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Saving when Company comes

March 11th, 2006 at 01:17 pm

Something about having guests fill the house, cooking and cleaning and shopping and entertaining simultaneously, and savings tend to go out the window.

I'm really feeling this right now. My DS, whom I love dearly, just dropped a 4 line email which finished with the line that she will arrive here Tuesday.

She lives on the opposite coast of the USA, so not a simple trip.

Didn't say how long she is staying, but usually 2 - 3 weeks.

So, cleaning and cooking to do. A new puppy to introduce to new people.

My DS is diabetic, with heart disease, obesity, and is battling breast cancer. Combined with DHs cancer, and DSs soy allergy, and cooking gets a bit tricky. Shopping and saving do to.

In the past, I've stocked up from diabetic-friendly.com, all the sugar free treats and cough syrups and whatever she might need to have treats. I've also gone completely neurotic trying to accomodate her requests for fresh veggie trays available at all times, her outrage at the number of carbs in a Lean Cuisine I served with a huge platter of fresh asparagus and other veggies. I've made super salads, counted carbs and fats and used the right oils. She's been on the Mediterrean diet, the ADA diet, a protein diet, and whatever she needs, I've cooked for hours, spent more than I ever would for my own family, and really really tried.

But every morning, she gets up and says her blood sugar has gone up. It's not supposed to do this. Diabetics sugar goes down at night. Everyone's does. Or should. So I spent three weeks last October going insane trying to cook and give her snacks and have everything available that she needed.

She's a shopper, too, so we spent almost every day, from 6 am to midnight, SHOPPING every outlet on the East Coast (okay, a slight exaggeration), with her getting guilty that I wasn't spending anything and she was, and me trying to handle everything. Spent a small fortune on 90% off clothes for DH, nothing for myself, but that's how it goes.

Three weeks after she left, I was pulling up the bedskirt to vacuum, and found a pile of molding cookies and cakes. Homemade from Mom, and VERY non-diabetic.

And I'm pretty irritated about it.

I don't want to make her feel any worse than she already does, I mean, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, she's pretty sensitive about EVERYTHING. Then again, I am angry spending money and time and EFFORT to make everything okay when she is sabotaging herself, and me by proxy.

On the other hand, I think I should make the effort, do what I can for my part, and let her be responsible for her own actions.

DH is ticked off, too. But here we are, and she is on her way, and I want to see her, and I know she needs a break from all the family problems at home. I love having a sanctuary to offer.

I don't want to break the bank. Don't want to break myself, or my DH.

So...it's a low energy day. I just don't feel like getting ready for company, but I know I should. The freezer is stuffed with things I need to use, but it takes extra effort to make them perfect for everyone. DH has his own dietary requirements.

Oh, yes, she can't cook. Seriously. With our Mom, you'd figure she would be able to fry a chicken, but DH will NOT eat anything she makes, and she's happy not to help with anything.

So, BLECH.

Thanks for the rant.

11 Responses to “Saving when Company comes”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    You are really a sweet sister. I think she should be responsible for her own food. When we stayed with in laws, we went out and got all of our meals so they did not have to cook one meal.

  2. marilla Says:

    How thoughtful you are! And how sad that it's not appreciated fully.

    Perhaps she could cook for herself, while you took care of your own meals? As for the shopping, do you have to go with her? Or have a list of other ways to socialize? You're in a tough situation and I wish you all the best.

  3. contrary1 Says:

    Maybe it's time you put the blame on this list & all of the rest of us? Put yourself on the Oprah Debt Diet, come up with a nifty name for your challenge, something...........so the group could be who you blame...not yourself? Tell your sister the plan for the new year & how it will be for the visit. Meals to fit your family (they sound extremely healthy & pretty good for a diabetic anyway), shopping only for necessary items, with a special trip out to shop if she chooses (letting her know you're full up with spending but you're happy to chauffer)
    Sounds like she wasn't happy when you bent over backwards, so nothing lost if she isn't happy with the new plan either.
    Remember to take care of yourself through the visit, no matter how you choose to handle it.

  4. baselle Says:

    Oh man. Not only are you the cook, you're the cop.
    I've got to assume that your sister is an adult. She has to be responsible for her diet, which means that she has to know what she can and cannot eat, how much to eat. what to buy, and how to politely refuse certain foods, and the consequences of not following her diet. You can really only support her by cooking balanced meals and not stock obvious temptations. Everything else is really her deal.
    Take care of yourself. It sounds like you're planning for a dinner party with a demanding diner that's going to last for two weeks. Don't beat yourself up - she decides what she eats when she's at home, right?

  5. katwoman Says:

    When you wrote the part about her sugar being high in the morning.....I just knew she was snacking! I have to track my mom's diabetes (and the previous caregiver) and I KNOW they can't help themselves. Try as they may, the cravings are just too much for them.

    And let me say, I applaud your efforts for trying to help her anyway! Your heart is in the right place and in the end, that's what matters most.

  6. flash Says:

    Yes, DS is 55 yo, and should be able to take care of herself. She doesn't. She actually resents that I'm the only one in the family that DOESN'T have diabetes, but it isn't magic, I actively work at keeping myself out of the trouble zone.

    Katwoman, isn't it just impossible when they are ill, though? I just have the fix in and help gene, I guess.

  7. lrjohnson Says:

    Totally outside of the sister/illness/lying/diabetes thing, just having guests cramps a person's style. Even if she didn't bring her drama, you'd have the whole extra cleaning, cooking, time deal. Plus extra money spent. It's a bum deal. I have had some really easy breezy houseguests, and I was exhausted when they left.

    I second ContraryOne and Baselle. Maybe you can figure out a way to do this trip differently. If you need to, lay blame elsewhere. I usually hate saying "I can't afford it" when I can and just don't want to spend, but maybe that would be a helpful lie. Is there a big ticket item you can say your family is saving for, like your roof needs repair?

    This may be a little strong, but, could you say that first day, something like, "We've been eating a diet that has lot of ___ and ____lately, to match what ____ needs and what _____needs. I can run you to the grocery store today, so that you can pick up anything that you need that isn't usually served here, so if the meal I put out doesn't work, you have something. What I cook is pretty diabetes friendly, so you may not need to buy much extra."

    I get it when you say you love having a sanctuary to offer. I'd love to see you less drained after this visit is over, so that her trip becomes even better for both of you.

  8. kristina moffitt Says:

    I understand the sancutuary part but your home is your sanctuary too. At some point this person's disrespect for you and your family might have serious repercussions and i understand the medicla isseus as i face them as do some of my family. But when i go visit i do not expect someone to cook everything i need/want and i am happy to help in any wya, even if it means i am cooking for one.

    Bless you for what you do to make her visit special, persoanl and a sanctuary, but take care of you too.

  9. flash Says:

    Thank you all for the support. My sister and I were raised with the hint-and-innuendo methods of communication, and while I've changed, she hasn't. She will hint and pout and say "oh no, don't bother" and then steam about it, or "call home and tell Mom". She's ten years older than me!

  10. flash Says:

    You know, I have been spitting bullets all day as I run around shopping and cleaning. I really do appreciate all your great words and insights. Deep breath, and back to it!

  11. flash Says:

    If I ever get past the stockpile challenge, I'm going to do a challenge on eating healthy without going broke. It's possible, but definitely harder with a stockpile to use up.

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