Monday, September 15, 2008

Weekend Recap: The word for the weekend is AWKWARD.

Not too much exciting went on this weekend, but I thought I'd run it down for you anyway. Sorry, this is a long one, and there aren't any pictures. (ETA: I did go back through after I posted this and tried to cut it down - not sure that it worked, though.)

We were up in the Poconos and were joined by Shawn's parents. I was not looking forward to this weekend - it's always an awkward experience to be around his parents. That had me on edge Friday evening, and this anxiety was heightened 100-fold when we realized that Shawn's parents did not take his advice regarding their departure time to drive out to the Poconos - they left waaayyy too early, and we thought for sure they would be sitting in the driveway waiting for us.

We got to our house up there a little bit before Shawn's parents (they had found a Perkins to stop at for their dinner), and after we unloaded our car, I went to the grocery store. Of course, it being a small town, the chances are better than 50/50 that I will run into someone I know. While searching for the things on my list, I bumped into a friend from high school who I also roomed with for a year at college. She was there with her husband and daughter. Another awkward moment. We didn't exactly live together well at college, and Shawn does not care for her husband at all, so it was good that he was not with me. Our little bit of small talk went OK, but this awkward little encounter just lead to more anxiety on my part.

When I got back to the house, Shawn had given his mom a mini-tour of the flower beds and the rooms we cleaned up and redecorated this winter. I walked in at the end of it, but because I wasn't there for it, I'm not really sure what she thought of things. It doesn't really matter, but my relationship with my mother-in-law is so awkward that I never really know what she is thinking.

While sitting around our little fire ring Friday night, we got a phone call from my Aunt Dian. She started the conversation off by asking if I had talked to my uncle, Davie, or his wife, Jane, this week. Ruh roh. Not a good way to start a conversation. That was Clue #2 that something was wrong. Clue #1 was that my aunt's voice was rather shaky.

The long and the short of it is that my grandma is not doing well. She is living in a nursing home and fell last Saturday. When my aunt took her to the doctor, they discovered that she had broken her pelvis in the fall. While at the doctor's office, my aunt asks them to do a CAT scan of Grandma's head. She had been acting very confused and just not at all herself these past few weeks/months, but a scan in May didn't show anything. Unfortunately, the scan taken this week showed a mass in Grandma's brain, which explains a lot of what has been going on recently with her health and behavior. She's also not eating or drinking, and doesn't seem to be able to swallow. My aunt asked the doctor how long we've got, and he said that it could be today, could be next week, but that he didn't foresee her lasting more than 2 months. So, my aunt ended the conversation basically saying that the next time she called me, it would probably be with bad news. My grandma and I were never especially close - she just was not that kind of grandparent - but it's still sad, especially to watch my aunts and uncles deal with this. Grandma was a rather bitter woman, so this is just difficult (and awkward) all around. She's 92 or 93, has survived a stroke, several mini-strokes, and several bouts with cancer, so it's amazing we've had this long.

After all the awkwardness and whatnot associated with Friday, I wasn't sure what to expect of the rest of the weekend. Saturday, I helped my mother-in-law make sticky buns for breakfast. After Shawn mowed the yard and we had lunch, we all went to a nearby state park. Shawn's mom and I and their dog went for a walk while the guys fished. When we got home afterwards, we had dinner. We made turkey burgers and also served pasta salad and baked beans. The turkey burgers were a new thing to the in-laws, although I had used ground turkey in a lasagna I made for them a couple years ago so it wasn't completely new to them (translation: I snuck the ground turkey into the lasagna, and they didn't know about it). I don't think my mother-in-law cared for them, because I use herbs and spices when I make turkey burgers and she really doesn't care for any flavor in her food. I don't think she liked the pasta salad either - I saw her picking things out of it. Whatever. Shawn said later that if they went hungry, it's their own fault. That's generally the view I take every time we have people over, because I know that I will always have plenty of food on hand. We spent the rest of the evening sitting around the fire again.

Sunday morning, I made blueberry pancakes. The biggest hurdle I have when cooking for my in-laws is that my mother-in-law likes to ... insert herself ... into the kitchen. She can be like an overeager puppy dog when it comes to offering her assistance, but if you let her help, all she does is tell you how she would do things, or what she doesn't like. I get weird offhand comments from her like, "Oh, I don't add ____ to my ____," typically said in a tone of voice that just grates on my nerves. Perfect example of that was Christmas 2006, when she watched me make stuffing and said "Oh, I only add parsley to my stuffing." Well, that explains why her stuffing tastes like BREAD, and my stuffing tastes like STUFFING. And let's not forget her sighs. You know the ones. The sighs that someone gives when they aren't pleased with something but don't want to come right out and say anything. Yeah, that's her. Fortunately, I somehow managed to give her the hint that her help was not needed in the kitchen.

We all sat around lazily after breakfast, and then the in-laws left after lunch. We drove back down here and relaxed with what little was left of the weekend. Now here we are at Monday.

Nothing exciting on the horizon for this week... I have a bunch of tomatoes to deal with, which is probably going to happen tonight. Other than that, I have a list for CVS and would like to get to Weis because they are having a big meat sale which ends on Wednesday. We need to get our vehicles inspected this week, and I'm supposed to be scrapping with a friend on Sunday - the bright spot at the end of the week. For now, I really should get back to work.

Enjoy your Monday and have a great week!


Melb. said...

Well...first...I am sorry to hear about your grandmother. Even though you were not close she is still a part of you.

Your stories of your M-I-L in the kitchen just make me laugh! She is the one with the problem. You shouldn't let her get to you or make you anxious. Evidently she is not going to like you no matter what. Just chill and do your thing. If she is that bothered by things she doesn't have to visit anymore.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother and tricky weekend. Your family is in my prayers.

Your MIL stories made me laugh too. For me, it's my grandmother who is like that. If it wasn't for her, I would hardly know how to cook, but she can be very particular. I just let it go for the most part, but it can be annoying.

I hope your week is better.


Rollie said...

oh it just isn't right to have someone like that bother you so much!
I think as adults we try to respect our elders so much we cause ourselves pain.
Kate's Mom actually didn't think I liked her because I didn't cater to her sighs and such the first time we met.
It is your house now, and you need to let it go and own it!