It's finally happened, my Flavorites - one of your lot gave me a topic to flavor: IN-LAWS!! Well...problem is that I can't write a post about my in-law situation because what I have to say about that would technically be called a book. So, instead, I will write about my very special friend, who I'll call Notme. As it happens, Notme and I have a lot in common: college educated, married in the 10-year range, 3 kids, slathering on wrinkle cream like it might create a force-field against the dreaded 4-0. We are also both afflicted with BFHMILS. What? You haven't heard of Bitch-From-Hell-Mother-In-Law Syndrome? I do count myself quite fortunate that my MIL lives in a land far, far away (and also in her own wanna-be hippie head), while poor Notme lives snooping distance from her MIL. For some, proximity to the in-laws actually works out quite nicely, what with the default baby-sitting, plant watering and emergency grocery borrowing. But for Notme, it's a constant source of teeth-grinding angst. There's her MIL, dropping in unannounced to offer such sweet complements as "Oh, look you chose that tan grout - that's good, now you can barely see the dirt at all." She likes to help out by bringing in the mail - especially on those summer days when the humidity might
You can dream, but a tornado is not
going to solve your in-law issues.
unseal a bank statement. And, the good intentions run rampant with such helpful tidbits as: "If you let that boy play with the barbies he's going to turn into one of those gays - not that some of them aren't perfectly nice, but you don't want your child to be handicapped if you can help it." And there's Notme holding tension like an over-stretched bungee and sputtering out such brilliant retorts as "Oh, well, I guess ..um...well...he'll grow out of it." Of course, she calls me later and says "I should have said, if I let you play with books will it turn you into one of those smart people? Why can't I give her a good comeback that will shut her up!" What can I do, but assure Notme that we all come up with the perfect line when the moment's passed.
What role does Notme's husband play in this serial annoyance and frequent interloping? Mostly he's deaf and dumb. But I'm not mad at him. After all, when things get really ugly he does manage to be the peacemaker while in the unfortunate position of being the fluttering flag in their mental tug of war. Thankfully, he has the sense to be the defender of his wife's many virtues and, thereby, protector of his marriage.
Most unusually, I realize I can't tell Notme what to do as I don't live in her head or in her house. But, you know how I do: take a nasty situation and make it fun. I told Notme to turn her MIL's next visit into a drinking game. Take a drink every time she insults your housekeeping; drink every time she insults your parenting skills; drink every time she picks on your appearance; drink when she says something racist; take 2 drinks if she mentions your drinking. You can really enjoy your position by working with the criticism - ask her to demonstrate the right way to clean the bathroom. Again. And again.