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Getting through Christmas

December 26th, 2014 at 02:40 pm

Christmas this year was somewhat low key, there being just the 3 of us. I hauled my assorted dishes to my mother's, along with the presents, and there was the usual flurry of gift opening hastened by my sister's announcement that it was getting dark and she had to leave soon to put the chickens in.

My mother was NOT supposed to cook anything, and in fact, I wanted to make sure my sister and I covered everything between us. But my mother insisted she could pick up a cooked chicken from Costco. OK, fine. But then the day before Xmas it was supposed to be raining hard and we agreed it might be best if she not go all the way down to Costco in the rain; instead, she said she would pick up the bird at Stop & Shop, right down the road. But lo and behold, she got an uncooked turkey and so Xmas morning she's calling me needing help in using the controls on the stove. This is why I didn't want her to cook; and then in a casual conversation she mentioned she was doing pumpkin pie and had to tell her NO, I am making pumpkin pie, and remind her once again she was not to cook anything.

Today I met a friend in a neighboring town and we drove together to his niece's house, where he'd spent Christmas with his now smaller family of 5. (His parents are now both gone.) I've known his family for many years, since we dated and were pretty serious when I was 28 and he was 40, and they have always welcomed me into their home.

My friend, who has terminal prostate cancer and probably just a few more years to live (I think he's around 67 now) gave his niece $100,000 of his retirement money so she could buy a new home free and clear and not have to worry about her ex trying to get half the house in their ongoing divorce proceedings. So my friend bought the house in his name, and 3 weeks after the divorce was final, turned it over to his niece.

In addition to the house, he also paid for a whole house generator for her ($7,000), a home security system, a new SUV to replace one with 180,000 miles on it and probably a few other things. She's a school teacher and makes a modest income with 2 little girls. He's been very generous and has freely admitted he has a sort of "rescue" mentality to help women in distress. He did the same sort of thing (less money involved) with his ex-wife, who unfortunately left him twice and then tried to squeeze as much undeserved $$ from him in acrimonious divorce proceedings as she could.

His other niece is an accountant who married an accountant, so they are doing quite well in Maryland, money-wise.

I had mixed feelings about his giving so much to his niece (she's 35 now....how will she ever learn to manage money if everything is given to her?) but what really bothered me is how he pressured and basically coerced his sister (his nieces' mother) into chipping in another $50,000 toward the house purchase. His sister was divorced herself, around the time her 2 daughters were born, and she has worked long and hard to raise them and send them to college. She never remarried.

My friend felt his sister could afford to chip in since she had paid off her own home finally and makes good money working many hours at 2 hospitals as some sort of lab tech. Still, it's not his decision, is it?

My friend is EXTREMELY pushy, with them, me, anything and everything. He means well but this is one of the reasons we split up way back when. He also tried getting his other niece, the accountant, to chip in money for the younger niece as well, and the older one refused and now doesn't speak to my friend (her uncle) for being so d*** pushy.

He reviewed the whole saga with me and still sees nothing wrong with what he did. In fact, he was looking for kudos from me again, and although I've long known how the whole story goes, he wanted to tell it all to me again. Sigh. He thinks he knows best about everything.

My friend's mother had Alzheimer's before she died, and of course my friend's sister is telling me "It's going to get worse, It's going to get a lot worse, it could last for 10 years," etc etc. I know all this. It just makes it all the more depressing when my hands are mostly tied because my mother rejects all help. So we'll have to wait for a fall, a car accident, god knows what, and then that will land her in the hospital and force our hands, meaning, the hospital won't allow her to return home with any kind of serious injury since she has a long flight of stairs leading to her living area, and so that will be the time I will have to put her in assisted living, and after her money runs out in 4 or 5 years, then we'll have to put her in a nursing home. And she will hate my guts because she thinks she is perfectly fine when she is not. I mean, she already went ballistic when I read the doctor's note to her insisting that she take a safe driving test or he would have DMV pull her license.

So much tension and anxiety. When she called me the other morning, even tho there was no crisis per se, it just stressed me out and it took me most of the day to get back to equilibrium. I am not good at this. We've had a problematic relationship off and on all my life, which makes it harder.

All that being said, perhaps you will understand that it was a relief to simply get through Christmas more or less intact. I am very happy to put it behind me.

7 Responses to “Getting through Christmas”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Holidays can certainly bring the stress. Sorry you were dealing with problems, but glad you made it through.

  2. snafu Says:

    Both days sound taxing. I hope you enjoy the rest of your vacation doing enjoyable activities so that you can return to work feeling re-energized. We're having the most remarkable weather. It's added so much joy to visiting and errands to not be terrorized slip sliding sideways down hilly roads.

  3. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I know someone quite like your friend. It can be very frustrating to listen to a story where they can't see how they contributed to the mess, and have to relive it and relive it and relive it ...

  4. scfr Says:

    Bless you. Such trying times you are living through. I'm glad you got through the day.

  5. CB in the City Says:

    I hear you. Sometimes the best part of a holiday get-together is getting home and pouring a big glass of wine!

  6. Ima saver Says:

    Dear friend, I sure hope things get better for you. Wish I could help.

  7. PatientSaver Says:

    Thanks for all the kind words and yes, a glass of wine sounds good right about now!!!!

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