My sister (the one married to Scammer BIL) called me yesterday. Her husband has recently acquired an actual job working as a manager for Fast Food Restaurant. They stopped paying my mom back for her mortgage over a year ago, so my 60 year old mom is now working full time to pay off a new 30 year mortgage on the house she had once paid off years ago. (BIL convinced her a few years ago to take out 97% of the equity in her house and lend it to him so he could get rich from pyramid schemes. He lost it all and made his wife stop talking to me when I suggested it wasn't a good idea to do pyramid schemes and maybe he should consider getting a job)
They just had their 3rd kid and still want 3 more.
Recently, after much discussion with DH, I offered to let them stay with us in our basement for a few months, since Fast Food Restaurant he's training at is in our city. They could pay us $400 a month for food, sister would help cook meals/keep things clean, and we'd call it fair. Sister offered us $500 a month, but I said 400 was enough. This was to help them get on their feet; they have little kids and I didn't want them to suffer. At the time, they didn't say yes or no because they weren't sure which restaurant he'd be a manager at. She and I did go over a list of 4 weeks' worth of meals at the time because I wanted to make sure we were organized (it would be 10 people in the house!) and that people liked the meals.
Now he's going to start at Fast Food Restaurant in nearby city soon. She called yesterday and asked if they could still move in. She then asked if they could bring their fridge, put it in our basement, and have their own meals separate from ours. I told her their fridge won't even fit down the staircase to the basement. She said, "Well, maybe my husband can get it to fit." I asked her why she suddenly wanted to separate the meals.
Sister: You guys spend more on food than we're accustomed. We're fine with Hamburger Helper and tv dinners.
Me: Those have so much salt in them! Fresh produce isn't that much more expensive. Besides, if you guys aren't paying rent or helping with utilities, I hardly think $400 a month is too much.
Sister: Well, we wanted to do this so we could pay off people faster. We've been racking our brains trying to think of how to pay people back quickly.
Me: Who do you need to pay back?
Sister: Well... mom, of course, and a few of Jim's friends, and our brother.
Me: You owe brother money??
Sister: Yeah, but if we do this with you, we can pay him back before he comes home from his mission.
Me: Okay. Well, I still think 400 is pretty reasonable for a family of five to cover food, rent, and utilities.
Sister: Well... um.... could we do 350 instead?
Me: Maybe. We'll have to think about it.
She said she had to go and would talk to her husband. She called me back awhile later.
Sister: Okay. I talked to Scammer and he REALLY wants us to do our own meals. Can we just plug in our fridge outside or something?
Me: PLUG IN YOUR FRIDGE OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE? No. Sister, we've offered to let your family stay with us RENT FREE and without paying utilities. We have a small kitchen. You're proposing to use our small kitchen to prepare separate meals from our family during a really chaotic time, without helping out our household expenses at all. Why would we want to do that???
Sister: Oh. Well, I guess we can't live with you, then.
Me: You're welcome to come under the terms I offered. It would still save you a ton of money.
Sister: Scammer really wants to do our own meals. It's just too much to spend on food.
Me: (resisting the urge to comment on her kids never getting fresh fruit or anything because they consider it "too expensive") Okay. I don't think this is really about money, though.
Sister: Well, he really likes his Hamburger Helper.
I'm dismayed that my sister is still cowed by him, at the expense of her kids. They live in a tiny basement with no AC. They're planning on PURCHASING AN RV because their van is breaking down. They think he can drive that to work instead and maybe some times they'll just live up there near his work. I told her it was small inside an RV and she said she didn't care about size. She's got 3 kids - an infant and two toddlers. They'll care about space, I'm sure. We live on a dead end right across from a park. Kumquat has tons of toys, which the kids would play with too (except a few I'd put away because her kids break toys more than play with them). I really did offer them one hell of a deal. How much do you want to bed Scammer BIL will now say he can't pay my mom back because I was unhelpful?
Scammer is a control freak and I don't think he wants Sister learning to cook real food without his approval.