DEAR ABBY: In our 20 years of marriage, my wife's two sons have frequently stopped by or called ahead with literally 10 minutes to a half-hour's notice. It usually happens around mealtime, when we aren't prepared for feeding multiple people.
I plan every meal in advance, and would welcome them to visit with a little common courtesy. We had two lamb chops in the oven and 10 minutes before we were ready to eat when one of the sons and his wife called to stop right over. I was furious, but my wife said they'll be gone in 10 minutes. It turned into an hour. I was waiting for them to leave, but then my wife invited them to stay for dinner. I blew up and hollered loud enough that they all left, which later led to a huge argument.
My wife insists family can stop by anytime. I disagree. Common courtesy should be taught, and there's nothing wrong with saying, "Now's not good. How about in an hour or two?" Who's right? -- HUSBAND IN THE KITCHEN
DEAR HUSBAND: Everyone was wrong in this unfortunate situation. The son and his wife know your routine. They shouldn't have been stopping by without warning. Your wife should not have allowed them to sit around making small talk for an hour while your dinner was growing cold. For her to have invited them to stay for dinner when there wasn't enough food was thoughtless.
I can't blame you for losing your temper, if this is something you and your wife have discussed before. However, it could have been handled without raising your voice. In the future, perhaps you could have some prepared meals in your freezer for occasions like this. Or, when family calls to say they are on the way, you can suggest they bring something with them.