Morning Fog

Validating me

on November 27, 2007

My mother-in-law is going to be 90 on Thursday, and you may recall that her husband passed last May. It is only right that she is here with us for the holidays and her birthday. As if to convince everyone that I really believe that, I flew to Philadelphia last Monday just so I could fly back with her on Tuesday.
Obviously because she is too old to fly alone.
In case that wasn’t as obvious as I thought it was.

Having said all that, and having proven how wonderful a daughter-in-law I am, it really drives me nuts having her here. In a very mild way. A mild kind of nuts. Not a screaming, ranting and “she goes or I go” kind of way. We did all that 20+ years ago, and we are way beyond that.

Half the time I am not sure why she drives me nuts exactly…just a person in my house who isn’t me, my husband or my kids, I guess.
Sometimes it is her personality. She is a total split personality. On the one hand she is VERY religious, generous, helpful, industrious, kind and friendly.
On the other hand, she is also very ignorant, bigoted, going deaf (get a hearing aid already!) and does things like rinse her dirty cups with cold water and before putting them back in the cupboard. She is extremely tidy, but not necessarily clean when it comes to household things. Neat as a pin…sanitary is not in her vocabulary.

Speaking of her vocabulary, I suppose it is a combination of her immigrant upbringing…her mother didn’t really speak English well (she was German) and her father was from Ireland. I suppose he spoke English, but not Americanish-English.
Add to the that the fact that she wasn’t a great student and dropped out of high school when her father died…she was about 15 I think. Then there are those regional differences. People in Philadelphia have odd words for some things. Mix that with ME…the former ENGLISH major…miss “use the proper word at all times and say what you mean/mean what you say.” I feel my skin crawling when she talks somtimes.
Over the years I know I have come accross rude when commenting, but believe me, it took every ounce of strength I had not to be much ruder! Much more extremely ruder to the MAXXXXX. I was holding my tongue as tightly as I could, but some forces are just too great to rein in entirely.

One example that stays with me 23 years later…Number one son was a newborn, and I was giving him a bath. She told me that she was always too “scared to bath her babies” her mother had to do it. BATH her babies??? BATH? As in a NOUN? I hate that she can’t say, “bathe.”

Things are never expensive, ever. They are “dear.” Always dear. I never heard that in my live from anyone but her.

A sandwich is a hoagie. A pizza is a “tamatah pie.” A lollipop is a taffy and sprinkles are jimmies. She doesn’t vacuum, she runs the cleaner. She doesn’t carry a purse or a bag, but a pocketbook. Can I tell you how much the word “pocketbook” drives me up the wall. What the heck is a “pocketbook” anyway? I say a small book, frankly. Not something large in which to put other things.

Oh, and I did I mention that I really could do without the reports on her bowel movements, stomach aches, and passing gas? I mean, I could really, really, really do without all of that. Seriously. I don’t do bodily fluids. Not other people’s.

Then, there is the fact that she feeds the dog constantly. And everything. And right from the table. We have a weak stomached-dog who can only tolerate hoity toity dog food and the occasional morsel of something else. So guess who got to be up with the dog in the middle of the night two nights in a row? While the dog threw up and had diarrhea??? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count. Hint: I’ll tell you it wasn’t HER.

I read a blogger today who mentioned that ranting and venting and getting it all out and down has been scientifically proven to promote sanity and happiness when compared to sunshine-and-roses diarists. So there…I have taken a healthy step forward in the name of my own mental health.

Just for the record, I will add that she means well, has a good heart and loves her family mightily. Those are good things and make up for alot. Having said that though, I have to say that between now and New Year’s, I anticipate much more work on my mental health to take place on these pages.

Speaking of pages…welcome to the new digs. Some of my old friends found me, and recognized me right away. Others I may have to drag over here.



10 responses to “Validating me

  1. yankeechick says:

    Your rendition of your MIL is hysterical! As my relatively new Southern friends would say,(with a very enunciated drawl) “Bless her heart!”. (I use it sarcastically myself….big surprise, huh?) My Mom was the only I know that had a ‘pocketbook’, except for some reason it came out as “pockabook”, which always irritated the hell out of me! I’d give anything to have her here now referring to her ‘pockabook’. But don’t get me wrong!! My MIL can stay far away…..FOREVER!!!!

  2. cardiogirl says:

    I like to mentally replace “pocket book” with satchel. And satchel is said in an English accent.

    Having said that, I don’t run in to many people who say “pocket book.”

    p.s. I read the first entry first, commented then went backwards. So now my comment on the more recent post doesn’t really make sense. Sorry about that.

  3. Poolie says:

    Man! She sounds like quite a character!

  4. LA says:

    Drifting in from the Outer Limits to wish you a belated Happy Thanksgiving and to say I really like the new layout. If that’s your actual house I am dead jealous, the color is fab.

    I like my MIL (Mick’s mom) very much. She’s got a huge heart and is very brave and hard working, but she also drives me mildly nuts too. Mostly for unknowingly bigoted opinions and having a very limited number of topics to discuss. Of course she’s only 69 and super active so I can look forward to being happy, bored and insane with her for many years to come.

    Raising my glass (tea mug) to the patient daughters-in-law of the world. ~LA

  5. Rosietoes says:

    *Grin* My darling Josh says “Bath” for “bathe”, and he also has many other peculiarities of speech, though I have helped him 86 most of them.

    I do LOVE your little pink house! It looks like something I should live in! In fact, i do have that color on my home!

    As for your MIL, well, enjoy her while you can. She won’t be around too much longer, and you might want to do a living history project with her. I will wager she has many, many interesting stories that should be preserved! Have the kids sit with her and ask her about her youth, and some of the “naughty” things she did.

  6. G says:

    OK, this is the last post. I’m a freaking spazoid. I was on the phone w/ my mom, who is IN arizona… when i was writing the FIRST response… not realizing what i was writing until I just hung up with her. OH MY GOD! I’m so ridiculous… LOL I’m sorry. (Let’s just call it moderate insanity…) That and I was leaving a post for two d’landers (you and someone else) and that post was for her… Yes, I’m def losing it.
    And, by the way, YOU ARE ALREADY BOOKMARKED… and linked… and stuff like that. šŸ™‚

  7. G says:

    Oh, btw, I say pocketbook AND purse, depending upon which one I use.
    In Jersey we call sub sandwiches, subs; sprinkles are sprinkles; soda is soda; and pizza is pizza (if you call it a pie, you’re not Italian).
    I had a bio teacher in h.s. who was 150 years old when I had her and she used to call us “wise acres”. hehe.

  8. G says:

    I’ll bookmark ya… šŸ™‚ I never did get to meet you in AZ when I was there (but met with Lei and we toured old planes and sweaty spaces at the Air and Space place). My family and I will be coming back in Dec for Xmas week and will be heading down to Tombstone now that we won’t have to worry about sweating and dying… and we’re all excited. So, maybe we’ll see ya then!

  9. bluesleepy says:

    OMG i am so dense. I thought you just changed your layout; I didn’t realize you had changed your digs entirely! I still had you on my D-land buddy list — I hope you don’t mind I followed you. No WONDER Lisele hasn’t been showing as new in my Reader. Ha ha.

    I’ve heard “dear” for expensive before. My grandparents refer to the couch as the “davenport.” Yeah, people use some weird words! ;o)

  10. yaketyyak says:

    Uh oh. I use the word “pocketbook,” too. Purse is something you do with your lips. šŸ˜‰

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