Heather’s Household Truths: The Holiday Edition

Heather says:

Don’t ever think moving 1300 miles from family can stop them from dropping in unexpectedly. Until last night I lived comfortably with the thought that I’d always have several weeks notice to ensure the house was up to spec. Last night I came home from running errands to discover the in-laws had arrived. Mr. Heather was as surprised as me.

Did the holidays bring any surprises to your house?


  1. Jennifer on January 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I kind of feel like you can’t expect perfect cleanliness when you drop by someone’s home without notice during the holidays (or even in the midst of a busy workweek, for that matter). So why worry? Life is too short.

    But I’m sure that depends on the family and the circumstances, too.

  2. Amanda on December 30, 2008 at 11:14 am

    His parents got into town on Christmas Eve and decided to stop in at our house. Unfortunately we were planning to have that night to prepare for hosting Christmas day. At least they gave us 2 hours notice.
    Then again the day after Christmas. They called once they were on the way but we were in the shower!
    Luckily we were at least dressed by the time they got there, the house still looked awful though.

  3. julie on December 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    I knew my father would arrive on Christmas Eve to stay through the weekend. I did not know he would be bringing with him a styrofoam cooler stuffed full with a thawed turkey that needed to be cooked THAT DAY. I’m a half decent cook but I only cook for two usually, and I had NEVER cooked a turkey, ever!

    I made a frantic call to my best friend (aren’t best friends wonderful?) and made sure my roasting pan fit in my oven (hadn’t used it ever in this house) and tackled the turkey with butter and sage at her instruction.

    It came out fine. Better than fine, actually, if I say so myself, it was damn good. I came up with some simple sides and we had a nice Christmas Eve dinner!

  4. SHELLIE on December 29, 2008 at 10:26 am

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My prayers are with you!

  5. M3 on December 29, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Wow! I think it is wonderful that your relationship is close enough that they would do that for you (NOT to you!). We’ve moved 1300 miles away and would love it if one of our relatives decided to drop in! What an awesome Christmas (not quite as awesome as Tink’s grandson, but still terrific)…

  6. Angela on December 28, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    hehehe… we can keep secretes:) I hope the kids loved the suprise!

  7. joan on December 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    The motel room does help but it’s still pretty inconsiderate.

    Of course I had a MIL who cut my kids hair while she was visiting and I was at work. .

  8. Addison Ingle on December 28, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    At least they had the decency to get a hotel room!

  9. Heather on December 28, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Oh it wasn’t as bad as some of you seem to think. My father-in-law surprised my mother-in-law with a trip to Florida via Charleston. They have a hotel room and we speak on the phone often enough for them to have had a general idea of our plans.
    However, it was still very surprising.

  10. Keter on December 28, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Oh wow, Heather. That was just so rude but it sounds like you handled it with grace. I would suggest that you pick a time to discuss this with them, however, so they don’t feel like they can do this again – because my experience indicates that people who do this sort of thing will continue to do it until they are specifically given a limit. You might say something like: “we’d hate for you to travel all this way only to find that we were visiting someone else or that we all have the contagious flu…” Nothing like the threat of disease to prompt a future call before coming over… ;o)

    The only surprise I got was a card from my son with pictures of himself and his long-time girlfriend. He just got back from the Middle East (Air Force) and I definitely understand that he just wanted to spend some time at home. But that’s the first time he’s sent me pictures, which was welcome.

  11. Judith on December 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Nothing THAT surprising!
    Though ……. on Christmas day my husband spoke by phone with our oldest son, who lives in NC. After the call he told me our son is moving back to Pittsburgh to start a new job in early January and that he would need our help in moving his things “into storage.” Okay, I said, The next day light dawned and I asked, “Uh, does that mean he’s moving in WITH US?” Yup!
    Hey, at least I got 2 weeks notice so I can get the bedroom-turned common room turned back into a bedroom!
    (But let’s hope it’s not for too long! LOL)

  12. Diaper Cakes Becca on December 28, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    That is insane that they just dropped by. That sets off ALL SORTS of etiquette bells and whistles……even if they ARE inlaws. This time of year is NOT a good time to go to ANYONE’S house unexpectedly. I would FLIP if someone did that to me!

  13. tink on December 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    um yeah, that would tick me off. I don’t even show up at my daughters house unexpectedly, and she only lives 30 minutes from me. Heck, I don’t show up at my mother in laws unexpectedly and she lives across the driveway.

    On the good side of unexpected arrivals – our grandson, who wasn’t expected until New Years put in his appearance on 12.13.08 – He then spent time in the NICU, but was released to come home on Christmas Eve. The best Christmas gift EVER!

  14. dani on December 28, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    That’s ridiculous! Why would they just show up at your house like that? What if you had something else planned?

    Anyway, my grandma’s neighbor came to dinner with us, and ended up leaving in an ambulance because her doctor didn’t take time to check if the new drug he gave her would interfer with the other ones she was taking (it did, her throat closed up 10 minutes after dinner started).

    She is fine now, but is very lucky that people were around, or she could have died.

  15. Mom of three on December 28, 2008 at 10:42 am

    We did the doughnut too. It’s been working for us for 23 years. I think you risk more when they can fly though because they can always just be tourist until you come home. But driving 2 hours only to find you have gone out of town is a bummer.

  16. Lisa- Domestic Accident on December 28, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Wow, you seem to be handling this well. I would be miffed!

  17. nil zed on December 28, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Really? 1300 miles!

    The doughnut theory just collapsed.

    (doughnut theory: two friends of ours in college married. When job hunting, they invented the doughnut theory as part of their decision making. Pulling out the atlas (yes, this was pre-internet map sites) they drew two circles around potential employment cities. Circle one was ‘drop in distance’ which could easily be driven from either parents house and might lead to unannounced drop ins. Circle 2 was ‘flying’ distance, which could result in extended visits to justify the cost of the tickets. Goal: to have both sets of parents living within the doughnut, too far away to drive over without at least a phone call, yet not far enough away to justify longer, airline expense visits.

    His parents: fail

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