In-Law Imbroglio

Can she balance working at home with entertaining her guests?

Dear Pink Lady,

My in-laws will soon be on their way to visit. Because we live very far away and rarely see them, they will be staying with us for two weeks.

I am a freelancer and work from a home studio, while my husband has an office job. So while I do actually have plenty of work, I appear much more available for entertaining guests. I don't want my husband to use up a big chunk of his vacation time entertaining them, but I also don't want to do it myself.

Is it rude to expect them to entertain themselves? How much time can I get away with not spending with them?

—Hating my Home Office

Dear Homebound,

Visiting in-laws can be just as much of a pain if they're an hour away as if they're across the country. However, you don't mention not getting along with them, which has to be seen as a positive—even if two weeks with your best friend can be wearisome at the end of it.

First of all, since these are your husband's parents and not yours, you need to talk to him about your concerns. Explain that you don't mind being the hostess-with-the-mostest, and you'd love to show his folks around the city, but you can't put aside your own work for two weeks to do so. See if you can arrange in advance a schedule that balances your time entertaining with your time working—your in-laws are on their own in the morning, say, but you take them to see the sights every afternoon. It's also not unreasonable for your husband to take a day or two off to spend some quality time with the people who raised him, especially if he rarely sees them.

But whatever arrangement you and your husband work out, don't be surprised if by the end of the trip, his parents are comfortable enough tooling around the city on their own. They very well might want their own space and their own time to explore.

In any case, I suggest you keep a double or triple batch of "freezer martinis" on hands at all times. Nothing soothes everyone's last nerve more than icy cold gin.


The Pink Lady

Freezer Martinis

2 cups gin

1 cup vodka

1/2 cup dry vermouth

Mix ingredients in an empty liquor bottle; store in freezer. These are very potent, so sip and enjoy—with caution!

This week's drink is from A Grand Heritage (Columbus, Miss., 1983).

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