DEAR ABBY: Since travel season is upon us, I'd like to offer a suggestion as well as seek your advice. For the host and hostess who are having houseguests: Please spend a night in your guestroom to judge its comfort level.
We visit my in-laws in another state twice a year and stay in my husband's childhood room. The sheets are so thin you can read a newspaper through them and the pillows are so musty it is difficult to breathe. The only light in the room is a tiny decorative child's lamp, which does not cast enough light to tell what garments are in the closet, much less to read by. In addition, the closets are jammed with years of accumulation, making it difficult to find a place to put our clothes. It has been this way for years.
When my in-laws stay in our home, I go out of my way to make them feel welcome. I always include small "extras" -- new magazines, an alarm clock, extra pillows, fresh soap, a couple of drinking glasses and even fresh flowers on the dresser.
Abby, I appreciate my in-laws' hospitality and do not want to appear ungrateful, but it has reached the point where I dread staying in their home. It is not a matter of money for them or for my husband and me. I would gladly pay to "freshen" the room, if it could be done diplomatically.
Any suggestions? -- DREADING IT IN THE CAROLINAS
DEAR DREADING IT: Your suggestion to check out the guestroom before guests arrive is a good one. Your mother-in-law may think that your husband will feel more at home because she has left his boyhood room intact. However, I see nothing wrong with your providing her with a "hostess gift" of new bedding, a folding luggage rack or a new table lamp specifically marked for the guestroom. She should welcome it.