Saturday, February 06, 2010

NOT on Vacation.

Mmm, yes, about my recent slowdown in in-laws were here.

It was not a horrible visit, but sort of stressful, as always. My MIL is just so intense about things, particularly pertaining to Piper, it's sort of exhausting to be the referee between her and my daughter. MIL did much better this time at just hanging out and playing with her, and since Piper is old enough to say flat-out "Hey, let's go play puzzles" or "No, Granny, I don't want to paint right now," it goes much better than it has in the past. Usually MIL would show up with an agenda of stuff to do, and when Piper did not want to read this book at this time and then sit quietly on the couch listening to Granny's stories and then go fingerpaint before having a snack...well, MIL would be upset, and mad, and in a roundabout way, accuse us of influencing Piper to not like her. This time they pretty much hung around the house (and especially the playroom), with Piper choosing activities. MIL was sort of crazy about some things, like picking up every toy as soon as it hit the floor (look, I did just get the whole house neatened up and organized, but insisting on 100% organization/clean 100% of the time is just going to wear you out) or totally freaking out when Piper drank some of her bathwater.

Of course, the entire week before they came, I was involved in a grueling endurance test of cleaning and organization. We still hadn't recovered from the room-swap Ryan did while I was gone in November; nothing had quite gotten to its final resting place, resulting in a lot of chaos. So I put it all to rights. My husband, despite his assurances that he would "take care of it" and "pull his weight," either took extra shifts at work, played video games, or stood around waiting for me to hand him a list of things to do. But I persevered, and now there is only a single closet left un-organized. One closet in my entire house in need of attention. That's all that's left.

I also left him in charge of planning meals and activities this time, since I was tired of doing it. Every time they come, he takes a "Stop stressing out, it's fine!" attitude before they get here, and I'm the one frantic with cleaning and shopping and cooking and planning. Over and over he told me not to worry, he'd take care of it, I didn't have to do anything. So I didn't. His planning went something like this:

"What are you doing?"
"I'm making a list of stuff to do, days they'll be here and what restaurant to go to and things we can do that day."
" know Zack's isn't open on the weekends, right?"
"Oh, really? Huh." He scratched something out.
"Sunday is still the weekend."
"Oh. Right" Another cross-out.
"And they close at 6:30, so we can't go the day they get here, either."
"Oh." Scratch scratch scratch.

That is as far as his list ever got. Consequently, I found myself defrosting chicken in the microwave, reminding him that it was 12:30 and he should probably make a plan for lunch soon, suggesting restaurants when we were out, and, because his mom found a recipe in one of my books she wanted to have, buying $60 worth of groceries on Monday evening. My husband just basically asked me "So, what's for dinner?" and suggested frozen pizza every single time I told him that dinner was his problem. I then had to explain why he would serve frozen pizza to houseguests over my dead body.

He also failed to plan for the entertainment, and boy howdy do they like to be entertained. When not playing with Piper, they were constantly looking through our DVD collection, with FIL pooh-pooing pretty much everything because he refuses to watch any movie more than once. Not kidding. Then of course they insisted they couldn't learn to work our DVD player, even though all you do is press "open" and put the disc in, so someone had to be there to switch movies for them because they could not allow even twenty minutes of everyone hanging out and quietly doing their own thing.

I had suggested a couple activities to Ryan before they came, which he ignored or forgot about or which got pushed aside because they don't like to walk very much and, on Tuesday at least, FIL's main priority seemed to be getting someone to take him to the BMW dealership 35 minutes away so he could buy a t-shirt.

It wasn't even like we had lots of free babysitting time, because we don't let them babysit. They are not comfortable enough around Piper, neither one of them can get around as well as she can, and they drink too much for me to feel good about leaving them alone with her. We relented and went to hang out with some friends for a few hours on the last day of their visit, but we had to hurry home to finish the afore-mentioned recipe that MIL insisted on having. I tried to get her to pick something that didn't take six-plus hours to make, but she was quite insistent. She was also quite insistent that we have Merlot with the dinner, because Heaven forbid they eat a meal without alcohol.

A tiny, not very nice part of me is grudging about paying for dinner when we go out with them, because they cannot eat without a minimum of two beers apiece, and while they drink crap (Natural Light, Bud Light, Milwaukee's Best, and this horrible concoction) at home, in a restaurant they tend toward the $3-$6 a glass stuff, and their liquor tab often ends up costing as much as Ryan and I usually spend on an entire meal. Also, we ride in their car a lot, and although I know FIL's tolerance is pretty high, it makes me extremely uncomfortable to put my family in a car driven by a man in his 60's who has just had three glasses of microbrew.

They are nice enough, and polite enough, but they were here for five days and stayed with us the entire time, and it was just a bit much. MIL made me nuts either trying to pick up everything as soon as it hit the floor, or piling her stuff on my dining table (and in my fruit bowl). She kept circling the house picking things up and piling them on the table, the counters, wherever. She helpfully put away the stuff in the dishwasher one day, but a lot of it went in the wrong cupboards and the rest she left piled on the counter, so it was not that big a help.

Piper had fun playing with her grandparents, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a small relief to wave good-bye. Unlike when my parents, visit, however, it only took me a couple hours to put the house back to normal, which was nice. For some reason, when my parents visit, they completely destroy our house and it takes weeks to clean afterward. Something to look forward to, I guess, since my family is coming for a visit next month.

1 comment:

La TempĂȘte said...

Oh gosh. It's so painful to have people stay with you sometimes. Once my own mother stayed with us for 3 months. I love her, but lordy could I have killed her. And of course they have to attempt to run your home. POSITION FILLED, but thanks! It's so exasperating because even though you know they mostly mean well, sometimes every action seems like a criticism. LOL; OK my rant over. Hehehe.