Author Topic: Hosting horror stories  (Read 11325 times)

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iggy257

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Hosting horror stories
« on: February 06, 2013, 10:53:52 PM »
AKA  Why I do not host as much as I would like.

I will first start out saying that for many years we lived about 1200-1500 miles from our families, but we have recently moved back to the area with all family members being in about a 2 hour drive, which we don't consider too much for a holiday(nor do most of our family members)

I will start with the first time that I tried to host our families after moving back.  It was for one of our boys birthdays, which is at the end of September.  I called around to all our family members, checked football schedules etc.  to make sure that everyone could come to the party, as this was also the first time that we would host people with the house set up as we had moved about a month previous.  I arranged the party for the afternoon, like 1-3 and told family that they could come early and we would have lunch.  My brother said that he had a work commitment earlier in the day, and his gf was out of town, but he would be there as soon as he could and for the party, so don't hold lunch for him.  A few days before we get a call from SIL saying that they (sil, bil and 3 kids) had been invited to another party at the same time as ours so they would be leaving just as our guests were showing up. I was mildly upset as they had never attended a single party for our kids, but whatever, they could come for lunch and leave.  Then we were asked to move the party up so her kids wouldn't miss it, even though I had already invited kids from school for the later time.  I repeately said that it wasn't possible to move it as there were other kids coming, but they could do the bouncer before because that would be set up.  I also set out the craft that I had for the party and let them do it early, as it wasn't a set thing, kids could do it when they wanted a break from other activities.  There was much debate between us (DH and I) and MIL and SIL as to what should be done.  It was finally decided that sil, bil and 2 kids would leave for the other party and MIL would take home the third child when our party was over.  A few minutes after our non-family guests arrived, SIL decided to leave.  Rather than quietly say good bye and shuttle the kids out, it was a major announcement that they were leaving for another party.  When her youngest child figured out that she was supposed to go now before doing all the other stuff that was set out for the party, she had a major meltdown.  Think laying on the ground, screaming and crying, shouting about how the other party wasn't going to be any fun and she wanted to stay.  SIL just yelled at her that she needed to get up as they were leaving now.  MIL was dying of humiliation at this (at SIL or the child I am not sure as to which)  The child was eventually appeased with several goodie bags and taking some of the craft supplies with her, to which MIL kept asking if it was ok.  I responded that these things had been purchased for the kids and it was fine for her to take them.  A few minutes after they left, everything was fine and it was a great party otherwise.

Next time we hosted was about a month later for another child's party.  We had a make your own pizza party and the kids played pool out in the barn.  Everyone walked into the kitchen, saw the bowl of dough rising and pointed and said "what is that?"   I responded that it was lunch, to which they made blah faces until I explained that it was pizza dough.  Also SIL came with 4 children only two of which were hers and the other two were her neighbors.

Thanksgiving was the next holiday coming up and we asked to host.  Initially most of the family agreed to come (I think FIL was going to one of his stepkids) and we prepared a menu for 18-20 people and bought food for that many and started preparing food for that many.  Less than a week before Thanksgiving SIL decided that she wanted to host instead, except that she doesn't know how to cook a turkey, so MIL would have to make one and bring it to her house so that MIL couldn't come to our house.  MIL explained that SIL is jealous of our house as we paid only $10K more that she did and we have a pretty big house, with a nice garage and beautiful trees (I love my trees, they are one of my favorite things about this house) and nice landscaping (as the previous owner was into gardening).  Her house is much smaller, the garage is falling down, and most of their land is swampy.  So MIL when along with SIL's plan and made the turkey and brought it over.  Then most of my family decided that they didn't want to come either as it was too long to drive for "just a meal" so instead of 18-20 people, we had 8 (five being my immediate family plus my mother, father and brother.)  We ate turkey, stuffing and pie until Christmas.

Next came the Christmas marathon, we celebrated Christmas eve with my family as we always have (we are italian)  Christmas day, no one on DH's  side had time to see us, so we stayed over at my parents and planned to see everyone the following day which is also DH"s birthday.  The morning of DH's birthday, the weather predicted terrible snow in the afternoon.  We had invited everyone for the afternoon about 3 so we would have time to get things ready.  I had already made most of the food for the party before Christmas and just had to run out for a few fresh ingredients and finish up preparing and make the cake.  At 8 in the morning, we get a call from SIL saying that they had seen the weather and decided to come up early, they were already on their way and the kids were hungry so be sure to have some breakfast for them.  We were still in bed!  I jumped up and threw on clothes and went down to the kitchen where breakfast was going to be cold cereal and milk, which aside from dinner, was about all that was in the fridge, and there wasn't enough for five more people.  So I went to the store while DH and DS1 tidied up.  Somehow we managed to put out breakfast and get the house enough in order before they arrived.  The rest of DH's family simply cancelled and we saw them much later in the week.  The reason that I think that SIL insisted on coming up 6 hours early.  We had managed to find the hot toy that Christmas that one of her children really wanted.  I offered to give SIL the toy so that it would be under the tree on Christmas morning, but SIL didn't want to do that for some reason.  They ate, opened presents, and promptly left.

There have been plenty of other headaches with hosting our families, but I am going to stop here.  I can generally laugh about most of it, some of it still makes me grumble though.  We backed off on hosting a bit, but we really like to have people over and cook, and bought a house that was set up for entertaining.  (It actually disturbs me a bit when people around town tell me how great our house is for parties, as they had been to parties with the previous owners)  SO it is a give and take with it all, we try to roll with things as much as possible and we realize that we may not be either the perfects hosts or the perfect guest either.

Thanks for reading.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 11:02:30 PM »
It would be a cold day in hell before I'd invite SIL back to my house.

WillyNilly

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 11:03:42 PM »
I really think the whole problem here is your SIL, and by extension your MIL who seems to support her boorishness.  I think so long as you stop inviting her to anything, you could ave very lovely hosting experiences as you seem to plan well and behave quite graciously.

doodlemor

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2013, 12:29:54 AM »
I think that the whole extended family dynamic changed when you and your family moved back close to your relatives.  SIL's nose certainly is out of joint, and her behavior is annoying and boorish.

Perhaps things will improve a bit as time goes by, and everyone gets used to the fact that you and your family live nearby on a lovely property.

I hope that you are enjoying your home and hosting some of the nearby townspeople who will appreciate your efforts.

Danika

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2013, 03:00:32 AM »
It would be a cold day in hell before I'd invite SIL back to my house.

POD

chibichan

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2013, 06:33:57 AM »
It would be a cold day in hell before I'd invite SIL back to my house.

POD

Double POD .

Save your Awesome Hosting SkillsTM for those who appreciate them . SIL obviously doesn't .
The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

kherbert05

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2013, 07:19:37 AM »
Agree with the others don't invite SIL. For the Christmas one your DH should have told his sister no - you don't get to come 6 hours early find something to do until the start of the party.


Cancelling because of the weather is acceptable. I don't drive in certain types of weather, safety is more important than a party.
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cicero

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2013, 08:19:42 AM »
she definitely sounds like a pill, but i don't understand this:
At 8 in the morning, we get a call from SIL saying that they had seen the weather and decided to come up early, they were already on their way and the kids were hungry so be sure to have some breakfast for them.  We were still in bed!  I jumped up and threw on clothes and went down to the kitchen where breakfast was going to be cold cereal and milk, which aside from dinner, was about all that was in the fridge, and there wasn't enough for five more people.  So I went to the store while DH and DS1 tidied up.  Somehow we managed to put out breakfast and get the house enough in order before they arrived. 
why? this would have been a perfect opportunity for "sorry, that won't be possible".

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Amava

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2013, 08:39:41 AM »
she definitely sounds like a pill, but i don't understand this:
At 8 in the morning, we get a call from SIL saying that they had seen the weather and decided to come up early, they were already on their way and the kids were hungry so be sure to have some breakfast for them.  We were still in bed!  I jumped up and threw on clothes and went down to the kitchen where breakfast was going to be cold cereal and milk, which aside from dinner, was about all that was in the fridge, and there wasn't enough for five more people.  So I went to the store while DH and DS1 tidied up.  Somehow we managed to put out breakfast and get the house enough in order before they arrived. 
why? this would have been a perfect opportunity for "sorry, that won't be possible".

Yeah seriously! I would have told her "make sure to pick up groceries for breakfast on your way", at least!

iggy257

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2013, 08:57:22 AM »
I think I have been maligning SIL a bit much, she is pretty bad, but we have other family members that are as bad as well.  We have discovered that "that won't be possible" is completely lost on her.  Simply a waste of breath.

MIL is very difficult in another sense.  She will not have us to her apartment.  I know that it is small and we are five people, but she has SIL and family on a regular basis, it is most likely because of our kids (2 with special needs) that had some rough years, especially when we were traveling on an extended basis.  She then is very upset that she can't see us for holidays, but won't come to our house either.  After being stood up numerous times at the last minute for holidays, we have scaled back.  She also cannot make plans that will be kept more than 2 days in advance.

My brother is the most boorish person you have ever met.  Last Thanksgiving he wanted to smash DS's ipad to prove that its case wasn't invincible.  I could go on, but I think that says enough.

My parents are very difficult as well.  They are slowly estranging themselves from all the other family members.  My mother tries to make plans for holidays months in advance so that DH's family has to make plans around her plans.  On thanksgiving, my parents told my grandmother that we were having the holiday at our vacation home, which is 6-7 hours from my grandmother, instead, we actually had it at my parents house, which is about 45 minutes from my grandmother, so we didn't have to see her.  They thought it was funny.

NotTheNarcissist

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 02:17:47 PM »
Iggy your family reminds me of mine. I empathize with you so very much. Truth be told my hostessing was mostly eliminated after the last visits of my in-laws. DH & I are no longer inviting them over, but that kind of spilled into everyone else too (but for a different reason, finances). My in-laws still invite themselves to our home but not often, less than once x year now. Having company is down to just our kids now; they are in their 30s & come & go anytime it's convenient for them, no pressure from us. While it's true we cut back on hostessing & company partly due to a change in finances, it is mostly due to putting up healthy boundaries with our families. Healthy boundaries that -whether they realize it or not - they forced upon themselves.

Lynn2000

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2013, 05:13:30 PM »
My dad's family are very pleasant people, but terrible at communication and sometimes quite clueless. My mom would love to have hosted more family gatherings for them, but she stopped after the year that no one showed up for a holiday meal.  ??? They had all said they were going to be there, and then started canceling at the last minute (or didn't cancel at all, just didn't show up). My parents would have understood if they were canceling due to dodgy weather or something; but a large portion of the group ended up at a restaurant just a few miles from my parents' house (and did not invite my parents to join them). This was pre-cellphone but not, you know, pre-telephone.

Another time when my cousin was hosting, another cousin simply would not say whether he was coming or not. He has a wife and three kids, so none, all, or any portion thereof could have been coming. Eventually he and two of the kids showed up. It was something like a four-hour drive, so even if he had called the moment he left the driveway, he would have given her some notice, but he didn't. Also they wanted to spend the night because of the long drive.

Of course this same cousin (hostess) posted on Facebook in the invitation, "We will be providing XYZ main dishes. If anyone wants to bring something else, that would be great. If not, that's fine," and then they were ticked when no one brought any sides. You wrote, "If not, that's fine"! Leaving that one sentence off would still have left a wishy-washy request, but you simply cannot blame anyone else if you type in black and white that it's fine to not bring anything.
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Mikayla

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 12:48:26 PM »
I'm getting the impression you think the advantages of hosting outweigh the garbage you have to go through, and if so, I guess we have to accept this at face value.

But it's hard!  Your SIL is engaging in power plays that aren't even particularly creative.  If nothing else, you might want to pick your hills to die on.  Like PPs said, that breakfast thing was really over the top.  You weren't hosting in that situation, because a hostess defines her event.  You were being manipulated and it was with your permission.

o_gal

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2013, 03:04:45 PM »
One of my SILs and I do not get along well. I try to distance myself from her but that's not always possible.

A few years ago, she called one night and I was the only one available to answer the phone. She said that she was going to be in our area for a wood carving conference/exhibition at a conference center just north of our city, and that she couldn't be that close without "stopping by for a visit" (EXACT quote). She always complains that we don't visit with her and other relatives in her city as often as she thinks we should. I told her that that weekend was a bad one for us but maybe something would work out.

Two weeks later, we're in the middle of our busy day. I'm home with DS and DH is still out directing his orienteering event - I don't expect him home until closer to 6pm. SIL calls around 5:30 and says that she got delayed and she was trying to get to the conference center before the conference ended that day at 6pm. She had to meet her "friends" that she was "staying with" at a hotel. I asked her where she was and told her that if she drove fairly fast and didn't hit any red lights, she'd maybe make it.

I'm cooking dinner around 6:15 and DH is now home. SIL calls again - she missed her "friends" and wonders if she can just come down to our place now. DH asks if that is OK and I say yes, and to ask her what hotel she is staying at so we can give her directions from there. DH sheepishly says that she told him that she's really not staying at any hotel and wants to know if she can stay here for the night. She's brought a sleeping bag and pillow so she can sleep on our floor.

So now we're hosting an overnight guest, one with whom I have a really strained relationship. I will give her credit that she held off on the snarky comments about me until around 9pm - that's a record for her. Then she wanted to go to church with us the next day, where she proceeded to sit in our fellowship group after the service (while our kids are in Sunday School) and make criticism after criticism of a little play that was done as part of the service. Then when Sunday School was over, she was all put out that we wouldn't let her take DS to the wood carving exhibition because we had other plans for that entire day. So she left for home (a city 4.5 hours away) in a snit.

So we have a SIL who
- finagles an overnight stay by lying about her visit
- gets snarky (eventually) with her hostess
- goes to hosts' church and is critical of it in front of other members who knew she was our guest
- never does go to her conference, because I think she used it as a convenient excuse to be in our area and have a reason force a visit

She will never be hosted in our home again.

CaffeineKatie

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Re: Hosting horror stories
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 06:18:06 PM »
OP-- I don't understand your last comments.  The locals have fond memories of parties at your house and that disturbs you?  I'd invite THEM instead of relatives that are nothing but an ungrateful hassle.  Then you'd have people appreciating your hosting skills and maybe invite you to their nearby houses--win/win situation.