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  • Re: Feeling anti-Christmas

    I was coming here to talk about similar anti-gift sentiments!  For me, I don't think it's anti-Christmas at all, just anti-waste. 

    The last several years, my family has tried different gift variations - each drawing names, stocking stuffers only, handmade gifts, no gifts (adults only - for any gifting agreement we reached, we were always expected to buy presents for nieces/nephews), etc., but none of those options feel satisfying anymore.  When we drew names to each buy/get one gift, it felt like there was a lot of pressure/stress to "get it right."  For stocking stuffers only, it means we spent a lot of money on tiny crap, and we received tiny crap that we didn't really need, plus, I heard more complaints that year than any other.  Making something for everyone took way too much time that we just don't have available.  Even when we didn't do adult gifts, just buying for all the children (my husband and I have no children, but all of our siblings do on both sides of the family, and we have over twice as many nieces/nephews as anybody else) took a lot of time, energy, and money (and buying extra stuff for children who have bedrooms and dedicated playrooms overflowing didn't seem to make a lot of sense).  Last year we didn't set any rules or restrictions, and each just bought/made what we wanted, but that resulted in us bringing home things that went directly into the goodwill pile (things we can't use, don't use, or were already working on purging from our house). 

    We're desperately trying to downsize and purge things that aren't necessities, and I know many of our family members are doing exactly the same thing.  I don't want them to give me something unneeded, and I don't want to waste time/money buying something for them that's unneeded. 

    So this year, my husband and I declared that we're not doing gifts.  No consultation or discussion with the rest of our family, we just decided it for ourselves.  We're not giving gifts, and we're not receiving gifts.  We're not even buying gifts for children.  They can do whatever gift exchanging they want to do with each other, but we won't participate in that specific aspect of the holiday.  This year, we want to focus on spending time with each other, and with our family members without stress.  We want to eat meals together, see lights, go to church, and appreciate the holiday without the pressure of materialistic trappings.  We are using our "gift" money to send to charities.

    My husband's family hasn't really responded, but I think my family was a little offended.  The end agreement was "we'll give what we want to give, you give what you want to give." (meaning, it's okay if you don't give us gifts, but we might still give you something, and we expect you to take it).  We're fine with that.  As long as they realize their gifts won't be reciprocated, we'll accept anything they want to give us, and we'll accept it with a big smile and a "thank you!"  They don't have to know if it winds up in the Goodwill pile. 

    Just an extra note....I told them we were not doing gifts in the summer time, so I could catch them before any buying or crafting began.  If you feel it's too late to make your anti-gift declaration this year, then this year you can announce that next year you'll be going gift-free. 
  • Keep the Urinal?!

    This summer, my husband and I bought our first house.  The hall bath is small, but in addition to a regular toilet, it also has a urinal on the wall.  Originally, the urinal was not functioning, but when some plumbers came by to do a long list of repairs, they FIXED the urinal, instead of REMOVING it, as originally requested.  The plumbers have offered to come and remove the urinal for free, but we haven't been able to schedule a time for them to come yet.  While we've been living with it, I've been second guessing on whether or not we should have it removed.  Here are the pros and cons:

    • I find it hilarious that we have a urinal in our home....and so does everyone that we tell, or who visits.  It's an interesting conversation piece. 
    • As my sister-in-law pointed out:  men (and of course, boys) are extremely messy, and so having a urinal is (as she says it) brilliant.  I do have to admit, the other toilets have remained much cleaner than normal since my husband, and all male guests use them less often.
    • My husband kinda likes it....but he is also okay with having it removed.
    • We won't have to repair the huge hole in the wall that it will leave behind if we have it removed


    • It's weird
    • It takes up wall space in the small bathroom (there's room for it, but it limits what I can do with the walls, and the placement of the towel racks)
    • It's one more thing to clean - although, I let the hubby clean it, so it's more a matter of reminding him to keep it sparkling white

    So I'm looking for opinions.  Am I crazy for wanting to remove it, or would you also veto a urinal in your home?  In the end, we're going to do what we feel is best for us, but I"m honestly curious to see how other people feel about it.  Pretty much all men that I've asked LOVE it, as well as some women, but others think it is just too weird to keep.  

    I should add - this is a 2 bathroom house.  The urinal is in the bathroom that all guests would use (the other bathroom is the master bathroom that only my husband and I use).

  • Re: Hand-me-down living room decorating help!!!!

    The way you described it, I was picturing something horrible, but it really doesn't look bad at all!  Very neat and uncluttered.  Just needs a little fine tuning maybe. 

    The following is what I would do:
    • As you already said, I would remove the photos above the TV because they do look a little busy as-is.  I would find another spot for them somewhere in the house, in larger frames with matting that coordinate a little better, with a nice spacing/layout (maybe above the couch?  I can't tell, but that space looks mostly blank). 
    • I would mount the TV to the wall, and get a different TV stand, although I'm not sure what exactly I would go for here....maybe a very small TV cabinet instead, like others have said...not sure. 
    • I would pull the dining room table a little away from the window so that it takes up its own space instead of being dwarfed by the windows and wall (center it in the floor in front of both windows - if there's room - I realize that there might not be, I can't tell). 
    • The wallpaper is beautiful, but it does make the room a little dark with the dark furniture, and dark blinds.  You can lighten it up with cream curtains for all of the windows.  Just make sure you hang the curtain rod high/wide enough. 
    • I would move the mirror to the location of the 3 flower pictures (and lower it a little).
    • I would take the 3 flower pictures, and put them in larger frames (black is fine), and move two to the location of the mirror, and one on the other side of that window (from the photos, it looks like there is more wall on one side of the window than there is the other - if there isn't, I would rethink that placement).
    I think you've done a fine job; It just needs a few finishing touches.  Have fun!
  • Re: In-laws driving a wedge between new husband and wife :(

    The problem with asking for advice to help the situation is:  At the heart of the problem is your husband.  Since he is the problem, he has so far been unwilling to acknowledge the problem, or work on it.  There isn't much advice that we can give that will help you change another person!  You can only work on you......he is the one who has to accept the fact that you are married, and YOU & your household need to take absolute priority over his parents and siblings. 

    I would suggest counseling, but you're already doing that.  As you have found out, it only works if both people are willing to identify and fix the problems in the relationship. 

    It seems like most of the advice given so far falls into 2 categories:
    • Realize that you are the one that made a mistake by marrying him.  You knew that he was like this, and mistakenly thought he would change.  It's a hard truth to learn when it's too late to learn it, but marriage rarely fixes problems - it very often magnifies them instead.  If he is not willing to work with you to make your new family (you and him) his new #1 priority - and agree that helping his parents/siblings ONLY happens if you BOTH agree on it, then you have two options:  submit and accept that this is what you married into, or file for divorce. 
    • Erikan73 offered some suggestions that are along the lines of "submit and accept that this is what you married into," but they are suggestions of how to make your new situation more bearable.  Be the one to step up and help his family so that he doesn't have to do it himself.  Talk with him about setting small boundaries - like turning off his phone when he needs rest.  Set a budget that includes paying for their food and phone bill, and cap the limit of their financial help to ONLY what you budget for.  Eventually, your husband may see himself that it isn't financially sustainable for him to help as much as he has been.

    I know that it feels like you're being personally attacked, but there really isn't much advice that we can give you.  You're not the one causing the problem - you're the one that willingly walked into it.  Unless counseling begins to work (maybe try a different therapist?), you still can only control your own actions.  Either correct your mistake by leaving, or accept your situation and try to make small changes to help make your situation more bearable.  I personally would go for option #2.  If you do, I hope that you are able to set strong boundaries, and find some success on a happy middle ground that both you and your husband are satisfied with. 

  • Re: Family Drama: Hurt feelings

    Another vote for staying out of it. 

    My father has Asperger's, so he doesn't always handle social situations the "right" way, or interact with people the way that they want him to.  As a result, I'm sure that my parents have missed out on a few potential friendships.  No big loss, really, because the friends that my parents do have are REALLY GREAT friends, who understand and love my father despite his differences.  Nudging my dad to act differently than the way he is wired won't magically make him neurotypical, just in the same way that nudging an introvert to be more outgoing won't "fix" the person - when they weren't broken to begin with. 

    If your Mother in law goes through with her totally original master plan (*eye roll) to get the four of them together, your father will very likely have a different overall demeanor than he does at the large holiday gatherings.  Your in laws will probably get exactly what they've been craving.....a conversation with him.  If not - it really isn't the end of the world.  There really isn't any reason why your parents and in laws need to be best friends!   As long as they can still behave kindly towards one another at family functions, then don't worry about the rest.