Monday, November 26, 2007

Long, Detailed, Grouchy Rant

Dear Universe,

I realize you have granted me a normal pregnancy when I expected, and for a while seemed to be getting, a repeat of previous high-risk and/or early miscarriage pregnancies. For this, I am profoundly grateful.

Geohde mentioned "Sod's Law" in a comment to my last post. Not being from Australia (or indeed the UK), I have a rather vague idea of what this phrase means, but I do believe it roughly translates to "Murphy's Law" in Americanese. And so, I believe that the following disastrous confluence of events can be firmly attributed to either Sod or Murphy, whoever or whatever they were.

We begin on September 12th of this year. After inviting herself and my father to fly down and stay at our house for Christmas, my mother books plane tickets for the two of them. I am pleased to be having them come to stay, despite having no idea if at that time I will be (a) hugely pregnant, (b) mother to a premature infant currently in the NICU, (c) hospitalized for repeat preterm labor, or (d) devastated by a second trimester pregnancy loss. My mother comes to help and actually HELPS. She vacuums. She does the grocery shopping. She takes D out to the park so I can take a nap.

Quite soon after this event, my sister lets me know that my mother has also invited her to fly down and join the celebration. My sister, who is quite polite, asks if this is okay and makes it clear that she has other options if I'd really rather not, and that no offense will be taken. We laugh at my mother's lack of discretion at issuing invitations on my behalf despite items (a) through (d) above. My good humor regarding the holiday remains intact.

2 months pass. At some point during this period, I discover while in conversation with the two women I have become closest to since having D and moving to this area, that none of us are planning to travel for Christmas, and it occurs to me to invite them, their husbands, and their children (each almost exactly D's age) over for Christmas Day. (All of us settled here in Southern California quite far from all other members of our families.) Before issuing this invitation, I check with my mother, who has offered to do the bulk of the cooking (see items (a) through (d) above). Mom is all for it, and invitations are made and accepted. One family will be bringing their inflatable jumpy house to put up in the backyard to entertain the kids. I am content with the Christmas we have planned, despite the lingering uncertainly regarding this pregnancy.

The end of November approaches, and my husband's family apparently all think to themselves, "Gee! Christmas is coming! How can I irritate the shit out of May this year???"

Unbeknownst to me, my mother-in-law e-mails my mother (not me, but my mother) to see what plans my parents have made for Christmas. My mother delicately lets her know they will be staying with us. In a response to this news, my mother-in-law makes it clear (again, to my mother) that she is assuming that she and my husband's younger brother would be welcome to invite themselves at the last minute, and that indeed this is what she is planning to do herself, despite the fact that my brother-in-law has apparently made plans to visit his new grilfriend's family for the holidays. My mother-in-law claims to "help" and yet inevitably makes things ten thousand times harder. Plus, she drives everyone up the wall, which my husband feels especially guilty about.

My mother forwards me copies of the abovementioned e-mails, disavowing all knowledge of what they contain and saying the messages will self-destruct in twenty seconds.

H and I hastily confer on what's to be done. We decide (a) she's coming anyway, regardless of anything we might feel or say, and (b) at this point the best that can be hoped for is to avoid having her also staying in the house, on top of everyone else. My sister, ever polite, at this point changes her plans from staying at the house to staying at a nearby hotel. H and I decide to invite both his mother *and* her gentleman friend, making it unlikely that they will want to both sleep on couches. We also drop broad hints regarding limiting the length of her stay. (I should mention at this point this this week is her last at her current job, since her company has just been bought by another company and she has been laid off. She thus has oodles of time on her hands and no plans as to what she will be doing with herself, aside from "helping" me.)

My mother-in-law accepts without giving us any idea of when she might be coming or going. We still don't know.

My brother-in-law decides to invite himself as well, changing his original plans for the holidays. My sister (again, oh so polite and yet quite wily) asks me if she should e-mail him and offer to share the cost of a 2-bedroom suite, thus ensuring that he will not assume he is welcome to sleep on the couch. I endorse this brilliant plan, which seems to have failed when brother-in-law calls and broadly hints that he'd prefer to sleep on the couch, but he apparently picked up on the unsaid, and contacted my sister and agreed to her plan. He still hasn't booked anything, though.

My father-in-law (he and MIL divorced after 30-plus years of marriage) calls to laugh at me for the recent chain of events. He has made it clear to H in a previous call that he was going to make other Christmas plans due to what he thought was an obvious state of bad timing for us regarding Christmas. Having now learned that D's three other grandparents had invited themselves, he was clearly feeling left out. I told him at this point he wouldn't be making anything worse, and he was welcome to come if he wished. He will likely decide to come for one of his drive-by vists, involving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only.

Now, universe, I understand you are mocking me. I understand you are enjoying yourself immensely. But how, exactly, did I end up involuntarily hosting Christmas dinner for SIXTEEN while 9 months pregnant? What did I do to you? And why on Earth can my mother-in-law not take a hint? She just invited herself out here a few weeks ago for D's birthday. I thought I was done with her for now. May I ask, please, that you inspire her to at least limit the length of her stay, or to let us know before the day of her arrival, when that arrival will actually be?


May Problem Uterus

PS Tomorrow's ultrasound is supposed to reveal whether or not I'll be undergoing a scheduled C-section for a low-lying placenta at 36 weeks. 36 weeks is December 23rd. Ha freaking HA.

PPS Please stop messing with me.


electriclady said...

Jeez, you've certainly got yourself a mess there, haven't you? Perhaps the plus side of having a c-section on the 23rd would be escaping that houseful of people? (Then again, would your MIL proceed to invite herself to the hospital, possibly into the operating room?)

Lori said...

I'm a big fan of your sister.

KMW said...

Groan. You're making me think of my Christmas plans with shivers up my spine. Family visiting..same deal..same interlopers. I'm a fan of your sister, too.

topcat said...

May! At this rate, you'll be forced to give birth in a stable, as there's no room at the inn!!

Your MIL makes me cranky, I feel like having a few words with her.

I'm really wishing for everything to go as smooth as possible for you. Maybe no-one will end up staying!

Thanks so much for your support on my blog, really appreciate it. xo

MrsSpock said...

Cripes! Aren't families wonderful?