Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hunkering down...

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to update you all on everything, but I find with time it’s easier to look back on the events of late and write with more clarity and less emotional whining then when they are truly raw and fresh.... Plus it doesn't make me as depressed after recollecting the events if I wait a little while so I've had some time to settle my thoughts and emotions.

A couple of days after I posted my last response, my husband and I went over to my mom's house to install her new watering hose in the front yard that we had bought her for her birthday. I had the day off and while we weren't over there very long, the visit went fairly okay... Even when I gently reminded her that I wasn't going to my sister’s house for thanksgiving.
So you can imagine my surprise when she called me up later that evening... in tears...

Apparently my sister has been having a lot of difficulties at work and in the past, I've always had to be the one to bail her out. I'd get phone calls and emails like this while I was at work doing my own job:
"Please re-do this resume for me... it’s for my boss... I need it back like now..." "I sent it to you 10 minutes ago... is it done yet?" "What do you mean you can't do it right this second..."

Essentially, it was like high school all over again when I was expected to and forced to write her papers... Even as a grown up, my mom would call me up, begging me to help her and in the past I caved... But now that we aren't speaking, and her job is now more challenging she has been frustrated and struggling... Why?

Some background on my sister's job: My sister worked as a secretary at a business and helped out a little when they were busy with some of the financial documents that needed to be reviewed. When the company was going under, she lied about her work experience and education to land a job elsewhere. When she started, it was obvious she couldn't do the work. They were going to can her at the end of the month and my sister knew it. So, from day 2 of her "new" job she started apply elsewhere. With her good looks and fudged resume, she was able to switch jobs within the month to avoid getting canned. When it was plainly obvious that my sister couldn't do the work at the new company, they felt bad for her and gave her a secretary/admin position that they needed to have filled anyway and paid her a higher rate than they normally would for someone to do the job...

Fast forward to now and that same business is growing having bought out others and they have been assigning more work with a higher level of difficulty to my sister. They even hired a new receptionist to help her give her more time to do the work (my sister is engaged to their main I.T. specialist) but she's still having issues juggling her work while trying to train the new girl and was a crying mess to my mom on the phone...

So why would any of this involve me?
Because my mom thought it would be a brilliant idea to call me up and see if I could help talk my sister through it all since I’d been there and done that with work already... and she was under the illusion that hopefully "my" helping her would then re-open the communication window and then we would be friends again and she could have her thanksgiving celebration at my sisters, like planned.

(How she does not understand WHY we aren't speaking right now is beyond me.)
So I did what I had to do and stood my ground. I told my mom that I was sorry my sister was struggling at work... truly I was... and then I braced myself and told her that I didn't think my calling her would actually help the situation...

(This is where the crying and the pleas start.)

I tried to explain to her that involving me in my sister's issues and problems in the past had never faired too well in the end and often brought on unwanted animosity, and bitterness towards me. I reminded her of all the fights and arguments that came from when I had to write my sister’s papers in school, how we would all fight and bicker as i would try and tutor her... etc
I again re-iterated that I was sorry that she was struggling, but my involvement would only make it worse, because let’s be frank... no one wants their "little sister" to come to the rescue and have to fix and bail everyone else out... especially when the water is already bad between them.
Naturally she was upset with me, but she left it at that...

and all this went down while I had dinner guests over too... (I feel bad for the elders who had to listen to me explain in the other room about all those papers I had to write and the arguments that followed where I had to "help" my sister... It sure made for some interesting discussions at the dinner table because SCB didn't know that I'm the reason my sister got to graduate high school... Some days I wonder what would have happened if I could turn back in time and make different decisions.)


My mom and I have exchanged a few phone calls since her attempt at getting me to call my sister, and for the most part, they have been really pleasant... kind of like the conversation mentioned above hadn't actually happened... and part of me wonders how much on my mom's end of things was really true...

But one thing is sure, something fishy is going on.

I called my mom up to ask her something and when she picked up, she thought I was my sister and made a joke about how I must be calling her to try and convince her to sell me her house again.... (Ya, that was awkward when she realized I was me and not my sister... She started rambling on about how my sister has been looking for a house in that area, etc etc...)

I'm also sure by now that my mom knows that I’m not going to my sister's house for turkey day for any reason... and because I'm not going there, she's now been mentioning how she might end up telling my sister that she's cooking at her house instead, in an effort to see if i'll come to her house and have my sister just show up there. I don't know how I’ve been lucky, but when I told my mom that I wouldn't be going to her house if/when my sister was there because it would only add awkwardness to the whole day and probably ruin the holiday, she didn't fight me on it. I even offered to go over there for dessert when my sister left, but she turned me down. I think she knows that if I come chaos will ensue... but she feels guilty that I won't be a part of the festivities because she can't tell me to come and tell my sister not to...
I even tossed out the idea of doing thanksgiving with her on another night-- or even just dinner, emphasizing how I didn't want to make her have to choose between my sister and I on the holidays... but she said no. She said that SCB and I should just plan something with our friends... I ended up telling her we'd probably invite the missionaries over to make sure they had somewhere to go since they are away from their families...

But her guilt is building...

She offered to buy the missionaries Christmas presents... Called me up out of the blue asking about what they might want ---and we all know her feeling about the church at this particular moment... but who knows, maybe she's warming up to my being mormon?

She also called me the other day, again out of the blue, and asked if I wanted a tablet for Christmas... I told her I didn't really have a huge need for one at the moment... and I was more worried about the fact that my dryer just broke down and we were line-drying our clothes all around the house at the moment. (On a side note, SCB, after talking to his dad about the dryer, and with the help of the missionaries, was able to take the dryer apart and verify that it was just the heating coil that was broken... so we can just order an $80 part and have him fix it instead of paying $1200 for a new stackable washer/dryer combo set...) But she tried calling me asking for SCB while she was in some tech gadget store wanting "advice" on a purchase....

Why does my family think they can just fix all their issues with money and gifts???


  1. So great you are standing your ground. Hate to say it, but those two will probably never, ever change without A LOT of therapy. Not trying to be mean--they are just master manipulators. The sad thing is, I think deep down, they know it and don't really care. You're almost like Cinderella that they got to do all their work for them, treated badly, but are afraid to lose control of you. Don't fall for it. Your calm approach is perfect--even if your insides are churning. That's why you have SCB--to help you through this.

  2. I was beginning to worry. It sounds as if you are doing better, although it doesn't seem like your family has changed . Your reaction to it all seems to have changed and that's major progress.

    I'm praying that the holidays go smoothly for you and your husband. You deserve some happiness and drama-free fun time.

    It sounds like you do a lot to keep your sister's life running smoothly. It seems like she should be grateful. Hopefully she will realize that soon and set about repairing her relationship with you.

  3. That's awesome that your hubby was able to figure out a cheaper fix for your dryer. I don't have anything to say about your sister and mom.

  4. Good for you for standing your ground! It must be difficult so you should be proud of yourself. I'm sorry it has to happen so close to the holidays but it sounds like this may be the first year you don't have drama with them. Good luck!

  5. Curious to hear how your Thanksgiving was... Hoping it was wonderful and drama free!

  6. I miss my favorite personal finance blog!

  7. I am trying to figure out a nice way to ask this, but what happened to your blog? it used to be an awesome place to get financial advise (especially for young women).

  8. I hope you keep posting! I saw an article about making pens from pieces of wood and thought of you!

  9. Sweetie! Where are you? I'm worried about you. You have been so strong and have persevered through so much to just give up now. Please don't give up. I've admired your strength, common sense and energy for so long. I miss your stories of your every day life with SCB. Please come back.