Wednesday, July 15, 2009

In-law vacations - a microcosm of failed socialist ideas

The daily onslaught of new policies from the Obama administration continue to keep folks in 3 polarized camps - his ardent supporters, his harshest of critics, and a third group of "remind me who Obama is again".

Pushing the 3rd group to the margins, the supporters and critics line up against one another with tons of rhetoric about why the other side is wrong. Rarely is it that any healthy, substantive, practical examples are offered by either camp.

But I will attempt to illustrate why this fast-moving move towards forced socialism is doomed to failure once folks realize what is happening in the here and now. I will demonstrate the futility of socialistic policies using a very tangible, very real, and recently experienced set of examples. In-law vacations.

Free housing - I should be grateful. The condo my family stayed in last week was free. However, 'free' is a relative term because we stayed there on someone else's terms - in-laws. The week, location, unit, sleeping arrangements, etc. were dictated by in-laws. The attraction is real - free lodging. With 'free', however, always comes option limitations. If funded from our own pocket, we'd have less cash in the bank to be sure. We would, however, have been in the position to determine where we'd like to go, when we'd want to go, and where we'd like to stay. We could have flown to Seattle...or cruised to Hawaii...or rented a house outside the city limits of Orlando. A trade-off to be sure.

Personal use of car - We recently bought a new car and drove it to East Tennessee. Because our unit only provided 2 parking passes, my wife's new car was demoted to the overflow lot where we no longer had ready access to it during our stay. FIL drove it down there. The 2 parking passes went allocated to his Dodge van and SIL's car. We were only to have access to our Toyota when he agreed to take us there. As a result, we crammed 9 of us into his Dodge mini-van to drive to Dollywood so we wouldn't have to pay 2 parking charges.

Entertainment - Again, I suppose I should be grateful. FIL insisted he buy tickets for everyone at Dollywood. His offer certainly seemed a generous, paternalistic gift to be certain. Or was it? We had to go when in-law say go. We had to stay until in-law say leave. The original plan my wife had was to go to Dollywood on Tuesday and Splash Country waterpark on Wednesday. FIL, however, had a different idea. He wanted to go to Dollywood TWO days - Tuesday from 3 PM until close and again all day Wednesday (2nd day is free when the 1st day's ticket is purchased after 3 PM). Because of his generous bail-out funding for the Dollywood tickets, plans were re-arranged to accommodate the greater interests of FIL.

Dining - Because SIL is a picky eater, she is sympathetic to her children who are also high-maintenance, picky eaters. Because MIL is mother to SIL and because Wife is sister to SIL, both are empathetic to her plight and their requests. I'm neither empathetic or sympathetic. I was almost ready to explode "for criminey sake, eat the friggin' food the rest of us are eating and grow the hell up!" But I didn't because I am empathetic to my wife, and I wanted to return home in the same vehicle I drove there. Yet with in-law vacations, special provisions are made. Meals to be enjoyed by all are diminished so the 'special dietary needs' of the nephew and niece could be met (e.g. Pop-Tarts, boiled eggs with the yolks cut out, chicken fingers vs. chili, mac and cheese shapes vs. the boil and powder it option). Remind me again who was also having a vacation? Oh yeah, never mind.

Alcohol rationing - The first three nights of our stay, I provided unfettered access to the bottles of wine I brought with me. FIL and I emptied each of them. As previously blogged, I was in a bit of a pickle on Thursday wondering about a source from which I could quaff that night. Have no fear, FIL is here! We went to a nearby local winery for a tasting and ended up purchasing a few bottles. That evening, I asked him if he wanted to try either of the bottles I bought. He declined and suggested we try one of the ones he bought. Fair enough. After all, it was 'free', right? He poured each of us a glass. I told him I planned to take a quick shower once the other SEVEN folks finished putting a hurting on the hot water availability and soaking the bath mat. Once I dried, I returned to my vino. He had finished his 1st glass and poured a 2nd one...for him. Rather than offer me a 2nd glass - or simply leave the bottle available for either of us to finish (which I certainly would have done) - he re-corked it. He banged that baby home - level with the top of the bottle. No more wine was to pour forth from his $8 collectible.

Reclamation of personal assets - We had to be out of the condo by 10 AM last Friday. The mid-morning hour couldn't come early enough for me. Forcing the hand of my family to be on the road by 10:01, I set out on foot with a key fob in hand to reclaim what is rightfully ours - a brand new 2009 Camry with less than 1,000 miles on it. I returned about 20 minutes later having survived the walk, having dodged traffic like Frogger, and sporting a smile of accomplishment. Instead, I was met in the parking lot by FIL, MIL, SIL, and wife asking "where did you go? why did you go get the car?" I stopped, shed my smile, looked back at the recently parked car, and turned back around to look at the unruly mob. "Daddy was going to go get the car. Didn't you hear him say that? He was going to check-out and then bring the car back. Why would you go get it?" Speechless - I simply shrugged my shoulders like I was Gomer Pyle, dumb as box of hammers, and walked by all of them upstairs to retrieve my personal belongings so I could get the hell out of there.

By now, hopefully you see my points and understand the futility of fighting the man. Take your pick. Substitute any global, socialist, Obamalicious 'change' strategy du jour and substitute them for any of these in-law experiences. You'll soon recognize for yourself that what on the surface seems to be so grand in its generosity soon turns into a limitation of personal choice, revocation of personal freedom, seizure of personal assets, an embracing of needless victimology, and a questioning of personal judgment and decision making.

In the future, I implore you to choose your candidates...and your in-laws...wisely. Failure to do can have devastating effects for all involved. Consider yourself educated and warned.


1 comment:

  1. my FIL banged it home. very funny. btw, Seatle, Hawaii and Orlando sounds pretty good. Maybe you should go and take your parents.