DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband’s siblings agreed that my husband could have their father’s home -- since he is the one who stayed in town to take care of his elderly parents -- as long as they could stay at the house when they come to see their father, who is in a nursing home.
We usually take a vacation during their visits, as we can’t get away otherwise; we don’t want to leave him without regular visitors at the nursing home. Before the in-laws arrive, I clean my entire house and stock the refrigerator with homemade casseroles, snacks and drinks, and prepare dinners for when we are home with them.
When we returned from our last trip, you’d have thought someone had ransacked our home. They left crumbs, cups and dishes all over the house and spilled things all over the kitchen counters, stove and floors. One of them left her used adult diapers in a plastic bag on the bathroom floor. They even unplugged our freezer and didn’t plug it back in properly, and we had to throw away hundreds of dollars in food.
I spent four days after work trying to get things back in shape. I was an emotional wreck, and hurt that they were so disrespectful to me. My husband said this is how they live, and because they let us have the house, we have to put up with it. What do you think?
GENTLE READER: That it would be less expensive to buy a new house.
Miss Manners is reluctant to say it, but if moving is not an option, you may have to hold out until the house is officially bequeathed to you, if and when that happens. At that point, it will be your decision whether you want to invite them to stay with you or not.
In the meantime, you may say, “I know that we all have sentimental attachment to this home, so I think that it’s in all of our best interests to keep it in the best shape possible.” One can only hope that the prospect of being its future owners will motivate them to treat it more kindly.