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My sister-in-law insists on washing up, but leaves a mess

I like my sister-in-law, but every time we have her over she tries to wash the dishes after dinner. I thank her, tell her I hate it when people clean my kitchen, say I wish we could all just sit around the table and relax. But still she insists. By the time she's done, the floor is soaked with dirty water and the dishes are still covered in scuzz. And even worse, my wife tells me I should relax. What do I do?"

You're preaching to the choir, bub. My wife says that your wife is totally right.

But who needs labels like "right" and "wrong" when you could simply hide all the dish soap before Ms. Perlene Clean shows up or develop a sudden and completely mysterious problem with your hot water tank (it's the knob on the hot water pipe under the sink) or, best of all, just serve a not-exactly-delicious round of Swanson Hungry Man Salisbury steak dinners ("I just wanted everybody to be able to relax after dinner, honey") the next couple times she comes by.

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Alternatively, you could, you know, be a hero and let her wash your dishes while you chill out at the table with a glass of wine. Just be sure to give the dishes a de-scuzzing once she's gone.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is a food writer and restaurant columnist. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail .

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