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5:45 a.m. - 2002-04-03

THE STRESS FACTOR KICKS INTO OVERDRIVE

Next month, every in-law I have will be coming to town for my niece's graduation.

Normally, this would have me pulling my hair out and screaming bloody murder.

Normally.

However, when the news was gently broken to me that Susie's sister, her husband, her four boys, her grandson and her oldest boy's girlfriend, plus Susie's estranged father, his new wife, Susie's mother, asshole loser brother, brother who's alright, his crazy wife, the porn surfing nephew and the pseudo-gay nephew will all be in one spot to witness my niece who we all thought would be retarded but turned out to be halfway intelligent graduate, I smiled.

"NONE of them are staying here," I said, grinning. "The house is on the market and it can be shown at any given moment and I'll be damned if I'll have 13 or 14 in-laws in the house screwing up my chances of selling it."

"I agree," she said. "None of them will be at our house."

Yes kids...life is good.


What's today ... April 3rd?

Wow. Time flies when you're waiting for your mother-in-law to pay you back $7,100.

She told us that we would have the money by the end of March. That she would go to the bank, get a loan on her American Express card, and give it to us.

Uh-huh.

She has conveniently not called Susie since March 30th when she was scrounging around, looking for a few extra hands to help her and Susie's asshole nerd brother move into THEIR new home.

"Can you and Uncle Bob come up to our new house and help us unload the truck?" she asked.

"We're boxing up stuff to take to a storage unit so that we can sell OUR house," Susie replied. "And we need that $7,100 soon."

"Oh, that reminds me," she said. "I'm getting $1,000 from a guy that owes it to me soon and I'll give you that."

Ummmmmmm...no.

The bill is $7,100. You don't go to Outback, ring up a $71 tab and hand over a $10, saying that you're good for the rest of the money in a couple of years.

I may be as big as one...but I'm NOT a fucking bank.

Plus...who in the big blue hell would owe my mother in law $1,000??

For what??? She's unemployed...she does no work on the side. Why would somebody "owe" her $1,000.

It's bullshit. It's just another lie she pulled out of her hat to stall for time until she finally dies or gets the balls to kill herself and leave her debts behind.

That ain't happening.

The minute I hear she's swallowed a fistful of pills and croaked in the bathtub, I'm racing to her home, grabbing that American Express, racing to the bank and getting my money, by hook or by crook.

Apparently, by crook.


So tonight, our real estate agent comes by to take a look at the house and say "Ewwwww...people actually live here??"

Actually, it's not as bad as it was when I came home from Idaho a week ago. Then, it was a depressing hellhole.

Now, after I've boxed up 95% of the clutter in the house and carted it to the storage unit, it doesn't look half bad.

It looks a quarter bad. But Susie's staying home from work today (and firmly believes that her company's stock will plummet as a result) and finishing up the house.

She wants me to make her a list of things to do today.

I told her to take a look around the house. Start in one room and just look at it. If there's anything in that room that would keep her from buying the house if she happened to be in the market for this house...then fix it, clean it, or throw it away.

It's simple really.

"Do I need to clean the windows," she asked.

Yes. Clean the windows.

"Do you want the kitchen floor mopped?"

Yes. Mop the kitchen floor.

"What about the...."

DAMMIT WOMAN!!! YES, YES, YES!!! CLEAN EVERYTHING!!! I WANT THIS FREAKIN' HOUSE SPOTLESS WHEN I GET HOME FROM WORK TOMORROW!!! IF YOU HAVE ANY INTENTIONS OF EVER MOVING INTO YOUR DREAM HOME WE HAVE GOT TO GET THIS HOUSE CLEAN!!!!

I made her come back to the computer and read yet another Tip Sheet on how to sell your house.

Apparently, when she reads it in black and white or 16 colors or whatever, it imbeds itself in her head for a few days and she can get motivated enough to actually work.

Except my wife...bless her little ADD head...when she starts cleaning, inevitably she picks up something and begins to focus on that for an inordinate amount of time.

Last night, she picked up a bag full of old photos.

Now...common sense would say ... take that bag of old photos, put them in various shoeboxes, put the shoeboxes into a larger box, tape it up, and move on to the silverware drawer.

My wife has the common sense of an embryo.

She pulls out each photo and studies it intently.

She ran across a photo of herself and her fellow waitresses at the nightclub that we used to work at when we first started dating.

"I wonder whatever happened to Tammy?" she said, staring at the picture.

"Tammy?" I said, boxing up videotapes. "Who's Tammy?"

"Tammy," she said. "The blonde waitress from Stagger Lee's. The one with the abusive husband from Indiana who you used to buy your pot from."

Oh.

That Tammy.

I dunno about her, but her husband should be in jail...for selling me such shitty weed back in 1986.

"Hon," I said as gently as possible. "I'm sure Tammy's doing just fine. But the important thing is that all those pictures are tossed haphazardly into a shoebox and then boxed up in a bigger box so that I can take them to the storage unit tonight. When we get into our new home, you can sit in your new living room and look at pictures and reminisce about our old drug-addicted friends until dawn. But for now...please...just box the photos up because we have to get moving quickly."

I think this hurt her feelings. The screams coming from her tear-stained face may have tipped me off.

So she started just tossing things into boxes as quickly as she could, doing a pretty sloppy job of it too.

I didn't say anything else.

As I've already been told and shared with her...if a marriage can make it through the buying and selling of homes, it can make it through anything.

And I've decided not to fight with her over every little thing.

Mainly because I really, REALLY need to stay married since I can't afford this new house on my petty little salary alone.

Priorities, baby.

I've got 'em straight.


Speaking of priorities...I've got about five things I absolutely need to do before I leave for work this morning.

And finishing up this entry is one of them.

So peace out. Wish me luck with the real estate agent tonight.

We sign the actual contracts tonight for the home.

Next week we sit down with the interior designer and begin the long process of picking out carpet, paint, brick, shutters, wallpaper, tile, window furnishings, doors, etc.

Susie's jazzed.

I'm yawning.

Seriously...I need to stop this entry.

Bye.

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