Annie's Mailbox: Spending Too Much Time with the In-Laws
Dear Annie: I've been married to my husband for a year, and we moved into our first house roughly six months ago. I love our home, and I know we're very fortunate.
Here's the problem: His parents live two hours from us. My husband has a younger sister who plays in the local youth symphony. As a result, she is frequently in town for music lessons and concerts, and her parents must drive her to these events. Naturally, my in-laws asked whether they could spend the night at our place a few times. At first, I was only too happy to have them. I understand how difficult high school can be for a talented girl, and the lessons make her incredibly happy. But now it feels as though they are staying with us every weekend, and the constant company is starting to wear me out.
I love my husband's family -- after all, they raised the man I married. How could I not appreciate all they have done? But I miss being alone with my husband on the weekends. I've spoken with him about this, and he understands, but neither of us knows how to solve the problem. His parents have made it clear that if we didn't house them on the weekends, they wouldn't be able to afford the music lessons for his sister. What should we do? -- Spending Too Much Time with the In-Laws
Dear Spending: You need to get out during the weekends. If you can afford it, plan a short weekend trip with your husband and give his parents a spare key. Or take the day and go someplace -- just the two of you. Make a "date" to have breakfast out, and then see a museum exhibit or a movie. Meet up with friends. This will give you a break from the in-laws. Conversely, suggest to your in-laws that they spend the day sightseeing and give them a specific time to return. It's perfectly OK to tell them that you love having them, but you need a little alone time, too. At some point, your sister-in-law will graduate, and this will no longer be an issue.
Dear Annie: I think you were way off in your response to "Ready to Empty Nest," whose 21-year-old daughter, "Norma," is a college graduate who doesn't pay rent or help around the house, and the bathroom she uses, which is also the guest bathroom, is a disaster. She also won't let her parents meet her boyfriend.
Annie, I see this entire situation differently. This young woman paid for her college education, along with her car insurance and phone. Can I adopt her? She sounds fantastic -- a hard worker, probably studying and working two jobs to pay for her tuition, and too busy to clean her bathroom.
The parents shouldn't complain. They can pick up and clean the bathroom when they have guests. Maybe Norma doesn't bring her boyfriend around because her parents would criticize him also. -- Would Be Proud to Have Her
Dear Proud: You have pretty low expectations of grown children. Norma's parents were happy to let her stay rent-free while she was paying tuition. But she graduated and is still living rent-free. There is no reason on Earth Norma cannot keep her bathroom clean. It is a matter of respect for her home, her parents and herself.
Dear Annie: You got it wrong in your response to "Going Deaf in Michigan," the 82-year-old woman who complained that her neighbor's workouts included dropping heavy barbells onto their garage floor. This activity belongs in a gym.
Just because the law permits noise until a certain hour doesn't mean all noise is reasonable. You should suggest that if the neighbors are unwilling to cease this racket, "Going Deaf" should pursue a court order restraining them from engaging in activities that clearly disturb her peace. -- Chiloquin, Ore.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.