October 7, 2009

Report, Day 4

I sat down to write a MIL Update, but then suddenly I was, "...Wait. Do I write about MIL stuff here?" I can't remember. I think what I do is write it, and then delete it later? Hm. I need to leave myself some notes or something.

I will start with the boring part, which is that the visit is going Fine so far. It nearly always DOES go fine for the first few days, before she gets comfortable. I still don't like her, I'm not enjoying the visit, but I'm not SUFFERING. And it REALLY HELPS that this time we're doing things the way we usually do them (and looking like experts at it even though she disapproves) rather than doing things the way she would approve of them (and looking like total incompetents). All right, now for the venty examples:

1. Rob and William came home from school. SHE ASKED THEM if they'd done their homework, then reported to me: "I just got the old 'I did my homework on the bus'" and rolled her eyes. Which, um. I checked, and they HAD done their homework on the bus, and also? Why is she getting involved in this AT ALL?

2. Rob and William wanted to learn how to knit, so she taught them. My mom taught William last year; he hasn't knit since then but picked it up quickly. Rob has never knit before. After no kidding LESS THAN AN HOUR she pulled me aside and said, "William may make a knitter. Rob? No"---with a pfff and a totally dismissive tone. NICE. He's TEN YEARS OLD and this is his FIRST TIME KNITTING. And he was DOING IT: he has two inches of knitted stuff already.

3. We went to the store and she kept speaking firmly to the children. I wrote "sharply" there first, but it wasn't quiiiiiite sharp. BRISK, though, and authoritative. "Edward! Stop that! Come here and hold my hand! Come on now, you didn't get hurt!" And I gave Henry things to play with, and he was doing NO HARM and she kept taking things away from him. After I several times gave them back to him, she started instead lunging as if to take them, then correcting herself, then saying to me, "We'd better take those away from him, don't you think?" I'll repeat: NO HARM was being done to the items. And they were things _I_ was buying.

4. First she made several "funny" remarks about my bargain shopping. "Oh, Swistle and her 75% off!" with a little head waggle and widened eyes and jazz hands. Then, later, she told a lonnnnng anecdote about her stupid sister who always buys stuff she doesn't need and doesn't like "but it was ON SALE!"---using "stupid sister" tone of voice. The "but it was ON SALE!" chorus was repeated half a dozen times as her stupid sister was stupider and stupider about her purchases, which---and I'm sure this was pure coincidence---my mother-in-law remembered had been 75% off. This for purchases made back when she and her sister lived at home with their parents, and in her sister's early homeowning days nearly 50 years ago.

5. At the table, in "I am repeating the tone of someone I saw on TV" voice: "Americans eat FAR too much salt!" (For the FIRST TIME EVER I pulled off the kind of response I always MEAN to give when she makes such pronouncements: I said "Mmmmmmmmmmm....salllllllllt.") This WHOLE salt thing is because she personally has high blood pressure and has been personally instructed to cut down on salt. ALL AMERICANS need to obey her medical instructions, because what SHE does is THE ONLY WAY TO DO THINGS. If she were diagnosed with diabetes, we would ALL need to have insulin shots and Americans would eat FAR too much sugar. If she were diagnosed with cancer, we would ALL need to have chemotherapy treatments and Americans get FAR too little radiation.

6. Now she's self-diagnosed herself allergic to eggs, too. No salt, no fat, no caffeine, no tomatoes, no eggs.

7. Regarding her cousin's panic attacks, she told me: "I said to her, 'Now there is just NO REASON for you to have a PANIC attack! WHY would you panic? You are JUST going to the GROCERY store!' I mean, for Pete's sake!"

70 comments:

marybt said...

I apologize in advance for this, but I am cracking up. Yes, she's right, Americans DO get far too little radiation.

bwahahahahaha.

I really am sorry for your miseries. Luckily, I was blessed with the evil satan MIL from hell so we never have to see her. Ever. She's never even called to ask if she could see our daughter (who is now 2). Trust me, I know how lucky I am. teehee.

Will you be having quiche with sundried tomatoes for supper tonight? bwhahahaha.

Erin said...

Wooo boy. And this is the "fine" part of the visit. Oh Swistle. At least you got a good portion of it under your belt already.

Rah said...

Oh, Swistle, I am choking at my desk trying not to laugh out loud. "Americans get far too little radiation!" You are so good--I would be tempted to do a lot of passive aggressive stuff just to rattle her cage.

Hillary said...

Misery really does love company, because I'm grinning like a fool right now, glad someone else has a MIL like mine. Mine has self-diagnosed herself with an allergy to lemon and, when it's convenient, citric acid in general. BUT SHE DRINKS ORANGE JUICE. And, I've given her food with small amounts of lemon/lime in it -- not REALLY on purpose; I forgot, I swear! -- with no ill effects. I think she just likes harassing waiters who put lemon on water glasses.

Laura said...

She sounds like a right pain in the ass. But I'm laughing too.

Pickles and Dimes said...

I am telepathically high-fiving you for the "Mmmmm.....salt" comment. :)

AndreAnna said...

Wow, she sounds like a gem.

How many nights have you had to drink?

I think I'd be a full-blown alcoholic by now.

jen said...

My patience would not last beyond the first day! You, my dear, are a SAINT for not losing your temper completely.

Jen said...

Thanks for the update, I think. I've been thinking about you and how things were going. When is she leaving again?!?!?

Tuli said...

Oh, Swistle. Bless your ♥ for having to put up with her!

As for the last bit of #3 - we now know where Paul got his lamp-cord snipping tendencies, don't we, if MIL is taking things away from Henry that he was playing with.

Hang in there! Her visit won't last forever.

*~* Jenni *~* said...

Oh wow. She sounds like a true piece of work.

If I lived closer, or actually, knew you in real life, I'd totally bring over a bottle of wine and sit with you, so we could drown out her voice with alcohol.

Or maybe a morphene drip.

Whatever would help.

Celeste said...

Wow, she's brittle. I wanted to love that she was teaching knitting, then I saw her put-down. She does love her put-downs. I suppose she's not fixable at this late stage, and who would want to put the time in anyhow.

Suggested mantra: "I will outlive her."

Kim said...

I feel like you've turned some kind of corner in how you deal with these visits. NOT that they're any less of a pain in the ass but that you're harnassing your anger and turning it all around. I can't find it at the moment, but this post compared to the first one I read about her visit is vastly more upbeat. Of course I'm not there living it so it's easy for me to assume things. I'm dreading spending a DAY with my MIL this Saturday. A DAY.

StephLove said...

This is the fine part? Oh dear.

Feeling lucky for my in-laws right now...

Jen said...

You know, I don't always agree with my MIL but well, she's no where near this. I feel lucky. Which is also to say, sorry Swistle.

Although I think I have had argument 3 with my husband before. So there's that. I can sympathize.

C (Kid Things) said...

Sounds like you're having a GREAT time! heh

cbrks12 said...

Please keep the updates coming! It helps to see others with MIL problems. :)

clueless but hopeful mama said...

Sounds like she need a serious empathy injection (you could tell her it was to cure her egg allergy).

And what did she say to your "mmmm SALLTT" response (which was PERFECT, in my book!)?

Lawyerish said...

Wow, she is really a pro at passive-aggressiveness, isn't she? She should teach a course.

I personally think you're a saint for not having screeched in her face by now. Kudos for the "Mmmmm..salt" comment -- hee!

Cookie said...

You had me cracking up at work. At least she will go home. Remember there is an end in sight. My MIL, who I try to be positive about, lives 10 minutes from me, and watches my boys. My husband is threatening to have her move in with us...

donna said...

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, because I do feel badly for you having to tolerate this person. But I have to say that your MIL visit is one of my favorite times of year, because your stories about it are so darn entertaining.

It can't be too much longer now. Hang in there, drink your vodka.

Mama Bub said...

If I weren't so desperately terrified of being found out, I could tell you some stories. We could lock your MIL and mine in a room and they could "my way is the right way" each other to death.

Nowheymama said...

I agree with Kim. And I'm so proud of the "Mmm...salt" comment. Keep being *your* beautiful family living life the way *you* want, no matter what she says!

Nervous said...

I've been thinking about you and am glad to hear you're not suffering! MIL sounds like - in her own awkward condescending way - she's trying to befriend you? Like the way she knows how to be "friendly" is to put down other nearby people or things, thinking you'll agree. Like she expected you to respond with "Oh I know - these kids just say the DARNDEST things! What a bunch of non-homework-doing LIARS!"

She tried to taint the Target visit - not cool! You totally need to go there solo to make up for it. Her comment in #7 irks me, too. Obvs.

Oh, and I think you should try to work "but it was on SALE!" in an obnoxious voice into the conversation as much as possible. ;)

You're doing well!

Misty said...

Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming swimming swimming,

Because even the ocean ends somewhere.

LoriD said...

You know, you could probably have more fun with this. Similar to the "Mmmm... salt" comment you could make other quips that would satisfy you and probably go right over her head. Like, if she compliments anything, tell her it was 75% off.

"This is a pretty door knob, Swistle"
"Thank you... 75% off"

"Delicious lunch, Swistle".
"Thank you, the eggs were 75% off".

Hang in there!

CAQuincy said...

I.....

I'm just...SPEECHLESS.

I LOVE the MIL posts! LOVE!

Fran said...

WOW! That's pretty much all I've got...stunned...silent....WOW! Kind of makes my mils (yep, I have 2!) seem like angels....WOW!

Anonymous said...

I am your South Florida kindred spirit, Swistle. My MIL comes in less than 2 hours and I have decided to HIDE all weekend, under the auspices of "writing my dissertation". Yes, I really do need to write it, but more importantly, I need to not be subjected to her passive-aggressive Judgy McJudgertons nastiness.

Hang in there!!

Marie Green said...

I have to admit I was giddy- GIDDY- when I saw you had a MIL post up. Because you do such a good job of summing up her ridiculousness that it makes for VERY ENTERTAINING reading.

I think that if a person has to have a horrible MIL, at least have a MIL that is OBVIOUSLY QUITE AWFUL. I know a few people that are THE most difficult for anyone to deal with, yet they are so subtle that they make the person who is having difficulties with them seem like they are making things up.

My favorite- the 75% off purchases her STUPID sister made 50 years ago. Also, I CLEARLY do not get enough radiation. ;)

Does it help at all that when she does these intrusive, annoying, frustrating things you can think to yourself "Another bullet for the next MIL post", knowing that we are all just DYING to hear the latest? Hang in there!

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

I think I loathe this woman and I've never even met her.

This makes me very thankful for the in-laws that I have!

How many more days of this do you have to withstand? 10?

Margie said...

Oh, dear! That's all I can say (as I shake my head and laugh and cry all at once on your behalf).

Erin said...

I think she has to be - in some distant way - related to my mother in law who I will only describe as 'difficult' because any more explanation will just get me angry. The best example I can give of her loveliness is that the day after I had my son she was visiting in the hospital and said, "Oh... your stomach... It's still so... big!" Yeah... she's a peach.

beyond said...

funny how everyone enjoys reading posts about difficult in-laws.
she sounds even more thrilling to be around than my mother-in-law.
(but it seems like you are coping well?)

Kristi said...

Ahhh!!! I am just cracking up over the passive-agressiveness because I have THE SAME MIL!!!

Fortify yourself with coffee and sugar because you're going to need it in the next few days <3

bluedaisy said...

This is entertaining and funny to read but if I was IN the situation, I would freak out! No wonder you look forward to these visits...
I like that you guys are just doing your usual thing because seriously, she isn't happy either way, so you might as well no waste the effort, right? Here's hoping that the remainder of the visit goes by quickly! In the meantime, make sure you buy EVERYTHING on sale that you possibly can!!

The Gori Wife said...

Perhaps cousin doesn't know about all the great clearances in the world? FANtastic line about the salt! I hope I'm one day able to pull a zinger like that.

d e v a n said...

I could have written that bit about the store - that is my MIL all over! Exactly!
So annoying!!

I totally get the visit getting worse after she gets comfortable. The LAST day of my il visits are always absolutely awful.

The Gori Wife said...

sister, i mean, not cousin. obv.

3carnations said...

I'll just consider myself lucky that I've never grocery shopped with my mother in law and that she seemingly has no restrictions on what anyone should eat, diabetic or otherwise.

Betsy said...

I know some psychologists who are going to be pretty pissed off that your MIL just put them out of the treating-panic-disorder business!

The answer is SO SIMPLE. Just DON'T PANIC. **cured**

Jamie said...

omg i love this. i support you, of course, with my sympathies...but you have to admit - this stuff is golden.

or maybe i think it's funny because i've been neglecting my need for radiation. at 75% off.

Swistle said...

She had no answer for the "Mmmmm, salllt" comment. Which equals SUCCESS!

Farrell said...

Fine? You're doing a lot better than I would!

Kathy said...

My MIL is the Exact. Same. Way! Luckily, she lives 45 minutes away, which is too far to drive on a frequent basis, and too close to have to stay with us overnight. WIN!

grace said...

I've never commented before, but I think your blog is awesome. I've been reading for awhile and you ROCK!

As for the MIL. When your christian MIL decides to become muslim and want to read the quran? to the kids....then I'll feel sorry for you!

Oh and my MIL has self diagosed herself as having gout...but she says it's sudo-gout...so it's not really gout but it mimics gout.

Yeah...I've got one of THOSE!

parkingathome said...

Oh god this stuff puts me into a hyperventilating frenzy of "I know, i know, and this one time with my mother in law, and also, and and and aaaaahhh!!"

I am sure a few of us could sit in a room and share horrible mother in law stories for hours. I love the panic attack cure, it's like telling a depressed person to "just smile and your brain will believe you're happy!!"

You can make it, you can do it! She'll be gone soon!

Miss Grace said...

She makes my eye go all twitchy.

C C Donna said...

You are just a HOOT! I have been hoping that this visit wouldn't cause you to need valium, but I do so enjoy hearing about her.

Remember, there is nothing to be lost by standing up to her...except she'll tell her son on you and he won't buy it. Anyway, it will make you feel better to feel empowered. (It should make you feel better)

MIL takes purchase from Henry. You pull it back out of the carriage, hand it to him and announce, "he can hold that...."

Stand up for yourself, Girl! She has no power over you. Don't let her peck you to death!

And, I suggest making her a hotdog if she can't eat what the rest of the family eats.

I look forward to hearing the rest of the story......

Melissa Haworth said...

Be sure and ask Rob and William to continue with the knitting lessons. Then can I send over a pattern and yarn? I found something I want to knit that is outside my skill level. kthanx :)

J from Ireland said...

Aw Jaysus I couldn't handle this woman. You are a saint putting up with this crap. I would go mental. I have nothing but deep respect and admiration for you. The very best of luck to you throughout this visit. Best wishes.

Hotch Potchery said...

Now I know why you enjoy my Mom stories...FYI she is moving here in a week. ONE WEEK.

Good luck, but I don't feel too badly for you because this is just a VISIT.

Oh, and she totally needs to butt out of your kids stuff, that drives me insane.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Oh Swistle! I'm so sorry. Hope her trip ends soon.

Christina said...

You know, I've heard my whole life about people complaining about their MILs but I never got it until I read this. Both of my parents love the other set of parents and both my bf and I get along w/ either sets of parents.

WOW, is all I have to say. Good luck to you, and good think you're not a confrontational person. If I was there she'd need a team of surgeons to put her back together.

aibee said...

I just took a Sympathy Valium because, man, that stuff is hard to even READ.

desperate housewife said...

I remember once last year you commented on my blog that you kind of loved it when annoying things happened to me because you enjoyed the posts about it later.
Right back atcha.

MzEll said...

The word verification for my comment is "winceud". That pretty much sums it up....

I was so glad when my own mother left last Wednesday I thought I could fly. You're getting there! And I think it is beyond awesome that your boys want to learn to knit. They could always finger-knit a few chains with which to tie her to a chair....

Jewels said...

What on earth does this woman eat?

Lippy said...

Wow, sounds like so much fun. Just think, once it is over you will have a whole year before you have to endure it again.

TinaNZ said...

Please continue to mentally file away every jaw-dropping MIL comment for later bloggeration - the woman is a treasure-house of potential amusement. Maybe that will help you get through the rest of the visit?

sooboo said...

Hey! I think your MIL just cured my panic attacks. I never thought of it that way! She sounds like a gem!

brightfeather said...

I'm not married. The closest I have to a child is a niece that I share with my sister-in-law. (She's putting my brother through school, so we take care of my niece rather than daycare.) However, I do know something about the MIL from Hell. In my family, at least, it's my paternal grandmother. My parents were married for thirty-four years and raised six kids, two of them special needs. Money troubles were common, as my dad was handicapped and in a wheelchair for at least half of their marriage. Dad died two years ago, and Mom says that she's still married, because she's still in love with Dad.

My grandmother made it her mission to split them up. Spent 35 years trying to do it. She swore up and down that Mom wasn't good enough for him. The girl Grandma picked was a crack addict who threw away seven kids that we know of, and once threatened to call rape on my Grandpa. (He caught her stealing from them and told her to leave and never come back.) Grandma even tried calling social services on us several times so she could get custody. Of course, she only wanted custody of a few of us, and she was perfectly willing to send the rest of us into foster care to get it. (Not that it worked. I mean, we were a fairly happy household!) She's had a grudge against me since I was born, too. See, I was the spitting image of Grandpa's brother, Gilbert when I was born. Since she hated his family, it was not to be tolerated!

Once, when we were visiting for Christmas, she kicked the baby (he was 14 at the time) out in the snow barefoot because he accidentally ripped a $5 blind. Insults are or were *smirk* common. Mom wanted to swear out restraining orders several times, but never felt right about actually doing it because Dad was an only child.

And now... She's 86. She has only two sisters left. Grandpa died over 20 years ago. Dad's been gone for 2. While we, technically, could tell her where to go, we're not. And ironically, it's me and Mom, her most hated people, who are making sure she's cared for. She still lives in her house, but she's a shut in now. We're the ones who make sure she has food and medications. It's not for her that we drop everything when she calls and tells us that the cupboard is bare and she's been without medicine for three days. It's for Dad. We love him, so we put up with Her.

I think that's what's the important thing. It's because of the people we love that we put up with the people we hate. And yes, even though we'd never actually do it, we figured out years ago how to dispose of the body...

brightfeather said...

Oop1 Forgot to say... She's actually being nice these days. Since Grandma rarely leaves the house, she's figured out that if she's not nice, we might stop doing and she'd have to do it herself...

Stacia said...

Oh Swistle, I feel so guilty for laughing. The idea of your MIL doing the jazz hands to emphasize her point is just KILLING me though!

denese said...

yay, you're surviving! congratulations on keeping your sense of humor, i admire you. and wish i could have done the same thing when my father-in-law visited for a week in august...please keep updating us, so i know how to act next time he invades *shudder*

Kristi said...

Dude. You seriously made me pee a little with the radiation comment.

Leeann said...

How awful is it that your MIL reminds me of my MOTHER? Especially with all food restrictions, except my mother's continue on to include pollen, mold, fresh air, cleaning products, anything less than 14K gold etc etc etc ad nauseam.

I finally decided that when she comes to visit, we just do things that we always do, the way we have always done them and she can be as happy or as miserable as she wants to be.

Try as hard as I might, though, I still find myself getting irritated and feeling VERY childish and adolescent Every. Damn. Time.

Hang in there, sweet thing!

JEN said...

a Bit opinionated, are we MIL?

Barb @ getupandplay said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! (That was a primal scream for you.) Argh, that woman!

Kelly said...

jazz hands. ROTF!!!!!

oh my dear, have YOU Had a panic attack yet?! LOL

MY MIL told me I looked like Delta burke. and it was before I really did look like delta burke, if you know what I mean. so I don't qualify for osteoporosis either. damn.