Sunday, October 21, 2007

My new mantra

Survival is success. Such was the mantra given to me by Mer, who has endured more than her fair share of panicky pre-In-Law visit phone calls. And ya know, it's a damn true mantra if there ever was one.

As I mentioned earlier, Cat Door had been at our house Friday afternoon prepping our bathroom window (as in removing it) and then returned for dinner since the Mrs. was out of town. He's kind of pathetic in that she doesn't cook and all the food she keeps in the house is super-healthy stuff like kale and butter that resembles spackle. So when she's out of town, he relishes a good dinner so usually he ends up at our house or at his neighbor's house like a little refugee. He hadn't eaten with us in a while, so I took the opportunity (and her absence) to kick it up a bit and do this pork dish that is really extraordinary along with some balsamic vinegar-laced roasted asparagus and some egg noodles. Ice cream for dessert. I swear to God he ate three helpings of everything like he hadn't eaten in about seven years.

Saturday morning, he showed up at 8 AM with his brother and one of his neighbors to put the window in. Let me preface this by saying in addition to the anxiety that I was having about the IL's descending, I was more than a little freaked out with having no window in our bathroom all night. It rained part of the night and I could hear every sound outside, so I barely got any sleep at all. I was tired and knew I had a long day in front of me.

It was fun having the guys working at the house. Well, Cat Door's neighbor is a little bit of an odd duck, but once the window was in place (all 200+ pounds of it) he took off leaving Cat Door and his brother here to finish up. While all this was going on, Joey took Monkey Man on a last-minute shopping trip for a birthday present for my FIL and also for them to get haircuts. And I stayed home to make an apple cake and keep an eye on the dog who was driving me absolutely berzerk. You see, Cat Door's brother looks exactly like him but is 5 years older and probably a good eight inches shorter. Our dog isn't exactly the brightest match in the pack so he couldn't quite figure out which one was Cat Door and which was Brother, so you could see the confusion on his face as they were going in and out of our house..."Hmmm, that's Cat Door - wait, no, that's the other guy, no wait...."

So Cat Door and Brother took off for lunch and I ended up eating and then crashing on the couch for a while. Later on, Cat Door came back and ended up finishing the window completely even though he'd originally said that it would be the middle of the week before he could finish up. It was fun having him around, we usually talk on the phone a few times a week but getting to actually see him has become somewhat of a rarity in the past year since he's gotten so busy with his business. So he had finished up and was hanging out shooting the shit when it happened.

He met my in-laws.

I wish I could've captured the look on my face when my father-in-law hugged me hello - I'm sure that to Cat Door I looked like I had just stepped in shit. So of course being the shithead that he is, Cat Door decided that he was going to hang out and talk to my IL's for a few minutes. And then the bastard patted me on the back and said "Have a wonderful time!" and with a shit-eating grin, sidled out the door. Jackass.

Being with my IL's is exhausting, frankly. I know this is going to sound super snooty of me, but there is nothing more excruciating than listening to two uneducated rednecks spout off about everything under the sun like they are the born authorities on it. Not to mention they have to discuss everyone in their tiny little town (whether my husband knows them or not), all their health problems, doctor's appointments, how many times people have been married, and on and on and on. They read all kinds of articles in the newspapers and magazines about health issues and tips on things and they want to discuss all of that. And not only do they want to discuss it, but they also both talk at the same time with varying versions of the same story. It's maddening.

So after about an hour of this, all I can do is go into my little zen mode and sit there without making eye contact with anyone, with the same theme running through my head..."shutthefuckupshutthefuckupshutthefuckup...." All I want is for them to take turns. Shutting up would be preferable, but probably not going to happen.

For dinner, we decided to dine at Outback. We gave my FIL the option of Bonefish Grill but of course, since it wasn't something he readily recognized (as in seen on TV a zillion times) he wasn't interested. We did the call-ahead seating so thankfully we only ended up waiting about 5 minutes for our table once we got there. And, they seated us at a table with booth seating on one side and chair seating on the other so we were blissfully saved from the embarrassment of our last visit to Outback (see yesterday's post). My FIL only had two mixed drinks, which probably wasn't a bad thing since I know he'd probably had a few out in our garage out of the hooch he carries in his truck.

We got back home and Joey took my FIL down in the basement to watch TV while my MIL decided to hang out upstairs. With me. This is not something that I particularly relish, but it's not usually too painful - she's not as annoying and rude as FIL is, but she won't shutthefuckup either. So I feigned falling asleep on the couch and did other thing like mentally making my grocery list for next week and having fantasy hot monkey sex with the guy I saw at the sub place last week. Ahem. Much more pleasant than listening to her talk about her worship of Paula Deen for the umpteengazillionth time. Finally at 10 PM she gave up on me and went upstairs to bed, so I slunk off to our room to divulge in a little reading and then fell asleep myself. Which was a good thing, since....

I was awakened at 5:30 this morning by the sound of what seemed to be a large herd of elephants. Nope, just FIL coming down the stairs. Then he sat at our kitchen table - which is like 30 feet from our bedroom door - and proceeded to cough up phlegm for the next 20 minutes.

Then there was silence. I drifted back to sleep. And then the fucking doorbell rang. The stupid idiot had locked himself out of our house again. Again as in he does this every time they come to visit. Joey jumped up out of the bed and I think if he'd had a shotgun, he would've used it and maybe then we could've gotten some sleep. He went and let FIL back inside (against my better judgement) and then crawled back into bed.

For the next hour, I listened to rustling, coughing, snorting, farting, and any other noise that could possibly be made by one human being. Finally at 7 AM I rolled over and poked Joey.

"Well, I'm up."

"What can I do to help you with breakfast?"

"Kill your father. How about that?"

So I sent the two of them off to Food Lion with a list of stuff that I really didn't need. And I was pissed. And bitchy. And exhausted. No sleep makes Builder Mama bitchy. Okay, bitchier than usual.

As it so happened, I was hoping to get a good half-hour to an hour by myself to get breakfast rolling. I was making sausage gravy, which isn't exactly hard to make but it does take some time for the gravy to thicken - then I had to do biscuits, bacon, and eggs. But no. Apparently, Monkey Man had never gotten back to sleep either after the doorbell rang so he was up. And then MIL got up. So here I was, trying to get the gravy to thicken and having to wait on my MIL and deal with Monkey Man who for some reason had landed the TV on a channel of infomercials that he had endless questions about. I was snippy and less than pleased with this turn of events.

We made it through breakfast and apparently my IL's had decided that they were leaving after breakfast. I have no idea where they were going unless perhaps they were going by my ex-SIL's house to see my niece (note: how ironic is it that they have a better relationship with my psycho ex-SIL than with my own BIL?). But hey, I was all about them leaving so I busied myself with cleaning up the zillions of dishes, pots and pans from breakfast. Not like anyone offered to help, but whatever.

One of my MIL's most annoying traits is that it takes her forever to get ready to go anywhere. And even when she's done, it doesn't even look like she's done anything to herself. It's kind of baffling, honestly. And one of my FIL's most annoying traits is that when he's ready to leave, he will be rude and yell and carry on until my pokey MIL finally is ready to go. I hate it.

So she's upstairs doing God-knows-what and he is in our kitchen yelling up the stairs every 3 minutes telling her he's leaving and she better hurry up. Or, in his terms, "Goddamit, I'm leaving and you better hurry the hell up or I'm leaving without you!" Which if she wasn't so annoying, I'd say FINE, go ahead you miserable bastard. But honestly, I want her to go too so I keep my mouth shut.

Finally, he turns to Monkey Man and says, "Monkey Man, you go tell your granny that if she doesn't hurry up and come downstairs that I'm leaving her here forever!"

Oh hell no. Sorry dude, you are so not dragging my kid into your stupid little games. I shot Joey a look across the room and believe it or not, he stood up to his dad and told him that Monkey Man was not going to do that because it was rude and disrespectful for anyone to talk that way. And that if FIL had a problem with that, then he could go wait out in the truck for MIL.

Go Joey!

So thankfully, it was only about another 10 minutes until she came downstairs and they left. And then I collapsed on the couch and did absolutely nothing except watch Housewives of Orange County (I know, I know) until it was time to go to our company picnic. And now, when I should be downstairs on the treadmill working off that barbeque I ate, I am so freaking exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically that I just can't.

It used to be that we saw them all the time. Thankfully the visits have waned down to only a few a year, but it's still enough that I am gripped with anxiety for days prior to a visit. It's not like the anxiousness that they're going to do something bad - we all know by now in this point of the story that the stupidity will happen, it's just a matter of how colossally stupid it will be. And I can defend myself, and Joey can defend himself (when he chooses to), but it's Monkey Man. It's having him around people that have no respect for anyone, including each other and their own selves. I just don't like having to shelter him like that. My MIL was all concerned this morning that she didn't want Monkey Man seeing FIL take all of his medications because it "isn't good for him to see things like that" when in reality I want to shake her and ask - so is it better to have him see your husband treat you, his own son, and his daughter-in-law like crap? Hey, I'm just askin'.

So, just add this to yet another chapter of As the In-Law World Turns. And goody goody, it's almost the holidays. Gah, shoot me now.


Heather said...

It sounds miserable but so much better than it could have been--yeah, I know, little consolation. But then, you survived :)

Tree said...

I like the mantra - it seems to have worked. Gosh, I cannot even imagine.