|My cousin got married for the first time too long ago to remember, and lost touch with his wife and daughter. The daughter was adopted by her mother and stepfather. She reappeared about ten years ago but said she didn't want anything to do with her father or grandfather. |
Then he married someone fragile, who died in her 40s.
My cousin got married for the third time in 1997. His father wasn't happy but said to me that he couldn't say anything because he'd lose his son. Sounded like a good idea and I agreed with him and then forgot about it. My uncle didn't forget. He must have been planning this for years - waiting till he was dead to punish his son for entering into a marriage which displeased him.
He was my mother's brother, he had loads of money, and he used it as a stick and carrot. If someone wasn't interested in him, he'd drop hints that it would be worth their while to get to know him. If someone appeared to be interested in him, he'd say "They're only after my money."
He died 18 months ago. He didn't want his son's wife to "get her hands on his money" (he'd have taken it with him if he could) so he left his money to his stepchildren, and left my cousin a lifetime interest in his flat. He made the elder of my aunt's sons his co-executor with his solicitors. On my cousin's death, the flat would pass to my aunt's sons.
My brother and I weren't in his will, certainly for the last ten years or so, probably for a lot longer than that, if not forever. The reason he gave his son was that we didn't visit him often enough. Well no, I lived 50 miles away and my brother has a wife and jobs and childen and grandchildren and doesn't have much spare time. He certainly hasn't got the time to go visiting someone who openly dislikes him!
The old man never phoned anyone but expected everyone else to run round him. When I was in hospital in 1997, my husband was expected to phone him every day (for two months), but my uncle didn't pick the phone up once. When he was in hospital, he expected everyone to ring him. Whenever I rang him, all I got was how much he idolised my mother and hated my father. That's why he made innumerable promises to my mother and never kept them. Even after my father died, he still broke promises he made her. I think he left us out of his will to punish us for having a father he hated.
My aunt's sons visited him regularly. They lived a couple of miles away. It makes a difference! (He hated their father too, but not, as far as I can tell, as much as he hated mine.) The older son married a woman with loads of money, and works all hours to earn and spend, so he was obviously a man after my uncle's heart. To them wot has shall be given.
Since then, the cousin who's getting the flat hasn't been in touch with anyone. Not to ask me if I'm still alive. Not even to tell his cousin this is wrong, I have more than I need, you have nothing: you have the flat.
In the 18 months since my uncle died, two things have happened which would have changed everything if they'd happened while he was still alive.
One is that my cousin's daughter, who is about 40, reestablished contact, and now they are completely reconciled, and see each other regularly. I've seen a picture of the two of them together and they both look like they're glowing with happiness.
The other is that my cousin's wife, who had been ill for months, died yesterday evening.
I said I'd tell my brother, and he would get in touch with the cousin who's going to inherit the flat. I don't even know if he managed to make contact. It'll be interesting to see if the beneficiary cousin renounces his "right" to my uncle's flat. It's legally going to be his, but legal doesn't necessarily mean moral.
My cousin said he'd taken advice about contesting the will, but solicitors have advised him that the will is watertight. I suspect that it was made without any regard to the possibility that his granddaughter might reappear and be part of the family once more: or that the daughter-in-law he despised might predecease his son. Hrumph. I'm sure I shall find out soon enough.
Reply #2041. Dec 03 10, 1:38 PM
Lesley thats a sad story is true what they say you can choose your friends but not your family.|
My brother has not spoken to my mother for a year now, all because she made a will leaving everything to my sister but there is a reason for that.
My mum got into difficulties and my sister hel;poed bail her out when my mum made her will she told me what was happening and my reaction was you do not miss what you have never had.
I have hardly spoke to my brother in 5 years now and probably never will, he is a greedy manipulative git.
I hope things sort themselves out for you and your family
Reply #2042. Dec 03 10, 2:31 PM
The image of the perfect, loving family is often just that: an image. I've seen money, or the love of money, get in the way of happy kinship too many times for me not to be cynical about it all. |
Lesley, you mentioned "schmaltz" when I would have thought you'd use "schmear." I'm giving up my pursuit of Yiddish. :)
Reply #2043. Dec 03 10, 2:50 PM
|Gary, there's plenty more where that came from! |
I'm OK with my brother and his wife and children, and very much OK with the beloved sprog. Not much I can do about cousins any more.
It would be nice if yours could get on one day.
Lochalsh, if there's a normal happy loving family, I'd like to meet it.
Wiki says that the original meaning of s(c)hmear was cream cheese spread on a bagel, and schmaltz is simply rendered fat. Don't give up - just don't expect it to make sense.
Here's another nice happy family story.
My mother lived in N London suburbia, and was happy to drive for miles if she had company. By then, my uncle was on wife number two, who lived for her hairdos, manicures, dancing and holidays. After my father died, my mother wouldn't drive further than the supermarket and back. She wouldn't even drive five miles to my brother, who was in a different bit of N London.
She got an invitation from a cousin in Bournemouth (south coast), well over 100 miles away, for a big wedding anniversary party. My mother couldn't face driving for two-and-a-half hours round or through London, and she rang to ask her big bro (who lived in NW London) if he was going.
Big bro's wife answered the phone. "Oh no," she said. "We're away for the weekend. He really *really* needs this holiday." So my mother shrugged and didn't go.
When she talked to them again, she asked how they'd enjoyed their weekend break, and where they'd gone.
"Funnily enough, we ended up going to Bournemouth."
And did you go to the party?
"Well, we did look in on it. We were there, so it would have been churlish not to."
One more. After my father died, I rang to tell them the news, and where and when the funeral would be. Again, No.2 Wife answered the phone.
"We're at the door," she said. "We're just going away. He really needs this holiday. Do I have to tell him? He really *really* needs this holiday."
Er well yes please. His sister's just lost her husband.
So she told him. And he still went on holiday.
Reply #2044. Dec 03 10, 3:38 PM
And, see, I use "schmaltz" to bathetic language. I give up. (There's probably some metaphorical connection, I realize.)|
I could at least match your tales of your older brother, but the post wouldn't be fit for public airing. :(
You need a hug after this "crap bloody awful day"? Here you go:
Reply #2045. Dec 03 10, 4:09 PM
Oh, I misread. In the last bit, you were talking about your mother's brother, not your own. I alluded to my own.|
Reply #2046. Dec 03 10, 4:10 PM
Sigh. I left out "describe" before "bathetic." :( |
I'm heading to the garden to chomp on worms.
Reply #2047. Dec 03 10, 4:12 PM
|No, please don't eat the worms - they aren't kosher! |
No, it's all been about my mother's big brother.
There is another bit of family history which may explain my uncle's unusual behaviour. My great-grandmother died when she was 25, leaving a four-year-old girl, and a two-year-old boy - my maternal grandfather. I don't know what it was, except it was something to do with her head - meningitis or cerebral haemorrhage I think. Her husband couldn't cope with two small children so he asked his married brother to take them in.
The brother was OK but his wife was the classic fairy-tale wicked step-mother, and they had a classically miserable time. Eventually their father re-married and felt ready to offer them a stable home again, but who knows what scars were left by the separation?
We lived with my mother's parents till I was six, and I was five when my grandfather died. I always remember a warm, welcoming, approachable, affectionate man, but it might have been very different if I'd been his daughter - and I have no way of knowing.
Reply #2048. Dec 03 10, 4:28 PM
No, please don't eat the worms - they aren't kosher! |
Lesley, I'm a Unitarian, at best, so I can eat worms just so long as I wash them down with white wine.
With your family background and your writing talent, you could be the 21st-Century Dickens. (That's a compliment, and a lament.)
Reply #2049. Dec 03 10, 5:56 PM
|White wine is the best accompaniment. It will make a delicious meal, as long as it's eaten with a smile. With a béarnaise sauce, or Heinz tomato ketchup? Oh no - white wine with ketchup - what was I thinking? |
Thank you - that's the nicest thing anybody's said to me since my American cousin told me I reminded her of Erma Bombeck. :D
Reply #2050. Dec 03 10, 6:24 PM
No sauce, just gently seared and served with fresh asparagus. For desert, a bit of sherbet.|
You're Erma Bombeck, and I'm the female incarnation of Jeremiah. :( Sol y sombra, as we say on the Peninsula.
Reply #2051. Dec 03 10, 6:32 PM
|Or chalk and cheese as we say ... sometimes? Not true, but test of the very little Spanish I know, or pretend to know. |
Reply #2052. Dec 03 10, 6:37 PM
Well, I was thinking "sun and shadow," but "chalk and cheese" will do, too! (I love learning new things!)|
Forgive me my Spanish intrusions. They just happen.
Reply #2053. Dec 03 10, 7:01 PM
|It was an idiomatic translation but it wasn't meant to be an accurate one. Don't Americans say chalk and cheese? |
"As different as chalk and cheese" just means very different, but does sol y sombra have more subtle connotations?
Bed now. Night all! xxx
Reply #2054. Dec 03 10, 7:18 PM
I've never heard anyone here say "chalk and cheese." We're more inclined to say "night and day" to define vast difference.|
And I knew you weren't translating literally. I *do* get figurative language! :)
G'night, sleep well, Lesley.
Reply #2055. Dec 03 10, 7:28 PM
Sol and sombra, sun and shadow, cultural use: at bullfights, in the sun or in the shade, the seats in the first cheaper than those in the second. Ciao!|
Reply #2056. Dec 03 10, 7:30 PM
|"I *do* get figurative language! :)" |
That was never in doubt. It was only my feeble grasp of Spanish which was under scrutiny that time.
My garage is forgiven for waking me up at ten because it was with good news. They're on track for having my car ready by Monday night. I am pleased. The front path has been looking very bare.
Reply #2057. Dec 04 10, 6:52 AM
|Three months ago I wrote about how delighted I was to be able to cut some of my bills. One was my home phone. I was paying about £36 a month and making most of my human contact by mobile phone or email, or even face to face! which made the landline a bit of a luxury. |
So I rang BT, pressed the "thinking of leaving BT" button, got Karen in the sales department, and said I was thinking of leaving to save money. Don't leave, Karen said. We don't want to lose customers, she said. She offered me all sorts of discounts and goodwill gestures, and would I like to pay £14 a month for a year? Would I? Ha! Of course I would!
Oh and by the way, she asked me, do you have broadband? Are you interested in taking BT broadband? Not sure. Can I just deal with one thing at a time? I'll think about it. But I sent her an email telling her I was delighted to accept her offer of keeping the same phone package but only paying £14 for it.
She rang me again a few days later. Had I made a decision about broadband yet? Not yet. I'm paying Virgin £21.50 a month for a lousy service, both electronic and personal, but I can get O2 broadband for £7.50 a month. She said, while I was making my mind up, take care to be sure I know what I'm getting. "Special offers aren't always what they seem."
Well, she was right about that. The quarterly bill came yesterday, and I'm still paying about £36 a month. I rang to query the bill. What happened to the £14? The man in the query-your-bill department said that he can't know what Karen said without listening to the tape (Every single call to BT is recorded. Interesting), but her offer must have been conditional on my accepting broadband. If you take more than one service from us, he said, you qualify for all sorts of discounts.
Of course, I wasn't at all pleased. Actually, I was frozen with my mouth open at the lies, but he suggested a quick bit of damage limitation, I was caught on the hop, and I agreed. Removing anonymous call barring would save a bit, and I can replace my "callminder" with the free 1571 answering service. Finally, purely as a goodwill gesture, he will let me have caller display free of charge. This will bring my monthly payment down to £20, which is better than £36, but still more than the £14 I was promised. Grrr. And it didn't resolve three months' overpayment.
:-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-(
Today, with brain more or less unfrozen, I rang BT and pressed a couple of numbers to get a human voice.
How do I make a complaint?
"I'll put you through to customer service, and you make sure you talk to a manager."
This time I ploughed through six loads of options, and pressed the buttons most likely to get me a human voice.
I'd like to speak to a manager please.
The human voice asked me what it was about. "The manager won't come to the phone if he doesn't know." (Great, another prima donna!)
OK, I think I've been mis-sold something (where mis-sold is a euphemism for a load of lies). I gave him my name, rank and number, and a manager picked the phone up.
"What's the problem?"
I spoke to Karen x on 2-9-10, said I was thinking of leaving to save £36 a month, and she said she could cut it to £14 a month for a year. I got a bill yesterday and I'm still paying full whack.
"I see you're getting discounts."
Yes, I am now, they were arranged yesterday, when I got the bill.
"You're getting a very good discount - more than I'm authorised to offer you."
Yes, it's good, but still less than I was promised three months ago.
"What's the problem?"
(Are these people paid to miss the point?)
The problem is I was told that the reduction to £14 was to keep my business. I was not told that it would be conditional on my taking other services.
"I'll need to investigate."
"I'll hand you back to my colleague so he can take a few details."
It was quite a lot of details, and a lot of one-fingered typing to get the gist of the problem, and it's an hour I'll never get back, but they've promised me a reply in 48 hours.
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
I might be getting my car back on Monday! That'll help. :-)
Reply #2058. Dec 04 10, 9:27 AM
I've had the same sort of experience with ATT. I called, hoping for a better deal, because it seemed like I was paying more than I should...I could NOT get a person on the line! Talking to the machine that couldn't quite understand what my needs were, was a nightmare!|
Finally, two days later I got a little info from a tenant, getting me to a live voice. After about 20 minutes, and several 'package deals,' I selected unlimited long distance, caller ID, and my internet for $75.00 a month. Not any less than I was paying, but I can talk to Alaska for free. Good grief...
Reply #2059. Dec 04 10, 8:43 PM
The posts about your uncle remind me of two individuals:|
1. My great-aunt Janice expects everyone to work arund *her* schedule. Also, she has an opinion about everything and just has to share it-and she's never wrong. Oh, and did I mention that she acts like a spoiled, rich brat? (She once told my uncle-Mom's brother-that he didn't need to give her money because "I have more than you"!) [Janice talks to her sister, but not her brother-all because he condemned the way *she* talked to his wife-but at the same time is jealous of the fact that my grandmother has a relationship with me and my cousin named Rebecca (both of us are supposedly "Janice's Girls" but she secludes herself at her home and hardly talks to anyone-and only travels down here once a year around Memorial Day. And did I mention that we're supposed to keep in touch with her and not the other way around?) Oh, family dramas make me nuts!]
2. My pen pal refuses to have anything to do with one of his great grandchildren because he was "born out of wedlock"-or, in his words, "Heather got involved with the wrong crowd." (More often than not, he complains about his family members-and is another very oppinionated one. [Sometimes the stuff that comes out of his mouth sounds like abuse. He once said of his wife: "Helen wrecked the car over a cup of coffee." I wrote back to him and pointed out that at least she wasn't hurt, and how much he loved her-which he confirmed in his next letter.]
Reply #2060. Dec 04 10, 8:45 PM
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