Slow Burn

July 30, 2010

This week I was starting to feel a little guilty about not liking the MIL.  Dinner on Monday wasn’t as craptastic as usual and her company was almost pleasant.  This happens sometimes when the Monday dinners go reasonably well and I start to think that maybe I’m being too hard on her.  Maybe she’s not as bad as I think she is.  But then, something ALWAYS happens and I realize she’s worse than I thought.

Last night DH called her and early on in their chat it became pretty clear she was angling for something.  Turns out her BFF’s husband’s mother had died and the MIL, via the BFF’s husband, wanted DH to be a pall bearer.  Now, I’m sure this is going to get me flamed and I mean no disrespect to the dead woman, but here’s why I am angry and 110% against this. 

DH has never mentioned the woman who died EVER.  She  may have, like a whole bunch of other old Greek ladies, looked after him when he was a child, but in the five and half years we’ve been together her name has NEVER come up.  Which to me, means that she hasn’t played a big role in his life for at least 30 years.  Also, the MIL has never mentioned her.  And this is the woman who was the MIL to her BFF.  If they were close, my MIL would have talked about her.  Believe me.  So DH’s “family is important to me” refrain doesn’t ring true here.  More importantly, I could tell he was hesitant about agreeing to do this.  He danced around saying no until she basically dragged a “I guess” out of him.   This is another one of those “for the show” events.   Which means that everyone has to do something they don’t want to do because it will look good.  Damn the consequences, they’re providing a united front and making everyone else in the local Greek community jealous.  Please.

All that aside, and this is the real reason I’m aginst the pall bearer thing, DH does not deal well with death.  Not at all.  Even the death of a distant relative/family acqaintence he hasn’t seen in many many years will make him maudlin.    So he will be a mess for at least a week over this.  A hot-I’m-going-to-sit-in-the-basement-and-listen-to-The-Smiths-and-play-with-razor-blades-and-pout mess.  And I’m the one who will have to deal with it.  Who will have to try and jolly him out of his melancholy.  If this was a close friend of the family or someone who meant a lot to the DH I’d be ok with him being a pall bearer.  And I’d be ok with the whole basement-Smiths-pouting thing.  Not happy about it but I’d deal because that’s what marriage is about…for better or for worse.

But what really burns my ass is that MIL knows how DH is with death.  We’ve had a few discussions where I’ve told her flat out to stop asking him to do this stuff.  I’ve told her how upset he gets and how hard it is for him (and me) for days after the funeral.  She nods and agrees and then proceeds to keep asking him.  And I proceed to pull out all my hair.  Her excuse is that if she’s asked by a family for DH’s pall bearing services, she can’t not tell DH  because he’s the one who needs to decide.  Except he’s going to say yes because he’s looking for approval (which never comes) from his parents.  He wants to be the dutiful son, even when he doesn’t want to be dutiful.  It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone except his mother who gets to preen about her son and how devoted he is and all the rest of that crap.

I’m not against DH going to the funeral.  Fare from it.  In fact I’m all for it.  Especially since I don’t have to go.  What I don’t like is that his mother has completely disregarded my wishes and has bullied him into doing something he’s not really comfortable doing.  Plus she’s not going to be there for the fallout afterwards – the moping and complaining and pouting that will go on for days. 

But, I guess that second part is his problem.  He’s got to realize, that as his parents and their friends age, funerals are going to become more and more common and he’s just got to deal with it.  Death isn’t always sad and tragic, especially if the person has lived a long and happy life.  And if he doesn’t want to play an active role in the funeral, he’s going to have to speak up about it. 

As for me, I’ll bring it up with the MIL the next time I see her.  Another “gentle reminder” probably won’t change anything in the long term but my MIL is passive-agressive and doesn’t like it when people stand up to her.  And making her miserable pretty much always makes me happy.  Especially on this particular matter when it clearly upsets the son she professes to adore. 

Since I’m not going to the funeral I figure I’ll spend my day in the garden, surrounded by living and growing things, listening to happy,fun, upbeat pop music, doing something I want to be doing.  Afterall, one of us should be happy on this long weekend and it may as well be me.


Direct from the WTF file

February 24, 2010

So a few days ago DH and I were at his aunt and uncle’s 40th anniversary party.  It was a nice time.  We sat at the “kids” table (although the youngest kid was 33) and it was good.  I had no other role but to sit and chat and eat.  Can’t beat that.

After dinner though, the MIL dropped this on me.  And my head is still spinning several days after the fact.  She asked me how the fertility doctor appointment went.  Fair enough, I had mentioned it to her late last summer and never followed up.  I told her the outcome in a nut shell and she agreed with me.  She didn’t think it was a good idea to take potentially unsafe drugs either and she’s a breast cancer survivor so she knows first hand what those drugs can do to you.

But here’s where it gets weird.  Really really weird.  She lowered her voice and asked me if we had considered a donor.  I was a bit confused and had to ask for clarification.  A sperm donor she said.  Wasn’t there someone we could ask to donate sperm?  A friend?  Or a family member?  Afterall, just because the baby wouldn’t be biologically be DH’s didn’t mean in her opinion that it wasn’t mine.  For the record DH has sperm, he just doesn’t have a lot of them and they are kind of slow.

My jaw hit the floor.  The whole conversation skeeved me out to be honest.  Asking for someone’s sperm is a little weird but it happens.  I’m not entirely sure though, how you’d even go about doing it.  Do you randomly pick some hot guy and approach him with a cup and ask him for 20 minutes of his time?  Do you canvass your male friends?  Which might make future gatherings kind of awkward, especially if you bring the kid along.  Not to mention I don’t care for 95% of DH’s male friends.  Do you hit up the local university and offer a case of beer?  Do you check out the males in the family?  I don’t know about you but I have no desire for my family tree branches to be stunted so asking a family member is not an option.  Besides, how weird would it be trying to figure out who’s related to who and how afterwards.  Sweet mother of Jesus can you imagine the therapy bills?

However, I’m not entirely sure that asking some guy, cup in hand, was exactly what the MIL was getting at.  Which makes it EVEN CREEPIER.  While she didn’t get too detailed, she told me that back in the village some woman had done this and all three people (the husband, wife and donor) had no issue and she didn’t see what the problem was.  Especially if I got pregnant.  Umm here’s the problem.  If you are advocating (between the lines) for me to have sex with some guy who is NOT my husband just to get knocked up I am not cool with that.  Unless said guy is Clive Owen or George Clooney or John Krasinsky.  But those three aside, I do take my marriage vows seriously.  And they explictly state I don’t get to hop into bed with random guys.  Even to get knocked up.

I mentioned to her that perhaps we’d just rethink the adoption option and she was adamant.  No no no she said.  You can’t adopt, the baby won’t be yours.  Which is kind of ironic given that if I followed her advice and somehow obtained sperm from some guy who is NOT my husband the baby wouldn’t be his so I’m not sure how she is justifying this in her weird and twisted mind.

I guess it would be less weird to have my own mother suggest that I do this (although in reality she is just as horrified and creeped out by the whole thing as I am).  But to have my husband’s mother suggest this is just plain woo-woo weird.  Two cups of crazy weird.  And futher confirms my belief that she is completely self-absorbed and cares only for what her friends think and not her childrens’ happiness.  Afterall, what kind of woman would outright tell her daughter-in-law to find some guy and get him to knock her up….either with a cup and a turkey baster or the old fashioned way?

And how does she think her son will feel if he ever finds out?  I can only imagine that conversation.  Oh honey, there’s a little something I didn’t tell you about Junior…..yeah don’t think so.

But the highlight of the whole conversation (oh it gets so much better) was when she told me that she asks God every day why He is punishing her.  She says that between her good-for-nothing daughter  not wanting to get married and give her grandchildren (because it’s ALL about the MIL) and her son who so far hasn’t given her grandchildren she tells God everyday to stop punishing her.  Yeah, because a) God has nothing else to do but listen to my MIL…forget the war in the Middle East, poverty, global warming, injustice and the like, His first priority needs to be making sure I get knocked up and b) she’s a good person who doesn’t deserve this.

Now I don’t know about you but in my opinion (and probably God’s) good people don’t suggest that their daughters-in-law look outside of their marriage to find men to impregnate them.  Just saying.