Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Are Clean Rugs More Important Than Family Unity?

Dear Tazi:

I am so completely furious with my mother-in-law I can’t see straight! She usually babysits my sister-in-law’s child during the day while everyone is at work. “Abigail”, age 18 months, caught bedbugs at “Martha’s” house and now both of their houses need to be fumigated. My sister-in-law is beside herself over this because she is desperate for child care and cannot afford to pay anyone so her mother does it for free. How can she complain that her daughter came home with bedbugs when her mother was looking after the child free of charge? She could not even bring herself to ask her mother to cover the cost of fumigating the home and had to work overtime to cover the exterminating charges!

The exterminator could see that [the cost of fumigating the house] was a hardship to my sister-in-law, so he offered her a discount if she and Martha got their houses done on the same day, since it would save him the travel expense. The problem with this was that it left no place to go with Abigail, so I agreed to let Martha watch Abigail at my house while I was off at work. Worst decision ever!

I don’t know if Martha allows Abigail to run ragged at her own house, but she sure let her tear up mine! The place looked like a hurricane had run through – sofa cushions and throw pillows were tossed about, crushed Froot Loops were all over the floor; dirty, smelly diapers that had not been properly treated were thrown in my kitchen garbage, and my plants had been knocked over onto the floor with the dirt spilled all about. The worst part, though, was that Martha let Abigail drink her apple juice in a “big girl cup” because I don’t have any sippy cups in the house. Tazi, my children are teenagers! I have no need for sippy cups!

Long story short (I know, too late), Abigail spilled apple juice all over my new carpeting! I saved my spending money for over two years to be able to afford my new white carpets, and my children all know that woe will betide them if they get those carpets dirty! The carpets are in the good parlor, so it is not an area where people go to hang out and play; that is what the rumpus room is for and Martha knows that!
When I called Martha out about the juice on the carpet, she responded that a baby cannot be expected to know any better. I explained to her that she (Martha) is old enough to know better and should have supervised the baby better! Not being the shirking violet that my sister-in-law is I told Martha that she would have to pay to have my rugs cleaned or replaced. Martha refused, saying she does not have that kind of money, especially after paying to have her house deloused. She then accused me of “putting on airs” with my “fine white carpeting” and told me she was glad Abigail ruined it! Now, I am in a fix.

I put salt on the stain, like you would for wine, and it seems to have lifted a little. I got one of those Stanley Steamers to clean it myself and the stain is almost invisible – just a slight outline of where it was. It cost me almost $100 to clean and I still have a stain that I know is there. I don’t want to ask my sister-in-law for the money because I know she doesn’t have it and Martha has refused to pay, saying that Abigail created the stain so her Mama should be responsible for the cost. I am willing to eat the cost of cleaning, but it sticks in my craw that my good deed did not go unpunished. Plus I have a stain on my carpets! Am I being petty, Tazi?

Stuck With A Stain

Dear Stuck With A Stain:

I can understand why you are so upset; never once did you say that your mother-in-law apologized for her neglect of duty in watching her granddaughter. What you do say is that she tried to shift the blame from where it belongs (squarely on her shoulders) and onto a baby who had no control over the situation. Pathetic!

I do not think you are being petty over having to see a reminder of how your mother-in-law disrespected you and your property. Depending on where the stain is, can you hide it by covering it with a piece of furniture, a floor lamp, or a potted plant? At this point, the stain is set and will probably not come out without damaging the carpet fibers, leaving a scar on the carpeting that would be just as unattractive as the stain – if not worse. One possibility (offered to me by a professional carpet installer) is to snip the nap of the carpet with an X-Acto knife. The stained portion is probably not that deep into the nap, and the slight difference in height that will result would not be noticeable in a thick carpet.

I know it will be difficult, but try not to let this incident strain your relationship with your mother-in-law. She is family; she is your husband’s mother and your children’s grandmother. For the sake of family harmony do your best to put this incident in the past…but also for the sake of family harmony do not allow Martha to babysit in your home again.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

No comments:

Post a Comment