The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
The In-Laws
My mother and father-in-law came to visit today. My father-in-law owns a whipper-snipper (weed-eater) that always gets the best of Dan, and Dan's father is kind-hearted enough to drive over (a good hour's drive) and do the whipper-snippering in exchange for lunch and a movie.

We seem to have settled into a kind of routine whenever they visit. Dan's mum hangs out with me in the house, and the guys head for the garage. I rarely set foot in the garage, with its work bench, model train assemblies and storage bins everywhere. I think my car has been housed in it once. Dan has taken it over.

So, Dan's mum and I share the family gossip while we prepare the food. I hear about elderly relatives and friends from church. We all used to attend the same church when Dan and I were first married, but, after we moved away, we became unmotivated to find a new parish. I don't really miss church services, but I do miss the community, so it was nice hearing about people whom I haven't seen in a while.

In the meanwhile, Dan and his dad struggle with my father-in-law's Triton table saw. Dan wants to build a model train layout that will be interchangeable for Halloween and Christmas. He'll buy the trains if I buy the Lemax buildings and scenery. It's a deal. Dan and his dad argue over the placement of the saw, and Dan teases his father about getting on in years.

I enjoy the company of my in-laws. They're both in their 70's and surprisingly open-minded and with the times. They don't mind a little nudity in films, they aren't easily scandalised, and they both have a good sense of humour. There's only one problem when they're around....

Dan suddenly becomes an annoying 15 year old teenager.

The decibel level of his voice gets raised to an ear-piercing level. His mother then raises hers to be heard over Dan. I have to leave the room when the two of them are together. Dan teases his father mercilessly. My father-in-law still has a nice head of hair, which Dan tugs at to create the illusion of shifting a toupée, which annoys my father-in-law to no end. They playfully insult each other. At the table, there are usually two conversations going at once - Dan and his mom are loud and trying to shout over one another, and Dan's dad and I are trying to have a quiet conversation off to the side.

I've never been in a situation before where I've looked forwards to being with people with such a combination of eagerness and dread.

I showed them the family portrait from our visit to the States, and they asked me when my mother was going to come to visit. I explained my mother's fear of flying, to which my father-in-law responded: "send her some flippers and a snorkel. That way, if something happens, she can swim the rest of the way."

I'd love to get my mom out here. I think she'd get on famously with my in-laws. My only concern is - what if I revert to be an annoying 15 year old teenager, too?
posted by Melanie O. at 10:11 PM -
  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    No, I'm not afraid of flying. I fly all over the United States. I've flown to Costa Rica and to the West Indies. The factor that stops me from flying to Sydney, is my limited energy. I read about how tired you get, flying over 24 hours and I know for me, it would be worse. Your days are our nights. Your summer is our winter. It takes time for the body to adjust to those physical stresses. I'm sorry, but I think 24 hours is too short a time period to adjust to those changes. If I came, I would have to stay for a month. A month? hmmmmmmmmmmm.

  • At 4:31 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Sure! You can come and stay for a month - I'll have to write about my tried and true tips for enduring a 24 hour-plus flight. Remember...we have a spare bedroom and we're right on the water.

  • At 11:45 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    Sure. But I have my own bedroom and I , too, am on the water.

  • At 8:43 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    But... it's not in AUSTRALIA. *wink*

  • At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Katie said…

    The look on Dan's face is priceless! His parents look adorable.

    xo Katie

  • At 4:27 PM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    katie - they are adorable. I have the nicest in-laws.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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