Miss Manners: Couple in their 60s need living relatives to help with expenses and household chores
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are turning 68 this year, and we live on a fixed income that barely covers expenses. We were lucky enough to inherit our house, which had been fully paid for beforehand. Yet with taxes, home maintenance, utilities, food, transportation costs, pet expenses, and what little entertainment we can afford, we make do.
My problem is that I have a son, a daughter and a grandson — all adults — currently living under my roof, because they had absolutely nowhere to go. They don’t contribute money or keep their areas clean and tidy.
They cook and eat at my place. Please help me motivate them to clean up after themselves and contribute to our little community.
KIND READER: It shouldn’t matter, but if you divulged the fact that the house is paid for, your family might get the wrong impression that your expenses are nominal. Or if they are having a hard time, they may revert to their childish ways.
You can be compassionate while creating ground rules: “We’re glad to have you here, but you need to treat our house with respect, especially if this is going to be a long-term situation. Clean-up after self is mandatory and meal contributions are appreciated.
As for motivation? If they don’t want to comply, Miss Manners suggests that you slowly start helping them with other housing options.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a good friend’s daughter’s wedding reception, my husband and I encountered a rather bizarre occurrence: a young woman was going around the dining tables selling raffle tickets for $5 each .
If you were the winner, you received tickets to a heavy metal rock concert. Proceeds from the raffle were going to be given to the newly married couple to help with their honeymoon expenses.
There were eight guests seated at our table. When she asked if we were interested in buying a ticket, everyone refused her. The ticket seller actually got snippy with us before finally moving on.
Frankly, we were all appalled. Most guests spent four to five hours of their day celebrating with the newlyweds — plus, for those who traveled a long distance, plus extra expense if they stayed overnight. You also give a nice gift, and you still get the shakedown for a raffle ticket to fund the honeymoon!
When my husband and I got married, we paid for our own honeymoon without anyone else’s help. Additionally, the size of this wedding could have been scaled down to save money, or the couple could take a honeymoon later when their finances allowed.
GENTLE READER: No need to feel bad that the raffle seller got snippy. Perhaps this will prompt her to report to the newlyweds that their plan has failed. And then they will all realize how rude and presumptuous it was and apologize to the guests.
No. They’ll probably just start a GoFundMe instead.
So yes, to your biggest point, guest extortion is appalling and Miss Manners is sick of pointing it out. Especially since it only seems to inspire more creativity in how they go about it.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to his email, [email protected]; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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