A bit insulted by brother in law

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by timer lady, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    My brother in law (sister's husband) was recently laid off work. He & my sis are hurting financially. Having said that, 2 days after husband died he called to ask me what I'm going to do with my "extra" mini van. Went on to ask me if he could have one of our laptops. :angrygirl: brother in law, my husband has only been gone 2 days; we haven't even held the funeral.

    Well, brother in law called me a couple of days ago ~ heard that I have life insurance coming in & would like to do the remodel here for me. My brother in law is one talented man in building furniture, cabinets & counter tops. He made me the most beautiful island for my kitchen & I use it continually.

    Saying that, the remodel is going to take a bit of plumbing, electrical wiring & HVAC rerouting. There are codes in this state that have to be adhered to; especially when/if the market picks up & I want to sell my home (you know, once the tweedles become adults & I need to hide. :bigsmile:)

    I need a crew of workers to get this done on a timely basis. brother in law then once again asked me when he was going to be able to pick up one of the laptops here. I never ever promised this man a computer of any type. I may have mentioned to my sister once I get the data off one of the desk units I may set her up with a work station of sorts but not a brand new laptop.

    It's almost embarassing. And because brother in law is family I'll have to delicately let him know that I will not be using him for my remodel. He doesn't have the skills or licensure needed for this state to pass all the building codes. I'd really like to help my sister out (I don't think she's aware that brother in law is annoying people like this) but not at the risk of having to hire someone behind him to clean up a mess. He doesn't belong here 325 miles from home not looking for work there.

    Am I thinking straight here?
  2. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    You are in a difficult spot. 325 miles away from home is a long way to travel for work. surely somewhere in between there should be something.

    You are so right about the codes being met. We bought our house 15 years ago and things are in need of replacement. We are finding out (very costly) that things were put together against code, by the home owner or friends. Plumber won't touch our kitchen unless he re does all the piping. Wouldn't even install the dishwasher. Apparently it goes directly to the disposal and that is against code....Same with bathroom and piping in basement. AND many other things.

    We were not wise enough to even think of things like that when we purchased the house. You are such a wise lady.

    All three of my brothers are self employed. Way, way, way back when i was a young kid, teen-ager I remember my oldest brother saying he will not, ever, employ family members. it is a rule he has stuck to as well as the next two brothers.

    Good luck with delivering the news. Good luck with your remodel.
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Frankly, brother in law or not, the man sounds to me like he's a manipulative, coniving VULTURE! I wouldn't worry too much about hurting his feelings - the man has a lot of nerve! He swoops in, even before your husbands funeral, and tries to talk you into giving him a new laptop and your "extra" vehicle, then just assumes that he will get the job of doing your remodel because he's 'family', even though he doesn't have the proper licenses, expertise, etc.! That's one h*ll of a lot of nerve and he's trying to take advantage of you! He just heard those two magic words ... "insurance check"!

    And since he lives 325 miles away from you, he's probably also assuming that he will stay with YOU while he does your remodel that he's not qualified to do, while using YOUR laptop and driving YOUR vehicle! He's put you in a very uncomfortable position, trying to take advantage of you, and I wouldn't worry a bit about 'hurting his feeliings' - I doubt that he has any!
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Don't hold back too much, Linda. Just say it straight. YOu don't have to be rude or unpleasant about it, merely practical.

    YOu never promised the laptops. And if he insists you did, then you can clearly say, "I don't recall promising. If I did, it was at a time when I was too distraught to be held accountable, there is no way I would have been thinking clearly. husband & I have children who need to be considered first, the tweedles are now both getting to that age when their school requirements will mean they get first options each on any laptops. We need time to work out what needs to be done."

    As for the re-model - again, make it clear. "I never thought you would be doing the re-model, it's just not economically feasible for you to do it, with your travel times. You need to be getting work closer to where you live so you can be home in the evenings for your family, they need you. Besides, I need the work done with a sound paper trail, people doing the work MUST have their licenses scrutinised by the local authorities, or I could be made to rip it all out and do it again. I can't afford to do that. Thanks for the offer though, but I would rather see you earning money closer to your home."

    If he insists or starts to get nasty, simply say, "No." Make it clear that you have been told that the work must be done by a licensed technician or the planning authorities will take you to court.

    And if he continues to insist, tell him of your new axiom - "Never do business with family or friends, always keep it professional."

    You are a grieving widow, so play dirty if you must - simply say, "It's still far too painful for me to think about things like this. I need more time..." and then when he's not looking over your shoulder, do what YOU want with the extra laptop, extra vehicle and the renovation. You are not in such a secure financial position that you can afford to give away free computers, free cars and allow an unlicensed family member free rein in your home, to do what HE wants when HE gets around to it. And probably still give you a bill that is not properly nailed down ahead of time.

    No, this is a situation fraught with potential nastiness.

    Don't feel guilty about refusing.

  5. gottaloveem

    gottaloveem Active Member

  6. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    You are thinking very cleary. And to spare his feelings, state that you have hired someone already. Leave it at the that. No need to make excuses.

    Less is more when talking to someone like that.-Alyssa
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Yep he is not qualified he cannot do the job. He is asking for things before you figure out what you want to do with them. Just tell him you need the money and are going to sell the stuff not "donate it". Go through your sister if you have to. Take care of YOU he can and should be taking care of him and his.-RM
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Yep, You are right. I would let your sister know, as she may be able to let him know how much of an a** he is being. I think he is scared and wants to provide for his family, however he should not get to do that at your expense.
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader


    Linda, the man is a vulture. Don't make up any excuses, just be straight or evasive. I realize you want to help because of your sister, but honestly, having him do the work at your house would only be a band-aid. He needs a real steady job, closer to home. And where would he stay if he came 325 miles to your house to do the work - with you? Oh, Heaven's No!!!

    Rest easy, you're thinking cap is on straight.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    You're a lot nicer than I would be, Linda. I'd be appalled and wouldn't hesitate to let him know how I feel.

    I'd be letting the sister know too.
  11. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Another vote for, You are thinking straight.
    I am appalled at your brother in law's even daring to ask you such things, and agree with the others that the word "vulture" is not too strong.

    I like Marg's advice. It's straightforward and clear, and leaves no wiggle room for weasel words coming from the brother in law.

    Honestly! The Nerve!

    I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with brother in law's antics on top of everything else Linda.

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I am sure there are more tactful people in the world, than I- and I would consider you among them. I'm very direct. I'm too old to hash the "dozens" with my family.

    Tell brother in law that you are getting a loan to help you with your credit status as a single woman and the bank requires you have licensed and bonded workers who are current on codes. (You could dep. the money - take out a line of credit and pay the line of credit back once you are done - so not a lie)

    As far as the lap top - I'd tell him you are considering giving it to one of your kids and leave it at that.

    TO ASK FOR AN EXTRA MINI VAN when you have 2 kids who will be 16 ?? - Sorry - I'd offer to sell it to him at 20% under fair market value and tell him you can't GIVE it to him because -(and I'm sorry you'd even have to spell it out for him)
    1.) You have NO other income than what you have today -
    2.) You have 2 kids who will need vehicles someday -that will take money
    3.) IF your car breaks down - you need a 2nd vehicle - you're all alone there.
    4.) You appreciate him wanting to take it off your hands and get it out of the driveway and not be such an eyesore (what a stretch) but no - you're going to use the money from him buying it to put back for KT or WM a car.

    MAN - he's right up there with "sensitive boss" and the Bummer comment.

    And if you don't get satisfaction from telling him directly - THEN I'd tell your sister.

    Sorry you have to deal with this - really I am.
  13. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Sounds like the scene in Zorba the Greek where the vulturous village women converge on the belongings of the newly deceased character played by Lila Kedrova. Despair sure brings out the best in relatives, doesn't it? I'm sorry he's so self centered.
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I agree with the others. Do what is best for your and yours. When the time is right and as best and gently as you are able, say you chose to go another way. Do not entertain discussion. Know in your heart you made the best decision. I agree, consider getting support from your sister...esp. if you are close.
  15. Marg's Man

    Marg's Man Member

    I think he is out of line, family or not.

    I've similar situations a few times recently. I am in involved in a hobby building small live steam locomotives. These things involve a huge input of time and money and when sold generally attract top dollar, especially for a good model. $10,000 is not unusual.

    It's not a young man's hobby though. Very few people under the age of 40 are involved because they lack the the skills, equipment, patience (a typical model can take 10,000 hours of work to build) and money. At 54 I am one the babies of my club, most of the others are retired men with few other commitments. Deaths among the membership are common for all the usual reasons associated with age and a generally hard working life.

    All too often the family members, usually the widow, of recently deceased owners are approached with "What are you going to do with X's locomotive?", sometimes before the former owner is cold - literally in one particularly bad incident I heard of. Family members with similar interests are quite often the worst offenders.

    All you can do is keep strong, tell the "friend" that you will NOT be making any major decisions until you have thought about it in the cold light of day. Valuable assets are needed for your future life. The laptops can be used for the kids, the car means you now have a choice to choose the one best for your changed circumstances. I would get rid of it to reduce the expenses associated with simply owning a car (insurance, registration, storage costs, depreciation, etc) but make sure you get the best market value for it. If brother in law wants to pay full market value then let him have it. Otherwise tell him to find a short pier and take a long walk!

    As for the remodel, having to obey the laws of the land; local, state and federal is always a good excuse for refusing a person who doesn't have right bits of paper no matter how skilled they are.

    Marg's Man
  16. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Ugh, brings back bad memories. The day my stepdad died, my step-bro (schizo, BiPolar (BP) difficult child----detached from our family years ago) called. He seemed nice enough, wanted to talk to my Mom, but I was fielding calls that day as she was in no shape to, told him to call back tomorrow. I was excited to hear him being appropriate and kind.

    He called the next day. To ask Mom what "Father was leaving him in the will."

    But we always get our hopes up, eh? I handled all the arrangements for him to see his Dad before the funeral, since I'd already told his counselors he wasn't welcome at the funeral since he couldn't be trusted to behave himself. The look on my mom's face. Augh. And his counselor actually lectured ME about how he's a difficult child, he's not good at being appropriate under stress. As if I didn't know, as if that had any bearing on anything. Sigh.
  17. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry you are dealing with this. You are definitely thinking straight. He, on the other hand, isn't.
  18. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I guess you guys are just a lot nicer than me because I think I would have let brother in law have it the moment he mentioned something about the "extra" van before the funeral. But, then again, I can kind of see something similar happening if my husband were to go. husband has a lot of tools and I can see one of his brothers asking about them fairly soon.

    No offense to your sister but the man sounds like a weasel.
  19. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Oh UGH big time! I would be so angry! How RUDE!

    "brother in law, I have no 'extra' items in my house at this time. It will take time for me to sort through and decide what I want to SELL since I am short of funds and will need every bit of income coming in. Also, I am sorry, but I can not legally hire you to do this remodeling. You are very skilled at building furniture, however, this remodeling will include the need for licensed electricians and plumbers from the state of ________. The time line I will need this done would also be very difficult for you to meet since you live _____ hours away. I wish I was in the financial situation to help you and Sis out but I am not. I don't know how long KT and I can make ends meet with what we have. In light of that, I am hanging onto EVERYTHING I have in the hopes it will bring in some income when needed." "Oh, and p.s., when my sis is gone, I have bids on your living room furniture." (I hope this didn't offend anyone - however, it may open his eyes to what he is doing.)

    The above paragraph spells out more than he needs to know but will help spell out that you are not rich enough to support him and his family.
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, Andy - I LOVE that last sentence! Very good point, he really does need to see this in perspective.