Just when things had been relatively quiet around here, it happened.
A Forced In-Law Interaction.
And it was just as bad as you could imagine.
Let me preface this by saying that the past four weeks have not been fun around here. Monkey Man has still been sick - we moved on last week to a second prescription for antibiotics along with an inhaler, and then this past Tuesday the Vomitstravaganza started. It was really odd that he would barf one day - be absolutely fine (no fever, no aftereffects), and then exactly 48 hours later he would barf again. Huh. Anyhow, we have now been almost 48 hours vomit free (yay!) so hopefully we are on the tail end of all this crap.
Therefore, we have had serious lack of sleep. Or, I should say that I have. Joey has to be relatively mentally sharp to do his job or it can be really, really bad. Me, I can phone it in most days with no problem. However, when I've had four days of sleep without any night wakings in 26 days, even I can become a flaming bitch. I even had the courtesy to go into EPOD's office on Thursday and apologize in advance if I happened to rip his head off and shove it down his throat. I'm thoughtful that way, and evaluations are coming so I figured that was the right thing to do.
Okay, so back to the Forced In-Law Interaction. So my father-in-law's 70th birthday is today, and since no one in their right mind figured that this chain-smoking alcoholic could make it to 70 it was time for a celebration. Yay.
Joey and I tried to plan the whole thing (or let's say he had all the ideas and I was trying to fit in phone calls to places trying to figure it all out) until my mother-in-law decided that she was going to take control. Or, as I've found out, it is roughly translated into "I will plan to do something super spectacular knowing that in the end I will stick Joey and Liz with the bill for the entire thing." I've been down that road before, so although Joey protested that *this* time was going to be different, I kept my mouth shut and secretly knew that at the end of it all it would be our Visa card picking up the tab.
We had Monkey Man's homecoming game on Saturday, ran home to take showers, and then hit the road. I was exhausted and slept most of the way there, mostly because it the days of yore I could usually hole up in a bedroom and take a nap at the in-laws' house, but since they started letting their goddamn cat in the house I cannot put any part of my body except my ass anywhere without my throat closing up and wheezing like crazy.
When we arrived at their house, we were met in the driveway by Buddy the Psycho Dog. Buddy has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever other than he breathes. And honestly, he's a waste of oxygen. He proceeded to jump all over each of us, getting mud all over our pants (which we had no extra pants for, yay!).
Everyone ran inside where we found my father-in-law in the recliner, drunk. He then got up and proceeded into the hallway bathroom to sit on the toilet and grunt, groan, and whatever else for thirty minutes. With. The. Door. Open. Since I've been on the receiving end before of this eyeful of redneck goodness, I stayed in the living room and prayed that I didn't need to make a trip up the hallway for any reason lest my corneas become seared from the sight of my father-in-law's naked ass sitting on the commode. Not to mention that he had to leave the door open because the exhaust fan wasn't working, God forbid he actually have to put up with his own bodily odors without sharing them with the rest of the family.
I could go into huge detail here, but there were a few key elements that I'll just briefly touch on so this doesn't become the modern-day version of Moby Dick. First of all, their house is back to being as nasty and filthy as it was last year before the big "renovation" (translation: interior painting) took place. My mother-in-law had previously sent her computer tower up to Joey via my brother-in-law a few weeks ago because it was making a funny noise...and when he opened up the panel, it was so gunked up with dirt, hair, and grease that he had to use a toothbrush to get the crap out since the compressed air and the little vacuum didn't work. Ick. So if the computer, which is basically encased, was that bad...you can imagine what the rest of the house was like.
Then there was the gun. My father-in-law, apparently, has taken to sitting in an armchair in the living room and shooting his shotgun out of the sliding glass door. There are several pecan trees right off of the deck and he has been protecting the nuts from scavenging crows, so obviously the reasonable way to do that is to sit in your armchair all cozy like, with your travel mug full of bourbon, slide open the sliding glass door and shoot the motherfucking crows with your double-barrel shotgun. Doesn't everyone do that?
Well, if they do, hopefully they put said shotgun away before their grandson comes to visit. Instead, it was laying in the armchair with the butt hanging off and all I could envision was Monkey Man bumping into the gun, knocking it into the floor, and someone other than my father-in-law getting their head blown off. 'Cause it was loaded, of course. Finally, my mother-in-law moved it to the dining room table, and then at Joey's behest finally moved it...somewhere, I'm not sure exactly where.
At this point, my head was about ready to explode and Joey had finally gotten his mom's computer back up and running and spent an hour downloading some antiviral software via dial-up. We decided to head to the restaurant for dinner...an hour and a half early.
By the time dinner rolled around and all of the other 45 people were there, I was just done. I can only deal with the lunacy for so long on a good day, but when I'm already sleep deprived it's a whole other story.
The kicker, perhaps, was after spending almost a thousand dollars between the dinner and the present we got him (which I'm not exactly even sure what it was, that's how interested I was in the whole thing), do you know what his favorite gift was? Want to take a guess?
A cooler full of uncooked chitlins. Or chitterlings, if you want to be more technical about it. Uncooked pig intestines. And no, smartasses, that wasn't what we gave him.
All I have to say is that I'm thankful we came back home Saturday night, because he was practically foaming at the mouth with the anticipation of cooking them up bright and early on Sunday morning. And if you've never smelled chitlins being cooked, they smell like ass. Go figure.
As I was relaying the story to my friends over the past two days, there was a distinct mix of laughter and horror. Just when you think the stories can't get worse, they do. And I'm convinced that one day, either when I'm divorced or widowed, I will be able to finally write about it all and make millions - "Shotguns and Chitlins - The Memoirs of a Long-Suffering Daughter-In-Law."