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Frequent Fry HerTM
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Age: 55

frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna/Posted: 10-NOV-12
Many years ago, when my DDs were in grade school, we went on our usual every-other-year Xmas pilgrimage to the IL's house.  I don't remember any particular gift that they gave me; I expect it was the usual magazine subscriptions, and $10 in our card.  ("You're so hard to buy for."  Funny, people who cared about us knew what sort of things we might like.)  Meh.  They were equally hard to buy for.

But, it was how she treated her grandchildren that really frosted my drawers.  Her precious grandSONS got two or three handheld electronic games each, and a kind of egg-shaped rocking chair that had built-in speakers for listening to music.  She must have dropped $150 apiece on her two grandsons.

Did the four grandDAUGHTERS get similar nice things?  HO HO HO.  They each had one package to open.  Inside were cheap Chinese Barbie knockoffs, that must have set her back a whole $1.50 apiece.  No clothes or other accessories for the dolls.  No other presents at all.  I thought the girls were going to cry.

DH spoke to her about this monstrous unfairness, and she said, "Well, we just don't have enough money to give EVERYONE expensive presents!"

        Signed - So How About Splitting The Gift Money EVENLY?!?
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna/Posted: 7-JUL-12
Winter weather always makes me think of the Great Shoeless Debacle.

I do not wear shoes in the house.  I prefer bare feet in the summer, soft comfy slippers in the winter.

One of our early visits to the PIL's house was in January or February.  Where we lived we had about a foot of snow on the ground, and there was even more where MIL lived.

This did not sit well with MIL, who put on shoes first thing in the morning and didn't take them off until she went to bed at night.  I had no idea, until we went in to sit down at the dinner table.  She ordered me back to the guest room.  "Go put on some shoes!  I don't want to smell your stinky feet under my table!"

I explained that I didn't have any shoes with me, other than snow boots.  That I didn't bring any, because I wouldn't be leaving the house in anything but the boots.  With over a foot of snow on the ground, I certainly wasn't going to wear tennis shoes outside!  And, that I wasn't going to wear the boots inside.  They were fleece-lined, and much too hot for indoor wear.

"I don't care!" MIL said, "I just can't stand the thought of those dirty old slippers under my dining room table!"  I didn't have much of a spine in those days.  So, to keep the peace, I went and put on the boots.

        Signed - But I Slipped Them Off Once We Sat Down!;-)
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna/Posted: 7-APR-12
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the posters who said MIL was OCD are right.  Nothing else could explain the Great Peanut Butter Sandwich Hissyfit.

I like peanut butter.  I like jam and jelly.  I do NOT like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  For me, each one ruins the other, kind of like hot fudge sauce on a garlic pizza.

So, when I make a PBJ "sandwich" for myself, I spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread, jam on the other, and fold them over on themselves to make 2 half-sandwiches.  I don't use any more filling than you would use in an ordinary PBJ, and actually use somewhat less.

So I was totally unprepared on one of our early visits to the PIL's house to have MIL throw a fit over how I chose to eat an ordinary lunch.  I was "spoiled" and "greedy" and "wasteful" because of how I made my sandwich.  DH tried to point out that it was no different than an ordinary PBJ, but that did no good.  The woman was red in the face.  She was so angry at my food choices.  It was pretty clear that she begrudged every bite of food that went into my mouth.  Meanwhile, Golden Child BIL was using most of the loaf to make himself 6 or 7 sandwiches, with gobs and gobs of both PB and J.  One of his sandwiches used at least 4 times what mine did.

        Signed - I Couldn't Do ANYTHING Right!
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna/Posted: 3-MAR-12
I was a barbarian from the wilds of a couple of western states.  So, to MIL's East Coast sensibilities, of course everything I did was wrong, starting with taking her baby boy away from her.

Never mind that Baby Boy was 21 and had been in the military for 2 years.  It was MY fault that he didn't write to his parents more than once a month on his first deployment.  Never mind that I wasn't even there - we were in very different parts of the country.  He didn't write to me any more often!

It was hard keeping up a LD relationship, but MIL made it harder on DH.  She sent him letter after letter, snarling about me.  Not only had I snared him and turned him against his family, I was probably sleeping around and would be pregnant with another man's child when he married me.  He didn't tell me any of this.  I found out when I discovered one of her letters in a pile of miscellaneous papers after we married.

I could maybe understand it if I had married the GC, but I didn't.  DH was the scapegoat.  His younger brother was the GC.  When they were kids, it was DH's job to keep GC out of trouble.  What that meant, of course, is that he got blamed for everything.  If GC wanted to do some kid thing like jump on the bed, and DH let him, he was in trouble for that.  If DH stopped him from doing something, he was in trouble for making his little brother cry.  Is it any wonder that DH escaped as soon as he could?

Once MIL met me, she really got her hooks into me.  She was the poster child for "Different is Wrong!!!"  I didn't keep house the way she did.  Can you believe it, I was such a slob that when I washed dishes, I let them *air dry*?!?  My food didn't taste like her food.  I "put dried grass all over it."  They're called "herbs", MIL!  I breast-fed my babies when they were hungry, instead of keeping them on a schedule and poking a bottle down them, making them take it all whether they wanted it or not.  Every three weeks I had severe menstrual cramps that at times sent me into shock.  She never had them, so obviously, I was "faking to get sympathy".  The migraines in-between each cycle were "faked" too.  She just took an aspirin when she got a headache, so there was no reason that I should have to go to bed in a dark, quiet room with mine.

It was just never-ending:  My hair (too long); my clothes (jeans instead of skirts); the hobbies that we enjoyed (reading SF was "childish"); our pets (I shouldn't have cats because they made her sneeze, and dogs should be tied up in the backyard); the names we gave our DDs (as in NOT named for MIL!); until DH and I were sick to death of it.  I think that if we had lived close enough to them that they could visit frequently, either DH would have cut her out of his life, or we would have long since divorced.  Fortunately, they always lived a minimum of a six-hour drive away, and they visited us seldom because of the pets and my horrible food and housekeeping.

Even the wedding rings we chose together came under attack.  They were "too fancy" because they were white gold and had a geometric pattern engraved on them.  She wanted us to stick them away in a jewelry box and wear plain gold bands for everyday.  We could wear the fancy ones when we went out on important occasions.  Gee, thanks for the permission, MIL!  Too bad we didn't pay any attention, isn't it?

        Signed - We Still Wear Those Rings Every Day
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - Mamaalanna/Posted:23-APR-11
MIL felt free to have her hissy fits at my house, as well as her own, about similar inconsequential things.  Because we were almost 30 years younger than she was, she knew everything and we knew nothing.

Back in the era before curbside single-stream recycling was common, our county began a recycling program.  You had to take your recyclables to the landfill and put them in the correct bin.  But, it was a start.

To further this aim, we put 3 large plastic garbage bins on our back porch.  One labeled "glass", one "plastic" and one "steel".  And, we sorted our trash accordingly.

MIL and FIL came down to visit.  First, MIL fussed that we didn't have sheer curtains put up so that "no one can see in".  One of the reasons that I hated visiting her house is that you can't see out, because of her sheers.  Then, she turned her attention to what she could see out of the windows.

"Why is that bin marked steel?  You should have almost nothing to put in there!"

"We put a fair amount of stuff in there, Mom.  Every can that we open goes in."

She laughed.  "You are so stupid.  Everybody knows that cans are made out of tin.  That's why they're called TIN CANS."

"No, Mom.  Cans are made out of steel.  Some of them have a thin coating of tin, but they're primarily steel."


I walked over to the kitchen drawer, pulled out the roll of aluminum foil, and asked, "Is this 'tinfoil'?"

"Of course."  Here she gave us the stinkeye.  Obviously, we were too stupid to be allowed to live.

"Then why does it say 'aluminum'?  Is there a huge block of ice in your icebox keeping things cold?  Just because something was called by a certain term a hundred years ago, that does not mean that it has anything to do with that term now."

"Hmph.  WELL, *I* KNOW BETTER!  And, so will you when your precious recycling center won't take those TIN CANS!"

        Signed - I Wish There Was An Internet Back Then, But She Wouldn't Have Believed That, Either!
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - Mamaalanna/Posted:18-NOV-10
Yet another hissy fit story, although this time it wasn't aimed at me or DH.  As MIL sank deeper into dementia, FIL started taking over the family finances and paying the bills, as well as doing everything else around the house.  His health started to suffer under the strain, and his kids finally staged an intervention to insist that they move into an independent living senior complex.  Their meals and housekeeping would be taken care of, and FIL could leave MIL alone for an hour or two without worrying that she might try to cook and burn the house down.  We were there to help them move.  DH and I were in the guest bedroom unpacking, and it was pretty clear that MIL had forgotten that we were there.  "Out of sight, out of mind."  She began reaming poor FIL a new one.  He had completely RUINED the checkbook and financial records that she had been keeping perfectly for over 30 years.  If he couldn't remember how to do it right, she would just take them and do everything herself, the way she did when he abandoned her to raise 3 kids all by herself.  All in her mind - the only time he "abandoned" her was when the US Navy sent him off to sea duty!  On and on and on in this vein, until DH came out of the bedroom and pretended that he hadn't heard a thing.  She reverted to company manners then, and soon forgot about being angry.  Oh, and the way that FIL had "completely ruined" that checkbook?  He'd recorded the date and the amount (about $15), but forgot to note who the check was written to.

        Signed - So That's "Just the Way Mom Is", Eh?
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - Mamaalanna, 1 of 4 needed/Posted: 28-SEP-10
MIL was always very touchy about things that she interpreted as criticism.  She was free to criticize ME, of course - my hair, my clothes, my hobbies, my children - you get the idea.  And, she would claim that she was "just trying to help."  But, the damnedest things would set her off.  One was "The Affair of the Folding Chairs":  We had gone to visit the ILs for the Thanksgiving holiday, and to SIL's house for Thanksgiving dinner.  MIL and FIL lived about two blocks from SIL, and brought over their folding chairs for extra seating.  Now, most folding chairs fold the same way:  You lift up the front of the seat to fold it and it hinges up against the back.  MIL's chairs were different.  You pulled up the *back* of the seat, which slid in tracks to flatten the chair, so that the front of the seat folded down.  I'd never seen anything like them.  They were probably made sometime in the 1940's or 1950's.  DH was setting up these chairs in SIL's dining room, and commented, "I always forget that these chairs work backwards."  I watched him fight with them for a second, and said, "Yeah, they are backwards, aren't they?" just as MIL came into the room.  Now, I *know* that she had to have heard DH's comment, as the living room, where she was, is open to the dining room, with only a half height wall between them.  But, it was *my* throat that she jumped down.  "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, COMING HERE AND CRITICIZING MY THINGS?  WHERE ARE YOU COMING FROM, THINKING YOUR THINGS ARE SO MUCH BETTER?  YOU'VE GOT NO RIGHT TO CRITICIZE ME LIKE THAT!", and several more sentences in the same vein.  I was standing there, stunned by this attack that came out of left field.  DH tried to calm her down by pointing out that I was responding to something he said, which was only the truth, and that I had said nothing about her at all.  She wasn't having any of that, and continued to screech.  And, after 25 years, I had had enough of taking her sh!t to keep the peace.  "DH, I refuse to stand here and be screamed at.  I'm going for a walk before *I* start screaming.  When I get back, your mother either apologizes or I'm getting in the car and going home.  I will not stay with someone who treats me like sh!t and throws a hissy fit for no reason."  Home was an 8 hour drive away, and we were sleeping at the PIL's house.  MIL was still throwing her tantrum when I closed the front door behind me.  I walked around for about 15-20 minutes, and I wish I'd been a fly on the wall back at SIL's house.  Apparently, my defection was the trigger for EVERYONE else to dump on MIL.  DH backed me and asked FIL for their house keys so that we could get our suitcases.  SIL, BIL, and their spouses told MIL that she has treated me (and her other DIL) abominably for years, and THEY won't sit back and listen to it any more.  When I got back to the house, I got a very grudging apology from MIL.  If she had been one of my kids, I would have said, "Try that again, and this time sound like you mean it!"  The "festive" Thanksgiving meal proceeded, but very tensely on everyone's part.  Back at the PIL's house that night, I heard MIL in their bedroom start to whine about how *I* ruined the holiday, and FIL cut her off.  Even HE sided with me.  That was the last time she pulled this sort of tantrum aimed at me.  Whether DH threatened to walk out permanently if it happened again, I don't know.  MIL started showing definite signs of senile dementia within the next couple of years, and apparently forgot that she didn't like me.

        Signed - Wish I'd Grown A Backbone 20 Years Earlier!
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna, 2 of 4 needed/Posted: 29-SEP-10
I don't know how many hissy fits my MIL threw over the years, but I walked on eggshells every time we visited.  There was no telling what harmless remark would set her off, and her biological family would just shrug it off with, "That's just the way Mom is."  I'll be posting as I think of them, so they may not be in chronological order.  One of the early ones concerned a Christmas that we spent with them.  I had worked for weeks on a square-dance shirt for DH.  His family's custom was to hand out the gifts until everyone had a pile by their feet, then all tear into them at once.  I don't remember what I got or gave that year (other than the annual magazine subscription from FIL/MIL), but I did watch DH to see what he thought of my gift to him.  He liked it, and wore it often to our dances.  Afterwards, I got reamed out by MIL.  I was ungrateful and selfish, it seemed.  This was not because I didn't thank people for the gifts that *I* got, or because I didn't give nice things, but because I cared about my husband's happiness.  "You don't care about anyone but yourself!  You didn't look at anyone's gifts except the one you gave my son!"  *Blink*Blink*.  Um, maybe I would have if you didn't do the massive rip-tear-shred that was over in 2 minutes?

        Signed - Maybe You Could Open One Gift At A Time?
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna, 3 of 4 needed/Posted: 29-SEP-10
Another hissy fit story:  MIL was a very house-proud woman.  Nothing was ever out of place in her house, nothing was used in such a way that might conceivably make it look used 10 years down the road, and things were to be used for only a certain designated use.  DH loves (name brand drink).  Yes, that powdered fake orange juice stuff.  He's been drinking it for 40 years, at least.  Not my choice, but hey, *I* don't have to drink it.  He wants a 16 ounce glass every morning.  When we visit anywhere, we take some with us.  The first morning at MIL's, I asked where the glasses and the silverware were, and went to make DH's drink.  MIL said, "What do you think you're doing?"  I answered, "Making (DH's name) his (name of drink mix)."  MIL said, almost shrieking now, "But, that's an ICED TEA spoon that you're using!"  I countered (still puzzled, since this was only our first visit), "Yes."  MIL said, "Use a REGULAR SPOON!!"  I tried to explain that this isn't a workable plan, since to use a regular spoon I'd have to stick my fingers down into the juice to stir it up in the big glass.  MIL hollered, "THAT DOESN'T MATTER!!  YOU ONLY USE THOSE SPOONS FOR ICED TEA!!!"  I brought our own iced tea spoons and a cup on every visit after that.  Yes, cups too.  Apparently, the drink mix somehow "contaminates" the glass and renders it unsuitable for any other drink.

        Signed - Never Once Saw Her Make ICED TEA!!!!
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frequent fry her - mamaalanna Frequent Fry Her TM. - mamaalanna, 4 of 4 needed/Posted: 30-SEP-10
I've mentioned that MIL was house-proud, and her house was never allowed to look as if people actually lived in it.  It always looked as if she expected the people from a home magazine to come around every day and photograph it.  Once, when our DDs were about 12 and 9, we came to visit.  She thought that MY children, not being boys, were the most horrible, messy, destructive children ever.  Why, they were so uncontrolled that they looked at her magazines!  And, they colored while sitting at the kitchen table!!!  And, they read books that she didn't approve of!!!!  They tried to be polite, quiet children, but by that age they were already well aware that GM didn't like them.  DH was using an electric razor at that time.  As you probably know, from time to time the shaved off hairs have to be emptied out of the razor.  While we were at MIL's, the razor became full enough to empty, and DH did so, into the pristine trash bag in the tiny wastebasket in MIL's bathroom.  There was, maybe, a teaspoon of grayish dust.  About an hour later, MIL came shrieking out of the bathroom and yelled for my DD, "WHO MADE THE BIG MESS IN MY BATHROOM?!?"  The girls looked at each other, and didn't say anything.  "ONE OF YOU MADE THIS HUGE MESS IN MY BATHROOM!" and she brandished the offending wastebasket.  I said, "Mom, that is NOT a 'huge mess', and neither of the girls did it."  MIL asked, "WELL, WHO THE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS DID?"  And, yes, that was the word she used!  DH stepped in, "Mom, that's from where I emptied my razor."  MIL queried, "What do you MEAN, emptied your razor?  One of THOSE GIRLS made this mess, and now you're trying to get them off!"  I jumped in, "YOU owe YOUR GRANDDAUGHTERS an apology.  There is no mess.  DH emptied his razor IN THE TRASH, where stuff like that is supposed to go.  Would you rather he spread it all over the floor?  The girls had nothing to do with it, AND THERE IS NO MESS!"  DH told her, "Mom, if you accuse my daughters unjustly again, we will leave and not come back."  MIL finished with, "Humph."  And she stormed off to another part of the house.  She never apologized.

        Signed - But Her GrandSONS were Perfect!
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