Author Topic: Relatives who just don't get it  (Read 3465814 times)

SwordGuy

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6650 on: December 25, 2021, 07:12:24 PM »
Then there's always the old standby pattern of "Oh, I see that you spent the money your mother gave you for lessons in manners on table-setting lessons."

Probably not best to use that one on an in-law unless one's spouse is completely on board with it, but it's good to know this patterned retort.

Sibley

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6651 on: December 25, 2021, 09:49:09 PM »
Weaponizing "proper" manners can be extremely fun in the right circumstances, and can also be extremely effective. When used for good at least.

I once shamed a 18 yo twit of a girl into good behavior for an entire semester with 4 words in the right tone of voice. "I'm from ( two-word name of city I grew up in)", said in a friendly tone of voice with a very slight undertone of censure and a steady look in her eyes. I knew that the city she grew up in had a serious hangup about wanting to be from my city and also serious hangups about the extreme social superiority of my city over her city, and she showed every symptom of having those issues big time. My city.... didn't care. She had been incredibly rude and generally terrible to the chemistry professor for several weeks, and I shut her down. One of my finest moments, cause I generally suck at social skills.

Zamboni

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6652 on: December 26, 2021, 01:12:57 AM »
When DS was 2, I was asked repeatedly to keep him off of the main floor of the house in the mornings (we are relegated to the basement from the hours of 10PM-9:30AM) since the pitter pattering of feet was too loud. He wasn't screaming, talking, or scraping chairs across the floor- he was WALKING.

And now I am having flashbacks to all of the reasons that I haven't stayed in my Mom's home for more than a decade. When we visit her, we stay in a hotel and rent a car. She wants us to stay with her and says she wants us to borrow her car. But, she just can't handle being civil, because no one can fully comply with her peculiar requirements. After she was particularly nasty to my son when he was little (and just doing normal things), I vowed we would never stay there again.

The next trip I was broke, but we still stayed at a Motel 6 on the other side of the freeway. She was horrified. "That's a terrible neighborhood! You can't stay there! It's not safe!" She protested and carried on. And I shrugged, because deep down she knows why I won't stay with her anymore. Besides, the Motel 6 had just been remodeled, and it was reasonably nice. Certainly cleaner and more peaceful for us than her home. Best $41 a night I ever spent. We visit her each day and simply say farewell and head out if she becomes rude or shows cranky behavior. Over the years, she has gradually learned that she won't see us for long each day if she's being uncivil.

snowball

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6653 on: December 26, 2021, 07:48:56 AM »
Being able to leave + go to your own place whenever you want = priceless.  I always budget for my own AirBnB or hotel when I visit family...it seems like a good idea on the face of it to stay with them, but it isn't.  Sometimes the cheapest way to pay is with money.

I can visit friends and stay with them, but not family...but my friends are people I picked, lol.

SwordGuy

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6654 on: December 26, 2021, 08:14:46 AM »
My wife just made sure that the spare bedroom was always full of stuff so my parents would stay in a hotel.   I don't blame her, not one whit.

Her family (and my dad's) is from that part of WV where (apparently) they'll be happy to see you if you visit them, but they'll never visit anyone out of state, so it didn't matter for her family.


ixtap

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6655 on: December 26, 2021, 08:20:44 AM »
My wife just made sure that the spare bedroom was always full of stuff so my parents would stay in a hotel.   I don't blame her, not one whit.

Her family (and my dad's) is from that part of WV where (apparently) they'll be happy to see you if you visit them, but they'll never visit anyone out of state, so it didn't matter for her family.

My brother hasn't allowed my parents to visit in ages. They stay in a hotel and he goes to see them. Now he won't let me visit, either. I pointed out that my husband has never seen his house, and he just said there wasn't much to see.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6656 on: December 26, 2021, 09:14:16 AM »
We intentionally don’t have a guest room and will happily pay to put up guests at a nearby place. Likewise, we never stay at other people’s houses and book a rental in areas we visit. We just value our privacy too much to stay with other people, not to mention the ability to come & go at our leisure without feeling guilt is priceless.

DaMa

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6657 on: December 26, 2021, 11:02:24 AM »
I won't visit my parents, because I refuse to drive 4 hours each way to watch TV.  The last time I went (Thanksgiving 2018), DH insisted we go.  Mom, DH, and I were chatting, and Dad got pissed and reprimanded us, because he couldn't hear the TV.  He was watch something he had taped on his DVR.  We were only going to be there for 24 hours.



Kris

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6658 on: December 26, 2021, 12:33:26 PM »
The silver lining of DH being raised JW is that we don’t have to deal with any insane holiday in-law BS.

Sibley

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6659 on: December 26, 2021, 12:53:37 PM »
My wife just made sure that the spare bedroom was always full of stuff so my parents would stay in a hotel.   I don't blame her, not one whit.

Her family (and my dad's) is from that part of WV where (apparently) they'll be happy to see you if you visit them, but they'll never visit anyone out of state, so it didn't matter for her family.

My brother hasn't allowed my parents to visit in ages. They stay in a hotel and he goes to see them. Now he won't let me visit, either. I pointed out that my husband has never seen his house, and he just said there wasn't much to see.

That suggests to me that there's something else going on - hoarding, etc.

ixtap

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6660 on: December 26, 2021, 01:00:36 PM »
My wife just made sure that the spare bedroom was always full of stuff so my parents would stay in a hotel.   I don't blame her, not one whit.

Her family (and my dad's) is from that part of WV where (apparently) they'll be happy to see you if you visit them, but they'll never visit anyone out of state, so it didn't matter for her family.

My brother hasn't allowed my parents to visit in ages. They stay in a hotel and he goes to see them. Now he won't let me visit, either. I pointed out that my husband has never seen his house, and he just said there wasn't much to see.

That suggests to me that there's something else going on - hoarding, etc.

Oh, it is a LOT of things going on. Sounds like the hoard is actually being whittled down, though.

TomTX

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6661 on: December 26, 2021, 02:05:28 PM »
My wife just made sure that the spare bedroom was always full of stuff so my parents would stay in a hotel.   I don't blame her, not one whit.

Her family (and my dad's) is from that part of WV where (apparently) they'll be happy to see you if you visit them, but they'll never visit anyone out of state, so it didn't matter for her family.

My brother hasn't allowed my parents to visit in ages. They stay in a hotel and he goes to see them. Now he won't let me visit, either. I pointed out that my husband has never seen his house, and he just said there wasn't much to see.

That suggests to me that there's something else going on - hoarding, etc.

I'm not letting either sibling visit, but that's more a commentary on their toxicity than my living conditions. One is a drunk/addict and the other is massively entitled, manipulative, judgemental and controlling.

DadJokes

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6662 on: December 26, 2021, 02:46:54 PM »
I think that I hurt my father's feelings a couple years ago when I chose to stay in an Airbnb, rather than stay at their house, when we came to visit with our (then) one-year-old. The time we visited before that, their house was disgusting. Everything was grungy and dirty, and the smell was very unpleasant. My father's wife, who doesn't work, just sits around the house drinking most of the time.

The first time they visited our house (when the baby was newborn), they invited themselves to stay in our spare room on a blowup mattress. The most recent time they visited, which was after I chose to stay in an Airbnb while visiting them, they chose to get a hotel.

No complaints here

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6663 on: December 26, 2021, 03:04:59 PM »
It makes me sad to read these stories.  We've had a wonderful holiday break with nearby vacation near SIL & BIL (also on vacation), including time in their house hanging and a couple of outdoor adventures, then more time with them for kids gift exchange at their house on the way home, then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with other BIL & SIL, and both sets of parents.  In fact, our house is the only place we haven't had everyone over this week, but we hosted Thanksgiving last month.  I'm grateful we can all get together, even mix and match, and enjoy each other.

Freedomin5

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6664 on: December 26, 2021, 03:20:09 PM »
We keep hoping for improvements, but it never happens. We first started staying at a hotel after MIL tried to smother 6 month old DD by placing her face down on a bed without turning her head to the side, even after we had told her that pediatricians now recommend that babies sleep on their backs. She snuck into the bedroom DD was sleeping in to turn her over, waking her up in the process, and couldn’t get the baby to turn her head to the side, so just kind of left her facedown on the bed. Luckily, I heard her coming out of the bedroom, peeked in to see what she had been doing, and noticed DD snuffling and unable to breathe. We moved to a hotel so she wouldn’t accidentally kill DD while we were sleeping.

She then said she had learnt her lesson the following year. That year, she had an emotional meltdown over a pair of pants, screamed for half an hour in the hallway right outside the room DD was sleeping in, and kicked us out of her house, then got her feelings hurt when we actually left.

After that, we stayed at hotels every year until last year, when she said she had an entire empty apartment we could stay in (she owns a triplex and one of the units was empty). We arrive to find that she had prepared one single bed...for our family of three. This was not so bad — we can handle physical discomfort, and DD slept in a recliner while I slept on a couch. She was obviously walking on eggshells to be extra polite to us, as she had learned that I do not tolerate emotional or verbal abuse, but we still only chose to stay two nights (in contrast to us staying 2.5 weeks at my mom’s).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6665 on: December 26, 2021, 03:28:43 PM »
Well, all these stories make me grateful for the wonderful in-laws I have.  They just left a couple hours ago after spending two days (including Christmas!) with us, and it has been delightful.  They only live about 35 minutes away, but decided to stay in our guest bedroom for a couple nights anyway, so that they could be here for Christmas morning, since our kids get up at the crack of dawn.

Fi(re) on the Farm

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6666 on: December 26, 2021, 04:36:07 PM »
I've been working on my 17 year old niece for the past few years. She used to deck herself out in clothing with the logo of a big sneaker company. She was so proud of herself for it. I said to her "you do realize that your spending your hard earned babysitting money to advertise for them, right?" She couldn't wait to tell me yesterday that her fancy Christmas dress was $7 and shoes were $12 and that the sneakers she wore the day before were from an online reseller were $17.  I was so proud.

However, she's looking at colleges and my sister has taken her to tour every top tier college in the northeast, you name a college and they've been there. Yesterday we were talking about the advantages of going to a state school and my sister got madder and madder. She makes over 100k but hasn't saved even a dollar for college or saved a penny for retirement (she's 62). She thinks it's fine that my niece goes into serious debt as long as she can brag about the school.

Last night my stepfather gave my niece $10,000 towards college. My sister was actually mad that it would hurt on the FAFSA instead of being grateful that she had money towards her education. Because my sister's AGI is over $100,000 she doesn't qualify for grants. My sister thinks it will hurt her ability to get LOANS!


Freedomin5

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6667 on: December 26, 2021, 04:38:27 PM »
Well, all these stories make me grateful for the wonderful in-laws I have.  They just left a couple hours ago after spending two days (including Christmas!) with us, and it has been delightful.  They only live about 35 minutes away, but decided to stay in our guest bedroom for a couple nights anyway, so that they could be here for Christmas morning, since our kids get up at the crack of dawn.

DH would say the same thing as you. One summer, he flew back to Toronto (I was stuck in China because of visa issues), and he chose to stay at my mom's instead of at his own parents' house. Actually, IIRC, my sister picked him up from the airport, even though his parents live a 5-minute drive away from the airport.

Zamboni

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6668 on: December 26, 2021, 07:59:50 PM »
She snuck into the bedroom DD was sleeping in to turn her over, waking her up in the process, and couldn’t get the baby to turn her head to the side, so just kind of left her facedown on the bed. Luckily, I heard her coming out of the bedroom, peeked in to see what she had been doing, and noticed DD snuffling and unable to breathe. We moved to a hotel so she wouldn’t accidentally kill DD while we were sleeping.

OMG, that's an insane level of "I'll show these new parents that I know better" bullshit. If we are blessed with grandchildren some day, please let us all vow to listen to every request and directive made by the parents and FOLLOW what they say without tut-tutting, argument, or intentional sabotage.

However, she's looking at colleges and my sister has taken her to tour every top tier college in the northeast, you name a college and they've been there. Yesterday we were talking about the advantages of going to a state school and my sister got madder and madder. She makes over 100k but hasn't saved even a dollar for college or saved a penny for retirement (she's 62). She thinks it's fine that my niece goes into serious debt as long as she can brag about the school.

Last night my stepfather gave my niece $10,000 towards college. My sister was actually mad that it would hurt on the FAFSA instead of being grateful that she had money towards her education. Because my sister's AGI is over $100,000 she doesn't qualify for grants. My sister thinks it will hurt her ability to get LOANS!

Ummm, did your sister go to any of these prestigious schools? And is your niece going to be valedictorian while also working as president for a charity she created? Is she seriously training for the Olympics? Because in the absence of "legacy" or freakish student credentials AND the absence of extreme amounts of wealth, the odds that your niece will be admitted to an Ivy league school (or similar like Stanford/Duke/MIT etc.) is extremely, extremely low. And borrowing through the nose for an expensive private school that is not top tier is just dumb, and there are plenty of those around to school the average-student children of the old money wealthy.

The damage to the FAFSA that this money gift brought is the absolute last thing your sister should be worrying about right now! My Mom never saved for her retirement or our college either . . . although, to be fair, she was never anywhere near the six figure income range, even inflation adjusted, so I'll cut her some slack. Now she subsists on a combination of $935 a month in social security, medicare, and food stamps. The saving grace is that her little house is paid off, but she still has to pay property taxes, heating, water, transportation expenses, etc. I bet a projection of $935 a month sounded pretty good to my Mom only a few decades ago, but it's certainly not a luxurious lifestyle even by MMM standards.

Dave1442397

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6669 on: December 26, 2021, 08:33:13 PM »
However, she's looking at colleges and my sister has taken her to tour every top tier college in the northeast, you name a college and they've been there. Yesterday we were talking about the advantages of going to a state school and my sister got madder and madder. She makes over 100k but hasn't saved even a dollar for college or saved a penny for retirement (she's 62). She thinks it's fine that my niece goes into serious debt as long as she can brag about the school.

Last night my stepfather gave my niece $10,000 towards college. My sister was actually mad that it would hurt on the FAFSA instead of being grateful that she had money towards her education. Because my sister's AGI is over $100,000 she doesn't qualify for grants. My sister thinks it will hurt her ability to get LOANS!

I've been talking to my daughter (HS Junior) about college options for a couple of years now. She did some research and found Anglo-American University, in Prague. Looks like tuition and living expenses might be around $15k per year max. If she keeps a 3.9 GPA in HS then tuition is free, and she would only have to pay living costs. Also, you get a degree in three years.

I'm all for it. She's looking at a few colleges in Europe, and I think it would be a great experience for her, and the knowledge that she would graduate debt free is definitely a factor.

Cassie

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6670 on: December 26, 2021, 11:59:54 PM »
Dave, please make sure the degree is recognized in the states. My DIL’s from Poland is not.

Dave1442397

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6671 on: December 27, 2021, 06:15:53 AM »
Dave, please make sure the degree is recognized in the states. My DIL’s from Poland is not.

Thanks, yes, that's something we're checking before going further with any of the colleges she's looking at.

We'll get her EU passport next year, so if she ends up going to college there, she can stay to start her career or come back to the US.

ixtap

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6672 on: December 27, 2021, 07:17:14 AM »
Dave, please make sure the degree is recognized in the states. My DIL’s from Poland is not.

FYI, this particular university has a WASC (senior) accreditation, which means you could even receive federal aid, as well as being recognized academically.

Just Joe

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6673 on: December 27, 2021, 10:09:54 AM »
I won't visit my parents, because I refuse to drive 4 hours each way to watch TV.  The last time I went (Thanksgiving 2018), DH insisted we go.  Mom, DH, and I were chatting, and Dad got pissed and reprimanded us, because he couldn't hear the TV.  He was watch something he had taped on his DVR.  We were only going to be there for 24 hours.

Good gosh. Priorities man!

One of the reasons we quit staying with one pair of our parents was partly b/c our kids being kids made one parent as nervous as a cat. The giggling and toys were just too much. And if the kids went outside, they could get dirty! This wasn't how the same parent raised us as little kids. And our kids aren't wild but the had no interest in a living room visit sitting reflecting the state of the nation or the local tax rates or the price of gasoline on the trip down. ;)

Oh, and b/c my sibling wouldn't let their kids watch certain kid shows, our parent wouldn't let our kids watch those kid shows even when we were present. Really mild Nickelodeon stuff, not edgy teenager cartoons.

It made for a really boring visit for our kids. It was during a period of complicated family history. Things have gotten easier since then.

Fi(re) on the Farm

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6674 on: December 27, 2021, 04:55:13 PM »
However, she's looking at colleges and my sister has taken her to tour every top tier college in the northeast, you name a college and they've been there. Yesterday we were talking about the advantages of going to a state school and my sister got madder and madder. She makes over 100k but hasn't saved even a dollar for college or saved a penny for retirement (she's 62). She thinks it's fine that my niece goes into serious debt as long as she can brag about the school.

Last night my stepfather gave my niece $10,000 towards college. My sister was actually mad that it would hurt on the FAFSA instead of being grateful that she had money towards her education. Because my sister's AGI is over $100,000 she doesn't qualify for grants. My sister thinks it will hurt her ability to get LOANS!

Ummm, did your sister go to any of these prestigious schools? And is your niece going to be valedictorian while also working as president for a charity she created? Is she seriously training for the Olympics? Because in the absence of "legacy" or freakish student credentials AND the absence of extreme amounts of wealth, the odds that your niece will be admitted to an Ivy league school (or similar like Stanford/Duke/MIT etc.) is extremely, extremely low. And borrowing through the nose for an expensive private school that is not top tier is just dumb, and there are plenty of those around to school the average-student children of the old money wealthy.

The damage to the FAFSA that this money gift brought is the absolute last thing your sister should be worrying about right now! My Mom never saved for her retirement or our college either . . . although, to be fair, she was never anywhere near the six figure income range, even inflation adjusted, so I'll cut her some slack. Now she subsists on a combination of $935 a month in social security, medicare, and food stamps. The saving grace is that her little house is paid off, but she still has to pay property taxes, heating, water, transportation expenses, etc. I bet a projection of $935 a month sounded pretty good to my Mom only a few decades ago, but it's certainly not a luxurious lifestyle even by MMM standards.
[/quote]

She spent 2 years at a state school, 2 years at an Ivy League and got two masters. When we talk to niece about doing 2 years at a state school my sister went ballistic. Niece is smart and well rounded but is nowhere near the top 10% in her school. My sister is hyper competitive and wants to brag about where her kid goes. 

Zamboni

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6675 on: December 27, 2021, 05:50:10 PM »
Niece has a slight chance at admissions to your sister's alma mater. Slight. With the percent chance being quite a bit bigger at Haverford than Harvard, for example. The chance would be much higher if your sister was a big donor, but it doesn't sound like she is.

However, being legacy is no guarantee for admissions, especially if it is a single relative who hasn't become a prolific donor. Many of the Ivies are very focused on diversity right now, which means cutting down the marginally qualified legacy admits in favor of letting in a few Native Americans or Pacific Islanders with similar academics, for example. These are the facts. I actually don't think it's any sort of reverse discrimination, either, given that the children of relatively wealthy alums have often had many advantages and should have higher test scores, for example, just statistically based upon their parent's education and high salary.

Maybe your niece has a sought-after skill in the arts like she plays viola? If she's just an average or slightly above average student doing normal co-curriculars like a few clubs or JV sports, then she should apply broadly to a range of school including some she can afford where she is more likely to be admitted. However, a lot of the more selective schools have started making the essays pretty school-specific, which means it might be A LOT of work to apply to a whole bunch of schools.

I do think your sister is right that the odds of successfully transferring into any Ivy-level school from a state school are even smaller than being admitted as a first year. Many state schools are excellent, but there's a big bias in private colleges against "state college down the road."

dcheesi

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6676 on: January 05, 2022, 10:47:03 AM »
I'm not sure if this thread is specifically intended for relatives who don't get "FIRE" mentality, but if not, I need to vent and here's probably the best place to do it. Had sort of a Hillbilly Elegy moment I suppose...

MIL asked me to set the Christmas Eve dining table with the fine china tonight. For some context on how relaxed my MIL is about dinner, last year my ~11 year old niece was very obviously glum and bored so I thought it would be fun to make fun origami with the cloth napkins to make each place setting unique/special (but mostly to connect and give her something to do). We were really getting into it, pulling up Youtube videos and on our fourth setting... But when MIL noticed, she told us not to do it because it wasn't nice enough. And also, how would we use the napkin rings if we made origami napkins?!? So yeah, not a super laid back lady and definitely not kid-friendly or very aware of other people's needs in general.

Anyway, tonight I couldn't remember if the knife went on the inside or outside of the spoon and which side the fork went on and asked for clarification. She looked at me like I was raised in a barn and said "really?? you don't know which side they go on?" I felt like giving a charged retort something along the lines of "Lady, I was raised on food stamps for several years of my childhood and a trip to McDonald's for pancakes on Saturdays was considered a great delicacy. Give me a break and please check your privilege." Ugh, her comment really hit me wrong, made me feel belittled, and reminded me of how wide the wealth equality gap is and how that manifests itself.

*sigh* thanks for letting me share... now we return you to your scheduled relative rant programming.

Your MIL expects you to set a nice table with NAPKIN RINGS!?!?  How gauche.  Déclassé even.   Napkin rings date back to when the dinosaurs roamed and people used cloth napkins (i.e. my childhood).  Cotton was for regular meals.  If the napkins were clean after the meal, each person put their own napkin in their own napkin ring (they were clearly different for each person), to be kept for the next meal.   Because all those napkins had to be washed and ironed and this saved work.

For a nice meal the linen napkins were used, and for a really nice meal they would be folded into interesting patterns.  I worked one summer in a nice restaurant (expensive private golf course) and for special events we spent the afternoon folding napkins. 

So your MIL can act surprised all she wants about you forgetting what goes where, but your napkin instincts were right on and hers are not.  Hold your head high.

Oh and Miss Manners has lots of good stuff about all this, and libraries carry her.  She is fun to read, not a snob, and you will get a good idea of her (low) opinion about your MIL's attitude, which will agree with Cassie's.  And you may find that your MIL isn't as high class as she thinks she is in more areas than just (shudder) napkin rings.
Kind of reminds me of the Southern restroom and the decorative hand towels. Growing up, every Southern house's bathroom had at least one very fancy hand towel hanging neatly folded near the sink. But woe be unto anyone who used it! It was purely decorative, and no one was ever supposed to touch it! That was what the (often semi-hidden) plain towel was for.

I think at first, it was a matter of having a "good" towel for guests, and another one for household members. But eventually it evolved to where even guests weren't supposed to use these fancy towels, which were heavily decorated and often not made of absorbent or even moisture-tolerant materials.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2022, 10:51:29 AM by dcheesi »

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6677 on: January 05, 2022, 10:53:24 AM »
I'm not sure if this thread is specifically intended for relatives who don't get "FIRE" mentality, but if not, I need to vent and here's probably the best place to do it. Had sort of a Hillbilly Elegy moment I suppose...

MIL asked me to set the Christmas Eve dining table with the fine china tonight. For some context on how relaxed my MIL is about dinner, last year my ~11 year old niece was very obviously glum and bored so I thought it would be fun to make fun origami with the cloth napkins to make each place setting unique/special (but mostly to connect and give her something to do). We were really getting into it, pulling up Youtube videos and on our fourth setting... But when MIL noticed, she told us not to do it because it wasn't nice enough. And also, how would we use the napkin rings if we made origami napkins?!? So yeah, not a super laid back lady and definitely not kid-friendly or very aware of other people's needs in general.

Anyway, tonight I couldn't remember if the knife went on the inside or outside of the spoon and which side the fork went on and asked for clarification. She looked at me like I was raised in a barn and said "really?? you don't know which side they go on?" I felt like giving a charged retort something along the lines of "Lady, I was raised on food stamps for several years of my childhood and a trip to McDonald's for pancakes on Saturdays was considered a great delicacy. Give me a break and please check your privilege." Ugh, her comment really hit me wrong, made me feel belittled, and reminded me of how wide the wealth equality gap is and how that manifests itself.

*sigh* thanks for letting me share... now we return you to your scheduled relative rant programming.

Your MIL expects you to set a nice table with NAPKIN RINGS!?!?  How gauche.  Déclassé even.   Napkin rings date back to when the dinosaurs roamed and people used cloth napkins (i.e. my childhood).  Cotton was for regular meals.  If the napkins were clean after the meal, each person put their own napkin in their own napkin ring (they were clearly different for each person), to be kept for the next meal.   Because all those napkins had to be washed and ironed and this saved work.

For a nice meal the linen napkins were used, and for a really nice meal they would be folded into interesting patterns.  I worked one summer in a nice restaurant (expensive private golf course) and for special events we spent the afternoon folding napkins. 

So your MIL can act surprised all she wants about you forgetting what goes where, but your napkin instincts were right on and hers are not.  Hold your head high.

Oh and Miss Manners has lots of good stuff about all this, and libraries carry her.  She is fun to read, not a snob, and you will get a good idea of her (low) opinion about your MIL's attitude, which will agree with Cassie's.  And you may find that your MIL isn't as high class as she thinks she is in more areas than just (shudder) napkin rings.
Kind of reminds me of the Southern restroom and the decorative hand towels. Growing up, every Southern house's bathroom had at least one very fancy hand towel hanging neatly folded near the sink. But woe be unto anyone who used it! It was purely decorative, and no one was ever supposed to touch it! That was what the (often semi-hidden) plain towel was for.

I think at first, it was a matter of having a "good" towel for guests, and another one for household members. But eventually it evolved to where even guests weren't supposed to use these fancy towels, which were heavily decorated and often not made of absorbent or even moisture-tolerant materials.

I love Miss Manners. She said nothing gives her faith that the social compact is still strong (or something like that) more than the unspoken, inviolable agreement of people not to use the guest towels. They will, she said, use your personal bath towel to dry their hands, if they can find it, before they will use the guest towels.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6678 on: January 05, 2022, 02:53:18 PM »
Where’s the eye-roll emoji when I need it?

dandarc

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6679 on: January 05, 2022, 03:08:27 PM »
Kind of reminds me of the Southern restroom and the decorative hand towels. Growing up, every Southern house's bathroom had at least one very fancy hand towel hanging neatly folded near the sink. But woe be unto anyone who used it! It was purely decorative, and no one was ever supposed to touch it! That was what the (often semi-hidden) plain towel was for.

I think at first, it was a matter of having a "good" towel for guests, and another one for household members. But eventually it evolved to where even guests weren't supposed to use these fancy towels, which were heavily decorated and often not made of absorbent or even moisture-tolerant materials.
Is there a standard location in the southern bathroom where I can find regular hand soap? Always seems wrong to use the fancy decorative soaps of which there are always several on display, but there is no other soap in MIL's guest bathroom that I have ever seen. Along these lines - a few years ago MIL started putting out seasonal paper towels / napkins in the guest bathroom. Reading this, I bet I contributed to that chage after years of using the only towels I could see in there - the fancy linen ones.

ysette9

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Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6680 on: January 05, 2022, 09:15:29 PM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~

markbike528CBX

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6681 on: January 06, 2022, 01:06:52 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html

RetiredAt63

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6682 on: January 06, 2022, 05:40:37 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html

He did find the goodies, those were over the top even back in the day.  But he missed the bathroom of my first house.  Grey everything, enough to give anyone depression.  Bright yellow would have been wonderful in comparison.

 And yes, foil wallpaper was a thing, we did my parent's powder room with it.  It was expensive.

dcheesi

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6683 on: January 06, 2022, 08:10:51 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html

The house I grew up in was built in the '70s, and all of the built appliances & fixtures were either "Avocado" or "Harvest Gold" --yes, including the toilets! The guest bathroom was green and white (decorated with pink, for some reason?), and the master bath was all in yellows and browns, with a wooden(?!) seat.

My parents remodeled the kitchen & dining room a couple of times, and eventually replaced all the appliances, but those bathrooms stayed just as hideous as the day they were installed!


Kind of reminds me of the Southern restroom and the decorative hand towels. Growing up, every Southern house's bathroom had at least one very fancy hand towel hanging neatly folded near the sink. But woe be unto anyone who used it! It was purely decorative, and no one was ever supposed to touch it! That was what the (often semi-hidden) plain towel was for.

I think at first, it was a matter of having a "good" towel for guests, and another one for household members. But eventually it evolved to where even guests weren't supposed to use these fancy towels, which were heavily decorated and often not made of absorbent or even moisture-tolerant materials.
Is there a standard location in the southern bathroom where I can find regular hand soap? Always seems wrong to use the fancy decorative soaps of which there are always several on display, but there is no other soap in MIL's guest bathroom that I have ever seen. Along these lines - a few years ago MIL started putting out seasonal paper towels / napkins in the guest bathroom. Reading this, I bet I contributed to that chage after years of using the only towels I could see in there - the fancy linen ones.
Ugh! Sounds like you may be experiencing a further evolution of the phenomenon, in which the entire guest bathroom is only for guests, and off limits to household use? In which case, there may be no practical accommodations, only decorative versions. That's a tough one, made worse by the fact that you're in a grey area as non-resident family-in-law...

Maybe bring your own soap? or gift her a really fancy liquid soap dispenser that matches that decor?

ysette9

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6684 on: January 06, 2022, 09:46:17 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html
Oof. That was intense.

We rented a truly crappy rental for five years that had avocado green tile countertops, electric stove, and electric double ovens. Thankfully everything else had been painted white so it wasn’t nearly as bad as you would think. I hate cooking on an electric cooktop but darn, those ovens were always spot on with temperature. Way better than the pieces of junk I have had since. (Can’t wait to do that kitchen remodel and get double convection ovens!)

ysette9

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6685 on: January 06, 2022, 09:47:33 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html

He did find the goodies, those were over the top even back in the day.  But he missed the bathroom of my first house.  Grey everything, enough to give anyone depression.  Bright yellow would have been wonderful in comparison.

 And yes, foil wallpaper was a thing, we did my parent's powder room with it.  It was expensive.
The house we bought last summer IN SEATTLE was painted gray everything inside. I’ve spent months painting the ceilings white and the walls pale yellow. It is transformative turning sadepressing room joyful.

sixwings

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6686 on: January 06, 2022, 11:48:45 AM »
Gray is pretty common when selling a house or for people who want flexibility when decorating because it's quite a neutral color so it can match well with any furniture/picture colors etc. A lot of our rooms have grey walls and white ceilings. It provides a lot of flexibility for decorating. Of course not all shades of gray are equal.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 11:51:01 AM by sixwings »

saguaro

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6687 on: January 06, 2022, 01:15:48 PM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.
~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html

He did find the goodies, those were over the top even back in the day.  But he missed the bathroom of my first house.  Grey everything, enough to give anyone depression.  Bright yellow would have been wonderful in comparison.

 And yes, foil wallpaper was a thing, we did my parent's powder room with it.  It was expensive.
The house we bought last summer IN SEATTLE was painted gray everything inside. I’ve spent months painting the ceilings white and the walls pale yellow. It is transformative turning sadepressing room joyful.

Speaking of foil wallpaper, that was in the bathroom in our first apartment.  Along with the mustard yellow shag carpet in the living room and one bedroom.  The other bedroom was also shag carpet but chocolate brown.   

We considered ourselves lucky when we saw that the neighbors in the apartment across from us had burnt orange carpet though.   

In our current house, we have kept the walls to white/cream/ivory.  It seems boring but given the orientation of the house, the main rooms are facing northeast with shade so it can get rather dark.  To optimize light we have kept to those wall colors and rely on other decorating to give color. 

Over the years, we have noticed that when neighbors paint walls, be it whatever color, it ultimately reverts to neutral colors usually white / cream before selling or after new owners move in.

PhilB

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6688 on: January 06, 2022, 04:20:27 PM »
The bathroom of our first house had walls painted fire engine red.  They were so red that it was only when we painted them white that we discovered that the white suite was actually pink!

Sibley

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6689 on: January 06, 2022, 08:43:45 PM »
My parent's new house had the original 1960s burnt orange carpeting.

That entire house was either 1960s or 1980s. No in between. It was interesting. We got lucky though, the foil wallpaper was the "self peeling" type so it came off fairly easily. It did have about 4x the amount of glue that was needed though.

ysette9

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6690 on: January 06, 2022, 09:18:48 PM »
The bathroom of our first house had walls painted fire engine red.  They were so red that it was only when we painted them white that we discovered that the white suite was actually pink!
Red is quite the commitment. I painted an accent wall red once and learned it needs 5-6 coats to look good and then is work to cover up again as well.

onward19

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6691 on: January 06, 2022, 10:17:45 PM »
We keep hoping for improvements, but it never happens. We first started staying at a hotel after MIL tried to smother 6 month old DD by placing her face down on a bed without turning her head to the side, even after we had told her that pediatricians now recommend that babies sleep on their backs. She snuck into the bedroom DD was sleeping in to turn her over, waking her up in the process, and couldn’t get the baby to turn her head to the side, so just kind of left her facedown on the bed. Luckily, I heard her coming out of the bedroom, peeked in to see what she had been doing, and noticed DD snuffling and unable to breathe. We moved to a hotel so she wouldn’t accidentally kill DD while we were sleeping.

She then said she had learnt her lesson the following year. That year, she had an emotional meltdown over a pair of pants, screamed for half an hour in the hallway right outside the room DD was sleeping in, and kicked us out of her house, then got her feelings hurt when we actually left.

After that, we stayed at hotels every year until last year, when she said she had an entire empty apartment we could stay in (she owns a triplex and one of the units was empty). We arrive to find that she had prepared one single bed...for our family of three. This was not so bad — we can handle physical discomfort, and DD slept in a recliner while I slept on a couch. She was obviously walking on eggshells to be extra polite to us, as she had learned that I do not tolerate emotional or verbal abuse, but we still only chose to stay two nights (in contrast to us staying 2.5 weeks at my mom’s).

 I think you are way nicer than me. If my MIL, or heck, even my own mother, had done that, I don't think I could ever speak to them again. If you hadn't noticed, your baby would have died. That's nauseating. Especially because it wasn't just ignorance (like MIL putting baby down herself without you giving instructions). No instead it was deliberate interference that could, and has, killed babies. She went against everything you'd said and left a baby face down on a bed. Common sense should teach her better, no matter that babies were always laid face down back in the day!
 I'd be shaking in anger and fear. Just wow.

Dicey

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6692 on: January 07, 2022, 12:49:43 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html
Hilarious! Thanks for that rabbit hole.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6693 on: January 07, 2022, 01:45:42 AM »
This takes me back to when I was a kid. I remember those fancy hand towels that were stitched with something ghastly kitschy and super scratchy. Next to the bars of soap in pretty shapes that smelled to high heaven. They were in the type of bathroom that had a carpet mat around the base of the toilet and a plastic foam squishy toilet seat.

~shudders~
Here is some nightmare fuel for you.
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s Lileks, James
And.  https://www.lileks.com/institute/interiors/index.html
Hilarious! Thanks for that rabbit hole.
You're welcome.
I had a scare when I loaned the book to an opposite-sex colleague and _then_ remembered that it contained...
        "Never buy remnants from nautically-themed glory-hole bars, I say"

How do you answer the question of what that means, and how did I know what that means?  I worried until the book was back in my hands, without any questions.

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6694 on: January 07, 2022, 08:42:11 AM »
Kind of reminds me of the Southern restroom and the decorative hand towels. Growing up, every Southern house's bathroom had at least one very fancy hand towel hanging neatly folded near the sink. But woe be unto anyone who used it! It was purely decorative, and no one was ever supposed to touch it! That was what the (often semi-hidden) plain towel was for.

I think at first, it was a matter of having a "good" towel for guests, and another one for household members. But eventually it evolved to where even guests weren't supposed to use these fancy towels, which were heavily decorated and often not made of absorbent or even moisture-tolerant materials.
Is there a standard location in the southern bathroom where I can find regular hand soap? Always seems wrong to use the fancy decorative soaps of which there are always several on display, but there is no other soap in MIL's guest bathroom that I have ever seen. Along these lines - a few years ago MIL started putting out seasonal paper towels / napkins in the guest bathroom. Reading this, I bet I contributed to that chage after years of using the only towels I could see in there - the fancy linen ones.

If someone claiming to be a good host invites me over but only puts out a guest towel and fancy soaps, I interpret that to mean that I should use both. Not washing my hands and then touching surfaces and food in someone else's home would be the height of rudeness, no? I suppose you could go digging around in bathroom cabinets, but again, that seems more rude than using the only visible soap and towel.

(Disclaimer: I personally think that decorative soaps and towels are ridiculous, and I grew up in a home that had them. Never understood the point.)

PhilB

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6695 on: January 07, 2022, 09:15:41 AM »
The bathroom of our first house had walls painted fire engine red.  They were so red that it was only when we painted them white that we discovered that the white suite was actually pink!
Red is quite the commitment. I painted an accent wall red once and learned it needs 5-6 coats to look good and then is work to cover up again as well.
Definitely.  Once we discovered the suite colou,r we abandoned the white and painted the walls oxblood.  When we sold the house, the family that bought it brought their daughter to the second viewing.  She couldn't wait to see the 'red' bathroom and we were like 'You think that's red?'

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6696 on: January 07, 2022, 10:50:36 AM »
For all you people shuddering at the yesteryear decor, just give it 10 or 20 years and you'll be looking back at today's decor with the same revulsion!

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6697 on: January 07, 2022, 11:00:42 AM »
The bathroom of our first house had walls painted fire engine red.  They were so red that it was only when we painted them white that we discovered that the white suite was actually pink!
Red is quite the commitment. I painted an accent wall red once and learned it needs 5-6 coats to look good and then is work to cover up again as well.

I chose red for the bathroom ceiling.  I love it.  Which is good, because I hate painting and don't want to do it again for awhile.

ixtap

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6698 on: January 07, 2022, 11:15:11 AM »
DH has a roommate who fancied himself an interior decorator. In fact, he was mostly a themed clutterer. DH let him paint walls red, black, dark blue, hunter green... He was too busy packing and moving his hoard to help one iota when it came to painting it all realtor beige to put the house up for sale...

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Re: Relatives who just don't get it
« Reply #6699 on: January 07, 2022, 01:56:40 PM »
For all you people shuddering at the yesteryear decor, just give it 10 or 20 years and you'll be looking back at today's decor with the same revulsion!

So true!  I remember moving into a new build townhouse in the late 90s when I was a teenager and thinking, why did people ever decorate like they did in the 80s, this is so nice and timeless and could never look that bad.  Now I think back on all the pastels and seashell tiles in the bathroom and pinky-beige carpet everywhere and ... yup, definitely looks just as tacky as the 80s harvest gold.