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Plane ticket blues

January 23rd, 2013 at 07:03 am

My hubby's parents and aunts and uncles are having "late-life" crises, so to speak. We used to have a family reunion every 5 years, which was no problem.

Hubby's aunt just announced before Christmas that we all needed to stop everything and have another reunion, and that we all needed to fly across the country to their house for it. (usually it's closer to where everyone lives, within driving distance for most)

It's only been two years since the last reunion. There's been a lot of speculation about why, but my guess if they are approaching 70, and they all have this intense and sometimes awkward motivation to "make memories". Without sugar coating, I think they're worried they're going to die any minute so everything has become more amplified, ergo we have to now have reunions every other year even if it's financially difficult for all of their children, who are struggling with preschool bills and work.

So yeah. I'm a little peaved about all of this because I just had to spend $1400 on four plane tickets to the reunion.

And that was the cheapest option. The kids are 3 and 4, so they can't get lap fares anymore. And the aunt scheduled the reunion to coincide with the busiest two-weeks for tourism in their city.

I wish she'd waited two weeks so I could have paid less for airfare! And worse, we're paying all that money but we'll only be able to go for four days. If it were longer and we could see some sights, I'd feel better, but no.

Once again, they set the dates without consulting anyone, and my son has to be back home so he can go to his kindergarten screening days (we can't miss them).

So yeah. I'm bummed about the money. I wish it were under $1000!! It will be nice to see hubby's cousins. We always have fun, but it's going to become a real financial problem if we have to do this every two years or every year instead of every five.

It wasn't as hard before kids, but now we have reduced income, greater expenses, and have to pay for FOUR airfares!!!

Thanks for letting me rant.

11 Responses to “Plane ticket blues”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    Surely you don't HAVE to do it? The older ones are probably more concerned about seeing each other more often as they begin to face their mortality, but can't you stick to every five years, or an every-other-reunion schedule?

  2. Carolina Girl Says:

    I understand the value of family time but it's okay to say..."sorry but we are not able to make it due to..." Especially as the children get older and are even more involved in school, activities, etc. I am learning the value of being able to say "no" without guilt - even where family is involved. However, now that you have those tickets, go, have fun and just enjoy that time.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Make the best of it! It might be easier to go now that it will in five more years. And you don't HAVE to go. If people think you do HAVE to attend, then they are the one with the problem. I suppose this could be throwing other family members for a loop, and they may not all attend because of the late notice.

  4. ThriftoRama Says:

    Oh, we tried to say no and we haven't heard the end of it.

    My MIL freaked out when I said the cost of plane tickets was too high. She went on a tirade about how we can't 'isolate' ourselves and family need to be the No.1 priority. (Read: HER family. She never seems to prioritize mine...)

    Anyway, sure. I get it. Back in the 1980s when they were raising kids, if you lived far apart it was hard to be connected to family. Long distance calls cost a lot of money. And there was really no way to see what was going on in people's everyday lives.

    That isn't the case now. We talk to hubby's cousins every week and are all facebook friends, etc. It's much easier to keep up with peoples' everyday lives now due to technology. I don't feel like we need to go broke flying out there every other year.

    As for just the older folks getting together. No, they're freaking out about the next generations (us and our kids) and trying to create and preserve some magical legacy of connection. I can't explain it, but I can feel that as the undercurrent when they're talking.

  5. Thrifty Ray Says:

    Tantrums (child or adult) are best ignored. If MIL was so set on your family attending, she could have helped pay. I commend you for keeping the peace this time, and yes, I would make the best of it, this time. But you and your hub may want to discuss setting boundaries that work for you, your hub and the kids...and also allow you to include your family occasionally. Dont stress about the undercurrent- you and your hub need to do whats best for you- if they arent stressing about this, it will be something else.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Ugh, that is really frustrating. My family almost always offers to foot some or all of the bill when I go to visit them or to the bigger family reunion. They never visit me, so it's always on me to do the traveling. I think it's unfair to tell people how to spend their money or time unless you're willing to help them out!

  7. snafu Says:

    What is DH's view of his aunt's ultimatum? Does he feel the sums to be spent on the upcoming trip value for family bonding? What is his view for future reunions? How does all this fit with your over-all, long-term financial plan?

    I agree it's less stressful and much more fun to send/share photos and experiences through social media. I like the fact that I can edit thoughts and not get pushed into reacting to situations or dramas orchestrated by others.

  8. ThriftoRama Says:

    His family is the big sore spot in our marriage, at first due to the way his parents treated me like I wasn't good enough for him. (Long story) Anyway, of course he wants to go, and if I say we can't afford he'll say "why do I work so hard? Do we not make enough money? Where is it going?"

    Anyway, not the battle I feel like picking. As for his aunt/cousins they consider us and hubby's parents the "wealthy" and at the same time "cheapskate" side of the family. Mostly we have money because we carefully spend it, while they spend a lot on big new cars, teak baby bassinets, and giant mcmansions, etc. You know how that goes. If we said we couldn't afford it, I don't want to deal with the bile we'd get from that. It's no win.

  9. CB in the City Says:

    I hear you. I had many of the same issues with my ex-in-laws. I sympathize.

  10. Jerry Says:

    I hear you. We live overseas (and have for a while) so it leads to a cost-prohibitive issue for us to see family. I think that there are probably some hurt feelings out there because of it, but I can't control that. Reality is reality, and I'd rather have some insurance of meeting our bills than keeping up appearances. With that said, you have a different experience... you can't blame the Atlantic Ocean! I hope it isn't too much of a headache for you.
    Jerry

  11. ThriftoRama Says:

    No ocean, but there are some mountains and great plains between us, more than 2000 miles!

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