Thursday, December 29, 2005

It came from out of town

Nana and Pop-Pop have been watching the Dinks this week. Her daycare is closed for winter break so mom and dad have been righteous enough to watch her.

Oh wait, you wouldn't understand the "righteous" part. You're probably thinking, "What? Righteous with your parents? I thought they jumped on the nanosecond of opportunity to watch the Dinker."

They do, they do.

But this week is special. This is Christmas week. And that brings to my parents' house ...

[to be said with resounding echo] my brother and his family

Ooooo, spooky. And trust me, it is.

Let's give some background history, shall we?

My bro and his family hail from NC. Each year, they load up their sleigh and drive here to PA to freeload spend the week with my mom and dad. My mom gets very irritated looks forward to these annual gatherings. My dad wants to hide tolerates it to a degree. Both of my parents look forward to the sleigh's day of departure back to NC with flags in hand ready to be waived once the sleigh is out of view.

Including my bro, there are four of them. Simply put, they are a mix of the Addam's Family meets Village of the Damned in the middle of a Dead concert.

My bro is okay in a dead-head, hippie, atheist, electrical-engineer extraordinaire, beyond well-read sort-of way. He's a nice guy and we'll leave it at that.

His wife, my SIL, is another case. She is very sociable albeit a bit bossy at times. And she chews her food like a cow chews cud. You can actually hear her eating. Let it be known now that that's one of my biggest pet peeves. And she's also a bit ... how to say ... weird. I mean, I'm a raving loopy loon but she is just ... odd. "Odd how?" you might ask. Scenerio: when my bro and his wife moved from CA to NC, my parents went down to NC to help them get unpacked. Upon my parents return, mom called me with this little tidbit of quirk. My SIL packed and shipped from CA, of all things, empty egg cartons. Three moving boxes worth. And she also packed brown paper bags like the kind you get from a grocery store. These items are probably still in their boxes some twelve years later.

As for my niece and nephew? To meet them for the first time, you'd think they're just two kids. They'll say "Hi" and give the slight wave. Then they'll stare at you ... with this creepy gaze. You find yourself waiting for their eyes to start glowing (which to date has not happened).

My nephew is different. He loves magic (he's actually rather good at card tricks and illusions), computers, reading, and magnets. His social skills are finally coming along after years of being painfully shy and slighty immature. He's a nice kid and we'll leave it at that.

My niece, however, is overly sarcastic and she thinks she's funny sarcastic. Sadly, that's not the case. She just sounds obnoxious. But she not a smart-mouth like my other niece so that's a plus to her.

Take away those idiosyncrasies and they're actually a good group.

But take those little foibles, pack it all under one small roof for a week, and you get a 75 year old man who now feigns being deaf and a 72 year old woman who is contemplating the use of crack.

Togetherness is not all it's trumped up to be. Some things do not mesh well together. Take routines for example.

We all have routines. I, personally, get up in the morning, shower, dress, fix hair and face, get the baby ready, make coffee for Geo, make lunches for Dinks and Geo, pack the car, and out the door we go. Any deviation from this routine and I am mentally discumboobilated for the entire morning. My parents have daily routines. They've been in a quiet house all to theirselves for over sixteen years and like it that way. My bro and his zoo family have their odd-ass routines. When the latter two routines clash, it's not a pretty site.

Example of the clashing is as follows. My mom does her laundry a certain way. She sorts, pretreats, soaks, washes, and softens. My mom's laundry always ALWAYS smells good. If and when she washes the baby's stuff and I take it home, it's like soft smelling potpourri in the dresser drawers. And that's a scent that reminds me of my mom and her laundering craft. Then the DIL comes along. DIL washes her clothes and the kids' clothes. My bro is on his own for his laundry (I shit you not). Whether or not she uses her own laundry products is uncertain and there are some things I really could care less about. Anywho, she sorts, sniffs (yes, sniffs!), and washes. Then everything gets chucked in the dryer at Hades high until they all come out crispy. And just like at a laundromat, if there is something in the washer or dryer, she removes to go ahead with her own use. And not tell my mom. Mom then finds her stuff either partly air-dried in a heap in her laundry basket or scrunched in one of her laundry sorting bags - clean but now mussed because they weren't folded in time after being removed from the dryer. Not a good thing for a clean freak like my mother.

And that's just one of the issues.

I tell my mom every year to tell my bro to get a friggin hotel. He's not poor - he can afford to shell out the cash for a weeks stay. She pulls the martyr act and says she puts up with the inconvenience for the sake of the kids and my brother. I notice the DIL is never mentioned. Then she'll bitch about every little thing that happens all week. I tell her she chose misery. She calls me unsympathetic. She's right.

So Dinker right now is my parents' godsend. They are clinging to her as their one piece of sanity. When things with the others get to be a bit too much, mom puts all of her attention on the Dinks. Dad just keeps up the deafness charade.

Besides, Dinks has been tagging my niece like a three foot shadow and it's annoying the crap out of my niece. I'd say I had sympathy but I'd be lying.

Tomorrow, NC will leave PA. The locust will have scarfed all they could and take all that has been given and hightail it out of here via I-95. They will leave behind my flag-waiving parents and whatever remains of crumbs mom and dad can Swiffer off the floor.

And Dad will still pretend he's deaf. I think he likes his world that way.


Whinger said...

Three boxes of empty egg cartons? Does she do some sort of craptastic craft?


People in other people's houses for more than two days are ALWAYS annoying. They mess up schedules, require feeding at odd hours, and divert attention from the TV.

Hotels are much better.

Oh, and I got your card! Thank you so much - such a thoughtful lady. :)

Tony said...

I feel for your parents, but your description makes it sound hilarious! I would love to watch a guy pretend to be deaf while his wife stares at a vial of crack!!

all while the kids stare and glow! :-)

Merci said...

That's right, no egg cartons or paper bags here on the East Coast. We're backwards. Gotta ship 'em in from CA.

I don't have a spare bed in my house right now. I'll get around to it eventually, but your story reminds me not to hurry.

Virginia Gal said...

Maybe your sister in law is into arts and crafts and that is why she packed brown bags and empty egg cartons (I'm stretching here for an explanation).

Your post had me cracking is nice though that your daughter is seeing more of her cousins, will hopefully bond them - they won't be strangers to each other.

I suggested this to Merci - maybe one year you guys can all do a cruise for the holidays, you are all together in a fun setting. Just a thought.
Happy new year!

CrankyProf said...

See, this is why I DID spring for my mom's hotel room for part of her visit -- until it all went to shit in a handbag!

GREAT post -- and I am glad that DinkerDoodle Potpie's stalking and annoying skills got a workout!

RaggyMaggy said...

LOL, great post Maidink! Hope you're parents are enjoying the peace and quiet now.

Laurie said...

That's why I never host houseguests that are family members... haha..

Happy New Year!