On Saturday, my mom hosted my grandpa's 75th birthday party. It was a small, informal lunch party with just the immediate family and a few guests. One of the invitees was my mom's cousin Q, who is, unfortunately, presumptuous and pushy at best and an offensive boor at worst.
The last two times Q visited, she 1) arrived at the house when no one was there and sat in our driveway and waited for us to come home; and 2) invited herself to my college graduation while strongly hinting to another distant relative that she should hold her wedding on a different weekend than she originally wanted so that Q could attend both events. (I could fill dozens of posts with Q's behavior, but you get the idea...)
My mom set the start time for noon, figuring that would be enough time for the guests to get settled and mingle before she served the food at 1 pm. At 10 am, she and I were still prepping for the party. We hadn't finished cleaning, we'd just barely started warming the dishes we'd prepped the night before, and we certainly didn't look ready to party. Naturally, my grandpa (who lives downstairs from my mom) gets a phone call from Q saying she's on her way and she'll be there in a few minutes!
I think my jaw hit the floor. Not only was she showing up two hours early with a couple minutes' notice, she didn't even have the decency to call my mom directly! I asked my mom to call her and say something like "I'm looking forward to seeing you, but now isn't the best time. We'll see you at 12." But she refused, saying that would be rude and "it's family, what can you do?" I hastily tried to explain that there's a difference between being "at home" and "at home to visitors" and she wouldn't be rude in the slightest for turning away a party guest who was 2 hours early, but she wouldn't budge. By that time, Q was literally ringing the doorbell!
At that point, I was seeing red, but I eventually figured "not my house, not my party, not my rules" so I just kept doing what I needed to do. By the time I'd showered and tidied up the room we'd designated as the "coatroom," it was 10:45, and my grandpa had been entertaining Q singlehandedly for about 45 minutes while my mom and I scrambled. Aside from this incident, the party went well and everyone had a great time, but Q's early arrival really put a sour note in my day.
1. Was my solution of calling Q and saying "not right now, see you at 12" rude in any way? I didn't think so at the time, but my mom refused to budge so vehemently that now I'm not sure.
2. Is the "at home" vs. "at home to visitors" distinction still a valid thing? Personally, I felt pretty offended at the idea of being essentially "held hostage" by party guests who don't respect the start time, and the "it's faaaaamily" thing has never held water with me. But am I off base here?