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Family vacay 2021 update

SMto2's picture

When I last posted, I was dreading the annual family vacation, this year for the first time at our new lake house rather than a beach house we rented at great expense. Overall, it was much more positive! 

As expected, the savings was HUGE! We used to spend $12k to $15k for one WEEK, renting an ocean-front beach home with pool, renting beach chairs and umbrellas for 10 plus people, and buying all groceries and paying for all meals out. We only spent about $1k this year, so cha Ching!! Obviously, it cost $0 extra for the lake house we already own, and we already have plenty of chairs, lounges, etc.  on our dock. The biggest surprise was how much we saved in groceries. We used to spend a fortune upon arrival at the beach buying basic things such as condiments, coffee, paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, etc, plus snacks, breakfast foods, bread, peanut butter, lunch meats and cheeses, etc. etc,, with MANY trips during the week to purchase more, most of which we left or threw away because we had no room to take it home. Then many nights out at restaurants in a resort town with SKs ordering appetizers, the most expensive entree on the menu, plus dessert. This time, I already had all the basics, bought on sale, and we cooked in a couple nights and ate out a few nights at non-resort priced restaurants. We even had one "activity" day paid for by us, since they were bored with the lake by Day 3, and it still was only around $1k for the week!  Just thinking about that makes me smile! 

Another thing that contributed to the overall tolerance was, it only lasted five days, four nights, instead of 7 days and nights. DH informed SS27 that DH had to be back at work on Day 6, so we all left on Day 5. (I'm not sure if DH scheduled it that way on purpose, but DH told me he hopes next year it will just be a long weekend.) Because it was shorter, there was a lot less time for there to be issues. (And yes, I stayed the entire time because it was abbreviated, and DH and I went back to work Thursday and returned Friday evening for a weekend with just us and our bios!

Also. while SS26 and his DW only live 20 minutes away, they only came for part of one day and ate breakfast prepared in. They did not stay the night and cost us $0 extra. 

What was difficult? The usual of someone having to cook and clean up after SS27 and family for every meal eaten in. However, I told DH going into it if I stayed beyond 2 days, HE had to be responsible for catering to grown SS27, SDIL & SGDs 6 & 8. DH did that, and the beauty of that was, not only did I do less than ever, I'm pretty sure that's what contributed to DH's comment that maybe it would just be a long weekend next year. Lol. I will say, SS27's DW did ask ONCE what she could do to help prepare one breakfast, and she was told she could cut up fruit and given things necessary to do so, which she did, although she left everything she used dirty on the counter to be cleaned up.She also washed their dirty towels and sheets on the last day, which I thought was huge. Someone has suggested SDIL knows better and has just been following SS27's lead in letting us do it all, and I think that's quite evident.

Of course, the BEST part of the vacay is that it is over for another year! DH & I are foregoing a separate trip this year and hoping to go on a larger trip next year with our bios to Europe. (No, SKs will not be invited.) Although there are still issues, I feel that following the advice here helped me to make it the best possible while keeping my marriage happy. I have no idea when we'll see SS27 and family again, but I won't be surprised if it's not until time for SGD6's birthday in the fall. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy the rest of my summer at the lake with my family! 

Edited to add: I took a look at my last blog and was reminded of the issue of SDIL spraying sunscreen inside the house. Outside of my hearing,  DH asked SS27 to make sure that didn't happen again and told him about the slick, greasy spot it left on the tile floor, and as far as I know, it did not happen. Yay, THANK YOU, DH!  And THANK YOU to all of you who have given me advice to get me this far!


hereiam's picture

Although there are still issues, I feel that following the advice here helped me to make it the best possible while keeping my marriage happy.

It's just too bad that your husband isn't as concerned with keeping you and your marriage happy. I mean, yay about the sunscreen but....such a small thing considering how much he has made you put up with all of these years.

SMto2's picture

It sounds like the only thing you give credit to DH for is saying something to SS about the sunscreen. That ignores the fact that my DH took on more work during the visit and also shortened it, in addition to expressing a desire to further shorten it next year. All of those things contribute to keeping me and our marriage happy. No, it's not perfect, as I'm the first to state, but he deserves credit for more than you're giving him. 

hereiam's picture

I told DH going into it if I stayed beyond 2 days, HE had to be responsible for catering to grown SS27, SDIL & SGDs 6 & 8. DH did that, and the beauty of that was, not only did I do less than ever, I'm pretty sure that's what contributed to DH's comment that maybe it would just be a long weekend next year.

He took on more work because you finally demanded it of him and because he realized just how much work it was, he shortened it, and will now do so in the future so that he doesn't have to do all of the work that he expected you to do all of these past years.

I'm glad that you are finally getting some reprieve, but it should have come sooner and it should have been voluntary on your DH's part, out of respect for you, his wife.

I don't really give him a lot of credit about the sunscreen since you had mentioned it to him, prior. Otherwise, he probably wouldn't have said anything to SS about it. But, still a win.

As long as you are happy with the progress, no matter how it happens, that is all that matters.

I really wasn't trying to rain on your parade. It's just that now that he sees how much work it really is, he is willing to make some changes, which is great, but it just shows how selfish he really is (at least where this situation is concerned).

ETA: I know that your DH has great qualities and that you guys are usually good together. But when it comes to his kids...well, it's one thing for him to be okay with them treating him like crap, as long as he gets some type of relationship with them, it's another thing for him to be okay with them treating YOU like a servant so that HE can have a superficial relationship with them.

Tried out's picture

they both use their joint bios as beasts of burden during these oh so fun family adventures. That's the part that always bugs me. There is no way in the world I would ever ask/allow my kids to wait on their dad's other children. If that has changed, yay! 

SMto2's picture

Tried Out, there was just one time during the vacay that happened, which was when I returned from a mega grocery store trip. My 2 bios, DH and DS20's girlfriend ALL trekked up the hill to our garage to help carry in groceries while SS27's DW stayed in the house and SS27 was stretched out on a lounge chair under an umbrella down on the dock! I'm sure DH did not alert SS27 to the fact I was back with groceries , nor would he have asked him to help. This sight did make me see red, as I had gotten food for DH to prepare for dinner, but it was the last day, which made me even happier  it was ending. 

Tried out's picture

it! It truly astonishes me how spiteful and mean-spirited your SKs are. Now they're not just screwing dad, you, your bios but also the women in their lives. I would love to hear a psychiatrist's take on what goes in their twisted little minds. What can they possibly get out of being so deliberately petty and childish? And why????

SMto2's picture

Would I have loved for DH to have done these things (and more) on his own years ago and without prompting by me? Of course!  But every day on this site, there are people seeking and given advice on how to bring about change in their DH and the situation. Under your theory, if the DH finally does make some changes and the response is that the changes were not soon enough or not prompted by the DH, why bother attempting any changes at all? I understand this is a delicate and difficult situation for my DH, and it has been a process. Your first response did very much feel like you were raining on my parade. Lol. However, I'm a big girl, so I'm able to take it for what it's worth. The SKs are such a minute part of my life now, and this annual vacation is the one time I really feel my DH and I are in conflict, and it's improved, so I do feel we've moved forward. I honestly don't think my DH's handling of this is because he's selfish or doesn't value our marriage or my happiness, but I can see how the results would make someone think that. I see his heart and his efforts, which is all that matters. 

SMto2's picture


Focused_onourlife's picture

Sometimes you just have to make and stick with hard boundaries and it sounds like you did that with your DH! Good update! However next year I would ask your SDIL or SS nicely to clean up any mess she/they or their children  makes. Something like "oh SDIL can you please throw that away and wipe down the counter?"  Then smile. It may be a case where she does know better but (and saw you doing all the work in the past thinking you were okay with it) has to get used to taking the initiative to do things to help out when she and her family are in others home or vacating with others.

SMto2's picture

Yes, I would like to ask SDIL to help with cleaning up, but I don't know that I can do that without sounding b!tchy or sarcastic, since I think it should be obvious that DH and I are not servants. Just FYI, we've had 7 weekends of a couple dozen different guests at the lake this season (2 of those weekends were SS27 & family) and only one other person (DH's youngest sister) did absolutely nothing to help (even when DH's mom ASKED HER TO HELP.) My best friend's DH not only jumped up and started cleaning up after meals we cooked in, but he insisted on paying for the meal we ate out, I've said I'm keeping notes, and only those who actually chip in will be invited back! Lol. 

JRI's picture

Sounds a whole lot better!  I think the key going forward is to offload the SKs messes on your DH more..  Lol.

SMto2's picture

Yes! I totally agree with this. I do think him having to do more has caused  a shift in his thinking.

ndc's picture

I'm glad to hear that this was a considerably less expensive and more enjoyable vacation than usual. That's progress.

However, I am still appalled at the behavior of SS27. When DH and I vacation with my parents at their beach house, we never go empty handed. We buy groceries, prepare a few meals and help with cleaning. My sisters do the same. Neither parent ever ends up cooking because we kids between us do all the meal planning, cooking and cleanup.  I think MOST people who are guests at a vacation home would do (or at least offer to do) the same, and would probably treat the hosts to a meal out. The fact that SS27 doesn't do any of that reflects poorly on his manners and his upbringing. Your DH would be doing him a favor to point out this shortcoming, lest he think his freeloading, unhelpful and unappreciative behavior is appropriate or acceptable.

SMto2's picture

My SS27 never lifts a finger that I can see, including for his own children, so his behavior does not surprise me. During many of the years when it was ripe to teach SS27 these things (between ages 12 and 18) SS27 was PAS'd and had almost no contact with DH. This resulted in DH's fear when SS7 began talking to DH again (when SGD8 was born) that if DH says or does anything that might upset SS27, he may go no-contact again. It did surprise me that SDIL also does nothing to help, but I think she is following SS27's lead. 

bananaseedo's picture

So happy to read this.  Much better then I thought it would go.  I've been waiting impatiently for your update lol.  


Winterglow's picture

"they were bored with the lake by Day 3"

You have got to learn to spot your opportunities! I would have kindly and respectfully told them that they didn't have to stay ... as if they were doing me a favour by sticking around. Kinda lettng them think I was letting them off the hook  Smile

TheAccidentalSM's picture

I'm glad that this was an improvement on prior years.

Keep you boundaries strong and ask your DILs to help around the cabin in future.