Friday, January 7, 2011

Declining generosity

Back when my grandmother was first diagnosed with cancer, my aunt gathered information and worked on retaining services for Grandma that would make her life easier over the coming time.  In securing these services, someone needed to go to the office downtown to push papers to make the final approval happen.

That was me.

In pushing the papers that my sight impaired aunt could not do, I found that I was definitely not included in my grandmother's will.  This was not a big deal to me, as I understood my grandmother's reasoning. 

I had disowned her son. 

My biological father was never one of those "see-you-on-the-weekend" dads.  He was never someone you could pick up a phone and tell him how your day was.  He never helped with school projects, nor did he even have any involvement with us outside of 4 visits a year.  That was his choice.  I recall one of those visits specifically where he decided to take us to the bar. 

:insert my mother's giant heart attack here:

He opted to move away to Oregon with no phone call to us.  Why did he move?  He moved so that he could get away from paying child support.  Technically, he is still in arrears and if he would ever file taxes under his name, it would go to my mother. 

Of course, that will never happen. 

When he moved to Oregon, he contacted my sister, sent her cards, gifts and called.  My brother and I didn't even get a call.  In fact, he told my mother that he wanted her to pay him a lump sum and he would be out of our lives forever. 

Moving to Oregon was the final straw for my brother and me.  That Christmas, my parents asked us what we wanted for Christmas. 

We asked my dad to adopt us.  On May 10 of that year, we had a legal name change and were adopted.  I was 15 1/2 and my brother was soon-to-be 12.

My grandmother never disputed her son's lack of involvement with us.  I think that when it came down to brass tacks, though we have always had a great relationship with Grandma that didn't have gaps in anyway, she felt that disowning her son need not get a reward. 

I get that and never wanted anything from the will anyhow.  I'm never one to stand in line with my hand out.  I'm always happy to have the people here as they are breathing.  If there is a token item that I may have from an estate, great.  Tis not a requirement of me and I certainly am not chaffed if I'm not given anything. 

My aunt did not feel the same as I do. 

At that time of securing services, my aunt insisted that she was going to buy us a pop-up camper.  I had the old RAV that was suffering in some capacities anyhow.  (She had a stuck spark plug that we couldn't get out, which was causing her to misfire and DRINK gas like no tomorrow.)  I had a gentleman at an RV/camper dealership call me at work to find the tongue weight on my vehicle.  While I had no idea what tongue weight was, I told him that I would pay him if he told my aunt that my vehicle would not tow it. 

The end of the trailer purchase ended at my back step with my aunt and me both in tears.  My aunt kept crying, "But it isn't fair that there are some who get everything and one who does everything that gets nothing."

"But I don't help to get things.  I help because that is what I do.  I don't help to see how I can benefit."

I thought it ended there.  Turn several chapters later and it brings you to today.

I took my aunt out for lunch as her Christmas gift.  It was then that she decided to spring on me that she wanted to buy a trailer and to have me take her on a road trip to places that varied but included Mount Rushmore.

Now, I do plan on taking a trip out west some day.

With my husband.

And my child.


I about had a silent heart attack.  Later, she was excitedly talking to K- about how she was going to go shopping with me and I announced, "Um, I must speak to my husband first."

:insert my aunt being impressed at my attempt at being a submissive wife:

Hubs got home and I in my nervous wreckness blurted it all out.  He didn't even get his snow-covered shoes off his feet.  (The snow hadn't had time to melt in our 68 degree home.)  Poor guy, he didn't see it coming.  To quote him:

"There's no way in hell."

We had a very long discussion that rehashed all the reasons for declining before, but including the fact that we are absolutely without question a tent camping family only.  We enjoy tent camping.  We enjoy no electricity.  We love making meals together on the camp stove.  We love bathing in the forest with water heated over the fire. 

Hubs grew up camper camping.  He hated it.  He hated hauling it.  He hated the maintenance.  He hated camping in a metal box. 

Besides, we aren't convinced that the new RAV is still quite the vehicle to haul such an item and where on earth would we put it considering we have no more space. 

We had a discussion about Aunt Donna.  Hubs decided that he thinks that Aunt Donna wants to buy things to keep people visiting her.  She is so lonely. 

I took a deep breath while I still had guts and called my aunt back.  I told her that we appreciated her generosity, but we still stand by our original list for decline as well as stating that we are tent campers that that my husband hates to camp in a camper.  (He told me to blame it all on him and I did that a bit.)

I told her that we'll day trip with her.  We're going to be getting a museum pass, where we'll be able to take her to planetariums and different museums.  She wants to go to zoos.  She just wants to get out.  We're taking her out on the boat to go fishing.  Obviously, we need to buy a trailer first.

I took her toodling around Target today.  She loved it. 

As difficult as it was to decline-- again-- it was taken very well.  She just doesn't want anyone to forget her.  I won't.  I promised Grandma that I've got her covered.  It's not a promise that I ever intend to break.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- had a great visit to the doctor for her 7 year check.  She looks great, grew an inch since last I measured her just a few weeks ago (no kidding) and is good to go.  :)!
-  Hubs working through the Aunt Donna Camper Giving one more time with me. 
-  Though I'm sending them back, my curtain rods for the bedroom arrived today. Um, I don't believe that I read the measurements carefully enough.  The rods are almost an inch thick with ball ends the size of my bedroom door knobs.  Eeeee-yikes!  Hubs laughed and told me that we would need cathedral ceilings to make those puppies work.  Wow.
-  The Antiques Roadshow. 

Have a wonderful weekend!


Rach said...

Totally out of order, I know...

You get Roadshow on Thursdays? It's Mondays here. Hm.

Your curtain rods had me laughing out loud. Hee hee.

Hooray for a happy, healthy K. :o)

Aunt Donna. Poor Aunt Donna. I can only imagine how lonely she must be to try to buy affection. I know that's not really what she was doing, but still.

I understand what you're saying about doing the things you do because that's who you are, not because you expect something.

My mom jokes around about our inheritances and I keep telling her, "Spend it all! Enjoy it! You've earned it." I hope she listens, I really do.

I'll be keeping Aunt Donna in my prayers.

(And, as a quick aside, isn't it wonderful to have someone who will take the blame when you REALLY don't want to? That hubs of yours is a good guy.)

ChupieandJ'smama said...

Honesty is always the best policy. Even if it is really hard to do. I'm glad that it all worked out. Once Aunt Donna finally realizes that she doesn't have buy your company maybe she'll stop pushing the camper on you.
We will have to decline generosity regarding a Florida trip in February. It sounds good on paper but it's just not going to work for the family. I hope the people understand.
I remember RV camping with your hubs. I have fond memories, but wouldn't want to repeat it with my own family. You are tent people. I'm a cabin girl ;)

Bailey's Leaf said...

He loved the company! He has great stories of running around and setting up some stuff with the twins and all that. It is just the actual box living, hauling and maintaining that he had real issues with.

Give me an air mattress, a tent and the great outdoors. I'm good with it.