General chatter - House and Holiday dilemma

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10-24-2008, 07:44 PM
My husband and I have been considering buying a house for some time. Our landlord has offered us a landcontract on a house that is nicer and worth more than we probably could get working with a bank, for only a little over a hundred dollars more than we are paying now per month. We're going to see the house next week.

The landlord has an excellent reputation for fair and honest dealings, and he's been a great landlord for over four years. We've taken on responsibilities at the apartment over and above normal tentants (we'll replace lightbulbs ourselves, just because it's faster and the landlord will reimburse us for expenses. When everyone needed new basement keys we had them made and the landlord reimbursed us). So in this economy the land contract would be a good deal for both sides, and we'd get an attorney to make sure the contract was fair, but we've had a good relationship with the landlord, and would expect that to continue.

So, if we decide to buy this house, it would be a good decision (we have to make sure the extra utilities and expense of the mortgage is manageable), but it would probably also mean traveling less, and at least this year, not visiting my family for Christmas.

When we first moved, we were expecting to spend every other Christmas with my family (5 hours away), and we missed last year, so this will be the second missed Christmas, and my mom I know will have a fit.

I'm not sure why it is bothering me so much. I mean, I'm 42 years old, and stuff happens. The thought of passing on the house just so as to not to offend my mom over the holiday seems kind of silly. My husband definitely thinks it's silly, but he's not as close to his family either.

My husband is suggesting that if we do decide on the house, that we invite them all up for Christmas, and then it will be their choice whether to spend it with us or not (I'm guessing they'll decline and still choose to be offended. My mom because she will be, and my sisters because they usually do what Mom expects them to, and she'll expect them to be offended on her behalf).

Why am I having such mixed feelings about this? It's like I feel 16 again. I've got my master's in psych for goodness sake, this shouldn't be such a difficult decision.

10-24-2008, 07:50 PM
Yeah, it is a tough decision, and there is probably no easy answer. I guess the question is....what would you regret more, offending your mom, or passing up on the house?

10-24-2008, 07:52 PM
I think you're right that buying the house is important if it's right for you. That doesn't mean visiting your family for Christmas isn't important, just that the house is an opportunity you won't have again. Definitely invite the family. You're right, you can't keep them from being offended if they just want to be offended, but you've done what you can.

10-24-2008, 09:32 PM
I say buy the house if when you look at it and go over the contract it is a good deal for you and if it's something you really want to do. You have to look out for yourself sometimes because nobody else is going to. I think inviting your family to visit you in your new house is a great idea. I don't see anything wrong with that, especially since I bet if you asked your Mom what she would prefer: that you buy a house or that you visit her for the holidays (as opposed to her visiting you), she would most likely say you should go ahead and buy the house. Most mothers want what is best for their children, and the house seems like a good thing for you. Even if she doesn't agree, you run your own life...that's one of the perks of being an adult. :D

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do!

10-24-2008, 09:43 PM
It's christmas, and I can understand how being together on the holidays is important... but, why should spending time with your family on christmas be any more important than sending time with them on other days of the year?

I say, buy the house if you want to, and if you can't make it there for christmas... try inviting them for christmas. If they won't go, then maybe invite them sometime in early 09, kind of like a housewarming party/spending time with family kind of thing.

10-24-2008, 10:00 PM
I say buy the house, and congratulations! Would your mom make her Christmas gift a couple of hundred dollars, so you could go up to visit?

10-24-2008, 10:15 PM
I think it's time to start making your own traditions for the holidays. I told my recently wedded daughter that we would LOVE to have them home for every holiday, but that if they chose to celebrate it elsewhere, nobody had the right to make them feel guilty. Time to cut the apron strings, sweetie. Invite them to join you, and if they choose not to, then at least you offered the chance to spend the holiday together, then THEY are the ones who declined the invite. Ask your husband what HE wants to do, and start living your lives and making your own choices.

Arlene Dallas
10-24-2008, 10:24 PM
I live 1500 miles from my family and missed Xmas last year due to going through a horrible separation and a new job. My dad passed in January. How I wished I didnt let anything stand in my way of getting home! I will always regret that. If you are close to your family I strongly suggest you do whatever you can to make it home...since its a 5 hour drive I am assuming that the issue is the cost of gas? If so, cant you cut your budget other places to fill your tank? If not, then yes, explain to your mom and invite her to your home. There is nothing material that can ever replace family.....IMHO

10-24-2008, 10:29 PM
I can understand completely. My mom placed stress on me this year to visit for christmas. Last year, we went on vacation for christmas and my mom was not happy. Then this year, I started looking for plane tickets and they were $600+ each and I started stressing. Others didn't understand because all I heard is "who would pass up christmas in San Diego?". I love visiting my family but holiday travel can be stressful and I could even get free flights at other times. Anyway, ticket prices came down to the $300 range and I was much happier with that. But all I felt was pressure to come visit during a specific time and it made me stressed.

10-24-2008, 11:00 PM
Personally, I would go for the house, it's just too good of a deal to pass up. I'd invite everyone down for Christmas. Gives them a chance to see the new house.
Maybe explain to your Mom the situation your in.

10-24-2008, 11:25 PM
You all make sense (and it's all stuff I keep telling myself - all of it). I think I do have to decide what I want, and deal with it. Part of my husband's frustration is that we're expected to visit for two weeks (anything less and Mom's implying that my husband is keeping me from visiting), even though she's starting to (understandably) get sick of us being houseguests after 5 days or so, but not willing to acknowledge it either. With our health issues, after 5 days we're uncomfortable so far away from OUR beds, so more than half of the stay is unpleasant for everybody. I guess the real question, is why on earth are we staying more than 5 days.

I do think that we should visit for a much shorter period of time, if we decide to visit this year. We usually do see them at least three times a year, with alot of phone contact. This year we visited for one week at Easter, which my mom was unhappy we didn't stay longer (even though I could tell she was ready for us to leave, she just didn't want to admit it), and then we went down for two weeks at the end of June when our youngest nephew was born.

When they visit us, they don't stay longer than three days, because we don't have room for them to stay and they need a hotel room. Usually they visit us around my birthday, but we visited for Easter instead, since we couldn't visit at Christmas last year because of finances. Then instead of visiting us in the summer, when we usually visit them, because of my sister being very pregnant, we went down after the baby was born.

Mom and Dad had a basement flood this year, and are waiting on the new carpeting. I'm deathly allergic to molds and mildews, so I told Mom that David and we might have to stay with my sister because of the mold, and she told me that was ridiculous, there'd be no mold when the repairs were done (but admitted right now there is some mildew that they're trying to kill with bleach).

I think that even at 42, it's hard to break the family tradition of Mom being the matriarch who calls all the family shots. When we decided to move to WI, I was terrified of telling my mom we were moving. Although she did react very well to that one, much better than I expected, and I think that probably would be the case here too. And if not, I do have to remember that regardless of the choice, it's not my responsibility to make everyone happy.

The more I think about it and talk about it, the more I realize that if we don't visit exactly at Christmas, or exactly as Mom wants it, it doesn't have to be a big deal. If we're in a pinch and can't make it, but can afford to a few months later, or if we can only stay a few days, it's not that huge of a deal (or shouldn't be).

I think hubby has been lobbying against the trip altogether because he's sure that the basement mildew is going to make me sick. The fibro flares of pain are bad enough to deal with during traveling, lung issues would be a very bad thing. I think we're going to have to deal with that one head on. Either staying in my sister's basement instead, or saving for a hotel room.

My husband and I have opposite ways of dealing with unreasonable expectations from family. My husband decides not to care what anyone thinks (his divorced parents still like to play guilt and competition games with him and his sister over holiday visiting), and I try to make everyone happy (which isn't always entirely possible).

It just reminds me how difficult it is for me not to be the "peacemaker" in both my family and David's family. A lot of it does play into my weight issues, because my natural tendency is to put everybody's needs and desires (and even whims) ahead of my needs and wants. Hubby keeps telling me that I need to be more selfish (even with him), and I know he is right.

10-24-2008, 11:37 PM
My husband and I have opposite ways of dealing with unreasonable expectations from family. My husband decides not to care what anyone things, and I try to make everyone happy (which isn't always entirely possible).

Middle ground!!!

10-24-2008, 11:47 PM
Our current apartment is so tiny that we haven't really done much in the way of decorating or entertaining for Christmas, in the four years we've been here. We tried our first Chrismas here (we moved in the first week in November) and it was a giant pain.

It would be incredibly fun to be able to host the family Christmas.