I would love to write a very long blog either about the reality check some of my students got today, the improving health (and returning smart assedness) of my father or even raving about my genius of a son who has learned to crawl, eat tiny bits of puffed snack treats and pull himself up from his belly to standing all within the space of about a week and a half, but my in-laws descend upon us in less than 24 hours and my house is a wreck. Not the “oh my gosh there might be mold growing on that plate” or “oh lord, what is that smell” sort of wreck, but the “wow, exactly how long has that pile of books and catalogs been sitting there” sort of way.
To me this is completely liveable and in fact, I prefer it to complete order and chaos (after all, who knows when a Godiva catalog or old issue of Parents magazine might be exactly what you need), but my mother-in-law’s house is always immaculate. And while she has a cleaning lady who comes in to help her keep it that way, I don’t want my house being compared (either in that silently judgy sort of way or in the jovial, “hey I’m not really joking way) to my sister-in-law’s house, which always looks like a tornado sucked everything off the shelves and set it back down in the same general area, but not even remotely where it belongs. That’s called having three small children, I realize, but I only have a baby, so the excuse just isn’t there.
With my dad having a kidney removed, finding out he has cancer, making two trips to visit him and the massive amounts of grading I’ve had to do because of the worry and visits, my house has been sorely neglected. I didn’t do one speck of cleaning all last week because I was busting my ass to get work graded so I could send midterm reports home on Friday. And while I got most of that done, I still have quite the pile of grading to do (from the end of last week) and I have to make this place at least a little presentable.
I am dreading this week.
For the record, I like my in-laws, I really do. However, since my father-in-law is retired and my mother-in-law works from home in her own business, they have a lot of free time on their hands. This means they have time to drive here to spend Thanksgiving with us. In an endeavor to beat the holiday traffic, they arrive tomorrow evening just in time for dinner and don’t leave until Monday morning after I take off for work. While this is very smart on their part, this means six days with my in-laws. And even the nicest house guests can drive you crazy after about four.
It’s not their actual being here I mind. They are intelligent, interesting people. It’s the constant worry and upkeep of cooking, cleaning and entertaining two extra people. I am content most nights to throw together a simple dinner of onion soup burgers or frozen casserole from the deep freeze. With my in-laws here, I have to put together not only a thought out dinner with multiple sides, but also breakfasts and lunches, meals which usually come in boxes for us during the week days. I’m also completely content to leave all washing and cleaning to the weekends or in the case of clutter, five minutes before company shows), but with them here, I’ll have twice as much to clean and since my mother-in-law runs the dishwasher after just about every meal in her house, I have to not only keep up on the cleaning, but also keep her from over cleaning my house. As for the entertaining, this is not quite as hard in the evenings as they like to watch movies, but their hearing isn’t always great and they want to watch movies at volumes that easily wake the baby. Not to mention that during the day we are happy to spend time snuggled on the couch watching TV (something my in-laws don’t do), or one of us reading and the other playing on the computer. We don’t have to be talking and doing something at every moment. With the in-laws here, constant activity is a must.
After two straight weekends of time with my family and what will end up being almost an entire week with my husband’s family, I need a holiday of my own. I wonder how mad everyone will get if I just refuse to travel anywhere for the next month or so. Since it’s my son’s first Christmas, I think I might actually be drug from my bed, forcibly strapped into a car and driven to my dad’s. I need a vacation from my vacations.