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RoseRed135

The multigenerational household -pluses and minuses

121 posts in this topic

17 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Thank you, RoseRed and Sue. Glad you appreciated our posts, Gramps!  Sue, that's an interesting idea, to go to the front door and knock.  I currently have many topics to discuss with them, and I think I'll try that idea this evening, after my DS gets home from work. While I agree that Sue's idea was a good one, I'm not sure if it will make that much difference if you come uninvited/unexpectedly. But maybe I'm wrong. Please let us know if you try it and how it works out. My DIL is very sensitive about her privacy, and I suspect that DS is...what's the term...running interference?...for her.

They are paying utilities and have taken over payments on DS's student loan, which I had been paying off. Good! They are also offering medical transportation if and when that becomes necessary, and they are feeding me about twice a week. Also good! I know you'd like to see them more, but please realize there are many GPs who would give their eye teeth to see their GC, etc. half as often as you see yours. I go up, eat, then get the feeling that my welcome is over and go back downstairs.  DS also offers to help with handyman stuff.  He installed a door lock for me. Yes!  As to whether the finances place too much burden on me, we'll see.  The mortgage payment is indeed hefty.

Yes, they respect my privacy almost too much.  I had expected occasional visits from GC, but that's not happening. I agree w/ PPs (previous posters) about inviting them to your apartment, and I love your idea (mentioned in another post) of an open invitation. Perhaps DS & DIL will do the same for you in return. But, if not, at least it's a chance to see more of your grands.  I think a reasonable compromise (which my DIL may veto, but I'll propose it) would be to have a visitor's chair in each living room.  A GF chair in their living room for me to come up and sit in at any time, and a chair for them in my living room.

Yes, I have a door to a sunken patio and a stairs to the outside world. You might also invite DS & family to enjoy that patio w/ you. They might decline, but how about some friends? Do you have any friends in the area who could come over and shoot the breeze w/ you?

 

11 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

I am not proposing that I pop up to the third floor, where their bedrooms are.  I'm simply proposing that I go up the stairs and sit in a chair near the stairs.  I would not be offended if any of them comes down to my living room at any time.  I will tell them that.

No harm in sharing these ideas ^^^^ w/ them then. But please be prepared for the fact that they may still nix the "visitor's chair" idea. And they may still object to having a visitor (you, in this case) come over "at any time." The fact that you're ok w/ this in your home might influence them - but it might not.

11 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Going up the long, outside stairs to shop or do yard work seems like starting a prison leave of absence.  Not that I have ever experienced a real jail.  But after spending a day, or even several hours, in the silent and cold basement with a concrete floor, it seems like a kind of prison to me.

Ok, wait... I trust the basement is heated in the cooler months? If not, that needs to be remedied before the cold weather sets in.

Is there no TV, DVD player, radio or set of CDs to break the silence? If not, then it seems this apt wasn't thought through very well. Please get yourself some of this equipment, ASAP. Hopefully, it helps that you have Internet access.

But if it's live human voices you're after, well, that gets back to those invitations. And again, not necessarily just family, but a friend or 2, sometimes, if it's possible.

As for that cement floor - ugh! Perhaps a few throw rugs would make it cosier?

Given the circumstances, I think it may be good idea to focus on ways to make your home more comfortable for yourself. Once you get going, I'll bet the ideas will flow. :)

ETA - Thanks for taking time to reply to so many of our posts!

Edited by RoseRed135
to add a couple of thoughts

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4 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Well, we're into semantics now.  They live in my house, but I don't live in their home.  Hmm....

Maybe I have seen too many TV shows, like the Bunkers and the McCoys, where all generations pop freely in and out of each other's spaces.

I grew up watching Donna Reed and Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best! Talk about traumatized! 

But what a joy it was to discover that The Addams Family had the healthiest family dynamics  -- close knit extended family, and then some!

What show would you choose to describe your current circumstance? 

You said that you feel like you're in prison- If you are waiting around for things to change, that might be why you feel that way- Or being too passive, instead of patient, while trying to figure out how to best assess your situation before you properly address it- I sure hope you are able to find some enjoyment -- like whatever you did that you enjoyed before all this might still do the trick- 

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Re: the 'visitor chair'.

Here's the problem I see w/it. How can a person relax, when they could have someone show up, at any time? What if DIL wants to be in her nightie, and relax w/her dh? How can she do that, if her FIL could show up unannounced, in her living space?

And that's the most benign situation I can think of, that you could walk into.

I think you're going to have to decide: either it's their space and your space, or it's all your house. There's really no in between. And if you can't, or won't be happy respecting their boundaries, then you need to be honest w/them, and start making plans to have truly separate housing again.

That's one of the (many, imo) issues w/generational living. Boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships, but when one party's boundaries are so different from another's, it creates strife. One person welcomes an open house, the more the merrier set up. The other party wants privacy, no drop ins, and determined visiting time (ie, for dinner, not to hang out for hours). Plus, two very different times of life as well. They have a 12 and 13yo. Different responsibilities, schedules, priorities than someone who's retired. Again, different, not wrong.

And, living with an extended family member in the building can be very stressful on a marriage. Nothing against you, but it changes dynamics, which some folks are really caught off guard by. Folks who've had amazing relationships w/inlaws/extended family have found things blew the heck up after trying to live together. Best friends who take a place together and end up hating each other.

Dynamics are a tricky, unpredictable thing.

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GrampsX9, a couple of concerns came to mind- Is there more than one way out of the basement in the event of fire?

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6 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

Your grandchildren are 12 and 13. School has started. I'm guessing that their schedules are now busier than they were during the summer. I also wonder if that factors in to the difference in behaviour. Summer is often a less stressful time, be it for school or work. Sept hits, and along comes school, after school activities, sports, extra lessons, etc. It may genuinely have to do with their schedules, not you.

There is also an older boy who is starting college.  But you make a good point.

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3 hours ago, Komorebi said:

GrampsX9, a couple of concerns came to mind- Is there more than one way out of the basement in the event of fire?

Yes, two ways out, up the stairs in the middle of the apartment, or up the stairs from the outside patio.  By the way, underneath the outside (old, wooden) stairs is an enormous tinderbox, a pile of firewood with lots of tindery bark and dry leaves that have fallen on it from trees above.  All it would take to start an enormous, raging fire would be a carelessly dropped match or cigarette.  It would probably spread to the house.  Here's a problem that my son and I can team up to solve.

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@GrampsX9 - Did you try going to them, last night, and discussing any of the "many topics" on your mind? If so how did that work out?

Anyhow, I agree that ImpishMom makes a good point about the 12 & 13-yr-olds and their schedules. The college boy, most likely, also has more demands on him now. Please remember, too, that the older kids get, the more involved they are w/ their own activities and friends, the less w/ family (even their parents). Changes are bound to happen.

The fire hazard concerns me, of course. I wish it had been fixed before you all actually moved in. But since it wasn't, I hope you and DS solve the problem soon.

 

 

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Gramps, I am so sorry you feel trapped whether it be physically or mentally, that to me is the biggest concern at the present. 

The weather has cooled off and winter will set in soon.  Icy stairs will be an issue in the coming months.  I am assuming this house has an in law type suite in the basement and not a 'true' two family home with a separate entrance.  So you have to go through the "family" home to leave this winter and impossible to rent out as a two family unit. 

You mention old TV shows.  I guess I watch too much HGTV and am wondering about how to fire "proof" the basement and make the stairs more private for the basement occupant.  Is there a possible way to make them more private for you so you can place a chair there is you need a rest before moving on.  Does the basement even have a full kitchen so you can prepare a meal?  If not, can one be installed so you don't feel like you are in a prison?  If you make the basement more "homey" will you feel so excluded?  Resale type stores might have affordable rugs, lamps and the little things that make a house a home.

I know it is hard to foresee potential problems sometimes when purchasing a new home.  Good luck for the entire family on figuring out solutions to any problems you both have found since moving in.

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Good point about icy steps in the winter! Gramps, IMO, you need to talk to DS about being able to come through their house in the event that you need to go out and can't use "your" stairs. Even if you live in an area where it doesn't snow that often, you need a plan for when it does. Also, hopefully, DS is prepared to shovel/help shovel those steps for you if need be.

Edited by RoseRed135
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4 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Yes, two ways out, up the stairs in the middle of the apartment, or up the stairs from the outside patio.  By the way, underneath the outside (old, wooden) stairs is an enormous tinderbox, a pile of firewood with lots of tindery bark and dry leaves that have fallen on it from trees above.  All it would take to start an enormous, raging fire would be a carelessly dropped match or cigarette.  It would probably spread to the house.  Here's a problem that my son and I can team up to solve.

Good that you're confident that the two of you will tackle the project together- Also good that there is a second exit, which I am assuming remains unlocked, which to me reflects some level of trust between both households, which is also a plus-

How's the window situation in the basement? I ask because sometime basement  living can get depressing due to lack of sunlight- Do try to stay on top of that if possible going forward-

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14 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

Who suggested the move, you or them?

Them.

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2 hours ago, Komorebi said:

How's the window situation in the basement? I ask because sometime basement  living can get depressing due to lack of sunlight- Do try to stay on top of that if possible going forward-

I have four windows, each of them in a deep well covered by a metal grate.  If I look up, I can see a small patch of sky through the grate.

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5 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Did you try going to them, last night, and discussing any of the "many topics" on your mind? If so how did that work out?

I got an unexpected meal invitation (I had already eaten), so I didn't have to go through the front door.  I went up and had dessert with them and discussed a couple of topics.  One was an open invitation for any of them to visit my living-room at any time.  My DIL was responsive, but my DS was strangely silent, not one word the whole time.  I wonder if he is reading all this.  I am using his WiFi and going through his parental controls.

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12 hours ago, Komorebi said:

What show would you choose to describe your current circumstance? 

Cool Hand Luke

(Partly joking, I can't think of a good comparison.)

Edited by GrampsX9

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21 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Going up the long, outside stairs to shop or do yard work seems like starting a prison leave of absence.  Not that I have ever experienced a real jail.  But after spending a day, or even several hours, in the silent and cold basement with a concrete floor, it seems like a kind of prison to me.

My husband and I bought a rental home that includes a separate unfinished basement portion (unrented). The basement access door opens out onto a patio, he will be replacing the wood door with a full glass door. The basement has concrete floors, house is dug into the hill - leaving the back wall underground and half the side walls sloping from underground.
 
My basement thoughts: To warm up the basement, true warmth as well as visually - my husband will install an electrical linear fireplace, strip wall heaters, and lots of multi bulb ceiling lighting - using yellow emitting bulbs vs cool white bulbs (electrical is already in, he'll be using what exists - white wire to white wire etc, as anyone could). We will paint the walls sunny warm bisque and stain the concrete a warm brown. My brother is giving us cupboards and appliances removed from a home of his that's being remodeled. I'm chalk painting the cupboards a bright warm color. I am looking for area rugs for the living space, on sale/closeout.
 
The bathroom is tucked in back corner, without windows, we will do the floor in warm ivory and select paint that tends warm. Our bedroom has a well window/some light - my husband will install some lighting, we'll paint a warn tone, and we will probably have a remnant carpet and thick padding laid for warmth (though we don't really like carpet).
 
Nothing we're doing is expensive/time consuming - we know we'll enjoy our "unfinished OOT space" when we're done.
 
ETA: Beings they are related to you, some of the rules regarding a rental property sheltering income don't apply. I'm a bit surprised they can't pay the Mortgage, straight to the bank, without the payment being income to you. I'd think they'd take the interest off on their Federal taxes? Maybe ask your Accountant or a Tax Attorney for clarification.
 
 
Edited by JanelleK
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I was thinking a full glass door also.  Neither of my baths have a window, but I can't really say I have ever missed them.

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16 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

But this is another reason why I agree they should be paying at least part of the mortgage if they can.

This leads to a strange tax pitfall.  If they don't pay "fair market value" rent, the IRS will consider it as ordinary income and tax me on it.  So for two-story housing of a family of five, they would have to pay quite a large part of the mortgage.

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On 9/14/2017 at 11:43 AM, ImpishMom said:

How often did you guys visit before?

Approximately 4 times a week (including meeting at a local swimming pool) then, 3 times a week now.  The difference is in the lengths of the visits.  Now they are short, averaging maybe 45 minutes a week.  Before they were longer visits at their house, or dining out, or attending events, or even a long weekend trip, averaging maybe 5 hours a week.  To be fair, "then" was in the summer, and "now" is mostly after school has started.  Mostly.  But the month-and-a-half between moving in and starting school already had a slowdown in doing things together.

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1 hour ago, SueSTx said:

I was thinking a full glass door also.  Neither of my baths have a window, but I can't really say I have ever missed them.

When I replied to Komorebi's question about my windows, I forgot to mention that my main entrance door has a window that looks out on the sunken patio and doesn't get much sunlight.

The problem with a glass door, or a door with a window, is that it weakens security -- unless it's just a storm door, not the main door.

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37 minutes ago, GrampsX9 said:

Approximately 4 times a week (including meeting at a local swimming pool) then, 3 times a week now.  The difference is in the lengths of the visits.  Now they are short, averaging maybe 45 minutes a week.  Before they were longer visits at their house, or dining out, or attending events, or even a long weekend trip, averaging maybe 5 hours a week.  To be fair, "then" was in the summer, and "now" is mostly after school has started.  Mostly.  But the month-and-a-half between moving in and starting school already had a slowdown in doing things together.

I know it may not seem it, but 3x a week is a lot to the average family. A LOT a lot.

Honestly, I think you'd be happier if you quit keeping score. Everyone's trying to find a 'new normal', and you're counting hours. I just don't see how this is going to make you happy in the long run.

Moving, for a family, sucks up a *lot* of time. Prepping for school, also sucks up time. 

You didn't say what, for you, would be 'perfect'. Or what would be 'ok'.

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57 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

Honestly, I think you'd be happier if you quit keeping score. Everyone's trying to find a 'new normal', and you're counting hours. I just don't see how this is going to make you happy in the long run.

I'm only giving you a "score" because you asked me for one.  It's not like me to keep score, that's why my reply took so long.

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1 hour ago, GrampsX9 said:

I'm only giving you a "score" because you asked me for one.  It's not like me to keep score, that's why my reply took so long.

What I mean by 'keeping score' is, enjoy when you're invited, and leave it at that. Your original complaint was that you're seeing them much less than before, which means that, consciously or not, there's an element of 'scorekeeping' involved.

Not getting enough time w/AC/GC is a frequent complaint on the boards, and telling folks to stop keeping score is pretty standard advice. It's never been known to make someone happy.

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8 hours ago, GrampsX9 said:

Cool Hand Luke

(Partly joking, I can't think of a good comparison.)

Great movie!

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All problems with the "house" itself can be addressed eventually but the "household" issue than stems from the before and after shift in the relationship isn't going to be solved with new cabinetry and lighting- They'll all just serve as reminders of what's wrong with this picture instead of providing creature comforts- Having a working, healthy relationship is the only thing that's going to turn the house into a home- The definition of patience isn't waiting around for things to change, it isn't humping a stack of firewood from one place to another or installing new carpeting to sweep old problems under- Patience, in this situation, is taking a bit a time to decide how to ask the right question/s that will produce an open, truthful discussion and the confidence and strength to sit and listen to the answer/s and respond calmly- Once that's done and out of the way go buy a brightly colored rug and have some fun-

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Also, it's not keeping score- It's being observant of a shift- Nobody is going to go out a buy curtains as a response to their husband or wife or son or daughter's shift in behavior- They'd inquire, "What's up?"-

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