Author Topic: Used for accommodation? Updated for More info #68  (Read 10805 times)

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Samgirl2

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Used for accommodation? Updated for More info #68
« on: February 04, 2013, 06:50:21 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?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 04:59:28 AM by Samgirl2 »

cicero

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2013, 07:06:16 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.

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wallaby

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2013, 07:37:57 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.

Redsoil

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 08:05:30 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.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2013, 08:23:47 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.

Knitterly

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 08:25:46 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.


pearls n purls

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 08:51:57 AM »
Sounds like they got a free hotel stay that included maid service and a cook. 

They were incredibly rude.

Winterlight

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 09:13:36 AM »
I think that in future I'd be unable to accomodate them. Ever.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 09:18:39 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.

mmswm

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2013, 09:20:41 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.
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bopper

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 09:34:22 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.

Samgirl2

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 09:46:09 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?

Thipu1

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2013, 09:50:52 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. 

bloo

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2013, 09:52:11 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.

Samgirl2

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Re: Used for accommodation?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2013, 10:00:01 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.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 10:04:07 AM by Samgirl2 »