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I don’t think I’m going

August 5, 2008

I don’t think I’m going to my grandma’s 80th birthday.

I was given just over a months notice.

I have to fly about 2000 miles, to spend just 3 days with my family. (No, I can’t extend the trip).

The celebration will (probably) be a low key picnic that will last a couple hours.

The tickets cost around $500. Last week it was $280 and 12,500 miles, and I was pretty sure I’d go. They’ve since sold out of the cheaper ticket (again, this is where more notice would have come in handy, because I’d already have my miles card and could have booked last week).

I am coming home for Christmas, and I’ll be in the area for at least a week and a half. That ticket will be of a similar price as quoted above, but it seems much more reasonable since it is for a long period of time. And I’ve been planning on it all year!

I barely even have enough vacation hours built up to do this either, and I’ll need some sort of buffer around Christmas.   I’m also somewhat worried about my eventual job fate (maybe some more clarity next month). Yes, I’m going on vacation next week, but that was planned months ago, before I knew about any request for my presence back home.

I don’t think my mom will be too upset with me, even though she claims it is “mandatory”. I make an effort to attend these things. Last summer, I drove 12 hours each way to attend my grandpa’s birthday (well, I carpooled the final 8 hours) with little complaint. I’ve explored many options to try to get there for under $300, and I can’t make it work. I’ll keep checking the site and hope something changes. If can get a ticket, I will. But I can’t make myself stressed out over spending so much money. If I have to spend $500 to come home for Christmas, I will, but not for a short weekend.

I am certain my grandparents will understand. I think my mom will be annoyed because it reflects poorly on her if I don’t come. But seriously. If something is that important, you need to give me enough time to plan for it appropriately. I can’t just pull $500 out of nowhere.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2008 11:30 am

    But I thought you have 14K cash at least your NQ says so. If you do, I dont understand how you can miss your grandma’s birthday 80th BD. Values? I just wish my grandma was alive. I would fly from here to europe without even thinking if I had that much cash reserve.

  2. August 5, 2008 11:39 am

    @chicky – I do not have anyone to provide me with cash/shelter if my job, which is somewhat uncertain lately, goes away. I need cash reserve for my own sanity. If I was more secure in my job, perhaps I would feel differently. I’m not saying I can’t go to my grandma’s because I’m buying a fancy handbag. I’m providing for my own security in troubled economic times.

    I also don’t have the vacation hours built up. It is frustrating that they told me about it last week, so I basically need to buy a ticket this week.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, please respect my choices, even if you don’t agree.

  3. August 5, 2008 11:55 am

    SP I do respect your choices, please dont take me wrong. When it comes to relationships I just can not be that logical. 🙂

  4. August 5, 2008 12:02 pm

    Your mom springing this on you sounds a lot like my mom. She gave me plenty of advance notice about my stepbrother’s graduation from college this past spring–but waited until the day AFTER I’d bought my plane ticket to tell me that the graduation required a ticket, and he only had five–there were not enough to go around, so my sister and I wouldn’t actually be able to attend the ceremony. If she’d told me that to start with (it was not a surprise to her), I would have saved the $600 that trip cost me and sent him a nicer gift.

    I would love to spend more time with my family in general, particularly one set of grandparents I’m very close to, but I choose to live in a city far away from my family, which has a high cost of living, and I choose to work in an industry that doesn’t pay a lot. I can’t afford to go home twice a year unless someone else pays for it, and I’m not comfortable with that except in dire circumstances. I don’t wait to let anyone know how I feel about them, so I don’t feel I need to show up for low-key events like a birthday picnic in order to not have regrets later on in my life.

    I guess, SP, what I’m saying is I understand the choice that you’re making. I think it’s a sign of maturity when your parents are no longer able to “make” you do something you don’t want to or can’t afford just by declaring it mandatory.

  5. Stephanie permalink
    August 5, 2008 12:52 pm

    I think you made the right decision. Your mom telling you a birthday party is “mandatory” is completely ridiculous. The thought to attend would never have even entered my mind, unless I lived within an hour’s drive. Personally I think birthday parties are no big deal.

  6. August 5, 2008 1:05 pm

    I’d like to point out this is not “Ordinary” BD party. Of course if you look at it financially and ask youself what is right and wrong you will make different choises than if you look at it as what is important what is not…

  7. August 5, 2008 2:07 pm

    Your choice seems very reasonable given your circumstances, so I don’t think you should feel guilty. But it’s really true what my mom says about the elderly – “each time you see them, it’s one less time you’ll see them.”

  8. August 5, 2008 2:35 pm

    Well heeled, well said..

  9. Jamie permalink
    August 5, 2008 7:51 pm

    I lost both my parents within the last three years. The rest of my family lives halfway across the world from me. This Christmas I am spending $1600 on flight ticket alone to fly home to spend 3 weeks with them. I’m not criticizing your choice. In fact, I am actually quite obsessive about saving money and personal finance matters. I’m just saying don’t lose sight of what life is all about. You can always find more money. The point of having financial freedom is to be able to spend on people and things that matter. Again it’s your choice what matters…

  10. Stephanie permalink
    August 5, 2008 7:56 pm

    “each time you see them, it’s one less time you’ll see them.”

    As far as I know, that’s true of every one.

  11. August 5, 2008 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts everyone. Sorry for being defensive to you chicky! 🙂

    My parents making things “mandatory” really hasn’t affected me for quite some time. Not that I’ve ever skipped something deemed mandatory, but rather, I went because I wanted to. And non-mandatory things too!

    This is my first year completely out of driving distance from home, and that stinks, but… I have to live my life.

    I’m willing to spend $500 (or whatever it takes) to come home for an extended visit around Christmas. I just don’t think this one particular weekend is important enough. [except for the fact that my weird uncle from FL is coming too, so they want to take family pictures or something.]

    That being said, I’ll keep my eyes on ticket options and keep the option on the table.

  12. August 6, 2008 9:17 am

    Eh, I think that this was probably the smarter choice. It was pretty last minute, but you were even planning on going until the ticket prices jumped and the trip became entirely unrealistic.

    I’m a little confused as to why everyone is jumping down your throat. You could make it home for your Grandmother’s 81st birthday party, and while perhaps it’s not as shiny and round of a number, but you won’t have to sacrifice your security to make it.

  13. Bonnie permalink
    August 6, 2008 12:58 pm

    Chicky, you need to chill out. I went to my grandmother’s 80th b-day party, but it was 4 hours away (i.e., within driving distance). I’m glad I was able to go, but if I had been in SP’s situation, I might not have gone. Also, some people’s families are just not good people and so it really depends on the family. Your values are yours and do not need to be imposed on SP or anyone else. Also, SP is going home at Christmas. Give the girl a break.

  14. August 6, 2008 4:07 pm

    SP@ No problem! We understand each others point that’s all matters.

    Bonnie@ Do I need to “chill out”? 🙂 I like that word, added to my vocabulary! I guess I sounded really harsh, nothing personal though SP understands. Just a rouchy subject for me..However I will take your word and “chill out”!

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