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Well I’ve wanted to write this down for some time now and thought I would share with you the story of “the houseguest from ‘heck’ “as we lovingly refer to my cousin BT. Please keep in mind that my ‘guest’ stayed for only 38-39 hours. Less than 2 days. But if you keep a sense of humor, they were very entertaining hours.

BT called in early May to ask if she can stay at my house on Memorial Weekend to attend the marriage of a close personal family friend {other side of her family so I don’t know them well enough to be invited}. I say yes – BUT I have two commitments Saturday and Sunday so she will have to make arrangements to get to the wedding on her own, etc.

For the last 15 or so years prior to this visit, BT has lived out of the country, although she is still a US citizen. She usually stayed with another relative [CB] who complained constantly about BT’s bad manners and behavior. I figure, she takes advantage of CB because CB won’t stand up for herself. Since I was young and naïve I figured - I would not have such a problem because I ‘would not let BT walk all over me’. Yep, I was clueless.

BT calls several times on different nights before coming in order to add to the “guest list” – and I tell her fine, when we run out of beds and couches, there are sleeping bags for the floor. Hey – at least she’s asking. Last call – it will be only her BUT I have to pick her up in Canada at the Windsor train station at 10pm on Friday night.

My mother is concerned that I should not take my young daughter to an unfamiliar place, out of the country, that late at night. Nor as a young woman should I go alone. So daughter stays with parents and my girlfriend ‘Sam’ agrees to accompany me with the added benefit that while Sam lives in the states, she is a Canadian citizen so has familiarity with destinations across the border.

We arrive at the train station at the appointed time and there are no trains. In fact, the last scheduled train arrived at 6pm. We wander around the station and finally call home to my mother to see if she’s heard anything. BT finally arrives, with her middle child in tow. [Bed adjustments are now in order]. Seems they’d gotten a ride to the train station, living 2 hours away, and 10pm was the most convenient time for her because she had other things to do that day.

So we get in the car and I allow young child [say 7 or 8] to bring her can of pop with her. Since my daughter could handle it at that age, I figure she can too. Sam and I are in the front seat, BT and her daughter [BT2] are in the back. As we drive along the river, BT2 determines that I’m surely going to drive into the river and we are all going to drown – thrashing her arms around and spilling said pop everywhere. Sam turns around to tell her to calm down, “Your cousin {me} knows what she’s doing and there is no problem” at which point BT2 tells Sam to “shut up”. Sam was quite wonderful and merely responded – “you could have at least said Please shut up – Ms. Sam.” At this point BT informs me that she has forgotten to bring the child’s birth certificate and she hopes it does not cause a problem crossing the border. I responded that “I certainly hoped not because I am NOT driving the 2 hours to get you back home”.

On the bridge, the customs agent asks for citizenship. Well, I say, fairly quickly but as clearly as I can while pointing at the individuals I’m referencing …. “I’m from the US and I live in the states, she’s Canadian but she lives in the states, she’s from the states but she lives in Canada and she’s Canadian and lives in Canada … okay???

He says “Whaaat!?!?!” I repeat - “I’m from the states and I live in the states, she from Canada but she lives in the states, she’s from Canada … “Never mind”, he says, “Go on through”. {You’ve probably figured out this was way before 9-11}.

We get home and have a lovely evening {what’s left of it} catching up on old times and I give BT and her daughter my bed and take the couch. In the morning, I overhear BT2 get up and announce that we must be the laziest people she’s ever seen because we are not up to make her breakfast yet. [We were up way past midnight and it’s after 8am on a Saturday morning – so sue me].

During breakfast, BT announces that I will need to drive them to the wedding by 11am. “No – I told you I had a commitment today and you needed to get your own ride”. As she goes through the litany of other relatives from whom she thinks she can con a ride, I remind her of why each one cannot [which includes ill health, vacation, distance, and ill health]. “Why don’t you call the people hosting the wedding to see if they know of someone in this area that you could ride with?”, I ask. She does – they can’t – help that is AND by the way … “children are not invited so you will have to baby-sit my daughter”. Thank goodness my daughter is old enough to handle it. {You will probably remember that I had a commitment}.

She then asks if she can use my phone [and a phone book] to call a friend. I’m curious so – okay. She pulls out the phone book and starts dialing. Remember she’s been living out of the country for at least 15 years. “Mrs. Brown, yes, I went to Jr. High with a Mary Brown; are you related? You see I need a ride to a wedding. Oh – you’re not.” …. Dial again, Mrs. Williams, I went to Jr. High with a Carol Williams and I’m needing a ride to a wedding – hello!?, hello? …. Dial again – Now we’re not talking unusual names here like Gunhinklefarb or Swartzenegger – we’re talking Smith and Jones. She called at least 4 people – sorry but I had to get my mouth shut before I could open it again for speaking and tell her “Hang up the phone BT; I’ll drive you.”

I got my commitment covered and we started out. Leaving at 10:15 {she wasn’t ready yet} for an 11:00am wedding downtown – but she had to stop at the bank first. She didn’t bring any money or a present. After waiting for her for 10 minutes in the parking lot, I decided I should go in and help … someone, although I wasn’t sure who. She was Livid when she came out. “They closed my account. Can you believe that? Now what am I supposed to do for a present?” I had to ask. “When was the last time you used your account BT?” Well 15 years ago when I lived here. Duh! Yep, they closed your account all right.

Fortunately my father taught me excellent driving skills and was available for a phone consult on best directions. [You’ll not be surprised to learn BT had no clue where ‘XYZ destination’ was, so Dad’s help was immeasurable]. I used every shortcut and quick trick he knew and pulled up at the appointed place at exactly 11am. She actually turned to look at me and said – “well now you’ve done it – I’m late.” I very coldly informed her that I’d done a marvelous job of getting her there by 11 – if she was late it was her own fault and, for the record, find your own ride home because I’m not coming back. She looked confused that I seemed upset.

That night I took BT to see my grandmother. Since grandma lived in a dangerous neighborhood [she was a tough ol’ broad – much admired], we left the girls at my parents. When we dropped them off, there were some ‘treats’ on the table for my father – he was very sick at the time and these treats were one of the few things my mother could get him to eat. Ordinarily, if you visit my mother’s home, you are offered and welcome to anything there. But since these treats were so special to dad and his diet, mom put them in the cupboard when we left.

So we visit Grandma – whom BT totally ticked off {which is very difficult because Grandma had the patience of a saint}. All Grandma wanted to do was tell us about her new refrigerator and show it to us. Unfortunately all BT wanted to talk about were her latest ‘boyfriend exploits’. Can we say “Know your audience” when you select subjects for discussion”? We get back to Mom and Dad’s and BT says – “Aunt ‘G’ – where are those treats that were sitting on the table earlier when we dropped the girls off?” Very apologetically and very embarrassed my mother say, “BT – it’s hard for me to say this but your uncle needs those to keep his weight up so I hid them.” BT steps into the kitchen and before we can realize what’s happening she comes back out, bag in hand, and says “Oh that’s okay Aunt ‘G’ – I found them”. I swear she ate 6. At least we’re at the 24 hour mark of the visit.

When they arrived we told them that our dog would eat anything that was food. If you have any food in your belongings, put them in one of the bedrooms and shut the door or our dog will eat it, wherever it is. They had hard candy in their backpack. He ate a hole through the bottom to get to it. She ranted and raved about this backpack for the rest of their stay. Because, as anyone knows, hard candy is not food.

She borrowed a book that night – which I loaned her knowing I would never get it back – so no harm, no foul. She said she wanted to go to church the next day – no problem. “But I don’t want to go to your church – I want to go to this other one.” Well BT – no dice. First WE are going to our church [side note – the same denomination she was brought up in] –if you want to go to church, you’ll come with us. Second your train leaves at 12pm – if you’re going to have any chance of making that train – we have to leave during the last hymn – so don’t sing it.

You guessed it – she tried to sing it. When I clubbed her up side the head {it was Memorial Day – church was crowded and since we didn’t get there in time [surprise?] my daughter and I sat behind them} so anyway I clubbed her with the hymnal and told her we had to leave – she rushed passed some friends of mine, nearly knocking a 7-month pregnant woman on her duff – thankfully said woman’s husband had quick reflexes and caught her. We raced out of the church.

I get into the car and pull it up to the walkway, the girls jump in the back and I look – no BT. Where IS your mother I say – “Oh, she didn’t want to ride on the train in a dress so she’s in the bathroom changing into jeans.” Finally she gets into the car. I inform her that she most assuredly is NOT going to make her train. I do my “Abbott and Costello” bit at the border again and get us across the bridge. Yep – she missed the train. The next one is at 5pm.

As I go to leave BT says – “what are we supposed to do until 5pm?” I guess you’ll wait since I already told you I had commitments this week-end. I will be late for my 1pm meeting back in the states as it is. “But we’re hungry and I don’t have any money”. SO I took them to Mickey D’s and bought them lunch. Then we did leave them at the train station with a hasty farewell. She was not impressed. I was late to my meeting. But I do laugh whenever I think of my over-confidence in being able to “handle” my cousin AND the events of that weekend. It’s just a stitch.

She came back on a few other occasions but never again stayed at my home. One time for my father’s funeral – during the funeral service she balanced her checkbook on one of the couches in the back of the room – but that’s another story.


I love my husband.  That's good, because he's often an idiot.

For the first several years of our marriage, even though I was fairly young (early 20's) I generally handled social events with appropriate dress--except around my husband's friends, especially work friends.  I usually ended up at his events extremely under- or over-dressed.  I went to a late Saturday afternoon party at his big boss' house dressed in a dress and heels because my husband said it was a nicer party as it was being catered, only to discover that is was an all day pool party catered by a local Mexican restaurant.  He'd forgotten to mention the pool party part.  Another time, he told me we were going for BBQ and I should wear shorts.  We went to a higher end steakhouse and I was grossly underdressed.  I tried not to mind, because he didn't seem to be doing it on purpose and they were HIS bosses and coworkers and what did it matter to me?  He also couldn't get times right and we were ALWAYS late.

Then one summer Friday evening, he mentioned that we'd been invited to a coworker's birthday party tomorrow, a BBQ something, and he said our 4 children were invited too.  I asked who, what, when, where, etc., but he was vague.   He'd gotten the invitation a few weeks ago and the guy was bugging him for the last few days if we were going, and my husband said yeah, he guessed we'd go.  I thought yeah, I'd want to know if 6 extra people were coming or not too.  I dropped it at this point as this was HIS social connection and ultimately he was responsible.  I was about to learn how wrong I was.

The next day, about 5:45, he said that we needed to leave "soon."  I was doing some light weeding and was dusty and hot, so I asked when we had to leave.  (You have to understand--at this point I knew what city this was in and what coworker invited him--nothing more.)  He said he'd let me know, but we had plenty of time.  I went inside and started getting the kids (about 10, 8, 4 and 2 years old) a bit cleaned up.  About 6:20, he suddenly announced we had to leave NOW.  In that 35 minutes, I'd gotten 4 kids cleaned up and changed into clean short sets, but I hadn't even started on myself.  He'd changed into a clean polo.  I said I'd be ready in 15 minutes but no, we had to go NOW.  I was still in my shorts and somewhat sweaty tee shirt, but hey, it was his show, so I dusted myself off, changed into sandals, and got in the car.

We drove to his work (a 45 minute drive).  The mill he works at has a large park used by employees and city residents for casual events.  However, DH parked by the employee cafeteria.  Okay, they wanted air conditioning and flush toilets.  No biggie.  I did wonder why the parking lot was fairly full and no one was walking in but assumed that DH was late.  Again.

We went into the dining area and I quickly noticed that several tables were set up with pretty paper tablecloths and simple centerpieces.  We immediately spotted an empty table in the back and hustled our 4 kids over there.   As I was settling them in, I mentioned to my husband that a lot of people were already here.  "Oh, they were probably here for the cocktail hour."

Cocktail hour?  What?  I started to look around me more carefully and realized that the room was full of adults dressed in nice casual clothing.  Then I realized that the sounds I heard was a band tuning up.  Oh no.  Oh no oh no ohnoohnoohnoit was a dinner dance.  A dinner dance!  My stupid husband had received an invitation for a dinner dance, and I am standing there in a sweaty tee shirt and not-too-clean shorts and possibly dirt on my legs.  Than I saw the huge pile of presents.  DH had specifically stated that the coworker didn't want any gifts.  I also realized that about half of the guests were eating, while the rest were waiting their turn for the buffet.  That's right, DH had timed our arrival just in time to eat.

That's when my DH finally answered my angry hissing questions.  This was a casual dinner dance held for a coworker's 40th birthday by his wife, with a cocktail hour at 6, dinner at 7, and dancing from 8 to 10.  Yes, an invitation had been sent to our house, but he'd seen and opened it first and then taken it to work as it was "his" deal.  Yes, the kids were specifically invited (Thank God!).  DH didn't think it was such a big deal because they were "only having it at the company cafeteria."  This man's wife had spent weeks and a few thousand dollars to honor her husband.  If she saved a little money by renting the company facility so she could hire a band, I explained, it was still a dinner dance and we needed to honor that by dressing appropriately--or at least being clean.  He also knew that most of his fellow employees were bringing gifts, but the invitation said "gifts optional," so my cheapo DH decided none were necessary.  At that point I'd had years of looking bad to his coworkers, but this was the absolute bottom.  I was mortified.

It was actually a lovely event, and I would have had a good time if I'd had appropriate information.  Our hostess was gracious and never indicated displeasure in any way about my clothing (or odor).  From a few comments from some female coworkers, however, I knew I'd gotten a reputation for being a social klutz.  About 8:45, I pled bedtimes for the kids and got the heck out of there.  That night, I vowed I would never again go anywhere with my husband unless I saw the invitation, memo, or whatever and had good information.

This is all worse when you know that my husband is in an important management position.  We have the money.  I have (usually) the know-how.  DH just didn't think it was important.  Two years later we were invited to an almost identical event held by the husband for his wife's 40th birthday.  This time we RSVP'd, arrived appropriately dressed, with a gift, and on time. 

Please, please, be gracious to the social klutzes of the world, because it may not be their fault.


My younger brother, "A" (then 25) telephoned me to ask if he could come and stay "for a few days". Knowing that he always overstays his welcome, I told him yes, but asked him exactly how long ‘a few days’ would be. He replied that he wasn’t sure, but it definitely wouldn’t be more than two weeks.

Fast forward a month, when he turns up. A arrives with no luggage at all, just a toothbrush in his pocket. When it rains on his second day with me, he asks if I’ll loan him a coat. When I asked why he didn’t bring one, he replied ‘It’s wasn’t raining when I left home!’ I end up buying him a coat, and various other things – including socks, as after 5 days of him wearing the same pair, I couldn’t stand the smell!

For starters, A is a terrible house guest. He doesn’t clean up anything, chain smokes (I’m a non-smoker so this drives me nuts), plays loud music at 3am, leaves every room in the house looking like a pigsty, is rude to everyone, takes two hour showers when I’m waiting to get ready for work, and consistently leaves every tap running and the front door wide open when he goes out. All of this I can cope with – he is still my brother after all.

So three weeks pass. A shows no signs of going. I finally ask him when he’s going home. He then tells me that he handed in his notice on his place the day he came to stay with me, and will be staying until he can find a new job (he quit his last one because he got bored) and earn enough money for a new place.

I’m annoyed, but agree that he can stay another month. I’ll help him find a job, and he can contribute towards his food etc. while he’s earning.

I find him a job and loan him bus fare and living expenses. I should say at this point, that I earn maybe half of what he does.

On his first pay day he comes in and shows me the new T-shirt that he has spent £100 ($200) on, and the CDs that he has spent the rest of his wages on. When I ask if he has any housekeeping money for me, he tells me he has spent it all and oh, can he borrow another £50 ($100) to get to work?

Four months (yes, MONTHS) on, I’ve received the grand total of £5 ($10) from him, and he is still showing no signs of going. I tell him that we have friends coming to stay in 4 weeks which was arranged months ago, and he has GOT to be out by then as we only have the one spare room.

Two weeks on, I’ve found him 4 different places to look at, but he can’t be bothered as ‘it’s all too much hassle’.

Another week goes by, and yes, he’s still there. My FH (now DH) tells A, in no uncertain terms, that he wants him out by the end of the week, or he’ll throw him out. A assures us both that he has ‘something lined up’ and will be out in the next couple of days.

The day before our friends turn up, FH packs up A’s belongings, leaves them outside and refuses to let me allow A back in. A sleeps in our porch all night while I fret about if we are being cruel by turfing him out.

The following day, I overhear A telling a friend that I obviously feel so guilty that I’ll let him stay longer. I finally side with DH and realize that this puts a whole new spin on ‘taking advantage’!

When it becomes clear to A that I will make him sleep outside before I let him back in the house, A finds a flat and moves in within 8 hours. So he can’t find anywhere for 6 months, but then manages it in 8 hours.

He has stayed with us once since then – for 2 days.

I know – I’m an idiot. Or a doormat. Or both. The only thing I’ve ever asked him to do for me is to come to my wedding, even finding him a place to stay and buying him a suit - he changed his mind on the morning of the wedding, saying he was too busy, but I guess that’s another story…



Until recently, my best friend Leighann lived with her father in a not-entirely-safe area in a city about two hours from where I live. When her father died six weeks ago, our college friend Rose offered to let Leighann stay at her house until she could make arrangements for her first solo apartment. Rose was wonderful at first, offering wonderful support, comfort and encouragement, and assisting with the apartment search as much as possible. Then things started to turn sour. Rose's husband Ed declared that Leighann should help out with the housework as long as she was there. While that's not necessarily unreasonable, she was already pretty overwhelmed with her responsibilities as de facto executor of her dad's estate, and any time she tried to sit down with her laptop and get something sorted out, Rose popped up with another chore to be done. And after inviting Leighann to stay, Ed decided that Rose should present her with a bill for room, board, and utilities. This is not my idea of hospitality. It gets better, since 'Tact' is not Rose's middle name, and 'Gracious' is not Ed's.

The weekend DH and I went down to help Leighann move into her apartment, we went to Lowes to grab a few needed items. I stepped away from the group for a moment to answer my cell phone. When I came back, Leighann was crying. DH and Nicole (another college friend who'd been helping us that day) had no idea why. It seems that Rose had decided it was time to let Leighann know that Ed felt she didn't seem grateful enough for having been allowed to stay at their house. Rose proceeded to explain to me that Ed's family had an exaggerated idea of what constitutes an adequate display of gratitude, and that there has to be a profuse outpouring of thanks and abundant hugs even for things like simple Christmas gifts. Now Leighann is a very shy person, and is especially nervous around guys. While she'd quietly thanked Ed several times she hadn't exactly gushed at any point, and didn't think it appropriate to initiate hugs with a friend's husband. Once we got her calmed down, made our purchases and left the store, Rose started saying that she KNEW she shouldn't have said anything, and that Ed TOLD her not to say anything... I gently suggested that if something like that ever came up again and she felt it absolutely needed to be addressed, she might want to discuss it with someone else in our group of friends, like me, so that they could help her resolve the situation in a non-hurtful way. Her response? "Yeah, but if I told you what Ed said then you'd go tell him off, and he'd hate you even more than he does already."

Now, I'd thought that Ed and I got along pretty well, and that we were actually friends. I kept my cool and asked her to elaborate, since I honestly like to mend my faults, and she backpedaled to him merely disliking me for a reason that even he didn't understand. We ate a less than enjoyable dinner at a chain restaurant and went back to the apartment so that Nicole, DH and I could go home, and Rose insisted that everyone join her in prayer to "help with the hurt feelings." During this prayer she asked God to make us all feel better and to help me and Ed to resolve our differences even though I'M an irritating person. Yes, roughly two hours after she first put her foot in her mouth, Rose moved past her shin and on to her knee. I called her the next day to see how she was doing on the school project she was supposed to be working on that weekend, and she informed me that she'd talked things over with Ed and now knew what his problem was with me, but that she didn't think it was a good time to discuss it. Day late, dollar short. I'm pretty much resolved to maintaining a civil and courteous relationship with him regardless, though I'll likely make an effort to spare him the unpleasantness of my company whenever possible.

Leighann came up to visit me this past weekend, and I helped her put together a gift basket for her erstwhile, ersatz hosts, complete with thank-you note. While we shopped she told me about a few stellar moments from her stay. Rose had been helping her sift through some of the detritus at her dad's overly-cluttered house, often tossing things in the rubbish bin without asking first - including family photos. She mentioned to Leighann's cousin that Ed had complained that they'd have to give back the television they'd been borrowing from/storing for Leighann. Rose gathered up a lot of nice shirts that had gotten slightly too small for Leighann and took them home to wash, saying she thought Leighann would be able to lose enough weight to get into them again soon. Once they were at her house, however, she told Leighann that she'd be happy to keep them, if Leighann didn't think she wanted them. She took a pair of overalls that actually DID fit Leighann, but that she hadn't worn for awhile because some of the buttons needed replacing. Rose took them home without asking and tried them on, then left them in the floor when she found that a) they were too large for her and b) the buttons were missing, then told Ed that they were Leighann's! When they were going through some of the bins that Nicole and I helped Leighann pack they found some jewelry that Leighann's mother had left her when she died roughly 18 months ago. Leighann doesn't wear jewelry, as a rule, so she intended to just pack it away again. Rose tried on one of the necklaces - a "diamond" studded pendant shaped like the letter L. "Why, that stands for Lake!" she declared. "Or for Leighann," she added coyly. Rose has also constantly encouraged Leighann to buy graphic novels from a series they both enjoy and offered to keep them at her house, just so nothing would happen to them, and bought random volumes herself so that it's impossible to remember which belonged to whom. I'd never thought of Rose as a greedy person, but her recent behavior is certainly pointing in that direction!



When I dated "Liam," his best friend was "Jenny."

Liam and I were invited to Jenny's for dinner one night with her and her boyfriend.

I knew that they would be serving fish and as a good guest decided to take a bottle of wine. Since I worked in the a dept of a nationwide specialty market, that dealt in wine, I consulted with a co-worker and found an estate bottled Vernacia that was shipped to the US in error. It was a $12.00 wine that should have cost closer to $20.00.

Jenny and her boyfriend had just returned from a California vacation that included a vineyard tour... maybe more than one... and returned with a bottle of chardonnay. Granted, I know the producer and price range of the wine she brought back to share with us with dinner that night and it was a nice bottle of wine.

Here's the kicker... when we arrived, I arranged to chill/re-chill the wine I brought... (summer in Texas, and a drive across town)... Jenny came into the kitchen... looked at the wine and said "I've already got wine for dinner, we'll have the CHEAP STUFF later."



In 2004, at the ripe old age of 39, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.  I was a dedicated athlete and health food eater without any family history of the disease.  So it came as quite shock.  Four days after what was the first surgery I had ever had in my life, a couple of "friends" (I'll call them "Fred" and "Barney") came to visit. (Both of these men were well into their 40's, not teenaged boys, not that anyone would know by their behavior.   Fred began speaking in such a foul-mouthed manner, that I actually had to tell him to watch his language in front of my 80-year-old mother.  His response was: "No, it's fine."  And he continued to curse like a drunk marine.  But it got worse.  A little while later, he decided to bring up the subject of nipple piercing!  After all, what better subject could one discuss in front of a woman who's just had cancer surgery on her breast and her elderly mother?   I actually started screaming "STOP STOP STOP!" while Fred continued to talk right through me and Barney sat there giggling.  By the time they left a few minutes later, I was practically hysterical.   I never spoke to either one of them again.  Oddly, Fred continued to call my house for a few weeks afterward, as if nothing had happened.  I never picked up the phone and he left a series of increasingly bewildered sounding messages on our answering machine.   How clueless can you get?!?



 A friend of mine with a history of being rather self-centered was invited with her partner to my daughter's first birthday barbecue. Not only did she park on our shared driveway (whereas the other 30 guests realized it would be better to park on the street so as not to block the neighbors, including my elderly and not very mobile relatives) but she turned up with a bottle of wine.... and two wine glasses. She and her partner uncorked the bottle and shared the whole thing between themselves. Not only did they not offer any to anyone else, but to bring their own fancy glasses so they wouldn't have to drink out of a plastic cup seems pretty snobby!   I found the bottle of wine in the kitchen afterwards and commented to my husband that at least they left the rest here for us.. but nope, the bottle was empty and they hadn't bothered to put it in the recycle bin on their short walk to the most selfish parking possible.   



My brother lives in California and was kind enough to fly me out (from) for my first ski/snowboarding experience while I was still a poor college student.  He invited friends and family.  All together eight people ended up wanting to come.  Now coming from a large close family it was decided that we would share the condo he rented for the weekend.  His work buddy however was married to a girl who shall be referred to as "Princess" from now on.  Princess insisted on having her own condo because she and hubby were trying to get pregnant (talk about TMI).   To be fair, I can understand her being uncomfortable sharing a condo with 6 people she doesn't really know.   My brother rented the condos with the understanding that they would pay him back the 250/night.

Day 1.  My brother is a very good snowboarder, but had offered to stay on the green slopes to teach myself, my other brother and Princess how to snowboard for the first 1/2 day (never mind that her own husband ditched her for the blacks as soon as we stepped outside).  Princess proceeds to manipulate my brother's time leaving my other brother and I no face time with him and no one to teach us.  The dramatics that went on that afternoon were actually quite impressive.  Apparently she was far more delicate than the rest of us and deserved to be fawned over....fortunately my brother doesn't respond well to whiners.   She was thirsty, but refused the Camel Back, she was hungry, but refused the protein bars we brought and insisted we all sit there while she ate from the overpriced snack bar (the entire reason we brought the protein bars in the first place.)

That night she wanted to go to an expensive steak house for dinner despite the fact that we had made it clear that 1.  We didn't have the funds, and 2., it was a Friday during Lent and we are Catholic so we would be eating P.B. and J's.  She got all huffy about it.  We invited them over (after their steak dinner).  We drank, played cards and just hung out.....First it was too cold, then it was too hot,  then she hated the music that we had ALL voted on and took it upon herself to change it to some crap  that not even hr husband wanted to listen to.  For the card game we ALL agreed to put names in a hat and draw partners....she of course did not draw her husband and started to cry....she actually cried about it.

Day 2.  More of the same, more complaining, more bitching.....she actually was incredulous when we left the slope early to clean up in time to make Mass (Catholic) at a church about 1/2 hr. away.  No one said she had to stop snowboarding????

Day 3  We had held our tongues for two days now and just about at the end of our rope when who should walk in at 8:00 am....Yes, Princess.  Apparently they had stopped the toilet up in their condo and she HAD to take her ovulation test right that second....(Yes, I understand it's time sensitive, but TMI again).  Normally we would have conceded, but we had been pushed too far.  My sister informed her that my brother was in the bathroom and that she was welcome to use the bathroom, but that she would be 4th in line.....She stormed over to the bathroom and banged excessively on the door to which my brother yelled at the top of his lungs......"Give me a break, I'm trying to take a Sh*t!!!!"   She got upset and left and we started laughing till we were crying.  Yes, a faux pas and TMI on our part, but we were fed up.  She didn't speak to us for the rest of the trip (fine by us) and I don't think they ever paid my brother for the condo. 



My friend "Sam" had moved to a different state and came back a month later in a furniture-removal truck to transport the rest of his stuff from his old apartment to his new one. He was only in town for a weekend and planned to spend Friday afternoon loading the truck and Friday night at a friend's birthday party in a town about 40 minutes away (let's call it Smalltown). I had to work that night and couldn't be designated driver, and the only vehicle he had was a big furniture truck he could hardly drive around that night, so we worked out a plan: He would walk to my work from his old apartment and take my car for the night. The only stipulation was that he return about midnight to pick me up from work.   I helped Sam move all afternoon and, before I left to get ready for work (about 4 p.m.), double checked that he could be back in time to pick me up. If he wanted to stay later to party or had had too much to drink, I was OK with him staying the night in Smalltown and driving back to my city the next day. I could get a ride home with a co-worker. Sam assured me he would be back by midnight to pick me up.   

About 9:30 p.m., I took a break from work to text Sam and find out how the party was going. Everything was going fine, and he once more assured me he would be back by midnight.   About 11:30, I texted Sam to let him know I was out of work early, figuring he was already on the road. I had no problem waiting the extra half-hour for him. His response? "The game isn't over yet."   It turns out Sam and his birthday buddy were watching their favorite baseball team on TV and they still had some innings to go. What's more, Sam had been watching the game at 9:30, so he easily could have said he wouldn't be back by midnight after all and left me time to arrange a ride after work. As it was, I was stuck at work with no car and no ride home. My co-workers had either left or hadn't finished their own duties yet and could easily be another hour -- plus, I felt awkward suddenly asking them for a ride and possibly inconveniencing them. I called my boyfriend, but he didn't pick up. I asked Sam what time the game ends, and he said he wasn't sure and that I had better find my own way home.   There was nothing else for it: I began walking. Luckily, I live less than half a mile from work in a pretty safe area, but I'm only 5 foot 2 and was walking alone at night dressed in nice clothes. I was on edge the whole time in case a car pulled up beside me or someone accosted me on the sidewalk. It's not as though the streets were bustling and I could feel safe in a crowd. I felt relieved when I made it home.   

Sam didn't drop off my car until about 1:30 a.m. I jumped in my car Saturday morning to find he had left a half-empty box of candy and some other litter in the passenger seat, and that I had considerably less gas in the tank. I had helped him move, let him borrow my car, been as flexible as possible, and he still stood me up and didn't return my car in the condition it was given.



A few years ago now, my brother-in-law came to stay with us for 9 interminable months. While staying with us he did nothing but complain and moan, until even my husband, who has the patience of a saint, snapped, and told him in no uncertain terms to pull his head in. This resulted in sulky silence for a couple of weeks (which in my opinion made a nice change!) The thing I couldn't understand was his attitude. NOTHING was good enough or up to his standards. We aren't the richest people in the world, but we're not on the bread line either, we own a nice, albeit smallish, house close to a lovely beach. My brother- in-law seemed to be very disappointed we weren't living in a mansion complete with servants. You would have thought by the way he talked he lived in a castle, he had however had come to us from a very rural part of a former communist country and lived in a house that didn't even have indoor plumbing - if you wanted water you went to the well, and there was a long-drop toilet out the back.

The one incident that leaves me dumbfounded to this very day, happened one weekend. We were all working during the week so the weekend was the time I caught on all my household chores. I had done a substantial amount of laundry (the men worked in construction so got their clothes very dirty...) and hung it out to dry on our washing line, then gone out for the day with my husband. Later that day while we were out, it started to rain, so I sighed and figured I'd be doing all the laundry again tomorrow. When I got home, I went out to the line to get all the wet clothes inside again, and noticed all my brother in law's items had been taken off the line - obviously by him when it started to rain. So when I got back inside I asked him why he didn't bring in the rest of the washing when he got his. "Oh" he said "I didn't want to touch your underwear" Ok, fair enough I could understand that he didn't want to touch my clean underwear (when I got the job of laundering his dirty ones...) but what about everything else, surely there's nothing offensive about a t-shirt? a tablecloth? a towel?

I made sure he did all his own laundry from that weekend onwards.



As a somewhat shy teenage girl, I was excited to be invited on a week's winter vacation with a middle-aged family friend, who I'll call Dinah. The vacation group, as I understood it, would also include Dinah's daughter Pearl and my younger sister Jillian. We would drive up to the mountains, about six hours away, and stay at the house of Dinah's friends, our hosts for the week. Although I didn't know this family, I trusted Dinah, was friendly with Pearl and on good terms with my sister, and felt very honored to be included.

My first indication that trouble was to be expected came when a last-minute addition to our car group was almost literally shoehorned in for the long, long drive. He needed a ride in the direction we were headed, and Dinah decided that it would be no great inconvenience to offer him a seat. As a result, Mr. Last-minute got the front passenger seat while three not-precisely-waifish young women encumbered by assorted luggage and bulky winter coats squashed themselves miserably together in the back, enduring the car's overheated air and trying to remain optimistic. Meanwhile, Dinah chatted loudly with the fellow, who was nice enough, but had severely limited intelligence and probably never realized how much the other passengers were suffering thanks to him.

When we arrived at our destination, after dropping Mr. Last-Minute off (to my ineffable relief), our host family greeted us warmly. It looked like things were shaping up, but I hadn't yet realized that the occasional sneeze and mild headache I'd been experiencing on the drive were not, in fact, the products of a stressful journey but the harbingers of something much more ominous. As the hours passed and we got to know our hosts better, I was also getting to feel much worse. Still hoping desperately that my sniffles and sore throat would vanish after a good night's sleep, I asked the mom for a couple of Tylenol, since my head was now aching as if I'd bashed it with a brick.

"We don't have any," the mom said, and just looked at me with apparently nothing else to say. I thought this was a bit odd, but said quickly, "I'm sorry - I didn't mean Tylenol specifically; I just need a couple of aspirin, or maybe you use ibuprofen. Really, anything is fine," I added.

I was willing to go along with anything she had to offer, but I was not prepared for what she said next.

"We don't keep any in the house because we don't believe in taking medicine," she told me, matter-of-factly, and left me sitting there with my jaw hanging.

Amazingly, no one in our entire group had so much as a children's aspirin. I went to sleep because I had no other choice. Of course, when I woke up, I wished I hadn't. My throat was raw, my skin hurt, and I felt feverish. Worst of all, I felt I had to apologize to everyone for being sick just when the schedule called for a day's skiing in the mountains. As if I could have chosen NOT to get the flu. I resigned myself to spending the day quietly quarantined in the guest bedroom while everyone else went out to have fun.

No sooner had I wrapped myself up in my blankets than my sister came in the room to inform me that I needed to get up and get dressed, because we were all leaving to go to the ski resort. I blinked. "That's impossible, because I have the flu," I said quite reasonably. Considering that she'd been right next to me moments ago when I excused myself from the ski trip, I was having a hard time understanding how she'd missed that fact.

"Well, you can't stay here," she said. "You can't be here alone." I was touched, but assured her that I was really just going to try to sleep and could get myself a glass of water if I needed one.

Unfortunately, I'd misunderstood her. Our hosts - I'll name them the Persnicketys - had said that since Mr. Persnickety was going to be remaining in the house and everyone else was leaving, I couldn't be in the house alone with him, because it would be indecent. Therefore I had to get up and get dressed immediately and go to the ski resort.

In disbelief, I suggested that I lock myself into the room and get some much-needed sleep. My sister explained that I did not have a choice and that I WAS getting up and that I would NOT cause a scene about it.

I know this sounds like I'm exaggerating, because I'm looking back on it fairly distanced from the whole thing now (at least ten years) and I still can't believe it. I was so feverish I didn't know if I could get to the car, and not one person in that house bothered to find a solution that didn't involve a sick guest - without the benefit of painkillers, mind you - being dragged to a ski resort in the middle of winter and forced to sit upright on a hard bench in a noisy ski resort all day with no way to rest, let alone sleep?

Well, that's exactly what happened. I'm just grateful the Persnicketys were able to avoid the appearance of impropriety by not allowing a sick guest to sleep in a guest room - horrors! - without a chaperone.

If not for the hot lemon tea I was able to buy at the ski resort and a baggie of cough drops I purchased later that afternoon, I would have to classify that day as unadulterated torture. Mrs. Persnickety and dear old Dinah talked to each other and basically ignored me, and Pearl had fun with my sister Jillian and the rest of the Persnickety clan and basically ignored me. The only one who didn't pretend I didn't exist was Jillian, who informed me - back at the house - that I was ruining the entire vacation with my selfishness and should stop whimpering and acting miserable and trying to get attention. (Come to think of it, being ignored would have been a blessing in comparison.)

I hereby consign to Etiquette Hell the following deserving souls: Jillian, for caring more about not rocking the boat than her sister's well-being; Dinah and Pearl, for a complete and utter lack of common sense and compassion; and the entire Persnickety family, for abdicating their responsibility toward a helpless guest who was six hours away from home and wholly dependent on their kindness at a time of desperate need.

Lesson learned: If you go on vacation, bring your own aspirin. And try to travel with at least one person who will stick up for you if you're incapacitated.


In 1984, I was just out of college and living outside of Los Angeles.  A former college roommate, “Karla,” called to say that she and three of her church friends would be driving down from Idaho to attend the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  She was eager to get together while they were here and would call after they arrived.    I didn’t hear from them until 10:30 p.m. on the night of one of the largest attended Olympic events at the Coliseum, near downtown Los Angeles.  They had attended an event at a smaller, nearby venue and their car had been towed away.  They knew they were parked in a marked tow-away zone, but there were so many other cars parked there that they figured it was okay.  Every one of the cars there was towed away.   Stranded in an extremely dodgy neighborhood with no car and no way to get to the tow yard, they called the one person one of them knew in Southern California – me.  I did what you do for friends; I got out of bed, dressed and drove the thirty miles into the big city through Olympic event traffic to collect them.  We drove into an even dodgier area to the tow yard, which was guarded by shotgun and pit bulls.  They pooled their money and bailed out the car for an outrageous fee.   Once I knew they were safe, I took my leave, with Karla promising to call the next day so we could get together during the remaining week they were in town.  You guessed it, over twenty years have passed and I never heard from Karla again.



I met a woman during a singles' group vacation to Central America.  She was my assigned roommate for the trip by the travel agency.  We seemed to get along well and enjoyed our vacation immensely as a result.  As a matter of fact, there were 30 of us on the trip and we made some really wonderful new acquaintances.  A majority of which are located in my region of the country, the East Coast, encompassing NY, NJ and PA.  As a result, we wanted to keep in touch after the vacation ended.  My assigned roommate was from Texas.       

When talks of an East Coast reunion came about, Karen from Texas, was copied on the email that circulated.  She immediately emailed me informing me that she wanted to come for the reunion and crash at my place.  I was shocked, as I did not invite her to stay with me, and I have never invited myself to someone else's home, ever, but agreed to provide her accommodations.  I am one of the vacationers who lives in PA and the reunion was to be held in Manhattan.  I made the mistake of thinking that, because she was raised in the South, she must have manners.  At least that was my perception of Southerners, until she arrived.  I was not prepared for what was about to happen.       

The Philadelphia Airport is 45 minutes from my home.  Her flight was delayed by 3 hours so I sat on the shoulder of the highway in chilly February, freezing my butt off in my car awaiting a cell phone call that her plane had landed, at which time I drove to the gate to pick her up.  She never mentioned her concern that I had to wait, only complained about how awful the flight was as we drove the 45 minutes back to my home.  Not once did she utter the words "Thank you."       

I was also surprised that she came with only things for herself.  I was raised that when you are invited (and she wasn't) to someone's home, you bring a hostess gift.  Nothing fancy, just a token of gratitude to show appreciation.  She brought nothing.              

When we arrived at my home, a one bedroom condo, I insisted that she take the bedroom and I would sleep on the couch.  She agreed, but then set about trashing my condo with the entire contents of her suitcase, which she plopped down in the middle of my living room and began to unpack.  She began by unplugging appliances on my kitchen counter and plugging in her hot rollers and her cell phone charger, pushed items aside on my bathroom vanity and set up her cosmetics and flat iron, began strewing the living room floor with shoes and boots and various other items from her bag, then covered my dining table with other items and purses that she pulled from her bag.  Never once did the words; Is it okay if..? or May I? or Do you mind if? cross her lips!  The answer would have been; No you may not!  There was sufficient room and a vanity mirror with a power strip in my bedroom for her to unpack and get settled.  I made sure of it before her arrival.       

On the evening of the event I drove to the train station, assuming that maybe she didn't have time to shop for a gift and hoping she would offer to pay for gas, my train ticket, or the cab from the train station to the restaurant as a gesture of gratitude.  If it were me, that's exactly what I would do under the circumstances.  Not her.  Not a chance.        

When the bill for dinner came we agreed to split it evenly amongst the group.  Surprisingly, we had dinner in the most reasonably priced restaurant in Manhattan and each person in the group contributed $65.00, which covered dinner, drinks and the tip.  If it were me, I would have insisted on paying for my hostess's dinner.  Not her.  Not a chance.        

I also need to mention that her flight was paid for with frequent flyer miles.  She paid $5.00 tax for the flight.        

Later in the evening, after she had too much to drink, she confronted me in the pub we were in and insisted I looked like I was miserable and then insisted I go home and leave her there in NY to find her own way back to my condo in PA.  I was tired, but I didn't think I was throwing the "miserable" vibe.  I had stopped drinking alcohol an hour before the last train was to leave NYC as we had a two hour commute by train and a half hour commute by car.  I was being responsible, not miserable, and if I was a guest in someone else's home and felt they were unhappy, or whatever her perception was, I would have asked if WE should leave.  I would not have insisted that my hostess GO HOME.  I was shocked, but stayed the course and rounded up all of the train commuters from PA an NJ to head out for the 1:30 am train leaving NY.       

Then, while commuting via train, Karen became irritated with another drunk's cell phone conversation and threatened to blow his head off.  Yes, BLOW HIS HEAD OFF.  It was so embarrassing.  Not to mention dangerous, as the last train from NYC is loaded with rather eccentric characters!       

When we arrived back at my condo at 4:00 am, she set about changing her plane reservations to 7:30 am.  Then she told me to go to bed watch television in my bedroom.  I informed her that every room was MY ROOM and I would watch TV where ever I felt like.  When she couldn't get a car to pick her up she insisted I get up, get dressed and take her to the airport immediately.  I told her to shut up and go to bed.  She changed her flight back to later in the afternoon and went to bed.           

At 12:00 noon I roused her awake, told her to pack, call for a taxi and get out of my house!  At which time she thought we needed to "talk".  She tried to spin it like she was just trying to be a good friend.  I promptly informed her that if she was going for the "friendship" angle, she sucked at it.  Then I put her out on the curb!  She actually uttered the words: Thanks for letting me stay with you, as she exited my home.  A little too late, chica!                 



Several years ago, we had just moved into our dream home, and sent out our annual holiday letters with a general invitation to friends and family to stop by and stay with us for a night or two in our new place if they'd like. The house is spacious, with three bedrooms with bathrooms, so we thought we could handle most guests for at least a few days. An old acquaintance who had known me since before we got married in 1986 promptly wrote and said that she was planning to visit another friend in Northern California, and wanted to know if she could come to Southern California to visit us for a "day or two" at the end of her trip. Remembering how much we had enjoyed the company of her husband, now sadly deceased, and her, we enthusiastically said yes, we'd love to see her for a few days. Let's call her Enid.

About two weeks before she left for her trip to Northern California, she called and said that she had gotten a better rate and was going to be visiting California for TWO weeks, so would we mind if she stayed a full week instead of the two or three days that she had originally planned, since her friends in Northern California would only be able to host her for a week? Of course, we said sure, but reminded her that both of us worked (my husband in an office, and I out of my home office), so while we would love to have her visit, we would not be able to entertain her full time, that I would need to work at least four hours a day with no interruptions, so that we would have to work out a schedule. Enid said of course, no problem, she understood completely and was very capable of amusing herself as well as getting around despite her age. (That should have been a warning bell, of course, but was missed in the general flurry of arrangements.) She wouldn't say exactly how old she was, though; I have several friends who are extremely active septuagenarians and octogenarians, so was picturing her in this category. I found out later that she was actually 79.

At this point in time, she started calling me three or four times a day to ask about the weather, what clothes she should bring, what sights we should visit, and just chat. I began to feel a sense of foreboding, and reminded her several times that as much as I regretted it, I would need to focus on my work for at least a few hours every day. I also patiently answered all her questions about sights and activities, and reminded her that the weather here is very unsettled in early spring, with highs sometimes as high as 100 but sometimes with highs only in the 50s during the day, so that she would need to bring both cold weather clothes as well as warm weather clothes. Naturally, the weather in Northern California in the early spring is much colder, so she blamed me for the fact that she was too cold there, because I had told her that it could be very warm at times -- here. (It also happens to be the culture that folks who live where she was staying tend to pile on an extra sweater and socks and keep the thermostat pretty low.)

Both my sons have emotional and neurological problems, which means that at times they need to be handled a bit differently than some other children, because they don't respond to certain types of stress well. My younger son was also suffering from extremely severe generalized anxiety disorder, and has a hard time meeting strangers. It was perhaps unfortunate that his room was the one with the walk-in shower, so that he needed to be moved into our room for the week that Enid would be staying with us. We had originally planned for my older, much more gregarious and flexible son to give up his room to Enid (he would sleep on the couch), but could not when she arrived and we learned that she was unable to get in and out of a conventional tub. We installed grab bars and a seat in the walk in shower for Enid, and changed the non-slip floor treads three times until we finally found a style that didn't bother her feet.

We took two days off from work while she was here to visit a number of sights around the valley where we live. It turned out that Enid was unable to walk more than about 100 yards, contrary to what she had told us about being extremely active and able to get around by herself (she had meant only that she didn't need to rely on a wheelchair for everything), so we rented a wheelchair to help her get around.  The night before my husband and I returned to work, we talked with Enid and explained that while I would be happy to take her places, I really needed four uninterrupted hours every day to meet my work obligations, and couldn't be available to her during those hours, but that I would be happy to spend time with her the rest of the time, as much as family needs could allow, and that I looked forward to her company.

However, Enid was unable to respect my need to work without interruption (I was an independent researcher and writer at the time, and really needed to be able to concentrate to do my work well). She literally could not go more than fifteen minutes without striking up a conversation, and was visibly hurt whenever I said, "I'm so sorry, Enid, but I really need to concentrate on my work right now." She would not read a book or watch television (the one was "too hard," even with the special lighted magnifying lamp we got at her request, and the other was too boring), and being too frail to walk more than 100 yards made it impossible for her to enjoy our beautiful neighborhood and friendly, mostly retired neighbors.

After a day or so of being disappointed because I couldn't pay enough attention to her constant bids for my time, she decided to bring out the big guns and punish me by critiquing my every move as a housekeeper and as a mother, usually starting out her comments by saying, "When my children were in school, ..." or "When I cook/clean/do laundry...." and so forth. When Enid came to visit, I was already 50 years old and not only knew how to clean and cook, but had a cleaning lady come in every week for the major stuff -- my house may not have been surgically clean, but it was certainly not a sty. On top of that, my children ARE special needs kids, and I had had years of counseling and training in how to manage them; I am not saying that I was perfect and never made any mistakes, but I did have a pretty good idea that the types of discipline she was recommending for my younger son would be ineffective at best and extremely destructive at worst. When I politely acknowledged her critical comments and told her that I appreciated her views but would prefer to do things the way we were doing them, she would subside temporarily. By the fourth day of her visit, I gave up trying to work at anything, because I couldn't get her to stop interrupting my train of thought every five minutes or so.

The evening of the fifth day, I finally ran out of patience and told her that while she was entitled to her opinions, I am also entitled to mine, and that there are many, many differences between her family and mine that affect the choices I make, and that I didn't think she necessarily understood all of them. I also told her that I was extremely upset that she had not respected my need to focus on my work, and that as a result, I was very behind in what I needed to get done. She was surprised to hear that I had felt that her comments were critical, but acknowledged that, upon reflection, she did think that she knew better than I did, and would make every effort to not make those kinds of comments any more. We also talked about our mutual frustrations with how the rest of the visit was going -- she had pictured us spending entire days together, cozily chatting over cups of herbal tea, while I had pictured being able to get my work done quickly in a few concentrated hours, then visiting with her and taking her around to see the sights, based on what she had told me about her interests and abilities before she came.

Sad to say, Enid was unable to curtail her continuing critical comments, though our air clearing discussion the night before made it easier for me to explain to her why I did the things that I did the way I did them, and for us to embark on a much less tension-filled discussion of why doing it my way worked or at least wasn't as bad as she thought it was initially. Since I had given up on trying to work, she got at least a semblance of her cozy chats over tea; as long as I kept her telling stories about her life, we had a pretty good time. It was incredibly exhausting for me, though, because my children are also high-maintenance, high-intensity people, and unfortunately, her constant carping about everything from posture to reading preferences (not to mention food phobias or defensive shyness), made my kids want my attention even more and hers even less. The last night before we took her to the airport, my husband took her out to a fancy, relatively expensive show in which all the performers are at least 55 years old. She absolutely loved it, and it was definitely the one bright spot in her visit with us.

In hindsight, I suppose we should have just said no to a visit of more than a couple of days, since that was all we could really afford to devote exclusively to her, and I probably should not have let my temper get to the point of having the blunt conversation we had on the fifth day (I wasn't rude, or offensive, but I was very direct about how her comments were affecting me). Am I wrong, though, in thinking that she was discourteous in not being at least somewhat respectful of the limits that I described as being necessary? Or that she should have been more open and honest about what she expected and what her physical limitations really were?



A few years ago, when I was 18 years old and in my first year of university, I was actively involved in an online community. Most of the users were much older than me, but there were a few users around my age and we became very good e-friends. One of the girls, let's call her Nora, lived in Sydney, but was coming down to Melbourne, my hometown, for a couple of weeks. We made plans to meet up, and I sent her recommendations of things to do and see while in Melbourne. One of the bookings she had made to stay at a hostel had fallen through, so after asking permission of my parents (I did and still do live at home), I offered for her to stay with us for the two nights.

My mum and I went to pick her up from the train station, and she was fairly quiet, which I put down to her having had a busy day. She set herself up in my room, and we got on alright, although it soon became clear that our interest in the online community sadly did not extend to common interests in other areas of our lives. Still, we enjoyed finally being able to meet each other in person. The problems did not start until the next day.

The next morning, the rest of my family left early for their respective jobs, schooling and appointments. I also had a class at university to attend and had to be out of the house by 9:30am. My mum had expressly told me that under no circumstance was Nora to be left in the house on her own, which was entirely fair as she did not know her at all, and as she was running her own business from home at the time, had sensitive documents in the office. I politely told Nora that she would have to come with me when I left the house, and all hell broke loose. She started raising her voice at me and storming around angrily, asking why she couldn't be trusted. I was by myself in the house at this point so I could only apologize and say that it was the wishes of my mother. I finally managed to get her out of the house and to the train station, where we had to wait for the train together. She spent the 10 minute wait ignoring me, muttering about what a terrible host I was and how she was going to tell all our friends about how I had kicked her out of the house, despite my repeated apologies and explanation that as it was my parent's house, their rules applied. When we got on the train she took a different carriage and ignored me. By this time I had missed my first lecture, and in any case was too upset to face my classmates.

In the afternoon we met at the train station as arranged, and as far as Nora was concerned all the troubles of the morning were forgotten and we were once again best friends. We went home, where she spent most of the evening on our computer, and she left the next morning. I never spoke to her online or in person after she left, and soon after left the community as the in-fighting got too much - apparently quite a few of the users were as self centered as she was. These days I do have good online friends who I have met in person many times through another community, but I've never offered my parent's house as accommodation since.



Page Last Updated September 18, 2008