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Dear Ms. Price,
After living in Virginia for 32 years, my husband and I retired and bought a condo on Belleair Beach. This dream has turned into a nightmare for me. My husband’s family (siblings) who still live in Virginia, visit constantly. Our guest room is almost always filled with his family that I barely know.
The problem is that they don’t buy as much as a can of soda. In addition to providing them with a free beach house, I am expected to clean and buy all of their food.
My husband loves seeing his family and doesn’t want to rock the boat. But does he clean or cook? No. I have no quality of life because I am constantly playing hostess. I’m so angry. What should I do?
Retirement in Smithereens
It’s time to set some new rules, my dear. I’m assuming you’ve already discussed this with your husband, but talk with him and show him the receipts along with a calendar logging their visits. Let him know that there will be changes, starting immediately.
When the next family asks to visit, let them know that there are new rules. Make it clear that they are responsible for their laundry, cleaning up after themselves and for buying their own groceries. And, if someone wants to visit and it isn’t convenient, speak up and just say “no.”
Dear Ms. Price,
I go to the beach about three times a week and I constantly see people breaking the rules. Things like taking live sand dollars out of the Gulf, digging deep holes and leaving them or planting their beach chairs in the water which obstructs my view. My family is embarrassed when I correct strangers. What do you think? Am I being impolite?
Dear “Beach Lover,”
I agree that when a life is at stake, as in removing sand dollars from the Gulf, it is not out of line to make a gentle remark such as, “I’m sure you’re just not aware, but it is illegal to remove live sand dollars from the water.” Leaving deep holes is also illegal, as well as a safety hazard. You could save your family the embarrassment and simply report it to the authorities.
As far as sitting in the water, I’m afraid that is first come, first served. They are not breaking any protocols. You need to arrive earlier or select another spot. I would save my kind corrections for illegal activities.
Dear Ms. Price,
I have a problem. Every year, our family visits us for the holidays. My husband and I live in Clearwater on the beach and this is the highlight of our year. We treasure our tie with our children and grandchildren.
I am feeling nervous because of Covid. I know Florida isn’t limiting visitors, but the rest of the country is reporting record breaking cases. I want to cancel this year, but my husband doesn’t want to ruin the holidays.
It’s actually become a huge problem. My husband and I have always been able to work things out peacefully, but we are torn apart because of this.
Concerned in Clearwater
I completely understand your dilemma. The last time our country faced an issue like this was over 100 years ago, so we don’t have a lot of precedence to draw from in making these decisions.
I always put the safety and the health and wellbeing of family first. At this time, the CDC is urging Americans to stay home during the holidays. My advice? Sit down with your husband and show him the dangers of family gatherings. The fact is, family gatherings are dangerous this year. It’s better to miss one holiday by choice than to miss the rest of your holidays because of Covid.