Here's one I haven't seen addressed yet... : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Okay, Wise Ones! Lend me your brains on this one, please!

We've convinced Mom & Dad and Mom & Dad, and brother his family. They will evacuate the cities sometime around the end of the year, and come up here to live on the farm with us. Thanks be to God, we will be together and know we are safe. Now for the question....

Exactly how am I supposed to live with these people? A group of strangers would be easier. My parents have been divorced 22 years, and see every family gathering as an opportunity to re-animate their relationship as if they'd never parted. Cat and dog, if you get my drift. My in-laws are still married, but only because they are devout Catholics. Their relationship is even worse than my parents'. Then there's my brother and his wife (did I mention that she's wife number 4?), whose idea of pillow talk involves all the nasty sarcasm.... You get the picture, don't you? Add to the mix the fact that Mom & Mom do NOT get along, and ...

Sometimes, late at night, when I used to fret and agonize about survival, I now fret and agonize about survival. If they were a bunch of strangers, it'd be easy. Require civility and peace, or there's the door. With parents, it could be a bit tricky....

Any ideas? I have mental pictures of me leaping onto the dining table with the .12 guage in my hands and a demented, wild look in my eyes, shrieking "Shut up!!! Everybody SHUT UP!!!! Next one to make a peep GETS IT!!!!"

I can't help thinking it probably won't help matters....

-- Arewyn (, January 09, 1999


eeep! Leave the farm to them all and head for the hills? I'm serious. That's why I stockpile both places I own.

-- Chris (, January 09, 1999.

Pull a Dr. Laura. Upon arrival, you and your husband take each of them aside and lay out the house rules. You tell them you love them and are glad they made the choice they did. You expect the upcoming time is going to be hard on ALL OF YOU and you respectfully request that there be no bickering, complaining, whining, arguing, etc. Civility and cooperation is required in order for everyone to get through this together and you extract a solemn promise from each of them that they will abide by your request.

(If they're going to act like children then you have to handle them like the children they are.)

And, that is the ADULT way of handling the situation. If they're smart they will be praising themselves for raising solid level headed persons such as yourselves.

-- Bumble Bee (, January 09, 1999.

Put 'em in the barn!

-- Mark Hillyard (, January 09, 1999.

LOL Arewyn! you painted the picture of you shrieking from the table top very well......

I've had a few of the same type thoughts myself. I've invited my son & wife & 2 small kids, my son and fiance, another son, and of course, the 17 & 18 yr olds who are still "at home".

I've done my time with "kids"!!! I love each one of 'em, but I've *REALLY* enjoyed having most of them gone and on their own!! I don't want 'em back!!!!! I love my grandkids......but to tell you the truth, I don't wanna have to live with them!! The daughter-in-law and I are not close......we've never lived nearby, so its hard to establish much of a relationship......I don't wanna have to start under the same roof, under primitive conditions!! Besides, since they really DGI, they are only coming for the free vacation...they will not be "prepared", either materially or emotionally. So do *I* stock up on diapers, kids "grow-into" clothes etc?

Another thought that hubby & I have discussed: Since none of the kids really *get it*, it is going to be difficult if not impossible to get them into CONSERVE mode overnight. We have stockpiled as much as possible, but who knows how long it will have to last us? I can envision myself having to become the wicked witch of the west who guards the store-room door, handing out rations of toilet paper, miserly portions of snacks etc. and dealing with the complaining..... Oh *GROAN*!!!!

I don't think I wanna play anymore.......can I just take my marbles and go home??


-- Sheila (, January 09, 1999.

Dear Arewyn,

I have thought the same thing myself. That is a major reason we are preparing our own home instead of plannning to be with the rest of my family (parents, sister & spouce, niece& nephew, and maybe cousins) God help us all. I spent about 48 hours staight with my folks as we did Y2K food storage. I wanted to run out of the house screaming. My parents fight all the time. I ended up telling both of them off. Who is the parent and who is the child? A freind of mine who is a psychologist is planning to go to her parents with her family and her sisters too. They have three sets of living quarters on the land. Maybe you could try giving them their own territory for primary living quarters. In times of dire need, small amounts of alcohol calms the nerves. So does solitude in another part of the house. So does a long walk or other exercise. Maybe if TSHTF families will be forced to re-learn how to get along. If you feel your eyes beginning to bug out--- try to have the presence of mind to walk away and stay away from the weapons.

-- Sue (, January 09, 1999.

Build separate abodes? Yurts?

They can only come on the condition that they also bring their own tents, uh fabric dog houses. They have to be able to, both, set them up, and then remain inside until their readjustment "time out" is over. If cold and snowing, they'll "get it" that much faster.

Remember, everyone needs their own sacred space in crowded situations.


-- Diane J. Squire (, January 09, 1999.

Stock up on plenty of valium and booze :)

-- Andy (, January 09, 1999.

Diane is correct.

You must insist on your own space, that is your own home, as sacrosanct.

Deal with the weapons issue before the folks arrive. I would require all the weapons be surrendered to a locked gun cabinet together with ammunition. I would also require weapons practice for everyone.

I had a separate living space for visitors, family and recalcitrant teenagers for over 15 years which served to keep the peace.

You can not be responsible for solving all their problems. If you don't have extra living space away from you home, ask them to bring their own living space. In NZ a summer tent was fine.

Don't put people up in the barn. Your animals and farning activities are the reason you built the barn. Making relatives responsible for accommodation increases the chances of them doing a little preplanning.. Booking a trailer home for example.

A winterised trailer home would be suitable and should pose no problem to site on a farm. Put them lower than the farm house. Connection to power should also be easy. The trailer home should have its own heating and lighting, and TV.

Daily attending to their fresh, grey and foul water is a great way to remind folks about the facts of life in the country.

Establish the ground rules before they arrive.

Length of stay. Maybe a period of time as guests. A period of time as paying guests. Anything over that as hired employees. Fixed point of departure on a particular date. Reasons for being required to leave.

My rule was only one male sleeps in my house after mid-night. (I had four daughters but it applied to my relatives/guests/friends) (no one asked me to leave!) All other males are elsewhere.

That reduced most of the interpersonal stuff to daylight hours and ensured at least I got rested up.

People who wanted to eat turned up at meal times. Otherwise the person on cooking gets to be a maid.. meals on demand causes real resentment and uses up days to suit whim or laziness.

Any person on a farm gets to contribute to farm activities. Contribution gets to be cash or kind or labour. Keeping watch is labour.

Keep it simple and keep self preservation as the most important item.

Be thinking of you and the many other families working through these tough situations in a winter.

-- Bob Barbour (, January 09, 1999.

I would suggest that one thing you can do is have a long list of tasks and chores to be done on a daily basis, and assign those tasks to people in such a way that everyone is kept real busy, people do the things that they are most suited for, and the ones who are likely to "get into it" with each other are separated for big chunks of the day. Keep 'em busy and tire 'em out.

Just my US$.02. Good luck, Arewyn!

-- pshannon (, January 09, 1999.


I think your mistake was to think you had to convince your extended family to come to the farm. If you needed to convince them now so they would contribute to your preparations, that's one thing.

But if they are not contributing to your supplies, I believe you made an error in timing. You could have waited until August or so when they panicked about Y2K and then came to you because they had heard you mention Y2K a few times in the past.

When they came to you, desperate, asking if they could stay ay your farm, you could have said yes--under the condition that they behave themselves like adults.

Arewyn, I know this is too late to do you much good, but somebody else might to consider this approach if you know you are going to be taking relatives in. I'm not suggesting that relatives should not be taken in, and I'm not suggesting they be kept in the dark on Y2K.

What I am saying is that if they're not contributing to preparations, let them contact you--they would have anyway sooner or later if they had heard you mention Y2K in the past. Then you can set the rules before you say it's OK for them to stay.

-- Kevin (, January 09, 1999.

I agree with some items from earlier posts.

First, weapons should be stored to keep rash moments from becoming dangerous. Keep them in storage until needed for valid use (guard duty, hunting, target practice, repelling attackers).

Second, keep 'em busy and separated to reduce moments of friction. There will be tasks that need to be performed and after working like dogs there won't be much energy for arguing and fighting.

Third, separate living quarters. After seeing Paul Milne's bunkhouse for male guests, we've emulated the idea with a twist. Two separate bunkhouses, one for the males and one for the females. Although these will be primarily for the kids (neices and nephews), any adult who decides to act like a child is going to go live with them.

One point you've got to get across from the start is that disruptive behavior can't be tolerated. The costs to all of you because one or two people can't act responsibly can literally be life-threatening during a worst-case Y2K crisis. Make it plain and simple that you can and WILL toss them out in the cold if they start their BS. And on your part, DO NOT make any threat to toss them out UNLESS YOU REALLY MEAN IT the moment you say it.

And if you make that decision, don't pull back from it. Don't let them think that they can play a game of bluff with you. Once you've tossed them into the cold you can give them one and only one, second chance, if they truly get the message the first time.

It's like throwing somebody out of a lifeboat for making trouble and not pulling at the oars. If they get wet and cold one time they might decide to sit down and cooperate with the rest of the lifeboat's occupants at the task of survival.


-- Wildweasel (, January 09, 1999.


No complex human inter-action theory here. Try this:

1) Invite someone who you don't like very much to stay with you.

2) At the first sign of ANY sort of an attitude, or a wise-ass answer from the 'un-liked' person, shoot the afore mentioned in the aforehead.

3) Ask this question: "Anyone else?"

-- Uncle Deedah (, January 09, 1999.

I am *so* not looking forward to having my frail, elderly, crotchety parents (can't stand each other, mostly blind) move in, but they are the main reason I'm gearing up for possible Y2K disruptions. Some of the things I am planning which I hope will help them cope with the inevitable boredom and to help me keep my sanity... In addition to the wood insert in the fireplace as the main alternative energy source, I have also bought a wood stove to convert a three-season porch to extend the living space and give us another place to escape to (plus this will be my new bedroom away from the main part of my small house. If my neighbors DGI, I'll do my best to look after them in return for socializing services. A crank radio and lots of batteries for a battery-operated radio. My biggest Y2K decision may be when to pick my parents up - too late and I may encounter roadblocks - too early and I'll go crazy before the rollover even occurs. Looking forward to more ideas from folks.

-- Brooks (, January 09, 1999.

I would pay thousands to keep my inlaws from moving in with us. Thank God they live 2000 miles away. Help them prepare with information and financial support (if needed). If Y2K is half of what I think it will be, the stress level will be very high already. For the past ten years my wife and I have agreed to the "3 day" rule. Never stay with anyone else more than three days. You have caught up on everything you can talk about, you have shared quality time together and anymore time together you get on each others nerves. The exception is my brother in law, with him I have a three hour rule.

-- Bill (, January 09, 1999.

Uncle Deedah, LOL!!! It's good to see you back!

-- RR (way@outta.sight), January 10, 1999.

You will have almost NONE of the problems you anticipate and fear. The Behaviours you dread will not manifest themselves in the ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT WHERE SURVIVAL DEMANDS COOPERATION. You all will be shocked and humbled into a better relationship by the sheer exhaustion you face doing all the work to provide for your own food(growing,tending,processing,preserving,cooking) tending livestock, defense, shelter, heat, light,hand laundry, water, medical,child care and education, etc. When the division of labor collapses which provided all these things for us in exchange for green pieces of paper, the security and leisure which provided a fertile ground for such petty disputes will vanish too and with it these unnatural barriers to family harmony and be replaced with an appreciation for the contribution each member makes in his or her area of responsibility to the survival of all..

-- Ann Fisher (, January 10, 1999.

Many Native American tribes lived in long houses or lodges especially during the winter. Each family unit had it's own cook fire, thus establishing a seperate household. If you plan to have everyone under the same roof in the same one family home you are going to have problems. I have seen many communes fail when the "one big family" model was used. If you have abled people moving in, you have enough time to get some cabins up this summer.

I have a large family, lots of people I care about, so I've given them the info on Y2K that I come across that will get them started. Although I consider myself a fairly intellegent person, I have to give my other family members credit for having good functioning brains. They have to prepare for their own survival. I can not feed and prepare the entire clan. I'm looking out for my 3 kids, and one older relative, That's it. I'm here as a resourse person for other family members, but I'm not doing the co-dependent thing.

-- Jay Peacock (, January 10, 1999.

"You will have almost NONE of the problems you anticipate and fear. The Behaviours you dread will not manifest themselves in the ENTIRELY DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT WHERE SURVIVAL DEMANDS COOPERATION. You all will be shocked and humbled into a better relationship by the sheer exhaustion you face doing all the work to provide .....and with it these unnatural barriers to family harmony and be replaced with an appreciation for the contribution each member makes in his or her area of responsibility to the survival of all..

-- Ann Fisher (, January 10, 1999.

Dear Ann,

I wish you were right. But I don't think so. This was one little after effect of our TEOTWAWKI so many years ago:

"In the early nineties, Ma wrote me from Switzerland that she wanted me to visit her before she died. She also wanted me to feel her skull. She said that three men had cracked it and it felt like corrugated metal. Of course not of them went to jail.

Ma had taped her living will to a wall requesting that her cadaver be sent to the Basel Medical School with the instructions to photograph her skull before the medical students cut up her leftovers. She wrote me: "For one year I will remain in a basin filled with formaldehyde, together with people who come from the penitentiary, who have no next of kin to take care of their graves. The skeleton will then be sent to a school in Switzerland. I will ask the Department of Anatomy to take pictures of my skull or send you the address where it will be displayed."

-- TTF (, January 10, 1999.

Arewyn, I think Ann Fisher's answer had merit that could be expanded upon. Consider that when your family visits, it is usually when? -- on holidays probably. When there is nothing to do but eat and socialize. A dysfunctional hell, like you envision.

I've been obsessively studying about gardening lately. I'm shocked at how many plants can be used to make so many different things. Probably a real time consuming pain in the neck, though. That has its benefits! (I'm realizing that choosing plants with purposes both medicinal and practical, as well as edible, to start growing in my yard now (this spring, then a fall/winter garden) is a good idea.) On a farm, you surely know more about this than I do.

If the people you invite have something to do that not only keeps them busy but on a psychological level, makes them feel like they are helping themselves and the others, I think their personalities will be greatly improved during that time. Separate quarters with heat are a fabulous idea, of course, and the best one. But busy-duties related to farming/gardening, animal work, or in other cases home school etc., are important too. Find out this year how to use plants you have or can get to make various things. I bet it's a lot of work. Good. They'll all have something to do. Remember, just washing clothes and preparing food, if you have no electricity and/or water, is a time consuming pain in the butt. Somebody has to do it. Make a chores list, everybody takes turns at different tasks.

Plan now for what you can schedule that will keep everybody busy pretty much every day for three months. Then, since everyone is working, anyone NOT wanting to "go over there and do their job" (physically separate from those they hate) will have the open disapproval of everyone in the family to push them back in line -- not just you. Social control is a group thing. One person (you) can't be martial law making people behave unless you're willing to shoot them.

Also, you have a year. If you can't be firm and the master of your house NOW, when they're at a distance, you won't be then. You need to tell them that they are responsible for bringing (or sending you money for over the year) supplies for themselves (and be firm about this, even if it's just a token of their effort), and that when they arrive, they will be expected to be a working member of the farm and house. Don't mislead them into thinking it's going to be a vacation for them where someone else waits on them. That's not fair to any of you. If they cannot even agree to that from a distance, you don't want them to come, parents or not.

PJ Gaenir

-- PJ Gaenir (, January 10, 1999.


So that's where you get your morbid sense of direction from, mom's side of the family.

BTW, was her wish filled? Was her head as lumpy as she imagined? How long did they save her noggin in a jar?

Don't tease us man, provide details!

-- Uncle Deedah (, January 10, 1999.

My dear Uncle Deedah,

If you had been through what she had to suffer you would have been dead long ago.

She's 90 years old, in a nursing home, and is "now happier than ever in my whole life."

-- TTF (, January 10, 1999.

uncle: LOL Stop it're killing me...

-- a (a@a.a), January 10, 1999.

Man, oh man! What will I do without you all???

So many good ideas! I think you are all right, in one measure or another. I'm quite sure that a sense of usefulness and purpose will help everyone's attitude. The only tricky bits will come when more than one of them (okay, I mean Mom & Mom-in-law) each think they know best or are best skilled at a particular task. This already has happened MANY times. Ah, well, Divide and conquer!

Did I mention that they are all in their 70s? Parents, I mean. Brother & wife will be sent to the old carriage house with a wood stove and a bucket, if need be.

As far as the requirement for $$$ contributions over the year ahead, uh, well, I'm not going to hold my breath. I'm hoping that their lack of financial contribution will forestall any challanges about how my husband & I decide to use the resources we have. Brother is VERY handy, can perform many useful tasks, so when he arrives, his skills will be a great contribution.

Thanks to the advice I've received here, I've decided to allow my dear sister-in-law to handle the Mothers (I know, I know. I'm just too good to be real, don'tcha think? I just know there's a place in Valhalla with my name on it!) The Dads will keep to themselves, and be more than happy to bunk together, away from the women-folk.

I thank you all for listening to my ranting earlier, and for your commiserating and recommendations. I will be lost without you!

Anybody out there have carrier pigeons? I don't, but I could get some! My mom grew up in England (was Women's Royal Navy during the war) and has some pigeon know how...

I feel better already! :)

-- Arewyn (, January 10, 1999.

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