‘Free’ house may not be worth the cost

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Society - Ju­dith Mar­tin Send ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, miss­man­ners.com or email her at dearmiss­man­[email protected] gmail.com.

Dear Miss Man­ners: My hus­band’s sib­lings agreed that my hus­band could have their fa­ther’s home — since he is the one who stayed in town to take care of his el­derly par­ents — as long as they could stay at the house when they come to see their fa­ther, who is in a nurs­ing home.

We usu­ally take a va­ca­tion dur­ing their vis­its, as we can’t get away oth­er­wise; we don’t want to leave him with­out reg­u­lar vis­i­tors at the nurs­ing home. Be­fore the in-laws ar­rive, I clean my en­tire house and stock the re­frig­er­a­tor with home­made casseroles, snacks and drinks, and pre­pare din­ners for when we are home with them.

When we re­turned from our last trip, you’d have thought some­one had ran­sacked our home. They left crumbs, cups and dishes all over the house and spilled things all over the kitchen counters, stove and floors. One of them left her used adult diapers in a plas­tic bag on the bath­room floor. They even un­plugged our freezer and didn’t plug it back in prop­erly, and we had to throw away hun­dreds of dol­lars in food.

I spent four days after work try­ing to get things back in shape. I was an emo­tional wreck. My hus­band said this is how they live, and be­cause they let us have the house, we have to put up with it. What do you think?

Gen­tle Reader: That it would be less ex­pen­sive to buy a new house.

Miss Man­ners is re­luc­tant to say it, but if mov­ing is not an op­tion, you may have to hold out un­til the house is of­fi­cially be­queathed to you, if and when that hap­pens. At that point, it will be your de­ci­sion whether you want to in­vite them to stay with you or not.

In the mean­time, you may say, “I know that we all have sen­ti­men­tal at­tach­ment to this home, so I think that it’s in all of our best in­ter­ests to keep it in the best shape pos­si­ble.” One can only hope that the prospect of be­ing its fu­ture own­ers will mo­ti­vate them to treat it more kindly.

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