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Archive for June, 2007

90th birthday dilemma, partly about money

June 30th, 2007 at 01:17 pm

Warning - Long!

Got a message from a family friend, asking if we were doing anything special for my mother's 90th birthday.

Back when DMom was 80, we did have a fairly large party--and now that I remember it, it was at the instigation of this same family friend. We dug out old photos and things, and put them on display. It was a nice group of guests, a mix of family and friends, and overall a very nice memory for everyone. But it also cost several hundred dollars at a time when I was using credit cards and spending money like water. This family friend whose idea it was did make a nice memory book, but didn't contribute to the cost of the party. She just made me feel like I ought to do it, if I were any kind of daughter.

So here we are 10 years later. I was planning on keeping things small, for a myriad of reasons.

My MIL turns 90 the same month, and we probably won't even be seeing her. We'll send her a larger gift than usual, and talk to her on the phone, but that will probably be it. It doesn't seem fair to go overboard for my mother if we don't do it for both.

Many of the people who attended the 80th birthday party have died, or have moved away to live with or near their children. Or they're in assisted living. Also, there really aren't many blood relatives of my mother to invite. I'd end up spending hundreds of dollars to feed distant relatives like my cousins' grandchildren on my father's side, so that other older relatives would have a ride to the event.

If I were still spending money like I used to, I might not think twice about it. (And if I weren't already devoting a fair amount of time and mental energy to my mother and her situation, maybe I'd be more willing, too.)

But right now my gut answer is "No, I'm not doing anything special for my mother's 90th birthday. If you'd like to do something yourself, feel free."

It makes me feel kind of guilty and cheap, but I just don't want to be roped into trying to recreate an event that should stay a nice memory. Or spending money because someone else thinks I ought to. (Someone, by the way, who is much better fixed than we are! And who is retired and has a lot more free time.)








Homeowner's Insurance Tip

June 8th, 2007 at 03:10 pm

FYI - You might want to check and see if you're covered for cleanup from sewer backups. That is, unless you're willing to do the cleanup yourself--yuck!

DMom is going through this right now, and the cleanup is even going to involve removing basement shelving and other old wood that can't be sanitized. It's going to run into several thousand dollars--and she discovered her homeowner's insurance won't cover it.

Apparently you need to add an extra rider to your policy to cover this sort of thing. She hadn't thought of it, and her agent hadn't suggested it.

Luckily, we're with a different company, which automatically adds the rider unless you specify you don't want it. It's costing us $50 a year for $3000 of coverage. Worth every penny, as far as I'm concerned!