Dear Amy: My uncle was married for over 45 years. His wife suffered with cancer for five years. He cared for her and stuck by her (through the good days and bad) until her death.
Eighteen months later, he remarried. His adult children have adjusted to this change. The new spouse is nice and seems to make the dad happy. They are busy and active and seem to be having fun.
The sisters of the woman who died are having fits, though. They are upset that he would find happiness again. They are stirring up all kinds of trouble within the family, refusing to attend events where the husband is present, gossiping about it with others and generally being miserable human beings. The rest of the family is supportive.
My feeling is that he did his loving duty for 45 years and is entitled to seek companionship and enjoy his life. At no point was he anything other than a faithful husband who had five long, hard years of experiencing grief in the long, slow process of losing his mate. I think the sisters have misplaced grief disguised as anger -- all directed at the wrong person.
What would you say to the sisters to get them to knock it off?
Dear Disgusted: You cannot tell other people how to feel. Nor can you tell them how to behave.
You can tell them how their behavior affects you -- and how their behavior makes you feel.
There is no guarantee that anything you say will effect the change you desire, but because you asked, here is what I would try to convey: “Dear Aunts, I can only imagine what it is like to lose your sister -- I know I miss her very much. I can tell you are very sad. Lately I’ve become aware of a lot of family scuttlebutt concerning Uncle and while I don’t speak for others in the family, I am very disappointed at your choice and I miss you around the family table. I’m sorry you are behaving this way; I can’t imagine Aunt would have wanted this.”
We rent out a couple of tourist cabins to visitors to our area. We provide bedding and have the beds made up ahead of time with sheets, blankets and spreads.
It irks me that a fair number of guests sleep on top of the spreads or blankets instead of pulling back the sheets. I’m not sure what they are thinking, but this creates extra laundry and wear on the bed spreads. Do other hosts have the same problem? Should we post a note asking them to please sleep between the sheets?
Dear Fevered: I recently had a houseguest (a very seasoned camper/traveler) who did something I thought was quite ingenious. She brought her own sheets, pillowcase and a blanket and simply put her sheet and pillowcase over the household’s bedding, used it, and took it with her when she left.
It is possible that some of your guests are also doing this, but of course you wouldn’t know.
Regardless -- you should have a simple “Welcome” checklist for renters, including a note saying, “Please enjoy our freshly laundered bedding, which we provide for our guests. It would be helpful if you stripped the bed before you left so we can more easily prepare for the next guest.”
Guests who have been asked to strip the bed will be more likely to use the bedding.
Alternatively you can eliminate bedspreads altogether (as some hotels are doing) and have a blanket folded at the end of the bed.
Dear Underwriter: I double-checked my own policy. Thank you for clearing that up.