August 2, 2009

Sunday

It is a little tricky to write the next post after a Dead Cat Post. Nothing looks right touching borders with it. And also, it's difficult to think of something else to talk about when the Dead Cat is a lot of what's on my mind. Like, I buried him, and I keep thinking about him being cold and wet AND SO ON LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT.

I'd thought I'd be relieved when he died, or at least a large part relieved. I knew I'd be sad too, but I thought I'd feel relieved not to be tensing up every time he had a breathing fit, relieved not to be wondering each day if I'd find him dead---and, if I may be utterly frank, relieved not to be buying/changing the elevated levels of cat litter a cat with kidney disease goes through.

Instead, I find I'm thinking a lot about the details of him dying, and especially about the details of burying him. I have never felt something as floppy and soft as that cat, after he died. It was as if his bones had vanished. And after I dug a hole in the back yard and put him in it, putting in the first shovelful of dirt felt wrong. Twisted and wrong. Packing the dirt down nice and firm felt almost as bad. It feels WEIRD and WRONG and CRAZY to put something that used to be alive into a hole in the dirt, and then put the dirt back in and leave it there.

It doesn't surprise me that EVERY culture of ALL time has come up with stories to help us cope after we pack the dirt down. Part of the reason it doesn't surprise me is that I just made that up---I have no idea if every/all have done it. Seems like it, though, doesn't it? I can't think of any cultures that don't have at least one story, and I have a vast cultural knowledge that includes SEVERAL DIFFERENT TOWNS in the United States.


Oh, actually I DO have a subject that isn't too jarring with thoughts of mortality: my mother-in-law is coming for a visit, and she emailed me last night to say she was coming October second through fourteenth, and could I let her know right away if that wouldn't work so she could rearrange the whole trip, which has already been arranged.

Well, that's just under two weeks. Two weeks is too long for houseguests, and that much alcohol won't be good for my liver. And why is she asking ME and not her SON? She didn't even cc him on it, so if he gets involved it's obvious I involved him. No: I have to tell her myself that two weeks is too long, and I have to counteroffer one week.

Actually, there is another possibility, and that is that I will GIVE THE HELL UP. We have SEVERAL TIMES worked up the nerve to say "howaboutoneweekinstead?" and she has NEVERTHELESS COME FOR TWO WEEKS, each time making such a lame non-excuse there is no answering it (example: "I could only get the airline deal if I flew on Tuesdays or Wednesdays"---as if that somehow eliminated the possibility of arriving on Tuesday/Wednesday and departing the following Tuesday/Wednesday, instead of what she DID do which was to arrive on a Tuesday and leave THREE WEDNESDAYS LATER). My point being that then we get the worst of both worlds: we have to work up the courage to tell her, and then she comes for two weeks anyway, so maybe it is time to either have a Big Confrontation (zero chance of occurring) or else stop trying to prevent her from doing whatever she wants since she's going to do it anyway.

[Edit: Also, she asked ahead of time if we had any plans for October. And we said no, because she'd said that if we DID, she would find a time when we DIDN'T.]

Okay, so here is my question: How should I reply to her email? And if you think of an awesome reply, test it out in your head first: is it something a polite person could seriously say to another person, without causing a rift in the fabric of time and space? I need REALISTIC DIALOGUE here.

69 comments:

mom huebert said...

I have no words of wisdom for you because I could use a few myself. My brother brings his two daughters (well, actually his daughter and his daughter's half sister) every year for a two-week visit and nothing I say can convince him that maybe he should check it out with us before he hands in his vacation request at work. Like, to maybe come when it suits us (not just him), or maybe come for only ONE week, instead of two. 'Cause, dang, two weeks is a long time to entertain and feed three extra people. I guess I'm just trying to say that I feel for you, and can we be miserable together?

Annika said...

"We already have plans for X dates (before and during her planned visit, for instance), but it would be wonderful to see you for the first week (or whatever part of that block of time you like best)."

Kate said...

Since you've already tried to say hey, how about one week instead of two, I would absolutely plan an out of town event for that second week. For your family. And not her. Is there any chance at all of that happening?

Hotch Potchery said...

I will see your 2 week mother in law visit, and raise you a "my mom called and asked if she could live with us for 2 months".

I have NO advice, I hope someone will give you an idea that I can use.

Jody said...

Well, I would start by passing the buck, myself. I would answer back, with spouse cc'd, saying "I think Spouse might have a work conflict in there, so I'm passing this along to him, and he'll let us both know what's up with his calendar then!" And then Spouse would be the fall guy and say, oh damn, it looks like ONLY THESE SEVEN DAYS will work. So let's do THAT." But that only works when it works, and if it doesn't work, well, you're stuck.

I'm sorry about your cat.

Kai said...

Along the lines of what Annika said, "We'd love to have you the 2nd - 7th (or whatever), if you think you'll be in town another week, perhaps you could check out (insert nearby attraction a few hours away she could visit, thereby ensuring she wouldn't just drop by randomly throughout the 2nd week). Looking forward to your visit!"

Mimi said...

I wish I had something good to say, but I got nothin'. But I do second the other commenters who said to make some plans for that second week that she can't be a part of. Whatever that may be.

Swistle said...

Complication: she first said she was planning on October, and asked if we had any other plans---and that she could make it a different month if we had any plans. We said we didn't have any plans.

trish said...

Just wanted you to know I sent you an email...in case it ends up in your spam folder. :)

Beth Fish said...

As mild suggestion has proved ineffective, and confrontation is untenable, I would go with, "That sounds perfect, the children are so looking forward to spending time with you."

Also, start now to stockpile the necessary alcohol.

kirida said...

Yes, I agree with Beth. From your tales of her, I would say that resistance is futile. She's probably looking for a fight, so if you say something, short and polite, she wouldn't have the seeds for a future argument.

kris said...

no use beating a dead horse...she is coming for 2 weeks like it or not so just say the dates she mentioned are fine and get what ever drugs and alcohol you need to get thru together and within reach.

Nowheymama said...

Book her a hotel room. Do it without asking. Tell her you and Paul wanted to treat her to something special and so you got her a nice room at a hotel or a bed and breakfast. Yes, it will be expensive, but you can pass it off as a surprise treat and it will cut a lot of hours out of the visit. Especially if a free continental breakfast is included.

Laura said...

Could you possibly say something like "We wish we could have you here for that long but we've found that having visitors for one week works best for our family. Maybe a good long visit will be possible later but for now we can only accommodate seven days at the most. We can't wait to see you!" Upbeat on both ends plus liberal use of the passive tense, that's what'd I'd advocate.

DomestiKook said...

The (are for thought only), copy and pasting could be hazerdous to your health. And I totally sympathize with your problem, likely I would shoot myself in the freaking head if I had to spend to weeks with my mother in law.

Dear Mom, (gag)

It would be so great to see you the Week of October 2nd! (NOT) I know the kids will be so happy to be able to spend the whole weekend with you. (probably NOT, but at least I can pan you off on them for awhile). Maybe we could have a bbq or a grandma party that weekend to make your visit special. (Pass the vodka, please)Then after we take you to the airport on friday the kids will have a whole weekend to make you something specail that they can mail to your house, they will really like sending you mail, especailly if they made it themselves! (pass the glitter, I'd rather deal with glitter than YOU). So, yes, that week would work out great for us. We are all excited to see you.

Love, (BOO)
Swistle

Make a week sound GREAT, make sure you say Week at least a few times.

Good freaking luck.

Christina said...

I felt the same way when we buried my cat that died about 3 years ago. I just kept thinking about her out there and wondering if she was cold or had gotten wet! It fades overtime, though!

I like Jody's suggestion of passing the buck to the spouse. Otherwise, I think it's pretty sucky that she just takes advantage like that and ignores your requests. I'm a MUCH more confrontational person, but I can tell you're trying to avoid that. Maybe just politely say that the kids work better on a schedule and routine and you're afraid that 2 weeks of a visit will be too much and throw them off.. so say Oct. 2-9 or Oct. 7-14th would be better options.

-R- said...

I like Jody's suggestion because your husband has to deal with it, he's the fall guy, and you couldn't have planned for a work thing that just came up, so the lie might work. Of course, she may stay the two weeks anyway, but I think it's worth a try.

Brenna said...

I like the idea of a "sudden work conflict". But that could backfire if she comes anyway, and then he'll get to be out of the house in order to not look like a liar.

If you think that could happen, then I say plan a non-refundable trip for one of those weeks and tell her you forgot that was when she was coming.

d e v a n said...

I keep thinking about my Dead Cat too. My 4 year old "helped" us bury him and keeps asking why we did that it really does seem so strange, and felt weird. Georgie and Tiger are probably lapping up tuna juice in kitty heaven or afterlife or... whatever... together.

As for the MIL, I'd make my husband do it. If YOU really, really have to do it then maybe you could just say:
We're available October 5-12, hopefully that will fit your schedule. Can't wait!

(Yes, that last part is a lie.)

robyn said...

Well, true, you didn't have plans when she asked, but SINCE THEN ... perhaps something has come up during one of those weeks? An unavoidable work conflict? A visit from an exchange student? YOUR mother visiting? Elective surgery?

Lippy said...

How about this?

"oh how fun, two whole weeks. Paul and I want to got to (anywhere) for a little romantic weekend. This will give you the opportunity to spend quality time with the kids! Thank you so much!" Either she shortens her trip or you get a weekend away? Maybe?

Heather said...

I would involve your hubby, and let her know you've done so.

"I needed to run it by Paul first to see what he thought, and..."

Because my MIL always played the game where she would talk to one of us and purposefully leave the other out. And he and I, over the years, have had to reinforce to her that WE make these decisions together. Not just me and not just him.

"Paul and I love to have you visit, and the kids love when you visit, but having you here for two weeks really throws them off. It takes them awhile to adjust to having you leave, because they really miss you when you're gone, and it makes getting them back onto our regular schedule that much more difficult. If you could come from October Xth to October Yth, that would really be better for the children."

You know, play it up about being for the kids' best interest, rather than because of any inconvenience on your part. It doesn't make the sting any less, but at least it puts a spin on it where you're not complaining about your issue with it.

Although I can imagine anything you say other than, "Two weeks is great, but can't you please stay for a whole MONTH?" is going to be taken the wrong way.

Kali said...

I *love* Lippy's idea! Wait...how old are your kids? Can you safely do this to them?

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Ahh I had a busy weekend and wasn't online so now I'm playing catch-up... I wanted to say that I'm so sorry to read about Georgie. Big Internet Hugs to you! It is very sad, the burial thing. I completely understand your train of thought there.

As for the MIL... hrm. Not sure I have any good advice as this isn't something I've dealt with yet! It's too bad she's so pushy-sounding, that makes it hard to say no I suppose! I will wish you the best of luck, since that's about all I can do! GOOD LUCK!

OR... I can offer you refuge in Ontario, Canada should you so need to escape. Yup, that's something else I'll do. lol.

Kathy said...

I've never had to deal with guests staying for that long, so I have no idea what to say in such a situation. Luckily my MIL lives 45minutes away--too close for extended visits, too far for drop-in visits.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Gah. Your MIL makes ME want to take mood-altering drugs. I am so sorry about Georgie and I'm sorry that you have to deal with THAT WOMAN on top of it. I wish I had some wonderful advice. {Hugs}.

Tara said...

I'd go with the husband work conflict excuse that Jody suggested above; that way it can be something that "came up" after she had already asked, and if you get him to weigh in she will listen. Also, it gets him involved in a non-intrusive way. And then he can also guilt her by saying that he'd really rather her not be there when he has to work the whole time because then he won't get to see her, yadayadayada, and he will feel badly.

Kristi said...

Resistance is futile.

Hillary said...

OMG, you're mother-in-law and mine are the SAME person. The only advice I have is to make her stay ELSEWHERE, as in not in your damn house. Two weeks still is a ridiculous, liver-crushing visit, however, you don't have to wake up to her, which helps. Or it helps me anyway.

Sometimes I think the only reason I'm having Baby2 is to get rid of our guest room.

Sabrina said...

My first thought was exactly along the lines of Lippy's advice. Get over it, and make the best of it. Go away for at least 1 night, maybe 2, RIGHT in the middle of her visit. There are two benefits to this plan. 1) you get a night or two alone with your husband. 2) You teach her a very valuable lesson: if you stay for 2 weeks, I will make sure that at least part of it is a LIVING HELL. And I'm trying hard to be realistic: you don't have to spend money. You can tell her you're going to a b&b or something, but ask around if you have any friends/hubby's colleagues who are out of town where you can sort of crash at their house. Or what about your parents? Sorry, I don't read enough to know how nearby your relatives are. Then, on Friday night, order a mountain of pizzas, pile up some videos, and bolt. Just leave. Let her figure it out. Seriously, what is the very worst that can happen? Some (or most) will cry all night. And she will regret coming. WIN!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'm not sure if this would work or not...

but -- think of some messy construction you've been meaning to get done.

Schedule it for just BEFORE she comes, then reply with "I'd love to see you then, you can help me clean up all that drywall dust. Also, I'm sorry that the bathroom demo guys can only come before your visit, but the construction guys can't make it until just after your visit. We'll be down to one bathroom... but, we're family and can cope with these things. Also, WE don't necessarily have plans, but the painters have plans for the gust room for the second week you'll be there."

An alternative would be -- gee, turns out (made up aunt) is having surgery the second week and will need my help. I'm happy you'll be around to stay with the kids as I have to go-- (threaten this reply if hubby won't tell her 1 week only and make it stick). Then book yourself a room elsewhere...

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

What if you told her you would LOVE for her to visit for two weeks. Then proceed to tell her that would give you all a chance to visit together for one week and then give you and your husband a chance to take that weeklong romantic vacation you've been dying to take while SHE watches your kids for a week.

I'm thinking she will decide one week is plenty! :)

Ms. Flusterate said...

I got nothing. I am totally nonconfrontational and won't push if a hint isn't taken.

I agree with perhaps letting her watch the kids while you take a break.

Other than that, figure out what you'll need to get you through it--a reward at the end? good snacks each day? Anything.

I use the same when my stepson comes to visit. There's no way around telling him not to come. I just promise myself lots of treats and a great reward when he leaves and I am still sane at the end of it.

Kim said...

Swistle, I hated my inlaw visits so much I moved back to their state just so they didn't have to happen anymore. Well, that wasn't the only reason but it sure was a plus. Now I only need to deal with weekly Sunday dinners and when they get to be too much I send only Brian to represent. And then usually spend the afternoon at Target.
Sorry, that was helpful-opposite.

MzEll said...

I really like NoWheyMama's suggestion of a hotel room. Make it a surprise! And while she's there, plan activities that YOU and THE KIDS want to do, and allow her to come or not. That way you're at least enjoying some aspect of her visit, and you're not planning around her wants/needs/desires.

If she wasn't it your house the whole time she was there, it would make a big difference, right? My parents stay in a hotel when they come and we stay in one when we go to visit them. Just that little bit of down time is what usually saves my sanity...

Good Luck, Mama... I could always mail you some of these coughing/snot/sore throat germs to share with everyone!

Eleanor Q. said...

I have stayed up whole nights trying to think up the perfect retort for a hurtful comment by my MIL or how to get out of yet another unplesant family event and I still have no wise words for you. I've been trying to go with the "stop tiptoeing around the mine and just say what you feel" but I haven't really noticed a change in her behavior so I'm not sure that's working. Let us know what happens, we can all comiserate over muffins and tea.

Cookie said...

I feel your pain. Except I never have to worry about my mother-in-law visiting. She lives 10 minutes from my house. She watches my children while I work. She doesn't use e-mail, so any confrontation is on the phone or in-person. Her son tends to placate her. Latest conflict, she wants a pay for increase watching the boys. A pay increase for a job she says she would love to do for free. A pay increase for an essentially expense-free living (we pay for everything for the boys, except food on top of what we pay her). She occasionally watches their 2nd cousin for a day or two and never charges her nephew. She doesn't listen to a word we say about their care and does whatever she wants. Sorry, it's a touchy-subject today. Of course I realize they get better care than they would in daycare. Yes, she loves them. Yes, it is cheaper (2 for the price of 1). But what about my sanity? What price for that?

Any way, I'm not sure there is any way you can reply without her taking offense. She's going to come any way, and from the sounds of it stay as long as she wants. Unless you can come up with plans for the second half of her visit?

JEN said...

I can't take a weekend let alone two entire weeks!!!

Mama (Stacy) said...

Two weeks of your MIL? I almost went insane after 4 days...

I like No Whey Mama's idea about booking her into a hotel as a treat but I REALLY love the idea of booking yourself into a hotel and having her watch the kids. Except that I would never be able to leave my precious baby alone with my MIL for that long. So I would probably go with booking lots of doctor appointments and spa treatments for myself to get me out of there for small pieces of time. Also I would make lots of trips to Target.

My MIL always goes through my husband which is worse since then he doesn't relay the information to me until the last minute so I have no time to prepare.

Good luck to you! Should we all send wine?

KD said...

If she's absolutely set on coming for 2 weeks, I'd say you should book yourself a trip for a week somewhere else! Go visit some distant family or friends! Or find a great deal to a random destination and escape! :)

Shelly said...

I just watched Terms of Endearment last night and your comment about Georgie reminded me of the scene after Debra Winger's character dies, when Shirley MacLaine says that she thought it would be a relief when she died, but it isn't.

And I don't think there's any way to prevent your MIL from visiting for 2 weeks. From what I remember of your posts about her scheduling of her visits, she doesn't take hints very well. At least this time, she has told you the dates several months in advance. That's an improvement.

Alias Mother said...

I just got done hosting five extra in-law-type people (including a 3 yo boy) in my shoebox-sized house for a grand total of 11 days. And I'm pregnant so booze couldn't help me.

Obviously, I have no words of wisdom about being firm with houseguests. Sorry.

May the force be with you.

aoife aisling said...

swistle,
Do you have one of those hotels with the indoor water park? Book it for the weekend in the middle of the visit. My aunt and uncle do a weekend with all their grandkids at one those hotels once a year, bring loads of food and snacks so dinner is "free"... then you get a break in the middle of the two week visit from the kids and from MIL.

Mom et al said...

Dear MIL,

I have spoken to Paul (cc him) and we are so excited you are coming to visit. We truly hope that you will not take this the wrong way, but please consider coming for one week instead of two. The kids will be back in school by then, and we will be submerged in our crazy school year schedules and activites. I'm sure you can imagine how hectic life with the 5 kids can be. We love you and very much want you to come and hope you will not be upset that we're asking you to cut your visit shorter. The dates from Oct X to Oct X will work out great.

That's the best I could come up with, although I'm inclined to say it still may be best to suck it up...and stock up on the vino.

SIL Anna said...

Can you just say, "Thanks for asking! Oct 2-14 isn't so good for us, but Oct 2-9 would be perfect."

?

Melissa said...

I have no suggestions, but am interested in what happens.

I have a two bedroom townhouse and am due in March (first grandkid for all parents). In-laws (8 hour drive away) have plans to stay indefinitely and my mom (lives 10 minutes away) is already hinting that her feelings would be hurt by this. When wondering aloud where to put them when they come (hint:hotel!), they cheerfully suggested I not set up a nursery until after their visit.

Nesting makes that impossible.

On top of that, they are perhaps the most messy people I have ever known. Discarded beverage cans, dust, and cobwebs cover every surface of their home. The first time we went there, I was sure we caught them unaware and was embarassed for them. Uh, no. That WAS clean. When they visit, I have to go room to room, cleaning off every surface of pop can rings/pop cans/ whatever litter from their latest snack. It's disgusting. And exhausting.

I feel for you. :(

Anonymous said...

Shit, is it that time of year again? My sympathies.

pseudostoops said...

I think I'd give up, honestly. As Beth noted: the hints don't work, and the Major Confrontation probably isn't worth it given the unlikelihood of success. What I WOULD do is dream up some thing the kids would LOVE, but you would HATE (Chuck E Cheese, perhaps?) and say to her "the children are really looking forward to seeing you, and they're really hoping that Grandma might take them on an extra-special trip to ____!" Meanwhile, you can go to Target, and for a fish sandwich.

lar said...

My favorite website Etiquette Hell would recommend saying, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible" and then changing the subject, but I'm not that brave.

I agree with above commenters that you should tell her you have to talk to your husband first, and then let HIM give her the yay or nay answer.

Alice said...

oh swistle. i'm so sorry. she is THE WORST. i like the romantic-weekend-getaway plan. do you trust her alone w/the kids?

Val said...

Good luck. I visit my parents about every two years in Texas. I stay for 8 days - come on Tuesday and leave the following Wednesday. Years ago, my mom made it clear that 8 days is the max she can take her slub of a daughter. (Not that I ever would visit for 2 weeks - I work). She did say recently now that the moved into a real house with 3 bedrooms (instead of me sleeping/living out of the TV room) she could handle more time. I can't. Being on my best, non-slob (a/k/a good enough for Mrs. CleanFreak)behavior gets on my nerves.

Leeann said...

I feel for you, I really do.

Most of my relatives understand that a five day visit is about the max. (We have three kids, no guest room.)

My mom, however, has been spending YEARS of her life visiting 10 days to 2 weeks or even longer, all the while being unhelpful and annoying as crap.

After 16 years of marriage and just before my 40th birthday, I finally stopped trying to be kind and thoughtful in my suggestions that she shorten her visits and I finally just said NO. NO YOU MAY NOT come and sit around and do nothing. NO YOU MAY NOT come for two weeks or ten days. NO YOU MAY NOT come and disrupt an entire family and cause enormous amounts of stress just because it is what you want.

Was it hard? Yes. Was it stressful? Yes. Was it completely necessary? ABSOLUTELY.

Your MIL knows that this is inconvenient, stressful and ridiculous and she does NOT CARE. But you know what? It is your family and it is your home and ultimately, you and Paul will get to the point where you decide to make the rules for your OWN HOME.

And when that time comes, YOU (and Paul) CAN DO IT!!

And then, when it is all over, you will be glad and proud and she will have just discovered that you DO have boundaries that you will set and she will respect you for it.

Hugs. I've been there.

may said...

Ugh. I'm so sorry. I feared it would happen again. I'm in the middle of a 2 week MIL Visit (yes, it deserves caps) right now. Even though we get along okay, and even though she's gone away for a night or two to give us all a break, it's still too much. I wish I had some advice. Maybe you should come visit me that second week, but I don't know if you'd want to see what living in squalor really is...

Best of luck, friend. Stiff upper lip and all that crap.

Christi-Anne said...

F that, Wwistle. Forward the email to your husband, cc'ing your mother in law. Write:

Hi Mother-in-Law! So nice to hear from you. Forwarding your email to Bob.

Love,

Swistle

In our house, I have more family issues than my husband, but our rule is to as much as possible, always deal with our own family. There's NO reason for you to have to field this one.

Christi-Anne said...

I am pregnant. Ignore your misspelled name above and the random fill in for your husband's name! But still don't deal with the mother-in-law yourself.

Sam said...

We are remodeling XYZ space that you would be staying in, so I went ahead and found a couple of reasonable priced hotels nearby! Here are their numbers: 666-6666, etc. THEN rip the SHIT outta the room she stays in. And maybe flood it? Or pee a lot in it? Something so that she simply cannot stay there overnight. I'm still sad about your cat. I love my Dude SO MUCH, he's the middle child in my head. Why do cats have to die? WHY? They are so cuddly and nice. *sigh* Sorry to bum you out. *hugs* And I don't hug people very often. Not even an internet hug.

Katy said...

I like how everyone is sending Paul out of town. Whatever. Tell MIL that you'd love to have her but you have a writer's retreat for xxx days. If she doesn't change her dates, great! Book yourself a trip someplace nice and stick Hubby with his mother. Or just leave the house every day for ten hours and claim you've been at a retreat--go to Target. It's his frickin-frackin mother, he should have to deal with her.

Stacie said...

I'm going with the "pass the buck to Paul and make him suck up telling her she is only welcome for one week" team.

Or, you can come visit me and we can bake cookies together. We don't actually have a guest room but we'll kick one twin out of his or her room for the duration of your visit. I recommend the boy's room. The sun shines in the window ridiculously early but for some mysterious reason the bed is more comfortable.

TinaNZ said...

My ex-MIL lives in England and I'm in New Zealand so her visits were long, expensive journeys that couldn't really be cut too short. However. Her first visit she had planned to come for six weeks (!) at the same time my first baby was due. Can you imagine dealing with a new baby for the first time AND a visiting MIL? I got my ex-husband to tell her no, and we managed to delay that six-week nightmare for another year. The next time she planned to visit over summer... for THREE MONTHS. Again, I got the ex to tell her that that was too long, and got it down to five (long, long, long) weeks instead.
Another upside to divorce - no more MIL epic visits. My only advice though, is to get Paul to do the visit negotiation. She's far more likely to accept it from him (as long as he puts it nicely), and you won't end up as the villain of the piece.

Anonymous said...

i had a similar situation last year w/MIL and here's what I wrote when she wanted to come for 12 days (i tried to find my actual e-mail, but this is close to what i wrote):

Dear MIL:

Holy moly--12 days? We'd probably kill each other after the first week! What do you think about knocking off a day at the front and the back end of the trip?
___

it was still a long trip...but she took my response in stride (kind of like--hey, it wouldn't hurt to ask)...
beyond that, i like the go away for the weekend--or just be scarce when she's there...go run errands and leave her home w/the kids while profusely thanking her for giving you a break! put her to work and maybe she won't want to come back LOL

gl, swistle...first time responder...am so excited to have found, you as you make my heart smile :) keep us posted

Anonymous said...

Ok-let's be real-this year is shot-the 2 week visit is going to happen unless you want to fracture that part of the family, which I don't think you do. Let's work on next year. I think you need to be downright manic with your happiness to see her and have her visit, run her RAGGED with all that you do-the most mundane errands('oh, please come too-it'll be more fun to have company!; 'oh the kids love when you come with us!'; 'I get so much more done when you're here'; 'you give me so many ideas!';, etc... you get the picture). Then sort of slide in how friends of yours have such strained relationships with THEIR in-laws, and how you're glad you get on well, and sure maybe from time to time we have our differences but we've settled in a good spot, but so on and so forth. Ask her for all kinds of advice-'oh, while your here can you mend this shirt of Paul's, etc, or can you teach me to make that cake or that dinner, etc. How do you get your sinks so clean? Or I'm want to write down for the kids the traditions Paul's family grew up with-tell me about how every birthday was celebrated, the 1st time Paul got in trouble, your kids favorite dinners, the worst holiday pagent, etc. favorite meals for EVERY holiday, your most memorable mother's day, etc and pretend to take notes-be enthralled. Get the kids in on it (let's keep grandma really busy! Ask her to read to you, take you on a walk or a treasure hunt, play hide & seek, Chuck E Cheese is a fabulous idea, she can help make Halloween costumes-put her to work! Kill her with kindness and syrupy sweet enthusiasm, and next year she will change it to one week. In a few years, it will become a long weekend. Try it... let us know how you make out. Good luck! Leah : )

RainyPM said...

Dear Swistle, I'm so so sorry to hear about your cat. I loved your photos of him, what a perfect family cat.

As for your MIL, I probably wouldn't try to change the date after hearing how that's worked in the past. Can you try to get yourself hospitalized for a few days? Something not too serious, but just serious enough that having her visit would over-tire you? Then she could take the kids and you could get a nice little break in the hospital with some good books and movies. :)

Kelly said...

I have no advice about your MIL. But first, your words about burying the cat, while so sad, were really beautiful. I felt like I was there with you, also cringing at the dirt piling.

Back to your MIL, an equally disturbing topic IMHO. yeah, I got nothin. My mom lives next door and doesn't stay for more than 2 hours. If I moved away, I'd never see her unless I put out the effort and I'm sure she wouldn't want me for 2 weeks at at time. We're actually very close, she's just weird LOL and we respect each others boundaries. she has more than I do. Anyway, my mother IN LAW...well good Lord help me. I don't like to be around her for a day, let alone 2 weeks. so yeah, I got nothing. Can you arrange gallbladder surgery or a tonsillectomy or a nervous breakdown or something? I'm sure none of those things would deter her. Hey what if you make the house really stinky?

good luck with that.

Kelly said...

P.S. I love Lippy's idea. And I love the idea of a trip to chuck e cheese!!
furthermore, there are good herbs that you can take to sort of minimize the effects of the drinking this trip will necessitate.

or maybe you and hubby can fake-fight the whole 2 weeks and make her really uncomfortable. Or the opposite and have loud sex (or pretend, which might be more fun actually.)

is she allergic to anything? LOL

can you have someone do a fake phone call say 8 days into the trip and pretend the person is like suicidal or drunk and incoherent and wandering the freeway, or fake caller had some post surgical complications and needs your help with the dressings, or some other kind of crisis that will necessitate you HAVING to leave and help them? Let your husband figure out his own escape plan LOL!

Ok I have to stop.

Swistle said...

Rainy PM- Ha ha! I love the idea about getting myself hospitalized! I'm trying to think if I know anyone with a temporary-but-hospital-requiring illness I can lick.

Kelly- TELL ME THE HERBS. And I love the idea of saying a friend needs my presence urgently. "What WONDERFUL timing that you're visiting so I can go! Normally I'd be FRANTIC because I wouldn't be able to!"

Natalie said...

I freak out about mortality so burying my cat would have roughly the same effect on me as it did on you. That whole "used to be alive" thing would get to me.

As for your mother in law, well, uh, good luck.

Nicole said...

The truth is always the fastest/easiest way. Buy some vodka and wine and deal with her. It's 10 days out of your life and it will be over before you know it. Plan activities for all of you and then plan activities for YOU so she can be with the kids while you are gone. She isn't a guest- she is family and you shouldn't tiptoe around and try to make her happy. Ask her to cook a meal for y'all, have her do her own laundry. Do NOT wait on her hand and foot.
Nuff said.

Nicole said...

Oh- my mother in law lives 10 minutes away. She drops by when I am in the shower or when I have run to the store and she will do my dishes and laundry and make my bed. Not as cool as it sounds. What if your bottle of lube is still on the nightstand and the sheets are a bit messed?? No, not that cool at all. (Not that it happened to me, just sayin.) :)

G.B. said...

I have no advice as I am always finding myself in the same boat. my in laws live in the very far southwest and we live in Middle America, so when they come to visit, it's always for AT LEAST two weeks. This last visit? When I was nine months pregnant/due to have a baby? They came the day after my due date (and the baby came a week later) and stayed a month. I usually just suck it up because my husband is oblivious to the fact that HEY! Two weeks is a really long time! And a month throws your wife into minor post partum depression!
Sorry. Tangent.
Anyway, good luck.