Labor Day open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Happy Labor Day!  Today we have an open thread.

Are you enjoying the last summer holiday?  Are you spending time with family and friends?

12 Typical Types Of Family Members (How Many Are Familiar To You?

Do you recognize yourself among any of these types?


27 thoughts on “Labor Day open thread

  1. Yesterday I took a stand, although a rather passive aggressive one, against the “tied to my cell phone” family members. At a dinner table two family members seated near me kept checking their phones, probably to read and share on social media. I find this annoying, and I finally just gto up and left. If you’re going to disengage from me in person so you can engage with people on your phone, I’ll disengage and find something better to do.

    The caretaker, peacemaker, and connector in my family is one person.

  2. Would like to get up and leave in those circumstances, but then only one person would be left at the table. Who might not even notice. I usually respond to this annoying behavior by stopping my conversation in mid-sentence until the perpetrator looks up. “No, I’ll wait until you’re finished.” Not sure if it’s passive-aggressive. What I REALLY want to do is grab the phone and toss it into the nearest body of water, which is often conveniently at the edge of the deck.

  3. Reposting from the Friday thread, because I didn’t know this one had opened up:
    I’m not always a fan of this author, but this reflection on the stage of life when kids are nearly ready to move out reminds me a little of the recent transitions conversation here. In our home, there is a kid just starting high school who insists that he is perfectly capable of living on his own and is discovering my tricks, from knowing when he’s lying to choosing games for us based on skills I wanted him to develop. But then he wants me to pour him a bowl of cereal, or to talk and laugh with him about all sorts of things. I did not feel I was rushing through his early years; I loved that time. But I am now looking forward to when he will be an adult, and our relationship will be so very different. Already, he is discovering things about me as a person and we discuss the world in ways he would not have been able to conceive of just a couple years ago. It isn’t always serious; last night I broke the news to him that Shaggy in Scooby-do was probably a stoner, and then I made a crack about Shaggy and “It wasn’t me” which led us to that song, so we are having fun.

    On people burying themselves in the cell phone thing, none of the members of my family of origin would use their phones that way, but if someone else were to do so, I might make a reference to setting an example for my son. Or just ask how they want to divide our time between talking and phone things. I will pick up my phone mid-conversation to look up a point of fact related to the conversation or to show something related to it. I do find that phones are used these days much like people-watching used to be used; instead of commenting on someone’s shoes or hair (often in judgemental or catty ways), people comment on what interesting things they’re seeing on-line.

  4. DH and I are both working today, but I find I don’t mind. Having a day to answer e-mails and get some projects done while incoming e-mails are fairly silent is actually somewhat heavenly. Also, it is a beautiful day out, and from my home office I can see my boys playing basketball, there’s no carpool to drive, and the fridge is stocked with dinner fixin’s (tonight: grilled shrimp, black beans and rice, sliced tomatoes), so I have that lovely feeling of all-is-right-with-the-world, even though I’m working.

  5. We’re spending spending the day flying back from Florida after celebrating my in-laws 50th anniversary. Flying from Denver yo Ft Myers and back is obscenely expensive and a royal pain in the ass, but we had a nice weekend.

  6. Denver Dad, RMS, and L – I have a client who needs an estate planning attorney in the Denver area. Nothing major — she needs to re-open the probate of a relative’s estate (she was the personal representative) because an additional asset of the decedent was recently discovered, and needs to be dealt with. If you have any recommendations, could you e-mail me at nob.totebagger[at]gmail[dot]com? My local contacts don’t know of anyone out there. Many thanks!

    Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I took my kids to a Weird Al Yankovic concert to start the weekend — they love him. We went to the beach Saturday and Sunday, which was fun, though a bit chilly. Suddenly it’s starting to feel a lot like fall around here.

  7. NoB I am so jealous of your use of the words “chilly” and “fall”! They seem too far out in my future.

  8. We spent the day on the lake with my parents and my aunt and uncle. My Dad can still slalom ski (we both need to get up on two skis and drop one). Not bad for 67, though.

  9. Happy Labor Day, everyone. Not much labor taking place here, however.

    Unfortunately, I think everyone in my family is a Mess Maker.

  10. Evil Twin, one advantage of the personal electronics setup we have (kids have dumb phones and use iPods and laptops for web access) is that in the situation you describe, DW and I have the option of taking their devices off the wifi router.

  11. Spent the weekend at a friend’s beach house. Lovely, but glad to be home. It was hot.

    I am the caretaker and controller.

    Finn: In our family, it’s often the adults who are the main people behaving badly with cell phones. It’s more difficult to take them (i.e. DH and FIL) off the Wi-Fi router. Evil’s method is more effective. Often, they don’t feel that they’ve done anything wrong.

  12. This Labor Day was spent dealing with Hermine. Much like Irene she took a tree and part of our fence. Sigh. The trunk is in our neighbor’s yard and the top in ours. It’s supposed to rain all week so I’ll stop by the neighbors tomorrow and set a plan for the weekend.

    I have all 12 of those people in my family. But some people are all. Like the mouthpiece and the leader are the same. I tend to be the quiet one. Because most of the time I don’t have anything nice to say…

  13. NoB, I just sent you an email.

    Interesting note on Weird Al. There are three artists who have Top 40 singles in the 1980s, 90s, 2000s, and 2010s: Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Weird Al.

  14. OK, can I just say I have freaking awesome kids today? Didn’t start out great. DH is traveling all week (who holds a conference over Labor Day??? Idiots), so I decided I’m not cooking. Ergo, the morning plan was a quick grocery run for spaghettios, fruit, and school lunch fixings. But DD came along, which blew the whole trip into an hour+ and $150+ — including another $40 on (still more completely unnecessary) products that she owes me for. Slow burn (just say no, Laura. I really should know better by now).

    But then after piling an armful of crap into the cart, DD asked if she could cook dinner this week to earn some of the $$ back. Umm, sure!! (Thus explaining the rest of the $150 bill). Then as soon as she got home, she spent 2+ hrs on Khan Academy doing precalc practice (after finishing the last of her homework — all with ZERO complaining). And then she came in and asked if she could do the dishes (!!). And in other news, DS took the trash out, and my mom made pie.

    I’m wondering who these people are and what they did with my family. But, you know, gift horses an all, so I’m just keeping quiet and putting this one in the win column. :-)

  15. Evil, Houston, if it’s adults behaving badly and you don’t want to take them off the router, another tactic DW and I have taken that you might consider is to finish eating, then put all the food away and clear the table.

    Since it’s adults behaving badly, I would also consider leaving just putting away the food, and leaving them to finish cleaning up the kitchen.

  16. NoB, I don’t know anyone out in Denver but will ask around. Did you check the CO probate statute to make sure that reopening the estate is required? If no contentious family issues you might (depending on statute) be able to distribute out to the beneficiaries without reopening.

  17. Yes, it’s adults who are the cell phone offenders. At home with my immediate family we don’t have that problem, but it often happens during social gatherings with other adults. It seems to be a culture of always being in touch with your online community, such as constantly checking/sharing FB and Instagram and Twitter, plus immediately responding to texts. Another example is during a performance/movie in a dark auditorium and the distracting glow from the phone of the person next to you or in front of you. That’s annoying.

  18. Re: phone use, we definitely have generational issues. My mom is of the “no electronics at the table” school. DD is of the “all electronics, all the time” school. DH and I are of the “put them away at the table but pull them out to check things as appropriate in conversation” school — e.g., you’re out for dinner trying to figure out how much time you have before the movie, so you pull it out to doublecheck the showtimes. Or you’re talking about the football games this weekend and he pulls it out to show the video of the Penn State dude-I-can’t-believe-that’s-a-kicker. We would never pull it out to text or chat with a third person (if we had to, we’d leave the table), but neither of us sees it as a problem to treat it as a resource when that is relevant to the conversation.

    This is a problem for my mother, who views all electronics as a barely-necessary evil whose presence at the table must be suppressed at all costs. Except of course she won’t say so directly; she will simply fall silent whenever a phone appears. We will be (say) talking about vacation planning, she will mention dates, I will say, “let me check the school calendar” or something and pull out my phone to confirm the dates and block it off on my calendar. And she will just. stop. talking. until I am done and the phone is completely tucked away. I keep saying things like, I am just adding it to my calendar, please keep talking about the house you were looking at, I am listening. And she just won’t. So she sits there silently emanating barely-suppressed disapproval, while I sit there silently emanating barely-suppressed frustration (apparently I am supposed to remember 87 individual logistical details to check later, which we can then iron out through a series of 46 follow-up emails. Because that’s so much more efficient than taking 30 seconds with the phone to confirm the dates, pull up the house pics, etc.). Fun!

  19. Laura, sounds like an awesome day yesterday, yay! But not being able to use the phone in ways directly connected to the conversation? Aaaaggggh!
    That was empathy. Now for fix-it
    What happens if you pull her in to the phone, like “bright colored plaid curtains: like these, or more like these?”
    With reminders, I’d forget things & not regret it.

  20. @SM — Yeah, you know, this is just one of those “accept things you cannot change” things. She’s 70, she has zero interest in changing her fixed belief, so I’m just choosing not to beat my head against that brick wall.

    Sort of like on vacation I was getting FB posts from an uncle who is to the right of Attila the Hun, and my dad just went *off* on my uncle (his older brother), and started lecturing me that when uncle sends me that kind of stuff, I need to push back and argue with him and show him how shortsighted/stupid/unempathetic he’s being, etc. And all I could think was, yeah: because all it takes to change a 73-yr-old man’s mind is a few FB posts from an uppity niece. Thank you, no. Even my stepmom was giving my dad the eye-roll over that one. :-)

  21. We don’t use phones at the table except if we are on a date and looking up something on the calendar or helping each other with work stuff collaboratively. NEVER when we are at home. If we are visiting my parents, the phones don’t even come out of the bag/charger except for picture-taking.

    I also get annoyed when we are out with our rich friends and they use their phone to do a work email or take a call – usually happens once/twice per dinner with each of them. Get off my lawn!

  22. We eat supper in the dining room, and no phones or electronics (other than music) are allowed in that room. We also do not get up to answer the phone or to check a text during supper. We also require boys to remove their caps at the table and to wear shirts.

    Regretfully, I never though to insist on shorts (since I only see them from the waist up), so now it is well established that so long as you have a shirt on, wearing only boxers are acceptable (but you must at least have those on).

  23. We have a no electronics at the table rule at home. Also a no TV rule – we listen to music. Exceptions have been made in rare cases (e.g., the Stanley Cup playoffs). It is just the norm, so it doesn’t feel like a hardship. We’ll see when DS gets older if he finds it oppressive. (too bad if he does)

    When at a restaurant whether as a family or on a date night, we try to stay off our phones unless there is a purpose – like checking a fact online, checking calendars, checking transit trackers, looking at Uber, etc. Same thing with friends – usually if I get out my phone, I’ll do like LFB and provide and explanation. If I get a text & need to respond, I’ll acknowledge. “Oh, that’s DH, he wants to know X. I have to respond, just a sec.” Or “That’s my boss, have to answer a quick work question.” I find it to be the rudest when people just cut off conversation to be buried in their phone with no acknowledgement. I find that the worst offender is actually my own mother, who is in her early 60’s. She drives me batsh*t. We don’t see each other that often, and she is constantly buried in her iPad.

    At family parties – well, it depends if it is an all-day affair. If I am there for 8 hours on Thanksgiving, I am going to check my phone occasionally. Not during dinner. Not during conversation. But occasionally.

  24. “Regretfully, I never though to insist on shorts (since I only see them from the waist up), so now it is well established that so long as you have a shirt on, wearing only boxers are acceptable (but you must at least have those on).”

    LOL. We have the same situation. We compromised that he can eat breakfast in his underwear, but not dinner.

  25. LfB, good point! Strangely, you and I are now almost as old as I think of your mother as being.

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