Electric Grandmother

Maggie Croft's Personal Journal young spirit, wire-wrapped
spark electric grandmother
arc against the night

-- Lon Prater
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april fool's

I know you've got to at least be familiar with the concept if you don't have one of your own...

It's the relative that's loud, domineering, opinionated, draining, bigger than life, always ready to start a fight, and when they go home (praise the heavens) they've left a natural disaster behind.

For us, it's my husband's great aunt. She lives in California. We may see her once a year. We hear from her at Christmas, maybe birthdays, and we like it like that.

Her sister, my husband's grandma, has a much smaller personality and for years put up with her sister until she finally told her where to stick it. "Good for her!" we said, though her sudden backbone didn't necessarily stay. When the aunt comes to visit, Grandma shuts down. She has a hard time eating, sleeping and functioning in general. Her sister takes over, runs the nest, picks at her sister over stupid things that happened decades ago, trying to start a fight (my guess is she really isn't mad about a cookbook -- she's got something else that's still bugging her), and generally raises an insane amount of havoc.

So, when my father-in-law showed up this afternoon and announced that the great aunt had emailed saying she was showing up at his house and planning to stay a while at the beginning of May (while my husband, my sons and I are there after the baby is born via C-section and we're recouperating (my mother-in-law is a post-surgical nurse and is going to watch after the kid and give me a hand in general)), both my husband and I pretty much flipped out.

After the initial "AHHH" from my husband, he realized what day it was and that his father was probably pulling the cruelest, most effective April Fool's joke in the history of mankind, he actually kicked his father. Talk about a knee jerk reaction, and one totally unlike Rice. For a moment I was relieved, and then my father-in-law kindly said, "I'm not kidding -- she really emailed and said she was coming." My husband ran and got his dad a couple Motrin and some OJ, apologizing all over the place.

And then my FIL announced that he was writing the great aunt back, saying, "Sorry -- no room at the inn; how about July? Unless you'd like the name of a hotel and rental car company," or something like that. And he's right. There will be no room at the inn. Grandma has a one bedroom place at a long-term care facility, Rice and I will be sleeping upstairs in his parent's bed, they'll be sleeping downstairs in the guestroom, and Avadore's got the couch.

Truly, though, if it had been an April Fool's prank, my FIL would have gone down in history as the best one, having elicited the most excited, violent response ever. At least around here.

Give you any ideas of some lovely announcements you could make at dinner tonight?

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