DEAR ABBY: Last winter, my sister and brother-in-law informed me they were coming for a 17-day visit. I live in a small cottage with a roommate, whom they have never met. My brother-in-law made reservations at a nearby condominium, which my sister promptly cancelled because it was more than she wanted to spend. (She has always stayed with me for free.)
I didn't ask if they could afford this vacation, and I told them I could help by building an extra room on the cottage for $600, which would save them $1,100. They sent the $600 and construction started. My roommate's brothers worked day and night to finish it in one week. I had just gotten home from major surgery on another island, and it couldn't have been more inconvenient for me to have company. However, I suffered in silence.
From the minute she arrived, my sister acted like I owed her something. Her demeanor embarrassed me and her holier-than-thou attitude was inappropriate. I had to work most of the time they were here because I was financially strapped from losing work due to my illness. They had access to my cottage on the beach, TV, stereo, new bed, telephone, etc., but nothing seemed to please her.
Before she left I told her to stop telling me what to do, which she denied doing and got her husband involved in our discussion. She has burned all her bridges with our family and I was her last relative to abuse. Should I have not taken the money for an addition to the cottage and let them fend for themselves when they got here, or just told them I was not in a position for company? -- USED-UP BROTHER IN HAWAII
DEAR USED-UP BROTHER: Yes and yes. Your sister now feels she "owns" a room in your cottage.
If I were you, I'd return the $600, roll up the welcome mat and change my phone number.