DEAR ABBY: My wife and I were born and raised in the Midwest and now live in Florida. Our families are still up north and frequently vacation in our home. We're happy to see them and encourage them to visit –- with one exception.
Like many "snowbirds," my father-in-law comes every winter to spend in excess of two months. However, instead of his own home, he resides at our house. Dad is a very nice and generous man and my wife looks forward to his visit. Nonetheless, the amount of time he spends here is getting to be too much, even for her. Our home has become his "Florida home" where he entertains, gives tours of the premises and includes us (with and without prior notice) for luncheons, dinners, etc., with people his own age whom we have never met.
I work from home, so I never get a break. Even after numerous requests, instead of allowing the machine to answer when I'm out, Dad picks up the phone and proceeds to discuss his vacation plans with my clients. As I stated before, he's not a bad person, but frankly, I'm no longer able to enjoy his visits. I dread Dad's visits as the time draws near, and I'm miserable the entire time –- counting down to the day he leaves. I wish I didn't feel this way, but enough is enough.
My wife would never admit to her father that his visits are an inconvenience, but perhaps if he reads this in your column, he -– and many others -– will realize that a vacation spent in someone else's home should be two weeks at the longest. Staying long enough to have your mail forwarded is an imposition. -– HAD ENOUGH IN FLORIDA
DEAR HAD ENOUGH: I'm printing your letter, but hoping that your father-in-law sees it and recognizes himself will not be enough. The solution to your problem lies in you and your wife behaving like adults, stiffening your backbones and discussing this issue openly with him. If Dad plans to remain longer than two weeks, he really should consider renting a nearby apartment so he can entertain to his heart's content, conduct tours of his own place -– and you can have peace of mind, privacy and sanctuary in your home, plus a businesslike environment in your office.