Background: recently I went to visit my sister Glenda. Glenda is a bit of a hoarder and her house is always messy and cluttered. My step niece, Ellen, and her two young children were visiting Home State and were with Glenda.
I arrive at Glenda's and the house is messy as usual, dirty dishes on the table and computer desk, papers and clothes on the floor, overflowing garbage. I sit down on the couch and there is a dirty diaper (not a wet diaper, a dirty diaper) on the floor next to me. It smells, the house is hot, not air conditioned, and only a few windows are open. Glenda (the step grandmother) mentions the diaper to Ellen (the mother), but no one picks it up. They are chatting with me about the kids and my pregnancy and the diaper is still on the floor. I bring up the diaper since I have morning sickness and Glenda kind of waves off my concerns.
I try to convince them to take the kids to the park (too hot), I offer to take them out to lunch as my treat (too much work to dress the kids). I don't want to leave because I drove three hours to get here and I may not see step niece or the kids for a year or two. Finally I get up, pick up the diaper and carry it into the kitchen. Since the garbage is full, I bag up the garbage and carry the bag to the dumpster. I put a new bag in the garbage can, wash my hands and got back to my visit. The rest of the visit was better, I finally convinced them to take the kids park to splash in the kiddy pool.
Was I rude? My sister made several comments about me overstepping myself to other relatives. She was upset because I used the wrong bag for the garbage can, the clear ones instead of the white ones. I know she is easily upset with me because several years ago her kids, including Ellen lived with DH and I while she was in rehab. She has said on occasion that I take over when it comes to her kids, even now. I am emotionally invested in her kids, they lived with me for a few years. One of her stepdaughters estranged from her, but maintains close contact with us.
What else could I have done?