Advice from the files of DEAR PAULA

advice from dear paula

Dear Lady Paula,

My husband and I and another retired couple rent a house together every year at the beach. We have been doing this for several years and look forward to our shared two-week vacation each time. Last year our vacation mates, after checking with us, invited one of their friends (I’ll call her Jane) to stop and visit us at our oceanfront rental while she was travelling around the area. We all know and like this lady and were happy to have her drop in for the night. All of us were very surprised when this visiting friend showed up with her adult daughter, her 1 year old grandchild, AND lots of luggage! We had expected her to stay overnight so none of us wanted to say anything about the amount of accoutrement, even though we were all thinking this was a bit over the top. Well these overnight guests ended up staying for an entire week!!! During the week they were very nice and pleasant to be around but they never once offered to cook, clean, or even take us out for drinks or coffee. They did not pay for food or even offer to chip in for their (free) week at the beach. I also have to mention the cramp that a baby put into our plans, in addition to having to be quiet early in the evening and up at the crack of dawn to accommodate his schedule, we seemed to be expected to keep an eye on him at times while they were down in the sand looking for shark’s teeth! When the three “guests” finally left we all breathed a sigh of relief and got to enjoy the last few days of our two week vacation with just the four of us.

Needless to say, our vacation house partners were mortified and extremely embarrassed about the turn of events. We know that they were just as surprised and upset by the visitors too and we absolutely do NOT hold any of it against them!

Here is the problem– we are returning for another two week stint in July. “Jane” knows that we do this every year, and she has already mentioned how wonderful last year was and perhaps she could drop in on us again. None of us can figure out quite how to avoid this situation without hurting feelings, but we do agree that we need to think of something. Will you help us?


Avoiding Interlopers

Dear Interloper Avoiders,

Lord love a duck!!! This sounds like a first-world predicament for sure! My advice is this:
Tell “Jane” that this year there is no room at the inn. If you must, tell a small white lie, and say that there are already too many people coming during your two week stay. Tell her there are no beds available for her or her family members. Tell her anything! Just don’t tell her to come over, or you will most likely end up paying for her vacation again this year!

It’s too bad that this lovely person seems to be very underhanded or completely oblivious… Either way, she should not be invited to stop by for the night or dinner or drinks even. I must commend you all for being such gracious hosts in the face of adversity, and wonderful, understanding friends to each other. Now be kind to yourselves and enjoy your two weeks together ALONE.

By the way… where are you staying?


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