Friday, March 31, 2006

My weekend, AKA My in-laws

Will be out of communication until Tuesday or Wednesday and the earliest I'll be able to post is probably Monday, via audioblogger -- maybe that's a good thing, if I regard the poll. (And I know that you voted Boy, probably both the votes.) I'm off for an extended weekend to see the Boy's family in Yorkshire. His family stays just south of the Yorkshire Dales -- a gorgeous area of England.

Please don't make me go.

I didn't really have an impression of what I wanted my in-laws to be, not that I was conscious of, anyway. I actually like my mother-in-law (Mil) and my father-in-law (Fil), but I still feel a barrier between us. It just feels weird that Mil and Fil (and Boy's brothers) are my family, but they aren't as well. We don't have the history, the stories, the pictures. We just have a certificate. As a result, I feel like I can never be relaxed with them or casual.

There is one other problem: they are hard, bloody work. I have a feeling that this is not my own exclusive problem, but it sure as hell feels like it. Mil and Fil divorced years ago and have remarried to Fillee and Millee, respectively. We have to divide our time between them, else one feels slighted than the other. We usually do a good job, particularly at the holidays, save one thing: we usually stay with Mil and Fillee. Why? Now you've opened up a can of worms.

A little background: Fil is rich. Stinkin', filthy rich. He lives in a mansion. Ok, technically, he lives in half a mansion -- the other half is occupied by other people -- but still, it's a mansion. A mansion filled with antiques and fancy schmancy pictures that the Duke of Whateveryoucallitshire wanted to purchase, but Fil wouldn't sell. Rich. What did Ferris Bueller say of his pal's Cameron's house? "The place is like a museum. It's very beautiful and very cold, and you're not allowed to touch anything." Yup, that would be about right with Fil and Millee's place. You can't put your feet up or have a kip on the couch or watch TV. Oh, that's a big no-no, wanting to watch the telly. We spend our nights huddled around the coal fire, looking up from our reading to make the occasional comment to each other. It's like being transported back to the friggin' Victorian era. I'll need to take up cross-stitch, won't I, Mr Bennett?

Despite being wealthy, Fil is very frugal. He wasn't born rich, he's earned every bit of it with scrimping and saving, which I totally admire. But our meals have a lot to be desired. Mil is a fantastic cook and every meal, so goes all out, cooking great vegetarian meals for Boy. At Fil's, you're getting a bit of luxury if you get cheese on your beans on toast. You're also getting luxury if you have the heating on in your room. And don't think Mil's is better. It reminds me of my mum's house: too small to accommodate all those people and messy as hell.

So, for this visit, I've agreed that we could stay with Fil and Millee, though I'm scared shitless to do so. I'm doing this for Boy, who really gets on with Fil and hates disappointing him. And I'm doing it cos I know we'll be seeing Grandma on this trip. Boy's Grandma will be 93 this year and she is so fucking cool. The coolest old person I have ever met. I would have killed someone to have the relationship Boy has with his grandma with my grandma. I love my father's mother deeply, but she was a busy farmer's wife. And my amah's ma is just mad. She would steal my underpants and wear them. Then my amah would find them and try to give them back to me. Fun to share your drawers with your incontinent granny. But I don't think Grandma Nina (pronounced Nine-ah) would ever do anything so vile. She still has her senses and wit about her, which is extra cool.

She sent Boy a birthday card a few years back (she still gives Christmas and birthday money -- isn't that cute?) and it just so happened to be the birthday before we got married. She actually advised me and Boy to live together before we married, cos "maybe we wouldn't want to do it" and because, in her opinion, marriage is a bit overrated, though she had many a happy years with her Charles -- funny. Anyway, in the card, she wrote:
    Happy birthday. Your last birthday as a single man before you get married.
And then she added in her cute little old person chicken-scratch handwriting (don't all old people have the same handwriting?):
    You fool.


Blogger Zandra Towns said...

I love it when you air out all our dirty laundry. I especially love it when none of the laundry in mine!!

Saturday, 1 April 2006 at 20:43:00 BST  
Anonymous Amah said...

Getting to know your in-laws is always hard. I say relax and be yourself. They'll like you if they want to; if they don't, it's not your problem but theirs. There's no law, but there should be, that says thou must love thy in-laws. For most part, most people usually just tolerate their in-laws. I was fortunate to have in-laws (who now have passed away) who showed me love and who I loved in return. I felt your in-laws loved you (in their fashion)--from the brief time I saw them with you.

Monday, 3 April 2006 at 17:03:00 BST  
Anonymous a.t.w. said...

ah, you are brave, lass. i could never be so. lovely in that i can just picture everything. nina's card. heh heh. the cooking of mil. the mansion of fil. (which i totally want to see now. you know i'm a big antikies buff and i always want to touch. moo ha. i can even break out the cross-stitch project i never finished in 3rd grade and show you how to make the 3 stitches.)

Monday, 3 April 2006 at 21:10:00 BST  

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