Author Topic: Dinner time and guest schedule  (Read 4340 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30506
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2013, 11:29:43 AM »
I'm guessing that "going out to dinner" *is* "having dinner for us the way we normally do."

I'd say open communication, even to the point of saying, "I found it really frustrating to make the trip for food and then find out that you weren't going to be eating with us. It felt like I was wasting my energy and my time. In the future, if you are not going to eat dinner with us, please call and tell me, so I can plan my time."

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13665
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2013, 11:40:03 AM »
I think I would just be forthright with them and post a schedule on the fridge after talking to them, even with a simple menu, if you have your meals planned in advance.

Breakfast:  you are on your own.  There is cereal in the cupboard over the sink, bagels and bread in the freezer, cream cheese in the meat drawer and peanut butter and jam in the door.

Lunch:  You are on your own.  There's soup in the freezer, cold cuts and cheese in the meat drawer, yadda yadda.

Dinner:  I'll be home at 5.  Dinner will be at 6, since DH and I will be starving after work.  I'm making fajitas.  Since the tortillas don't rewarm well, please let me know if you will be joining us by 5:30.

And carry on as normal.  I'm sure the 11 year old will be ready to eat anytime, even if he doesn't eat as much as he might otherwise eat.  And if your B and SIL don't eat with you?  Well, they know where the fridge is.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

CrazyDaffodilLady

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1241
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2013, 11:42:48 AM »
Another vote for making your expectations explicitly clear to your guests.  They may be trying their best to be considerate and not realize it's actually inconveniencing you. 
It takes two people to play tug of war. If you don't want to play, don't pick up the rope.

VorFemme

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12787
  • Strolls with scissors! Too tired to run today!
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2013, 12:46:20 PM »
Something over thirty years ago now, my youngest aunt and five year old cousin were staying with us for the summer while she did a three month internship on her master's degree. 

VorGuy and I were active duty military and worked at Big Base west of town.  She worked downtown (east of our house) and borrowed one of our two vehicles to drive cousin to day care & go to work. 

They would walk in just before or even after our bedtime, having eaten out with her coworkers or a fast food place to find that I had fixed dinner right after we got home.  After a bit over two weeks, VorGuy and I came home one day, looked at each other, and went out to eat instead.

To come home to find that she had come home that day, found "nothing" to eat, thawed a prime rib on high in the microwave (new fangled appliance at the time - and managed to half cook it while thawing on high), then gotten together a dinner for the two of them (didn't see leftovers from previous days in the fridge - but they might have been taken to work for OUR lunches - I forget after thirty+ years).

She got tired of driving over thirty minutes to the day care & where she was working and ended up moving in with a coworker for the last four weeks or so.  I think that she thought we would be ashamed of having a family member stay elsewhere. 

I was happy because I was no longer having to wonder if I was fixing dinner for two or four people - this was before cell phones, so no way to call her.  She never did leave messages on our answering machine...I'm not sure why.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

CakeEater

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2604
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2013, 06:20:23 AM »
Did they say they weren't hungry, or did they say they had burgers and you assumed they weren't hungry?

I could easily eat a burger and fries at 4 o'clock and eat dinner by 7.

AuntyEm

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 525
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2013, 08:05:15 AM »
Thanks for all of your suggestions.  Last night we planned to meet up after I got off of work, have dinner out and then see fireworks.  I tried to be really nice and flexible after being so annoyed the other night.  Again, I suspect they had eaten right before I got there (they eat massive amounts constantly) and were happy to continue to supply candy and soda to the 11 yo (we were in an amusement area) until I told them I was starving at 8:30 and would like to have something for dinner.

They don't have much money (or so they say) so we have normally paid for most meals when they've been to our house for visits. 

Today DH is taking them to the science museum in the afternoon and will try to herd them home at a normal time where he has again asked me to have dinner waiting.  I could make the corn on the cob, sliced fresh tomatoes and fried chicken that I shopped for the other day and never made but have since been told (by them) that they don't like corn or tomatoes. I"m thinking I"ll make it anyway, along with a pot of mac and cheese, and not worry about it any further.

I friendly discussion this weekend about how and when they want to eat during the week is a good idea and I can let them know that I would like to eat within a couple of hours of getting home each day with or without them, their choice.  We've given them a cell phone to use so there shouldn't be an issue of letting us know if they plan to be home or out.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5759
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2013, 11:48:06 AM »
Based on the update, I wonder whether this family simply is not accustomed to eating meals.  I would ask them whether they even want you to put forth the effort - I get the sense they do not view meals in the same way you do and your effort is wasted.

artk2002

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12828
    • The Delian's Commonwealth
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2013, 12:51:14 PM »
I agree with TurtleDove. It sounds like their eating patterns are entirely different from yours. A sit-down to hash out what is right would be a good idea. But you need to go into it realizing that they think differently and a solution that requires them to match your style or you to match theirs is going to fail. If the discussion isn't productive, I would just plan your meals on your schedule and stick to them. Try some flexible meals (homemade pizza or a burrito bar) where it won't be a disaster if they don't participate. But don't hold your own meal time (don't delay until you get starving at 8:30) waiting for them. And don't worry about them feeling awkward while you eat.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2013, 01:20:51 PM »
I definitely wouldn't feel awkward about eating when they aren't if the conversation doesn't clear things up.  You've made food available to them to eat when they want, they have the ability to go get more food, and you are offering them food when you are eating as well.  They aren't going hungry for sure and you've covered your bases as far as being hospitable goes.

Judah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2013, 01:43:14 PM »
I agree with TurtleDove. It sounds like their eating patterns are entirely different from yours. A sit-down to hash out what is right would be a good idea. But you need to go into it realizing that they think differently and a solution that requires them to match your style or you to match theirs is going to fail. If the discussion isn't productive, I would just plan your meals on your schedule and stick to them. Try some flexible meals (homemade pizza or a burrito bar) where it won't be a disaster if they don't participate. But don't hold your own meal time (don't delay until you get starving at 8:30) waiting for them. And don't worry about them feeling awkward while you eat.

I agree. It sounds like this family eat on the fly whenever they find themselves hungry and don't see mealtimes the same way you do.  I would explain to them that we eat dinner as a family (or whatever your routine is) and that I would be following my own routine for mealtimes and they are welcome to eat with us, but to please let me know what their plans are one way or the other so that I can plan and know how many I need to feed.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

lakey

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2013, 02:28:43 PM »
"We stocked the refrigerator with things we thought they would eat but other than drinking tons of sodas, they haven't made anything."

I'm not sure what you told them, but if I were a guest at someone's home, I wouldn't help myself to food or make myself anything unless the hosts said it was okay.
Again, not sure what you've told them, but maybe you need to be more specific, "I'll be home at ____ o'clock and make us a nice dinner. "

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5759
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2013, 02:31:52 PM »
Again, not sure what you've told them, but maybe you need to be more specific, "I'll be home at ____ o'clock and make us a nice dinner. "

Based on what we know about the family, though, I am guessing they will not change their eating habits and the nice dinner will not be appreciated in the way the OP would want it to be.  To spare the OP from hurt feelings, I think she should ask the family whether they want her to make dinner or not.  Based on the description that they are always eating large quantities and mostly junk food, I get the sense that is what they would prefer, and what they will eat anyway, either instead of or in addition to what the OP makes.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30506
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2013, 04:03:43 PM »
Thanks for all of your suggestions.  Last night we planned to meet up after I got off of work, have dinner out and then see fireworks.  I tried to be really nice and flexible after being so annoyed the other night.  Again, I suspect they had eaten right before I got there (they eat massive amounts constantly) and were happy to continue to supply candy and soda to the 11 yo (we were in an amusement area) until I told them I was starving at 8:30 and would like to have something for dinner.

i think that you're approaching this wrong in trying to cater to them. Announce that you are going to get something to eat at whatever time you would normally do so. Don't be waiting on them. Just do what YOU want to do. Announce it matter-of-factly, and allow them to join you or not, whatever they want.

Quote
They don't have much money (or so they say) so we have normally paid for most meals when they've been to our house for visits. 

Today DH is taking them to the science museum in the afternoon and will try to herd them home at a normal time where he has again asked me to have dinner waiting.  I could make the corn on the cob, sliced fresh tomatoes and fried chicken that I shopped for the other day and never made but have since been told (by them) that they don't like corn or tomatoes. I"m thinking I"ll make it anyway, along with a pot of mac and cheese, and not worry about it any further.

I think this is totally fine. In fact, it's the sort of "here's what we're eating, and you can join us or not" with an added "I'll add a few things that I hope you'll like."

Quote
I friendly discussion this weekend about how and when they want to eat during the week is a good idea and I can let them know that I would like to eat within a couple of hours of getting home each day with or without them, their choice.  We've given them a cell phone to use so there shouldn't be an issue of letting us know if they plan to be home or out.

Good luck! It's completely appropriate for you to have this requirement of them (maybe not truly a demand but a very firm request) when they are staying with you. They need to decide if they're going to eat with you or not, and then be there (or give you warning at X interval that *you* specify).

lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3861
Re: Dinner time and guest schedule
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2013, 04:20:07 PM »
Thanks for all of your suggestions.  Last night we planned to meet up after I got off of work, have dinner out and then see fireworks.  I tried to be really nice and flexible after being so annoyed the other night.  Again, I suspect they had eaten right before I got there (they eat massive amounts constantly) and were happy to continue to supply candy and soda to the 11 yo (we were in an amusement area) until I told them I was starving at 8:30 and would like to have something for dinner.

i think that you're approaching this wrong in trying to cater to them. Announce that you are going to get something to eat at whatever time you would normally do so. Don't be waiting on them. Just do what YOU want to do. Announce it matter-of-factly, and allow them to join you or not, whatever they want.


ITA. That's why I said in my first reply, do what you normally would do, let them know what you are doing, and give them the option to join you or do their own thing.

I have a friend who is hypo- or hyper- something (I can't remember what it's called) but anyway, if she doesn't eat at regular intervals, she gets sick. Well, in the group we all hang out with, sometimes we get in situations where some want to eat others don't, or some ate a big breakfast and want to skip lunch or eat later, or whatever. Well when my friend wants to eat she just announces it and eats. Maybe that means grabbing a snack out of her purse or maybe that means heading over to the nearest fast food place or maybe that means she's going to go to a sit down restaurant and order -- all depends on where we are and what we're doing.

When that happens, some of us are also hungry and go along, some of us don't, or maybe all of us do. But the thing is, it's understood. She's going to go eat. Whether it's just her or the whole group or some subset, it doesn't matter. She doesn't have to check with us or feel embarrassed or hold out. She wants to eat, so she's going to.

And that really does work. No one is weirded out or annoyed. No one is forced to eat if they aren't hungry and she isn't forced to wait on us to get hungry if we aren't.

The bigger the group, the more likely someone's going to be hungry when others aren't. Quit bending to what you are perceiving as their eating schedule. Stick to your own and let them decide if they want to follow that or do something else.