Dear Amy: My wife’s sister moved to the opposite coast with her husband several years ago.
She and her husband, both of whom are extremely frugal, make our home their annual, and only, vacation. While here, they spend most of their time with old high school friends; it’s clear to me that we are their “free” accommodations.
My wife does truly enjoy spending time with her sister.
That said, they’re polar opposites of us politically and are extremely conservative. They spend almost nothing while here and have treated us only once to a modestly priced dinner.
When we visit their town (we have friends there), we always stay at a hotel.
They have never offered their home, nor asked us over for dinner or drinks.
As a “good spouse,” I go along with them visiting, but wonder: Are we supposed to host them for the rest of our lives? I know my wife will never say no.
Also, my sister-in-law refuses to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
She is against wearing a mask and getting the vaccine. I realize this is her choice. However, I do not wish to host anyone in my home who refuses to be vaccinated.
Am I right to state that while I acknowledge her right to not be vaccinated, I do not wish to have non-vaccinated people stay at our home?
— Tired of my Sister-in-Law
Dear Tired: Based on the sheer volume of questions similar to yours, it has become increasingly obvious to me that many people are using the vaccination question as a way to finally stop spending time with people they don’t like.
I’m assuming that everyone in your household is vaccinated, and infer that if you had a very close friend or family member you actually wanted to spend time with, their vaccination status might not be a deal-breaker.
It doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that this couple does not have the means to host you, or that they might be embarrassed by their home, as compared with yours.
In healthy times, if your wife enjoys her sister’s visits, then she should continue to welcome her sister and brother-in-law for their annual vacation. These visits should not last for more than five days or so.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as of May 19 state: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by … laws, rules, and regulations…” The activities include visits with unvaccinated people.”
Your unvaccinated in-laws will not be able to travel by plane without wearing a mask, so their refusal to comply might relieve you of hosting duties this year.
Their annual visit might also be a good time for you to take a solo trip.
Yes, it is your house, and you can lay down the rules (with your wife’s agreement), as long as you at least privately understand your actual motive for doing so.
Dear Amy: I am a 26-year-old man.
My mother has been wanting to do a guided Segway tour in downtown Portland, Oregon for many years.
This year I decided to pay for the two of us to do it together.
It’s not terribly expensive, but I’m also not flush with cash.
To my utter disappointment, Mom immediately asked if I could invite my little sister, who will be visiting from Washington State for the weekend.
Now I love my sister, but when she is around she makes a laaaaarge footprint — leaving very little chance for others to really interact. Furthermore, Mom and my sister see each other frequently — at least twice a month.
Am I selfish for not wanting to invite my sister, much less pay for it?
I want this gift to be everything my mom wants, and don’t want to feel bitter and disappointed after trying to treat someone I love. Help!
— Segway-ing Son
Dear Son: It is totally understandable that you would want to spend some alone-time with your mother.
You should suggest that — after the two of you are done with your tour, your sister can meet you at one of Portland’s cafes and you’ll treat the group to coffee.
Dear Amy: Thank you for running the letter from “Grandpa,” the retired teacher and his wife who wanted to pay for the college education for their honorary “grandson.”
When I was trying to afford college, several older people from my small hometown church passed envelopes and checks to me to help with my tuition. I could not have done it without their kindness.
Dear Grateful: How lovely. I hope you’ve been inspired to repay these generous people by paying their kindness forward.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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