Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 06:05:18 PM

Title: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 06:05:18 PM
I'm still pretty new to entertaining. I haven't had much experience,  so I'm still quite in the learning stages.

This incident happened quite a few years ago when we moved into our new house.

My sister, who at the time live in the mountain west (we live in the southeast - in what some neighbors affectionately call "the buckle of the Bible belt") informed me that her and her new husband were going to be in our area in a week, because he had to come out this way for a business trip and he was bringing her along for sight seeing. They were planning to stay with us from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. This was going to fall on Easter weekend that year. Because they were going to arrive on Good Friday, I thought I might serve a nice poached salmon or fish entree. I mentioned this to DS, who informed me that BIL doesn't eat fish and is a "meat and potatoes" person; she suggested a roast beef instead. Okay, I thought - I'll fix something without meat in it for DH and myself and make the roast for BIL and we can have non-meat side dishes that we can share.

I was so excited. I purchased new bed linens, a comforter/blanket set, put up matching curtains and bought coordinating bath towels for their private bath. I also stocked it with shampoo/conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste and other little odds and ends that people sometimes need. Can you tell I was excited and went a little overboard preparing for my very first houseguests EVER? (Well, aside from college, when no forethought whatsoever was given to "preparing" for guests, YKWIM.)

Well, Friday late afternoon, DS and BIL arrived from other nearby city (where BIL had his business trip) in their rental car. DH and I helped them bring in their luggage and set them up in their room and while they were settling in I set up some snacks/hors 'd oerves to serve them, thinking they must be hungry after their 2 hr drive. They arrived late, around 5:30 - they told me they would be there about 4.

I put out a light spread of brie cheese and water crackers, toasted sourdough bread slices and bruschetta,  and made some appetizers using sliced sour dough bread as a base, smeared with a mayonnaise/sour cream/dill sauce topped with thinly sliced gravlax and lemon and sprinkled with dill. I thought that would be enough.

DH and I set up the appetizers and waited. And waited. And waited. We thought they would be down in about a half hour because I told them I had some appetizers waiting for them when they arrived and let them know dinner was going to be ready at about 7:30. We could hear a loud Scrabble game being played upstairs and DH and I were wondering what to do...finally, around 7 we decided we should check to see if they still wanted dinner...but fortunately, they came down a few minutes later.

BIL proceeded to eat the appetizers, but didn't like them. He said he hated fish, so he asked if I had anything else. I said there was the bruschetta and brie and crackers, and dinner would be ready in a few minutes anyway.

He said that's ok, I have to run to the store anyway. He jumped in the car, went to our local grocery store with DS, and came back an hour later with two cases of beer, two sacks of McDonald's (one for him, one for DS) and sat down in front of the TV in the family room eating his fast food and drinking the beer.

I was at a loss for what to do. The roast was starting to dry out. DH and I were very hungry, so we decided to serve dinner (our fish entree) and we asked BIL if he and DS wanted to eat or were they full?

He said "yeah, we'll be there in a minute."

So DH and I sat at the table and waited for them. Finally, we checked in the living room to see if they were still going to eat and BIL was nowhere in sight. I asked DS if we should continue to wait or if we should eat, and she said go ahead and eat.

We ate dinner quickly and DH helped me clean up and put away the leftovers. While we were cleaning up, BIL came stumbling into the kitchen and started taking out the leftovers, ate the roast beef at the kitchen table...and then went into the bathroom and got sick. A lot.

The rest of the weekend involved him polishing off the rest of the beer and being....intoxicated.

Easter Sunday rolled around and normally DH would have gone to church...but DS and BIL didn't want to come with. They just wanted to stay at our house while we went. To be honest with you, DH and I really weren't comfortable with the idea at that point. So we skipped church and offered to take them to Easter brunch at the Hilton. They declined, because BIL wanted to buy a new handgun. Instead, we drove around our city looking for a pawn shop or  sporting goods store that would be open on Easter Sunday. In the buckle of the Bible belt.

Just so you know, in our city, at that time (things have been changing since then), the only places open on any given Sunday (much less Easter!) are churches and Cracker Barrel or IHOP.

We wound up at the local Bass Pro Shop so he could peruse their firearms until they closed their doors at noon. Then, we went back home so they could pack and go to the airport.

My questions are: did I do something wrong? Did I not do something I should have? Should I have taken away his beer? Should I have provided beer so he didn't feel the need to supply his own? Should I have kicked them out of our house? DH wanted to. Towards the end I wanted to. I don't even know what to say or think about this. DH and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable throughout the visit. Is there a point where we could have/should have put our foot down about some of the behaviors? Is there a polite way to handle this situation? After they left I felt...gross. I don't even know what to think.

The worst part is DS indicated they are coming out again this way next month. For a romantic Valentine's Day weekend after his next business trip.

Would it be rude of me to schedule emergency dental surgery for that Friday?  :o
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: LazyDaisy on January 14, 2013, 06:26:12 PM
wow! I think this is the time for "I'm afraid it's not possible." lather rinse repeat and don't bother with excuses as they will only argue with you as to why they can. Guests do not dictate when they are invited to stay -- that's completely up to the host.

To the other questions about what you should have done differently. I don't know that I would have kicked them out, but for me I would not have been so accommodating in the first place and let them feel uncomfortable enough to not want to come back.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: doodlemor on January 14, 2013, 06:32:40 PM
It's understandable that you don't want them back in your home, even if they are family.  I wouldn't want them back, either.  The fact that this is your sister makes the situation more difficult.

Depending on how close you are to DS, could you say something like "That just won't work for us."  When she asks why, you would have to say,  "I'm surprised that you have asked, because it didn't seem like your DH had a very good time here we you visited before, and he didn't seem to get on very well with my DH."

At this point you might have to mention some of the irritating things that your DH didn't like.  The BIL and DS  must be clueless, because even though you and DH were trying to be good hosts you surely must have revealed some of your dismay through your expressions or body language.

I agree with LazyDaisy not to lie or give excuses, as that will just prolong the situation.



Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: SamiHami on January 14, 2013, 06:35:13 PM
"Oh, you're coming out again? Great! Let us know where you'll be staying and maybe we can have lunch together or something." No way would they be allowed in my house again after that appalling behavior. If they try to convince you to let them stay at your place, "Oh, I'm afraid that won't be possible. But we hope you have a great trip!" is perfectly appropriate.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: MOM21SON on January 14, 2013, 06:39:27 PM
My questions are: did I do something wrong? Did I not do something I should have? Should I have taken away his beer? Should I have provided beer so he didn't feel the need to supply his own? Should I have kicked them out of our house? DH wanted to. Towards the end I wanted to. I don't even know what to say or think about this. DH and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable throughout the visit. Is there a point where we could have/should have put our foot down about some of the behaviors? Is there a polite way to handle this situation? After they left I felt...gross. I don't even know what to think.

The worst part is DS indicated they are coming out again this way next month. For a romantic Valentine's Day weekend after his next business trip.

Would it be rude of me to schedule emergency dental surgery for that Friday?  :o

IMO, the only thing you did wrong was not kicking his bacon-fed knave out the door and offering to help your DS find a divorce attorney.  What A JERK!  No way in ehell would he ever be coming back to my house!

I wouldn't make an excuse either.  Just flat say why he is not welcome.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: MummySweet on January 14, 2013, 06:56:49 PM
My questions are: did I do something wrong? Did I not do something I should have? Should I have taken away his beer? Should I have provided beer so he didn't feel the need to supply his own? Should I have kicked them out of our house? DH wanted to. Towards the end I wanted to. I don't even know what to say or think about this. DH and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable throughout the visit. Is there a point where we could have/should have put our foot down about some of the behaviors? Is there a polite way to handle this situation? After they left I felt...gross. I don't even know what to think.

No, you didn't do anything wrong.  In fact, I believe you went out of your way to be a delightful and accommodating host.  Your BIL and sister were unspeakably rude.    I don't believe that you were under any obligation to provide alcohol for him.   If you maintain an alcohol-free home, you would have certainly been within your rights to refuse your BIL bringing it into your home.  (He should have asked, unless he knew without a doubt that alcohol was permitted in your home.  Even then, a good guest partakes in moderation.) 

Given their actions, I think you would have been completely within your rights to ask them to adjust their behavior, or leave.    Then you could have outlined behavior; e.g., Meals will be served at specific times, alcohol is permitted only in moderation (obvious signs of intoxication will result in guest being asked to leave), guests will not be left in the house alone... then provide them with your itinerary, which they are welcome to participate in or make other plans outside the house, etc. 

I wouldn't hesitate to tell your sister that future visits won't be possible.   If asked why, I would respond, "The last visit didn't work out well."  Rinse, lather, repeat.   

OP, I do have to ask, did your sister seem to realize what a boor her husband is?  Your post seems to indicate that she is as much a problem as he is. 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Lindee on January 14, 2013, 07:05:56 PM
They can indicate they are coming all they want but they wouldn't be staying at my place again. You do not need to put yourself through that kind of behaviour again.  Make it clear they are not staying with you.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 14, 2013, 07:17:43 PM
I would have asked them to leave after the first night. I would never allow them to stay again, and I think your sister displayed a lack of manners in this incident.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Venus193 on January 14, 2013, 07:35:13 PM
Egad.  You are not a bad hostess but your sister and BIL were bad guests.

You do not have to permit them to invade your home again.  "That will not be possible" should be your response to them.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 14, 2013, 07:48:22 PM
Wow my jaw dropped after reading only the first half, by the end it was on the floor! No, you do NOT owe them another chance at all, after the last time!
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ladiedeathe on January 14, 2013, 08:07:34 PM
Do you really think, after this kind of behavior, that they "deserve" anything? The behavior is self-evidently ghastly, beastly, and rude- so self-evidently rude that I struggle to understand the question here.

Just say no.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: lisat on January 14, 2013, 08:08:02 PM
You and your husband were not bad hosts. Your sister and her husband were unacceptably rude. I wouldn't let them back, at all. In fact since it is your sister I whould have a "come to momma" talk with her about their behaviour and why they aren't welcome. No way
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: snowdragon on January 14, 2013, 08:16:55 PM
They would have been kicked out after bringing back the beer.  And never allowed to return
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: diesel_darlin on January 14, 2013, 08:25:18 PM
"Im afraid that will not be possible, because the cat is scheduled to catch fire that weekend"

 ;D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: sammycat on January 14, 2013, 08:32:12 PM
Wow!  :o

The only thing you did wrong was not kicking them out after the first night; other than that, no, you didn't do anything wrong. Your BIL and sister were unspeakably rude.

Seeing as this is your sister, I wouldn't have any hesitation in telling her straight up that they are not welcome in your home, ever again, and that no, they won't be staying with you.

Have you had any contact with your sister since then? How has she behaved in general?

Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: sammycat on January 14, 2013, 08:35:24 PM
The fact that this is your sister makes the situation more difficult.

I think I know where you're coming from, but I have to disagree.  If someone can't be straight up with their sibling, child or parent as to how badly they've behaved, then who can they be straight with?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: CaptainObvious on January 14, 2013, 08:50:41 PM
Do you really think, after this kind of behavior, that they "deserve" anything? The behavior is self-evidently ghastly, beastly, and rude- so self-evidently rude that I struggle to understand the question here.

Just say no.

I agree and based on your other posts about her, I can't believe she even thinks she is welcome.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 09:25:06 PM
CaptainObvious is right (and Cap, you picked the right name, too - you always have a way of pointing out an obvious element or fact that I missed  ;D ).

The relationship between me and DS is not good, and it hasn't been for a long time. When she was divorced in '04, I was her personal crying shoulder for about five years until our first big falling out in '08. Things haven't been good since. I had to give her the cut direct late last year because of certain things, including her joining a financial pyramid scheme and passing my name and contact info to her upline without my consent (or knowledge).

Anyhow, she emailed me about a week ago with this Valentine's thing like nothing happened to cause the cut direct. I sometimes wonder if she realizes a cut direct actually happened or is, in fact, in force. I never contact her. She hasn't contacted me until last week - by email. She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately. That only worked once to get me to call her back. I won't do it again. Plus, does she not remember that we no longer have the house and live in this three-bedroom apartment??? THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THEM. (Room could be made, if it were worth it...but...) What's the advice? Don't engage the crazy? Uh, yeah?!  :o

I don't think I'm even going to dignify her self-invite with a response. And if they are delusional enough to show up, perhaps a call to local police to report trespassing is in order. I mean, seriously? She seriously thinks they would be welcome here?

Whatever drug she's taking, she ain't sharing.  :o Actually, I have no basis to say this. I have no knowledge that drugs play any role in her life whatsoever, except I sincerely cannot explain her behavior. At all. As for BIL? I don't even want to hazard a guess.

Maybe sometime I'll tell you about the legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM at my brother's house (I wasn't present, but heard all about it from both sides, vividly)... if you're interested. There's really no etiquette question there, that I can discern. Everyone was wrong, imo. But I'll recount the events that were reported to me, if you want to read about it. I didn't put it up already because it's long. And coming from me, that means something, because I don't usually do short posts. Actually, the thing that happened at my house that I recounted here is mild in comparison.

That one went physical.

Do you wonder why we moved away????


Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: suzieQ on January 14, 2013, 09:58:18 PM
She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately.

And he wasn't dead?!?!?!! Wow, just wow.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Julian on January 14, 2013, 10:06:44 PM
That loud crash you heard clear across the Pacific Ocean was my jaw meeting the floor.  Even carpeted, it made a big ding.

I had to give her the cut direct late last year because of certain things, including her joining a financial pyramid scheme and passing my name and contact info to her upline without my consent (or knowledge).

Ah, that sister...

She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately.

And he wasn't dead?!?!?!! Wow, just wow.

Wow, that is some seriously deranged manipulation going on there.  Drama llama much?

Maybe sometime I'll tell you about the legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM at my brother's house (I wasn't present, but heard all about it from both sides, vividly)... if you're interested. There's really no etiquette question there, that I can discern. Everyone was wrong, imo. But I'll recount the events that were reported to me, if you want to read about it. I didn't put it up already because it's long. And coming from me, that means something, because I don't usually do short posts. Actually, the thing that happened at my house that I recounted here is mild in comparison.

That one went physical.

Do you wonder why we moved away????




Please, don't tease...   ;)

Your sis sounds like as much of a problem as BIL.  If you continue with the cut, what are the chances they'll just rock up on your doorstep one night with a couple of cartons and their suitcases? 

I think I'd be taking a small detour from the cut long enough to send a very clear 'I'm afraid that won't be possible', and then reinstitute the cut. 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Sharnita on January 14, 2013, 10:07:40 PM
I think on the visit you decribe it would have been fine to tell them that hosting intoxicated guests had never been part of your offer and you were fine with BIL sobering up and enjoying the hospitality you offered or them leaving early.

It occurs to me that Valentine's comes right after Ash Wednesday this year so you will probably be serving fish or some other meatless offering on Friday and thus your meal will again be substandard in BIL's eyes.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 10:09:38 PM
She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately.

And he wasn't dead?!?!?!! Wow, just wow.

Yes. He was and (to my knowledge) continues to be just fine. Well, I don't know about fine. But alive. That's what I mean.  ;)

That's my sister's M.O. She will call and call and call and call...and escalate by leaving increasingly frantic voicemail messages until she gets a call back. If that doesn't work, apparently she switches gear and goes to email. I'd block her email address, but last time I did a cut direct (I didn't know that's what it was called at the time because I hadn't yet discovered eHell...and my cut direct failed because, again, no eHell) she went and got herself another email address and contacted me anyway.

So this time I guess she wants something, so she's trying to get my attention. A week ago she started with the phone calls and pulled the dead husband card again. I did not call back. So, she gave up and then emailed me (no mention that DH was dead, because apparently, like Lazarus, he's come back from the dead. Must be a real important meeting he's got scheduled. Heh.) slopping sugar all over the place and saying how much they would LOVE to see us again....what the ****?!

Only now, they have two little kids in their custody. BIL's biological grandchildren by one of his kids from one of the earlier marriages. The sweet little five year old boy is special needs and the older one, a darling little girl about eight, seems to be doing remarkably well considering....

I hope BIL has stopped drinking around them.  >:(

Oh, don't get me started. I don't want to say something I shouldn't.

Actually, I apologize. I have no legitimate reason for mentioning the grandchildren/foster kids because it isn't relevant, except that even if DS and BIL were welcome, I would hesitate to have them bring the children, as adorable as they seem from pictures. I have nothing against them, except I don't have the wherewithal to manage my own current health crisis (I have a suspected abscessed molar that may need to come out...very, very soon - ouch! - and have to find a job and a dentist who is willing to do the surgery without upfront payment and accept small payments until new job is secured). I don't have kids, and have little to no experience with children - and I wouldn't know what to do with the little girl, much less how to care for the special needs child who requires a special diet and care....{shudders with apprehension}. The fact that BIL is...well, BIL and how he behaved when he visited here that one time I met him...well, that scares me for the kids, though I have no right to have any opinion about that. But still.

This whole situation is just gross.

I'll get started on the Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM for your reading pleasure.  :D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Iris on January 14, 2013, 10:32:52 PM
She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately.

And he wasn't dead?!?!?!! Wow, just wow.

That takes the cake. Unbelievable.

Do NOT allow these people back into your life. Toxic toxic toxic. When you are going through all you are going through at the moment you *really* don't need the added drama.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: doodlemor on January 14, 2013, 11:04:22 PM
I agree with Julian.  Take a break from the cut direct and email her.  Tell her in firm words that can't be misunderstood that they are not to come to your home.

I suspect that she wants to dump those poor little kids on you.  If you are at all vague she and BIL might just show up with kiddies in tow, and have some reason ready why they can't go to a hotel. 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 11:20:30 PM
I agree with Julian.  Take a break from the cut direct and email her.  Tell her in firm words that can't be misunderstood that they are not to come to your home.

I suspect that she wants to dump those poor little kids on you.  If you are at all vague she and BIL might just show up with kiddies in tow, and have some reason ready why they can't go to a hotel. 


I hadn't thought of it until you mentioned it, but now that I think about it, I suspect you and Julian are quite correct. At this point I would put little past her.

I will contact her immediately and let her know  - firmly - that she and BIL are not welcome here, and that if they show up police will be called. (And if they try to do something with regard to the children, I will not hesitate to involve CPS. I'm so not kidding about any of this.)

Thank you for your advice and support - this is just weirdness and embarrassing. I can't even raise enough emotion to get upset about any of it. Just laugh it off at this point. Except the kids. That's not funny. But BIL? Laugh riot, as long as he's nowhere near me with alcohol and/or loaded fire arms. Seriously, dude. Not cool.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 14, 2013, 11:31:45 PM
Should I put it in this thread or start a new one?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: MariaE on January 15, 2013, 12:14:06 AM
I agree with the others - email her and say that they can't come. Otherwise they will take your silence as acceptance.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 12:17:21 AM
I agree with the others - email her and say that they can't come. Otherwise they will take your silence as acceptance.

I will take your advice, MariaE. I think you guys are totally right about this. I'll call her tomorrow and then follow up with an email. Or perhaps a certified letter? Or is that overkill?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: MariaE on January 15, 2013, 12:41:45 AM
I agree with the others - email her and say that they can't come. Otherwise they will take your silence as acceptance.

I will take your advice, MariaE. I think you guys are totally right about this. I'll call her tomorrow and then follow up with an email. Or perhaps a certified letter? Or is that overkill?

I'd stick with email for now, but then I have no experience with toxic family apart from this board, so other posters may disagree.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 12:44:46 AM
Hmmmm. You could be right. Maybe a certified letter would inflame the situation. I think a firmly worded email with a dis-invite plus cease-and-desist would be more appropriate for now.

Not that it will stop her or BIL from calling...but at least there's an electronic trail if push-comes-to-shove. Which, I hope not. Especially in the literal sense, considering what happened between them and my brother.  :P
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: nuit93 on January 15, 2013, 01:41:00 AM
CaptainObvious is right (and Cap, you picked the right name, too - you always have a way of pointing out an obvious element or fact that I missed  ;D ).

The relationship between me and DS is not good, and it hasn't been for a long time. When she was divorced in '04, I was her personal crying shoulder for about five years until our first big falling out in '08. Things haven't been good since. I had to give her the cut direct late last year because of certain things, including her joining a financial pyramid scheme and passing my name and contact info to her upline without my consent (or knowledge).

Anyhow, she emailed me about a week ago with this Valentine's thing like nothing happened to cause the cut direct. I sometimes wonder if she realizes a cut direct actually happened or is, in fact, in force. I never contact her. She hasn't contacted me until last week - by email. She must have some inkling something's up because I haven't returned any of her calls or frantic voicemails saying that BIL died and I need to call her immediately. That only worked once to get me to call her back. I won't do it again. Plus, does she not remember that we no longer have the house and live in this three-bedroom apartment??? THERE IS NO ROOM FOR THEM. (Room could be made, if it were worth it...but...) What's the advice? Don't engage the crazy? Uh, yeah?!  :o

I don't think I'm even going to dignify her self-invite with a response. And if they are delusional enough to show up, perhaps a call to local police to report trespassing is in order. I mean, seriously? She seriously thinks they would be welcome here?

Whatever drug she's taking, she ain't sharing.  :o Actually, I have no basis to say this. I have no knowledge that drugs play any role in her life whatsoever, except I sincerely cannot explain her behavior. At all. As for BIL? I don't even want to hazard a guess.

Maybe sometime I'll tell you about the legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM at my brother's house (I wasn't present, but heard all about it from both sides, vividly)... if you're interested. There's really no etiquette question there, that I can discern. Everyone was wrong, imo. But I'll recount the events that were reported to me, if you want to read about it. I didn't put it up already because it's long. And coming from me, that means something, because I don't usually do short posts. Actually, the thing that happened at my house that I recounted here is mild in comparison.

That one went physical.

Do you wonder why we moved away????

Jaw...on...floor...
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Amava on January 15, 2013, 01:42:21 AM
I think your title is a bit misleading.
I thought this would be one of these topics of "Is it okay to not serve alcohol to guests if I know they have a drinking problem" or "is it okay to not serve alcohol to guests if I don't drink myself, for religious or other reasons". 

But this is much more than that. This was not just about them wanting to drink alcohol while you prefer not to have it in your house. This was about them completely and utterly snubbing your hosting and everything you had planned and provided for them.

Staying upstairs engaging in private activities (whether it was the loud sex you heard, or whether it had been a long private conversation, or playing on their phones for all I care) while one's host is waiting with dinner is inherently rude.
Driving out to pick up a case of beer and a load of fast food while the host has just served the appetisers and is waiting with dinner, is even a lot worse.

They were being complete boors.

Speak of casting pearls before swine! Wow.

And yes. Tell us about Thanksgiving 2006.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: cicero on January 15, 2013, 04:48:30 AM


Maybe sometime I'll tell you about the legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM at my brother's house (I wasn't present, but heard all about it from both sides, vividly)... if you're interested. There's really no etiquette question there, that I can discern. Everyone was wrong, imo. But I'll recount the events that were reported to me, if you want to read about it. I didn't put it up already because it's long. And coming from me, that means something, because I don't usually do short posts. Actually, the thing that happened at my house that I recounted here is mild in comparison.

That one went physical.

Do you wonder why we moved away????

<grabbing the popcorn>
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Venus193 on January 15, 2013, 06:28:37 AM
These people don't deserve to be in your life.  To add detail to Amava's post, they went out and bought McDonalds food by the Xerox method when you went to the trouble of preparing a roast for them on a holiday when you specifically don't eat meat.  That is not just rude, that's an active slap in the face.

And do tell us about the Thanksgiving disaster.  With this as a preview, I'm sure that story belongs on the main site.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Cat-Fu on January 15, 2013, 12:22:04 PM
First off, I'd let your sister know that you're not able to have any guests... ever again. There's simply no room! Oh well. >:D I wouldn't bother with a certified letter, just send her an email and then mark all messages from her as spam so you don't have to read them anymore.

However, forgetting for a moment that your DS & BIL are complete boors, I wanted to make a general hosting suggestion. When you know a guest is a "meat and potatoes" person or otherwise unfussy eater, going for the fancy foodie options is likely to make them uncomfortable, especially if it's for no reason. Serving smoked salmon to someone you know isn't a fan of fish isn't likely to go over well either.

I came to this realization recently with a group of my DH's friends—they aren't interested in my overboard fancy creations at all, and would really feel better if I just made some onion dip and tossed out a bag of chips. I don't blame you for getting excited and getting new linens etc, but sometimes the "overhosting" shows and it makes some guests uncomfortable because they can't/won't reciprocate at that level.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 01:57:25 PM
You're so right, Camlan.  :)

It occurred too me to late, I'm afraid. My sister and I grew up in a family with northern European culinary traditions (a lot of smoked fish, pickled herring, etc. and everyone in our family loves that stuff) so I put that out there fore her, because I knew she likes it. The crackers and cheese and bruschetta were choices I made that I thought would be ok for someone who didn't like fish...but maybe they were still too fancy for BIL. When DS said he was meat and potatoes, I guess I fully didn't absorb just how much he is meat and potatoes...as in ONLY MEAT AND POTATOES. EVER. Learned that lesson the hard way - when a guest gives me their culinary preferences, I take it literally now. No exceptions!!! I should have just put out some chips and dip and a whole lot of beer for him. :)

I can see your point about going overboard with the decorating the room and such. Now THAT they seemed to like...especially since all the toiletries were gone when they were. Including the BOX of Q-Tips from under the sink. Who knew someone had a Q-Tip fetish? :P

But at least they left the towels.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: sourwolf on January 15, 2013, 02:09:09 PM
Perhaps I'm confused, but per your "you lost our dog" thread, aren't you living in a small apartment at this point in time? I would think that would be more than enough reason to refuse to have overnight visitors.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 15, 2013, 02:14:14 PM
She did say she's moved since that incident.  So yeah, I'd say she can use that as an explanation but even then regardless of where OP is living, she shouldn't feel she has to put up her DS and BIL. 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 02:14:47 PM
You are correct.

We have three bedrooms (SMALL) and two full baths, so it is remotely possible to make room. But not really. What's weird is my sister KNOWS our living situation, but details like that seem to not phase her in the least.

I do know that BIL has been worried about layoffs. He's gotten in trouble at work this last summer (I know this because he told me before the cut direct, but then again, it's hard to believe anything he says)...so maybe he lost his job, finally. So I wonder if he lost his job again...I need to check Linked in. This might have something to do with it, now that I think about it.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: sourwolf on January 15, 2013, 02:20:06 PM
She did say she's moved since that incident.  So yeah, I'd say she can use that as an explanation but even then regardless of where OP is living, she shouldn't feel she has to put up her DS and BIL.

Oh, of course not.  But somehow it seems like it would be easier to say you can't host because you don't have the space instead of "no I don't want to host because you are horrible horrible people." 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 02:24:01 PM
Thank you, Sourwolf. :) You hit the nail on the head.

Huh. No matter, though, really. When I told DH about sis's self-invite he laughed so hard that he choked on the burrito he was eating. I should have chosen a better time to tell him.

That issue is actually moot, though  - there was really no chance that they would be coming to stay - the OP was really about how I could have made their last visit less of a disaster. That last comment was a little tongue-in-cheek because I thought it was really funny that she would contact me about staying again after what happened last time.

Yeah .... that visit is not going to happen in this or any other universe. AT LEAST AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED. But convincing SIS of that may be a different story. I really had intended to give her the excuse of emergency dental surgery but DH says not to respond at all.

I'm glad I ran it by you guys, though, because the advice you gave about making sure they KNOW they are not welcome is good advice, so I'm going to have to make sure of that today. I did say last night that I better call her today and make sure she knows not to come.

I'm just dreading that phone call. I better get to it.  :P I'm just trying to think of the least drama-free way of making this visit not happen. Maybe the "you do remember we live in this apartment....right?" is a good one. Not personal. She takes everything very personally.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: bopper on January 15, 2013, 02:31:26 PM
I don't know what you could have done differently...you let them know the plans for appetizers and dinner.  You can't make people go to church and i can understand you wouldn't want to let them alone in your house.  The only thing with gun shopping is "Maybe you guys should do that after you leave as we do not have guns in our house" (unless you do) or "I am not interested in Gun shopping...let us know if you want to go to McDonald's for dinner."


"Gosh, Sis, not sure what your plans were when you come out this way, but I wanted to let you know since we moved we have no guest rooms.  I heard the Hilton is a good value. Maybe we could meet for dinner one night? "

or

"We won't be able to visit with you as we already have plans that weekend."

Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 02:34:44 PM
"Gosh, Sis, not sure what your plans were when you come out this way, but I wanted to let you know since we moved we have no guest rooms.  I heard the Hilton is a good value. Maybe we could meet for dinner one night? "

or

"We won't be able to visit with you as we already have plans that weekend."

Thank you bopper....will use that. About to dial phone...wish me luck!
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Sharnita on January 15, 2013, 02:36:51 PM
Honestly, I might give the real reason why you aren't hosting.  At some point you might be living somewhere else or they mught want to get together under different circumstances.  You won't be able to use that excuse but some of the same concerns will still be there.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 15, 2013, 02:44:27 PM
{SIGH of relief}

Just got off the phone. Blessedly, the call went straight to voicemail, so I left a message.

"Hi (Sis). This is Mr.Kitty. I received your email about staying with us over Valentine's weekend. I'm afraid it's just not possible to have you over to visit us again, ever. Please don't contact me anymore. Thanks. Bye."

And that was that. Hopefully I won't hear back from her. I can see if she calls because of caller ID and I don't have to pick it up (but I'm sure there will be some very entertaining voicemails left! I wonder how many times BIL is going to "die" this time. Heh.) And, her email is currently being put into the "blocked" category right now. That's not to say that she won't get another one (again), but, at this point, nothing she says phases me anymore. It's just entertainment value. That's how I now look at it, anyway.

:) Thanks for all the feedback and support, you guys.

The great and terrible legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM will be posted tonight, for your prurient reading pleasure.  ;D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: bopper on January 15, 2013, 02:49:41 PM
Honestly, I might give the real reason why you aren't hosting.  At some point you might be living somewhere else or they mught want to get together under different circumstances.  You won't be able to use that excuse but some of the same concerns will still be there.



Then you could say, if she asks why she can't stay with you: " Sis, quite frankly, I didn't think BIL even wanted to be here last time.  I thought we were going to have dinner together and go to Easter service. I made appetizers and a roast and not fish due to Good Friday, in deference to BIL's preferences. I told you all about the dinner plans but then he went out and bought McDonalds even though I made a roast just for him.  And then we went gun shopping and didn't go to church.  Nothing is wrong with BIL wanting to do that, but why come to my house if you don't want to spend time or even eat with us?  So if you are going to come to town, we can meet you at a restaurant of your choosing."

EDITED: I see you called her and said NO THANKS EVER.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Amara on January 15, 2013, 02:54:03 PM
I think your voice mail message was perfect, OP. Clear, unambiguous, giving her nothing to argue about, yet polite.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: EMuir on January 15, 2013, 03:22:02 PM
Good going mrkitty.  And I look forward to the Thanksgiving saga!
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: JoW on January 15, 2013, 09:31:58 PM
Wow.  And I thought my family was bad.

Someone on a previous page suggested deleting all of your sister's emails without reading them.  I don't think that's a good idea.  At this point you need to know what she's planning. 

Read everything she sends.  If she calls let it go to voicemail, then listen to what she said.  It will give you a chance to prepare a response.  You don't need to reply to anything she says, just be prepared with a plan of your own. 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: cicero on January 16, 2013, 01:22:09 AM
good going Mrkitty!

<still sitting here with the popcorn, waiting for that Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006TM >
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 16, 2013, 05:45:28 AM
Okay...get out your popcorn and put on your seatbelt...the Great And Terrible Legendary Thanksgiving Blowout Extravaganza 2006 TM is now posted and available for your reading pleasure....in the Humor section.  :D Located here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124274.0 (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124274.0)

Enjoy. The buffet of my familial shame awaits you!  ;D

PS - Sorry for the delay. This is quite longer than even I expected.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Redneck Gravy on January 16, 2013, 08:46:00 AM
Geez, are we cousins?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 16, 2013, 01:26:24 PM
Geez, are we cousins?

Hehe...maybe?  ;D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Steve on January 16, 2013, 01:58:20 PM
Has the thread about the blowout been deleted? I was halfway the story, but now I can't seem to find it.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: cicero on January 16, 2013, 02:00:19 PM
Has the thread about the blowout been deleted? I was halfway the story, but now I can't seem to find it.
me too! it seems to have disappeared.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Tabby Uprising on January 16, 2013, 02:03:10 PM
Has the thread about the blowout been deleted? I was halfway the story, but now I can't seem to find it.
me too! it seems to have disappeared.

Ahh, okay!  I thought it was just me and I was going crazy  ;D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 16, 2013, 02:05:50 PM
I can't find the thread. I was reading it and now it is gone.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Iris on January 16, 2013, 02:15:30 PM
Nooooooo! I didn't even get to start!  :'(
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: nuit93 on January 16, 2013, 02:59:41 PM
Nooooooo! I didn't even get to start!  :'(

Me either!
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: LEMon on January 16, 2013, 08:00:12 PM
It's back now.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: kckgirl on January 19, 2013, 09:54:06 AM
So, have there been any return calls?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 19, 2013, 10:40:26 AM
Ohhh,  yes. Quite entertaining, too, I might add.

Seems BIL lost his job. Again. And they need $2600 from us (me and DH, not that we have it, so what are we supposed to do, rob a bank?) so they can cover their mortgage payment or they will be homeless. And it's all my fault. Because I am fat, stupid, dumb, lazy - because when we lost our business, we couldn't afford to send her money anymore.*** So if I were any good, I'd have gotten off my lazy *** a long time ago and started the new business like I'd talked about - but no, I'm too lazy, and now they are in trouble. And it's all my fault. And why haven't I called her? Why am I avoiding her? I'm just being immature, again, because anytime I get challenged on my behavior from her I run away and hide.

So, I'm stupid and lazy, and I owe her money (???), and it's my fault if they lose their house....I'm quite sure it's also my fault he lost his job, too, although she didn't explain that one....and since I don't hang around her trying to get browbeaten it also makes me a jerk, I guess.

This time, BIL didn't die....it's going to be the little Autistic boy....he's very, very sick  because she can't afford to buy him the special foods h needs and he might starve to death if we don't send $$ RIGHT NOW. And didn't you know? IT'S ALL MY FAULT.

I've had it with this.  >:(


***
There was a period of six months early in their marriage when they split up for half a year and because she had no income and he wasn't supporting her, we helped her out some with rent and some expenses. Where she got the idea NOW, years later, that this was supposed to continue....I don't know. I don't know. {{Shakes head}} Is it drugs? Hormones? Just crazy? I DON'T KNOW.

Tired of trying to figure it out. I'm sorry that the little boy is sick; I truly am, and I hope he gets the medical attention and nutrition he needs. I just don't know if I believe anything SIS says anymore. However, DH and I are debating whether we should intervene for the sake of the child, if he is that badly off; on the other hand, we both think she is a liar and will say anything to get what she wants. DH wants to call CPS to check on the boy, and I'm thinking it might be a good idea. Maybe they can check on him to make sure he's okay and the other child. I don't want to send SIS any cash because I don't think it would be spent on the boy. Not that we have right now to spare, but still. Plus, as foster kids, MY SIS AND BIL GET MONEY FROM THE STATE FOR THEIR CARE. SO WHY ARE THEY SUPPOSEDLY STARVING?! I think she is trying to manipulate me and I am so not taking it any more.  >:( >:( >:(

I AM JUST SO SICK OF THIS. I have not called her back - not sure if I will. My next call might just be to the authorities to check on the children.  I am so over SIS right now.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Reika on January 19, 2013, 11:14:11 AM
So these are foster kids, not their own? I would've suggested calling the authorities either way, but in this case, even more so. Since it doesn't sound like a good environment for those poor kids and it sounds like the money might not be going to their care properly.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Amara on January 19, 2013, 11:17:37 AM
I don't have children so I am hesitant to offer an opinion, but I think were I in your situation I would call CPS too because that's what I do regardless of my relationship with the parents. I'd just want to be sure that someone in authority knew the situation. Otherwise, I'd keep thinking, "What if ..." and that thought horrifies me.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 19, 2013, 11:25:11 AM
They are but they aren't. The children are BIL's biological grandchildren. SIS and BIL have the children in their custody as BIL's son and ex-girlfriend are not in a position to provide care right now.

Frankly, I have concerns that SIS and BIL are not in that position either, at the present time, given her recent voicemail messages. DH and I have discussed it, and while we have difficulties with SIS's credibility, we think the best thing to do, in an abundance of caution, is to contact the proper authorities to make sure the children are being properly cared for.

Beyond that, there is nothing more I think I can do. Even if I *had* the money to send her, I'm not convinced it would do any good right now. My obligation as a citizen is to report the issue. Hopefully the state agency overseeing the situation will get the family the resources they need, or place the children in a more stable environment. And, if she was making it up, then I'm troubled by that, but I cannot shield her from any consequences arising from her own behavior. And, it is not my responsibility to do so. We are both adults and responsible for our own choices in life.

I see no reason for further contact with her going forward. I wish her and her family the best, but I have to be done with her now. Anyone who has read my other post about living drama-free may understand where I'm coming from. SIS and I are going to have to be done now. Th only other thing I can do is send her a cease-and-desist letter and just be done.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Amava on January 19, 2013, 12:06:01 PM
They need to get off their own behinds and take responsibility for their own income, instead of blaming you for not giving them handouts!!

But, I know I'm pointing out the obvious here.

This is not going to be the end of it, I can predict that much. Users like Sis and BiL are astonished when someone they used to be able to guilt into helping them, grows a spine and tells them to take care of themselves.  They're not gonna give up without a fight.

MrKitty, I am honestly glad that you live far away from them, and that you are also able to create distance emotionally.

 
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: lady_disdain on January 19, 2013, 12:15:28 PM
The worst part is DS indicated they are coming out again this way next month. For a romantic Valentine's Day weekend after his next business trip.


I am late to the party, sorry. I hope the little boy is doing well.

I was reading the OP, however, and this just jumped at me. Who invites themselves to someone's house in order to have a romantic weekend? Romantic weekends aren't usually in the company of one's sibling.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 19, 2013, 12:15:52 PM
Thank you, Amava. {HUGS}

I am afraid you are probably very right. I suspect I have not heard the last from SIS. I imagine once she hears from or gets a visit from the authorities she is going to be upset.

I worry that by reporting that I am creating more "drama". But DH is very firm that this.must.stop. Now. I have to agree. I used to fall for guilt and manipulation all.the.time. and DH is, honestly, very frustrated about that. Not that I blame him. I'm rather hoping that if I don't respond to her, she will eventually give up.  :)

Hopefully the children will be ok. Hopefully SIS and even BIL will be ok. Right now I'm feeling a little insulted about the content of the vm's, but, hey, there's nothing in them I haven't heard before...except now, I realize it's all just a bunch of nonsense.

Amava, you're just wonderful, and thank you so much for your wisdom and support. {HUGS}

Like you, I am so glad I don't live near them!!! Whew. What a sense of relief that is.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 19, 2013, 12:18:53 PM
The worst part is DS indicated they are coming out again this way next month. For a romantic Valentine's Day weekend after his next business trip.


I am late to the party, sorry. I hope the little boy is doing well.

I was reading the OP, however, and this just jumped at me. Who invites themselves to someone's house in order to have a romantic weekend? Romantic weekends aren't usually in the company of one's sibling.

Did you hear about what they did in my brother's living room when they visited him? ..... That's what I'm guessing they've got planned??? I know when they stayed with us, they got busy in the guest room.

I hope they didn't think we'd go on a double-date or anything. Gross. Anyway. We don't have the room, and the relationship is over. There will be no romantic Valentine's Weekend in the mrkitty house. Period. mrkitty is too under the weather as it is to contemplate romance anyway.

But, yeah...I totally get your point and all I can say about whatever it is SIS was thinking is..... :o

***Edited to add the following*** You know, I wonder if she just mentioned Valentine's Day weekend simply because that's when they were *planning* to be out this way...not that they wanted to specifically *celebrate* it with us. Or, maybe they thought we would give them a free mini-vacation? Last time they visited was several years ago when we still had the house with a nice private room and bath. She KNOWS we live in an apartment now...but we have three bedrooms and two baths...maybe she thinks it would similar? Or that we run a free bed and breakfast? Or a flophouse?

Another poster said they think it was just an excuse to get down here and dump the kids on us. That's certainly possible. (Why SIS would possibly think that would be a viable alternative, I don't know. I can't explain anything she says or does lately.) I am really confused as to what she wanted. I'm leaving it with "happens to be coming down the weekend following Valentine's Day," because I can see it falls on a Thursday this year.  I will leave it at that, hoping that's what she meant. I didn't give it *too* much thought because it was never a real possibility that my husband would even countenance the thought of a visit after last time, but you have really got me wondering, especially because she said "romantic weekend." Again, free bed & breakfast, anyone??? Well, I guess I'm going to have to stay confused....because I ain't calling her to find out!!!  ;)

You know, based on her erratic behavior (on the phone, with me) the last several months, I think she sounds overwrought. I think she might be overwhelmed with the kids and everything, and she's angry and frustrated because it wasn't her choice to take them in the first place.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: doodlemor on January 19, 2013, 01:46:28 PM

Another poster said they think it was just an excuse to get down here and dump the kids on us. That's certainly possible. (Why SIS would possibly think that would be a viable alternative, I don't know. I can't explain anything she says or does lately.) I am really confused as to what she wanted. I'm leaving it with "happens to be coming down the weekend following Valentine's Day," because I can see it falls on a Thursday this year.  I will leave it at that, hoping that's what she meant. I didn't give it *too* much thought because it was never a real possibility that my husband would even countenance the thought of a visit after last time, but you have really got me wondering, especially because she said "romantic weekend." Again, free bed & breakfast, anyone??? Well, I guess I'm going to have to stay confused....because I ain't calling her to find out!!!  ;)

You know, based on her erratic behavior (on the phone, with me) the last several months, I think she sounds overwrought. I think she might be overwhelmed with the kids and everything, and she's angry and frustrated because it wasn't her choice to take them in the first place.

I'm so sorry that you have this difficult situation to deal with when you don't feel well, mrkitty. 

You are such a kind person!  I get the impression that even though you know intellectually what a scammer/moocher your sister is, the situation is still pulling at your heartstrings a bit.  You are doing the right thing by cutting her off and not falling for any more of her shenanigans, though.  The only one who can fix your sister is herself.

I'm one of the people who thinks that she is planning to dump the children on you.  If you let them come I bet that they would disappear for hours, or maybe even days.  I agree that sister is probably overwhelmed with caring for two young children and such a selfish husband.

I wonder if BIL really cares about his grandchildren, or if he thinks the foster child stipend is his money to spend.  I'm very relieved that you and DH are planning to call CP to check on the situation.

It sounds like they live too far away to ever just show up at your door.  However, if that were to happen I think that you would have to refuse them entry.  Even if sister shows up alone you would need to be extremely cautious.  I wouldn't put it past them to come up with some sort of tag team plot to get into your home.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: sammycat on January 19, 2013, 08:43:14 PM
In your situation, I would....

Ignore any calls from Sis and BIL.

Not send them money, or anything else.

Call the authorities in regards to the children.  They don't deserve this screwed up version of life.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: EMuir on January 19, 2013, 09:50:38 PM
I think this situation pretty much solves itself if you call the authorities to check on their children and let them know you did it.  Children get monitored, they never talk to you. :)
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: kudeebee on January 19, 2013, 10:04:33 PM
Do not feel guilty, you have done nothing wrong.  I would not believe what she says; she is trying to play on your emotions to get you to give them money.

Do not take the calls, do not answer the emails.  I would read them; them delete or file in a folder, whichever you prefer.  If they show up on your doorstep, do not answer the door or let them in.  If by chance they do show up and leave the kids outside your door, call the police and let them deal with the situation.  The kids are not your responsibility, you don't even know them; so it would be a police matter relating to abandonment.

I personally would not call the authorities.  You do not know if what sis is saying is true or not.  If they are in the foster care system, they should be under the watch of a case worker. But, it is your call.

Cut them out of your lives and you will enjoy having less drama!
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Venus193 on January 20, 2013, 06:11:19 AM
My recommendation is to file the e-mails in case you need them for a future legal action.  Call CPS about the children, and don't let these people into your lives.  If they show up and demand entrance, call the police.

Don't claim not to know them, but explain that this is a safety issue.  You can't afford to tell lies about them just in case this leads to a legal situation.  You need to be as pure as Caesar's wife.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: kherbert05 on January 20, 2013, 09:14:41 AM
Call CPS and get them copies of any voice mails or e-mails that indicate the children are not being cared for. Family placement for foster care is often the first option. The idea being that the children are with familiar people that love them, and who often were the ones reaching out to authorities to help the kids. I've seen it be a wonderful thing. I've also seen it be a complete disasters.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 12:32:54 PM
That is really good advice, thank you for that. I have kept all communications from SIS including email and voicemail. (Mostly, that's because that's what we do when it rankles - keep it, so you can obsess over how offended you are for decades to come. Oh, we might forgive, but never forget in our family.....  ;)) but actually, in this case, it isn't rankling so much as it is concerning. And keeping the communications for the sake of practical considerations is very good advice that I intend to keep.

As for calling the authorities, I am now on the fence. On the one hand, I don't KNOW with any certainty that what she's said is remotely true. And my concern is that I would simply be calling the authorities to "punish" her or for retaliation in some way....so I need to be real careful and check myself to insure I'm doing the right thing for the right reasons before I proceed. And not take too much time about it, because if the kids ARE being harmed in any way, they need help NOW, not later.

On the other hand, it could be that she is indeed just trying to manipulate me by pulling my guilt strings. Or, that she is overwrought and stressed out from the responsibility. And it could be true that BIL lost his job, though I can't confirm that either way. If they ARE having financial hardships that could affect the children, I don't have the means, currently, to help out; but perhaps the state can help them locate financial assistance or affordable housing solutions, if needed. I would imagine that the system would prefer to keep the kids in the same home they've come to know if it is possible - and through that process, ensure that SIS and her husband have access to the proper resources for their care.

Plus, I imagine that since the children are attending school, that the teachers (particularly of the special needs child) would be highly trained and able to tell if nutritional needs are being met or if they are being neglected in some way. I hope.

At the end of the day, though, BIL's employment status being a mystery to me, I know one thing: nobody in my family has great coping skills. We do tend to panic and freak out, and go on the emotional attack. Based on my knowledge of my sister, I am reasonably sure that is what her behavior is about. She's stressed out and overwhelmed. And if that's true, then maybe some additional resources need to be made available to her to help manage the care of two children, one of whom has some pretty intense care needs - which could be difficult for a regular person to handle, much less someone with our family's notoriously poor coping skills.

So maybe a call would help, then. Maybe the kids won't get removed or SIS in trouble....maybe they can make sure they are getting the resources they need.

Or, maybe I'm just rationalizing and need to leave the whole thing alone and trust the professionals who work with them to get involved if there really is a problem. I have never met the children and have no biological or familial ties to them; however, I DO have a generic concern for their well-being as I would for any members of society.  Really, I just want to walk away and forget about the whole thing and just get my own life figured out. But then, I feel if I do that, maybe I'm shirking my duty as a citizen to two other very vulnerable members of society??? Or am I sticking my nose where it doesn't belong and making trouble?

I just don't know. Just don't know.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Venus193 on January 20, 2013, 12:42:40 PM
I see nothing wrong with taking her at her word, making the call, and letting your sister and BIL take the consequences of their actions because that (unlike anything you or other family members have said) might make them realize their dysfunction (the best word I can think of at the moment).
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Amara on January 20, 2013, 12:42:49 PM
Perhaps you might want to give yourself a certain amount of time to mull this over, perhaps in discussion with your DH or another trustworthy person and commit to making your decision at the end of that time (a day, a week, or whatever time frame works best for you). I think you could use a "decide by" date so you don't keep putting the decision off. Other than that, I wish you the best in this difficult time.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 20, 2013, 12:48:22 PM
I wouldn't think it to be a bad idea to call CPS. I think unless the children are in imminent danger they won't remove them from their home and will try to help the family so that the kids can stay there.

Such as giving them the resources to help the parents, direct them to where they can go for help, etc.  They don't want to remove the kids if at all avoidable.  And it sounds like your sis could use some help in dealing with things.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 12:53:31 PM
Hmmmm. Very good advice.  I will think about it.

Bottom line: if there is no problem, and I call, but have the voicemails from SIS, the authorities can decide if/when/whom should have any consequences at all, and if she needs mental help, get some for her. And, maybe demonstrate that there ARE consequences for stuff you pull.
And, if there IS a genuine problem, then the situation can be properly looked after by experts who have actual training. Plus, no more worry about it.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: doodlemor on January 20, 2013, 01:06:46 PM
Is there any way that you could play the voicemail about the child to CP?  If sister is playing wolf, she should be called on it.  If she is making the whole thing up she needs to start understanding how bizarre this type of behavior is, how far she deviates from accepted norms.

I was a mandated reporter for many years.  Iris is presently a mandated reporter, and in another thread she gave a good explanation of when to report.  According to Iris, and what I was told, it is not the responsibility of the person reporting to judge the depth or importance of a perceived problem.  A reporter is just someone who brings an issue to the attention of the authorities who will be required to look into a situation, and would have some power to deal with it.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 01:11:17 PM
Is there any way that you could play the voicemail about the child to CP?  If sister is playing wolf, she should be called on it.  If she is making the whole thing up she needs to start understanding how bizarre this type of behavior is, how far she deviates from accepted norms.

I was a mandated reporter for many years.  Iris is presently a mandated reporter, and in another thread she gave a good explanation of when to report.  According to Iris, and what I was told, it is not the responsibility of the person reporting to judge the depth or importance of a perceived problem.  A reporter is just someone who brings an issue to the attention of the authorities who will be required to look into a situation, and would have some power to deal with it.



Ohhh. That makes sense. And, I feel better. I do have the voicemails and the ability to forward messages. I assume then when they get the call they can then decide what to do, if anything. Thank you!

Problem solved. The drama-free way.  :) Thank all of you for your wise and compassionate counsel - you're helping more than you could possibly know.  ;D
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: cicero on January 20, 2013, 01:21:26 PM
As for calling the authorities, I am now on the fence. On the one hand, I don't KNOW with any certainty that what she's said is remotely true. And my concern is that I would simply be calling the authorities to "punish" her or for retaliation in some way....so I need to be real careful and check myself to insure I'm doing the right thing for the right reasons before I proceed. And not take too much time about it, because if the kids ARE being harmed in any way, they need help NOW, not later.

On the other hand, it could be that she is indeed just trying to manipulate me by pulling my guilt strings. Or, that she is overwrought and stressed out from the responsibility. And it could be true that BIL lost his job, though I can't confirm that either way. If they ARE having financial hardships that could affect the children, I don't have the means, currently, to help out; but perhaps the state can help them locate financial assistance or affordable housing solutions, if needed. I would imagine that the system would prefer to keep the kids in the same home they've come to know if it is possible - and through that process, ensure that SIS and her husband have access to the proper resources for their care.

Plus, I imagine that since the children are attending school, that the teachers (particularly of the special needs child) would be highly trained and able to tell if nutritional needs are being met or if they are being neglected in some way. I hope.



CPS are not monsters who are out to *get* your sister. they are interested in the best interest of the children. they are often over worked/under staffed and have to rely on "the world" to help them look out for the kids.

and teachers don't always notice things, and children don't always admit to problems

I say make the call and hopefully it will be a false alarm. wouldn't you rather call "for nothing" than *not* call when you should have? I know that I would. you are correct that you don't know if your sister is telling the truth - but you don't know if she isn't. and you don't know if she is maniupulating you, or not. but why take a chance when children's well being is at stake?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Minmom3 on January 20, 2013, 01:51:38 PM
Something to think about - would you feel worse for making that phone call and 'stirring the pot' only to find that Sis was actually fine (if a drama llama) and that they didn't need anything - or NOT making the call and finding out later that it would have been a good idea?  Sis already has drama in her life, and may not be handling it well, BUT she and her husband have already burned their bridges with you and your DH, so you have no relationship to salvage.  Who else is there who can stand up for the children?  Would anybody else in your family do it?  When push comes to shove, the welfare of the children is what really matters - is calling CPS going to harm them?  A little extra drama might have the worthy end result that your sister and her husband get the help they really do need, and YOU can't make that determination due to distance and baggage.  Let CPS make the decision for the children.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 01:58:53 PM
Oh dear! I hope I did not give the impression that I think social workers or other professionals are vindictive or looking to sanction people...I'm terribly sorry for creating that idea!  :'(

(The reason I said what I did is because I watch Judge Judy and it seems people are always calling CPS on each other for vindictive reasons whether it's legit or not just to cause trouble for someone they don't like...and it seems the system does.not.appreciate. having nuisance calls made----I was trying to ensure that were I to make a report, that it is only for the right reasons and NOT because I've been irked by my sister. I don't think I'm rotten enough to do something like that...but I recognize that I have lived to regret some of my more rash decisions in the past - and I'm trying to grow as a person and be more careful about my behavior and think things through - I don't want to hurt anyone or cause problems).

I think you're right though, because all I have at my disposal is my sister's own words. And if there is any chance that something's amiss, then that's why the system is there - so trained professionals can find out if they need to look into something. Even if everything is fine and she's just saying stuff, then I'm sure everyone will simply be relieved that everything is fine. I just don't want to waste their time - but it isn't, because I DON'T KNOW for sure that everything is fine.

So call I will. Just to make sure that everything is ok. But, again, I'm so sorry insulting anyone :(
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 02:13:30 PM
Something to think about - would you feel worse for making that phone call and 'stirring the pot' only to find that Sis was actually fine (if a drama llama) and that they didn't need anything - or NOT making the call and finding out later that it would have been a good idea?  Sis already has drama in her life, and may not be handling it well, BUT she and her husband have already burned their bridges with you and your DH, so you have no relationship to salvage.  Who else is there who can stand up for the children?  Would anybody else in your family do it?  When push comes to shove, the welfare of the children is what really matters - is calling CPS going to harm them?  A little extra drama might have the worthy end result that your sister and her husband get the help they really do need, and YOU can't make that determination due to distance and baggage. Let CPS make the decision for the children.



Those are very good points you made. Especially the bolded. And you're right - I'm the last family member with whom she's had any relationship in the last several years. And now that's over. So, I will undertake my responsibility as a citizen as would any other citizen, having been (verbally) made aware of certain concerns. I am not psychic. So, I have to operate on that basis. Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: wheeitsme on January 20, 2013, 02:20:20 PM
And think on this.  If you sent money for food for the little one...what makes you think it would be spent on that?
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 02:25:30 PM
And think on this.  If you sent money for food for the little one...what makes you think it would be spent on that?

Exactly. It would probably be spent on one of her $150 hair styles or another purse.  >:(
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 20, 2013, 04:08:46 PM
Actually I didn't get the impression that you were saying anything against social services at all!! Just hesitant and worried it could cause trouble unnecessarily if there wasn't a problem.

Though even if the boy is actually alright, and not starving, I don't really get the impression those children are in the best environment from what you've said about your BIL.  You know how it is to be raised in a dysfunctional household and if he has the attitude that he's entitled to the money sent to him, I can imagine that's the sort of attitude CPS would frown on since that money is meant for the family to spend on the kids, not the parents.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: ------ on January 20, 2013, 04:40:02 PM
Actually I didn't get the impression that you were saying anything against social services at all!! Just hesitant and worried it could cause trouble unnecessarily if there wasn't a problem.

Though even if the boy is actually alright, and not starving, I don't really get the impression those children are in the best environment from what you've said about your BIL.  You know how it is to be raised in a dysfunctional household and if he has the attitude that he's entitled to the money sent to him, I can imagine that's the sort of attitude CPS would frown on since that money is meant for the family to spend on the kids, not the parents.



Ohhh, definitely! You don't know how very, very right you are, my dear Piratelvr1121. I mean, frankly, even *I* am appalled by some of what I've heard; though, I  cannot vouch for the truth of what SIS tells me.
Title: Re: Guests and Alcohol...or, Am I a Bad Host?
Post by: cicero on January 21, 2013, 06:57:55 AM
Oh dear! I hope I did not give the impression that I think social workers or other professionals are vindictive or looking to sanction people...I'm terribly sorry for creating that idea!  :'(


No, you didn't give that impression at all.

just, as piratelvr said - you seemed to be hesitating, and i know that people sometimes hesitate because they are afraid of causing more harm than good, or of 'making waves" unnecessarily, or becuse they are afraid that CPS are overworked and don't want to "bother " them over something that may or may not be valid. let the professionals decide if Sis is telling the truth or not.

I hope things work out for these children.