My damn fool mouth pt 2, or now I've gone and done it

If you must know the gory details, you can check [thread=430194]this[/thread] thread, but the short version is that my old college roommate has come for a 9-night visit with 6 other people , none of whom I’d met before (roommate, 3 of roommate’s children, friend, and two of friend’s children) to my SMALL house. The two salient points which I think are generally agreed upon are (1) it is completely inappropriate for them to impose on me this way; and (2) I should never have agreed to it in the first place (in my defense, my roomie did not contact me and say “hi, can I visit for 9 nights with 6 people?” – I’d always told her she was welcome to visit, and she said “could I visit this year,” I said yes, and slowly the numbers/dates grew.)

Okay, so…with my backbone a bit strengthened by some comments in the last thread to the effect of “hey, they can’t take advantage of you if you don’t let them; find them a place to stay and tell 'em that’s where they are going,” I did try to see if anywhere was available before they arrived. But at the last minute, nothing was.

So they arrived and we’ve been together 3 days. How’s it going, you ask.

In some ways, great. They are extremely considerate – the first thing they did was go grocery shopping and buy all the groceries; they cook for us all, they clean up, they are very gracious. But by “they,” I mean the grown-ups. Turns out the kids are younger than I expected … the actual children include a 5, 7 and 10 year old, plus two teenage girls.

The 5 year old is a brat – constantly saying “Where ARE we? Why? How come we are stopping here? But I want to surf. When do we surf?” (Add demanding, aggressive tone, and repeat endlessly, and you will have some idea of the phenomenon.) He and the 7 year old girl quarrel constantly (they aren’t actually brother and sister, but they act like it) and loudly. The 5 year old won’t leave my 9 year old son alone. My son varies between putting up with it, and needing to be reprimanded for his rudeness.

And, there is NO effing space in the house. Ever. I can hardly see my countertops. My son is sleeping on the porch off my room; the living room … oh slaps self I must stop whining. You can all imagine. Think “living hell.” Think “crotchedy hermit suddenly finds herself unable to even get a cup of coffee in the morning because there are three kids standing in the way making oatmeal, and the rest of 'em have taken all the seats at the table.”

So… I’m out in the carport talking to my neighbor/property manager, who has commiserated with my plight. I’m updating him, and I basically say to him pretty much what I wrote above.

Then the neighbor comes into the house to look at a repair that needs to be made. Moments later, my roomie comes in with a sort of plastic smile (or did I just imagine it) and … gulp … A LOAD OF LAUNDRY. Why does this matter? BECAUSE THE LAUNDRY ROOM IS NEXT TO THE CARPORT AND SHE MAY HAVE HEARD EVERYTHING I SAID.

Oops, I’m shouting. Sorry. It’s stress.

So, I’m pretty sure she did hear, because (or is it just my paranoid imagination?) it seemed like right after that, she disappeared into the guest bedroom and had a whispered conversation with her friend.

Oh, and speaking of the friend … it came up in the previous thread, why were these people so cheap that they would impose on me when I can’t even offer comfortable quarters? The answer seems to be two-fold: one, my roomie has no idea (or didn’t until she [maybe] overheard me) that she was actually imposing. She really thought I’d actually LIKE to be surrounded by too many people in too little space, especially a bunch of children. The friend? Well, the friend is cheap (didn’t want to buy milk in the grocery store when she saw how much it costs here in Hawaii). It turns out the friend is not a physician (though her husband is) so who knows, perhaps this trip is a financial strain and they need to conserve cash. Or maybe she’s just temperamentally cheap, I don’t know.

So … they’ve gone off to the beach. My son and I had already had plans to go to an astronomy lecture that is too late/not of interest for everyone else, and so it makes sense for us not to accompany them.

However, the ambience in the house just before they left makes me SURE my friend heard me.

Uh oh uh oh uh oh uh oh. What do I do now? Pretend I have no idea she overheard, and soldier on, I guess.

Oh, by the way? The one I was accusing of being a BRAT? That’s roomie’s son.

Honestly? If it were me I would apologize. Mostly for not realizing sooner that the plans would be too much for me to fully enjoy, and therefore not speaking up when there would have been time to change the plans. Then I would add on an “and I’m really sorry if you overheard me ranting; I wanted to let off some steam so I could get back to enjoying your company”.

I was following the other thread, and I was honestly expecting you to have told them that it wasn’t feasible. Asking to come over, along with eight other people in tow, is generally unacceptable…but you also prolly should’ve put the kibosh on it earlier. Ah well…how much longer are they here for?

I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t know they were imposing.

I mean, two guests for nine days is bad enough. But with a whole pack of kids in tow?

An overheard rant in the carpool would be the least of it, if I were in your shoes.

Daub red spots all over yourself, tell them the doc says it’s Ebola and hope for the best.

I dunno if I’d feel too bad about it; she heard something she wasn’t meant to, but sometimes it’s good for people to hear the unvarnished truth. You could use it as an opportunity to talk to her about the situation and maybe clear the air - tell her that they are all welcome to stay until the end of their visit and you are really enjoying seeing her, but she should be aware that it is indeed a HUGE imposition, and it won’t be repeated.

Yeah, featherlou, I kind of agree. I mean, on the one hand I am mortified, but part of me feels like “well, she needed to hear that – too bad she heard me characterizing her son as a “brat,” but at least she knows what’s up now.”

I’m thinking I will take my cue from them – we are going on a big trip tomorrow and staying overnight at some campgrounds. After a few hours I suspect I’ll have a good feel for whether she didn’t hear it/is going to act like it never happened, or she is upset. If it is very clearly the latter I will apologize and probably bring up the scene in Shrek where he doesn’t hear the whole conversation and thus misconstrues. My guess is that she came out AFTER I said all the complimentary things and only heard the brat stuff at the end.

I’m thinking SHE may bring it up if she’s upset.

Okay, that concludes Chapter 2. When the 3rd and final chapter is written, I’ll let you all know how it came out.

Can you expand on this a bit?

Every so often we need an experience like this to remind us of why we made up those rules for ourselves, that haven’t been pertinent lately, and we wonder why we were ever so rigid.
Now you remember. The rule will probably stay with you for a long time this time.
I was the unwitting victim of a situation like this once, and the one piece of advice I have for you is not to do anything passive aggressive, like running the washing machine when everyone wants to take showers. You’ll just regret your pettiness later.
Good luck. Say, are you in Hawaii or Egypt?

With all due respect, you’re continuing what appears to be a bad habit of speaking when you should stay silent and staying silent when you should speak up.

Don’t wait for her to say something - she could be better at hiding her hurt than you are at detecting it. Pull her aside and follow featherlou’s advice: tell her all that you vented (the good and the bad), explain that you enjoy her company, but extending the time and adding on a large number of people is an imposition than can’t happen again. I think both you and your friend owe each other apologies. Be gracious and extend the first one.

Yes, I am struck with how you could not speak up and be honest with these people when they arrived, but have no problem expressing your concerns to your neighbour, somewhat behind their backs.

She has every right to be offended whether she is imposing on you or not. She is only imposing because you could not bring yourself to be honest with her when she proposed this plan/ as it developed. That’s your doing, not hers.
I really like you as a poster, and always look forward to reading your stories, but I have to say you don’t come off well in this one.

Whereas I would say that, despite her own errors, CairoCarol has every right (and necessity) to vent to someone else about the situation. It’s foolish to punish oneself by holding it in and making ourselves the villain all the time. The only mistake here was not realizing that her guest might overhear it.

Visitor might have “every right to be offended” to some degree, but tough shit. She knows the score, she knows what’s going on. She’s not an innocent party.

Frankly, if I were the visitor and overheard that, it might take me a day or two, or perhaps until the end of the visit, to formulate an apology for the situation.

I agree with this. Go ahead and take the lead. Perhaps things can be repaired to the point that you all can enjoy the rest of the visit.

When can we come visit?

This is what you do- when you’re sitting around chatting, casually say something like, “Oh, hey, you know the other day, when the landlord came over, and you were in the laundry room…” study her expression. If she looks upset after you say that, explain and apologize. If she looks like she has no clue what you’re talking about, say, “Do you think he’s hot?” or something to that effect.

Before the end of the visit, you could sit down both friend and friend-of-friend and have a debriefing, of sorts. Start off with saying, “You know, I’m not used to having so many houseguests over for such a long period of time, but I had fun. How about ya’ll?” Then somehow manage to communicate that if there’s going to be a “next time”, you’d rather hotel arrangements be made. Chances are, the friend (or FOF) will chime in and say, “Yeah, we thought maybe you were stressed out, and we’re so sorry! You were wonderful to put up with us for so long!” If they don’t do this, then they’re clueless and insensitive. Because there’s no way a person can put on a happy face for nine days with a houseful of strangers. Even if the woman hadn’t overheard you, I’m sure you were giving off obvious signals of stress.

You don’t have to offer any apologies, IMHO. Yeah, it sucks if the woman overheard you, but what are you supposed to do? Hold your discomfort in for nine days?

IMHO, if one is doing a load of laundry during a visit, this indicates their visit has probably been stretched out too long.

Hey, thanks for the comments everyone. I was going to let this thread go, then give a last update at the end of the visit in a week or so, but many valuable comments have been posted, along with questions to answer, so here I am again.

So first, I now realize roomie did not overhear my rant except the part about her son (boring to explain why I know this, take my word for it). Awkward though that might be, it isn’t too terrible because (a) I only told factually correct descriptions of his behavior (well, except for saying he was a ‘brat’ – my bad) and (b) I also explained to my neighbor that it really wasn’t fair to criticize the kid because he is physically large and awesomely articulate, thus making it hard to remember his chronological – and emotional – age. Therefore, I can live with his mom overhearing that, even though I wish she didn’t.

There is ZERO strain with the crowd at this point. They are oblivious to the toll their visit is taking. Roomie has taken pains to acknowledge that she knows her son can be a brat, and to keep him in line.
Originally Posted by Rilchiam:

Yes. My son is usually cooperative, if not falsely enthusiastic, about sharing his toys and personal space, answering the little kid’s questions, playing with him, etc. But once in a while, he’ll snap – “LK! Don’t DO that,” at which point I remind him that LK is a guest, is younger, and my son is not LK’s mother, so unless LK is doing something to cause imminent harm to himself, others, or property, he should deal with it in a polite tone of voice, not yell at him.

Originally Posted by bluethree:

Our home is in Hawaii but we are posted in Egypt, and a tenant lives in our Hawaii house most of the year. During the summer, the tenant leaves (she has an academic schedule so this works for her) and we come back to our house for as many weeks as we can manage.

Originally posted by elbows:

…then addressed by Chimera:

Since I generally agree with whatever elbows posts, the criticism stings, but I’m a big girl and I want to know what people think (I wouldn’t take part in the SDMB if I weren’t looking for input/objective points of view/reality testing). But thanks Chimera, I do feel both justified in venting and stupid for not being more careful. (I was quiet at first, but my voice rose when I got to the LK part.)

Originally posted by Operation Ripper:

Tee hee. My new rule is no more than 4 people, no more than 4 days. Too bad you missed the window of unlimited guests, unlimited visit length!

Originally posted by Alice the Goon:

Yup, I did kind of do something like that. That along with various other (boring) details is why I am certain she overheard the LK-is-a-brat part and nothing else.

Originally posted by zoggie:

It is Monday as I write. They leave on Friday. (Total visit was supposed to cover 9 nights; in the event, due to flight delays, it will cover 8.)

Finally, I could swear someone asked “didn’t you ask for advice on feeding the crowd?” but I can’t find it … yeah, that was me, but it was a different crowd – they were invited family members, not unasked-for strangers.

CairoCarol:
Finally, I could swear someone asked “didn’t you ask for advice on feeding the crowd?” but I can’t find it … yeah, that was me, but it was a different crowd – they were invited family members, not unasked-for strangers.

That was me on the first thread. That’s what you get for making two similar threads.

I’m sorry CairoCarol, for giving you the sting and all. I really respect you as a poster.

But I immediately thought of another similar circumstance and wonder how you would feel about it.

Imagine your son is now 15yrs old, Sadie Hawkins day is approaching (wherein girls get to invite boys to the dance) and while at school is approached by a girl with crossed eyes, over weight, one leg, not part of the cool crowd, whatever, and invited to the dance. Caught of guard he responds, “Um, yes, I guess.”

Now you find, in the following week, he has been talking it up at school about how he regrets saying yes to the crossed eyes, uncool, tubby, one legged girl. Behind her back, but she will hear it or hear of it.

Would you be accepting of this behaviour? Understanding, perhaps but accepting? Or would you take a moment to point out that having accepted the invitation it is poor form and, indeed hurtful to go around vocalizing his regrets behind her back?

What if the girl was your daughter?

Not criticizing, or trying to beat a dead horse, just something to think about. I’m confident the next group of 7 who want to visit for 9 days will get a “No, so sorry, wish I could!”.

You should pay for the wedding and give a big dowry.