Danger Will Robinson, Danger! Mother-in-Law Arriving Soon

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Betty, my MIL, has decided that she won’t travel anymore; at least not by herself. No, this is Evelyn’s MIL, who is also called Evelyn and now, for the sake of clarity, will be called E2. I have been told by many people that E2 is a perfectly delightful older woman, who makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker. To that end, Evelyn and I, plus Brett (who’s home to help me with a show this weekend), began the big push to turn Evelyn’s house from a normal house in Anywhereville, USA into a residence that Howard Hughes would’ve been happy take off his rubber gloves in.

Now it isn’t that Evelyn’s house looked like the ones on Hoarders to begin with. We didn’t discover the remains of a beloved pet who had sadly just “disappeared”, hidden beneath years of old pizza boxes or unread newspapers- nothing like that. Her house looked lived- in. Before friends and most family come over, nothing need be done.

Yesterday, however, Evelyn sat on the floor for six hours with her carpet cleaning machine cleaning and re-cleaning (sometimes) all the upholstery in the den. Brett was scrubbing the patio, patio furniture, and even the big garbage can in the garage with bleach. I was cleaning all the louvers, slat by slat, doing windowsills, taking down drapes, then washing and rehanging them, etc. The work will continue until she arrive on Wed.

Now I am not passing judgment on Evelyn in any way by saying all this. When Betty, my MIL, was coming for a visit I too would work myself into a frenzy. You would’ve thought the bubble boy (sans bubble) was making his first entrance into our germy world. I remember cleaning the tracks of our shower door with a toothbrush. Of course Betty had a room in her house that had white carpeting. I had to move the velvet ropes aside to enter then sit up perfectly straight on the edge of cushion while she and the Queen had tea. (I wasn’t allowed any drinks in that room).

Evelyn and E2 truly like each other, so I’m told. Why is it then that after thirty-fouryears of marriage, that the impending visit of E2 making Evelyn crazy? If your MIL is really a friend, should you have to go to such extreme ends to ensure her approval?

I am not a MIL yet. However, when I am, I hope that I don’t provoke this response in Brett’s wife. (Of course living with Brett, that just might be warranted.) Is this perhaps, just a generational thing that will be fading away over time? Or is this whole dynamic one for the millenniums?


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