Dear Annie: Two elderly friends I know who live far away made plans to spend about six days in my city. I invited them to stay at my house for three nights, and they made reservations to stay in a downtown hotel for the rest of their visit. I had not seen them for a number of years, and I thought it would be nice to spend time with them. I thought I would ease their travel burdens by having them stay with me, at least for part of their visit. Traveling when you are 80-plus can sometimes be hard on you.
When I picked them up at the airport, both were sick with a cold. I became very concerned about my own health (and those around me), given that the previous winter, I had a severe cold that turned into pneumonia. It took more than three months for me to get better, even with antibiotics.
They sneezed, coughed and blew their noses the whole time they stayed with me. We were often in close contact, not only inside the house but also in the car, given that I drove them around for sightseeing. To my surprise, they did not seem to be that worried about my getting sick. Unfortunately, I did end up catching their cold and was bedridden for four days after they left.
I don't want to be called a bad host who reneges on a promise. But should I have suggested to them upon their arrival that it would not be wise for them to stay with me, given their health situation? Staying at the same hotel at which they had reservations later in the week might have been an option. We still could have socialized, but it would have minimized my chances of getting sick. Would this suggestion have been too selfish? -- Still Feeling Sick
Dear Still Feeling Sick: When you have a history of pneumonia or another serious respiratory illness, the sniffles are nothing to sniff at. Yes, it would have been perfectly OK for you to explain your concerns to your friends and ask whether they'd mind checking in to the hotel a few days early.
Fingers crossed all your future houseguests are healthy, but if you find yourself in this situation again, speak up. Though your friends may have recovered from their colds, they'd feel pretty crummy if they knew they got you sick.
Dear Annie: I love reading your column, and now I have a question for you. My wife and I are in our mid-50s, and our daughter is in her mid-30s. During a recent trip to our house, she expressed how much she admires a piece of our furniture. Then she asked whether we have a will. Our daughter said she would love to have this particular piece of furniture. My wife and I are in pretty decent health, and we should be living for some years. Do you think this kind of question from our daughter is rude? I'm thinking it is. -- Alive and Well
Dear Alive and Well: I think it was rude, but it sounds as if your daughter had no clue she was being offensive. Tell her how the remark hurt your feelings so it's not weighing you down. I hope she takes the chance to apologize.