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Visitors invite selves to be guests

Dear Annie: Two years ago, my husband and I bought a condo so we could spend our winters in a warm climate. We have family members who are now inviting themselves to “visit,” which means they are vacationing while we do all the work. We enjoy these relatives, but for a shorter time period. And having their own accommodations would be ideal.

How would you suggest we handle this? We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but we are not very excited about these yearly winter visitors, and I feel used. – N. in Arizona

Dear N.: Unless you tell these people they cannot stay with you, they will continue to impose. Simply say, “It would be wonderful to see you. Unfortunately, we aren’t up to hosting guests. Here are the names of local hotels. Let us know when you get settled.” If anyone ends up at your condo, don’t be reluctant to ask them to pitch in with the groceries, cooking and cleaning. You did not, after all, invite them. Perhaps they will decide it isn’t quite so appealing as a “vacation” spot. At the very least, you won’t be doing all of the work.

Dear Annie: I read the response from “Fran,” who took exception to your response to “Perplexed,” saying that kids shouldn’t have to call their parents every day, even if it only takes five minutes.

I am a 61-year-old male. My grandmother used to live a block away. When I was a child, my mother would go see her every evening even if it was only for five minutes. One evening, I asked my mother why she went every single evening to see Grandma. She simply looked at me and said, “Because tomorrow I may never get to talk to her again.” I understood exactly what she meant. P.S.: Grandma passed away five years later. – Loving Dad in Pennsylvania

Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.