Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life is not a bed of roses

I have had a lovely month - and it's only the 8th. Ron asked me this afternoon why I was so edgy. I was very short with him but while we were on the way to the doctor's office I pretty much unloaded every thing on him that was bothering me. And it was a lot.

I'm tired of being on everyone's back burner. We have problems with our sprinkler - he blames the well company. The well company said the sprinkler company didn't put in the right system for the water pressure. We're going to have to hook up to the city water. So that's $2500 that we wasted on a well, plus it will cost $500-600 to hook up to the city. I'm not happy.

Our builder cost us several hundred dollars in extra utility bills because of a mistake in the amount of insulation in our attic. He accepted responsibility for it although he's not entirely sure who was to blame. Ultimately, it was his goof because he didn't follow through on something. It took him until August to actually think to get up in the attic and check it out. So our heating bills were through the roof, literally, and our cooling bills were nearly as bad. Now our level pay amount is about $50 per month higher than it probably would have been if we hadn't had such high heating bills last winter. I'm not happy about that, either.

Our builder has also not completed some of the things that he's working on. He owes us a sliding door screen, he owes us some painting in my bedroom, and he needs to have some of our boards on the deck replaced. He just keeps forgetting that he needs to do these things. He's a nice guy but I can only take so much. I'm not happy.

Then yesterday, I sent a note to my siblings broaching the subject of Christmas. I've lived in this area for nearly 25 years (it will be 25 years in January). In that time we've driven to KC for every holiday dinner (except the year we were in Florida), I've taken my kids there to celebrate their birthdays with family, and for any other family get together that has been held.

In the same time frame members of my family have driven here fewer than 10 times - and one of those was a wedding. I think there might have been a dinner, my 50th birthday party, my daughter's wedding, and Ron's 50th birthday. It's not that I haven't had functions and invited everyone to come down. I have. Many of them, as a matter of fact. But out of my six siblings, only one has come down on a regular basis, one has been here one time by herself and one time with her husband (but they were actually here to see HIS family and saw us at the same time), one has been here for a Sunday dinner (more than 15 years ago), one came to Ron's 50th birthday party, and that is it until Amy's wedding. All of my living siblings came to her wedding, except for one. All but two came to my 50th birthday.

All told, that's still less than 10 events in 25 years. Not a good percentage.

I've always just gone to KC because I knew it was easier on everyone else if I just did the traveling. I didn't mind and I enjoyed spending the time with my family. Sometimes Ron went and sometimes he did not. He didn't always want to go and sometimes he was on call at work and could not go. One time he stayed home and kept Keith because Keith was sick. I never expected anyone to sacrifice any of their holiday time with anyone else to come here.

I decided I'd ask this time since Ron's health has been bad and since he's still in the scooter full time. No one has wheelchair access in their house, and even if we could get him in the door, he probably couldn't get in the bathroom or have any space to maneuver around. So I asked if everyone would like to come down here for dinner and our fun time and explained my reasoning.
So far I've only gotten one answer back and it was "if you have it down there we won't be able to come because we've got too many kids here." I just about popped a cork I was so ticked. I started an email laying out how it was OK to inconvenience me because it was only ONE family who had to travel and that I had to make arrangements to see other local family members on a day other than Christmas so I could travel to KC - but I guess they thought that was OK.

Kris almost sent a note, too saying it's OK to make me do all the traveling but not being willing to make some concessions based upon the circumstances. I said I'd wait to see who else uses local family as an excuse to not be able to drive here.

I refuse to leave Ron alone for 12-14 hours while he is not mobile without the electric scooter. No way. No way. No way. Ron says to go ahead and he'll stay home. That's not right. I'll just have to wait and see what comes up and what goes down.

Amy said she was sorry and that she wouldn't have suggested it if she'd known how upset the answer would make me. It's not just the answer. It's the years of missing out on family functions, the years of them missing opportunities with their grandparents - movies, dinner, overnight stays, them coming to school functions, etc. Those are things that my KC siblings enjoyed. My brother who lives in Topeka has two kids who also missed out - but that was by my SILs choice. She had her parents (they lived with them for years and years) so she felt she didn't need my parents in her children's' lives. In fact, she didn't really include any of us unless she absolutely had to.

All the years that my kids were growing up and my parents were retired - not ONCE were any of them ever invited to stay in KC for an extended period of time. I would have gladly traveled back-to-back weekends to give my children the opportunity to spend quality time with other members of my family. I think that's what bothers me the most and it just carried over to the Christmas thing. It's just the principle of the thing, I guess.

Financially, things aren't great. Not terrible, but definitely not great. I need to take a close look and see where we can cut back. I told Ron that our cable bill was too high and we needed to cut back. He said we could cut the Internet out any time. That's only a small fraction of the total cost. In fact, if we did away with the movie channels it would nearly cover the cost of the Internet. I will cut back on the Internet service and get the slower speed (I think it's about a $10 per month savings) and see what else we can do away with.

I want to cut back on my cell phone because it's also too high. Ron's not using his phone any longer but we have a contract and I don't want to pay a cancellation fee. Besides, he may need it again. His bill is $9.99 per month. Keith's portion is about $40-50 per month. If he could get his portion converted to a contract of his own it would help because I'd lower the 1400 anytime minutes to 700 anytime minutes. Keith is not in a financial position right now to convert his portion to his own bill. We'll see.

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