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A Whole Mess of Missing Spines

I have two brothers, Steve & Ronald. Steve is the elder. Steve has a wife and many children (most of whom are adult) and live-in in-laws and now lives in another state 10 hours away by car. Only two of their children live with them. Ronald has a wife, 3 children (all teenagers) and our 85 year old  mother who lives in a granny flat on the property.
Prior to Christmas, Steve invited himself, his wife and two children and his elderly parents-in-law to Ronald’s large property for a “family reunion”. They were going to turn up in a caravan and stay on the property for a few days.   This changed suddenly when the elderly in-laws were found to be unable to step down from the caravan, at which point Steve suggested our mother could surrender her double bed and sleep in the spare bed. Note: our mother did not offer this, at all.   Steve and wife slept in the downstairs spare room and 1 son slept with one of the 3 teenage children of Ronald (again, this was a suggested arrangement by Steve, not offered by Ronald or family).
Also, just as suddenly, the “few days” turns into a week, and the only family that the reunion is for is the rest of Steve’s children. Very belatedly, our mother was invited, and on the morning of the lunch, Ronald and wife were finally, reluctantly, invited (remember, they own the place and the wife was using their kitchen facilities).
My mother ended up staying with one of my sisters (yes, I have two of those too!!) for the duration, as previous experience has told her that the in-laws will take over the living quarters (my mother offered her bed for ONE night when the elderly in-laws were visiting).
Ronald stated bluntly to Steve that he wanted his house back by January 1.  Steve replied that he would be leaving on December 30, but the wife (and everyone else) wanted to stay until January 2.
Steve left on December 30 and TEXTED his farewell to Ronald & family.   He left the wife, 2 children and in-laws who are due to leave on January 2. Not a word of  thanks for the hospitality, nothing. A week’s worth of accommodation and bathroom facilities and disruption to a family who hadn’t extended the invitation in the first place, and no gratitude?   Well, it’s certainly put the entire rest of my family off side with Steve and I doubt he will get back in our good books soon.    1231-15
Take a deep breath and everyone in your family repeat after me,  “I am so sorry. We cannot accommodate that request.  Let me help you find a hotel.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sandisadie January 4, 2016, 11:39 am

    Someone cannot take over your house unless you allow it! And I think that if you do allow it then you have no reason to complain.

    • Dee January 4, 2016, 8:11 pm

      Yes, Sandisadie, that’s my take on it as well. And I don’t understand how the mother and Ronald and his family aren’t invited to a party at their own house – aren’t they already there?!? So why would they need to be invited?!? Steve and co. don’t seem to be a treat but Ronald and mom seem to enjoy being walked on, so that maybe they have a horror story to tell later? Some people live for that.

  • Jewel January 4, 2016, 11:53 am

    Given that Steve HAS to have a history of using people like this, the only one to blame for this fiasco is Ronald and his wife. They should have known that Steve couldn’t be trusted to manage the situation in such a way as to make them glad they offered up their home.

    I suggest the OP gift Ronald/wife a copy of the book Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. If Ronald/wife put the techniques in the book to use, Steve won’t have the opportunity again to use and abuse their hospitality.

    • Another Michelle January 5, 2016, 1:47 am

      I am the OP. Okay, a few clarifications. Steve has never done this before as until recently he lived in the same city as the rest of the family. His wife has made a few questionable decisions regarding gifts at Christmas, however nothing quite on this scale. There was never any request, and one of the reasons Ronald allowed this was because Steve doesn’t have gainful employment and the family’s income is not very much at the moment.

      Steve wanted a low cost “family reunion” which is why he chose Ronald’s place. The other, later impositions were piling up pretty much from the time the family arrived. Our mother, and Ronald and his wife were not invited to the lunch until the last minute as even though they all live there, they weren’t on the list of those being catered for. Basically Ronald and his wife went out for lunch that day, and avoided Steve’s family for the afternoon.

      There was never any request, Steve just said “this is happening”. Yes Ronald allowed it, yes our mother allowed her bed to be taken, but not because they like to be martyrs!! They put up with it because Steve is still family. Steve is not known for planning things like this well, especially when put up to it by his wife.

      • admin January 5, 2016, 2:25 am

        So Ronald went into this arrangement with his eyes wide open and making his decisions based on 1) Steve doesn’t normally do this kind of thing; 2) Steve is economically disadvantaged at the moment; 3) Steve is still family. Is Ronald really offended or is the extended family offended on his behalf? Because as I see it, if you are going to be generous with family in hosting them as house guests knowing ahead of time that this could be challenging, that generosity continues in attitude when the guests behave as expected.

        It’s irrelevant whether Steve “made a request” or issued a declarative statement of intent…the answer is still the same if Ronald did not want a Steve Family Reunion at his house or guests overstaying their visit, “I’m sorry, we cannot accommodate that.”

      • A different Tracy January 5, 2016, 8:52 am

        It sounds like you’re saying this happened because Steve said “this is happening” instead of making a request. Which makes no sense, because no matter how Steve phrased it, Ronald could (and should) have said “no.” And I have to wonder if Ronald and Mom actually do like being martyrs…

        • Jays January 5, 2016, 6:34 pm

          This makes me no less baffled. I agree with the admin. None of that mitigates it at all.

        • Elizabeth January 6, 2016, 11:13 am

          “A different Tracy” nails it!!

      • Jewel January 5, 2016, 6:42 pm

        “Steve is not known for planning things like this well, especially when put up to it by his wife.”

        My point exactly. There is history there that Ronald disregarded when he learned that Steve would be coming. Being family doesn’t mean that setting boundaries isn’t a good idea. If anything most of the “boundary” type of books were probably written BECAUSE of family members shenanigans. Live and learn.

      • InTheEther January 5, 2016, 8:18 pm

        Admittedly, it’s easy for us here in the anonymous bowels of the internet to say Ronald should’ve put his foot down. It is a lot harder while in front of your brother to go, ‘No, the in-laws will find other sleeping arrangements or I will be locking the doors and they can try to fend for themselves outside tonight.’ Especially as it sounds like Ronald and Co. had little clue what was going on, seemingly being informed once things were fait accompli. It’s one thing to argue a plan isn’t good, it’s another to throw a wrench in a plan that’s already on step 3.

        Now I am the kind of evil person who would be totally willing to toss their bags on the front porch and lock the door with a “good luck” if they completely refused to be reasonable. But I care what people who annoy me think of me far less than most people, and don’t care if they make me the bad guy.

        • mark January 5, 2016, 8:40 pm

          I totally agree with you it’s so easy to be brave in the abstract especially when you know the conclusion later, but in the moment faced with ambiguity and a genuine desire to help someone, it is easy to go along.

        • Jessica January 5, 2016, 10:29 pm

          I agree but also the OP states that they live a 10 hour drive apart. If they just showed up and said ‘we are here this is how it is’ they could not just turn around and drive home. Its all well and good to suggest a motel but what if they simply did not have the cash, should Ronald leave them ALL (not just Steve and his wife) with nowhere to stay? If they had the elderly couple and children with them it puts Ronald in a very awkward position because the older couple might have thought they were expected and welcome. Now Ronald has to tell them to find somewhere to go? This is no ones fault but Steve’s and his wifes.

        • Dee January 5, 2016, 11:55 pm

          InTheEther – It seems Ronald did not find it difficult at all to throw his own mother under the bus in order to avoid conflict with Steve. That’s a choice right there, and Ronald chose Steve’s feelings over his mother’s. Not too noble.

          • Semperviren January 6, 2016, 11:56 am

            Really? It seems a bit of a jump to make that assumption. I don’t see anything in the OP that justifies a conclusion that Ronald “didn’t find it difficult at all”. Or for that matter, that Ronald and mom “enjoy” being walked on. Or that they tolerated this invasion for the sake of “having a horror story to tell later”. You seem to have hastily formed a number of unpleasant assumptions about the OP’s family without, really, any reason.

          • keloe January 7, 2016, 6:31 am

            Seeing as she is also Steve’s mother, she may have agreed willingly. The OP says the idea did not come from her, but that does not necessarily have to mean she was removed from her bed by force.
            Honestly, in such situation (two elderly persons with physical difficulties) I would probably agree to let them have my bed too. I would probably assume this is a temporary solution and other arrangements will be made soon, or that they will leave in a day or two. But if things turned out otherwise, I would probably have problems demanding my bed back and kicking family out. True, a son’s in-laws are not strictly speaking blood relations, but they are quite close.

        • Elizabeth January 6, 2016, 11:14 am

          They didn’t just show up un-announced so no one was going to be left to fend for themselves for the night. It was announced ‘prior to Christmas.’

          Um, no, sorry. We have other plans.

          • InTheEther January 7, 2016, 12:03 am

            The bit about showing up was announced well ahead of time. Letting bro and his extended family park cars/trailers on the property isn’t really that huge a deal, if you want to do bro a favor and you assume they’ll be decent guests. I was referring more to the “oops, inlaws can’t manage the steps. Guess they get mom’s room.” “Oh we’re having a special meal tomorrow, guess the hosts can come” bits. It sounded like the real irritating parts were announced once they were on the door step, if not later into the visit.

  • Michelle January 4, 2016, 12:13 pm

    Wow. What gall to invite your family to your brother’s home for a “family reunion” and not invite your brother & his wife & your OWN mother until the very last minute. I think as soon as Steve started his planning and arrangements, I would used admin’s line. Steve basically took over Ronald’s home. I don’t even understand the part about Steve leaving on the 30th and the rest of the family staying until the 2nd. Sounds like the elderly in-laws have mobility issues, possibly even driving issues, so how many cars did they take?

    Reminds me of the post about the woman whose invited her adult children, grandchildren and various extended relatives to every function she was invited to.

  • NostalgicGal January 4, 2016, 12:42 pm

    Not only that, but next year I’d make sure I had plans I wouldn’t be there, lock the doors and tell whoever has the spare key not to let them in.

    We had the inlaws that would find out when your vacation was and show up the week before with a loaded station wagon, 7 hellion kids, and eat you out of house & home and your vacation money. Plus what the kids broke. One year dad made it known we were going on vacation X week. We left really early one week before, like before sunup. We were on the road a few hours before they showed up in our driveway, pounded and all and neighbors finally chased them off as they’d (we’d) left early that morning. Key, what extra key? They decided not to B&E as nobody was there, neighbors would’ve called on them, and there was nobody to mooch off of. So they went a few states away to another relative, and they’d done the same thing. Left a few days early for their Disney World vacation. Oh we heard all the whine and moan and they tried I think one more relative before they figured out we’d figured out how they spent their summer vacationing. They sort of disowned a bunch of us and for some reason we didn’t care.

    I think this approach would work great next year with this batch.

    • PM January 4, 2016, 6:48 pm

      I don’t understand the strategy here. Did they figure you would have food and extra cash while planning for your vacation, and take advantage of that? Or were they just being spiteful, wanting to spoil your vacation?

      • NostalgicGal January 5, 2016, 2:26 am

        As far as we could figure, they figured we would have money right before the vacation (saved up, etc) so they could plop right down and basically be waited on, fed, and they EXPECTED to be hauled around to see the sights. As guests. Often it included packing them food for the road and filling their tank to get rid of them. They did a few years of this to most of their side of the family before dad quietly suggested the deception. As for purposefully ruining vacations, after a week of those locusts you were going to spending the week at home fixing what their little demonspawn destroyed (they did zilch to control their kids and screamed bloody murder if you tried to make them behave (7 kids with a 9 year spread, the year we took off on them the oldest was almost 13). I think on the Disney one (those had saved four years for that) they wanted to go along and have it paid for by the way they were upset. The other one they knew about going tripping was three weeks later so they showed up 10 days before the start of that one and they were already gone.
        A few of us they got twice, Dad they got once. Third year of them doing this and the third year they missed three in a row and everyone else shut up about when they might vacation until they got back; and the locusts decided since none of us wanted to put up with them (because we’re family) they gave up. I think more than destroy YOUR vacation, they wanted a FREE vacation at family expense. I was 7 when we got ‘hit’ and 8 when we ‘snuck off’

    • A different Tracy January 5, 2016, 8:55 am

      How is it possible that all of these family members were such doormats? If someone, no matter who, showed up on my doorstep right before my vacation expecting to stay with me, either I’d know they did it on purpose and I’d tell them to take a hike, or I’d think it was an accident and I’d politely tell them how sorry I was that I couldn’t host them, since I was about to leave on vacation. “Oh, I’ll cancel my trip and spend all my money on you” is just kind of unbelievably wimpy.

      • NostalgicGal January 6, 2016, 2:03 am

        They pulled the ‘Because we’re FAAAAAAMMMILY’ card and the first year made like they were staying overnight on the way to elsewhere. Which didn’t happen. They grew into ‘the invasion of the locusts’ after pulling it twice on a few. Third year they tried it we all went the other way. I know that when I left home they were still ‘alienated’ from the rest of the family. (they got two the first year, four the second, including us and third year tried 3 and got zero, the fourth one took off while they tried for #3 on third year) The one that really galled us was the nine of them wanted to barge in on the Disney trip for four, and have the relative (who they saved for four years to take their two kids there) pay for them too.

        This was the 60’s and most of the relations had not learned ‘get out and stay the XXXX out’ or the that’s fine get back in the DDDDDD car’ (titanium spinage) or such yet. Or our more polite models of ‘let me direct you to a motel’. They showed up they barged in they took over, and we didn’t call police on relatives at that time.

        In this modern day I bought an app for my techtoy that is easy to start up, so if I seen them (or their equivalent) pulling in up front, my thumb is on a touchswitch on the face of it in my pocket. If I let go and don’t type the disable code in 10 seconds, it calls the authorities for me, and if I tap it again without disarming, it says ‘hostage situation’ Big difference what 45 years in both tech and tolerance has taught us against the ever increasing tied of Boorons and worse.

        Remember, 40-50 years ago we had less it seems of what we write more and more about in this forum. Though there were still some.

        • Kelly January 6, 2016, 8:56 am

          I hope you are kidding about calling the authorities about a “hostage situation” when your relatives show up.

          • NostalgicGal January 6, 2016, 6:55 pm

            Not unless one took out a weapon. There are a lot of concealed carry permits out there.

            The app costs me $36 a year and I can also program it to call if I visit another city. It has GPS which automatically turns on if you activate it so you can be located. I just mentioned that it had that option. Most larger cities have 911, so say if I go to Denver or Miami, I just have to reprogram the part to tell it I’m in that city, it calls THOSE numbers (I can program in numbers other than 911 for it to call)

  • ketchup January 4, 2016, 12:49 pm

    Yea, this Christmas time, we stayed (2 parents and 1 preschooler) with my brother and his wife for over a week. invited. We bought them dinner in a restaurant, paid for part of the groceries, tidied up after ourselves, bought some flowers for them, and expressed our gratitude more than once, but not too often it would make them feel embarrassed. These stories do make me feel good about my own manners.

    Where are those spines?! An interesting question.

    • Lila January 14, 2016, 5:41 pm

      My two teenagers stayed for a week with some relatives in New Orleans and tried to be the best guests ever as far as cleanliness and helpfulness. After we got back home, as a thank you I went online to Shutterfly and made them a scrapbook of photos we took with them including some with their visiting grandkids who they don’t see very often. Mailed a hard copy of it right to them. They loved it!

  • LadyV January 4, 2016, 1:01 pm

    While Steve’s actions were incredibly rude, Ronald has to take some of the blame for what happened. If he couldn’t stiffen the spine when Steve invited himself and his family to stay on Ronald’s property, he definitely should have stood his ground when Steve suggested that Mom give up her living quarters. (Side note: I find it hard to believe that Steve wasn’t aware BEFORE the trip that his in-laws would have difficulties with the caravan. Sounds like he planned all along to impose on Paul.) Admin is right – the whole family needs to memorize the standard polite spine reply!

  • Library Diva January 4, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Am I the only one thinking of Christmas Vacation and the Griswolds?

    • Tabitha January 4, 2016, 5:22 pm

      The Griswalds is exactly what I was thinking!

  • HelenB January 4, 2016, 1:40 pm

    So the 85 year old gave up her bed for the “elderly in-laws”. A positive spin on all of this might be that OP’s mother doesn’t consider herself to be elderly 🙂

    • Green123 January 5, 2016, 3:19 am

      My mother’s next door neighbour is ninety this year. She was enthusiastically telling people at the New Year’s Eve party that she was looking forward to another good year, and that she was planning to start a knitting club ‘for the old people’ at the local care home, most of whom are at least 20 years younger than her. Age ain’t nothin’ but a number… 🙂

      • JO January 5, 2016, 6:56 am

        I think I adore your mother’s neighbor.

      • Cat January 5, 2016, 9:26 am

        The Queen Mother used to visit English nursing homes and ask the residents their ages. She was often the oldest one present. I thought that was a hoot.

        • JD January 5, 2016, 11:19 am

          This sounds like someone we knew! My husband’s aunt would spend busy days cooking and carrying food to her house-bound friends, and her friends in the nursing home. She worked that in around her water aerobics class and her substitute teaching at the local public school. She told us cheerfully what a great time she was having helping out her friends, who were old and needed help. She was 86 at the time and nearly all of her friends were younger than her, her son told us. When she died, at almost 95, she’d been sick for only 3 weeks, but thinking this might be it, calmly called her children, pastor, and some former pupils she’d stayed close to, and informed them how she wanted her funeral to be done, so they wouldn’t have to worry with the details. Up until she got sick, she was still helping to care for her “elderly” friends, some of whom were 15-20 years younger than her. She was a wonderful woman, full of love.

      • Kate January 5, 2016, 10:36 pm

        Reminds me of my nanna, who turned 80 last year, debates whether or not to use her Seniors Card because “I like the discounts but I don’t like saying I’m old” and threatened to steal my fiance as her ‘toy boy’ for her 90th birthday party.

        • NostalgicGal January 6, 2016, 2:22 pm

          That would have been cute if you and your fiancé were both good about it. Sounds like your nana’s fun.

          • Kate January 6, 2016, 6:32 pm

            Fortunately we both have a sense of humour about it!

  • Mustard January 4, 2016, 1:56 pm

    I agree with admin. except I would omit ‘I am so sorry’ and start with ‘we cannot accommodate that request.’ The cheek of some people!

  • Cat January 4, 2016, 2:06 pm

    I don’t see any request being made. It sounds like Steve just told Ronald that Steve’s entire family had decided to take over Ronald’s house for over a week.
    Tell him no when he tells you they are all coming and, if he shows up anyway, say.”Steve, what are you doing here? We haven’t invited your family to stay here. You’d better get going. It’s a long drive home. Have a nice Christmas and New Years. Bye.”
    You will be treated in accordance with the behavior that you are willing to tolerate from others. Steve knows he can walk all over Ronald and Ronald will accept it. Ronald told him they all had to be out of his house by January 1. They stayed until January 2 to prove that they could ignore him. I’d have taken them all to the bus station on January 1 and waved good-bye.

    • Vic January 4, 2016, 3:28 pm

      I agree with Cat. I think the family made a point of staying one day past the day Ronald told them to leave just to show their contempt and disregard for Ronald’s family, as if they hadn’t already made that clear through the rest of their actions. This is dispicable behavior and if I didn’t cut them out of my life completely, I would at least make it clear that they would never be welcome in my home again!

    • Beth January 4, 2016, 3:29 pm

      (I’m sure I mentioned this on the site somewhere before.)

      My mil is one who likes to call up and say “we’ll be there on x date, can’t wait to see you.” It doesn’t matter if you want her there or not. We hold her at arms length, so she doesn’t do it to us, but has to other family members (who don’t say anything, but complain about it, a lot, later.)

      Anyway, the one and only time we “vacationed” with them, we did a camping trip. The first few nights were okay, then we were supposed to go and visit her sister. So we woke up, broke camp, packed up the kids and headed to her sister’s house. When we got there and mil knocked on the door, her sister answered the door and said “The kids are sick, I told you that you couldn’t come.” She greeted us (I smiled, said hello, sorry and then made a quick retreat, I didn’t want my kids to get sick!) and went back inside, closing the door behind her. Spine of steel there and I was impressed. I was also upset with my mil, as was everyone else in our party. DH and I ended up taking our kids and camped a few more nights without mil and fil. I think she sort of learned to not pull that stunt again.

  • Redneck Gravy January 4, 2016, 2:30 pm

    Ronald needs to grow a backbone.

    And he’s not the only one…

  • Kelly January 4, 2016, 2:59 pm

    From now on, if they try this again, I would not let them in and call the police and have them arrested for tresspassing.

    • Lisa January 5, 2016, 9:35 am

      Calling the police on annoying relatives? If everyone called the cops every time someone did something obnoxious, well, you get the point.

      Holy overreaction, Batman.

      • NostalgicGal January 6, 2016, 2:26 pm

        The one set of relations I wrote about with the station wagon full, I would’ve. It would have taken more people just to round all the kids up and get them back in the vehicle. And since they didn’t seem to understand go home after those couple of years, yes I would call.

        • NostalgicGal January 18, 2016, 1:06 am

          There’s one here in comments on another post, they had it on the outs with a female relative that showed up at their house and tried to break in and had gone over it…. when the police arrived (those inside called) they believed the bull the one outside was rolling and wanted the inside ones to let her in and make peace. The ones inside wanted Ding Batt hauled off and a restraining order. They finally did somehow get DB out of there and served her with the restraining order after a long convince to the police that DB was the problem, not them.

      • Kelly January 8, 2016, 9:33 am

        If I didn’t invite them and they were trying to take over, then yes, I would call and have them arrested. Sounds like that’s the only way the relatives in the post would learn to quit inviting themselves everywhere.

  • Tabitha January 4, 2016, 5:28 pm

    I don’t think I understand this. One family arrives at another’s home, invites themselves to stay in the others home, holds an event (the reunion) but the homeowner, his wife and the mother of both families, who live in the house which was taken over, are not invited? It made me think of the Griswalds when I read it, but it’s making me think of the gestapo as I write it. And I’m not trying g to be funny. I must have misunderstood. If I haven’t it sounds like a horrible and humiliating act of bullying. I’m just going to steal your house, you can sleep in the basement until were ready to leave. Would that really happen?

  • lakey January 4, 2016, 6:24 pm

    I don’t have much sympathy for people who allow themselves to be walked on like this. Ronald should have spoken up the minute it was suggested that his own mom be kicked out of her own bed.

    I had a sister who twice tried to invite herself to stay at my very small home when I didn’t want her to. She called me from her cell phone when she was one hour away, to tell me that she and her boyfriend were coming for the weekend. This was at a time that I was very over-worked, and couldn’t handle dealing with her and her boyfriend’s nonsense for a whole weekend. So I told her that they would have to stay at a motel, which also had a nice restaurant. After they checked in I would meet them for dinner at the restaurant, and that would be all the time I had for the weekend, as I was busy.

    After two times of my not caving to her manipulative behavior, she never tried it again. And, yes, it was manipulation on her part. More than once I’ve heard her say, “Once I blah, blah, blah, it will be a done deal.” People like this know exactly what they’re doing. They think that if they back you into a corner you can’t say “no”. But you can say “no”, and if there is embarrassment, that’s their fault.

  • PM January 4, 2016, 6:55 pm

    I have an aunt who is known for “appropriating” relative’s lake homes. My poor cousin, who has a lovely vacation home with all the bells and whistles has learn to ignore all emails, texts and calls from aunt from March to August because inevitably the conversation will turn to, “I’m REALLY CRAVING a weekend at the lake, when am I coming up?” If cousin says, “Oh, sorry, we’re not planning to visit the lake house for the next month or so,” Aunt will tell her “oh, that’s fine, just leave the key in the mailbox.” And inevitably, these weekends turn into cousin hosting aunt/uncle, her adult children, their spouses and whatever other relatives Aunt has invited that weekend so it turns into a “reunion,” and not Aunt taking over someone else’s house and treating it as her own. We have learned not to take aunt at her word when she claims there’s a family event planned.

    • PM January 4, 2016, 6:55 pm

      please note, this aunt is not Lakehome-owning cousin’s mother.

      • NostalgicGal January 9, 2016, 3:36 pm

        I did this earlier this year. I’m not proud but I did get a good laugh later so I sat on my tuffet until my rear was medium well in e-hell.

        We have southern black widows, brown widows and brown recluse everywhere. Including as house spiders and including this place gets bug bombed. We were having the first fall snap frost so every houseplant had to come in. I don’t care how I try there always seems to have a full grown Black sneak in on a pot rim edge or under the lip of a tray. I had this happen, I got 6 oz babyfood jar and caught her, then got the raid to strategically puff a few other places, and. Some revivalist group was going door to door with tambourine to preach the gospel (not the watchtower batch) and recruit for their new church.
        I come heading out that door and they parted way and I shut and did a few ragged breaths. A can of raid and a jar in the other, they are intrigued.
        I showed them what was in the jar. (if you want a spider identified it’s much easier whole and unsmushed. I caught it to warn spouse) She’s big and she’s moving. I said I just brought the houseplants in and there might be more. Anyone want to help hunt for them? Porch was EMPTY!
        (I did find one more live one in the plants and the house bombing got anything else.)
        The church is several blocks over and doing well and I’ve never seen them on my porch again.

        • NostalgicGal January 9, 2016, 3:38 pm

          Forgot to add, this is in the mean and not etiquette proper part of the world but something like that might cure autie of her NEED to use the lake cabin.

  • Jays January 4, 2016, 7:01 pm

    I agree. I’m just baffled by this. Where the heck WERE Ronald and his family in all this? Say no!

  • AJ January 4, 2016, 10:13 pm

    Everyone is a grown-up, not longer children. Time to stand up to the bully known as Steve. And sometimes, police need to be called.

  • msdani January 4, 2016, 11:04 pm

    I wouldn’t have answered the door. If you to my home without an invitation I will sit on my couch while you pound on my door. And yes you can see my couch from the window near my door.

    I did this to my Dad last month. He came to the window and waved… I waved back and returned my attention to the TV.

    • padua January 5, 2016, 4:06 pm

      wow. more background info, please? otherwise that seems a bit harsh.

      • Cat January 5, 2016, 8:55 pm

        I’d be worried that Dad would be holding up a sign, “Your phone is out of order. Your mother is dead.”

        • msdani January 6, 2016, 11:12 am

          Ummm…how inappropriate!

          • Cat January 6, 2016, 8:42 pm

            You should have met my mother; she was Queen of the Inappropriate. I was in the middle of university final exams my junior year when I received a letter from her. It was marked on the back flap with, “Do not open until after exams.”
            Knowing mother it could be, “Your cat is sick” or ” All is lost; we are living in a tent at the dump.” so I asked my roommate to read it and to see just how bad it truly was. I knew I’d worry during exams and I really needed to concentrate. Nervous and scared is a bad combination for exams.
            She read it and said, “It’s bad; but there is nothing you can do about it.” So now I know it’s more than the cat.
            I worry all during my exam and then read it. My father has had a serious heart attack and is in ICU. I call home and mother says he is recovering. A half hour later she calls me and screams, “He’s DYING! Come home!”
            A friend’s boyfriend drives me to the bus station and I cry for two hours on the way home on the express bus. Mother meets me to tell me he’s ok.
            She could not wait until after my exam since she knew the exam schedule and just call me? She had to write a letter with that on the flap?
            I could just see her holding that sign saying, “Well, I didn’t want to delay telling you.”

      • msdani January 5, 2016, 9:36 pm

        On this day I was sick and stayed home from work. My grandmother called to ask about something and I mentioned I was home sick. She must have told my dad because he called me. I answered, we chatted and hung up. He then called me 6 more times. I stopped answering after 3 calls because I asked him to stop calling so I could sleep. He showed up to my house and the above happened.

        • LadyV January 6, 2016, 10:07 am

          Then as far as I’m concerned, your actions were totally justified. Who calls someone SIX times when he knows the person is sick enough to have stayed home from work? Although he’d probably justify it by saying “I was worried.” No – he talked to you once, he knew you weren’t dying – that should have been it.

        • mark2 January 6, 2016, 9:52 pm

          Could he have maybe be bringing soup or something?

          • keloe January 7, 2016, 11:22 am

            My parents tend to check up on me every couple of hours when I’m sick (if it’s something serious, with fever etc., not a random cold). They, or other relatives also come over to bring me food and stuff (although usually they call first).

            I didn’t realise it was problematic or unusual to other people.

          • LadyV January 8, 2016, 10:44 am

            Keloe, I think it depends on the person. Most people who know me know that if I’m sick, I just want to be left alone. I’ll usually call my mom to let her know I’m home sick from work, or just that I’m sick – I usually speak to her every day and know she would be worried if she didn’t hear from me – but as long as she knows I don’t need anything, she leaves it up to me to call her. Since I’m usually trying to get some sleep when I’m sick, it would make me insane to have someone calling every hour or two.

  • Gabriele January 5, 2016, 12:08 am

    I didn’t laugh out loud (I seldom do) but your comment brought a huge smile to my face…and it’s still there. Best thing I’ve read all day…and now I AM laughing.

  • @just4kicks January 5, 2016, 4:44 am

    My mom called me one morning this past September to say she had been having a lot of pain that was getting worse, and my dad was taking her to the ER.
    Long story short, she was rushed in for emergency gall bladder surgery, and stayed in the hospital for eight days due to some complications after her surgery.
    The operation went well, but she was filling up with fluid afterwards and they couldn’t find a reason as to why.
    I live half an hour away from my folks, my only sibling lives a four hour plane ride away.
    My dad has MS, and couldn’t be left alone in the house.
    I packed up my two youngest children and we stayed there, so my kids could stay with my Dad while I hopped back and forth from the hospital, and did the errands and cooking, cleaning and such.
    That Sunday, my husband picked up our kids and took them home as they couldn’t miss anymore school.
    No one could tell us when my mom would be coming home, and my dad was beside himself with worry, and we all were.
    I stayed for seven days, and my out of town sister was making a huge pain of herself by calling the hospital five times a day DEMANDING to know what was going on with our Mom.
    When I would visit my mom, the nurses would ask if I was “the one from Florida”?!?
    No, we live locally, why?!? Turns out, my darling sister was really pissing off the staff with her frequent phone calls, demanding to know every detail, and WHY are you keeping my mom?!?
    I said to my dad (my sis and I don’t speak) to tell her to knock it OFF, she was really being obnoxious to the staff.
    On the seventh day, she announced to my dad she was flying home, since I was “not handling things” and by God, she was going to get some answers!!!
    She went as far to tell the staff SHE was the contact person, and to call HER ONLY, no info was to be given to me or my dad.
    I went back to the hospital, and said my dad, the patients HUSBAND, is to be told everything.
    She flew in on Monday evening, and I had my husband pick me up, so I could be a home with my family for a few days, until she had to leave.
    I call my dad when I get home, to make sure my sister got there, and he was okay.
    Turns out, she rented a car at the airport and went straight to the hospital, leaving my disabled dad alone for three hours while she raised hell with moms doctors.
    The next day, they released my mom (finally!) and my sister brought her home around 6:30 that evening.
    My mom called to say she was home now, and mentioned that my sister made them some soup for supper before she “went out”.
    WHAT?!? What do you MEAN she WENT OUT?!?
    “Oh, she made us soup then went to visit her girlfriend who lives around here and go out for some cocktails!!!”
    I was livid! My kids and husband told me to calm down or I was going to have a stroke.
    This whole trip up to take over my incompetent care giving was nothing more than a 48 hour vacation away from her kids and husband to bar hop with her pal.
    I was, and still am furious, and my folks weren’t happy either, but didn’t want to say anything to her.
    I turned my families life upside down for more than a week, my kids skipped school, and my husband had to postpone a very important business trip, which didn’t win him any favors with his boss…..but she breezes in for a day and a half and can’t sit home with my folks and take care of them for one night before she hopped on her broom and went home.

    • Semperviren January 5, 2016, 10:11 pm

      Just4kicks, you have my sympathy. I’m caring for my elderly mom and so often I hear of situations where one sibling feels entitled to barge in at their convenience and call all the shots, while being happy to let the other sibling do all the real drudge work. These are often the siblings with the most difficult relationship with the parent but when the parent passes on, they carry on like they’re vying for the “Most Bereaved” trophy.

      • @just4kicks January 6, 2016, 7:06 am

        Thank you for the nice comment, and blessings and good luck to you for taking care of your Mom!

    • Elizabeth January 6, 2016, 11:30 am

      I don’t understand this hi-jack

      • @just4kicks January 6, 2016, 6:33 pm

        It was much longer than I had anticipated, my sincere apologies, Elizabeth.

        • Herring January 19, 2016, 12:42 pm

          @just4kicks, I think (hope) Elizabeth was referring to your sister’s actions, not your post.

  • @just4kicks January 5, 2016, 6:15 am

    ….And, sorry….my personal rant aside, pertaining to the original post, no one asked my sister to fly home.
    It’s her mom too, but my dad told her (HE didn’t want her there, but didn’t want to tell her that) that both of us shouldn’t disrupt our family and schedules, and that I was handling everything quite well by myself.
    According to my mom, my sister planted herself in my mom’s room, demanding to speak to anyone and everyone about her being allowed to go home.
    My mom’s main doctor, (after a twenty minute back and forth with my sister LOUDLY in the hall outside my mom’s room), came in and said very curtly, “if you want to go home so badly, I’m signing your discharge papers…..GO!!!”
    I said to my dad, “they are not keeping mom there because they have nothing better to do….there is a REASON they won’t let her go home!”

    • Cat January 5, 2016, 11:55 am

      You are not alone. My Dad had a serious heart attack and was in ICU. I was away in college and my older brother “Maynard” lived at home. Maynard refused to visit Dad in the hospital or to help Mom with anything. I took the bus home on weekends as I was in final exams.
      Granny also lived with us. She waited until my brother was working with REACT (a cb organization) at the fair to call him there and to tell him to go to the ICU.
      He walked into ICU screaming that he was busy, had no time for this (obscene) word, and wanted to know why the (obscene word) he was being bothered. The nurses had to threaten to call security to get him out of there.
      Thanks, granny, that was just what a man with a heart attack in ICU needed at that moment. Knowing what my brother was, and is, like, I took it that she was hoping it would kill Dad and she’d share his insurance with Mom.

      • padua January 5, 2016, 4:10 pm

        i’m not sure why this is granny’s fault. why does ‘maynard’ get off without any responsibility? or, as i see it, all responsibility?

        • Cat January 5, 2016, 9:10 pm

          Because Granny had been living with us since he was a toddler. She knew exactly what he was like. She could have talked to him at home about seeing Dad. She knew exactly what he would do and she waited for him to be at the fair to push the button. It was deliberate. She was like that.
          He had already tried to kill mother, dad and I twice. Dad and I got the shotgun away from him the first time; but Mother had run for help the second time he tried it because we could not get the gun away from him. That should have been a clue that he could easily have shown up with a shotgun and murdered Dad in ICU.
          When Mother learned she had cancer and was trying to decide whether to take chemo and radiation or not, he told her to go on and die. She had no business spending his inheritance money trying to stay alive.
          When she died and we went to the funeral home, Maynard walked up to her casket, grabbed her by the arm, and waved it in the air, chortling, “Hey! Look! She’s soft!” Who plays with his mother’s corpse?
          Dad had another serious heart attack at 2 am three months after Mother died. The ER doctor told me to call any relatives close enough to get there by sunrise. I called Maynard, and he said, “Don’t bother me that that (obscene word). Call me after 10 am if he dies.” He hung up on me and I sat alone in the ER waiting to see if Dad was going to die or not. Knowing I was alone satisfied him.
          So, yeah, it was Granny’s fault. She knew what he was.

          • LadyV January 6, 2016, 10:09 am

            I sincerely hope that your father has cut your brother – and Granny – completely out of his will!

          • padua January 6, 2016, 11:56 am

            everything has become so much clearer…

            yes. makes sense.

            wow. so sorry you had to deal with that.

          • Asharah January 6, 2016, 7:44 pm

            Lady V
            As I recall from some of her other stories, Maynard conned Dad into adding him on all the bank accounts during his final illness so he could “pay for the funeral.” He didn’t even show up for the funeral because he was on his annual vacation and refused to leave any contact information because he didn’t want his vacation ruined by having to come home because his father died. Maynard kept all the money had Cat was stuck with the bill. And then he whined to the relatives about how she didn’t allow him to come to Dad’s funeral.
            Grandma stole everything including the dining room set when she moved out after Cat’s Mom died. After she insisted on dragging Cat out to dinner against her will to celebrate her 22nd birthday a couple of days after the funeral.

          • Cat January 6, 2016, 8:49 pm

            No, Dad did not make a will, but he put brother’s name on all his bank accounts so Maynard could pay for Dad’s funeral and then share the rest with me. Maynard got every cent. He said it was all his money. I had to pay for Dad’s funeral.
            Maynard demanded that I sign over all of my rights to the profits from Dad’s other assets (a house and a car) because he wanted it for himself. I refused. He sold Dad’s car to his in-laws ( I don’t know what they actually paid) but I got $250 from it. Haven’t seen him since.
            I figured it was worth it to get rid of Maynard.

          • Cat January 6, 2016, 8:56 pm

            Sorry, I didn’t realize Asharah had posted so mine is a repeat.
            Yes, Maynard still complains that he “was not allowed to come to his daddy’s funeral” . He also denies trying to kill Mom, Dad and me.
            I explained to a distant family member that he had a loaded twelve gauge, was screaming that he was going to rip the phone from the wall (this was in the late 1960’s), and Dad and I were fighting him for control of the gun. He tells her he was “just playing around.”

      • @just4kicks January 6, 2016, 7:07 am

        Oh Lord, Maynard and Granny sound like real treats to deal with.
        Best of luck to you! 🙂

    • Dee January 5, 2016, 1:18 pm

      @just4kicks – The decisions regarding your parents’ care belong to your parents, for as long as they are able to make them. It’s up to them to decide whether your sister stays with them and/or cares for them, not you. If they’re okay with her going out with friends then you should be, too. If they’re not okay with it then that’s for them to handle. It really isn’t helping anything for you to know the bad antics of your sister and for you to try to intervene between her and the hospital. Your parents could have clarified who was in charge right off the bat and then your sister couldn’t interfere, if that’s what they wanted. Clearly, their wishes do not jive with yours, and that’s going to be frustrating for you. Unless you are given their authority (POA?) it’s best to back way off, for your sake as well as theirs.

      • @just4kicks January 6, 2016, 7:18 am

        @Dee: Thank you for your comment, and I do agree with you on some points…..squabbling siblings was not what either of our folks needed.
        Just to clarify: I DO have power of attorney, for about five years now.
        That was a HUGE fight between my folks and my sister, as she is older….She also lives far away, while I’m a half hour drive.
        I wasn’t trying to exclude my sister, they are her parents too.
        The problem I had was her high and mighty attitude that I wasn’t “doing it right”.
        I don’t want to be the contact person, that is all on my dad.
        Several nurses and a doctor were extremely upset about her five or more phone calls a day to the hospital.
        Of course my mom didn’t want to stay in the hospital, and my dad wanted her home.
        They were not sending her home until she was completely healed, and I agreed with them.
        I was afraid they would releases her, only for her to turn right around and go back.
        As mentioned, they had good reason for keeping her a few extra days, she is almost 70 and not in the best of health.
        I did NOT begrudge my sister coming to visit, and helping out…after a week I needed a break and things I had to attend to with my own family.
        Her flying up here in a “snit” saying I wasn’t handling the situation properly, and then making it into a mini “let’s go get bombed with old friends” trip was what I took issue with .
        My folks didn’t want her to come home, either, but didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

        • Dee January 6, 2016, 12:59 pm

          @just4kicks – That you have POA makes a big difference; you are involved, whether you want to be or not. But if your parents agree to your sister visiting and you are not wanting to actually force them to refuse her visit (which I’m not even sure you can do) then you’re best to simply advise them that it’s not a good idea and then stay out of it. They didn’t want to hurt her feelings but then filled you in on her shenanigans, and that affects you. They need to understand that they cannot accommodate your sister to their disadvantage and then complain to you or expect you to handle her. If they still want to make decisions then they need to be responsible for them. I suggest you turn a deaf ear/hang up the phone, as needed. Either they are counting on you to support them, as you are doing, and they are committed to doing what they can to support you (not burdening you unnecessarily) or they are using you when convenient at your expense, and that’s an unhealthy dynamic that you don’t need. It’s your choice if you want to change that but, as in the Steve and Ronald story, being a doormat won’t solve any problems but will see them increase. And who are you going to burden with them, then, thus continuing the dysfunctional cycle?

          • @just4kicks January 6, 2016, 8:18 pm

            @Dee: I do agree with you, very much.
            They are my folks and I love them, but am dealing with some health issues that are greatly exacerbated when I’m stressed out.
            It took me a good two weeks to bounce back, health wise, from that whole situation.
            It was to the point that my husband said, I’m not telling you what to do, but in the future, if this sort of crises arises, your sister is coming up and if you have to sign over power of attorney that’s what we will do…..And I agree.

  • abby January 5, 2016, 8:20 am

    So, if I understand this right, Steve and his wife wanted to celebrate Christmas with all their adult kids, but no one could afford a hotel for a week, and none of his adult kids had enough room to accommodate the whole family. So, Steve volunteers Ronald’s house, and proposes camping outside in an RV and only staying for a night or two. Then due to various complications, moves into Ronald’s house and displaces all the occupants. I can see why Ronald agreed to the original terms, as that seems fairly unobtrusive, but when Steve said, hey, the in laws can’t get in and out of the RV, how’s about Mom moves out of her room and we take the spare bedroom, and my son stays with one of your kids in their rooms, that’s about the time to speak up.

    It’s unclear though to me whether Steve proposed the change in terms before or after they were standing on Ronald’s doorstep. Yes, people need polite spines, but if Steve was standing at the door with two elderly parents and two teenage kids, I can see why Ronald agreed, which Steve was probably counting on. Sounds like Steve is someone who relies on people giving him his way because they are afraid of being rude (not that Ronald practicing a polite spine is rude, but some people worry that standing up for themselves is being mean). The world is full of Steves. Hopefully, next time Ronald won’t let him get away with it.

  • Wendy B January 5, 2016, 9:25 am

    Regardless of the financial situation, Steve did not say, “Would you mind if we used your place as a site for a reunion with my large family?” Nor did he say, “Mom, I’m sorry, but inlaws can’t do the steps, do you mind giving up your bed for a few nights?” No, from what OP says it was, “This is happening, deal with it.” And no one had the gumption to say, “No.”

    I’ve been trying to teach my husband that word for years. No is a complete sentence and needs no explanation.

  • Jessiebes January 5, 2016, 10:16 am

    Wow. I feel sorry for the elderly mother who had to give up her bed like that.

  • Semperviren January 5, 2016, 11:19 am

    Steve sounds like a boundary pusher and a mooch. Unfortunately you have to be very firm right up front with these people, otherwise they will take advantage by inches and degrees until they’re just consuming your entire life. Lesson learned the hard way this time….next time Ronald (and the rest of you) will know not to let Steve get a toehold.

  • PWH January 5, 2016, 11:23 am

    It sounds like Steve assumed he would be accommodated and Ronald doesn’t know how to say no. Hopefully Ronald will learn from this situation and develop a spine should Steve try anything like this again (which he likely will since it worked out so well for him).
    We found ourselves with two unexpected houseguests before (I can’t imagine having to suddenly accommodate as many people as Ronald though). My husband and I live in a small three bedroom home (one guest room, the other is an office). I invited my family (Mom, Dad, youngest brother) to stay so that we could celebrate my mother’s birthday together. My oldest brother unexpectedly decided to visit at the same time (showed up with my parents) and also brought along a friend. I had no idea about my brother or his friend until they were at the door and no idea the friend was staying the night until I asked him where he was staying. The friend had no idea my brother hadn’t asked if he could stay (or told me he was coming) and felt really bad. Thankfully the meal I planned that evening was stretchable and we busted out some old air mattresses and were able to shoehorn everyone in. After that day, I gave my brother a talking to and let him know that he needs to a) – tell me he’s coming in advance and b) – never assume there is space for him to stay at our house (ask).

    • Elizabeth January 6, 2016, 11:32 am

      And I’d add: “Guests are not invited to bring guests

  • stacey January 5, 2016, 1:32 pm

    I don’t know what to say, except “ouch!”. The whole experience sounds painful! The irony is that you, OP, have reported the story as if it happened to you. It happened to your brother, your mother, and other family members, none of whom you can control. If you model maintaining good boundaries, it may actually begin to “catch on”. In the meanwhile, yes, their conduct was awful- but it wasn’t your issue until you took up the offense on behalf of those who are of age to be able to speak for themselves…. Doing that won’t help them and it will needlessly add stress to your life. Maintain your own relationships with your family members and permit them to do the same. Your 2016 will probably be more peaceful.

  • Becca January 5, 2016, 1:50 pm

    I’m going to tell this story because I get it, OP…I get it on a level I cannot even explain to regular folks who won’t understand our lack of a spine with this kind of person.

    Last Christmas, my best friend of 15 years at the time was having a hard time in life. Long story, her entire life was a mess to sum it up. She invited herself to Christmas with my family. My family is my parents and brother, we don’t have much to do with our extended family and neither brother or I are married.

    Now dropping into Christmas isn’t an issue really because it’s a small gathering in this situation, there’s technically room, she knew my parents, we grew up together, she thought of my parents as extensions of her family because they treated her better than her family.

    Anyways. This mess of a person, known as exbff now tells me she’ll be there on the 23rd of December. That’s fine because we celebrate on Christmas Eve anyways. She doesn’t leave her apartment (2 hours away) until around 1AM December 24th. Not answering any of my texts asking “Where are you?” and calls checking to see what her ETA is because I’m getting tired. I had driven to pick up my brother and now was waiting in my apartment wanting to go to bed. It’s a single bedroom apartment, I have a loveseat, no real couch, so she always just shared my bed. I also didn’t want to give her a key given her always inviting herself at inconvenient times like that.

    I finally start to sleep around 4AM, livid and unsure what is going on. She finally rolls into my place around 4:30. She had stopped at her moms house prior to coming by and just didn’t check her phone that entire time to my “Where are you? Christmas is tomorrow…” pleas.

    So I snapped. I waited until she was in bed, after taking her meds that make her pass out completely. Grabbed my stuff (forgetting my glasses, argh) and jumped in my car, driving the thirty minutes to my parents house. Getting into their home at about 5:30AM and crawling into bed with my mother. She was shocked to say the least (we have that relationship and so it’s acceptable, she’s my mom after all). I refused to go back to my house at that rate, my mom went later that day to get my glasses and tell EXBFF that she needed to find somewhere else to be.

    EXBFF then spent a week in the area, bouncing around the couple other friends she has and I ended up letting her stay with me a couple of days at the end before I had to go back to work. She overstayed her welcome at every place she ended up, needless to say. I put up with it the longest.

    Last summer that friendship exploded in fireworks that were not my classiest moments, needless to say.

    Instead of just harboring resentment, I’ve learned to just tell these pushy, overbearing, insufferable people they aren’t welcome in my life. I know that in this case, you’re siblings and you want nothing more than a happy family but some people will never respect you. That’s no family or friend you need to suffer with.

    Some people see that we have “so much room!” or that we’re usually really inviting. I love hosting folks, even for long weekends, I honestly don’t mind at all. However when you swoop in and perch, while not giving anything back, not cleaning up after yourself and pitching in for meals or entertainment, then you’re just taking advantage of a kind heart.

    Just because he’s your brother doesn’t mean you should put up with his bad behavior. I know your mother will be torn because she loves her kids, that’s why as grown adults, you and your reasonable brother need to protect her against this vulture.

  • BagLady January 5, 2016, 8:57 pm

    My partner is the youngest in a large family. They didn’t have a lot of money, so vacations were unheard of. But one year, when he was a wee tyke, a co-worker of his father’s offered the family the use of his lake house for two weeks. The plan was for Dad to help CW with some projects while there, but the rest of the time was his. Mom and the kids just got to hang out and enjoy the lake.

    Because the family was large, and the lake house wasn’t, some of the siblings went for one week, and the rest came for the other week. (My partner got to stay both weeks, because he was “the baby.”)

    While they were up there, an older sister, who lived halfway across the country, dropped in on the family homestead, husband and kids in tow. Another older sibling, who lived in the neighborhood, told Sis where their parents were. Next thing you know, Sis is calling Mom at the lake and *demanding* that she come home and play hostess.

    Mom said no, no, a thousand times no. This was her first vacation since her honeymoon and she was staying put. And no, Sis and her family couldn’t come to the lake house — no room! Sis was outraged, but Mom stood her ground, and Sis turned around and went home.

    Mom died before I met my partner, but when I heard that story, I wanted to applaud!

    This same sister was also the one who berated her husband constantly for being lazy. Her husband who was a delivery driver for UPS. If you know anything about UPS, you know those drivers work their buns off. But that’s a story for another thread.

  • Marozia January 6, 2016, 3:59 am

    Admin summed it up perfectly.

  • Ant January 6, 2016, 5:42 am

    I’d be interested to know what Steve has done for past Christmas’s? Also am I reading this correctly that the one child was left in the caravan alone? Because I see this slightly differently to the replies I’ve read so far. I think he knows everything he was doing was wrong but a lot of his actions seems to be driven by his wife and or in-laws. I don’t have any real evidence but my brother in law started showing similar (though not on this scale) rude behaviour after he stated to get serious with his (now) wife. We have, on discussion with him found out that he his actions are to keep a happy wife to maintain a happy life. Here is what I think happened:
    I suspect that in the past Steve and wife often visited in-laws for Christmas in a caravan. I think this year Steve decided that they must see his relatives and the wife reluctantly agrees so long as her dear mum and dad can come. Then either in-laws or wife decide they can’t/ don’t want to stay in the caravan and so Steve was made to ask his mother if she will “move over” (presumably the reason in-laws wanted her room is an ensuite? As otherwise I don’t see why they didn’t go in the spare room). As mother knew how rude /dominating in-laws could be from this vague one night previously, just decided to get out of there rather than have to be the one to confront all this. No doubt she decided this as soon as Steve asked her. This meant a Steve knew a spare room was available hence wife now invites themselves into the house without any need to tell Ronald et al the plan. This leaves 2 “adult” kids in the caravan. Either the kids don’t get on or one is just more entitled and demanded the caravan to themselves. This kid then pesters dad, aka rubber-spine Steve, who tells Ronald one kid will have to stay in the house.
    I guess in the previous “in-law family reunions” they have never ended up in the house or at least not 5 of them have ended up in such comfy living quarters and so wife thinks “why not make the most of it and have a proper family trip with a big family lunch”… by this forgetting all about the fact they are not in a holiday home, the kitchen is shared, that Steve’s nuclear family + parents are not the only people to accommodate in meal planning and that it was supposed be “Steve’s family reunion”. Hence no-one but the people wife (or in-laws) wanted were invited to the lunch.
    Given how easily all of the above seemed to happened they were probably quite shocked when Ronald tried to finally put his foot down. As I suspect Steve is just a passive nuisance in all of this and was brought reasonably well he feels bad and so leaves on time (having failed to convince wife, kids and in-laws that they should all go). Wife / in-laws were probably either enjoying the “luxury” of the trip too much (compared to caravanning) and /or just sadistically really wanting to “hammer home their dominance” after being made to “go and see” Steve’s family. In any case Ronald should have given wife/in-laws a serious talking to and threatened to get the police involved when Steve left them there. Overall I agree with the main point… what really needs to happen is Ronald (and Steve) needs to grow a spine and draw lines when plans are being made.

    • Elizabeth January 6, 2016, 11:37 am

      Whether it was Steve’s wife or not doesn’t matter. Steve allowed it to happen and he should have been more considerate of Ronald.

      • Ant January 7, 2016, 11:00 am

        I think going to Ronald’s was Steve’ idea but he rapidly lost control. Hence I think he left early on the 30th because he was trying and failing to “make” his wife leave. Steve “allowed” it to happen which is cowardly but his wife and in-laws are adults capable of knowing when they are imposing themselves and they sound to me to be the real trouble.

    • Willynilly January 7, 2016, 12:04 am

      Steve’s in-laws live with him, per the second sentence.

  • mark2 January 6, 2016, 10:07 pm

    I believe there’s a bunch more to the story. I’ve reread it several times, and first of all Steve asked if he can use the property. It sounds to me like perhaps this was many acres, and not a hindrance to the host family. To suggest to his mother to give a / double bed for two other guests while she uses a spare bed doesn’t seem like any problem at all. I know my elderly mother would do that and it makes complete sense. The story also mentions the wife using the kitchen facilities, which sounds more to me that on this property there was some sort of guest cottage or some sort of out of the house kitchen facilities. In that case I can see that they might not have thought to invite anyone else. I personally think this just sounds more like a story of a lot of misunderstandings and bad timing during the holidays. It happens to all of us. I also agree though that we need to learn to have polite spines, but some of the comments on here of how people have treated their relatives sound more crass than graceful.