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5:42 a.m. - 2001-09-04

CLEANING HOUSE AND ANOTHER VISIT FROM THE IN-LAWS

Man.

What an incredibly lazy Labor Day.

Technically, I guess that's what's it's all about...being lazy. Taking a day off from "Labor".

So basically, that's what we did.

Our plan for the day was to clean up our bedroom.

Now then, I may have mentioned this before, but I need to reiterate...my wife is a slob.

She was raised as a slob...the youngest of four children, by the time she journeyed into the world, her Mom had abandoned all hope of keeping a clean home, so dishes didn't get done, winter clothes were tossed into boxes that sat in the hallway until the next winter, everyone shared beds with rats because they kept your legs warmer.

Me?

My mother was extremely anal about a clean house. Everything had to be perfect because you never knew when someone would come to visit.

When Susie and I met, we were both still in that mindset in which we were raised. I did dishes after dinner, Susie ran in the kitchen and licked each clean dish so that they were dirty again.

Finally, after a few years, we reached a compromise in our cleaning habits. Basically, I learned it's much more stress-free to be a slob than it is to be an anal retentive house cleaner.

Thus ... our bedroom REALLY needed cleaned if you get my drift.

Let's put it this way...after cleaning my side of the room, I found $14. That was pretty cool...dollar bills buried under mounds of crap.

When we clean the bedroom, we break the room down into two equal parts...my side and her side.

My side is spotless today.

Her side is still a mess.

In her defense, Andy was crankier than a senior citizen at a cafeteria buffet moments after they've run out of Jello yesterday.

We think he's beginning to sport yet another tooth, but we're not positive. He's never THIS cranky when he's teething. But alllll day yesterday, he set his crank-o-meter on HIGH and whined all freakin' day.

I've learned to ignore him but I don't think Susie has. Every time he opened his mouth, she was right there in his face, either playing "Peekaboo" or singing some off-key song for his entertainment.

So her side of the room is still covered with boxes of clothes, boxes of old bills and statements, pregnancy magazines and stuffed animals.

Mine's spotless.

Go me.


I forgot to mention...Sunday afternoon, as I sat in my recliner and moaned in pain, the phone rang.

Susie's Mom. She and my lazy,no-good,ass-licking,$6,000-owing brother-in-law wanted to come over and see Andrew.

Gawd. Shoot me NOW.

We were watching "The World According To Garp", a movie Susie had never seen but was really getting into when they showed up.

Now then, I don't think I've mentioned this, but Susie's mom has some kind of illness that has popped the vericose veins in her legs.

I think it's called "Vericosis" or something like that. I heard the word a hundred times on Sunday, but it was in one ear and out the other the whole time.

Basically, her legs look like a horror movie. Big red, bloody blotches all over them with several hundred tinier blotches on them.

She says it hurts to touch them, to walk, and to sit upright.

But ... she has cabin fever from being cooped up in the house for two weeks and has to see her grandbaby.

And naturally, the damned brother-in-law has to come because they're apparently all out of that generic Coke crap at their house and he has to come over, hook his lips up to my refrigerator and suck Coke cans dry.

You know how some people chain smoke? He chain Cokes.

Thank you very much...I came up with that as I watched him open up his third can of Coke in 30 minutes at my home on Sunday.

Anyway, the movie got the volume turned down as the in-laws took over the home.

Grandma held Andy for about 30 minutes, which left Andy perplexed. He hadn't seen her in two weeks so out of sight...out of mind.

She fawned all over him, telling us how much bigger he was now and how much more mature he had become. My brother-in-law slurped his Cokes loudly in agreement. I've seen dehydrated men crawl out of a desert with more grace intact than my brother-in-law when it comes to drinking Coke out of the can. He's 38 years old and still slurps like a four-year-old.

Every.

Damned.

Sip.

Once again, it's no wonder that no woman has stepped forward to claim him as her own.

Other than his mother.

So they're sitting there talking, Susie's trying to listen but to also pay attention to "Garp", I'm making a grocery list and Andy's playing "Connect the Bloody Dots" on Grandma's legs.

For some reason, the subject got onto Christmas bonuses because we had exhausted the subject of how much Granny's legs hurt.

Apparently, last year, my brother-in-law's office where he works had an extravagant Christmas party at our local cultural center.

Who did he take as his date to the Christmas party??

Three guesses.

Nope. Not aging supermodel Kathy Ireland.

No, not Lt. Uhuru from the Star Trek series who I am quite sure was his first choice.

Nope. Not a whore off the street, which would have been better than his final choice.

He took his mother.

Alright then.

WHAT KIND OF SAD SACK FREAK ARE YOU when are 38 years old and you take your own mother to your office Christmas party.

Go stag for God's sakes. Don't rub it in that you're so damned pathetic that you not only LIVE with your mother, but you take her with you to social gatherings.

In my mother-in-law's defense, she has a pretty big purse which can hold a lot of chicken fingers that they can eat off of for a week.

I just sat there and wanted to chastise the guy for being such a social retard. Granted, I'm sure they already throw rocks at him at his job during the slow periods. Now they're probably throwing handfuls of broken glass at him as well.

At one point, Grandma started telling a story about how one of her friends wanted to get her a wheelchair since she can't get around very good.

She's telling the story to the whole room, but Susie and her brother knew how to best not get involved with the story and that is to avoid eye contact with Grandma.

If you're watching TV or reading, Grandma will keep talking but find someone else in the room to make eye contact with.

Even Andy, at his young age, has figured this out. She started telling the story and he crawled over, grabbed a Tigger doll and started chewing away like he was possessed.

Which left me.

I'm sitting and writing out a grocery list so that when they FINALLY leave, we can go get groceries.

I casually look up at Grandma and see her frantically scanning the room for someone to listen to her boring story about a wheelchair. I try to avert my eyes but it's too late.

D'oh!!

So I sit and nod my head for ten minutes as I listen to her slowly tell a story about turning down a friend's kind gesture to get a wheelchair.

Meanwhile, inside, I'm wanting to grab the nearest sharp instrument and begin flailing away at her, hoping to snag her jugular and keep her from ever talking again.

My mother-in-law's stories are extremely painful to listen to. She tells stories very slowly and has to make sure all her facts are straight before continuing a story.

"I think it was 1987...no...it was 1972....wait...it might have been 1956 because I had just given birth to Sandy...no wait...I wasn't even out of high school yet so it must have been 1947....anyway....I farted and blood came out."

THAT'S the kinda crap she does.

Finally, after sitting in our home for two hours and scaring the crap out of the boy, Grandma asks if they're keeping us from anything.

Let's see...it's 6:30 p.m.

Most people eat dinner at 6:30 p.m.

We didn't INVITE you over for dinner and we're just planning on eating leftovers which consists of two chicken breasts and none for you.

Sooooooo...you're keeping us from.....DINNER?!?

I pipe up.

"I was going to run to the grocery store and pick up a few things."

Okay...it had already been established that I wasn't feeling well, every muscle ached, my testicles felt like Satan had been sucking on them.

I was in pain.

But the pain wasn't bad enough to where I would sit and listen to another one of Granny's stories and watch my brother-in-law slurp every last drop of caffeinated goodness out of each can of Coke.

I was willing to go to the store and collapse in a heap of twisted and torn muscles in Aisle 5 to get away from these people.

Then ... Grandma makes a suggestion.

"Well, I know a certain brother-in-law that could go with you and help you shop! He's good at that! I should know, he's been waiting on me hand and foot for the last two weeks!"

Oh dear God.

PLEASE don't let my brother-in-law in his faded Marvin Hamlisch 1978 tour t-shirt and polyester shorts accompany me to the store.

Please God. I'm a good man. I give you 10% each week and if you want, I could bump it up to 15.

But get me out of this predicament now.

"That's okay," I said. "I can make it. If you get a call from Winn Dixie saying I've fallen into the meat bins, come and get me."

They laughed uproariously. They laugh at everything I say, so I don't say much because the canned laughter gets to you after a while.

I went to the store, but not before I heard the story of how my brother-in-law fluffs all of Mama's pillows for her and has pillows stacked at the end of the bed for her feet while she has a before-bed bowel movement.

Thanks. I'm scarred for life now Granny. I appreciate it.

Went to the store, took my SWEET ASSED time, came home and they were finally gone. They must have gotten the hint that we weren't feeding them.

Total Coke damage....four Cokes drank in a three-hour period. Really not too bad for the caffeine-addicted creep.

We ate our leftover chicken breasts as Susie talked about how bad she felt for her Mom's legs.

I ate my chicken breast in silence, trying desperately to avoid eye contact with my wife as she prattled on.

I may as well start avoiding eye contact now.

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