I hope that you've all had a lovely winter holiday, whichever one you happen to celebrate. I have a question for you today - what can I do in this situation?
My father-in-law, Jack, is a smoker. This is not generally a problem for me - even though he smokes in his house, he is careful not to blow the smoke on or near non-smokers (like me and my husband Spencer) - and the greatest consequence that we have to deal with is that every time we visit, the clothes we have worn need to go immediately in the wash upon arriving home. (They usually need to be washed anyway, as Jack and Spencer's mother Kate have two large, friendly dogs.) Additionally, whenever Jack visits our house, he is careful to always smoke on the porch. I really do appreciate his courtesy in this matter. And besides, he's smoked all his life. He knows it's bad for him, and it's not my place to tell him what he can and cannot do when he's in his own home.
However, Spencer's sister Baylor and her husband Mark do not have the same highly developed sense of propriety. Mark, in particular, is a chain smoker, and when we're all at Jack and Kate's for family gatherings, when Mark isn't eating, he's smoking. And blowing the smoke wherever he pleases. Baylor is almost as thoughtless with her smoking, too.
Friends, I have really bad sinuses. I get sinus headaches when the weather changes and at least a couple of sinus infections each year. It's only getting worse as I get older. Apparently one of the other things to which I have to look forward is an increased sensitivity to cigarette smoke. We left Jack and Kate's twelve hours ago and I'm still stuffed up, with a sore throat and a headache. (I actually spent an incredibly unpleasant night in bed and started composing this post when I couldn't sleep at 4 AM.) My symptoms started after about two and a half hours of exposure to Baylor and Mark's smoking.
Is there anything that I can do? Aside from not going to visit Spencer's parents when Baylor and Mark are going to be there (which isn't really an acceptable solution), I don't know what to do.
Unfortunately, we are unable to host Baylor and Mark at our house because they are recovering drug addicts who have stolen money and items from Spencer's family in the past. As a result, Spencer does not want them to know where we live - to the extent that they were not invited to our wedding ceremony (which took place in our backyard).
I feel that it's really not my place to tell Baylor and Mark what they can and can't do at Jack and Kate's house. Especially since I married into the family. I love Spencer, and I get along great with his family. I don't want to cause a rift or look like a spoiled diva, but my health is important to me, and I don't want to be incapacitated for a while after every time we see everyone together.
Thanks for your input. I really appreciate the help.