When I asked if you thought it was crazy that I wanted to buy separate dishes for my mother-in-law’s visit, I admit I was hoping for “no.” In fact, I was worried that someone might not only say yes, but recommend a specific medication. And yet, every single time someone did in fact say yes it was crazy, I laughed with delight. Actual audible laughter, not just LOL laughter. Or maybe this kind of laughing is called “cackling.”
I also laughed at those of you who took it up a level, and now I am a little more in love with all of you and wish I had married YOU instead. Lori D. thinks the dishes should be not only separate but also ugly and chipped. Tessie thinks I should incorporate a subliminal message into the glaze. (Tessie suggests “There’s no place like home.” I’m thinking, “Go home, you crazy old bat.”) Marie Green and Shoeaddict remind me to use old sheets so I can throw them away (or burn them? do I hear any votes for burning?) after she leaves. Nikki thinks I should give my mother-in-law paper plates while the rest of us use fine china (and then I could burn the plates out in the backyards afterwards, while she watches from inside). T with Honey brings up excellent points about using Lysol sprays and Clorox wipes when sharing a bathroom with such a person. I like the way she thinks, and I already have some of that antimicrobial Febreeze for the furniture. Caley wins first place for suggesting I buy an entirely separate HOUSE to live in while my mother-in-law visits.
Jess (and now we have more than one Jess, so this is Du Wax Loolu Jess…or Jess Loolu…or Jess Du Wax…) wonders if I worry that my mother-in-law will find this blog. YES I DO KENT. In fact, often after I do a mother-in-law vent, I take the post down after a few days. I realize it’s still “out there” on the Internet, but it makes me feel like it isn’t. I mean, imagine how doomed I could be. And this kind of thing happens all the time. She wouldn’t even have to be looking for me, she could just be thinking, “Hm, I don’t want to bother Swistle for her Chocolate-Crusted Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe, since I’ve already asked for it twice and then lost it twice. I’ll just Google it!” And then she Googles “Chocolate-Crusted Pumpkin Cheesecake,” and oh HERE it is! And look, the person who posted it has twins too, just like my daughter-in-law! Huh! And what are the odds that all her other children are born in the same years as my grandchildren? Huh! –This could easily, easily happen. So I always decide not to discuss her ANY! MORE!–but then before I know it, I’m doing it again.
JMC brings up an excellent point about the children commenting on the new dishes; I’d been thinking that what I should do is buy the dishes as soon as possible so they’re familiar by then. CAQuincy thinks that in a pinch I could also get away with blushing prettily and saying we bought the new dishes specially for grandma’s visit. Way to work the truth, Carrie. Tina points out that even if I can easily incorporate the dishes into the household for this visit, I have a long-term problem if I want to keep bringing them out for future visits. Good point. I think we’d better refer to these as “the good dishes,” don’t you?
Kristin H. and Karly and Devan and Samantha Jo Campen and Nowheymama want to know Paul’s thoughts on the dishes idea. I haven’t yet exactly mentioned it to Paul. And since Paul is a conflict-avoider, I thought what I might do is just buy the dishes and have them in the cupboard already when he comes home from work, and hope he’ll guess what’s up and decide not to ask. He sees why she drives me crazy; what he doesn’t understand is why I can’t ignore her like he does. Sorry, charlie, you get what you married.
Omaha Mama wants to know why I don’t ASK her when she’s coming. It’s because she is WILY, and JUST as I am thinking of asking for information, she says something like, “I’m still figuring out the dates! I’ll let you know when it’s settled!” Then more weeks go by, and JUST as I’m thinking that ANY REASONABLE PERSON would have told us by now, she throws us another crumb: “I’m still trying to arrange things with someone else I’m visiting, but I’ll let you know soon!” Paul’s family values secrecy for the sake of secrecy. When I see this trait emerge in Paul, I get out the biiiiiiiiiiiig iron skillet and whack-a-mole it right down again.
Shelly Overlook wants to know if this is a literal contamination issue (i.e., is my mother-in-law GRODY) or if it’s more of a mental contamination (i.e., is my mother-in-law a crazy old bat). It’s the crazy old bat thing. She is intensely critical and bossy, and she has reached her 60s without ever realizing that people can do things different ways without one of them being “an idiot” or “crazy.” She follows me everywhere I go, including pulling up a chair and sitting behind me if I go to my computer. She says unanswerable things–the kind that, if I answer, I look like an oversensitive weirdo who has to argue about every little unimportant thing. She asks if I think William’s speech impediment is because he grew up hearing Rob’s (William does not have a speech impediment; Rob had an articulation delay). She expects me to cook her breakfast while she stands next to me at the stove, telling me what to do differently (numbers of mornings I went along with this: one). She sits in a chair all day “helping” me by saying things like, “Swistle! The baby’s crying!” and “Swistle! You missed a spot!” She tells us stories about other women who don’t take care of themselves and who don’t care how they look and who wear jeans every day and who can’t keep house and who can’t cook and who don’t properly care for their guests.
Carmen apparently has the same mother-in-law, since hers snoops too. Mine wants to know what sizes we wear, to give her some details about “other people” for her next discussion of people who shouldn’t be so out of shape in their 30s, and to see if I color my hair, and to see if I waste money on brand-names, and to see if I buy too far ahead (her opinion: “yes”), and to see how I stack my towels (her opinion: “interesting!”). Also, she prides herself on how little she packs–and this means she only brings enough clothes for a few days, so she has to have a way to do her laundry sneakily with ours, so she practically rips the clothes off our bodies to make laundry she can “help” with. Other things she prides herself on: how early she gets up; how quickly she can shower; how she doesn’t need coffee; how clean she keeps her house; how little weight she gained while pregnant; how cheaply she can knit a sweater that sells for a ridiculous price; how she told the salesclerk so.
Okay, enough about her. I need to be able to go to sleep tonight. And I’m sure while she’s here I’ll need to vent about her, and then you can vote on whether she’s actually as annoying as I think she is or not. Katie is predicting an implosion, and I wonder every single time she visits if this will be the time I actually do implode. Each time, I make it to the last day of her visit, gasping and panting and not QUITE holding the large chopping knife. But each time it is a closer call.