Sunday, April 17, 2005
%$$^##%^$# Care Bears
#%$#^%$& Care Bears
Ughhhh.... you know, it has reached a point, with my mother-in-law, where I'm no longer surprised when she's annoying, though I'm not yet to the point of being able to anticipate the precise manner in which she will be annoying.

It started literally 30 seconds after she arrived on Friday. She sits down and prepares to settle into her routine of ignoring everything everyone in the house says and then complaining because we never tell her anything. (Do not attempt this level of Passive-Aggressive Behavior at home. This woman is a professional.) But then, midway through her first rant ("Oh, look at Jacob... he's so big... I missed so much while I was gone... I wish I could have come visited you all...") I glanced outside and said, "Oh, look, Herman [father-in-law] is here, too." My mother-in-law *LOST* it. All of the blood drained from her face and she leapt up from the couch, outraged and snotty. Amazing how quick she can move when irritated, hurt shoulder and all. Turns out that father-in-law didn't tell her that he was coming on Friday, and so therefore she felt personally offended about this.

As an aside, my in-laws have a uniquely bizarre relationship situation. They live in separate houses, both of which he pays for, but are not divorced. They travel internationally together, but are unable to carry on a civil conversation. They take turns messing with the minds and souls of their sons, but it seems to be a happy coincidence rather than choreographed sadism. So, commuication not their strong point.

Anyway, father-in-law shows up unannounced. This is the first time we have heard a single word from him since the "five-dollar hooker/masturbation" incident at Christmastime, so it was a surprise to us all, and the first few minutes were supremely awkward, trying to gauge his mood. Turns out his mood was something along the lines of, "I'm going to waaaayyyyyy overcompensate by buying you things so that you'll forget what a putz I can be." Fun!

So we all went out to dinner. mother-in-law refused to speak to any of the adults, obviously believing that it was a general conspiracy that father-in-law was there, though we were just as shocked as she was. Which, actually, was fine with me. My father-in-law can be outrageous and putzlike but he's very direct and appreciates the same in other people, so at least I can call him on his putzlikeness.

The next morning, after watching mother-in-law struggle to do anything with her hurt arm (aren't I awful, I can't even remember which side it was!), I decided that there was just no way I could leave Jacob with her on Monday. So I told her, and she actually coped pretty well with that part. Right in front of her, I called our sitter, and made plans for her to come on Monday. I asked mother-in-law, "When will you be leaving?" - trying to decide if I needed the sitter there right at 9 (when I usually lay Jacob down for a morning nap anyway) or if she could wait until 11ish. She tried soooooooo hard to hit me with her classic, "We'll play it by ear" line, but finally had to admit that she was going to leave today - Sunday. My mother-in-law has this ridiculous inability to MAKE A SINGLE, STINKING PLAN, it's really impressive in its absurdity. We will say, "Let's make plans for the day," and she literally can't cope with it, has to change the subject or use that &%$@&& line. (I swear, one of these days I'm going to hear the phrase "let's play it by ear" and I'll simply snap. It won't be graceful, and it won't be pretty.)

Big sigh.

Her only other major issue for the weekend - and it was only limited to this because there were always people around, and she tries to reserve her most audacious behavior for when we have a minimal audience - was Emily's $%&#%*$#9^*#%^(*%^%$#*%#$(%^(^*()*^)^*%$$ (gasp) @#%$&$3857$#*%&#$*%&*(#$&% Care Bear. What happened was, instead of asking me what Emily was getting for her birthday, she asked Emily what she wanted. And Emily, being 5, told her in painful, intricate detail. Emily is not an especially materialistic or greedy child, but seriously, if you ask her what she wants, she'll tell you! She's 5!! So, she requested a glow-in-the-dark Care Bear. She had also asked my mother, one of my close friends, the cashier at the grocery store, the mailman, and her stuffed monkey to bring her a glow-in-the-dark Care Bear. She was playing the odds on this one. My friend had said she would get one, so I never gave it another thought. My friend came to Emily's birthday party, which was Saturday, and we saved family gifts for the actual day, today. So Emily got her #$%$#&%*O$&% Care Bear. And the tissue paper had barely rained down upon the floor before smoke started to pour from mother-in-law's ears. "She got her that? But I got her that. I wanted it to be a special gift from Grandma. I can't believe she got two of the same thing. And they're even the same color. I didn't think anyone else would get that for her. I wish I'd known.........." And so on, and so on, and so on, and so on...

This morning, we all went to a hotel to go swimming, and met mother-in-law there (she doesn't sleep here - easier for us to complain about her if she sleeps somewhere else). She met us in the parking lot and had opened the car door before the engine was turned off, and was immediately off on the same rant about this STUPID %$&@#%&*#$%&#$(*%&#($*&%#$*(%&#$ (deep breath) $%#&*(%^&!@#(^!@$&*#@#^$&*#% bear. We finally had to find a semi-polite way of saying, "For the love of God, get over yourself, either buy a different $#&@%#$* bear or let Emily have twin bears. You are the only, single, solitary person on the planet who cares!!"


In reading this over, I know it's all trite and stupid and not worth the amount of time it took me to type, or you to read. But argh, gotta vent because I feel bad when I vent to the resident Husband Who Shall Remain Nameless. It is, after all, his mother.