Sunday, February 26, 2006

I've been sitting on this subject for a while, and it's about time I pop the pimple and let fly with some pent-up angst. I've a fair bit of ire stoked here, so I hope you will forgive me if this turns into a convoluted harangue. So long as you agree with me 100% by the end of this post, I don't care how unhinged I may seem in the process.

About 2 years ago my husband's brother married a girl from the San Francisco area, where he has lived and worked for the past 8 years or so.

SisterInLaw is a nutritionist, and self-proclaimed health nut (passive-aggressive princess), and BrotherIL is just the sort of moldable, eager-to-please male women like that crave. He always wanted to get away from Texas, and I have no doubt there is a wee bit of self-loathing in his stripe of liberal feministic mindset. She claims to have him on a very strict dietary regimen, and in fact, the time he came to Dallas before the wedding, he said the crap food he was eating here had so bound him up that he was stuck in his hotel room most of the visit, and went home days early. Well, fine. Whatever.

So, since no one but my husband and his brother are allowed in their parents' house (I'm not kidding - they live 5 miles from us in Dallas, and after 12 years of marriage, I have never been in their home) BIL & SIL stayed with us when they came to Texas in Oct 2004. I was delighted they were coming, and having been aware of the digestive, er, difficulties BIL had the previous visit, I spared no expense stocking the kitchen with the very finest (read, expensive) organic produce and anything in the store that looked healthyish. I let them know that when they arrived there would be fresh fruit, cheese, and sandwich stuff at our house. So we waited for them to come from the airport. And we waited. They were 2 hours late when they finally showed up, but they said they had to drive around for a while until they found a Jason's Deli to eat. OK. Fair enough. They're tired, traveling and hungry, maybe they want predictable fare. The next meal, they wanted to go to Chili's (?!) and got some fajita-type product. Subsequent meals out only confirmed my belief that they were not at all picky about what they ate. They didn't eat a single banana, orange, apple or any other fruit I provided the entire week they were here. The day before they left, we were driving around, and SIL said "we need to stop at the store and buy some fruit" and I suspect husband's quick response was in hopes that I wouldn't let fly on they ass, as my fingers were digging into the automobile upholstery. He said "there is lots of great fruit at the house already." Most inexplicably to me - they don't believe in eating beef until it's cooked into an inanely gray and tasteless state. My philosophy is that if God didn't intend us to eat raw beef, then it wouldn't taste so good raw. For my steaks, just knock the horns off and wipe its ass, slap it on my plate and I'm one happy phlegmmy.

Before their arrival, I decked out their bedroom/bathroom with everything I could think of to make the space welcoming and comfortable for them. The only thing I could have added would have been a mini bar, but I knew I didn't care THAT much about impressing them.

Despite all this obvious effort on my part, little was said of the welcoming cordiality of my preparations. Again, fine. Whatever.

However, it was not long into the visit that I started hearing about how a place should be more diverse, and that SIL was thankful she grew up in San Francisco where she didn't just see white republicans everywhere. OK. No longer fine here. This was election season, and every other house on our street had a Vote Democrat! sign in their lawn, and no Repulican signs to be seen. My hackles are rearing their ugly heads at this point. The smug superiority was absolutely insufferable, and pretty much culminated in a heated discussion (I'd held my tongue long enough) the night before they left. The condescension was too much to endure another minute. I was delighted to see the back of them, to say the least.

Husband's parents have just completed construction of a palatial new home in one of Dallas' toniest suburbs, and BIL & SIL are coming to visit during the first week of April. Here's the amazing part: they are going to stay at the in-laws' new house with them. (Glory to the day of my deliverance.) Oh, to be a fly on the wall and see how sick of each other they all get. Fortunately, I have a large family gathering in Arkansas the following weekend, and I may just have to leave town early to go visit some art gallery spaces in Arkansas and Memphis to see if they would carry my work. Thank God for legitimate excuses!

I'll don my best cotillion voice and purr how I'm so disappointed I won't get to spend more time with them while they're in Texas. Actually, I'd like to take them to a rot-gut true blue Mexican joint that serves the best Chicken mole in town (my favorite). I should take them to places to let them see that Dallas isn't all white. I'll bet they'd shit themselves. We could go for Dim Sum in the Asian Gangland area of Garland. Go for a Sunday outing at the every-color trash playground of Traders Village. (The incense guy has 3' long joss rods with designer fragrances as well as "new car" and "pussy." I know. I know.)

So, that's my rant of the day. I'm sure my bullshit detector will be pegging over the next five weeks in anticipation of the hallowed visit of the anointed ones, so no doubt there will be miles more ranting to be done.
All I know is, if your head is so far up the ass of political correctness and multi-culturalism, you should at least be sensitive enought not to criticize the homeplace of people who are graciously hosting your worthless ass. Thanks for letting me vent.


jenny said...

you're welcome. and god bless america - even the 'open-mided' hypocrites.

Knight Of The Storms said...

liked this post,
it seems that almost all of us have tendency to take people and everything else that comes our way for granted
its partly to be blamed on our civilization and the way we are conditioned from the childhood of course this cant be excuse and everyone has to run reality checks all the time...
regarding other stuff I dont believe in sacrifice of any kind,
anything that cant be done with full heart is potential source of grief and frustration

phlegmfatale said...

for real, jenny!

thanks, knight. I figured it would bore people senseless to read, but I really needed to spew for a bit. It's all very well to not aspire to self-sacrifice, but the very nature of having people stay with you with whom you are not at the most casual of ease is in itself a sacrifice, and one that could not be avoided, in our case. Now that lovely privelege will pass to the MIL & FIL, and they are the most paranoid, easily offended people I've ever seen. I expect sheer madness to ensue.

Heather B said...

Wow you will have to keep us updated.

What is up with people like that ... can they really be that clueless? I love to go that extra step for people, granted I hope they NOTICE it - but it's a selfish pleasure to see someone happy because of you.

So they are so icky.

PS - I have that exact same lava lamp somewhere in box.

:P fuzzbox said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog or I would never have found you. That was an awesome rant. Never trust a person that cooks their meat over medium rare. Besides the chicken mole they should be treated to a barbacoa, menudo, and tripas all-you-can-eat buffet. I can guarentee that there will be no binding problems whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Hey sis, can I come over and sing for them?

Wild*Hen said...

I must applaude that last sentance in bold...Amen sister!

Infact I give the entire post 3 snaps up! F those ingrates, YOU are the better person with better taste and class I may add.

phlegmfatale said...

heather b - for real! Yeah, like I said, I know I'll have to vent again soon. The mother in law is the most easily offended and paranoid person I've ever met, so it's going to be interesting to see how long it takes before they have to move out of the new family manse back to our more neutral digs. Yes, it's gratifying to be generous with people who appreciate it, but this is a pearls before swine thing, apparently. Groovy lava lamp - I was just using it as an illustration of hippy-dippy Californian bullshit.

fuzzbox - Wow, -same back at ya - i like ur blog too, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, it is sacrilege to overcook beef. Yeah, barbacoa tacos at the Fuel City downtown on Industrial Blvd in Dallas is quite a treat, and then we could swing by the Longhorn ballroom on Corinth where the Sex pistols played in 1978. What's not to love? Yeah, we need to feed them up proper this time...

Oh, my darling sister - every day I love you more. I'll pay you to come sing for them. How'll that be? Money, AND a case of the beer of your choice.

lungfung - woohoo - 3 snaps! 3 snaps from a chick with butterfly drawers is worth 40 snaps from a dull chick! Why thank you kindly!

phlegmfatale said...

OMG - those are CRABS!!! Not butterflies - that's worth triple snaps, baby! Thanks everyone for helping me laugh at a situation I feel I have no way out of.

Ben Heller said...

Got any fruit left ?

Pat Kirby said...

My philosophy is that if God didn't intend us to eat raw beef, then it wouldn't taste so good raw. For my steaks, just knock the horns off and wipe its ass, slap it on my plate and I'm one happy phlegmmy.

Bwah. I love ya! I love my steak "mooing." Husband, however, always chars the crud out of it. Argh.

Anyone on a special diet--vegetarian, Atkins, whatever--annoy me. Mostly, because they never shut up about it.

Anonymous said...

Great rant, You don't need that crap! Obviously you are a great host. Please, if you can't avoid, give them the rainbow tour of the city and a parting gift of incense.

phlegmfatale said...

bloody fruit coming out our eyeballs, ben! Want some?

pat - Ugh, naughty husband! Yeah, I say that too - I like it mooing. OH, and that is a major pet peeve of mine - people who want to take your hospitality but dictate how you will feed them. They need to stock MY kitchen if that is the case. That'll be my policy in future.

jacquie - thanks! I feel buoyed by the support of you brilliant, sexy people! Parting gift of pussy incense, perhaps??? Har har har.

Becky said...

I love the steak description. Every time I hear someone order one well done, it makes me cringe. Might as well eat the charcoal at that point.

There's nothing worse than ingrateful relatives that are already mooching off you.

Maven said...

Re: the food...

Reminds me of my ex on the night of my 21st birthday. My folks took me, the ex, and my grandparents out for a lovely meal. The ex ordered Veal Marsala. Anyone who knows what Marsala anything knows that it comes with wine and usually with mushrooms. His plate arrived laden with mushrooms. He pitched a hissy fit that he's allergic to 'shrooms. Turns out he was forever constipated due to a poor constitution and shitty diet. The shrooms had nothing to do with it. Ruined the last birthday celebration I had where my grandma was still alive.

What I find interesting is the rudeness on behalf of your sil. What? You sat around and waited two hours, doing them a favor, being there to pick them up at the airport... yet they felt the need to go grab something to eat? Like you wouldn't have food for them?

I doubt if I'd be able to keep my mouth shut, if I did everything to be a good host, and a guest showed disrespect to me in my house.

You're doing the logical thing by making yourself scarce for their next visit to TX.

The way I see it, the sil will think ill of you regardless of whether it is justified or not.

PS: The next time they stay at your home, make sure one of Emily Post's or Letitia Baldridge's books on etiquette is in a prominent spot in the guest room with bookmarks tucked into pages about ingrates.

Wild*Hen said...


These be crabs matey!!!

I'm Pirate Paris!