As I've been joking with my friends for weeks now, we've been having The Great Hostage Negotiations of Thanksgiving 2007 going on for weeks now at our house. It's been a regular laugh riot.
If I haven't mentioned it before, any kind of holiday becomes a major sticking point in our house. My in-laws have this thing where if they don't celebrate something on THE ACTUAL DAY then they don't think it counts. So this has meant doing silly things like driving an hour to have lunch with them on a workday because it's someone's birthday, or the Ugly Mother's Day Incidents of 2002, 2003, and 2004 where my MIL locked herself in their bathroom crying because we didn't come to visit on THAT DAY. I guess the fact that I'm a mom now doesn't really matter to her, but I'm only mildly bitter about it. And if you believe that I've got some land in the Everglades that I'll sell you.
So about two weeks ago, I found out that my MIL had gotten the jump on me and asked Joey if we would come down there for Thanksgiving. Well, I already knew that my brother and his family are coming from Seattle - and I only get to see them once a year, so it's a pretty big deal to me. I did a little brainstorming and came up with two potential solutions:
1. We drive down to their house the night before Thanksgiving. We rent a cottage to stay in to prevent me from dying due to cat and cigarette smoke. We eat Thanksgiving lunch with them, then drive 2+ hours back here to eat dinner with my family.
2. They come up here Wednesday night. We take them out for fancy Thanksgiving meal (which we have done before and they adored it). They go home after Thanksgiving day lunch, then we go to my sister's.
I figured both were good solutions. And pretty fair, too. But of course, in typical in-law fashion, it took them a good two weeks to decide if that was sufficient for Thanksgiving. So do you see why they make me a little nuts? Joey and I discussed it every night for at least the last 10 days to try and guess what they were going to do.
Anyhow, on Monday night my MIL finally called and said that they would come up here. So I proceeded to get on the phone and make reservations for lunchtime on Thanksgiving Day at the fabulous restaurant that we'd taken them to before - it is perfect for FIL because he can certainly wear his wife-beater t-shirt and unbuttoned plaid shirt over it and probably no one will look twice. Well, maybe not more than twice.
Slight problem. The restaurant is booked. So I went downstairs to the Man Cave to talk to Joey about what to do. I discussed at length the different restaurants I'd called, and how hard it is to find something open on Thanksgiving Day.
Stay with me. This is where it gets good.
On Tuesday, I decided to Google which restaurants in our town had traditionally been open on Turkey Day and found one reasonably close to our house that is expensive but not too stuffy. I called and yes, we could get a table for noon on Thanksgiving Day. So I called Joey at work to toot my own horn - I was so proud of this brilliant inspiration that I was sure that I would win huge accolades, not only for finding a good restaurant to go to but also for this great idea I'd come up with that would hopefully make his parents happy.
Um, yeah. Do you know what his response was? "I thought we were going out for Thanksgiving dinner with them on Wednesday night."
Wednesday night? Hadn't we talked about this nightly for almost two weeks? And who the hell goes out for Thanksgiving dinner the day BEFORE Thanksgiving? So it was pretty blatantly obvious at that point that he hadn't listened to a damn word I've been saying for the last two weeks.
I stewed about it all day. I mean really stewed.
We ended up going to the mall at dinnertime and got home late. I had a ton of laundry to do, straightening up to do, and I was planning on blogging. Yeah, that didn't happen. First I had to give Monkey Man a shower and put him to bed. Then, I struggled with about 10 huge loads of laundry and hauling them to the laundry room. All this was while my dear, sweet husband sat on his ass on the couch and played Nintendo DS.
Finally he came into our room where I was starting to get slammy (as in slamming drawers, slamming the closet doors) and asked if I was mad at him. At that point, I was so mad I couldn't even talk to him. I sat upstairs while he hid in the basement. Eventually, at 10 PM, I'd had enough of stewing so I went downstairs to talk to him. I had a few beefs:
1. Obviously he is so disconnected from life right now that he totally f-ed up the whole Thanksgiving arrangements.
2. I need help with the house. Sitting on his ass isn't helping.
At this point, I was subjected to a 45 minute tirade on how much his job sucks. And yes, I totally sympathize but that's not an excuse from being disconnected from our home and family. I have a job, I have a boss that is difficult, I end up doing 90% of the household chores and the carpooling and doing PTA shit and buying birthday gifts and handling doctor's appointments and all that other BS. Sometimes, I could use some help with a few things like picking up after himself and also the laundry.
And this is where I am still scratching my head. "Well, I could help you with the laundry but I don't understand how the system works," he said.
"What do you mean?"
"Like, how do I know when the laundry needs to be done?"
"Here's a good clue for you. If you open my closet and find that all the laundry is spilling out of the hamper because it's too full, that's a pretty good indication that it's time to do the laundry."
"Well, then there's all the sorting. Like I don't get it, you have this system that I don't understand."
"It's called colors and whites. Colors and whites."
This man runs a multi-million dollar company and has a college degree, but can't do laundry. Go figure.
It all ended up fine, no one slept in the guest room, and I think we both got some things off our chests. The key from this point is how we go forward - like does he finally conquer the complexity of sorting colors from whites? Stay tuned.
I am thankful to have a marriage with someone that I can talk to frankly about anything in the world and who is always willing to work things out. Even sorting laundry.