It’s hard to get rid of guests in Hawaii

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON ASK AMy Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I re­cently hosted my sib­ling and their spouse at my home for three days. It had been sev­eral years since we’d seen each other. Be­cause I live in Hawaii, we get a lot of, “Hey, I’m com­ing out there on va­ca­tion” from fam­ily and friends, with the un­spo­ken hope of stay­ing with us.

My sib­ling and spouse had come as part of a pack­age tour, which had three “un­sched­uled” days at the end, and they didn’t want to spend the money to stay in a mo­tel, with­out a car, when there is so much to see and do here. They had booked their trip last year, so it wasn’t a spur-of-the-mo­ment thing.

They were very good guests, but I find that as I get older I’ve grown in­tol­er­ant of any­one but my spouse in my home. I’ve become set in my ways. I can’t sleep when some­one is snor­ing. I don’t want to have to turn the tele­vi­sion up loud for my hard-of-hear­ing guests. I don’t want to have to ex­plain why I don’t have ca­ble or a dish­washer. I don’t like folks in­sist­ing on eat­ing din­ner in front of the TV, or hav­ing the tele­vi­sion on all the time. I don’t al­low shoes or smok­ing in the house. And any­one who’s been to Hawaii knows that there are bugs here.

I am a gra­cious host, and in­vited them to stay. But be­hind their backs I was grit­ting my teeth and seething with un­war­ranted re­sent­ment. I love them, but that old say­ing that guests are like fish in that they be­gin to stink af­ter two days holds for me.

How do I po­litely and gen­tly tell my fam­ily, in-laws, and friends com­ing from far away that I do not want to host them or let them stay here? I am more than will­ing to pay for their mo­tel room and shut­tle them around in my car, but how do I say that?

— KHUTULAN

Dear Khutulan: The minute you start be­ing hon­est and clear about your lim­i­ta­tions and your will­ing­ness to host, your life will start to change. When you are con­vey­ing your point, don’t make the mis­take of pil­ing on lots of ex­pla­na­tions re­gard­ing your own ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Sim­ply say, “I will love to see you while you’re here, but un­for­tu­nately I can­not host peo­ple in my home. Here is the name of the clos­est mo­tel, and of course I will en­joy show­ing you the sights and shut­tling you around while you’re here. I hope you can block out a few days while you’re on the island for us to spend time to­gether.”

Your of­fer to pay for a stay in a mo­tel is a gen­er­ous one. If you tack that on to your state­ment, I as­sume peo­ple would love to take you up on it.

Dear Amy: Many times we know the right thing to do, but are par­a­lyzed by doubt. Thank you for be­ing there to give us a gen­tle push in the right di­rec­tion!

Our grand­kids fre­quently spend the week­end at our house. My grand­daugh­ter sleeps in the up­per bunk in our younger daugh­ter’s room. She’s al­most 12, has ex­hib­ited some pre­co­cious be­hav­ior, is start­ing to de­velop, and wants to sleep wear­ing only panties to bed dur­ing the sum­mer.

My hus­band and I feel that’s not ap­pro­pri­ate, and said bra and panties are okay.

My older daugh­ter says we’re “body sham­ing” her, and that she should be able to sleep in what­ever makes her com­fort­able. My younger daugh­ter says it’s not a prob­lem, but it’s our fam­ily cul­ture, as well as com­mon sense, to be wear­ing some­thing in case of an earthquake or other emer­gency. What do you think? — PRUDISH GRANDMA

Dear Prudish: I fail to see the “body sham­ing” as­pect of this. I don’t think it is at all un­rea­son­able to ask a grand­child — boy or girl — to ex­hibit some min­i­mal mod­esty while at your house.

How­ever, I do agree about the im­por­tance of com­fort while sleep­ing. Sleep­ing in a bra seems strange (and un­com­fort­able, at least to me); per­haps your grand­daugh­ter can keep a spe­cial “sleep shirt” un­der her pil­low, in case of an earthquake?

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