Friday, December 21, 2007

3 Days of Bah Humbug!

Well, I knew this was coming eventually, but I hoped I'd have a few days or so to relax from the frenzy of gift bag/basket hell.

No such luck.

You aren't going to understand a bit of this unless you go here first. I wrote about this on my Disaboom blog a couple of months ago when this situation first reared its ugly head.

Since I wrote the above, I talked to both my ex-husband and his sister, who has remained a good friend over the years. I encouraged them to call the sheriff's department to have a wellness check-up done.

Ex-sis-in-law hemmed and hawed, said she'd think about it. I think she's been counting on the doofy neighbors sneaking into ex-FIL's house or stealing his mail so they can find the address to his mortgage company to report him so that the crack team of mortgage medical diagnosticians (who, I guess occupy the cubicle next to the compliance officer) could commit him.

Yes, that's sarcasm, so don't go running off thinking this is possible. LOL

Ex-husband said he doesn't give two shits. As he's said before, the only time he'll come back to the state is when his dad is dead. He has stuck with this philosophy over the years (there have been a few clandestine visits here with his job), although it's cost him a close relationship with our sons. He's been offered positions in the state and he could have seen them at least every other week. He's settled for seeing them at least every other year. Sometimes every other two years.

He's got new kids "who need music lessons, and he just bought his wife a bigger car, and aren't those grooming expenses for little frou frou dogs just out of this world? Airline tickets are expensive and he might not be able to swing it this year to see the boys (note: Hubby and I have paid for the tickets the last 3 times the boys have gone down to visit). And then the frou frou dog ran out and got hit by a car, so they needed 1000.00 to buy another purebred frou frou for the kids, and this one needs to be groomed often as well."

I could understand and respect their positions if it weren't for one thing. Both brother and sister (they're in their early-40's) go crying to Daddy every time they have a financial crisis (which is frequently) and beg him to bail them out. He's not a wealthy man by any means, but he does. Even when it leaves him short. Wonder if ex tells him it's for replacement frou frou dogs.

When I talked to my ex a couple of weeks ago and expressed my concern about having his dad drive the guys anywhere, ex pulled up his old mantra. "As far as I'm concerned, I don't want him to EVER see them!"

So I let him have it. He doesn't care if the his dad ever sees his kids, but he's not willing to be the one to tell his dad himself. As with everything else, he wants to dump it in MY lap. To be the messenger of bad news. To be the confronter. To be the one to use our kids to express ex's contempt for his dad.

Not gonna happen. I sort of inherited the old man, and have forged a somewhat decent relationship with him over the years.

Every year, ex-FIL has traditionally assigned the kids an amount of money for Xmas and taken them shopping to spend it. Since Big Kid's birthday is the 2nd of January, he's gotten an extra amount to spend. Some years ex-FIL has taken them overnight (he lives almost 2 hours away), some years he's just run with them into the city for lunch and shopping. This plan obviously has to change.

When he called, I had a whole recitation memorized. Little Guy would like to have a necklace instead of money (ex-FIL is a retired jeweler with a whole stash of stuff), and Big Kid would just like to have money to save towards a big screen HGTV. With ex-FIL's hip problem, we didn't want to make him traipse around shopping in the mall with them, or drive a long time to get up here to the mountains, so how about if we met him halfway down in the city and took HIM to lunch???

He was persistent. He "knows how much the guys love being at his house" (this entire side of the family only sees what they want to see---that must be where Big Kid gets it). I was even more so.

"We've got SO much planned with community and business and dinner parties over the next week, that keeping them overnight wouldn't work. Please let us take YOU out, because you've done so much for the boys!" He didn't want to listen, and I was afraid that I'd just have to lay it out for him.

The angels were on my side. At least for now.

We're driving down into the city tomorrow to meet up with him. We made up a fabulous gift basket filled with specialty cheeses and goodies from Ireland and Scotland, plus that neat thing we had specially made up.

I wonder if ex will send his dad a card, since he hasn't even bothered to send one to our sons at holidays or birthdays for the last 5 or more years. Music lessons are expensive, you know.

I know his dad wasn't a great dad, but I think he did the best he could with the tools he had as a single father. I'm not an apologist---the man did his best to interfere with and control my marriage with his son.

But he's been there when ex has needed him (financially, if incapable of being there emotionally), and that should count for something. He's toed the line with my rules to have a relationship with my boys, and has been a loving, if gruff grand-dad.

He's elderly and alone, mostly by his own past behavior and eccentricities.

And it makes me feel sad.

On the tenth day of humbug, Santa left for me

My ex-inherited-inlaw,
More freaking football,
Too tired to be blogging,
7 steaming bowls of stupid,
Hubby's buttocks blasting,
5 Chin hairs,
4 exploding Snapples,
3 open tubs of frosting,
2 dead pens,
and a lump of coal for under my tree


Valerie Marie said...

I don't believe it ...
Dear Attila, the angels are on your side, for sure.
((Attila)) xoxo

special k said...

Oy, what a mess. I read the other post before finishing with this one, and there's no doubt that FIL was a bully and played hell with his kids' lives, but you know? Those same kids are all growed-up, and should act like it. Sure, it's hard to get past all the resentment and hurt, but Jesus! How much longer do they think they'll really have to put up with the old guy anyway?

As big a shit-show as the past week has been for you, I have to say I've been enjoying your Days of Bah Humbug posts, babe.

I hope you'll get a few moments to yourself this holiday season...maybe during a commercial break or something.

Melissa said...

YOU are the angel. Your kindness, generosity and compassion for this man, coupled with a lot of perspective have made YOU the best gift for your ex-inherited-inlaw. My coffee cup's raised to you, this morning, Attila the Giver of Great Christmas Goodwill and Peace.

litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Marriage would be much easier if everyone was an orphan. In-laws with all their inherent foibles can cause a lot of problems in the best of situations, and as you’re discovering, the challenges continue long after the relationship dissolves.

Good luck with your get-together tomorrow. Santa will smile benevolently on you for your gracious behavior….

Anonymous said...

Your such a good person! What a great example you set for your boys. I just know those angels will stay with you!
Sending big hugs and Christmas love!

Joe said...

I agree with Eileen, you're setting a good example for your kids and teaching them the right way to do things.
I've never really had good relationships with my in laws, only my late MIL in my current marriage liked me.
Good Luck at the lunch.

Chris H said...

I commend you for maintaing a good relationship with your ex-FIL and allowing him a relationship with his grandsons. Ya for some victories ! Shame music lessons, frou frou dogs etc are so expensive!!!!

Angela said...

family is hard work that is why I am never moving to the same state as my inlaws

Ann(ie) said...

You have much compassion and a giant heart my bloggy friend. xo.