what am I saying? It’s actually less than 3 weeks and ‘Santa’ will have pretty much bought all the toys, to have packed, gotten through airport security and schlepped to London. With this being our 3rd time in the same rented house, we know the score (pretty much) on how to do this, and what shops are in the vicinity for last minute purchases so we should be fine.
However a trip back ‘home’ brings the inevitable ‘family obligations’ and already the stress is mounting there (although Shingles isn’t upon us just yet..)
My gran (86) has been in a tizzy (tissy?) with her home insurance. She’s not comparing apples to apple and her ‘anxiety’ over something so trivial has consumed her. Trying to explain deductibles etc to someone of her age is a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge (I imagine) and many phone calls later I thought we were sorted out only for round 2 to ensue this week. Many more phone calls and suddenly I am uncaring and callous for not sitting down and going through stacks of paperwork. In my mind this should not take more than a few hours if you are ORGANISED but not to my gran. She doesn’t want to talk about things but in the next breath wants me to sort it all out. I ask questions that could enable me to get involved from here and you can see I am classed as ‘nosey.’ If you saw me driving on Col/orado Boulevard the last few days around 8am flicking Vs to my steering wheel (blue.tooth microphone) you’ll have an idea how frustrating these phone calls have been.
What? And we’re only going to spend a few hours with her in her town? And she may need to get a bus before her free bus pass kicks in that morning? Not go to her house? Well yes. And I’ll probably need a few Val.ium to even get me through that. A new plan came to us in that Hubby could spend another load of money heading North for an extra day (seriously don’t think my nerves could take it) and he will rent a car and go and see her and help her sort her paperwork into meaningful folders (and take account numbers etc should we need to then intervene to pay bills from over here). This ‘offer’ was accepted – no not accepted – it was ‘heard’ with the gist of ‘Guess what? My husband loves me so much he’s going to come and deal with your misery in his Christmas vacation and suck it up to help you.’ being translated at her end to ‘Guess what? My husband is going to come up and leave a big fat turd in your bed. And then he’s going to document how much money you have so we can rob you blind.’
Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
Just to balance the scales slightly HIS family are also quite loco at the moment. His mother (my MIL) is pissed off that 6 of us won’t be staying with her for even a night with her and my FIL (recovering from stroke- sleeping 16 hours a day and having even less patience now with kids/noise). Our offer to rent a fancy private room in a hotel near to them and have a big Christmas meal catered for a full afternoon of ‘visiting’ was given the answer “Oh son, I just couldn’t tell your dad he’d only see his grandkids over a pub table with a drink for an hour”
Brother in law (Saint) is taking the in laws away for a few days over Christmas (no where near London)- his choice. Strangely enough sick FIL is fine for this. He is not fine to go to a soccer match Hubby suggested (which he’s always had a passion for) apparently. And the offer of having MIL come to London for the day (taxi and train) has been met with scorn as she couldn’t possibly ‘deny FIL of his grandkids’ and she’s ‘too tired’ to get a taxi etc. Sorry we’re not shooting for a private plane.
The thing about all of this is that it just makes us pleased that w’re so many 1000s of miles away most of the time. I would NEVER have guessed Hubby would ever feel this way (although I have for many years). What she doesn’t see is that every dig, every snipe just makes us wonder why we try. You’re right, we don’t live there and we won’t ever in their lifetimes. And so we can’t pop in every other night on the way home from work. Yes, we can spend $1000 on a flight over so you can get a ride to the supermarket or go and get your hair done but even that becomes an expensive ‘babysitting’ gig when there is just sour grapes and a given list of what we’re still failing at.
My gran’s classic ‘it would be nice to see you before I peg out’ was not music to my ears. Nor was the ‘Who knows if this’ll be your dad’s last Christmas’ very helpful for Hubby.
The guilt only goes so far I am afraid. And in a warped way it is bringing us closer here – Hubby and I. We’ve always supported each other with family strife etc but never before have we been on such a similar wavelength. Sad but true.
Promise I’ll feel more festive soon. But 10 hours up north is a looming burden right now. I’m going to have to paint the lipstick on extra thick and wear a jingle bell necklace or something to get through the ‘family time.’ Ho ho oh oh.