Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 05:50:21 AM

Title: Used for accommodation? Updated for More info #68
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 05:50:21 AM
I have an old roommate who I keep in touch with on facebook and occasional phonecalls, but life has taken us in different directions over the past 7 years and I moved away from London and she got married and has daughters aged 2 and 4. 
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend? Again, yes, that was fine, it would be lovely to see them, it really would. I had last seen the oldest child when she was less than 2 and not met the youngest at all.

I don't have children and don't have any experience of looking after toddlers. Now, please don't think I'm anti kids, I think they're hilarious and can be very cute, it's just not a part of my life and out of my comfort zone.

So, I made up the spare double room for my friend and her husband and cleared the box room and made up a single bed in there for the 4 year old and there was just about enough space for the travel cot for the 2 year old with a bit of a squeeze.  I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc. She asked if I had something to feed the children first and so I dug out some beans on toast, made that and the kids were fed and bathed and put to bed. Not before her asking to please borrow a mattress protector as the 4 year old wets the bed (I don't have one, so had to supply garbage bags and towels under the sheet and hope for the best).  I then got takeout for the three of us and offered to open a bottle of wine but they declined. It was almost 9pm by the time we got to eat and they went to bed not long after 10pm due to the long drive etc. I showed them where everything was before they went to bed, made sure they had towels and everything they needed and told them to help themselves to anything if the kids got up super early and were fussing etc.

Saturday morning the kids got up at 5.45am. Help!  I heard them all go downstairs (parents and kids) and put the tv on so I went back to sleep for a bit and then went down at 7.30am. There was half eaten cereal in bowls around the room, squashed food (grapes and bits of cereal) all over the table, my cat was hiding under a chair, all the sofa cushions had been piled into the middle of the floor and were being jumped on and there was an incredible stench of pee. I checked they had everything they needed, put on some fresh coffee, then quietly took my friend aside to ask if there had been a toilet accident, or perhaps it was my cat, which was very new and maybe got scared and maybe I should check for a puddle? She said she couldn't smell anything and I must be very sensitive to smells. It was a stench! Turned out to be a very wet nappy.

Eventually they took the kids upstairs to get ready to go out so I stayed downstairs out of the way as there is only one bathroom/toilet.  Once they were ready to go they headed off for the day for the wedding and I washed up, wiped the surfaces and put all the cushions back etc (and a bunch of ornaments and little things that I found scattered around the place) and was finally able to get out of my pjs and robe! Later in the day I heard the cat scrabbling around and went into their room to find 3 dirty and stinky nappies in a loosely tied plastic bag on the floor and the stench of pee was incredible in the room. I put them in the bin outside and opened the window. I couldn't believe they would just leave them on my bedroom floor?!

They arrived back at 9pm that evening and put the kids straight to bed. We chatted for around an hour or so and it was really nice to catch up with them, but they were understandably tired and went to bed around 10.30pm.

Sunday morning was a replay of saturday morning. The kids were up before 6am and my friend's DH went downstairs with them. I went down a little after 7am as it was pretty noisey and I also felt guilty for not being more welcoming/hostessy. Remains of food were everywhere, cushions were all piled in the middle of the floor and one child was swinging the draft excluder around her head and threatening to knock things off shelves.  I chatted to my friend's DH for a while, helped the kids with some colouring etc and then my friend came down around 9am.  The snow was getting quite heavy and the forecast for London was worse so they started talking about leaving and heading home soon.  Then my friend said she felt a bit bad because we hadn't really seen each other all weekend and kind of left it hanging. I felt like she wanted permission to leave and for me to say it wasn't rude, and because of the bad weather etc I honestly felt they should leave sooner rather than later so I said it was fine, I didn't want the to get stuck travelling etc. 

By the time they were ready to leave and I had looked after the kids while they packed and loaded the car (still in my pjs and robe, no opportunity to get in the bathroom), it was 11.30am. They thanked me for letting them stay and we did the whole 'we must do this again sometime' and they left. I went round and cleaned up the house again, putting sheets and towels in the wash etc.

I texted my friend a few hours later to ask if they'd got home ok in all the snow but had no reply. I haven't heard anything since and it was 2 weeks ago now.

I know having two toddlers is hard and they were tired from their activities and I don't want to unfairly judge, but I feel like they basically just came and used my house as free accommodation and i'm a bit peeved to be honest.  Don't etiquette rules apply anymore?

If I go to stay with someone I take something (bottle of wine, box of chocs, flowers or something), I tidy up after myself, help with the washing up and I either text or email to thank them when I get home. Or is it that this is the way it is when you have young kids and I've just not been aware of it before?
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: cicero on February 04, 2013, 06:06:16 AM
Or is it that this is the way it is when you have young kids and I've just not been aware of it before?
no, this is the way it is when you are rude. (i mean your friend)

you can have young kids, and you can be messy, but when you go to someone's house you contain your mess best you can, and you say thank you (send flowers after the fact, bring a bottle of wine, something. and no, leaving a bag full of... um full nappies is *not* a gift).

I think that, as host, you could have said somethign about the early wake up call, the mess in the LR, and definitely something about them leaving a bag of nappies in the room! (my sister used to do this, and i would call her on it). I understand that having two little ones, and being stressed and tired and away from home can muddle your mind a bit, but really? taking the bag out with you should be automatic.

and i think you did good on *not* encouraging them to stay on.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: wallaby on February 04, 2013, 06:37:57 AM
Gosh... yes it does sound like they just used you for the free accommodation. Your etiquette expectations were nothing out of the ordinary as far as I'm concerned.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Redsoil on February 04, 2013, 07:05:30 AM
Your so-called "friend" was extremely rude, and basically used you.  No thank you, or even letting you know they'd returned home safely and received your text?  I don't care how "busy" she thinks she is - 20 seconds to send a text is not beyond any person with the least idea of courtesy or gratefulness for a huge favour done by letting them stay with you. 

I wouldn't bother maintaining contact, but that's just how I'd react.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on February 04, 2013, 07:23:47 AM
I agree she was rude. I get that maybe after a long drive you might be tired, and also after a long day, at a wedding. But, if i were your friend, i would have at least said, hey, i know we will be busy with the wedding sat, etc. but we'd love to take you out for breakfast/brunch on sunday before we go, or would have at least brought something maybe to have sat or sunday for breakfast.

It does sound like they just used you for a free place to stay. I also know if my kids were up that early, I'd be up with them as well, just to make sure they didn't make a lot of noise, mess, etc.  The way you describe things, they treated your home like a hotel.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Knitterly on February 04, 2013, 07:25:46 AM
I've been treated rudely like that once, too.  Only without the SO and kids.  I posted about it here about a year(ish) ago. 

At the very least, your "friend" should have thanked you.  She had the time to ask you, so it shouldn't be so hard to find the time to thank you by the same medium.

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: pearls n purls on February 04, 2013, 07:51:57 AM
Sounds like they got a free hotel stay that included maid service and a cook. 

They were incredibly rude.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Winterlight on February 04, 2013, 08:13:36 AM
I think that in future I'd be unable to accomodate them. Ever.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 04, 2013, 08:18:39 AM
Sounds like they got a free hotel stay that included maid service and a cook. 

They were incredibly rude.

This.  You were totally used and they were terrible house guests.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: mmswm on February 04, 2013, 08:20:41 AM
I have three kids with only three years between number 1 and number 3.  I would never even consider behaving the way your friends did, no matter how exhausted I was.  One of my children had bed wetting problems until quite recently.  I've stayed with friends and always either run to a discount store to buy a mattress protector or brought one with me.  I've also always asked to use the washing machine if necessary.  They're my kids.  It's my responsibility to clean up after them.  Period.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: bopper on February 04, 2013, 08:34:22 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 08:46:09 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.

I did expect them to be out for most of saturday, that is true. However I did expect a bit more time with them on Friday night (which may have been naive considering the whole children's tea and bathing/bedtime thing) and I guess for them to be a bit more grateful/helpful?  They helped themselves to everything in my house (which is fine, I told them to make themselves at home) but they didn't make the slightest effort to clean up afterwards - going out for the day on saturday and then leaving on sunday with the remains of 4 breakfasts dotted around the living room, spilled food on the dining table, cups and mugs in random places, not even put back at least next to the sink, their kids had piled all the sofa cushions in the middle of the floor, bathroom looked like a bomb had hit it and nappies in a bag on the bedroom floor.

Then not replying when I'd checked in to see if they made it home, given the really bad weather?
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Thipu1 on February 04, 2013, 08:50:52 AM
Amen.  The OP was badly used. 

People do grow apart and change over the years, but this is ridiculous.

Having children is no excuse for leaving messes any longer than absolutely necessary.  It's possible that the parents are so used to the smell of wet diapers that it doesn't register with them.  They still should appropriately dispose of them them instead of leaving them around for the host to get rid of.  If you know your child has a bed-wetting problem, you bring a pad with you. 

Also, a four-year-old should know at least the basics of being a guest.  A child of that age can eat neatly.  We've eaten out with grand-nieces and nephews who did just fine. 

The lack of any communication since the visit is the most maddening part of this story.  The guests leave in an intensifying snow storm and don't even notify their host that they got home safely?  In our circles, that's unheard of.

Any self-respecting guest would do something to thank the host.  At the very least, the guests should
pay for a meal.

If she wanted to be evil, the OP should plan a visit to London in the near future. 
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: bloo on February 04, 2013, 08:52:11 AM
Your expectations were normal, you were a very good host, but your friend was rude in her behavior. In her situation I would not have stayed with you because of the work involved of being a family with two small kids that weren't potty-trained. It's a lot of trouble for guests and host. I'd have stayed in a hotel.

The only persons I spent the night with were our best friends (also had young kids and we tripped over each other not to step on toes) and my parents.

With my parents, if I'd behaved like your friend, my mom would've felt comfortable putting a metaphorical foot up my backside and I'd have taken it cause that's my mom and obviously I needed it AND it takes a lot to make my mom mad!

I'd discourage future visits.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 09:00:01 AM
If she wanted to be evil, the OP should plan a visit to London in the near future.

Lol! Unfortunately they have a tiny '2 up, 2 down' house which means guests have to sleep on a mattress on the living floor. The front door and the stairs are both off the living room, so it's not ideal. That's partly why I haven't seen them in 2 years! I'm fortunate to have a spare double room, and a box room which is suitable for very small people.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Penguin_ar on February 04, 2013, 09:27:33 AM
I have three kids under 5.  Some things like early wake up times (especially with the travel and wedding excitement)  can't be helped, and your nose may indeed be sensitive about pee smell (I couldn't usually smell a peed diaper in a closed plastic bag, and would have done the same thing there to dispose of it away from your house when we left).  But yes, she did use you.  They should at the very last have cleaned up after themselves, and brought you a  present, and said thank you after they left.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Mental Magpie on February 04, 2013, 09:49:58 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.

I have to agree with bopper.  If a friend called to ask if they could stay while attending a wedding, I would expect them to be so busy with the wedding and associated activities, even unplanned ones, that I would kind of expect to be treated like a hotel.  That being said, not cleaning up after yourself is rude.  She could have at least tried to minimize their impact on your house.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: delabela on February 04, 2013, 10:03:54 AM
I don't think you were used.  I think they weren't the best guests ever, but the clear expectation for the trip was that the purpose was for them to go to the wedding.  You offered to make food or order takeout when they arrived - you can't blame them for taking you up on that.  For all you know, they could have been about to ask you where the nearest store is when you made your offer.  Kids get up early, and in a strange place, sometimes they get up super early.  Kids move stuff around.  Now, they should have picked up after themselves, definitely.  And the parents should have immediately cut off any activity that could have damaged your stuff.  But kids are certainly a disruption.

Someone earlier suggested they should have offered to take you to breakfast - I would not have done that - eating in a restaurant with young children requires most attention on them, and can be stressful for people without children to deal with. 
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: MariaE on February 04, 2013, 10:05:33 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.

I have to agree with bopper.  If a friend called to ask if they could stay while attending a wedding, I would expect them to be so busy with the wedding and associated activities, even unplanned ones, that I would kind of expect to be treated like a hotel.  That being said, not cleaning up after yourself is rude.  She could have at least tried to minimize their impact on your house.

Exactly. I think that's the only thing she did wrong. Based on the way she phrased the question I would have expected very little quality time with her.

Delabela posted while I was typing - POD to her as well.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 04, 2013, 10:19:08 AM
I don't think you were used.  I think they weren't the best guests ever, but the clear expectation for the trip was that the purpose was for them to go to the wedding.  You offered to make food or order takeout when they arrived - you can't blame them for taking you up on that.  For all you know, they could have been about to ask you where the nearest store is when you made your offer.  Kids get up early, and in a strange place, sometimes they get up super early.  Kids move stuff around.  Now, they should have picked up after themselves, definitely.  And the parents should have immediately cut off any activity that could have damaged your stuff.  But kids are certainly a disruption.

Someone earlier suggested they should have offered to take you to breakfast - I would not have done that - eating in a restaurant with young children requires most attention on them, and can be stressful for people without children to deal with.

No, they don't, not if they are in someone else's home and have adequate supervision.

And the OP asked prior to their arrival what food to have on hand for the kids and the mom said she'd bring everything.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: delabela on February 04, 2013, 10:28:32 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Tabby Uprising on February 04, 2013, 10:28:52 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.

I have to agree with bopper.  If a friend called to ask if they could stay while attending a wedding, I would expect them to be so busy with the wedding and associated activities, even unplanned ones, that I would kind of expect to be treated like a hotel.  That being said, not cleaning up after yourself is rude.  She could have at least tried to minimize their impact on your house.

This is my line of thinking as well.  I think they certainly should have been tidier and cleaned up after themselves, but if a friend asked me if they could stay at my house to attend a nearby event, I wouldn't have expectations of much social time with them.  It's more like asking a favor of someone as opposed to asking to visit with someone.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on February 04, 2013, 10:33:14 AM
Quote
Anyway, she recently phoned and asked if they could stay with me overnight as they were attending a wedding near me in 10 days time.  I said yes, of course, then she asked if actually, could they stay for two nights - The night before and after the wedding, the whole weekend?

Yes, she used you for accomodation, but on the other hand, that is what she said she wanted?  If someone said something like that to me, I would assume that they were there mostly for the wedding, wanted a free place to stay, and would spend a little time with me.  I would then agree to that or not agree to that.  You seemed to have been expecting a proper visit, which she never said would happen.

I have to agree with bopper.  If a friend called to ask if they could stay while attending a wedding, I would expect them to be so busy with the wedding and associated activities, even unplanned ones, that I would kind of expect to be treated like a hotel.  That being said, not cleaning up after yourself is rude.  She could have at least tried to minimize their impact on your house.

I agree with this, to a point. I might not expect my guest to be able to spend a lot of time with me, as they purpose for their visit is a wedding, or some other event. That being said, I would at least expect them to clean up after themselves, say thank you in some way, and be a gracious guest, none of which the OP's friend did. They let their kids run wild, did't pick up after themselves, and expected the OP to have stuff in case their one child wet the bed.  Not good guests.

I know I will sometimes stay with my cousin on the way to my mom's, and while the visit is short; I usually arrive in the afternoon, beforer she gets home (I have a key) and leave very early the next morning, I take care not to make a mess, strip the bed, and put my towels and sheets by the laundry, and also offer to take her out to eat, which 9 times out of 10, she declines, but I offer. Or I'll bring something with me, that she can't get, such a bagels, as a thank you.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: siamesecat2965 on February 04, 2013, 10:36:33 AM
Someone earlier suggested they should have offered to take you to breakfast - I would not have done that - eating in a restaurant with young children requires most attention on them, and can be stressful for people without children to deal with.

that was me, and I still stand by my statement they could have at least offered something, whether it be to take them out, or maybe go out and pick up bagels or donuts for breakfast.   I guess I just look at it from my perspective, and what I would do if I were staying with a friend, even to attend another event.  I'd defintiely make the offer, and leave it up to the hostess to accept or decline.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: heartmug on February 04, 2013, 10:41:33 AM
Sounds like they got a free hotel stay that included maid service and a cook. 

They were incredibly rude.

POD.  For all of the money you were saving them on hotel bills, a thank you gift would have been nice and also a follow-up call or text.  ("Yes we got home safely, thank you for asking and thank you for having us.")
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 04, 2013, 11:04:50 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.

This is also from the OP which says the mom said she'd bring things for the kids. I took the OP to mean the what would they like to do for the adult meal, not the kids.

I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 11:08:36 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.

This is also from the OP which says the mom said she'd bring things for the kids. I took the OP to mean the what would they like to do for the adult meal, not the kids.

I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

Yes, this is right. I should have been clearer in the OP. I asked what they would like to do for dinner, I could cook or we could get takeout (meaning adults), and I then asked what she would like to do for the kids because she had said she would bring things for them. That's when she asked if I had beans on toast or anything like that.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Yvaine on February 04, 2013, 11:21:10 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.

This is also from the OP which says the mom said she'd bring things for the kids. I took the OP to mean the what would they like to do for the adult meal, not the kids.

I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

Yes, this is right. I should have been clearer in the OP. I asked what they would like to do for dinner, I could cook or we could get takeout (meaning adults), and I then asked what she would like to do for the kids because she had said she would bring things for them. That's when she asked if I had beans on toast or anything like that.

It rings weird with me, somehow, to provide dinner to the adults but not the kids. I figure if it's more of a "hotel" situation, the guests would provide both the adult food and the kid food for themselves, and if it's more host/guest, it seems more hospitable to host all the guests and not just the adults. I don't have kids so I may not know how this is generally done, though.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 11:26:56 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.

This is also from the OP which says the mom said she'd bring things for the kids. I took the OP to mean the what would they like to do for the adult meal, not the kids.

I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

Yes, this is right. I should have been clearer in the OP. I asked what they would like to do for dinner, I could cook or we could get takeout (meaning adults), and I then asked what she would like to do for the kids because she had said she would bring things for them. That's when she asked if I had beans on toast or anything like that.

It rings weird with me, somehow, to provide dinner to the adults but not the kids. I figure if it's more of a "hotel" situation, the guests would provide both the adult food and the kid food for themselves, and if it's more host/guest, it seems more hospitable to host all the guests and not just the adults. I don't have kids so I may not know how this is generally done, though.

Because my friend had specifically said in advance, when I asked what food her kids ate, "don't worry, I'll bring pretty much everything they need", and so I had only picked a few things like plenty of fruit, some juice, things like that. I assumed she wanted to sort them out herself.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on February 04, 2013, 11:31:19 AM
I've 'used' friends for accommodation on a few occasions.  But the difference is that I do my best to be as unobtrusive as possible.  I bring a hostess gift, I help out around the house, doing the dishes after a meal and stripping the bed before I leave (I always ask first - some people don't want you to do that).  I don't leave a mess behind for my host/ess to clean up, beyond what they'd have to clean up had I not stayed.

I realize that is more difficult with toddlers but it does seem like this 'friend' didn't make much of an effort.

The really telling point for me is that the OP's 'friend' didn't respond to the text, asking if they got home safely.  That's kind of a rotten thing to do to someone you claim is a friend.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: gramma dishes on February 04, 2013, 11:37:26 AM
When I first began reading your initial post, I thought you were going to say they attended all the wedding events and left the kids with you.  At least they (apparently) didn't spring baby sitting services on you too, but that's about the only acceptable thing your "guests" did.

No, I don't think you had any reason to expect them to spend a lot of time with you catching up as they had been quite clear when making the request that they'd be spending very little time with you and they just wanted to stay with you for what basically amounts to financial reasons.

However, that does NOT excuse their allowing their children to totally dishevel your home and leave smelly, messy artifacts from their presence all over your house.  Who does that?

I also had three children and the oldest was four when the youngest was born, but I assure you that when we visited ANYwhere, even at my parents' and my husband's parents' homes -- or even hotels/motels, you'd have never known we had even been there after we left and I think that's as it should be.  No child should be allowed to turn someone else's home into an amusement park in the first place and even moreso then leave it without putting it back as they found it.

If these same people "need" to use someone's home as a hotel again in the future, perhaps it should not be yours.   :-\
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 04, 2013, 11:39:11 AM
On arriving on Friday night, after being shown to their rooms and helping unload the car I asked what they wanted to do for dinner. I could cook, or we could get takeout etc.

Hmmmmm, this is from the OP, and why I made that statement.

I certainly acknowledge that I may have different behavior expectations.

This is also from the OP which says the mom said she'd bring things for the kids. I took the OP to mean the what would they like to do for the adult meal, not the kids.

I also bought a few bits and pieces I thought the kids might eat and figured I could pop to the corner shop in an emergency, but my friend had said she would pretty much bring everything they needed and not to worry about that.

Yes, this is right. I should have been clearer in the OP. I asked what they would like to do for dinner, I could cook or we could get takeout (meaning adults), and I then asked what she would like to do for the kids because she had said she would bring things for them. That's when she asked if I had beans on toast or anything like that.

It rings weird with me, somehow, to provide dinner to the adults but not the kids. I figure if it's more of a "hotel" situation, the guests would provide both the adult food and the kid food for themselves, and if it's more host/guest, it seems more hospitable to host all the guests and not just the adults. I don't have kids so I may not know how this is generally done, though.

It was quiet common amongst my friends when the kids were young.  While I know there are a ton of kids who are very open to lots of food, at age 2 & 4, it was easier for us to let the kids have a separate meal versus limiting our hosts to things the kids would like.  So if our hosts wanted to order in spicy Thai food or go out for sushi that was perfectly fine because I'd brought along something my kids would eat.

Even dinner gatherings amongst our friends usually included a separate meal served at a separate time for the youngest guests with a more adult friendly meal served later. 

I know many posters see this as "different levels of hospitality" for different guests. But as the parent of these guests, I really would have preferred a different level of hospitality for my kids versus being concerned about finding something they'd eat from the local Indian takeout.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Yvaine on February 04, 2013, 11:41:10 AM
I know many posters see this as "different levels of hospitality" for different guests. But as the parent of these guests, I really would have preferred a different level of hospitality for my kids versus being concerned about finding something they'd eat from the local Indian takeout.

Oh, fear not, I'm not trying to get the debate about different types of food started again.  ;D Just whether the host should provide food of some kind to child guests or whether that's only on the parent.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: BeagleMommy on February 04, 2013, 11:43:35 AM
OP, your friend and her family behaved abysmally.  DH and I traveled with DS from the time he was an infant.  We always made sure we brought anything that was necessary for the comfort of our baby and the convenience of those who were accommodating us.

If the children are up at the first beam of light then mom or dad should be up with them.  That way they can ensure no havoc is wrought on the home.  My DS would not have been allowed to pile sofa cushions on the floor because "this is not our house".  I most certainly would have made sure to dispose of used diapers in the proper manner (not leave a bag of them in the room).

A tiny part of my brain suspects they don't stay at hotels because they get charged an extra cleaning fee due to their children's habits.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: NyaChan on February 04, 2013, 11:49:23 AM
If they were clear that they literally needed a place to stay vs. coming to visit you while also attending a wedding, then I think their transgressions are limited to the disrespect they showed to your home.  As a child, even if I had woken up before anyone else in the house, I knew that it was important to be quiet and also that I wasn't to move things around or mess up my surroundings.  My mom never specifically told me, "if you get up early, you should do x, y, and z" but she never had to.  I was taught the general rule of being respectful and considerate of others.  If I had messed up somehow, my parents would have cleaned it up (or had me do it) and apologized (and then had me apologize too).  If they couldn't trust their kids to do that, they should have had a parent up with them to supervise and also cleaned up whatever mess what made.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: cicero on February 04, 2013, 11:50:56 AM
When I first began reading your initial post, I thought you were going to say they attended all the wedding events and left the kids with you.  At least they (apparently) didn't spring baby sitting services on you too, but that's about the only acceptable thing your "guests" did.

LOL i think we've been hanging around Ehell for too long - that is exactly where *my* mind was going!
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: gramma dishes on February 04, 2013, 11:54:58 AM

...   The snow was getting quite heavy and the forecast for London was worse so they started talking about leaving and heading home soon.  Then my friend said she felt a bit bad because we hadn't really seen each other all weekend and kind of left it hanging. I felt like she wanted permission to leave and for me to say it wasn't rude, and because of the bad weather etc I honestly felt they should leave sooner rather than later so I said it was fine, I didn't want the to get stuck travelling etc.  ...


You know, I went back and reread this part.  Is there even the remotest possibility that rather than hinting that they'd like to cut the visit short because of the increasingly bad weather conditions, what she really might have been hoping for was that you'd invite them to stay another night so they didn't have to drive through the heavy snow and hopefully the roads would have been cleared by morning?
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Hmmmmm on February 04, 2013, 11:56:34 AM

...   The snow was getting quite heavy and the forecast for London was worse so they started talking about leaving and heading home soon.  Then my friend said she felt a bit bad because we hadn't really seen each other all weekend and kind of left it hanging. I felt like she wanted permission to leave and for me to say it wasn't rude, and because of the bad weather etc I honestly felt they should leave sooner rather than later so I said it was fine, I didn't want the to get stuck travelling etc.  ...


You know, I went back and reread this part.  Is there even the remotest possibility that rather than hinting that they'd like to cut the visit short because of the increasingly bad weather conditions, what she really might have been hoping for was that you'd invite them to stay another night so they didn't have to drive through the heavy snow and hopefully the roads would have been cleared by morning?

I felt the same way, that she was hinting for a third night of accomodations. 
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 11:58:21 AM

...   The snow was getting quite heavy and the forecast for London was worse so they started talking about leaving and heading home soon.  Then my friend said she felt a bit bad because we hadn't really seen each other all weekend and kind of left it hanging. I felt like she wanted permission to leave and for me to say it wasn't rude, and because of the bad weather etc I honestly felt they should leave sooner rather than later so I said it was fine, I didn't want the to get stuck travelling etc.  ...


You know, I went back and reread this part.  Is there even the remotest possibility that rather than hinting that they'd like to cut the visit short because of the increasingly bad weather conditions, what she really might have been hoping for was that you'd invite them to stay another night so they didn't have to drive through the heavy snow and hopefully the roads would have been cleared by morning?

I don't think so, her husband had to be at work on Monday morning.  I think she just realised they looked like they were cutting and running.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: cheyne on February 04, 2013, 01:10:20 PM
She's rude.  Was she always a bit entitled when you went to school together?  At the least she should have texted you that they arrived safely then sent a nice thank you note and a gift (or at the very least a phone call thanking you).

I get that this was more of a "place to stay" than a "visit".  However, Friend could have got up Sunday with her kids at 6 am or with you at 7am and spent a couple of hours visiting before they had to pack up and leave.  Friend getting up a 9 am when her hostess is up at 7 am (due to her kids noise and etc...) is pretty rude in my book.

This family treated you like a hotel with full cook, maid and laundry service.  I would never agree to host them again for any reason.

I mean really, who expects a single person to have a mattress protector?  Who leaves a child in a wet diaper that is so strong that you call it a "stench" and then says, "your nose must be too sensitive"?
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: wolfie on February 04, 2013, 01:38:52 PM
  Who leaves a child in a wet diaper that is so strong that you call it a "stench" and then says, "your nose must be too sensitive"?

While I think the guests acted awfully this one could be true. I went to a book club meeting at a friend's house. I walked in and was hit by the smell of cat pee. It almost took my breath away. After talking to about 5 other people who were there I was the only person who smelled it. Seems like I have a sensitive nose for cat pee. The OP could have the same thing. But the solution is not for the OP to live with it - it is for the parents to remove any dirty diapers promptly.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Aeris on February 04, 2013, 01:58:49 PM
I agree with some others that you have to separate the issues a bit here. I don't see a thing wrong with how little time the friend spent chatting and hanging out with the OP. Honestly, I don't really understand how one could expect anything more. They were driving in Friday evening, probably after a full day of work then travel, then having to wrangle the kids for dinner/baths/bedtime. And obviously this family is on an early to bed, early to rise schedule. It's perfectly unsurprising they went to bed so early both evenings. Then the wedding clearly took up the vast majority of Saturday, and then weather on Sunday took a nasty turn.

Where the friend was rude was in allowing her children to mess with things without permission (like the couch cushions), not cleaning up after them, not bringing a hostess gift, and not acknowledging the 'did you get home safe' text. Even if she never received that text, ideally she would have texted independently to say thanks again.

There's no excusing the above, but the OP seems to me more upset by the final comment of the friend about how little time they'd gotten to really spend together. But that's the one major part where I think the friend did *not* actually do anything wrong.

Then my friend said she felt a bit bad because we hadn't really seen each other all weekend and kind of left it hanging. I felt like she wanted permission to leave and for me to say it wasn't rude, and because of the bad weather etc I honestly felt they should leave sooner rather than later so I said it was fine, I didn't want the to get stuck travelling etc.  ...

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Aeris on February 04, 2013, 02:06:58 PM
I get that this was more of a "place to stay" than a "visit".  However, Friend could have got up Sunday with her kids at 6 am or with you at 7am and spent a couple of hours visiting before they had to pack up and leave.  Friend getting up a 9 am when her hostess is up at 7 am (due to her kids noise and etc...) is pretty rude in my book.

I'm not sure I follow this. She probably didn't know her hostess had gotten up at 7am. How would she? From the OP, it sounds like the kids' father was with them, so they weren't unattended. Perhaps she had a headache, or had had a bit of trouble sleeping, and her husband told her to go ahead and get another hour or two of sleep, and that he'd handle the kids. I can't automatically fault the mother for getting an extra bit of sleep - it isn't as though she slept til noon.

None of that excuses the children's loudness, mess making, and general havoc. But that's a separate issue to me.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Margo on February 04, 2013, 02:26:10 PM
If they were clear that they literally needed a place to stay vs. coming to visit you while also attending a wedding, then I think their transgressions are limited to the disrespect they showed to your home.  As a child, even if I had woken up before anyone else in the house, I knew that it was important to be quiet and also that I wasn't to move things around or mess up my surroundings.  My mom never specifically told me, "if you get up early, you should do x, y, and z" but she never had to.  I was taught the general rule of being respectful and considerate of others.  If I had messed up somehow, my parents would have cleaned it up (or had me do it) and apologized (and then had me apologize too).  If they couldn't trust their kids to do that, they should have had a parent up with them to supervise and also cleaned up whatever mess what made.

I agree. Your friend was upfront about needing somewhere to stay to attend the wedding.The rest, however, was really rude.

If you [generic you] have a child who wets the bed you need to bring a mattress protector unless you have checked in advance with your host that they have one (there may be exceptions if your host also has young children and you are 100% certain that they have a spare) And I think you should be asking whether you need to bring other bedding, too. And at least offer to deal with the resulting laundry.

Same thing with the mess. As parents, they ought to have done their best to prevent their kids messing up your house, and have cleared up after themselves (again, if you offer to do this, that's fine, but it's their responsibility, not yours)

The nappies - I think it's odd to just leave these in the bedroom. Thinking of friends with babies who have been visiting me or other friends, they tend to ask (a) where they can change nappies and (b) where to put the dirty nappies - i.e 'is there a bin in bathroom, or should I put it straight outside?'

And there is no excuse whatsoever for their lack of thanks or even response to your text.

Given that they know from the start they were coming for accommodation rather than socialising they definitely should have either brought a gift (flowers, chocolate, wine) or sent something afterwards.

If it were me, I would not be inviting these people back to my home.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 04, 2013, 02:40:55 PM
The funny thing is, my sister came to stay for 2 nights the day after these friends left as we both had a couple days off. She has stayed a million times before and knows I have everything guests need, but she still brought a sleeping bag and towels to save me doing laundry again, knowing they had just left, she brought leftover cupcakes from a party and she offered to wash up. Couldn't gave been more different!
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Snooks on February 04, 2013, 02:45:24 PM
One of the red flags for me is that they only gave you ten days notice.  You know more than ten days in advance that you're going to a wedding (especially one that you're travelling to with children), so were you a fallback option after someone else said no?

Edited because I forgot what else I came here to say.  I've done the staying with a friend and attending an event (in my case it was a funeral so not much notice), I sent a gift afterwards to say thank you as my mind was elsewhere beforehand.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: kherbert05 on February 04, 2013, 02:59:18 PM
They were rude in somethings, others not so much

1. Early wake up times. That is hard enough for adults to adjust. It is very difficult for some kids. They may have slept in the car also.

2. Food you offered

3. Diaper changes - they should have asked you where and how to dispose of the diapers. I think parents get a little used to the smell.

4. They should have brought a matress protector and/or pull ups for the 4 yo.

5. Noise in the morning/messes should not have happened.

When I lived in West Texas - I would come and stay with sis or Aunt and Uncle in Houston for things. Sometimes we would hardly see each other, other times it was for a visit. Those are two different things.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Peregrine on February 04, 2013, 03:47:06 PM
Well as a parent. I would have probably done similar with the diapers.  Just about every place we have stayed, our hosts had us keep wet diapers in a plastic grocery sack in whatever room we were staying (to go out when we left) and the other ones were immediately bagged and placed outside in the outdoor garbage as long as it was daytime.

Now for myself, I took each bag of diapers out once a day....but I can kind of give Mom and Dad a pass on forgetting to take them out in the morning before the wedding.

I have never had a problem with smelly wet diapers except when cloth diapering and they were kept in a diaper pail.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: snowdragon on February 04, 2013, 04:17:37 PM
Who leaves a child in a wet diaper that is so strong that you call it a "stench" and then says, "your nose must be too sensitive"?

Between this and the mess in the bedroom,  I would say a barnyard animal.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: sammycat on February 04, 2013, 06:58:02 PM
One of the red flags for me is that they only gave you ten days notice.  You know more than ten days in advance that you're going to a wedding (especially one that you're travelling to with children), so were you a fallback option after someone else said no?

That stuck out to me too. Surely they knew ages prior to calling you that they were going to be attending the wedding. What if you'd said no to accommodating them?

In this situation, I'd give them a pass on the not spending too much time together thing, as they were upfront about only using you for accommodation.  However, they don't get a pass on anything else at all. They were flat out rude.

They should have paid, or at least offered to pay, for the evening meal, as a thank you for letting them stay.

I wouldn't dream of staying anywhere without taking a mattress protector for my (then) 4 year old.

My kids were/are early risers, but when we stayed away from home, they were expected/told to be quiet until the host was up and about. Usually they were kept in our room with us, or if we did go elsewhere in the house, it'd be to one room for a quiet activity. I'm not an early riser by nature, but when staying with someone else, I ensure that I do get up with or before my kids, so as to supervise them properly.

I always asked what to do with dirty nappies, or if I did forget, I'd put them in the scented plastic nappy bags and place them in an outside bin. I never left dirty nappies lying around my own house, let alone someone else's.

Pulling the furniture apart and/or leaving dirty stuff around the house - what planet are these people from that they think this is acceptable behaviour in someone else's home?!?!?!?!? Let alone not even offering, or better yet rectifying, the situation.

Prior to leaving, they should have gone around the house, tidying up every bit of their considerable mess.

They definitely should also have contacted you once they were home, to (A) let you know they arrived safely, and (B) to say thank you.

It'd be a dark day in ehell before they ever crossed my doorstep again, even just for an afternoon visit.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: LEMon on February 04, 2013, 07:45:37 PM
See what makes me believe you were used as accommodations only was the lack of contact since then.  No reply to your text even.  That says 'treated like a hotel' to me.

We've long had the habit of calling whoever we were staying with when we reached home.  Just to say 'thank you' again, if not to say 'arrived just fine' as well.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: LifeOnPluto on February 04, 2013, 08:30:46 PM
I agree with the majority of posters. The rudeness comes not from the limited social time they spent with Samgirl, but rather the fact that they let their kids run wild and left a huge mess for her to clean up.

And the no-reply to the text is the icing on the cake. I don't care how busy you are with small kids / your SO / work / etc. If you can't be stuffed to pick up the phone and spent 20 seconds replying to someone who's just done you a big favour, that's really poor form.

Samgirl, I'd cut right back on contact with this "friend". And I'd certainly never let her and her family visit with me again.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: hyzenthlay on February 04, 2013, 09:51:39 PM
I could give a pass to the diapers, at least they were in a plastic bag. And the minimal time spent is really just life with small children.

But the mess left in the morning really isn't acceptable in any way. I would not allow my kids to play with someone else's cushions like that, or scatter food about the place. Even if that might have been a lazy Saturday morning at my house.

The complete lack of contact since is kind of the last straw on this.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: MariaE on February 04, 2013, 11:47:46 PM
One of the red flags for me is that they only gave you ten days notice.  You know more than ten days in advance that you're going to a wedding (especially one that you're travelling to with children), so were you a fallback option after someone else said no?

Why does that matter? This isn't an A-list, B-list situation. There's nothing rude about having on plan fall through and go for plan B instead. The short notice might make the OP more likely to say no, but I don't see it as raising any flags.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: peaches on February 04, 2013, 11:51:18 PM
DH and I have never asked friends if we could stay at their homes overnight. We have always waited for an invitation. Now, it might be that OP has told her friend "Please let us know anytime you will be in town, as we'd love to have you stay with us" or that the two couples have a history of visiting with one another, each providing hospitality to the other in turn. It doesn't sound like it, though. In this situation, DH and I would have stayed in a hotel. 

I also think the friend was presumptuous in that first phone call by first asking to stay one night, and immediately after getting agreement, asking to stay two nights. There was a bit of a bait and switch there.

When visiting, parents should bring bed protectors if they are needed. Parents should bring a few toys for their kids to play with, so that sofa cushions don't become  toys (and if they see that happening, should prompty stop it). If the children have special food preferences, they should bring those foods.

Guests should pick up after themselves, and offer to help out with chores such as dishwashing. They should ask where to take any garbage (and/or diapers) that have accumulated.

Guests should bring a gift, or send one after the stay. A thank you note is also standard good manners.

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Bluenomi on February 04, 2013, 11:56:45 PM
I could give a pass to the diapers, at least they were in a plastic bag.


As the mother of a toddler I find that the worst bit. I never, ever leave nappies around the place at other people's houses. My nose might be used to it (though I still smell a slightly wet nappy) but other people's aren't. I put them in the bin asap. Last weekend at my parents I got drenched putting one in the bin because it was bucketing down but didn't think everyone else in the house needed to smell DD's dirty nappy. Even in plastic you can still smell them.

I think the OP was used. The parents clearly didn't care, no thank you, letting their kids trash the place etc. I wouldn't go out of my way to contact them again
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: zyrs on February 05, 2013, 08:12:12 AM
I heard them all go downstairs (parents and kids) and put the tv on so I went back to sleep for a bit and then went down at 7.30am. There was half eaten cereal in bowls around the room, squashed food (grapes and bits of cereal) all over the table, my cat was hiding under a chair, all the sofa cushions had been piled into the middle of the floor and were being jumped on. ...  I washed up, wiped the surfaces and put all the cushions back etc (and a bunch of ornaments and little things that I found scattered around the place).

This is what stuck out to me.  In an hour and 45 minutes, with both parents supervising the children, this is how they treated someone else's house. It speaks to me of no supervision at all and that's where the rude is.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 05, 2013, 08:39:13 AM
I agree--though, w/ little kids you sometimes get squashed food all over the table, it just happens, but it's also something that the OP shouldn't have been cleaning up.

The cat under a chair--well, that doesn't automatically mean they did something horrible; it might just be the normal outcome of cats and little kids. Happened w/ my cat every single time.


but the one that would have me upset is the half-eaten cereal in bowls *around the room*--with little kids, it's just plain stupid to have cereal anywhere but the table (actually, true of grownups). Was this cereal w/ milk, or dry Cheerios?

And the sofa cushions a bit--I know I would never do that to some ELSE's cushions--you can't just put them in the laundry. (I didn't even let my kids do that to my own.)

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Margo on February 05, 2013, 08:56:52 AM
DH and I have never asked friends if we could stay at their homes overnight. We have always waited for an invitation. Now, it might be that OP has told her friend "Please let us know anytime you will be in town, as we'd love to have you stay with us" or that the two couples have a history of visiting with one another, each providing hospitality to the other in turn. It doesn't sound like it, though. In this situation, DH and I would have stayed in a hotel. 
<snip>
I agree with the rest of your comments, Peaches, (trimmed them for length)

I don't think that asking to stay is necessarily rude, as I think this does depend a lot on the friendship and the relationship you have with people. It sounds as though OP hadn't seen this couple for a while, but that the initial request wasn't a problem in itself. If the relationship you have or have had with friends is such that it's OK to ask if you can stay then I don't see that part as rude. (it's almost the only part which isn't!)

I have friends who I would not hesitate to ask if I could stay if I was going to be in their town, and I would not think it rude of them (even the ones with kids) to ask me.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: GlassHalfFull on February 05, 2013, 09:29:23 AM
Guests, with kids or without, should go by the campsite rule...leave things as you found them.  Or in some cases, better than you found them.  When overnighting in other people's homes with my own three kids and DH, that can make for very non-relaxing visits (for me), but that's the way it goes.  I'd be mortified to leave such a mess (dishes, cushions on the floor!) and I would never expect to be welcomed there again.  And that rule goes tenfold when visiting somebody who doesn't have kids with your own in tow, in my opinion. 

As far as the diapers and associated stench goes, I was always a frequent changer and disposed of them immediately. However, I have noticed that now that I have no diapered folk in my home, my tolerance of the smell has decreased quite a bit, and it makes me wonder that even with my past quick care of my diapered people, if it had actually been quick enough for those with unconditioned sniffers.  Or if it could ever actually be quick enough.  ;)

So I think yes, you were used for accommodation, and that in itself seems to not really be the problem as that seemed to be the general understanding of the arrangement.  The question is, were these guests rude?  Absolutely! 
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: joraemi on February 05, 2013, 09:50:48 AM
I'm hoping that in hindsight the friend was mortified by the way they treated the OP and her home and that's why she hasn't contacted OP.  It doesn't make it right by any stretch of the imagination, but that's what I'm guessing.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Emmy on February 05, 2013, 12:45:56 PM
I agree with the majority of the posters.  I do think friend was honest in that she wanted to stay with the OP not for a personal visit, but to attend a wedding.  I also think the certain things can't be helped, like a young child's wake up time.  However, I think the guests did take advantage of OP. 

1.  The guests should have supplied any child related gear.  It is ridiculous to bring a bed wetter to somebody's house and expect the host to be prepared for that situation.

2.  I realize you can't control when kids wake up and many of them wake up early.  However, the parents should do their best to keep the children quiet and entertain them.  It is rude not to prepare for that situation and then tear apart the OP's home to use for a jungle gym.  The parents should have been prepared and brought along quiet toys for the kids.  The parents should make sure the kids keep their mitts off the OP's things.

3.  I realize toddlers are not the neatest people in the world.  However, the parents should have made sure they ate in the kitchen and cleaned up any mess. 

4.  The guests should have brought a hostess gift and/or payed for a meal.

5.  Not getting back to the OP is awful as well.  It seems to say "OK, I call you only when I need something".

6.  It sounds as if the friend was putting the blame on the OP for being too sensitive when she complained about the diapers.  I realize parents can be immune to their own kids bodily function and smells, but that doesn't mean that every is immune to it.  Putting the diapers in a plastic bag was a start, but it was rude to leave them around the room for the OP to deal with.

I have a toddler so I realize that parenting is not easy, and I'm sure two children is even harder.  However, that certainly does not give them a pass.  There is no excuse to treat somebody's home that way.  It sounds as if the parents were lazy, didn't plan ahead, and just let the OP clean up after them. 
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: peaches on February 05, 2013, 12:55:34 PM
I have friends who I would not hesitate to ask if I could stay if I was going to be in their town, and I would not think it rude of them (even the ones with kids) to ask me.

I'm not sure I would say it was rude; I'd rather say it's not something I'd do. Nor is it something that friends have ever done to us. It kind of puts friends on the spot to ask if you can stay at their place. We have had friends stay many times. Usually the conversation starts with them saying they will be in town on certain dates and hope they can get together with us during their stay. Then, we invite them to stay with us. That seems to me a more polite way to go about this. It leaves the responsibility for housing where it belongs - on the visitor. The hometown friend can issue an invitation, or suggest you all meet somewhere for dinner, or invite you for a meal or whatever.

What really pushes this over the line for me is that the friend asked to come and stay during a time when she knew she and her family wouldn't be able to spend time visiting with her friend. There wasn't time to take the hosts out to dinner, or to go somewhere as a group. It just sounds too much like looking for a place to stay, rather than looking for a way to hook up with a friend.

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: TootsNYC on February 05, 2013, 01:26:17 PM

6.  It sounds as if the friend was putting the blame on the OP for being too sensitive when she complained about the diapers.  I realize parents can be immune to their own kids bodily function and smells, but that doesn't mean that every is immune to it.  Putting the diapers in a plastic bag was a start, but it was rude to leave them around the room for the OP to deal with.


I can see the mom saying to herself, "oh, I forgot to ask what to do w/ diapers, because it's the first time I've stayed with someone, and I'll just put them in this plastic bag and take it down with me" and then forgetting.

But if the smell was mentioned, she should have said, "oh, yeah, sorry! I meant to take that down with me. Where *should* I put diapers? I forgot to figure out what to do without a diaper pail."
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Margo on February 05, 2013, 01:38:36 PM
I have friends who I would not hesitate to ask if I could stay if I was going to be in their town, and I would not think it rude of them (even the ones with kids) to ask me.

I'm not sure I would say it was rude; I'd rather say it's not something I'd do. Nor is it something that friends have ever done to us. It kind of puts friends on the spot to ask if you can stay at their place. We have had friends stay many times. Usually the conversation starts with them saying they will be in town on certain dates and hope they can get together with us during their stay. Then, we invite them to stay with us. That seems to me a more polite way to go about this. It leaves the responsibility for housing where it belongs - on the visitor. The hometown friend can issue an invitation, or suggest you all meet somewhere for dinner, or invite you for a meal or whatever.

What really pushes this over the line for me is that the friend asked to come and stay during a time when she knew she and her family wouldn't be able to spend time visiting with her friend. There wasn't time to take the hosts out to dinner, or to go somewhere as a group. It just sounds too much like looking for a place to stay, rather than looking for a way to hook up with a friend.

Yes, I wasn't saying it was always OK, just that I don't think it's uncommon, with friends and family, to be in a position where it's normal and not seen as rude on either side. If it's not the norm for you and your friends, then I agree that it would be putting them on the spot.
I wouldn't do it to someone I wasn't already on these terms with.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Snooks on February 05, 2013, 02:05:17 PM
One of the red flags for me is that they only gave you ten days notice.  You know more than ten days in advance that you're going to a wedding (especially one that you're travelling to with children), so were you a fallback option after someone else said no?

Why does that matter? This isn't an A-list, B-list situation. There's nothing rude about having on plan fall through and go for plan B instead. The short notice might make the OP more likely to say no, but I don't see it as raising any flags.

I wondered if someone rescinded an offer due to their behaviour.  I didn't say it was rude I said it was a red flag.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: fluffy on February 05, 2013, 03:06:04 PM
We stayed with a friend for a wedding once (this was pre-baby). We didn't have a ton of time to spend with him, but we did take him out to breakfast. Whenever we stay with someone, we try to pay for at least one meal.

That said, I think they spent a decent amount of time with you. If they'd gone out to eat without you, or gone sightseeing, that might have been rude. But they were mostly in town for the wedding and it sounds like they spent all of their free time with you. You probably would have had more of a visit if the weather had been better. You can't really fault them for that.

I honestly can't smell my daughter's diapers at this point, but I always ask how people prefer that I dispose of them when I'm at their houses. Not only can other people smell them better than me, but there are also lots of people who get squicked out by diapers. Why would I want to make my host feel uncomfortable in their own home? Most people just say "oh, put it in that trash can, I'm taking it out later." But I'll take individual diapers outside if necessary.

I can see forgetting about a mattress pad (I forget stuff for our daughter all the time, even though I pack enough gear to outfit an army). But, if I did that, I'd be apologizing profusely and asking what my options were or if we should be running out to get something. My husband has driven to the store to get stuff that we forgot. My kid, my responsibility.

I'd say that there are a few things from your visit that can probably be explained by carelessness. They might not have meant to leave the dirty diaper bag in their room. They might have meant to bring more food for the kids. The might have forgotten the mattress pad at home. But, taken as a whole, they treated you incredibly poorly.
Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: GeauxTigers on February 05, 2013, 04:17:06 PM
Quote
Not before her asking to please borrow a mattress protector as the 4 year old wets the bed

Is it a possibility that this has happened before in hotels, with consequential additional cleaning/damage charges?

Either way, these guests behaved atrociously. Who visits with children known to have bedwetting issues without a) warning the host beforehand and b) without bringing their own mattress protectors?

As for the "let's do this again sometime" thing, I'd be inclined to respond "Let's not."

Title: Re: Used for accommodation?
Post by: Samgirl2 on February 06, 2013, 03:57:26 AM
Is it a possibility that this has happened before in hotels, with consequential additional cleaning/damage charges?

My friend and her family don't usually stay in hotels as they only have one income as she's not working. When they go away it is almost always to visit either their parents or siblings, or renting a holiday house with family, so perhaps it a bit different in that they really can act like it's their house. plus, as I said, we used to be roommates and I think maybe they are used to doing whatever they want when they stay with people.  I don't think it excuses it though. What really suprised me is that she always used to be so house proud and her room when we lived together was spotless and her house before kids was always the same. I thought she would have a little more respect for mine.

Interestingly, for those that said they used me instead of paying for a hotel, I should have seen the signs: 

Snow was forecast to be bad throughout their visit and I emailed to warn them 2 days before and say that while I still very much wanted to see them, had they seen the forecast and maybe they should look for a B&B or a travelodge or something nearer to the wedding venue, just in case they were to get stuck with two small kids if the weather was as bad as predicted as it was still 23 miles from me, and the main road between my town and wedding town had a very steep hill where I know people had got stuck on the past.  I wasn't trying to put them off, just trying to be helpful.  Anyway, her DH replied that there wouldn't be anything closer than me (what?!, there was I'd already checked)) and certainly not at a reasonable price and 23 miles wasn't that far so they'd stick to staying with me, thanks for letting them know. 

Then, because of snow on Friday (day of their arrival) and me having a ton of work to do, I decided to work from home that day rather than waste time travelling into work and then being sent home again when the office closed by about mid morning. I put something on facebook about working from home and keeping warm and her DH messaged me and said 'so you're working from home? Can we arrive anytime then, is after lunch ok?'. I was working on an urgent project for Monday and needed to finish by the end of the day, but I wasn't expecting them to arrive till about 7pm, andexpected to be working right up til then. Working from home doesn't mean I'm sitting around doing nothing! I replied to her DH that I still had a full working day and if I worked through lunch I could be done by 5pm at the absolute earliest, but please not to arrive before then.  He came back with 'ok, we'll set off early and find a coffee shop near you or something then, I don't want to drive in the dark in bad weather'.  I then felt guilty for not allowing them to arrive earlier in safer conditions, but I really did have to get this done and my open plan downstairs and no office space in my house meant I wouldn't be able to once they arrived. They ended up arriving at 5.30pm because the weather had indeed been bad and it had taken them 2 hours longer than they expected and I was still finishing up work and on the phone to my boss at the time. Luckily it only took another 5-10 mins or so.

I feel like I should also say they didn't wreck the house or cause any lasting damage etc. It was more carelessness but I just think, knowing I live on my own and don't have kids, that it might have occured to them I didn't want to be woken before 6am on a weekend and didn't want to have to clean up after 4 extra people. The usual making up of rooms, providing food etc if one thing, but having to put things away, clean the house 2 days running while they were out, wash up and throw out dirty smelly nappies as well was a bit much.

I like having houseguests and I always make up rooms, clean the house from top to bottom, buy extra groceries, plan meals or go out to eat, show them where everything is and tell them to make themselves at home. Usually guests come for a proper visit but the one time a couple asked to stay because they were also attending a wedding close by, they said 'don't worry, you won't know we're there, we just need a place to sleep etc'. I cooked dinner the night before and they brought wine. The day of the wedding they were out from 11am til 1am and cleaned all traces of themselves up before they went out, then we had a leisurely breakfast on the sunday and they sent flowers a few days later. I didn't expect it and it wasn't necessray but it was a nice gesture. I didn't expect to spend much time with them and they were true to their word on being no trouble!
Title: Re: Used for accommodation? Updated for More info #68
Post by: BabyMama on February 08, 2013, 09:21:47 AM
Sounds like typical guests who are oblivious to anyone but themselves. There are a ton of ways where they could have made themselves "good" houseguests, but because it would have required more work from them, they didn't do them.

*Not bringing a mattress pad--so they knew that their kid wet the bed. They sell pull-ups for kids this age. Rather than stopping to buy a pack, they instead asked the OP if she had a mattress pad. She's probably lucky she didn't--no doubt if the kid wet the bed, Samgirl would have been left with the dirty bedding (and as a surprise! Bonus!)

*Waking up early--if it were me as a houseguest in someone's home and my child woke up at the crack of dawn, I'd take her with me and grab breakfast (or at least coffee) for the rest of the household. No way would I let what happened happen.

*Picking up after themselves--this one goes without saying.

*Showing up with hungry kids--the mom already told the OP she would be providing food for her children. They were on the road around dinnertime--surely there was a McDonalds or something they could have stopped at. Of course, I personally might have also stopped to bring dinner for the OP, knowing we wouldn't want to go out/be tired from the drive. That would save a little time and give more time for socializing before bed.

*Bathing the kids before leaving! No way would I have spent 3+ hours (arrival time ~5:30, bedtime 9) prepping my kids before bedtime in someone else's home. Especially since the next night they were somehow able to put their kids to sleep almost immediately.

*Time efficiency does not seem to be these peoples' strong point. They kept the OP out of the only bathroom for hours. Why not use that 5:45 time to feed the kids and then get them ready before the OP gets up? The next day, too--they were up at 6 but didn't have the car loaded until 11:30, and didn't use any of that time to pick up after themselves.

The driving in the dark in bad weather excuse is kind of silly. So the weather was bad on Friday (because they wanted to come earlier before the wedding, but presumably not to spend extra time with the OP because that wasn't mentioned in the husband's text) but not bad on Saturday (wedding fun), but then bad again on Sunday morning (again, more time they could have spent with the OP)? It may have been, but it really doesn't build a strong case for them on paper.

Sorry that happened to you, Samgirl. I'm sure you were looking forward to a nice, if short, visit.