The Road To Hell Is Paved
With just three nights remaining before my parents return home to Puerto Rico, the only line that repeats in my head is, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” When we planned my parent’s trip to NYC, we agreed that 14 days was a long time for anyone – even my loving parents – to stay for a visit. We have a saying in Spanish that directly translated says, “Fish and company both stink after three days.” Whoever masterminded that word tooling apparently had parents exactly like mine. I love my parents and love having them to visit, but as one person trying to work a full time job, play entertainment coordinator, maid, driver and counselor to my aging parents for 14 days straight I am thoroughly worn, irritable and dagger-tongued. My mother, a relentless tyrant, refuses to understand why I would be exhausted by the end of each night. Last night, as we ate dinner she mentioned she would never visit NYC again since she, “was such a burden during her visit.” Rather than counter her guilt-inducing drone, I decided to meet it head-on. “You wouldn’t be a burden if you and dad would simply understand that I’m only one person trying to make your stay as comfortable as possible – by myself!” Rather than relent and see my dilemma she plowed forward with her ranting. “I’m just so sorry you’ve been so put-out and have been so inconvenienced by our stay.” By now, she managed to work herself into a good frenzy and was doing the heavy handed boo-hoo. My guilt was replaced by rage. “I’m really sorry that your stay was so horrific that you don’t want to return,” I chided, “Maybe you’re right…maybe it was a bad idea for me to think that I could single-handedly tackle cleaning, driving and catering to two people while trying to work AND be a pleasant social butterfly – on under five hours sleep per night.” Just as quickly as it started, there was silence. I returned to the kitchen to wash dinner dishes and she retreated to her corner for a wardrobe change before announcing that I would be driving her to see another family friend; then to see my brother and his family; and finally home to clean-up snack dishes; walk my dog; iron for work and shower for bed. Am I feeling guilty? Slightly. I should have had the forethought to realize that the extended stay would be a bad idea. The moral of the story is to follow the rules of engagement – regardless of who you’re dealing with:
Opt to stay at hotels when visiting out of town family and friends
If you’d like to make you’re family/friend stay an extended one, attempt to find several friends/family members to jump between to prevent exhausting any one person.
Recognize that no matter who you’re staying with, you are changing their routine and altering the normalcy of the home you’re staying in.
Respect the rules of the home you’re staying in, including: Level of cleanliness, bedtime hours and return furniture, etc. to where you originally find them.
Allow your host time to regroup, rest and collect themselves. Take trips out on your own and make plans to give your host time to have their home to themselves.
Hey, I’m sure some of you will think my take on my predicament is cold or unrealistic because I’m dealing with my parents. The truth is, everyone is different and handle situations differently. As someone who has lived alone most of my life, I’m less concerned with what anyone thinks and more interested in loving and missing my parent’s next visit. God willing, I’ll have an opportunity to make intelligent decisions about having my parents visit me for years to come.
What has having extended-stay company taught you about yourself?
Keep passin’ the open windows…