Dear Annie: Recently, my husband mentioned that he wanted to get together with some friends for a project. I encouraged him to invite the guys to our home to work on it. I thought it would be a few hours, but it ended up taking well over 12. They arrived early in the morning and stayed until late that night, taking over our living room.
I suggested in private to my husband that he should have wrapped things up by late afternoon. The project is for fun. It’s not like they had a deadline for work. It is also designed to continue on a weekly basis for the next six months, so committing to only a portion of the day would not have made much difference.
My husband, however, is a people pleaser and didn’t feel he could ask his friends to leave before they wanted to. Would it be wise to discuss a lax but scheduled time of arrival and departure with them in the future, or am I being unfair to suggest that the party should move elsewhere after 10 hours? I want my husband and his friends to feel comfortable in our home, but I also don’t want my house invaded for such a long period of time. -— East Coast
Dear East Coast: It is always wise to discuss time constraints in advance, particularly when overstaying annoys you so much. Some wives would have no objection to a 12-hour marathon. They would occupy themselves elsewhere, and this is one option for you. But please discuss reasonable limits with your husband, allowing yourself to be the “bad guy” in order for him to ask his friends to leave when you’ve had enough. There is no point creating ill will with one’s spouse if it could easily be avoided.
Dear Annie: My husband has been put on the lung transplant list, and we are praying and waiting. Please remind your readers about donating their organs. They only need to mark the back of their driver’s licenses. Many people are desperate for a lung, and my husband’s time is getting shorter. — Vermont
Dear Vermont: People are also desperately waiting for kidneys, livers, hearts and corneas. We urge all of our readers to consider the gift of being an organ donor.
Dear Annie: I’d like to add another take to “Not a Fan of the Big Gulp.” I agree that a Big Gulp is probably a little over the top. However, I always bring my own canned soda to my family’s parties.
You see, I am a recovering alcoholic with 24 years of sobriety. Sadly, my family members cannot be trusted not to add liquor to whatever is served. My sponsor suggested that I bring my own drink and keep it with me at all times. One can then be certain that alcohol-free drinks are neither tampered with nor inadvertently mixed with alcoholic drinks.
At a bridal shower for my nephew’s fiancee, I brought my own soda. As I was leaving, my sister took me aside and told me that our niece had spiked the lemonade with vodka so people would “loosen up.” I was shocked and angry that this 37-year-old niece would pull such a juvenile and dangerous trick. Aside from my sobriety, she never considered that some guests may have been taking medication that could be lethal in combination with alcohol. — Recovering Drunk
Dear Recovering: We are certain that etiquette would give you a pass. We also heard from someone whose well water was tainted. But in most instances, it is rude to bring your own beverage to occasions where there is a variety served. And it is never appropriate to bring a Big Gulp.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.