Friday, May 29, 2009

"Well, at least it can't get any worse than this..." what I was thinking yesterday as I dashed for shelter from a downpour, the sudden storm cutting our visit to the botanical gardens short.

Rewind a little.

Woke up yesterday morning, MIL still not talking to me (or husband for that matter) but has decided we will all go to the gardens, a 50-minute drive away. Decide to head out immediately as storms are in the forecast for late afternoon. The cursing and muttering under the breath begins even before we settle into the car, followed by railing about needing to stop for gas, despite the fact that the needle read well over a quarter of a tank. We stop for gas about halfway there. During the stop, Her Highness decides she also needs a snack, and, apparently forgetting her speech 3 days earlier about never eating fried foods, demands we stop at the Golden Arches. The car now filled with the scent of burgers and fries, we continue the final 25 minutes to our destination.

The man at the desk is friendly and politely pretends not to notice the bickering. We set out for the gardens, which, predictably, are a Huge Disappointment to MIL (although I quite like the honeysuckle, magnolias, and decorative fountains). The clouds begin thickening overhead right as she finds something she likes (and I use "like" in a lukewarm sense)- Canadian geese. She sets off across a clearing to chase them with her camera, shooting looks and insults as the rest of us warn that geese are not friendly. I mention that we should hurry; the sky is growing increasingly dark. No acknowledgment. Finally she returns from her goose photo safari and I mention again that we should hurry, to which MIL irritably announces "If we get wet, we get wet. Who cares."

All right. She has complained about every single thing so far this week, including how dirty the ocean water is, how hot it is, the swarms of flies that are seemingly invisible to everyone else, the air conditioning being too cold, the air conditioning being too hot, the Southern accents of everyone here, FIL "burning" dinner.... the list goes on. And on and on and on.

But if she is OK with getting drenched, which looks inevitable, then I decide to leave her to it and make a mad dash back to the visitors' center with husband following. The bottom falls out of the skies about a hundred feet from shelter, and we are pretty wet when we arrive. After we have wiped down with paper towels from the bathroom and refreshed the Band-Aid for the ripe blister on my foot, they arrive at the visitors' center. I simply stand aside and make way, and bite my tongue to stop myself from saying anything, even as the cursing grows louder from the direction of the bathroom. The nice man at the front desk from before tries to make light-hearted conversation about the storm sneaking up, and husband obliges. Fifteen minutes later I find myself in the front seat of the car, MIL in back while FIL and husband arrange umbrella and towels in the trunk.

"Well, this has been one HELL of a vacation," she says, her voice dripping with contempt.

I bite my tongue again.

Fast forward four hours after we get back to the beach house. Husband and I have just returned from generously buying take-out for everyone, and notice the car is a little hard to steer. The battery light also comes on. As the car is going on ten years old, we assume that the battery needs to be replaced, and it needs more power steering fluid. Back at the house, husband decides to check the levels, only to find that the serpentine belt has been completely shredded.

FIL allows us to take his car the fifteen miles into town to the auto parts store to get a replacement belt and a tool with which to do the replacing. We buy it, get home, and realize they gave us the wrong belt. Go all the way back into town to exchange for the proper belt, then stop by my uncle's house and ask him what he knows about this kind of thing. He offers to come over and do it. By 11:00 pm, the car still has no belt. We are in need of either a different tool, or a tow to the nearest garage. FIL offers to take us the following morning to a different auto supply store for the tool.

Fast forward to this morning. MIL refuses to let FIL take husband into town because she wants to leave.

Fast forward to now. Being stranded on this island is looking increasingly likely as I listen to MIL slam things around downstairs. I am staying up here until she is gone, having a breakfast of Cheet-os which are left over from last night.

After all of the things I have been thinking this week, right now I am at a loss for words.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



I'm curled up on a wicker loveseat in a beach house that sits about a hundred yards from the ocean. I can hear the waves as I type this. I'm back from Japan, after a wonderful vacation. This is supposed to be Vacation Part II, but as I am spending it with my constantly bickering in-laws, I am somewhat less than relaxed. The tactic I am choosing to implement is ignorance of the situation, which shows on the surface but certainly not underneath. It also backfires because my MIL is constantly sulking and pouting and cursing under her breath when she is not sniping at her husband, and in this way pleads for someone [read: me] to notice and ask whatever could be the matter and sympathize. Unlike my brother-in-law's girlfriend, I refuse to play this game. I can't help feeling that she deems me a dud as a daughter-in-law, but I am who I am. Drama games are not a part of that.

I had expected to relax on this loveseat for several hours, listening to the sound of the waves. In the interval between my opening this new post and writing this sentence, a lawn service van has appeared at the neighbors', and I find myself now listening to the clatter of lawn mowers instead of the ocean.

I can't help feeling that it mimics this week at the beach in its disappointment.

Three more days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Leaving tomorrow


Even though I've done a lot of traveling, and I love seeing new places, I am still afraid of flying. I know that I can't let fear rule my life and hold me back from the things I want to do- I gave up too much when I was younger because of my insecurities. Taking this trip with my husband is something we've wanted to do for years, and I can't let my fear stand in the way of that. I just feel like when I'm up there that I'm in an impenetrable vortex. I imagine that a lot of this comes from all the solo flying I've done in the last several years. This time will be different, this time I'll have someone there with me. When I flew to Paris a couple of years ago, it was a very bumpy flight, and the landing really scared me because it was still bumpy and it was dark outside. Plus, no one was with me or waiting for me at the airport. When I went to Vancouver, I felt OK knowing that my best friend was going to meet me at the airport. So this time, I'm bound to feel a little better, right? This is our belated honeymoon, so I want to enjoy as much of it as possible

Starting tomorrow at 8:30 am, I have a 2-hour flight, then a 12 1/2 hour flight, then a 1 1/2 hour flight. Goodness... Well, after that I can order a dozen magazine subscriptions with my frequent flyer miles again, hahaha!

Right outside the window, I can see a birdnest in the tall tree over the driveway. A robin just landed on the side of it with a prize in its mouth. And then-- several tiny mouths reached up to get their share! What a great thing to see. I didn't know any eggs had hatched until now. This time of year is absolutely beautiful in this part of the country.
Soon I will see what it's like on the other side of the world :)
Hopefully we will make friends there, like we did with this little guy here!

Sunday, May 10, 2009



Today I ate the first strawberry from my strawberry plant!!
Juicy & sweet ♪
The peas and beans look great, and the squash plants are all in blossom. Not bad for our first attempt at veggie gardening. The plants like the weather; it's already hot and humid here. This makes the cats verrry lazy!

Boscoe is probably up to no good, as usual...