Ask Amy: Hostess is tired of being base-camp counselor
By Amy Dickinson,
DEAR AMY: My sister-in-law and her partner have taken some time off work to travel around the country and are frequent overnight visitors at our home, which has become their base camp.
On each visit they stay for several nights and get caught up on laundry, showers and mail before heading off to the next music festival. My husband and I have a good relationship with them but are having trouble with some of the lifestyle habits they bring into our home.
They are heavy marijuana users. We have asked them not to smoke in the house (they complied and apologized) and on another occasion asked them not to keep it in the house (more sheepish apologies), but we continue to smell it here when they are our guests. I’m not comfortable with this for a variety of reasons, the main one being that we have a young child.
Each time they visit, there is some issue that my husband needs to sit down and talk to them about. It’s as if they are children (they are in their early 30s). I have a lot of anxiety when they are here. But I also don’t want to be the cause of a family feud. Any advice? -- Frazzled Hostess
DEAR FRAZZLED: This is a fairly simple matter of people crashing with you and needing to comply with some common-sense boundaries. Your husband must recognize that the needs of his immediate household should supersede the whims of his adult sister.
You are an equal partner in the family, and by handling this on his own, your husband has left you dangling. Being out of the loop makes your anxiety worse because you are powerless to express your concerns.
The next time this couple lands on your stoop, I suggest you and your husband deliver a version of the following: “This is not a Phish encampment. We are happy to have you here but there are some non-negotiables and if you can’t comply, you’ll have to find another base camp/crash pad.” Lay out your rules, and if there is an infraction, you should accept their apologies and then tell them to find another place to stay.
DEAR AMY: I got married about two years ago. We planned to send custom-made thank-you cards for each of our wedding gifts (we took photos of ourselves posing with each of the gifts), but I became seriously ill, and that project fell by the wayside.
In between my hospitalizations, I found some time to write some funny greetings that matched each photo and sent them to my husband to mail.
Now my husband and I are getting a divorce, and I found out recently that he never sent the cards!
I wish there were a way for me to share with our friends the love and appreciation that I put into making the cards, but it seems as if it would be depressing and tactless to send them now. Is there anything I can do? -- Extremely Embarrassed Ex
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Write to each person on your list and say, “I am very embarrassed to learn that you were never thanked for your generous wedding gift (be specific about the gift). We prepared thank-you cards after the wedding, and I’ve just learned that they were never sent; I hope you can forgive me for this.
“Now that John and I are separated, it’s obvious that there were many things we didn’t do well, and I am sorry this is one of them.”
DEAR AMY: I am responding to the letter from “Unhappy in Maryland.” This grandmother reported that her 15-year-old granddaughter (with a history of theft) had taken $50 from a drawer in a room the girl was spending the night in.
Methinks this crafty granny set up this teenager to take a fall. Why else would she tuck $50 into the room to tempt the girl? -- Savvy Reader
DEAR SAVVY: Several readers drew the same conclusion. I have to admit, it never occurred to me.
Write to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
2012 by the Chicago Tribune
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