Wedding Woes

A WWWWD (What Would Wedding Woes Do)Question - NWR

This is probably long - apologies in advance:

My FIL has worked at the same place for nearly 38 years and his last day there before he retires is the Friday before Christmas.

FIL has said that he doesn't want people to make a big deal about his retirement.

We live about 45 min. from MIL and FIL.   BIL along with his family live a solid 8+ hour drive away.  

BIL has decided that he's going to drive out with SIL, their 3 kids and his FIL to surprise FIL on the last day of work to greet him as he walks out the door and...maybe take him out for a drink?   Then they'd go to MIL and FIL's place where they'd have dinner (or go out on the Friday before Christmas?), and then spend the night.   The following morning they'd get up and do brunch and family time before heading back in the afternoon to their home because Christmas will be hosted back at their house.   They will not be staying for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

MIL is not in great shape physically and she's made this known.   Her knees are BAD to the point that she has replacement surgery scheduled for after the new year (when FIL will be able to have the time to drive her everywhere) and she has someone come over to do house cleaning.   (to give you an idea of how bad this is, my MIL is not a dirty person and they have no pets.   The routine stuff hurts at this point).   

MIL and FIL sleep in separate rooms.   When BIL and his family visit they generally stay in FIL's room because there's plenty of space for them and the kids.  

If you're still following, this means that FIL would be surprised as he walks out the door to a change in his dinner plans, house guests that move him out of his bedroom and a weekend of plans that are uprooted.   It means that MIL will either need to employ the housekeeper to do extra work all while FIL is supposed to be in the dark to have that area ready.   And it means that our weekend prep of preparing for Christmas (we planning to host this year) is now adjusted.   For the last 11 years, we have celebrated Christmas Eve with MIL and FIL.   If these plans happen we probably wouldn't simply because it's a lot of driving and too much on MIL to do this.  Oh, and who knows where their FIL will sleep.   And gift exchanges for Christmas would be shared with BIL's FIL.   He's a great guy but gift exchanges are one of the few times that MIL and FIL have had that time to just be with their family.

DH has emailed BIL to tell him that he think this just isn't a great idea.   MIL has had conversations with BIL and they get heated (both of them have a way of getting worked up with each other) and BIL has actually called MIL selfish.   I have tried to stay out of this with BIL and SIL but if my opinion is requested I will say as nicely as possible that this idea is so bad that good ideas aren't even visible in its rear view mirror.

Last night I was talking to DH and said, "What about just telling his dad what's up?   Then FIL can figure out if this idea smells worse than 4 day old fish or then HE can be helping MIL so she doesn't need to keep this surprise."  

I am angry on behalf of my MIL and would hope that BIL would consider adjusting his plans to be announced, not a surprise and after Christmas but I think unless he's flat out addressed intervention style he's going to refuse to accept that this is a terrible idea. 

If you're still following....WWWWD? 

Re: A WWWWD (What Would Wedding Woes Do)Question - NWR

  • Gosh, that sounds like a crappy situation. But yay for your FIL retiring! And starting his retirement right before Christmas sounds wonderful :)

    Did your BIL respond when your H emailed him?  I would mention the "surprise" to your FIL just to get his thoughts. If he's the kind of guy who likes his routine, it might not be a great idea, given everything that seems to go along with a visit from your BIL. It sounds like this plan is upending everyone's lives, and BIL isn't getting it. If FIL doesn't want the surprise, you could celebrate his retirement over Christmas.
    charlotte989875
  • Gosh, that sounds like a crappy situation. But yay for your FIL retiring! And starting his retirement right before Christmas sounds wonderful :)

    Did your BIL respond when your H emailed him?  I would mention the "surprise" to your FIL just to get his thoughts. If he's the kind of guy who likes his routine, it might not be a great idea, given everything that seems to go along with a visit from your BIL. It sounds like this plan is upending everyone's lives, and BIL isn't getting it. If FIL doesn't want the surprise, you could celebrate his retirement over Christmas.
    BIL did not respond to DH.   I assume he read DH's email and then two days later he and MIL had their heated discussion where MIL was told that SHE was selfish. (eyeroll)

    I agree that if we are going to celebrate it, it should be near Christmas but not during it.   And post-Christmas is far easier travel-wise than pre-Christmas.

    Did I mention he wants to pit stop in Manhattan the night before coming to see FIL?   Gridlock alert days with 3 kids 5 and under sound like a blast.
    charlotte989875
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
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    Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).

    Anniversary

    ahoyweddinglevioosa
  • Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).
    That's where I am.   I also don't want to go against DH but I have zero bad feelings about not keeping this secret when the only person it benefits is BIL.

    Which makes me wonder, do you think DH should basically say, "You either need to tell Dad your plans or I'm telling dad your plans?"  
  • I think this sounds like a bad idea. When my FIL retired he didn't want anything right away. He and MIL went to dinner that night, and we joined them a few weeks later. She did plan a big surprise party a few months later. 

    Could your DH ask his Dad what he wants to do for his retirement? Many people want to celebrate, but a lot don't. 
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    banana468 said:
    Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).
    That's where I am.   I also don't want to go against DH but I have zero bad feelings about not keeping this secret when the only person it benefits is BIL.

    Which makes me wonder, do you think DH should basically say, "I feel very strongly that springing this on Dad is a bad idea. You either need to tell ask Dad if he's okay with your plans or I'm telling dad your plans?"  
    I think that reiterating why he's doing it (not about or on behalf of "selfish" MIL) may help her.

    Also, phrasing it such that he needs to be open to Dad's input (i.e. not telling him "We're driving down to see you," but rather asking, "We were hoping to drive down to see you, would you enjoy that?") makes it obvious that this needs to be about what Dad would actually like.

    Anniversary

    ahoywedding
  • banana468 said:
    Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).
    That's where I am.   I also don't want to go against DH but I have zero bad feelings about not keeping this secret when the only person it benefits is BIL.

    Which makes me wonder, do you think DH should basically say, "I feel very strongly that springing this on Dad is a bad idea. You either need to tell ask Dad if he's okay with your plans or I'm telling dad your plans?"  
    I think that reiterating why he's doing it (not about or on behalf of "selfish" MIL) may help her.

    Also, phrasing it such that he needs to be open to Dad's input (i.e. not telling him "We're driving down to see you," but rather asking, "We were hoping to drive down to see you, would you enjoy that?") makes it obvious that this needs to be about what Dad would actually like.
    I like that phrasing.   FIL has said he doesn't want anything.   BIL thinks that FIL is only saying that because he doesn't want people to go to trouble to do something.

    I honestly think that this is a lot for him and doing something is really not what he wants.   
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).
    That's where I am.   I also don't want to go against DH but I have zero bad feelings about not keeping this secret when the only person it benefits is BIL.

    Which makes me wonder, do you think DH should basically say, "I feel very strongly that springing this on Dad is a bad idea. You either need to tell ask Dad if he's okay with your plans or I'm telling dad your plans?"  
    I think that reiterating why he's doing it (not about or on behalf of "selfish" MIL) may help her.

    Also, phrasing it such that he needs to be open to Dad's input (i.e. not telling him "We're driving down to see you," but rather asking, "We were hoping to drive down to see you, would you enjoy that?") makes it obvious that this needs to be about what Dad would actually like.
    I like that phrasing.   FIL has said he doesn't want anything.   BIL thinks that FIL is only saying that because he doesn't want people to go to trouble to do something.

    I honestly think that this is a lot for him and doing something is really not what he wants.   
    I mean, I am not a big "celebrate me" person, definitely don't like having my space invaded without warning, and beyond that, he may have mixed feelings about retiring itself - sure, it's probably a good thing with many good things about it, but it's still a big life change to process. Celebratory dinner with everyone and everyone sleeping in my house is unlikely to be the way I feel about it the moment I leave work. I think you're probably right, because I don't think it's a reach for FIL to be being honest about this.

    Anniversary

    ahoywedding
  • banana468 said:
    banana468 said:
    Yeah, I've spoiled terrible surprises before when they were really not going to be appreciated by the recipient. Sorry not sorry. FIL can then mentally prepare himself and help MIL while still being "surprised," or make it publicly known that this isn't something he wants (which outs you guys, but whatever - I'd be willing to take that fall for the ILs).
    That's where I am.   I also don't want to go against DH but I have zero bad feelings about not keeping this secret when the only person it benefits is BIL.

    Which makes me wonder, do you think DH should basically say, "I feel very strongly that springing this on Dad is a bad idea. You either need to tell ask Dad if he's okay with your plans or I'm telling dad your plans?"  
    I think that reiterating why he's doing it (not about or on behalf of "selfish" MIL) may help her.

    Also, phrasing it such that he needs to be open to Dad's input (i.e. not telling him "We're driving down to see you," but rather asking, "We were hoping to drive down to see you, would you enjoy that?") makes it obvious that this needs to be about what Dad would actually like.
    I like that phrasing.   FIL has said he doesn't want anything.   BIL thinks that FIL is only saying that because he doesn't want people to go to trouble to do something.

    I honestly think that this is a lot for him and doing something is really not what he wants.   
    I mean, I am not a big "celebrate me" person, definitely don't like having my space invaded without warning, and beyond that, he may have mixed feelings about retiring itself - sure, it's probably a good thing with many good things about it, but it's still a big life change to process. Celebratory dinner with everyone and everyone sleeping in my house is unlikely to be the way I feel about it the moment I leave work. I think you're probably right, because I don't think it's a reach for FIL to be being honest about this.
    And sleeping in his room!   So, "Congratulations!   We're using your bedroom tonight.   You're cool on the couch right dude?" 
  • I think this sounds like a bad idea. When my FIL retired he didn't want anything right away. He and MIL went to dinner that night, and we joined them a few weeks later. She did plan a big surprise party a few months later. 

    Could your DH ask his Dad what he wants to do for his retirement? Many people want to celebrate, but a lot don't. 
    This is another good point. I forgot that when MIL retired a couple years ago, it took her a few weeks to kind of....accept it. (I think that's the wrong word, but you get the sentiment.) She had been a teacher her whole life, and her identity was totally wrapped up in that. She needed time to process the fact that her life was changing in a major way, and I don't think she would have enjoyed having us come over like "BAM! HEY! We're going to dinner tonight! SURPRISE!" and we live like 10 minutes away...in our own house. 
    charlotte989875banana468
  • Ro041Ro041
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
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    I think the worst part is the sleeping in his room thing.  You can't surprise someone with that.  It's incredibly rude to assume that it's ok to sleep in his room.  If they truly wanted to surprise him (and not inconvenience him), they would get a VRBO or hotel and stay far far out of the way, at the bare minimum.

    charlotte989875ahoyweddingILoveBeachMusiclevioosa
  • Ro041 said:
    I think the worst part is the sleeping in his room thing.  You can't surprise someone with that.  It's incredibly rude to assume that it's ok to sleep in his room.  If they truly wanted to surprise him (and not inconvenience him), they would get a VRBO or hotel and stay far far out of the way, at the bare minimum.
    I agree.   But with that comes the part where it's more convenient for how they stay and less convenient for time spent with MIL.   KWIM?  

    It's one of those times where I feel like you can make the argument that sure, a hotel is better because it's less work to prepare for house guests.   

    But what's also better is traveling out at a time that is mutually agreeable to everyone you are affecting.  
  • 6fsn6fsn
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    Can you appeal to the wife too?  She may be able to help stop this awful plan. would mil spoil it? If neither of those things I'd be telling on December 1
    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • 6fsn said:
    Can you appeal to the wife too?  She may be able to help stop this awful plan. would mil spoil it? If neither of those things I'd be telling on December 1
    If I get SIL on the phone if this comes up I will try to talk to her.   Thus far I'm trying to respect DH by not going out of my way to specifically bring it up....at least not yet. 

    I don't think MIL will spoil it.   I think she's finding herself stuck.   And her options are to upset her child and hurt her relationship with her grandchildren or go along with this charade.    It's why I think DH needs to step in.
    ahoywedding
  • "I don't approve of surprises. The pleasure is never enhanced, and the inconvenience is considerable." - Mr. Knightley, Emma
    "Marriage is so disruptive to one's social circle." - Mr. Woodhouse
  • I think if your husband doesn't want to do anything about it and your MIL won't do anything else, then you should let it go. Make the holiday plans that make sense for you and don't worry about people who you don't control. 
  • I think if your husband doesn't want to do anything about it and your MIL won't do anything else, then you should let it go. Make the holiday plans that make sense for you and don't worry about people who you don't control. 
    I read this and at first had an argumentative reaction but then realized that it could be a decent approach.   Of course, what I also then need to say to DH is, "Stop complaining that your brother's ideas suck if you won't do anything about them. " 
    ahoywedding
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