GI Jane Finances

January 2, 2010

Throw yourself a party

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 7:41 am

Boy, December was  a spendy month.  Happy New Year, ya’ll!  Fearing and looking forward to 2010–it will be an eventful year.  The title was inspired by my dad in a recent conversation I had about his birthday.  My father will turn 65 years old in Feb along with my mother.  It seems that every couple years, he comes up with lavish gift ideas for his birthday.  He has bad knees and complains about the pain pretty regularly. So, through my sister, he requested a massage chair to help with his pain.  This was in 2005.  Kinda of manipulative, but I decided to shell out about $1200 for a chair.  My dad hands over his weekly check to mom for the past 38 years.  Mother gives him an allowance of about $50 per week.  Mother calls all the money shots.  For example, when I commissioned in Dec 1996 and needed a car, I had to beg for $1000 downpayment.  Even though mom easily gave my sister $1,000 for her car who did not have a secure job, it took a lot of begging from me for the same amount.  However, to be fair, I was also asking her to cosign on the note–which she did. 

 OK.  The following year, in 2006, dad decides he must travel to Florida in Dec.  Parents have a paid for house in Florida across the street from my aunt.  In that conversation with pops, I tell him that I had to pay $400 to fix my carpet.  The stupid builders did not stretch the carpet.  So, my heavy solid wood Turkish furniture caused waves in my living room.  After silently listening to me complain about the carpet, he tells me I must pay for his trip to Florida.  When I balk, he said to put it on my credit card.  I do not keep balances on my credit card.  Well, I will pay you back, he says.  No, you won’t…fine I will pay for your plane ticket.  Do not ask me again for a trip. 

In 2007, I leave the states for Asia.  Two years later, I fund a $1,000 plane ticket for mom and $1700 ticket/hotel for brother to visit Japan and China.  I gave my brother about $450 for his birthday and Xmas gifts. Back to the parents.  Mind you, both parents are working with a paid off house in Florida, $56,000 mortgage on their current residence and about $400,000 saved.  This leads up to the conversation a couple of days ago with dad fresh from his Xmas Florida trip.  I told him since Oct-Nov that I planned on being home for Xmas.  He decides to book a trip to Florida.  Don’t forget about the bad knees–I let him off the hook about not visiting me in Asia because of them.  Had to redirect my plans to see him for a couple of hours before he took off for Florida.  Now, back in Korea, after telling him how I am doubling up payments on my rental mortgage–he complains how he never had a birthday party in all of his years on the planet.  He was invited to a wedding in Jamaica this summer, but wants to go there for his birthday that is a couple of months prior. I say go for it, that’s great–do not know how this relates to not ever having a birthday party.  Well, I think you should pay for it, he says.  What?!?!   Aren’t you working?  I plan on retiring this year and moving to Florida.  How does the Mrs feel about that, she likes your checks? It doesn’t matter.  Really, I say.  Hmmm…just for giggles decide to google prices.  OK, you are nuts…I hate when you ask for lavish gifts like I have won the lottery or received a huge signing bonus or something.  What happened to your bad knees?  Didn’t you just return from Florida?  Don’t you have $$?  What is going on?  Nothing, I feel my daughter(s) should be able to pay for my trips.  The other one is a principal of a school (not really, try assistant dean).  She just had that job for 5 months after being laid off earlier this year along with $100,o00 of student loan and credit card debts. 

Which bring me to sis, who after having that conversation with dad drops a bombshell that he had problems at work in July.  The problem nearly caused a fatal accident that caused them to suspend him for a couple of weeks.  Stunned by not hearing that bit of news until Dec 30 and now understand his urgency of returning to his homeland.  My sis is more embarrassed more than anything and the incident was around when she was unemployed, so it was an “inconvenient” burden.  She only found out because mom wanted to vent.  BTW, both are a piece of work.  I call back my dad to tell him, you know what—I will pay for you to travel.  Now, he pretty surprised because I was very pissed of the very idea just a day before.  Sis swore me to secrecy.  So, instead I tell him it is a milestone to reach 65 years (it is) and he has worked 38 years of his freaking life at one company.  But he should look for ways to add to his quality of life in his surroundings.  Hey, if you wanted a party I would have preferred to throw in $200 for a catered party, with Jamaican food at a hall, for his closest friends.  I threw myself a promotion party in 2006 (it is a military tradition) at a golf club.  It was the best $746 spent!  Plus, you receive gifts–which for some reason I didn’t expect.  Why not return to playing cricket or golf?  Read a book.  Take a class.  Go to church–you are not getting any younger, aren’t you concerned about the hereafter?  It is important to have a spiritual walk. Cultivate a hobby.   You can do so many things without fleeing the area.  Those staycations that some people are complaining about, are far more practical and fulfilling than drinking red stripe on a white beach.

Don’t get me wrong,  I love the islands, but we still have other 358 worthwhile days to live.  Oh, when I went home, that massage chair was packed with clothes and moved to the back room.

GI Jane


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