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How to survive an unexpected house guest?
Old 12-31-2014, 09:48 PM   #1
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How to survive an unexpected house guest?

This may turn out to be just a vent but I'd like to see how others have handled a similar situation.

When father in law lost his wife last June he decided he was going to spend about 3 months each winter 'here' with his kids. Plan started out that he was going to get an apt here in Vegas but when he realized he couldn't deal with the traffic the plans changed to living with DH's sister.

On December 15, FIL arrived at our house with the intention of spending a month with us and then moving to his daughter's house for the duration. I wasn't asked if I was ok with the plan, he just showed up.

He has some OCD habits that drive me batsh*t and I'm still working so having a guest in the house seriously disrupts my day (I feel obligated to do things that DH and I normally don't do like cook a meal every night).

I feel that I'm being selfish and self-centered but of the month he decided to stay with us I had a 3-week stay at home vacation planned. I was going to relax, rejuvenate and basically veg, but that hasn't happened.

I'm an introvert so having a person in my house for a month other than DH is causing me major stress. Have you had to deal with a similar situation and if so what did you do?
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:24 PM   #2
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I have never had to deal with this. My suggestion is that you talk to your husband and ask that he and his siblings get together to 'find a place for Dad'. Perhaps they could share the cost of a short term rental for his stay. Odds are your BIL/SIL are not enthusiastic about his plans either.
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Old 12-31-2014, 10:32 PM   #3
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I have never had to deal with this. My suggestion is that you talk to your husband and ask that he and his siblings get together to 'find a place for Dad'. Perhaps they could share the cost of a short term rental for his stay. Odds are your BIL/SIL are not enthusiastic about his plans either.
+1. Courtesy is a two way street.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:23 AM   #4
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Poison is efficient and difficult to prove.

I feel for you--we have always had enough warning about these situations to be able to nip them in the bud. Really hard when it got dropped on you with no input from you.

You are not being selfish and self-centered imho.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:40 AM   #5
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I hope he is not "settling in" and thinking of staying indefinitely!

Fortunately I have never been faces with this situation, so my ideas are theoretical. ISTM that you could escape by spending a lot of time away from the house, e.g. meeting friends, exercising, doing errands, etc, and only making meals when it suits you. Just make it clear that he has to fend for himself. I wouldn't make him too confortable.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:24 AM   #6
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Wow, tough one.

How does DH feel about this ? Blood is thicker than water, but...the fact that FIL just showed up and your (and possibly not DH's either?) input was not sought is beyond not cool. I would suggest you and DH talk this out, and see where he stands. Find a compromise.

There is always the possibility of a close by rental place for FIL. He can have his space, and all of you can enjoy the visit without drama.

All else failing, can you reschedule your time off ?

Mr B and I hosted family for 10 days in November, but we knew about it ahead of time. After 7 days I was getting antsy about my schedule being disrupted. The brother and GF had just sold their house and were enroute to CO. So I managed it well because they really needed a rest. We took turns cooking.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:39 AM   #7
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Wow, you are more definitely NOT being 'selfish and self-centered'. This is an incredible imposition. I'd sit down with DH and discuss some ground rules, like DH can cook every other night? or FIL can go out to eat by himself? If there's no agreement on the ground rules, then FIL is done. You're only a doormat if you allow yourself to be one.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:01 AM   #8
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Lisa99, you are not being selfish, and there is no easy way to deal with this. If your FIL intends to do this every year, you might find it helpful to consult with your DH and his siblings to see how they feel about this and see if there is any possibility for a yearly rental in the area.

With this type of houseguest it is important to set boundaries that govern the current and all future stays. It is a bit awkward in the beginning but this will make it less difficult for you to accommodate this disruption to your lifestyle. What parts of the house can be accessed when, meal prep and scheduling, you and your DH going out alone, and outdoor activities for FIL are a few your might want to begin with.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:10 AM   #9
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"Couldn't deal with traffic"

How does the traffic change when he's living with you? It sounds like he just found free room and board. Unless you address this situation I suspect it will become at least an annual event if not a permanent presence. From your initial post it isn't a one time event. You better address it now or get used to it.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:19 AM   #10
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I would look for a rental in a nice senior area & let the widows work their magic. He will soon be too busy to bother you .
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:30 AM   #11
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One more suggestion. Your town or county may provide some senior services, which might include activities and transportation. A senior center is an option for a visitor to spend a couple of afternoons a week, and the shuttle service can be very handy to decrease the dependency on you to provide all transportation.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:32 AM   #12
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OK stop cooking! Get him some take out menus and let him order in. The number one method to dealing with longish termed guests is to NOT let them change your habits to such a huge degree. DH's sister has been coming - she is very high maintenance. I just told him I am not catering to her, he can do it, or we can just tell her what the plans are.

Can you do this with him? Say "happy to see you, we only cook dinner on Mon, Wed and Friday. You are welcome to make your self a sandwich or heat up some soup or here are some take out menus - you can order in".

I totally feel your pain about the OCD, my sister has OCD and it's very disruptive. the other thing we do is plan activities outside the house - go to the movies etc. We even plan more "dates" than usual to get out.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:37 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, you've given me a lot to think about and some good ideas for talking with DH.

FIL has endless activities out of the house at his disposal. We live in a huge active adult retirement community and I got him a guest card. He likes woodworking so I helped him join the woodworking club and even paid his annual dues. Yet he sits in the house at the breakfast table 24x7 doing crossword puzzles and basically being underfoot.

I haven't let him disrupt my play plans. While I've been off I've done exactly what I had planned to do other than the extra cooking part. I'm just not happy with a long term guest... I don't know why exactly but with him here I don't feel like I can relax.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:13 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, you've given me a lot to think about and some good ideas for talking with DH.

FIL has endless activities out of the house at his disposal. We live in a huge active adult retirement community and I got him a guest card. He likes woodworking so I helped him join the woodworking club and even paid his annual dues. Yet he sits in the house at the breakfast table 24x7 doing crossword puzzles and basically being underfoot.

I haven't let him disrupt my play plans. While I've been off I've done exactly what I had planned to do other than the extra cooking part. I'm just not happy with a long term guest... I don't know why exactly but with him here I don't feel like I can relax.
Eureka ! Get a project that requires being spread out on a table (sewing, drawing, scrapbook, organizing folders, what-not) and fully "occupy" the breakfast table.

Use trays for eating, NOT at the table.

Gently steer FIL to the den or TV room to do his puzzles. Provide DH's recliner as his temporary sitting spot, with a good lamp nearby.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:24 AM   #15
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I'm not sure it is the unexpected nature of the house guest that is the problem...it is perhaps his expectation and your expectation of what to do that is the problem.

It is unclear if he is expecting you to cook dinner every night or if that is an expectation you impose on yourself. That is, is it the father in law placing expectations on you or is this something you are doing to yourself?

I tend to feel that for longer visits people should basically mostly keep on doing what they would normally do. This reminds me a little of my mother. She visits several times a year for a week or two each visit. These are planned visits and I don't mind them.

In her case, she is the one with expectations that I realized early I couldn't (wouldn't) meet. She likes to stay in her room with the TV there. She likes to have the TV on most of the day and basically wants people to just visit in the room with her. What makes it a little annoying is that if I come in there, for example, with iPhone or iPad and chat with her while I read something on the iPad or iPhone she gets upset. She things it is fine for her to watch a game show while I sit there utterly disinterested in it, but she doesn't want anyone coming in there to do anything except talk to her or watch the show.

I've encouraged her to come in my office (I have a very nice recliner in there) and chat with me while I'm at my desk...but she doesn't like that unless I put 100% of my attention on her.

So -- it is difficult. She wants everyone to drop everything to simply sit in her bedroom with her while she watches TV and then complains that people don't visit her enough in there.

Basically, I've decided I can't meet her expectations so I don't try to. I do stop in to see her. Sometimes it is a short visit (15 minutes) other times it is much longer (I was in there 3 hours the other day). I remind her she can come out to the rest of the house. We sometimes have meals together (we don't cook every day and I'm not starting now). I do offer to buy her what she wants and ask her if I can help her with her meal, but I don't plan on doing sit down dinners every night. We do it sometimes, but not everyday.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:33 AM   #16
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, you've given me a lot to think about and some good ideas for talking with DH.

FIL has endless activities out of the house at his disposal. We live in a huge active adult retirement community and I got him a guest card. He likes woodworking so I helped him join the woodworking club and even paid his annual dues. Yet he sits in the house at the breakfast table 24x7 doing crossword puzzles and basically being underfoot.

...
Walk ( or have his son walk him) up to a community center area where he can sit and do these? I see people spending hours at our public library and Starbucks reading and doing xwords and tablet surfing.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:59 AM   #17
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Recently widowed...can't "deal with traffic"...OCD, uninterested in social things, and completely insensitive to his duties as a house guest...have his children taken any steps to rule out encroaching dementia, and all the fear, denial, and selfishness that often generates?

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Old 01-01-2015, 12:08 PM   #18
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I've never had a roommate, nor anybody staying with me for a long period of time, so to have somebody drop by unannounced for a month-long stay (or more) would have me boiling over.

If it were me, I'd tell DH that either FIL moves out, or I would. If it caused a family stink, so be it. But that's just me.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:17 PM   #19
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I've never had a roommate, nor anybody staying with me for a long period of time, so to have somebody drop by unannounced for a month-long stay (or more) would have me boiling over.

If it were me, I'd tell DH that either FIL moves out, or I would. If it caused a family stink, so be it. But that's just me.
I have found my soul mate!

Having people spend more than a couple of days drives me nuts. Staying with someone else does the same.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:20 PM   #20
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Recently widowed...can't "deal with traffic"...OCD, uninterested in social things, and completely insensitive to his duties as a house guest...have his children taken any steps to rule out encroaching dementia, and all the fear, denial, and selfishness that often generates?

Amethyst
You have definitely hit on the one thing that can definitely get things boiling.

One way to get him to move would be to have a "heartfelt" discussion with him that you think it would be good to see a neurologist because of some of the "issues" that you've seen. I suspect that would get him moving on quickly.
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