Wedding Woes

Hurt feelings vs. Gross house

mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
edited November 2014 in Wedding Woes

Dear Prudence,
My husband’s sister has invited us for Thanksgiving dinner. She is a warm, thoughtful, family-loving person whose feelings are easily hurt. She is also filthy beyond belief—call-the-health-department filthy. They narrowly escaped getting sued over the condition of their last rental. Recently, she and her husband were able to purchase a home—a few hours’ drive from us—for them and their children. They are eager for us to share their first holiday meal there. We have missed getting to know our nieces and nephews because we just can’t get past the nausea-inducing odors of multiple pets that hit us in the face when the front door opens. We are trying to tell ourselves she hasn’t been in the new house long enough for real damage, but we can’t get out of minds the likelihood of the cats basting the bird by licking it, then climbing across the table after visiting the litter box. Our guilt is compounded by the emails telling us how excited their children are at the possibility of spending time with us. We don’t have kids and are not going away, so I don’t see a way out of this. I have told my husband that I am willing to take one for the team, but he says he just doesn’t think he can get the fork to his mouth, let alone chew and swallow. Hurt feelings and disappointed children loom large. Should we stay home or go? 

—Turkeys Should Not Meow

Re: Hurt feelings vs. Gross house

  • I couldn't do it and I'm nice. I would just have to be honest and say, "Girl, I can't." We could meet at a restaurant, my house or another relatives house, but I couldn't eat in that environment either.

    If that didn't work, then the kids would have to meet at a park or something after dinner. I'll work with ya, but come on.

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    VarunaTT
  • I wouldn't go. Period. I'm not a fantastic housekeeper on the daily, but my kitchen is spotless, because I make food there. And my house is spotless when I have guests over, because I care about them. People who can't be arsed to rise above their own filth for company are selfish, IMO. 

    I'd also be concerned about the kids if it's as bad as she says. Not "calling CPS" concerned, but, you know, I might try to do some sort of intervention for their sakes. 
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  • Just say "no" - and if that doesn't work, say "OH HELL NO!"

    My SIL would say the same re: her MIL, the animal hoarder. She will not take her kids to her MIL's house because it's disgusting. When she and her H visit his parents, they stay in a hotel and they eat in restaurants or the MIL/FIL go to the hotel to mooch off the continental breakfast and steal TP/mini shampoo bottles. 
  • What NOLA said. Negotiate anything offsite.

    I'll say it. Sometimes, if it is really in the person's best interest and not some sort of venting process for your own benefit, you may need to (tactfully) hurt the feelings. Let them sting. Hard.
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    VarunaTT
  • Plusalso, this isn't a secret if they were almost sued for the condition of their rental home. They know!!!
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    AuntFlotawillersmrsconn23VarunaTT
  • arrrghmateyarrrghmatey member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited November 2014
    Sounds like they need some 'tough love', if not for their sake, but for the sake of their children's health. I would decline, and if they ask why, tell them the truth. Yes, her feelings will be hurt, not matter how tactual you are with your words, but even the super-nice people get their feelings hurt. 

    And they say they've missed out on getting to know their nieces and nephews. Why haven't they invited them over to their place, take the kids out to the zoo (granted, I don't know how old they are), etc. if they really are concerned about getting to spend more time with them? 
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  • Plusalso, this isn't a secret if they were almost sued for the condition of their rental home. They know!!!
    Agreed.

    How can they be sensitive about it anymore?  It has been a huge issue in the past to the point where they were almost sued.  As a sibling, I'd probably be pretty frank about why we were not visiting but I'd also ask them what I could do to help them get out of their messy habits and urge them to see a professional.

  • Sounds like they need some 'tough love', if not for their sake, but for the sake of their children's health. I would decline, and if they ask why, tell them the truth. Yes, her feelings will be hurt, not matter how tactual you are with your words, but even the super-nice people get their feelings hurt. I understand that if this is their first year in their new home, they would want to have people over for Thanksgiving. But if the unsanitary conditions of their home continue to bother you, then perhaps you should start inviting them over to your place as an alternative.

    And you say you've missed out on getting to know your nieces and nephews. Why haven't you invited them over to your place, take the kids out to the zoo (granted, I don't know how old they are), etc. if you really are concerned about getting to spend more time with them? 
    @mrs.conn23 - sounds like you've been a pretty shitty aunt. 
    mrsconn23AuntFloHeffalump
  • I am.  I write to advice columns instead of working out my problems like a big girl. 

    I'm the woooorrrrssstttt.  ;) 
    baconsmom
  • I would not have let this go for so long. I would have said something a long time ago that I wouldn't be coming over until they got their stench cleaned up.

    Man though, you know they smell. There is no way that they can be filthy slobs like that and not smell. Those kids probably get made fun of at school.
  • arrrghmateyarrrghmatey member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Anniversary First Answer
    edited November 2014
    Sounds like they need some 'tough love', if not for their sake, but for the sake of their children's health. I would decline, and if they ask why, tell them the truth. Yes, her feelings will be hurt, not matter how tactual you are with your words, but even the super-nice people get their feelings hurt. I understand that if this is their first year in their new home, they would want to have people over for Thanksgiving. But if the unsanitary conditions of their home continue to bother you, then perhaps you should start inviting them over to your place as an alternative.

    And you say you've missed out on getting to know your nieces and nephews. Why haven't you invited them over to your place, take the kids out to the zoo (granted, I don't know how old they are), etc. if you really are concerned about getting to spend more time with them? 
    Sorry, I meant to say this as addressing the person who actually wrote to Dear Prudence as opposed to the OP. That's what happens when I type before coffee :P I've since rephrased my post! Sorry again!
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  • I went over to an acquaintance's house for dinner once with a group of friends (never having been to his house before). I can totally sympathize with this woman. I wanted run out of there screaming. The place was filthy and the kitchen was maybe the worst room in the house. I am not even kidding that the owner had dogs, cats, and GOATS roaming free in the house. And as you can imagine, the goats were not house trained. I just feigned lack of hunger, but was completely uncertain how to handle the situation. It's so uncomfortable to be in a situation where you cannot fathom eating anything prepared in such a disgusting wallow, but at the same time you just don't even know what to say to the homeowner.
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