DEAR AMY: During a visit with my brother several months ago, my sister-in-law slyly let it slip that my mom and sister plan to fly from New York to Florida for a surprise weekend sleepover visit with me. These "covert" plans are annoying to me because I previously told my mom that I would be happy to have her visit once the weather gets warmer and my work schedule eases up. Furthermore, I will have seen my mother and sister just two weeks before this surprise visit at my nephew's wedding. I think they want an excuse for a vacation, and I feel that even though I am almost 50 years old, my mother and sister are treating me as if I am at summer camp and the visit would be a great bonding experience. Not only would this be an uninvited visit, but contrary to my previously expressed wishes. Am I overreacting? And, if they show up unannounced, how should I greet them? I know I will resent that they chose to ignore my personal space.
DEAR RELUCTANT: I'm in a bind. I recently supported the concept of the "unannounced pop-in" because it seems to me that every now and then, people should be able to drop by a family member's house (if they're passing by) and be treated graciously.
Your story takes the pop-in to a new level, however, so let me suggest a guideline of sorts that aggrieved family members can use to gauge the level of rudeness: If guests arrive unannounced and bearing suitcases, you're in the rude red zone.
You have the benefit of knowing about this, so you had better handle it now.
Tell your mother and sister that under no circumstances should they ever plan to surprise you for a weekend visit. Among other outrages, this would prevent you from planning for and enjoying the anticipation of having guests.
You are not overreacting to this situation.