Cutting back on my sass

If we were having coffee or tea, we’d be pairing it with these cake samples I got from a Ukrainian bakery. The top half is a Napolean and the bottom half with the berries is a honey cake called Medovik. Feel free to choose or have both!

Lately I’ve been enjoying going to street fairs since the weather is cooling down to something more bearable. Summers in LA can get too hot where I would rather go to the mall or the library or anywhere with AC. This time of year (plus winter and spring) are my favorite times of year where I could be outside at any hour of the day.

Alternative replies

On late Wednesday evening, my husband and I were watching TV in the living room. Lana was sitting on the floor playing with her toys. BIL #1 came home 10 minutes ago from doing whatever. BIL #1 sits on the table with his takeout and out of nowhere he says, “I normally do not say this, but I am grateful for you guys for letting me stay here.”

It was awkward because most days he does not say a single word to us. We always have to initiate the conversation. We did not find his declaration of gratitude genuine (reasons explained later). My husband and I did not reply right away because we did not know what to say. Finally I said flatly “oh okay.” My husband replies with “uh….” Was my husband thinking about what to say? In usual Julie fashion I attempted to fill in the dead air by saying anything so I said “well we hoped you grown from this experience?” (Note the italicization to indicate the weird inflection.) The reason for the awkward reply is that I was trying to hold back on my sass. It’s a work-in-progress. I know my sarcasm and sass are not always welcomed. I am well aware that my life is not a series of dark comedy sketches. Here are some alternative replies I will share for your entertainment:

  1. “Sorry, but I thought it came off as…insincere. What do you want?” – If I did not pull back, this would have been the likeliest reply. My husband complains that his family only talks to us if they want something like money and other stuff.
  2. “You lived here for two years and you’re thanking us now?!” Also tied with the likeliest reply I would say.
  3. “Are you grateful because you can’t find any place else affordable in LA?”
  4. “Nope, we are not getting a bigger fridge, getting you a shed for the backyard, or a TV in your room….blah, blah, blah.” I felt like ever since he moved in, he’s only asked for stuff like a bigger fridge, a deep freezer, a shed, etc. There was a time we were close, out of all the siblings-in-law he was my favorite but that was before he moved in. I’ve been turned off by his demand for “nicer amenities” in the house. I guess he expects nicer stuff to magically appear like we run a hotel. Like a bad landlord, I’ve been holding off on major projects like renovating the kitchen and the bathroom.
  5. “Awww…that’s so nice of you” Nope. I just wanted to show a completely 180 alternative reply

Most of the alternative replies are snippy and mean-spirited. But the reply (or lack thereof) said so much with so few words. But are “oh”, “okay”, and “uh” really considered words?

Why am I questioning his authenticity? We’ve had many years under our belt that his family (even the ones who’ve lived with us) only reach out to us when they want something — specifically money. They say it’s to help pay for rent and bills, but why do we see a new car or trips to casinos on social media? Unfortunately, we’ve only had this epiphany within the last couple of years and that was after we’ve given them so much money in the years before. I felt as though it was to the point it hindered us from a lot of our goals. At the time I worked in a non-profit and my husband worked entry-level jobs as a technician because he had not finished his bachelor’s degree yet. We had modest incomes so anytime they asked for money, we had to cut back on something in order to help them. The time when my husband and I got in a bad car accident, where was their financial support when we needed it to purchase a new vehicle?

Alternative Birthday celebration

Lana’s birthday is happening in a couple of weeks. We only plan to throw a birthday party at her daycare so she can celebrate with her friends and classmates. We decided not to have a second bigger birthday party with family this year. MIL is still upset and angry at my husband for kicking out BIL #2 earlier this year. If we did throw a birthday party at our house and MIL and BIL #2 showed up, they’re likely only there because they are asking for something. Or maybe she’ll put my husband on the spot asking him to make nice with BIL #2 (which he’ll refuse to do). I don’t want another family drama at a kid’s birthday party. I get that a family party is a convenient way to get people together, but family drama takes away the joy of celebrating.

Last year when we threw a party for Lana’s 1st birthday at our house, MIL was asking us for money. Last year at that time, MIL, SIL, SIL’s son, BIL #2, and BIL #3 got a notice that they had to leave the rental by December 1st after nine years of living there. Ideally, they all wanted to stay in San Diego but house rentals are ridiculously expensive. MIL found a house but she needed us (me and my husband) to help contribute to the rent. My husband told her “no” and suggested she could move in our house where she could live rent-free while the other siblings take care of finding their own place. She did not like our suggestion. In fact, it made her so upset that she decided to leave the party early and not stay for the birthday cake.

That is why I am not interested in having a big family birthday party this year. I just don’t want to invite family drama. But also, I don’t want to NOT invite MIL and BIL #2 and whoever on that side is mad at us. The easiest way to resolve the invitation dilemma is to NOT have a birthday party — I mean could one be uninvited if there’s no party in the first place? Instead of a party, it’s going to be an excursion like to a musuem or an amusement park. Based on Lana’s interests, which are cars and aquatic animals, it was a toss-up between the Long Beach Aquarium or the Peterson Auto Museum. We showed her a plush fish to represent the Long Beach Aquarium and a LEGO car to represent the Peterson Auto Museum. Whichever object she selected was where we would go so she selected the LEGO car. We reached out to our friends and my parents that they’re welcome to tag along in our non-party.

Tag: Weekend Coffee Share

6 thoughts on “Cutting back on my sass”

  1. Families are indeed complicated. For the past three years I’ve lived alone with my two children, and I’ve never had this little drama. Sure I sometimes would like more adult conversations at home, but I like making all the big decisions myself. I like not a lot! I hope things gets easier for you.

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    1. When my husband and I moved away from San Diego to LA, we had it pretty good. There was almost no drama, we felt free to do what we wanted. We even bought a house without their input. They were upset that we bought a “small” house. They may complain and wave their arms up not getting their way, but a 2+ hour drive is enough buffer for us. If we lived in San Diego, it would have been difficult to buy a house because everyone would have gotten involved with what the wanted in a house. They’d probably want 5+ rooms or something — but anyways that’s too much house to take care of.

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  2. Hi Julie –
    Oh the memories this brings back.
    One year, about 15 years ago, we were hosting family dinner at our home.
    After lots of years working and saving, we’d accomplished a fairly nice home and enjoyed sharing it.
    We also had a BIL married to my sister, who we got on fine with and he was invited with my sister. But he had a daughter who was a mess. She was into drugs, prostitution and theft to pay for her various habits. Having her come to our home, worried me a lot. She’d stolen things from my sister and her father’s home and no one seemed to be able to get her to change her ways.
    I decided that she was not invited and told both my sister and BIL that, with apologies, I was not willing to put my home at risk by having her here.
    This caused a huge family fight. My dad was very angry at me – which almost never happened. My sister was breathless with my decision and also very angry, etc. etc.
    To this day, I recall my logic and stand by my decision and since then, those same angry family members have told me how much they disliked what I did, but finally decided that I was right and wise for doing so.
    Fine – but it sure wasn’t easy at the time.
    Hang in there. Being as respectful as possible but keeping problem people, even family, away from your family will pay off in the long run.
    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh! It sounded like time had healed itself. They realized in retrospect that this is your house and your rules. I know someone similar to the daughter and people have told the mom upfront that her daughter is not welcome in the house.
      I’ll be hanging in there. It’s been pretty hard considering how the last couple of weeks was my husband’s birthday and our kid’s birthday. His mom hasn’t reached out wishing either of them “Happy Birthday.” It’s tempting to reach out to her to say “hey you forgot your son and granddaughter’s birthday!”

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