Okay before I sound ungrateful let me explain. My husband & I only take one vacation a year for one week, it's just too expensive & hard to get away, but we don't mine too much as we love our farm . We pay a friend $500 for the week to care for our 4 dogs, 4 goats, 4 horses, 2 peacocks, 13 guineas and 8 cats. I feel the $500 is well worth the money, because #1 my furry friends are in good & knowledgeable hands and #2 just to kennel four dogs alone would cost more than $500, etc.. My dad is retiring this May & has offered to farm sit this summer when we go to Canada to save us money. He's already saying he's going to come down a few times a week now to mow for us, I'm very grateful he wants to help & truly appreciate him doing this for us. But I am not comfortable having him caring for the horses, the other animals I'm okay with and I even suggested since he hasn't been around horses maybe I could still pay my friend to come by & tend to just the horses. He somewhat took offense to this and said he can handle things. He has no horse knowledge, he wants to learn but he even said he won't do stalls or litterboxes. I keep my horse's out 24/7 so that's not really a problem, but my cat's need their boxes done so he said my mom will do them after work. My dad & I have always had a strained relationship as it is, I feel he's trying to make mends, but I feel like I'm walking on eggshells here, I want to let him tinker on the farm while we're gone but way too much can happen. He doesn't know how to put a halter on, he's forever wrapping the leadrope around his hand and he walked in our hay shed with his lit cigarette. I try to meekly correct these things to only piss him off & then I feel bad. And I know he's the type that would be too proud to call anyone on my emergency list for help if something should go wrong. I'm so afraid to he won't latch & lock the feed room or recognize colic, etc. I need to just grow a pair & tell him how I really feel despite the hard feelings I know I will cause. Sigh, sorry to vent, I just wish I could make him happy & not worry so much.
I agree, it's the how to handle this that's stressing me out. I know what I need to do but now I just need to do it. I hate the way I feel around him, I'm 37 and have no back bone when he's around, even til this day if he gives me the "hairy eyeball" look, I shiver. And I can't blame my husband for not getting involved because it's not his dad, but bless my husband's heart he's kept mum about his opinion on this just because he knows what a struggle this is for me & he knows my dad.
Give Dad a big kiss on the cheek, tell him thank you, but for this year you have made the arrangements and you are not going to negate on them.
Then, over the course of the year you can see if he is trainable - Dad's have that problem about letting their little girl go, or considering they know their stuff (I got a daddy, too, you know )
And then you can cross the bridge - again - next year. Oh, and put the litter box in the job description! No fair to mom, he gets the glory, and she does the work.
Oh, and get your Smokey on, only you can prevent wild fires....
I like this suggestion.
If he huffs and puffs about it can you hint that your friend "really needs the money" and you don't want to disappoint? Then he would feel mean taking the job away from the friend. Buys you a year to work on his skills.
Thank you Alagir & lcw579 for the advice, I did try telling him my friend would be greatly disappointed because she was planning on doing it again this summer, I WILL try again, I'll go with she needs the money ideas too, good suggestion. Phew, never knew how much this has been eating away at me.
P.S. I totally can relax when I'm on vacation because my friend does such a super job taking care of our "kids", she even bought the dogs their own baby pool, talk about spoiling them!
[quote=Alagirl;4790453]Give Dad a big kiss on the cheek, tell him thank you, but for this year you have made the arrangements and you are not going to negate on them. This ! And never let this friend get away ! IMHO ~ Wish she could "pet sit" for us ~
Last edited by Zu Zu; Apr. 7, 2010 at 12:16 PM.
Sorry, this is not something you can let slide and "hope" everything works out. He has already said he is a specialist, refusing to do certain jobs and will be involving your mom on HER time off, which may not work either. A person should NEVER volunteer another person for work!
I think I would just state your position. He is NOT horse knowledgable and flat out, would NOT recognize many common problems to insure good care with your horses. No one is going to gain that kind of knowledge in a few months, even working with the horses daily! You can't place the burden of losing YOUR horse on his shoulders!! Emphasis should be BIG on how delicate horses can be and how FAST things can go bad, like a colic. Can he tell the difference over the fence if horse is rolling to itch or rolling with a belly ache? Ask him flat out. And that is only ONE of any number of scenarios possible while you are gone.
What about the cigarette and in the hay barn no less?? Have you EXPRESSED that this is TOTALLY unacceptable for ANY reason??!! Should be a "No Smoking Zone" when he enters the driveway!!
Much better to hurt his feelings a bit about the animals, than to be "sorry" you didn't stand up to him later on. You will also want to see how he interacts with the OTHER critters, taking precautions in doing stuff. Is he the "one trip, no extra steps" kind of person? They cart everything, don't latch gates while juggling, are rather casual in following directions. Allow the goats out dogs to disobey, cats slip outside. Birds are not penned on time or water dishes cleaned often, so they quit coming with no food reward.
Maybe he is the opposite, things are done better than you do them yourself in some places. However the ignoring cat box doesn't lead me to think that way about him. Sounds like he will do what he likes, ignore or pawn off the jobs he dislikes.
Money is quite a bit, but you think value is good for the cost. You have been happy with them before, so I would stay with the proven program. If he is REALLY that bored, he will come over often in the future seasons, want you to TEACH HIM about the horses. He NEEDS to express the interest, put in his time learning to work with your horses, read some about health issues, to be a good "horse-sitter" you can trust to take care of situations.
At this point in time, mid-summer, I can't think he is prepared, let alone knowledgable, to be entrusted with the horses. And the pettiness of the other animal chores probably won't suit him either, along with following YOUR directions. We all know smaller animals and birds need extra steps taken to do things right. Bound to be "too picky" for him to do the details. Best to leave him with common work, lawn mowing, maybe spreader emptying, picking up your daily paper and mail from the boxes.
Is he a gardener? Are YOU a gardener? Have been hearing tales of the garden guys who weed whack EVERYTHING down, despite detailed directions, and the grief it causes!! Pruning tree limbs or totally cutting shrubs and exotic trees "because it gets in the way of the mower." Those guys just want green lawn and deep mulch, NO FLOWERS or ornamental ANYTHING!! Such a person would have a very hard time here, and I would probably DAMAGE him if they TOUCHED any plant life around my yard!
Be VERY CAREFUL about allowing him free reign at your home and farm. He will start treating things as if they are his own, making decisions you won't like. Is husband or SO all right with this constant visiting? They may not like it, but are keeping quiet as your father pushes harder. Breeds resentment, causes friction between you. Kind of like when you want him to call before arriving, EVERY TIME. Better get this idea/training IN PLACE before more time passes. I know I would HATE being surprised like that, especially if I have plans to sleep in or do other stuff, when he wants to comes to mow lawn. Call ahead is COURTESY, should be REQUIRED of both parties in visits. It could easily be an INCONVENIENT time so you can SAY SO, "Don't come now!" You are an adult, do NOT have to give reasons, don't allow guilt or bullying to push you around in dealing with him and his spare time.
Probably best as the other posts have said, no discussion, end of story. My friend will be doing all the animal chores, things are already set to go. No details beyond that. Any extra talking will get problems started.
I hope the relationship with him can work this Sitter issue out, but you DO have to stand up as an adult. Reasonable discussion, and the fact that you would not let any non-horse person do chores, not just him. Not safe for the equines. Better his feelings hurt than the livestock. Not worth the free labor if an animal gets hurt or dies, that will REALLY sour the relationship for you.
You can add that while your friend really needs the money and you're going to let her do it, if he could stop by the farm to check on things occasionally you'd love an extra eye on things while your gone. That is, if you can trust him to check on things and not mess with things. It might make him still feel helpful while you still get the peace of mind having your friend taking care of the animals.
A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham
Make the decision - Dad only allowed on property when supervised - and stick with it. He knows he can push you around so set up some ground rules that YOU are comfortable with. Give and inch and they'll take a mile. Don't give him the power to control you and your decisions. Letting him play farmer (for $500) with your life doesn't sound like it's fair to anyone but him.
Watch out - Before you know it he'll be moving in with you
everybody wants to save $$ but $500 is a VERY cheap vet bill these days, especially when you are gone for a week and something could go unnoticed and become a serious problem.
And smoking anywhere near a building.... thats a no no.
I would (very kindly) say, "thank you for the offer, but we have already booked our regular sitter for this year." Maybe try over the year to see if your dad can be taught how to handle the horses properly, and see if he is willing to learn some basic signs, symptoms, and medical care. And learn where the vet's number and office is. And if you don't have a trailer, who to call, just in case (ask me how I know this)!
My dad killed my horse--fed corn stalks from his garden ("well--he ate it") and declined to call vet ("he"ll be fine--everybody knows horses are strong"
all he had to do was scoop out pellets and keep trough full----
You want to meet him half way, but you do NOT want to compromise in the safety department.
Why not allow him to come down and "help" while you're home, give him a little guidance and a few pointers on basic horse handling?
Of course you wouldn't hire anyone with this skill set to care for your animals, but family--it does get sticky, doesn't it?
If he really wants to help, he'll cheerfully come down and help when you're there, and you can see how he manages, and also see if he's willing to follow your rules. If he does well, then give him some of the crappier jobs (no pun intended!) and see if his devotion holds. You never know, he may surprise you, but until he is qualified, he doesn't get the job.
He probably wants to feel like there's some kind of good relationship and is trying to prove he is useful and worth something to you. Why not tell him you really need to use your friend for the vacation, but boy you would really love it if he could help in another way by helping with project xyz (think of something he is good at that he could do in his own way - building a shed or tilling the garden?) OR just say you'd rather spend time with him just enjoying each others' company than having him work for you, and you'd love to go fishing, have him over for dinner, go see a local ball game, etc.
My dad was hard to get along with, especially when I was a kid and he was very strict. Once I was safely handed off to a husband <rolleyes> he changed, and he loved to come over and do work. He really wanted to feel useful and needed. I had him help me move rocks in the yard, make garden beds, prune trees, etc. He didn't do well just sitting around talking - wanted to be useful. He lived far away though, so it was only a few times a year.
Funny how hard it can be to talk to parents! I still have challenges with my mom!
Just tell him you've already made other arrangements.
Repeat as necessary.
As for making him happy, you probably need to pick another area where that's possible since you already know this isn't it! You said you wouldn't relax and enjoy your vacation if he's on duty at your house, so why even entertain the idea?
You'll have to put this in your own words - my recommendation would be to consider this a JOB and that you mean to be the DIRECTOR of how that job gets done. And regardless of the merits of different ideas, this is your way or the highway and that's not good for the relationship, so he should feel more comfortable that you have it done by someone you can pay and who will follow your rules.
Rather than making it about any one rule (although smoking in the barn - NOT - is pretty clear cut) it is about your role as employer in this situation.
I would try to say words to the effect 'It will drive me crazy if you don't do things 'my way'. And I think you want to do things 'your way'. I don't want this 'task' to ruin our relationship so I'd rather it be done by someone I can direct for this job - our relationship is worth more than the $$ I will pay this person'.
Make time to do other things with him when you are at home. If he is retiring he may feel the need to fill his time and it is better if he finds something he really likes, with friends, as well as seeing more of you socially.
I would thank anyone that offered that I didn't want to employ and tell them the truth, that you already had arrangements, no other explanation needed.
If he insists, tell him flat no and don't discuss it.
If he insist, tell him it is not up for discussion.
You need to listen to others and respect their wishes, but learn to also set limits so they respect yours when it counts, even with parents.
This. He's not competent enough to care for your farm while you're away.
If he wants specific explanations, give them politely and firmly. If he wants to get offended, that's his problem.
I know it's hard to deal with parents ... my dad and I have gone a few rounds on how my husband and I care for our animals (mainly how much money we "waste" on our animals). He's very much "my way is the only way" (not even "the only right way," lol), and I refuse to waste any more of my time trying to get him to change his perspective. It isn't happening, so I work around it by not bringing up the animals in conversation and giving him short, general answers if he asks about them.
If I were you, I'd tell Dad thanks, but the arrangements are already made, you've been very happy with the quality of care your friend has provided and you will not be changing those arrangements. Meanwhile, you'd be happy to have him come visit (and maybe give him some dates).
He may be trainable, but he also needs to realize that offering to watch the farm means he will have to take care of ALL the animals, not just cherry-pick some chores and forget the ones he thinks are beneath him.
Good luck. It can be hard finding the right mix of backbone and "choosing one's battles" with parents.
Totally agree with everybody else's comments, and wanted to add that (if you haven't already told him something differently) - you can always tell him you've already booked your sitter for this year's vacation and for that amount of time and money, you can't cancel on them - I personally would NOT say that friend/sitter would be disappointed, because that makes it sound less like 'business' and more like friends doing favors (even if that's more like what it is).
(I have friends that I pet sit for EVERY summer - even though I've moved (entirely) out of the area - I use vacation time from my FT job, and go stay at their house - they usually "book" me at least 6 months in advance, so I totally understand the long-standing pet sitter thing!)