Sis­ter’s visit cre­ates stress for cou­ple

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports -

I am hav­ing is­sues with my sis­ter, “Sharon.” We are both in our early 50s and have al­ways had a good re­la­tion­ship, but she and my hus­band, “Rick,” haven’t got­ten along in the 26 years I’ve been mar­ried. I would de­scribe their re­la­tion­ship as “tol­er­ant” at best. Be­cause of this, when­ever she comes to town, I get to­gether with her with­out my hus­band. But he doesn’t seem to mind. I do have Sharon over for din­ner on oc­ca­sion, and we man­age to get through the evening. The prob­lem we’re fac­ing now: My mother is not well, and we don’t know how much longer she has to live. My par­ents live near my hus­band and me, and Sharon comes into town and usu­ally stays with them.

Sharon wanted to come into town last month and stay with Rick and me in­stead of our par­ents. (She had had an ar­gu­ment with our dad on her pre­vi­ous visit and didn’t want to stay with them.) I knew that stay­ing at my house would re­sult in all kinds of stress be­tween my hus­band and me. To have her stay with us for a few days is re­ally out of the ques­tion.

When I told my sis­ter that stay­ing with me would not be pos­si­ble, she com­pletely shut down. She re­fuses to talk to me, even though I emailed her ex­plain­ing my sit­u­a­tion. I have con­tacted my fa­ther, my brother and Sharon’s hus­band to help me­di­ate, but to no avail. She wants noth­ing to do with me. Do you think I should con­tinue to reach out to her or let it go?

I think the first per­son you need to talk to is your hus­band. My guess is Sharon is fed up with your de­fer­ring to his pref­er­ences all th­ese years. Can he not put their dif­fer­ences aside for just a few days? If his fear is that it would be­come a habit and she’d be stay­ing with you ev­ery month, then you can ad­dress that by set­ting clear terms with your sis­ter. I un­der­stand spend­ing time with her might not be a walk in the park, but fam­ily is fam­ily. Un­less she’s out­right toxic and cruel — which doesn’t seem to be the case — there’s no need to ban her from ever stay­ing at your home.

I was un­happy but not sur­prised to see a re­cent ques­tion by some­one whose elec­tric­ity is be­ing stolen by a guest who owns an elec­tric car. This is be­com­ing a big trend. Also, I’m see­ing more and more re­tail es­tab­lish­ments, gov­ern­ment build­ings, etc., not only pro­vid­ing free charg­ing sta­tions but also re­serv­ing prime park­ing spa­ces to those who plug the ve­hi­cles in. It seems a park­ing spot re­served as a charg­ing sta­tion is now a higher pri­or­ity near the door than a hand­i­capped park­ing space!

You may ac­tu­ally be notic­ing hand­i­capped-ac­ces­si­ble charg­ing spots for elec­tri­cal ve­hi­cles. State codes on this mat­ter are still be­ing writ­ten, but many busi­nesses aim to make charg­ing spa­ces ac­ces­si­ble to dis­abled pa­trons driv­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles. Lo­gis­ti­cally, this can end up mean­ing that all the EV spa­ces are ad­ja­cent to hand­i­capped spa­ces.

If you do spot vi­o­la­tions of the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act, file a com­plaint with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice. (There’s a handy form on its web­site.) The ADA re­lies on such com­plaints for en­force­ment.

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