then he told me the story.

His parents, and her parents, (both) are very territorial.  At the prior holiday (or when they got married, my  memory is fuzzy), they had to see both families on the same day.   Because one family got more time than the other the other family asked nicely if they could do breakfast before they headed back home.  So, they did.  The first family that didn't get breakfast got all butthurt and freaked the fuck out because THEY WEREN'T THE LAST ONES TO SEE THEM BEFORE THEY LEFT.  So, they just stopped going to visit family on holidays.  (Funniest thing is, this guy and his wife and kids moved to Europe eventually.  Guess that worked out for the parents, eh?)

Apples

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5038 on: November 19, 2018, 02:19:13 PM »
Two in-laws stories:

The year DH and I got engaged, I learned how crazy his family actually is.  SIL fumed that he gave me "her" blanket when I was chilly on the couch.  It was just the regular living room blanket.  MIL did many repetitions of "do you like your new (far away) state?  are you sure?  don't want to move any closer?" (we live on the farm I work on and will one day own.....umm we're not going to move away lady.)  Finally, SIL spent the last night we were there, for 2 hours tucked away with the door locked, trying to convince my fiance to not marry me.  Now-DH told me the next day on the car ride home, and asked me not to let her know that I know.  I should have called her and chewed her out and un-bridesmaid'd her.  But DH didn't want that.  Anyway, for years I was glad we were 11 hours away and our wedding day was awkward due to weird not-quite-tension.

At another family gathering, my MIL got up from dinner after getting sick and tired of SIL being drunk and mean to her, and decided to walk home.  2 miles, on several random streets, in an unfamiliar town, in the pouring rain.  Without her phone.  Pretended she was going to the bathroom, then never came back.  Apparently she used to do this more regularly about 15 years ago.  Giant family search for her.  She arrived back where we were staying (I had been stationed there to wait instead of looking for her), looked at me, smiled and said hello, then said she was going for a hot shower.  She and SIL had an argument out on the porch for about an hour afterward.  Yay family vacation.  Not holiday specific, but I think it rounds out the picture of my in-laws.

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5039 on: November 19, 2018, 02:38:14 PM »
His parents, and her parents, (both) are very territorial.  At the prior holiday (or when they got married, my  memory is fuzzy), they had to see both families on the same day.   Because one family got more time than the other the other family asked nicely if they could do breakfast before they headed back home.  So, they did.  The first family that didn't get breakfast got all butthurt and freaked the fuck out because THEY WEREN'T THE LAST ONES TO SEE THEM BEFORE THEY LEFT.  So, they just stopped going to visit family on holidays.  (Funniest thing is, this guy and his wife and kids moved to Europe eventually.  Guess that worked out for the parents, eh?)

This is not related to holidays but somewhat pertinent.  Not only being territorial but the insistence that everything be "fair" on both sides.   DH's family gets really weird about the fact that my family, well, celebrates things more.  Like birthdays, first communions, graduations, etc. unlike DH's immediate family does not.  Our niece and nephew's school graduations went uncelebrated, SIL couldn't be bothered to even tell family when they were.  First communions didn't happen.   Birthdays were parties with just parents, grandparents and other sibling at the local pizza joint.  There seemed to be no kids' parties.   Combined with the fact that my family is larger compared to DH's small family (both his parents are only children so therefore no aunts/uncles/first cousins) that multiplies the celebrations that we go to on my side of the family than his side.  Just what it is: there's more people who do more things. 

But that doesn't prevent the in-laws getting all freaked out that we do more with my family.   It got worse when my sister had two kids, so then now we have my sister's kids in addition to SIL's two kids and they got into this weird competition mode.  They are absolutely convinced that we treat my sister's kids more favorably than we treat SIL's kids, when the truth is we have been fair to both when there's an event to be celebrated.  Nephews on my side got first communion gifts, niece / nephew on DH's side did not because they didn't go to church much less have a first communion.   Even my niece's wedding (SIL daughter) was a quiet event in Vegas with just 10 people in attendance, which is fine, but even though we were not invited to this event along with a lot of other family, we still gave a gift.  It was the right thing for an aunt and uncle to do.  Yet, somehow they get on a tear about how "unfair" we are.



merula

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5040 on: November 19, 2018, 03:01:12 PM »
This is not related to holidays but somewhat pertinent.  Not only being territorial but the insistence that everything be "fair" on both sides.

I have a theory that no one is ever entirely "fair" about doing things with both sides of the family evenly. There are differences in proximity, number, frequency of celebrations, etc., but also in the closeness of various family members. This only becomes a problem when someone is hurt about being on the losing end but unwilling to change any of the dynamics that influenced that state of affairs.

For example, saguaro, if your in-laws would have more gatherings, you would attend them. If your husband's parents were close to more distant family (don't they have cousins?), you'd celebrate with those folks. If they were more rational and reasonable, you might instigate more gatherings. "Hey DH, haven't seen your family in awhile, let's have them over for dinner just because."

In my life, my sister and my husband's grandpa have the same birthday, which is also very near my mom's. Every year, something gets planned to celebrate Sister and Mom's birthdays, generally 3-4 weeks ahead of time so that people can plan around it. For years I would ask my husband, and sometimes my MIL, if anything had been planned for Grandpa. "Nope, haven't heard anything." And then we get a call ~3 days before, "Hey, we're getting together on Grandpa's birthday, can you make it?" "Nope, we already have plans." And then feelings are hurt.

This has been going on for FIFTEEN YEARS. It's not new.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5041 on: November 19, 2018, 03:05:37 PM »
I have decided to fuck off for the holidays this year: I'm taking the Venomous Spaz Beast and either hiding out or going on the road.

No more waiting around, alone, while the special meal I fixed gets cold and all the invited guests Have Other Plans or just plain don't show up.

No more having people show up late, several hours after the meal and with uninvited extras in tow, asking for "to-go" boxes after all the food has been put away. No more having the few attendees bitch about this, that, or the other thing... or refuse to eat anything because they've already eaten somewhere else.

No more putting up decorations for people who aren't going to show because they have other parties with more important and more interesting people. Given that they haven't been bothered to show up at my place for three years running, I feel no need to continue to provide what they don't want.

No more buying gifts for my daughter or for others and receiving fuck-all in return.

Just no more.

I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

The day after, I'm hosting a Wolfenoot open house from 4 to 7 PM, as an alternative to Black Friday. Because fuck Thanksgiving.

For Giftmas this year, I'll be stuffing stockings for the kids and telling them that because they've blown me off for three years straight, this is it: if they still continue to give gifts to other people and not acknowledge me with so much as a pair of fuzzy socks, I will be making no holiday gifts in the future. It's the end of the road for the one-way street.

Then, I will literally drive off into the sunset with a six-pack of Dos Equis and the Venomous Spaz Beast. I hope to visit a national park and spend time with the one creature on this green Earth who loves and appreciates me and who isn't either wrapped up in her own problems or trying to gouge me for as much as she can get.

/bliss
/freedom
/doggie kisses
It always makes me sad and incredulous at the same time when you mention people who just don't show up.  I'd be there early with a bottle of wine and bells on!  That corn recipe looks soooo good.

I think for us, the advantage of living so damn far from family is freedom on holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We've done all manner of things-
- Traveled to Legoland, stayed in a hotel, eaten a nice dinner out with very old friends who happened to be in town
- Gone camping in the desert, long road trip to Grand Canyon, dinner with my cousins in Phoenix
- 24 hour train ride to Lamy, NM (if we ever did that again, we'd stop in ALB and rent a car) and a week long visit with some of our oldest friends in Santa Fe.  We traveled on Christmas day
- weeklong stomach flu at Thanksgiving.  Not my favorite holiday - saltines and applesauce
- Big hosted dinners.  It's been awhile since we've done this, with the kids and all.  This year, we invited the neighbors because my hubby "misses" the big dinners.  He likes being with people.  Instead, they decided to host us.  So we'll make our "heart attack on a plate" mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, a green vegetable, and the famous icebox rolls and take them over.

Enjoy the Dos Equis and National park

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5042 on: November 19, 2018, 03:35:41 PM »
I have decided to fuck off for the holidays this year: I'm taking the Venomous Spaz Beast and either hiding out or going on the road.

No more waiting around, alone, while the special meal I fixed gets cold and all the invited guests Have Other Plans or just plain don't show up.

No more having people show up late, several hours after the meal and with uninvited extras in tow, asking for "to-go" boxes after all the food has been put away. No more having the few attendees bitch about this, that, or the other thing... or refuse to eat anything because they've already eaten somewhere else.

No more putting up decorations for people who aren't going to show because they have other parties with more important and more interesting people. Given that they haven't been bothered to show up at my place for three years running, I feel no need to continue to provide what they don't want.

No more buying gifts for my daughter or for others and receiving fuck-all in return.

Just no more.

I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

The day after, I'm hosting a Wolfenoot open house from 4 to 7 PM, as an alternative to Black Friday. Because fuck Thanksgiving.

For Giftmas this year, I'll be stuffing stockings for the kids and telling them that because they've blown me off for three years straight, this is it: if they still continue to give gifts to other people and not acknowledge me with so much as a pair of fuzzy socks, I will be making no holiday gifts in the future. It's the end of the road for the one-way street.

Then, I will literally drive off into the sunset with a six-pack of Dos Equis and the Venomous Spaz Beast. I hope to visit a national park and spend time with the one creature on this green Earth who loves and appreciates me and who isn't either wrapped up in her own problems or trying to gouge me for as much as she can get.

/bliss
/freedom
/doggie kisses
It always makes me sad and incredulous at the same time when you mention people who just don't show up.  I'd be there early with a bottle of wine and bells on!  That corn recipe looks soooo good.

I think for us, the advantage of living so damn far from family is freedom on holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We've done all manner of things-
- Traveled to Legoland, stayed in a hotel, eaten a nice dinner out with very old friends who happened to be in town
- Gone camping in the desert, long road trip to Grand Canyon, dinner with my cousins in Phoenix
- 24 hour train ride to Lamy, NM (if we ever did that again, we'd stop in ALB and rent a car) and a week long visit with some of our oldest friends in Santa Fe.  We traveled on Christmas day
- weeklong stomach flu at Thanksgiving.  Not my favorite holiday - saltines and applesauce
- Big hosted dinners.  It's been awhile since we've done this, with the kids and all.  This year, we invited the neighbors because my hubby "misses" the big dinners.  He likes being with people.  Instead, they decided to host us.  So we'll make our "heart attack on a plate" mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, a green vegetable, and the famous icebox rolls and take them over.

Enjoy the Dos Equis and National park

If you're taking the train to Lamy, rent your car in ABQ not ALB. Albany, NY is a 36 hour drive.

National parks are generally deserted on Christmas.

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5043 on: November 19, 2018, 03:40:02 PM »
First off, shout out to @TheGrimSqueaker in thanks for recipe.   Looks good and I will definitely try it.

For example, saguaro, if your in-laws would have more gatherings, you would attend them. If your husband's parents were close to more distant family (don't they have cousins?), you'd celebrate with those folks. If they were more rational and reasonable, you might instigate more gatherings. "Hey DH, haven't seen your family in awhile, let's have them over for dinner just because."

Most definitely if there were more gatherings, we would be there.  For a few years, after our niece got married she and her husband hosted more gatherings because in her words "she wanted to celebrate things", that is what happened.   However, that was back when she had 1 kid.   Now there's 4 kids, so more demands on her time and finances.   There's some tension with the husband's family so they don't attend anymore, so they appear to have fallen back to how things were celebrated (or not celebrated) before.   Even my MIL and FIL have to fight to be included on these events.  There were more events with some second cousins when they had kids (baptisms / birthdays) but due to a falling out with MIL and FIL that stopped as well.   

In my life, my sister and my husband's grandpa have the same birthday, which is also very near my mom's. Every year, something gets planned to celebrate Sister and Mom's birthdays, generally 3-4 weeks ahead of time so that people can plan around it. For years I would ask my husband, and sometimes my MIL, if anything had been planned for Grandpa. "Nope, haven't heard anything." And then we get a call ~3 days before, "Hey, we're getting together on Grandpa's birthday, can you make it?" "Nope, we already have plans." And then feelings are hurt.

This is part of the problem, some events are set up last minute and we are unable to attend due to previous plans.   We couldn't attend MIL's 80th birthday because it was thrown together at the last minute. 

I personally have tried to set up celebrations at my home, to no avail.   SIL has effectively commandeered all events in the immediate in-law family so that the times I offered, it was like I was upstaging her causing all kinds of drama.   Even though she won't bother much, she won't allow someone else to take over, with the exception of her daughter because it's still having control.  DH asked me not to try again so I haven't.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5044 on: November 19, 2018, 04:57:44 PM »
Throwing a party together at the last minute is a very expensive and stressful way to do things. But it's situation normal in people who live chaotic, "spontaneous" lifestyles. I find that some folks live day to day or even minute to minute, and because their plans change without notice and they will not hold up their end of an agreement, it's absolutely impossible to make long-term plans involving them. The behavior is embedded so deeply it seems to be cultural, with each family having its own internal clock.

In my daughter's family, only people with grandchildren host, and the custom is to migrate around between various hosts within the same town, visiting each but not necessarily staying for long. The only time people host is for a holiday or a religious event, and the only acceptable structure is an open house wherein people drop in. They do not do "mealtimes". The concept of dinner being at a specific time is lost on them, but it doesn't matter because the service is buffet style and the kind of food prepared can safely sit and simmer for hours without the quality being affected. The rest of the time, they don't host: they go to restaurants. Trying to get one of them to commit to something like a dinner party is extremely difficult because they simply won't show up on time, and when they wander in 45 minutes after the food has been served, they bitch about how they don't like this, that, or the other thing. They believe the food is "bad" because after sitting and waiting 45 minutes it's become cold and unpalatable. Sometimes they arrive very early, or very late, or they don't show up at all. Overall, they can't be hosted at events that have a mealtime.

I once compared my father's family to a flock of birds: no discussion, no real communication, no central leader or organizer, and then without warning there's a general movement as though everyone is flapping off to the same location. It's extremely last-minute and higgledy-piggledy, which means that the celebrations tend to be small and local. On the plus side, the wedding receptions are cheap and easy-- cake and punch-- so people don't expect anything big or formal. There's an advantage to that from a frugality perspective. On the down side, it's very unfriendly to outsiders or to family members who live far away, because it's simply impossible to find out about an event in time to attend it. The lack of communication is so intense that it comes across as a deliberate attempt to make sure we don't show up, so that they can continue griping about how the excluded person doesn't show up or participate.

Then of course there's my mother's family: dates are announced several months in advance, and an official invitation must be sent out one month to two weeks before a major festivity. Everything is done in the home (yay frugality!). In my small home I can only handle a small party of 20 seated or 35 open-house. But to ensure that everyone has a seat and a meal, and to minimize waste, it's important to have a reliable head count. Ingredients have to be bought and made in advance to ensure that everyone's dietary needs are met. So the drop-in, "maybe" response to invitations is incredibly vexing.

OtherJen

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5045 on: November 20, 2018, 07:40:15 AM »
Weíre spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws. This includes my young niece and nephew, who collectively eat about 12 foods. Fortunately Iíve been tasked with making stuffing (which they wonít eat), gravy (which they wonít eat), and cheesecake (which they wonít eat), so it isnít at all my responsibility to make sure that they consume a fruit or vegetable.

Regarding time spent with sides of families: this is always challenging. Iím an only child who has good adult relationships with both parents, and husband and I live only a few miles from my parents. Most of my extended family is in the same metro area. Husband isnít close with his parents, and they and the rest of his immediate family (and most of the extended family) live a few hours away. We obviously see my family more by default. After 15 years, Iím done feeling guilty about it.

Regarding dysfunctional family holiday situations, 20-ish years ago my dadís older sister called him up to tell him that the rest of the siblings had voted not to invite my parents and me to future family gatherings. (I donít know the exact timing; I was away at school and assumed we didnít spend time with that family because of a fight, not because weíd been disowned.) That decree was later reversed when the sociopathic middle child (who has bullied dad since childhood) moved out of state. I think my dadís younger sister was the only one to ever apologize; everyone else acts like nothing happened. I like my cousins well enough but donít trust my aunts and uncles anymore.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5046 on: November 20, 2018, 11:58:49 AM »
Weíre spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws. This includes my young niece and nephew, who collectively eat about 12 foods. Fortunately Iíve been tasked with making stuffing (which they wonít eat), gravy (which they wonít eat), and cheesecake (which they wonít eat), so it isnít at all my responsibility to make sure that they consume a fruit or vegetable.

Regarding time spent with sides of families: this is always challenging. Iím an only child who has good adult relationships with both parents, and husband and I live only a few miles from my parents. Most of my extended family is in the same metro area. Husband isnít close with his parents, and they and the rest of his immediate family (and most of the extended family) live a few hours away. We obviously see my family more by default. After 15 years, Iím done feeling guilty about it.

Regarding dysfunctional family holiday situations, 20-ish years ago my dadís older sister called him up to tell him that the rest of the siblings had voted not to invite my parents and me to future family gatherings. (I donít know the exact timing; I was away at school and assumed we didnít spend time with that family because of a fight, not because weíd been disowned.) That decree was later reversed when the sociopathic middle child (who has bullied dad since childhood) moved out of state. I think my dadís younger sister was the only one to ever apologize; everyone else acts like nothing happened. I like my cousins well enough but donít trust my aunts and uncles anymore.

You do realize, don't you, that it's going to happen again. The entire family knew they had a little toxic emperor of a middle child, and they chose to allow the bullying to occur and to deliberately expel the victim instead of addressing the root cause of the problem. They knew what they were doing was backwards and inappropriate, but they did it anyway, and aside from the one sibling who apologized, everyone else thinks it's just tickety-bickety and pretends they didn't have anything to do with what happened.

This group of people is going to continue to pee on your leg and tell you it's raining. They are simply not capable of doing otherwise, and even though the younger sister made the requisite mouth noises after the fact she didn't raise a finger to help back when the nonsense was really going down. She was too busy kowtowing to the designated emperor like the rest.

You're 100% right to mistrust your aunts and uncles. However, any of the cousins over the age of majority should probably be steered clear of too, because look at the kind of environment they grew up in, and what they too were willing to go along with.

It's only a matter of time before the family elects another emperor, and only a matter of time before they need another scapegoat. Run. Run for the hills while you and your parents have a chance. Enjoy the relatively non-toxic life you've built together.

mm1970

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5047 on: November 20, 2018, 01:47:54 PM »
I have decided to fuck off for the holidays this year: I'm taking the Venomous Spaz Beast and either hiding out or going on the road.

No more waiting around, alone, while the special meal I fixed gets cold and all the invited guests Have Other Plans or just plain don't show up.

No more having people show up late, several hours after the meal and with uninvited extras in tow, asking for "to-go" boxes after all the food has been put away. No more having the few attendees bitch about this, that, or the other thing... or refuse to eat anything because they've already eaten somewhere else.

No more putting up decorations for people who aren't going to show because they have other parties with more important and more interesting people. Given that they haven't been bothered to show up at my place for three years running, I feel no need to continue to provide what they don't want.

No more buying gifts for my daughter or for others and receiving fuck-all in return.

Just no more.

I'm going to a friend's house on Thanksgiving and bringing cranberries and a notorious vegetable dish known as "hardcore cornography."

The day after, I'm hosting a Wolfenoot open house from 4 to 7 PM, as an alternative to Black Friday. Because fuck Thanksgiving.

For Giftmas this year, I'll be stuffing stockings for the kids and telling them that because they've blown me off for three years straight, this is it: if they still continue to give gifts to other people and not acknowledge me with so much as a pair of fuzzy socks, I will be making no holiday gifts in the future. It's the end of the road for the one-way street.

Then, I will literally drive off into the sunset with a six-pack of Dos Equis and the Venomous Spaz Beast. I hope to visit a national park and spend time with the one creature on this green Earth who loves and appreciates me and who isn't either wrapped up in her own problems or trying to gouge me for as much as she can get.

/bliss
/freedom
/doggie kisses
It always makes me sad and incredulous at the same time when you mention people who just don't show up.  I'd be there early with a bottle of wine and bells on!  That corn recipe looks soooo good.

I think for us, the advantage of living so damn far from family is freedom on holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We've done all manner of things-
- Traveled to Legoland, stayed in a hotel, eaten a nice dinner out with very old friends who happened to be in town
- Gone camping in the desert, long road trip to Grand Canyon, dinner with my cousins in Phoenix
- 24 hour train ride to Lamy, NM (if we ever did that again, we'd stop in ALB and rent a car) and a week long visit with some of our oldest friends in Santa Fe.  We traveled on Christmas day
- weeklong stomach flu at Thanksgiving.  Not my favorite holiday - saltines and applesauce
- Big hosted dinners.  It's been awhile since we've done this, with the kids and all.  This year, we invited the neighbors because my hubby "misses" the big dinners.  He likes being with people.  Instead, they decided to host us.  So we'll make our "heart attack on a plate" mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, a green vegetable, and the famous icebox rolls and take them over.

Enjoy the Dos Equis and National park

If you're taking the train to Lamy, rent your car in ABQ not ALB. Albany, NY is a 36 hour drive.

National parks are generally deserted on Christmas.

AH HA HA.  Yes, habit.  In laws live in Upstate NY so we are always flying in and out of ALB.

OtherJen

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5048 on: November 20, 2018, 01:51:32 PM »
Weíre spending Thanksgiving with my in-laws. This includes my young niece and nephew, who collectively eat about 12 foods. Fortunately Iíve been tasked with making stuffing (which they wonít eat), gravy (which they wonít eat), and cheesecake (which they wonít eat), so it isnít at all my responsibility to make sure that they consume a fruit or vegetable.

Regarding time spent with sides of families: this is always challenging. Iím an only child who has good adult relationships with both parents, and husband and I live only a few miles from my parents. Most of my extended family is in the same metro area. Husband isnít close with his parents, and they and the rest of his immediate family (and most of the extended family) live a few hours away. We obviously see my family more by default. After 15 years, Iím done feeling guilty about it.

Regarding dysfunctional family holiday situations, 20-ish years ago my dadís older sister called him up to tell him that the rest of the siblings had voted not to invite my parents and me to future family gatherings. (I donít know the exact timing; I was away at school and assumed we didnít spend time with that family because of a fight, not because weíd been disowned.) That decree was later reversed when the sociopathic middle child (who has bullied dad since childhood) moved out of state. I think my dadís younger sister was the only one to ever apologize; everyone else acts like nothing happened. I like my cousins well enough but donít trust my aunts and uncles anymore.

You do realize, don't you, that it's going to happen again. The entire family knew they had a little toxic emperor of a middle child, and they chose to allow the bullying to occur and to deliberately expel the victim instead of addressing the root cause of the problem. They knew what they were doing was backwards and inappropriate, but they did it anyway, and aside from the one sibling who apologized, everyone else thinks it's just tickety-bickety and pretends they didn't have anything to do with what happened.

This group of people is going to continue to pee on your leg and tell you it's raining. They are simply not capable of doing otherwise, and even though the younger sister made the requisite mouth noises after the fact she didn't raise a finger to help back when the nonsense was really going down. She was too busy kowtowing to the designated emperor like the rest.

You're 100% right to mistrust your aunts and uncles. However, any of the cousins over the age of majority should probably be steered clear of too, because look at the kind of environment they grew up in, and what they too were willing to go along with.

It's only a matter of time before the family elects another emperor, and only a matter of time before they need another scapegoat. Run. Run for the hills while you and your parents have a chance. Enjoy the relatively non-toxic life you've built together.

Iím 40, my parents are in their late 60s, most aunts and uncles are in their 70s and 80s. My cousins range in age from 39 to 59. This toxic pattern has been going on for almost 50 years since my grandmother died and created a power vacuum, so weíre very familiar. I absolutely donít trust one cousin. Iím not close to the others but weíre friendly when we see each other (at most, twice a year for a couple of hours). I have no idea what bullshit they were fed by their parents, but only one of the 15 cousins actually went along with their parentsí rule and stopped inviting us to her kidsí parties. I doubt the others were ever told; considering how genuinely happy most cousins seem to be to see us, I think they were told that WE were shunning THEM. Communication of family matters to my parents is usually via dadís younger sister or my oldest cousin, who was always kind to us even when the rest of the elders were in shunning mode. Weíre very careful never to give information that could be used against us or to expect anything more from them.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #5049 on: November 20, 2018, 03:14:41 PM »
Man oh man, these stories make me realize how much I have to give thanks for on Thursday!

Between my extended family and my husband's, we cover the range from conservative Christians to secular cohabiters, a nun in a habit to a lesbian, a Republican party operative to a progressive activist, hunters to vegans. We disagree on tons of things, but we can all eat pie together.