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, , , , | Friendly | February 16, 2021

When our family and my husband’s younger sister’s family both had small children, we visited each other on a regular basis. Admittedly, it was very obvious that, when his sister was the host, she would prefer we left after one or two hours while her husband wanted us to stay the entire day, so we usually only stayed for three or four hours at most.

They both claimed to be fond of nature and to be very spiritual. However, we learned that my sister-in-law will often express opinions or sentiments she feels she ought to have instead of what she really means or feels. On two occasions, I spent quite a while making her homemade gifts only to have her turn her nose up at them. She would say that she liked them but it was obvious she didn’t and that she was actually angry at us for having given her exactly what she asked for. I have been selling my crafts at markets, so I seriously doubt it was the quality of the gifts which was the problem. She only likes things that are store-bought. In reality, she is the most materialistic person I know.

We stopped talking about nature hikes and such with them because of one incident.

Sister-In-Law: “What did you two do last weekend?”

Me: “Not much. We just hung around the house and then we took a short trip to the local forest on Sunday.”

She screeched at me that our way of living wasn’t the only right way to do things. We thought they also went to the forest on a regular basis, but now we think that was more wishful thinking than reality and she expected me to read her mind and know that.

We often did them favors and lent them things. We have helped them move on four occasions. The last time we asked friends and family to help us move instead of using a company, her school was closed that entire week. She didn’t help us, as she needed rest. When school wasn’t closed, she only had to be at school ten to fifteen hours a week and had hardly any homework.

She doesn’t understand why she can only keep friends for a maximum of two years and we are quite happy to live far away from her now.

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Lending The Unhandy A Helping Hand

, , , , | Related | February 1, 2021

I have taught myself how to fix most things around the house: plumbing, woodwork, wiring, appliances, etc. I can fix the simple issues and I call a professional to fix anything I can’t.

My father-in-law, however, has no idea; he can barely hang a picture. He periodically enlists my help with household projects. We all have our strengths and I don’t think any less of him; in fact, to think my simple skills are so highly regarded is a really nice feeling. After a while, my sister-in-law also starts to ask for help, much to the annoyance of her husband, my brother-in-law.

Sister-In-Law: “Would you mind putting up a shelf next time you pop over?”

Me: “Err, sure. Do you have the screws, or do I need to bring some?”

Sister-In-Law: “Oh, I don’t know. Do we have the screws, [Brother-In-Law]?”

Brother-In-Law: “I told you I would do it when I get around to it!”

Sister-In-Law: “It’s been three months; you’ve had plenty of time.”

Brother-In-Law: “I don’t have the right tools.”

Me: “Oh, you can borrow my smaller drill. I have a spare spirit level somewhere, too.”

Brother-In-Law: “Yeah, great, thanks.”

They leave, almost “forgetting” my tools, but I manage to flag them down. Luckily, I can make do without the tools; it’s over a month before they let me know they finished. I pop round.

Me: “Thanks. You got it all sorted, then?”

Brother-In-Law: “Yeah, fine.”

Me: “Oh, do you have the spirit level?”

He disappears out of the room to fetch it.

Sister-In-Law: “Don’t tell him, but could you fix that shelf?”

Me: “Looks okay. Why?”

Sister-In-Law: “It’s fallen off once, and now it’s so wonky everything falls off! Look.”

She put a book on the new empty shelf and, true to her word, the book fell over and slid off the shelf. I managed to fix the shelf later that year when he was out of the house. I kind of wish I hadn’t, as he has started to brag about how good a job “he” did, and now wants to buy a load of tools of his own.

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Time To Move Far, Far Away. Narnia, Maybe.

, , , , , | Related | January 26, 2021

My boyfriend’s father can be a little… inconsiderate. He’s often selfish to the point that he doesn’t like to be around his grandchildren because then everyone does what they want to do and not what he wants. He also likes to show off things that he’s purchased and will impulsively purchase properties and cars, show them off, get tired of them, and sell them again.

It’s safe to say that, when my boyfriend and I were looking for a place to live, the distance from his parents was a definite factor. When we found out that a condo was available in the same complex where his parents live — literally across the driveway — we were skeptical about choosing it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), we wound up absolutely loving the condo and weighed the consequences of living across from his parents. Throwing caution to the wind, we purchased the condo and did the final closing the following month.

My boyfriend was able to move in immediately, but I had to finish a lease in my previous apartment, so I had to wait another month. Over the next two weeks, my boyfriend started telling me stories about his father making offhand comments about our place and how nice it was and how he was going to use our basement to work out, and jokingly asking if we wanted to switch condos. I laughed about it, but I knew that he honestly was a little jealous; personally, I think our condo was far superior to theirs.

Then, I got a call from my boyfriend, who sounded a little miffed. At the time, my boyfriend was working at least ten hours a day, six days a week, and his parents were recently retired. We gave his parents a key to our condo for emergency purposes and thought we could trust them to not abuse our security. Come to find out, his father took it upon himself to give tours of our condo! Everyone that stopped by — distant relatives, friends of his parents — knew that it was our condo, but his father bragged about it like it had been his idea for us to purchase it; they did let us know about the listing, but he was not involved in the decision or mortgage at all.

But the real reason that my boyfriend was upset was that his father gave tours to two of his other children, something that my boyfriend was really looking forward to doing for his own siblings. I was upset for him and for me. This was the first house for both of us, and we had been looking forward to showing it off. Now, his father had selfishly taken it away for his own satisfaction.

There is a bit of a silver lining, though. The next weekend, I came up to the house to drop off some things and spend time with my boyfriend, who was at work when I arrived. I was exhausted from moving things and was relaxing in the living room. I glanced out the window to see my boyfriend’s father talking animatedly to my boyfriend’s mother, brother, and his brother-in-law as they walked towards our condo. In a flash, I realized that they didn’t know I was home — parking is in a different location away from the condos — and he was coming to give another tour!  

I sprang into action and opened the door just as his father went to unlock it. They all seemed surprised to see me, but I quickly welcomed them in and offered to give them a tour. My boyfriend’s brother and brother-in-law agreed, and soon I was excitedly showing them the house and discussing all the plans we had to redo and remodel. My boyfriend’s father was silent from the moment he saw me, and by the time we moved upstairs, he was no longer with us. I peeked outside and saw him sullenly going back to his condo.

When my boyfriend got home, I told him what had happened and he was overjoyed. I moved in a few weeks later, and as far as we know, his father has not tried anything like that since.

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You Think YOUR In-Laws Are Invasive?

, , , , , | Related | January 23, 2021

Before getting married, I met my husband’s parents a few times. They were friendly enough, but we ended up spending a lot more time with my family, and it was only later that I realized why.

One big red flag was the fact that, one week before our wedding, his parents called and left a voicemail to tell us that they were actually going to be going on a Mediterranean Cruise that week, that they’d miss us, and that they hoped we’d have fun. I was shocked, but my husband just shrugged and accepted it, and we ended up having a lovely ceremony and moved into our own little two-bedroom house.

Then, around three months after the wedding, there is a knock on our door, and when we answer it, we find his parents standing on our front porch with suitcases in hand, and with a moving truck parked in our driveway.

Husband: “Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad. What are you doing here?”

Mother-In-Law: “We’re moving in!”

I am standing right behind my husband, and I am stunned. I don’t deal well with conflict, and I start dreading what sort of fight we’ll have to have to tell them no when they’ve apparently already packed up to move in. My wonderful hubby, however, just smiles and speaks in a calm and cheerful voice.

Husband: “No, you’re not.”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, but it will be so convenient. We can—”

My husband cuts her off by stepping forward and wrapping her in a hug. He then proceeds to hug his dad, before stepping back and putting a hand on both of their shoulders.

Husband: “Mom, Dad, I love you both, but you are not moving in with us. Especially not with zero notice. We’d love to have you over for a short visit, maybe next weekend, but you are not moving in with us.”

He then gives them both another hug before turning and walking back inside and then closing the door behind them, leaving them both standing out on the porch. He then crosses right to me, wraps me up in a hug, and buries his face in my hair.

Husband: *Muttering* “Now you see why I wasn’t too broken up about them not being at the wedding.”

They did end up leaving, and thankfully, they haven’t tried something like that again.

This story is part of our Best Of January 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of January 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of January 2021 roundup!

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Some Rules Are Not Made To Be Broken

, , , , , , | Related | January 15, 2021

My partner and I are dropping off Christmas gifts for family members in advance as we won’t be getting together this year. The provincial government has been slow and erratic in implementing safety measures, and they have just announced that people living alone can get together with others for one holiday gathering.

We’re chatting with my sister-in-law outside her house — masked, distanced, etc. She lives with her almost-eighteen-year-old son and an older daughter who recently moved back home with her young child. Her eldest daughter lives nearby with her partner and three kids.

Sister-In-Law: “It’s great with the new rules! Minors don’t count, so since I’m a single mom and [Eldest Daughter] is practically a single mom, we can have Christmas dinner together!”

Me: “Oh, no. Should I not have addressed our gift to [Eldest Daughter’s Partner]?”

Sister-In-Law: “No, they’re still together!”

I was too shocked to respond. “Practically” doesn’t count, no matter how much her partner works, and she still has another adult living with her. This is why case counts are still so high: wishy-washy rules and people looking for loopholes in them!

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