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Frequent Fry HerTM
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The Pookster
MIL Age: 85

Greetings From Hell

frequent fry her - The Pookster Frequent Fry Her TM. - The Pookster /Posted: 5-DEC-08
Does anyone out there have a MIL who prominently displays photos in her home of their husband's ex-wife?  I about fell over the first time I saw this at my MIL's.  This wasn't the case when I was first married and my FIL was alive.  He was really a nice, decent man, and I think he would have advised my MIL against this, had she tried it while he was around.  I really think putting up the photos was just a way to stick it to me.  I don't go into her house anymore, so I'm not subjected to it now.  But, I have some fairly vivid memories of being in her house, listening to her chirp about poor so-and-so having "the hardest job in the world" (she works at the post office and, at that time, I worked in a jail, had 3 rotating shifts in one week and was about dead from exhaustion), and she just went on and on.  All the while I was treated to a photo of this poor, overworked woman.  And, I swear, I wouldn't even have cared as much if DH's ex treated him with some degree of civility.  But, well, that's a whole other story.  Anyway, 20+ years later, I don't speak to MIL.  She's not welcome in my house, and I don't even answer the phone if she calls.  I have so many stories about this woman that I could write a book.  If I can possibly work it out, I plan to never see her again.  So far, I have managed to only go a year.  Thank goodness that was a very brief meeting.

        Signed - Stick A Fork In Me, I'm Done
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frequent fry her - The Pookster Frequent Fry Her TM. - The Pookster, 1 of 4 /Posted: 13-NOV-08
When DH and I had been married 5 months, FIL, rather suddenly, passed away.  They lived in the same town as my step-kids, so every other weekend, when we went to get the kids for visitation, we always saw the ILs, too.  Well, after FIL passed, I truly felt sorry for my MIL.  She really was devastated.  I don't remember who suggested this is in the first place, but the first visitation that we had with the kids after FIL's death, MIL came along for the weekend.  Then, we had them for the annual 2 week visit in the summer, and again, she came along.  At first, I wasn't terribly concerned about it.  I think that I just thought that, in time, probably when school started again, it would go back to the way it was before - just the kids and us.  When she arrived with the kids for the two week deal, she brought along a giant bottle of chocolate syrup, because she said that the kids "needed it for their milk".  I had gone grocery shopping, and bought enough food for all of us for two weeks.  The first day she was home alone with the kids, we came home from work to discover that she had baked not one, but two identical cakes.  She said that the first one didn't turn out (it looked and tasted the same), and she had proceeded to plunder every cupboard in the house.  She had even climbed onto a chair and gotten into everything in the very top shelves.  She decided that she just had to bake (in addition to the two cakes) a cookie recipe that starts with a general type of dough, and then several different ingredients are added to it.  So, that took care of all the eggs I had in the house, along with the oatmeal, raisins, chocolate chips, nuts, and everything else she could figure out to throw into this recipe.  Now, I love cookies, but I swear, these were kind of bad.  But, alas, there were about 100 dozen.  Okay, a slight exaggeration, but she put about a dozen bags into the freezer.  I was furious, not only that she used up pretty much all the groceries that I had bought, but that she was so presumptuous to just dig through all the cupboards and then let the kids eat cookies and chocolate milk all day.  To say that, by day #2, I was more than ready to have her out of the house, would be an understatement.  But, it just got worse.  I ended up feeling like a guest in my own home.  To make it worse, there was this strange divide that evolved there.  She managed to always have the step-kids involved in some activity that only involved her, and then DH, my DD, and I would be kind of looking on from across the room.  It was very strange.  And, it spiraled more or less out of control from there.  It was years before I got to spend a weekend with my step-kids without her.  Needless to say, we didn't really get much of a chance to bond.

        Signed - It Was Very Strange
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frequent fry her - The Pookster Frequent Fry Her TM. - The Pookster, 2 of 4 /Posted: 22-NOV-08
Of all the stuff that MIL has done over the years, probably the one deal that has enraged me the most is how she just wrote off my own DD.  DD was only 12 when DH and I married, and she just wanted so much to be part of the family.  MIL begrudgingly gave her cheapo gifts at Christmas, and usually forgot her birthday (which is only 6 days after her own).  One time, we were at MIL's house the day before DD's birthday.  To this day, I don't know what prompted this, but apparently she did remember that it was DD's birthday, and she had bought a grocery store bakery sponge cake.  She did not say anything like, "Oh, I bought you a cake," or, "Happy birthday."  Nothing.  She just kind of threw the cake down in front of DD, while she was sitting at the table, and said, "Here."  She didn't even bother to take the plastic bag off it!  It was just so awkward, and DD, who was about 15 at the time, just sat there in stunned silence.  In fact, we all did.  After DD left for college, MIL never mentioned her, asked about her, or remembered her on her birthday or Christmas.  Even when DD has come home, it's as though she doesn't exist.  DD got married at age 30, and as you can imagine, did not want my MIL invited to her wedding.  As she said, "She hasn't had any contact with me for 12 years, why would I invite her?  It would appear that I was just making a bid for a gift, and I don't want anything from her."  I was really relieved, because if she had invited MIL out of some sense of duty or something, we would have had to have her travel 1000 miles with us to where the wedding was.  Believe me, she would have wanted to go, if for no other reason than to come back here and report on it.  So, guess what?  It got back to me sometime later that MIL was huffing about not being invited!

        Signed - Make Room for Daughter
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frequent fry her - The Pookster Frequent Fry Her TM. - The Pookster, 3 of 4 /Posted: 22-NOV-08
I always have to be on my guard with MIL, whenever I say anything, because she has the ability to zero in on the most innocuous remark, turn it around, and use it against me.  And, heaven forbid if DH says anything, even if he is just making conversation, or maybe teasing me a little.  She will go right for the jugular.  One of the worst things I remember her doing happened several decades ago, when I was still quite naïve.  We had just moved into our new house and we didn't have everything unpacked yet.  DH needed a new pair of work pants hemmed, and I couldn't easily get to my sewing machine.  It was still in a pile of boxes in the garage.  So, DH said that maybe he could get MIL to do it.  She always made a big deal out of the fact that she was doing a lot of mending for my step-kids.  I went for this, thinking that would save me the grief of having to tear through stacks of boxes.  I had a big enough mess going in the house.  Sure enough, DH asked MIL if she would hem his pants and away she went, "Don't you know how to hem anything?"  Then, she launched into a whole big deal about what great seamstresses her DD and DH's ex-wife were, blah, blah, blah.  I was furious that I had given her an "in".  Of course, explaining why we had asked her didn't assuage her cattiness one bit.  She loved it.  Then, she started doing this other sneaky little deal when she was at my house, all the while intruding on my household routine and washing, washing, washing everything in site.  If she found something that she deemed worthy of needing mending, she would sneak it into her suitcase, take it home, and then bring it back two weeks later when she came for the step-kid's visit.  One time, in particular, I was going nuts because I couldn't find my bathrobe and my DD couldn't find a pair of jeans.  She was so proud of herself when she presented them to us, all mended with a big bulky zigzag stitch that looked like heck.  I was just so shocked at first.  Who in their right mind is so presumptuous?  I flat out told her to not pull that again.  She trotted out the story about how DH needed her to mend his pants that one time!  I told her that if she wanted to mend something here, she could do it in my home, with my sewing machine.  She argued that she couldn't figure out how to use my machine, which was such a crock.  We had had more than one conversation about the fact that her machine and mine were identical, the same exact make and model.  Side by side, you would not have been able to tell whose was whose.

        Signed - The Old Sew and Sew
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frequent fry her - The Pookster Frequent Fry Her TM. - The Pookster, 4 of 4 /Posted: 4-DEC-08
After two years of having MIL along for the ride for every weekend and holiday visitation that DH had with his kids, we made plans to go see my mother and GPs in Texas, and we wanted to take along the step-kids and my DD.  Three kids in all.  Our car wasn't big enough to take more than that.  Trust me, we tried it once with the MIL coming along on a 400 mile trip.  Not only was everyone packed in and uncomfortable, but she made the trip miserable with her nonstop talking, having to stop every hour or so for pie and coffee, etc.  I was just not up to taking her along on this trip, which was about 1400 miles.  So, the five of us went on this great vacation and had a great time.  But, when we got back, my DD told me that SD told her that MIL was complaining to her that we didn't ask her along.  She said she would have rented a van to accommodate us all.  Of course, she never said anything about this before we left, which was a good thing because I'm afraid DH might have caved and let her join us.  Anyway, I just thought it was terribly inappropriate for MIL to kvetch to my 13 year old SD about this to begin with.  But, I guess she felt vindicated the next year when she took a trip to Disneyland with DH's ex.  And, of course, she rubbed it in.  Personally, I was just happy as heck that I didn't have her along for the three week Texas trip.  It was one of the few times that I actually got to interact with my step-kids, because when she was around, she always had them engaged with her and only her (reading to them, playing games, etc.), while DH, my DD and I were excluded.

        Signed - Unhappy Camper
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