Monday, April 09, 2007

Let's Play Hungry, Hungry Hippos

The weekend is over, thank goodness. Yes, the visit from the in-laws was as painful and stressful for me as I imagined. I tried to suck it up for H, because at the end of the day, no matter how much he also complains about them, they are his parents and I know he needs them. I may have lost my ability to complain about them at all for awhile anyway, but I'll save that reason for the end.

MIL behaved as she always does, giving us millions of suggestions for how to live our lives while sitting on her butt as H did all the work of feeding and serving her and FIL. Boy, can those two eat. They eat in a weekend what it takes me and H a week to finish. They are not exceptionally big people either. They have your typical mom and dad bodies--a little soft around their middles but not obese or anything. Whenever they are at our house, they will eat what is on the table until it is gone, no matter how much we cook--and H and I always cook way more than we need. The in-laws just sit and eat and eat and eat, picking until every last bit is gone. (Which is why their request for Easter dinner leftovers was particularly funny to me--they never leave leftovers on our table.)

The best part is, they never have food in their own house. When we visit them, we're on our own. If we buy something to eat while we're there, they'll eat it themselves unless we literally hide it. When they cook a family meal, it's awkward because food will often run out before it's reached everyone. Maybe they eat so much at our house because they haven't eaten all week at their own?

Anyhow, we had asked MIL to bring a dessert and stuff to make a salad. H went ahead and bought a large amount of salad stuff that we would eat during the week anyway, just in case she didn't bring enough. Good thing. MIL's idea of bringing salad was a bag of baby spinach (which was big enough, I'll admit) and a bag of dried cranberries. No tomato, no mushrooms, no cucumber, or any other typical salad item. As she started to put the items she brought in the fridge, she asked H whether she should add tomatoes to the salad. Sure, H said, did you bring any? "No, I'll just use yours," was her response as located the ones we had in the fridge. H ended up adding a few other things of ours as well to make it a real salad. As for dessert, she did bring a container of mixed fruit and a dessert bread that she made herself--a first.

At dinner, they performed their usual feeding ritual, helping themselves to second, third, and fourth servings long after my parents and H and I had stopped eating. Only this time, I also loaded up my own plate so that H and I would have something for the next day. I figured they wouldn't take food off a pregnant lady's plate. As soon as he was done eating, FIL asked where we had hidden the Easter candy he knew we had. Then we had dessert. Again, MIL and FIL helped themselves to multiple servings of cake and bread, along with the fruit. Really, I don't see where they put it all!

We did manage to have leftover side dishes, which H made a point of claiming as ours for the next day. So, when MIL and FIL left on Sunday, they only took their remaining fruit with them. This, of course, was after H made TWO breakfasts for them, one small one before church and one large one after church. They finished two full-size cartons of orange juice and two pots of coffee (minus the one glass of each that H had at each sitting.)After the second carton of OJ was gone, MIL eyed H's still-full second glass and asked if she could have it. H told her that there was a third carton in the fridge is she wanted to go get it, but she declined. How are these people such bottomless pits?? One of those cartons would last us a week. At the in-law's house, they rarely have any OJ in the morning, and if they do have it, they yell at H for pouring himself a glass in a normal-sized cup rather than the itty bitty juice glasses they have. No kidding. Anyhow, at the second breakfast, H commented that he had made so much that there would be enough for me to have during the week. Hardly. That comment slowed them down so that there was a single serving left, but if he hadn't said something, that would have been gone too.

With all the eating came a lot of dirty dishes, and the in-laws were no help in that area either. H was on his feet in the kitchen all weekend long when they were here, constantly serving and cleaning up after them. MIL made several remarks that she would help put away dishes but she didn't know where anything went. Um, how hard is it to figure out where our dishes, glasses, and utensils go? We keep a very organized kitchen. It's not some secret lair. And if she can't empty a dishwasher for us, then what the heck kinda help does she intend to offer us when she says she'll stay with us to help with housecleaning once the babies are born?
As usual, the guest bathroom was disgusting after they left after only 24-hours usage (I'm talking gross smears on the toilet seat that weren't cleaned up) and they didn't bother to bring down their towels or sheets for washing. (They sleep in separate guest rooms when they are here so that we have twice the sheets to wash, saying our double beds are too small for the two of them to sleep together. Yet these are the beds of my grandparents and parents, who were always fine in double beds and are no smaller than them.) Now, when they are our guests, we never expect them to change the bed sheets anyway, but as people saying they were here to HELP US OUT, I'd sure like to know what part of the weekend constituted as help.

To top it all off, MIL tells H that she and FIL are planning to visit us again in 2 weeks. H said no. He said that with me being out of commission and the babies arriving soon, he really doesn't have the time to be getting extra food for their stay and cleaning up after them.

And then they tell H that FIL has early stage prostate cancer, and will be having surgery a week from tomorrow.

Hello, guilt trip.


Michelle said...

Your in-laws leave me speechless. I should never compain about mine ever again! Wow. You and H are to be applauded for your patience in dealing with them.

I am so sorry about your FIL. Hello, guilt trip is right. Maybe they didn't want to cast a pall over the weekend, but dropping that bombshell on the way out the door isn't the best approach, either.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I am sorry to hear about you FIL, but what a weird way to tell you guys!

Jena said...

wow. They really are stunning in their bad guest behavior.

It does make me appreciate my somewhat-crazy MIL. She does some odd things at times, but nothing of your in-law's caliber.

(sorry, I don't post about my family because they read my blog)

Jamie said...

My in-laws are big eaters too -- but they help out a ton when they are here. I don't know how you handled it and kept yourself in control.

In regards to your FIL's prostate cancer. It really is something that is very treatable. My grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 80 and is now 95 and still going strong. He made it through a few surgeries, as well as radiation like a trooper. Yes, this will complicate things, and add a nice dose of guilt but don't let it guilt you too much. You have a lot on your plate right now without them adding to it -- and springing it on you at the end of the visit wasn't very nice of them either.

Linlee said...

I feel your pain! My inlaws seem to eat the entire house when they come and they can't seem to clean up after themselves. My MIL had 6 sodas before noon one morning! Now they say they are coming to stay with us when the baby is born...NOT if I can help it.
Last visit I didn't even go to the store and somehow no one I think they just eat because it's there.

Isabel said...

Yeah I wouldn't feel bad about not having them again... heavens to Betsy I'd always have forgotten to go the store if those were my in-laws! You and your DH are saints!

hope the next few weeks are easy on you...

GLouise said...

Wow- your in-laws really take the cake! Literally, I guess!

Oooh, don't try to let them guilt you too badly.