I need to vent about brother in law.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I received an email from my brother in law who is currently staying with mother in law since the father went into the hospital and helped her do stuff, including arrange funeral, etc.

    Well, seems brother in law has planned a reception at their country club for after the church service - understandable. Seems brother in law feels that H and his sister should kick in to help cover the cost - NOT understandable. He attached the reception invoice to the email. I almost fell over when I saw it. $3400 NOT including booze, and what do old people like to do? Drink booze. It listed all the stupid appetizers/finger foods he's ordered and the service fee and it comes to $3400. Wow.

    How can he think that we could possibly afford to help with a bill like that?

    First of all - his mother's income is $6000/month PLUS she has $12,000 in a money market savings account (which means she can withdraw money). PLUS, she will soon be receiving all the insurance money that he had on 12, yes 12, life insurance policies. She will be OKAY, okay? No lack of funds there for mother in law.

    Second, if H doesn't work - he doesn't have an income. He is self employed and lost all of July's income due to his father's illness, us traveling down there, incurring expenses we had to charge and will have to pay at some point. He had to change his work scheduled for the past 3 weeks and in doing so lost a HUGE money making job that he will not be able to get back. For the month he has worked MAYBE 5 days total where he made actual money. On the other days that he worked it was mostly administrative so, again, no income.

    Last, his brother has a habit of doing stuff like this - making plans and finalizing them without getting the input from H or his sister, and then expecting them to willingly cough up some dollars. And H will be angry, but I am afraid because it's all wrapped up in his father's death and his mother's helplessness, he will go along with it.

    I will FLIP the F out if H commits to paying any portion of this bill. Talk me down girls....PLEASE, talk me down.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Yikes! Take a deep deep breath. Do not talk to brother in law or sister in law about it. Scream into a pillow. For some reason there always seems to be a family loose cannon following a death. If he has a history of doing this...at least it won't be too big a shock.

    Get as chilled out as possible before sharing this with your husband. With grief comes guilt in many cases. Probably your best bet is to get husband to take x amount of time before responding. Chances are he is going to agree with the idea because (1) like most survivors he is apt to feel guilty for ?? (maybe not visiting enough, maybe not achieving the degree of success that his Dad expected...something) and (2) he is a man. I have never known a man who would admit he couldn't afford something because "real men" have extra bucks and want to share. Double Yikes!

    I hope you can help him over the hurdles during this difficult time. Meanwhile scream into a pillow! Hugs DDD
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm sorry that it was assumed you'd all have the funds to spend on this type of reception. Perhaps you could send a very nice email back saying how grateful mother in law must be for his hard work in this difficult time etc etc. Tell him that the reception sounds lovely and that in different circumstances you'd be happy to chip in, however XYZ has been going on and your personal finances are currently at a all time low and the funds simply are not there to chip in. Don't make excuses nor apologize, just keep it as worded above, how you aren't in a position at this time.
    Its a tough thing. Yet if you don't have it, you don't have it. And no need for family drama around it, it isn't as if you and husband want to NOT help if you COULD help. The truth is at this point in time, the funds do not exist.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh dear.
    I agree, it you don't have it, you don't have it.
    Plus, the event doesn't have to be that extensive or expensive. Will that many people really show up?
    I agree with-Mattsmom, you and husband have to leave the emotion out of it, but that's easier said than done. Fingers crossed that your H stands strong.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    good heavens! my dad had a lovely reception at a lovely church and the ladies of the church put it together and my step mom gave a donation of 200 bucks...lol. no booze of course!

    I simply cannot imagine receiving a bill like that nor would I expect any of my kids to pay anything like that for a reception.
  6. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm sorry brother in law is such an (guess) as to plan something so exorbitant and expensive and then demand your portion. What a (fill in the blank).
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well it appears that H is going to roll over, ugh. He said he's going to tell his brother he has no money and ask him to cover his portion and that he will pay brother back, but, of course, with no intention of doing so. Why is it so difficult for some people to simply be straight forward? Why cany H just tell his brother, 'Nope, sorry, bro, no can do. Let's find another way to do this that is more affordable. What does Mom want?'. H is convinced that this was all brother in law's planning, and he's probably right. But H feels that his mother shouldn't have to pay for it since she likely was bulldozed by brother in law. I think we should receive people back at mother in law's place after the church service, buy a few bottles of wine, maybe some beer (no liqour), and round it out with some nice cold cut platters and rolls. Simple, inexpensive. Most people dont hang for hours boozing it up at funerals do they? Or am I out of touch? This just seems ostentatious and a tad exorbitant! Thanks again for all the support through this. Nightmare!
  8. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    In NOLA maybe. Or an Irish Wake. Outside of those I've never heard of people having something like that at or after a funeral. Not that I'm completely in touch myself, just my experience.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think mattsmom has the best solution for right now. The email she suggested should be more than enough. In order to make it as un-inflammatory as possible, maybe she or Star or someone else here could help you write it.

    As this is NOT the first time he has done this, the situation needs to be addressed at a calm time. Think of it as finding a teachable moment for brother in law. He has to learn that it is simply unacceptable and irrational to demand that others foot the bill for his extravagance. A very clear boundary needs to be set so that neither H nor you are ever faced wtih a situation like this again. NOT that you would dream of telling him how to plan something, but he simply must let you know in advance (give a specific amount of time) and you will tell him the amount you will spend for whatever the plans are. If he makes choices that are more expensive than the budget you agreed to, that is his choice and you will be more than happy to let him choose to spend his money that way.

    This is NOT your obligation. Unless you agreed to a budget before the plans were made, this bill is not your problem.

    I cannot fathom who would find a $3400 reception appropriate. Unless you are in the upper levels of society where debutante balls and the like are normal for you, this is simply spending money to show off and spend money. It is a big fancy "SEE HOW IMPORTANT I AM".

    While I know that mattsmom's email is probably far more diplomatic, I would consider sending an email telling him what a lovely, generous thing he is doing for mother in law. That I had NO idea how close he was with father in law and how deeply he must miss him to put on such an extravagant reception. How you are SURE, given how much he respected, admired, and enjoyed father in law and how devastated he must be by father in law's passing, that will never regret having paid for the reception himself. You don't want to minimize his display of devotion in any way so you will not impose and will instead fix brunch for mother in law and the immediate family the morning after the funeral (or morning of).

    Then hit a bakery for some muffins or bake some at home, make an easy egg casserole in the crockpot the night before, pick up a fruit tray or fruit salad and put on a pot of good coffee.

    Consider having a draft of the reply (or of two different replies) written before you talk to husband.
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sorry it went that way but I kinda suspected it would. I had another thought (other than the survivor's guilt etc.). mother in law if I remember correctly has Depression. Perhaps....just perhaps....she told brother in law "I can't face having all those people show up at my house." Perhaps father in law's friends and spouses are not people she is comfortable being around? My Father was very well know, very extroverted etc. while my Mother was "his wife". His funeral was the largest one I've ever been to and even though I managed his office and was well connected myself...there were scads of people that none of us knew. My Mother was intimidated (in a quiet way). IF mother in law shared that with brother in law he may have come up with a plan that would alleviate her concerns. Just a thought.

    Where we live some of the smaller churches have committees that provide refreshments on site. Most of the time people go to the home and alot of the time alcohol is provided in addition to food. I guess we need to come up with a plan for our passings. I'm tending to think of a small reception away from home as our house is too small and if husband goes first I'd be a nervous wreck worrying about "entertaining" and "cleaning" instead of greiving. If I go first I absolutely know he wouldn't "worry" about the house etc. and, lol, I would not "rest in peace" knowing that people would see dog hair and dust! Interesting subject. DDD
  11. keista

    keista New Member

    Ah, yeah some do. All the funerals I went to (except the young man who wrapped his car around a tree after funneling beer) turned into "booze fests" Of course, they were all Lithuanian community funerals (similar to Irish in drinking, eating and celebrating) and by the end, if a stranger walks in, they can't tell if it's a wedding or a funeral. Regardless, it's still done on a tight budget, at the community center, and most often everyone pitches in bringing both food and booze.

    Like everyone said, it is brother in law's problem. He planned it alone, so he can pay for it alone. I totally agree with DDD that mother in law may not be able to 'deal' with it at her home, and having it elsewhere, she can blend into the woodwork.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    For one thing, I think it's extremely weird and tacky to turn a post-funeral reception into a fancy catered country club social event, complete with booze! I have never heard of anyone doing that! If brother in law wants to turn it into an expensive event to impress his friends, fine, but he should not expect others to help him pay for it. I could see having simple food and a modest amount of alcohol for friends and family if it was being held at a family member's home, but to me, turning it into a lavish social event is for HIS benefit. The purpose of these events is supposed to be to gather together to pay your respects to the family and provide what comfort you can, and this seems to be something else entirely.

    One of my cousins had been married to her husband for 45 years - he was the family jokester, a real character, and everybody loved him dearly. About two weeks after he died, they held a memorial service for him at their church followed by an informal dinner in the church reception hall for family, friends, neighbors and former co-workers. Everyone brought covered dishes, etc. Didn't cost my cousin a dime! They spent the whole afternoon telling funny stories about him, laughing and crying and laughing and crying, then everyone helped to clean up before they went home. It was very personal and showed deep respect and love for him, and to me, this is what it's supposed to be... not some big expensive social affair to impress people.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Wow great feedback! Thank you. I agree that brother in law's motivation may be to minimize his mothers labors, however, she would never ask for this, heck, she doesn't even admit she's clinically depressed. Again, however, having the reception elsewhere is probably a good idea. Also, I'm not against offering lite fare and beverages, soft and alcoholic, I just think this is just a bit over the top. I like the idea of a small catered affair either at the church or at the house or even at the club, but this is just too much! Maybe mother in law led brother in law to believe there will be a huge turnout. I do know that brother in law can be a bit of poop stirrer and because father in law was an alcoholic, he may feel there needs to be $1000 worth of booze-with an open bar! Yikes! I still believe that for a funeral reception, people tend to come and go, stop in, chat, pay respects to the family, and then leave. father in law knew A LOT of people from their small community and club house, played a lot of golf and hung out there everyday, so I'm sure there will be many people who will stop by. I've almost put it out of my head, detaching as we say, because ultimately, it is out of my control anyway. If H feels compelled to to along with this ridiculousness, what can I do to stop him anyway? It was funny, I told my the story and her eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Lololol.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    We have alot of golf and country clubs around here and if father in law hung out at the 19th hole...maybe that's where the idea began. Retired golfers who have some spare bucks make that their second home. Glad you have stopped stressing about it. Yeah, the Serenity Prayer comes in handy with detachment issues. Hope all goes better than expected. DDD
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    . Heeeeeey, where are YOU in FL, DDD? Maybe I could make a great escape! Lololol!
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    some of this depends on the actual religion you are. I know my father and his family are catholic and that part of the family tend to do weddings and funerals up very big. I got drunk for the first time at my Uncle David's funeral...lol. Well...at his wake to be exact.

    See...there is also a difference in what people call the gathering before or after the funeral...down here in the area I am in right now its called a "settin' up". I believe most Irish and Catholics call it a Wake and most others call it a viewing. I could be wrong there and there may be other names for such events.

    I do know that my step-mom and I were a bit lost in the whole funeral situation. Thankfully my father had done the bulk of the work for us about 15 years ago by purchasing his casket, plot, flowers, etc all in advance. Pat and I just had to do some minor things like picking out songs and bible verses. The Catholic church my father chose had a lovely ladies group that provided small sandwiches, fruit, cookies, coffee, juice and water for the guests. It was all done for a donation.