I'm still trying, unsuccessfully, to share my experience of having a family member move in. Unfortunately, it still sounds too much like I'm complaining.
And really, it wasn't that bad, but in a lot of ways, it kind of was.
What I've come to realize, however, is that I have no advice. As I was drafting my story, I realized that there was very little that I would have done differently.
For instance, my guests brought with them a dog, who wasn't housebroken (although I didn't know this little piece of fact) and who had fleas (to which my twelve year old chow-chow is highly allergic), and an unneutered male cat who found a spot he liked in every single room with carpeting and marked it ... every day (and I spent Easter Sunday shampooing the carpets while Deus Ex Machina took the girls over to his sister's house for dinner and an egg hunt).
The alternative would have been to have told them they could not bring their pets. But ...
... our animal shelters are currently overburdened with the number of surrendered animals from families who can no longer afford to keep them. I don't know that I could, even now, force my "guests" to give up their animals so that they could stay with me temporarily. Besides we have two dogs and have had cats in the past, but with all of my years of pet-ownership, I never anticipated how difficult adding a third dog and the very well hydrated cat would be.
Verde asked if I had reread Sharon's infamous Brother-in-law on the Couch post, and the answer is no, not while they were here.
But I had thought about it a lot. In fact, one of the options I'd seriously considered for keeping our house in the event of a loss of income would have been to take in a boarder, or two, and I had thought a great deal about how we could rearrange people and rooms to accommodate more people.
In short, in the event that our home became the "go to" place, I had a plan.
In retrospect, I think there are just experiences in our lives where we can plan all day long, but until we actually get into that situation, we're just sketching phantoms. I had all kinds of thoughts about what it would be like. Suffice it to say that my fantasy and my reality were very different.
There are things I could have done better, I'm sure. There are things my guests could have done better, too.
The good news is that I'm exploring other options for keeping my house, and that I didn't end up getting stuck with boarders on whom I was dependent, but who were making my life less wonderful than it is.
The bad news is that I'm much less inclined to open my home to those who might need my assistance in the future.
At least, not without drafting a written agreement, signed in blood ... and no pets allowed ... especially cats.