Dear Amy: My sister-in-law and her husband come to our home for every holiday.
We do all of the cooking and all of the clean-up.
I have several issues with this, as it’s been 20 years and I’m feeling very taken advantage of.
They don’t call us or invite us to their house for dinner, ever.
They don’t even call and ask us to meet at a restaurant.
We only see them when we invite them to share holidays at our home, yet they show up 15 minutes before the meal is set to be served and never offer to chip in with any clean-up.
I’ve expressed to my husband that I’m tired of hosting.
My husband wants to continue, as this is the only time his family tries to spend any time with us or our two children.
I’m beginning to feel very resentful.
Should I put my foot down, or keep quiet and keep the peace?
Dear Tired: If this is important to your husband, you could ask him to take on the responsibility for this meal. He could ask them to contribute to the meal, and to also help with clean-up.
He could also ask them to meet him and the kids at a restaurant – or go on an outing – instead of hosting at home.
• • •
Dear Amy: After a car accident last year, my older brother “Danny” was without a vehicle. (The accident was not his fault, and his car was totaled.)
Danny works full time from home, and so he decided not to replace his car and purchased an e-bike, which he uses for local errands.
My husband and I have two cars, and rarely need the use of both during any given day. We are planning to sell our “second car” in a few months and want to keep the mileage low.
After checking my insurance coverage, I offered my brother the use of my car for times when he might need it.
He hasn’t exactly abused this offer, with only six “loans” over the course of a year – but it’s starting to feel uncomfortable.
He doesn’t refill the tank before returning it, and I also usually have to prompt him to bring it back.
A few weeks ago, he borrowed the car to attend an event 120 miles away. He picked it up on Friday morning and returned it on Monday.
I checked the mileage and discovered that the car had been driven nearly 500 miles.
Allowing for the 250-ish miles round-trip to and from the party, my brother somehow clocked an additional 250-ish miles.
Checking the mileage made me feel petty, but my relationship with him is not one wherein I could easily address any of this with him.
Do I just make up a white lie the next time he asks to borrow my car? Do I oh-so-casually let him know that I’ve been tracking the car’s mileage?
I hate feeling like I’m being “conditional” in my offer of support, but (as my husband pointed out) the use of my car is a loan, not a flat-out gift – and loans usually do have terms and conditions.
– The AutoLoan Department
Dear AutoLoan: Loans do have “conditions,” but those conditions are usually agreed upon in advance of the transaction, not after the fact.
Your brother should at the very least always return the car gassed-up (that’s what anyone should do). I suspect that if he had been thoughtful in that regard, you might not have been inspired to become an odometer monitor.
If you’ve been planning to sell your car anyway, then I suggest that you skim over this awkwardness by putting your car up for sale. Name your price, list it, and see what offers you receive. If your brother wants to borrow it in the meantime and you don’t want to lend it, tell him that you’re keeping the mileage where it is and reducing wear-and-tear until it is sold.
If your brother wants to purchase it, then he can make an offer.
This was a good gig while it lasted, and when the car is no longer available to him, your brother will find another way to get wheels for those times when he needs them.
• • •
Dear Amy: Amen to “Exhausted and Worn Out!” This elderly couple was looking for a way to stop hosting Thanksgiving.
We feel exactly the same way, and are going to swallow hard and tell our kids.
– Also Exhausted
Dear Exhausted: Many readers feel the same.