I Tossed and Turned….


I made a very difficult decision yesterday, one that had been bothering me for days, and one in which I was not sure what was right or wrong.

To set the stage: you know I have company upstairs. A young woman, peer age-wise and old friend of E next door, who flew a very long distance (very) to say her goodbyes while E is still alive.

No problem so far. I was happy that I could provide room and space for anyone who wanted. It was an offer I made in all sincerity.

But, as the days unfolded, the woman would spend almost twelve hours next door, from about 11am to 11pm. I was increasingly uncomfortable that she was in the way next door, in the face of the family and other friends who were gathering. She slept until 10:30am here then walked over. When she came back at night, we were already in bed so I had to leave lights on outside and the door unlocked (which in itself was NOT the problem but it was odd she never once asked should I turn off the lights and lock the door when I come home late?). Again, I could deal with that, it wasn’t what kept me up at night.

I left a note on her bed one day last week and asked her to come down in the morning so we could chat – about how long she might be staying etc. She did come down and I asked her if she had a plan. No, she said, she wasn’t sure when she would go home. I asked if she thought she’d stay until E died. Possibly, she answered.

Then I asked the real question I wanted to know the answer to: did she have concerns that she was spending far too much time next door? That she would be an emotional encumbrance rather than a supportive soul?

Her answer made sense when she told me – that she was really needed, a help to the family she called her second family, that she would disappear into another room when she felt others needed space and that the others in the family found her to be a spiritual gift.

Okay, I didn’t see it that way, but she’s a bit of a California flower child – into karma and drinking hibiscus ginger kombucha. Not my thing but she’s a harmless butterfly so I accepted her reasoning and figured my concerns were incorrect. I also asked where she was eating because she hadn’t touched a thing here, even though we offered what we had and told her the refrigerator was hers to open and use. Irony: she’s eating next door, the food I deliver every day! 🙂 I didn’t like that one bit. Not at all.

Then midweek, I got a phone call from my neighbor. She thanked me for hosting E’s friend and I voiced my concern to her that this young woman was staying way too long at their house every day. My neighbor is the sweetest woman alive, never heard her utter a mean word about anyone, ever, but yes, she did admit, she felt E’s friend was staying too long every day. I KNEW it, I just KNEW it. In my heart I was sure the visit was too taxing.

Soooooo, once again, I asked her to come meet with me and chat. Then, I told her point blank it was time she flew home. [As an aside, when she arrived at LGA, she said had no way of getting up here, no plan for anyone to retrieve her, so one of my kids volunteered to gather her. That didn’t settle with me from the get go].

I told her she could fly back to California from White Plains, via Chicago and that we’d take her to the airport. The flight out of HPN to ORD leaves at 7am. The best and cheapest fare was this Sunday, tomorrow. That gave her a full ten days here, plenty long, IMHO.

She pushed back at me, saying she wasn’t ready to leave yet and hadn’t made the decision about what day she’d return west. Further, she insisted her presence was welcome and needed. I couldn’t tell her what I knew, what I knew was totally told to me in confidence, but I pushed back harder and said No, it’s time to go.

Note: she doesn’t drive so even if she left here and went to a hotel, she’d have to impose on others to pick her up and bring her back to the hotel. There’s NO hotel close by. The taxis around here are the worst, double and triple charging those of us in the 10506 zip code. Uber is around but I don’t know if her budget would allow.

Then one of my kids told me she was asking around what other family could take her in, alas there no one within walking distance. Rather than accepting my advice that she leave (and there in lies my conundrum – perhaps it was none of my business to tell her to leave!), she found another family to house her, even though they have a two year old and a newborn and the only room they could put her up in was not a bedroom but a small office with no door on it. Wouldn’t YOU stop and think, gee, maybe I am a nuisance guest?

Rather than put up with me in her face, she came and got her suitcase at 10p and said she was off to stay with someone else who didn’t judge her motives. OUCH.

So she’s still in town, until at east Tuesday now I hear, and I toss and turn if I should have kept my mouth shut. My one and only concern was E’s parents and if they confided in me that this woman was staying too long, it was my duty to get the guest to understand that.

She did not get it. I’m now sure I’ve caused consternation to the family. They know the guest has left my house.

Most of me thinks I blew it yet in my heart of hearts, I think I did the right thing by trying to get the guest to understand she was overstaying her welcome.

Thoughts? Did I do wrong? Or was I within my rights? I’m trying to set aside my doubts by sitting outside in 70+ degree sunshine, doing the Saturday WSJ puzzle. Life is good.

35 thoughts on “I Tossed and Turned….

  1. I file this under “no good deed goes unpunished”. You did your best and you were right to speak up. You are a wonderful neighbor.

  2. I double the sentiments above. You did right. Your one job was not to make the family feel overwhelmed. I would not have had the patience you showed.

    Enjoy the sunshine now EOS, tomorrow not so much.

    “New Yorkers are urged to prepare for a spring storm.

    Impacts will vary across the state, but rain, heavy at times, freezing rain, sleet, and high winds, are expected over the next 48 hours.”

  3. I think you did what you had to do.
    You: You need to leave.
    Her: E is dying, I can’t leave.
    You: You need to leave.
    Her: E just died, I can’t leave.
    You: You need to leave.
    Her: E’s death has left me emotionally distraught, I can’t leave.
    You: You need to leave.
    Her: My boss called and told me I’ve been replaced, I can’t leave.

    Just for the record, not everyone from California is like that.

    1. She’s the epitome of California flower child – she works in a lettuce field (raised with much wealth mind you yet at some point decided money was a bad thing), and is a true free spirit. I guess the world needs free spirits – I could NOT have one as a child.

      1. She’s a free spirit because other people bankroll her travel, food, lodging, etc., etc., etc.
        With her lettuce experience, could she offer any salad tips? (you know, to make herself useful)

        1. Offer to be useful? Ha ha. We went for three days NOT SEEING HER ONCE! That’s when we left a note on her bed to meet us in the morning to “chat”. She arrived with a bottle of the hibiscus ginger kombucha, loaf of dense brown square bread the likes of which looked very peculiar and two over ripe avocados. The bread and avocados sat in the fridge til she left. Thankfully she remembered to take those with her.

  4. I’ve been there and, no you didn’t do wrong and were within your rights. Consider the source & sleep with a clear conscience.

  5. She’s inconsiderate, thoughtless and a genuine freeloader.You handled it all with extreme diplomacy. A+ for tact. That she suckered another family into providing free room, board and transportation suggests she’s had a lot of practice. Be prepared to hear what a rotten hostess you were.
    So, yes, you certainly did the right thing in speaking up. I hope E’s family soon will tell her to go back to California. Gosh, invading their privacy is heartless.

    1. It’s odd, she is so into her own karma self she couldn’t see beyond her nose. She’s a lost child I think. I think something happened to her, something traumatic, and she’s left all reality to live in counter culture universe where all people are good and kind and loving.

      Yes, I suspect my name will be mud but as I said my ONLY concern was E’s parents. They are such kind people they’d never tell her to go home. I still worry that I stepped over the boundary being the one to tell her to take a hike. Maybe if they couldn’t tell her, it wasn’t my place to. That’s why I toss and turn still.

  6. Correction- she’ll tell everyone she can that you weren’t very nice to her. Everyone knows better, including E’s family. They must be exhausted and in need of privacy.

  7. Also been there done that with a relative of my wife. No grieving visit, just a visit and we couldn’t get rid of her. She stayed three weeks until we literally evicted her. Agree with others, you did what needed to be done.

    1. We’ve all had that guest. My Iowa friends might even dare to tell the long ago tale of when I overstayed my welcome with them! Uh oh.

  8. Where are her manners and common sense? How long did she think it okay to stay with you (or any host for that matter)? Fish and visitors smell in three days, everyone knows. Won’t even go into paying her own way or helping her hosts out in some manner.

    As far as manners, she was shown hospitality and kindness by you. Even if she thinks you are an ogre, the only correct response to someone who does you a kindness or gives you a gift is Thank You!

    1. She could have stayed here longer had I not felt she was a serious problem for my neighbors emotional well-being. Her take was SHE was invaluable and offered the family incredible support. I didn’t believe her line of crap one second. I didn’t care about money, I wouldn’t have minded feeding her even, but the GALL she had of eating next door, the food provided by the church and friends, well, that really pissed me off.
      It’s like she woke up one day and said, I’ll fly East with no plan. Strange.

      1. EOS, if you did nothing then you are an enabler. You did the right thing. I echo the comment that no good deed goes unpunished. Next time put a time limit on a guest like this at the outset. Yes, you will be badmouthed, but you are a big girl with thick skin. You can explain what happened to those who need to know after this woman is long gone. I doubt she will ever come back for a visit.

        1. Her pushback surprised me. She dug in her heels with me insisting her presence next door was the best thing since peanut butter. There was nothing I could say that would pull her head out of her ass.

  9. Here’s my been there story. When my father had pancreatic cancer he spent the last two months of his life at The Osborn. Early on a friend, who he hadn’t seen in thirty years stopped by for a visit. Turns out this gentleman had dementia and his wife discovered she could drop him off there – every day – and he was safe and she didn’t have to deal with him. The stress this caused us was indescribable. He was there when Dad died, and even then, wouldn’t leave!
    Anyhoo, you absolutely positively did the right thing. And the good news is some day, you will laugh about her. Trust me.
    But as another poster remarked, MAGA towels and bedsheets might have nipped the whole thing in the bud.

  10. Meanwhile, the distress this self-centered moocher is causing your neighbors continues. You have become the ogre in her eyes. Can you enlist her peer group, are your kids part of her former cohort, to stage an intervention that will get this plague winging westward? Might even be worth the purchase of a plane ticket! Bibi

    1. My kids only know her peripherally but yes have lobbied to get The Mooch to leave. The family hosting her now is a peer of E and my kids. They did not want the Mooch, told my kids it was an inconvenience because they have two very young kids who wake easily but they felt they HAD to say yes.
      I can take being called the ogre.

  11. Maybe that came out wrong. The Mooch’s eyes, never mine! Where is E’s husband in all of this? Maybe he’s the one to say “time to go, other’s need a turn”. Bibi

    1. There’s much going on next door I choose not to share. Everyone is experiencing different levels of grief and angst and similarly each one has different ways of exhibiting emotions or keeping things inside. That’s all I will say.

      1. I can’t understand how the nuisance free spirit doesn’t see how every family member has different ways of dealing with such sadness and pressure. Her selfish approach makes me furious. I’d have bought her a plane ticket like someone else suggested.

  12. I sent an image that seemed appropriate comment for your image at top, but it didn’t get through:

        1. Not at all annoyed. Mercy. I’m sorry if you thought that. I didn’t see you tried to send it before. Maybe it ended up in spam. But please, not at all annoyed.

          Reading my comment a second time, I can see how you would interpret that I was annoyed. I didn’t mean it to be. I looked in spam, not there.

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