September 14, 2007

VOTE! Crazy or Not Crazy?

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I have a little Contamination Issue. That is, if I handle raw meat, even through plastic, what I'd really like to do afterward is hit a switch that would lightly spray the entire kitchen, including me, with bleach. Except that wouldn't be quite thorough enough, because it wouldn't reach under my fingernails, inside the trash can where the meat wrapper is, the undersides of the cabinets where meaty air molecules may have drifted, etc.

Well, big deal, a lot of people have issues with raw meat--and with all the news stories on e coli this and salmonella that, it's hardly surprising that some of us have gotten overly yicked out.

Less common is that I feel the same way about my mother-in-law. After she visits, I don't like to sit in the chair she sat in, use the dishes she used, touch surfaces she touched. While she's on her way to the airport, I'm busy using products that contain abrasives and/or antibacterials and/or bleach. The effect lingers: two years after a visit during which she happened to use one plate more than any other, I still feel woogy about that plate. I've never used it. It makes me think of her every time I see it.

This is too bad, because I liked that plate. I like ALL my dishes, which are a "buy one here, two there" mixed set. So what I was thinking is that I would box them all up during her visit "sometime next month" (two weeks until October and she still hasn't said when in October she'll be here, or for how long), and instead use a set of dishes I would purchase to use only during her visits. Not expensive dishes, just one of those $25-50 service-for-four (the kids eat off plastic dishes so we don't need more than that) boxed sets. I saw a set of black dishes at Wal*yick*mart, on clearance for $11.50; my mom thought the symbolism of the black made them the best choice.

But before I get carried away with dish symbolism, what I want to know is this: Does this plan sound a little...crazy to you? (If your mother-in-law is "an awesome lady!!" and "pretty much my second mom!!," you may need to imagine someone else using your dishes.)

52 comments:

LoriD said...

As I was reading, I was going to suggest a *special* MIL set of dishes. Except I would make sure they were really ugly. Maybe even chipped.

Tessie said...

I like the MIL dishes. Maybe also with subliminal messages in invisible ink, such as "there's no place like home".

Jess said...

I don't think that's crazy. A bit labor intensive to box up all your nice dishes, but if her using your stuff really makes you feel that way, it's definitely worth the effort. You spend money on things that make your home nicer, and if her using them makes your home not feel as nice anymore to you, then you should do something to prevent that.

Also, do you ever worry that someday maybe she'll find this blog? I personally don't have that worry since my future MIL doesn't speak English, but whenever you write about your MIL, I always wonder what would happen if she saw it.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I think it's brilliant and not crazy at all.

I understand about meaty air molecules, too. You can never be too safe when it comes to raw meat.

Mimi said...

Not that crazy. I can semi-tolerate my MIL when I'm other places, but when she's in my home I feel the same way. I hate her touching my things, etc.
Having special dishes sounds like a great solution!

Julie said...

Wow, this woman must be positively revolting. I think it's crazy, yes, but do whatever makes you feel better. It's better than not being able to enjoy your everyday dishes indefinately. I just wouldn't say anything to your hubby about it in case he disagrees.

Marie Green said...

Well, I am lucky in the MIL department, because while she doesn't feel Exactly like a 2nd mother, she is very respectful of us and our family and our parenting. AND she is So! CUTE! Really, she's slender and stylish and easily likable. So nothing about her grosses me out.

BUT, I do have a sister-in-law who is truly AWEFUL. Her house and her life are DISASTERS. Seriously, like the WORST you can imagine. Like the fridge has NEVER been wiped out and has- literally- about 3 inches of black something growing in the bottom of it. Her personal hygiene is similiar. (Can I spell? No, I cannot). Anyway, I'll picture her.

And yep! Now that I look at it from that angle, I would buy the new dishes. And possible use my oldest sheets on the bed she would be using and THROW THEM after she left.

This makes me feel shallow. So I'm glad that either a)others are shallow too! or b)these are normal human emotions.

Also, I am a freak about meat. I used to be a vegetarian for about 10 years. Enough said.

JMC said...

My evil twin desperately wants to pretend to be your MIL and write a 'shocked and appalled' comment, but my good twin is winning... today anyway.

Wow, so your MIL must be something else. Do you have a 'sanitize' setting on your dishwasher? Would it make a difference if you did? Definitely get separate MIL dishes if it makes you feel better. Will the kids notice, and if so, will they mention it, and if so, maybe you should have a good story ready.

nikki said...

Completely different side note: Old Navy online has some kids sets of long sleeve winter pajamas on sale for $8.50 a pair up to size 5T. They are wonderfully soft jammies.

Paper plate....make only her use paper plates and don't explain why everyone else gets to use the fine china.

el-e-e said...

Not crazy.

I think it's awesome your blog is SO anonymous that you can say things like this on it. And that is all *I* will say, ahem.

Cass said...

I'm like that with Wine Glasses. My problem is that I don't feel like guests appreciate my GOOD wine glasses - they become careless...one chips or breaks...AND I AM PISSED. Or a certain person wears a lot of very bright and practically permanent lipstick that remains tarnishing the glass physically. So I bought crap glasses. And now for guests I use those. And I feel much better. Buy the plates. You'll thank yourself and all of us.

Jess said...

Do it, do it, do it. I'm so sorry that you have to put up with this nightmare, but think of the FABULOUS blogs you'll be able to write after it's all over. Or during. Or both. I understand crazy relatives. Whatever it takes to bear through it I say.

Erica said...

Crazy, but if it makes you feel better, then it's not so crazy.

I was going to say that I don't dislike anyone that much, step-mother that you do about your MIL. But I'm not hung up on plate cooties. I'm totally hung up on her leaving cooties on my daughter, though. Think I should get a spare one on sale to use whenever she's around?

juliloquy said...

Not crazy, or at least you've found a great solution to work around your crazy. I love the segue from meat contamination to mother-in-law!

So I guess one upside of her visit is that your house gets a heavy cleaning after she leaves? Too bad her visit leaves you feeling all oogie. Can't wait for the stories. (Your suffering = my entertainment.)

bananafana said...

I too am totally crazy about meat . . . we go through a lot of soap in our house.
My only problem with my MIL is that she is trying to decorate my entire house with quilts. I should be grateful - otherwise she is awesome.

Mommy Daisy said...

A teeny, tiny bit crazy. But not entirely. I think buying the dishes is worth your sanity in the long run. I'm putting myself in your shoes, and with all the stories you've told about your MIL I would feel the same way. I'm VERY thankful that I truly love my MIL.

CAQuincy said...

Hey! You can say that you couldn't pass up the excuse to buy brand-new, MATCHING dishes JUST for her visit! She may actually think it was a compliment!

Shelly Overlook said...

I think MIL dishes (furniture, towels, etc) are a great idea!

Is she icky dirty as in she doesn't shower often or wash her hands? Or is she icky as in crazy bat who makes your life miserable?

Kristin H said...

On a crazy scale of 1 - 10, I would maybe give this a 5. But at least you've found a way to deal with it, so that sane part of your brain balances out the fact that you are boxing up all of your plates. Can you explain the change in dishes to your kids and Paul (or does he understand)? Will the kids bust you, along the lines of "Geez Mom, why did you put all our regular dishes away right before Grandma came?"

If she is this much of a trial on you, it's impressive that you are putting up with the visit at all.

Devan said...

weeeelllll, I have to say it's kind of crazy. You know how I feel about my MIL. *ahem*
HOWEVER, since it makes you feel better, do it. It's $12 and peace of mind. Easy decision. :)

Michelle said...

Buy them. And be sure to buy the ones at Wal (yick) mart because then you'll know you really really hate them anyway.

I'm not in LOVE with my MIL, but I thankfully don't feel the same as you do.

Kristin H said...

I meant to say, would the kids bust you *right in front of her* with a comment about the change in dishes?

jen said...

oh my god I love it when I come across someone with my own neuroses!

I am not like that with my MIL but I am with my grandmother in law. I hate for her to use my cups and dishes (which she's prone to dropping) Heck I hide my good mugs when she come so she has to use the cheap mugs she insists on giving us! And so she thinks we use them! TWO BIRDS!

I hide my favorite pillows from her too because she insists on sitting on pillows and HELLO I PUT MY FACE THERE!!!

And I give my kids baths because I see her touching them with her orange nicotine fingers, or sticking her fingers in their mouths.. I have to stop now.

Totally get black dishes at walmart. I find it amusing that your mother apparently supports this.

Modern Day Hermit said...

Not Crazy on both counts.

Even with meat in packaging, I'm sure that some of the juice managed to get outside of the package and my MIL...well, she's psychotic and I can't stand her.

Jen said...

I am one of those "love my MIL" people, so I can't comment on your situation exactly.

But. What I do find humorous is this entire post, given your recent rant on vacuuming. You are ironic, Swistle, and that is one thing that keeps me reading. I never know what you will come up with next.

Pickles & Dimes said...

It's just a little crazy, but I can say that because I'm the girl who checks that the doors are locked 37 times before bed.

In other words, go for the MIL dishes.

T with Honey said...

no, you're not crazy. Unless I'm crazy too.

I won't use the same toilet or shower/tub that my MIL uses. Or I spray it down with Lysol followed by a good rub down with a Clorox wipe before using my toilet or shower.

I frequently Febreeze the furniture while she visits too. And we tend to use disposable dishes while they visit. I get away with that by claiming that we'll run out of forks before lunch is over. But any dishes that are used go through the dishwasher in ultra-sanitizing mode.

We also have a set of pillows that only come out in the guest room when they visit.

Annie said...

Totally not crazy.

Carmen said...

Oh man, totally not crazy. I feel very nearly the same way about my MIL. Who stays with us for 3-4 days EVERY MONTH and drives me UP THE WALL. Their next visit is impending and I would prefer to chew off my own limb than have to visit with them again. *sigh* I hate her touching my things. And when I'm at work, she tends to snoop around in my bedroom as well as try to "help" by doing laundry - i.e. shrinking all my stuff to Barbie Doll size. Awesome. Thanks.

So...I can relate. I hide my laundry. MIL special dishes are a fabulous idea.

Lauren said...

THIS IS SO ME! Hubby has a friend that I find absolutely repulsive, and once (ONLY once) he came over and used this one purple cup...and i have never used that cup since. I don't know why I even keep it. Im going to throw it away. I'd handle raw meat before using it. Maybe. Actually probably not.

I think your idea is genius!! Im going to start my own collection of things that i pull out only for unpleasant company. Brilliant.

caley said...

Why stop with the dishes? Why not just have a whole other house designated for MIL visits only that you and the rest of the Swistle's live in only while she's in town? :-P

My vote is slightly crazy, yeah, BUT I totally understand and would feel the same way. I'd definitely get the dishes. $12 is a small price to pay for one small comfort during what will probably be a torturous visit.

Karly said...

OMG. You are so funny. I dislike my MIL to a degree, but to be grossed out you're comparing her to raw meat. You just crack me up. Love the cheap dishes idea. What does Paul think? Does she gross him out too?

Devan said...

I'm dying to know Paul's thougts on this. My husband would probably commit me.

Black Sheeped said...

I have contamination issues, but not with dishes. With our towels, sheets, pillows, and tub/shower. This is why I bought guest towels and sheets, because I couldn't handle the thought of sharing with ANYone. It didn't matter who. I hate myself for being so weird about stuff, but I can't help it. If I know someone other than J or me used a certain towel, I can't bring myself to use it again. This summer, when we had frequent house guests, I found myself washing the guest towels and sheets separately from OURS and relized I might have a problem. You can imagine my inner groaning when my FIL was the first person to use the tub in our new house/bathroom. And he had to take a sit-down bath because we didn't have a shower installed. I won't go into how I had to deal with that when it was my turn to clean up the first weekend. Ugh.

So! Not crazy. At least, I don't blame you if it is.

honeybecke said...

Heck yeah.

Wow, we're all some crazy M'Efffers. Glad I am not alone on this one.

Omaha Mama said...

I don't really Loooooove my MIL, but she can use my dishes. I'm alright with that. But we live in the same city, so she never has to actually sit here.

Oh - and we often use paper plates for big family meals, since that's really the only time she'd be at my house.

Maybe a little crazy, but I'm a big believer in do what works. If that works, work it.

Also - will you ASK her already!?!?!?! Or make Paul ask her, c'mon - I'm dying to know if she's actually coming!!!

Misguided Mommy said...

can i just tell you i have the same problem..only mine is that i hate the way my mil does dishes...she doesnt wash the sponge instead dipping it in this same little bucket of water with some soap in it that has been there for months totally contaminating the sponge. so when i go there i starve and when she comes here i beg her not to wash dishes and if she does when she leaves i have to put them all in the dishwasher twice to get over it.

Misguided Mommy said...

also is this like how my tooth brush has to be hidden because of the poopoo molecules that float out from under the seat when you flush?

shoeaddict said...

This is funny to me. I would prefer if my MIL and FIL just never came here and never touched my stuff. I DID throw away the sheets after they left the last time.

Yeah, put out special plates. And get her a hotel room. I wish that would happen for me...

the new girl said...

I say definitely crazy but in an absolutley hilarious way.

Plus, I am so loving that you could work in the word 'woogy' into your post.

You crack me up.

Totally.

tulipmom said...

Not crazy at all.

On the meat front, I am so paranoid about raw meat touching anything. Now that I'm pregnant, I actually wear surgical gloves before handling raw meat.

On the MIL front, I can understand COMPLETELY. Personally, I like Caley's idea the best but since that's not realistic, spring for the new dishes. I can't even tell you how much it grosses me out when months after she left, I'm still finding strands of my MIL's long black hair hiding in my house.

Okay, going to find the nearest bucket now.

amber said...

Ha! I love what 'lorid' said about getting ugly and/or chipped dishes for your mother-in-law's visits. Also, I kind of wonder about just how evil she really is.

samantha jo campen said...

I see nothing wrong with taht idea. But!

Does your husband understand your oogie-ness about his mother and the dishes? Like, would he be pissed when you busted out the wal-mart ones for her visit? Or does he totally know of your disdain and wouldn't care? That would be what I'd worry about--backlash from the hubby.

Shannon said...

I have a cup that is MINE. I get pissed when anybody else uses it. My husband asks why I bother keeping it in the cupboard but that is WHERE IT BELONGS.

The garage is yours, buddy. Stop trying to reorganize MY kitchen.

Katie said...

Okay. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, it makes perfect sense, if it will save a tiny shred of your sanity.

On the other hand, if someone is that revolting, how can they even set foot in your house without you imploding? Oh wait. You might implode on the Internet. I'll stay tuned. Buy the dishes.

Nellyru said...

Not crazy.

And this whole post and set of comments is cracking me UP.

How about if you just use the dishes you have until after she is done visiting, and then use the totally-contaminated-and-must-be-destroyed dishes as an excuse to go shopping for a whole set of new dishes you really love (and I've read your posts about shopping for stuff you love and getting a great deal...me too!)? Well, unless you already really love your dishes, in which case that wouldn't work. I guess I don't really love the dishes I have now, so maybe that would only work for me...nevermind.

MadMad said...

OK, I need more details. Is she licking the dishes or something? I absolutely don't think you're crazy - as a person whose hands bleed all winter long from the constant washing ahemOCDahem, I doubt there is anyone nuttier than I in this regard. I was just curious, is all. Plus, it could be a good post, right? I love MIL stories...

Tina said...

Wow Swistle....I had no idea you felt that way about your MIL. Mine is 85 and lives in Florida and is very sweet- hard of hearing, but very wonderful and active and full of charity and hard work- but then again I never really have to spend any time with her, either. I have never felt that need to have a close relationship, but it's probably my loss. I totally relate to the raw meat thing, as well as the dishes thing...and my toilet MUST be scrubbed and disinfected numerous times before I will use it again after anyone has been here. I think you have a great idea with the black dishes- except that soon enough your kids will be old enough to notice the coincidental dish-swap timing to her visits and they will ASK you "What in the world is going on?!!!!" in front of her. But for now, it will work ;^)

Black Sheeped said...

Okay, someone in the comments section threw out sheets! I feel better! I feel validated! This? This is awesome.

jen said...

Y'know, my husband probably a) wouldn't notice the different dishes or b) would just shut up and accept them, like he does with so many of the other things that I do.

the said...

i don't think you are crazy! i had to throw away he dishes we used when i had morning sickness because they reminded me of wooziness and the evil that was spaghetti sauce. not quite the same thing, but i totally understand the association thing. it can be hard to shake. buy a mil set of dishes.

nowheymama said...

Like several other commenters, I'm curious about what you're going to tell Paul and the children.

I totally feel the way you feel about meat, except with me it's raw chicken. Eew.

My pet peeve is that certain people, who take off their shoes in their own house and expect people to do the same, wear their shoes the entire time they are in our home. Our home where young children play on the floor.