Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A post-Katrina story for my pre-Gustav blog

(Rob, don't read this. You don't need your PTSD flaring up.)

My mother-in-law came to stay with us a week after Hurricane Katrina hit. She'd stayed in Tunica for a week with her neighbors that were nice enough to be her transportation during a truly awful time.

Two realities exist. There's reality, and then there's The Barbara Reality. In The Barbara Reality, things happen just as The Barbara expects them to happen. When actual reality gets in the way, The Barbara nigh implodes.

About a week and a half after the storm hit, my mom stayed at a hotel nearby and met some evacuees, who Rob and I unofficially adopted. There was an older woman, her daughters, her son in law, and a grandkid or two. A nearby church was giving food to Katrina victims, so Rob, my mom, and I decided we'd go to the church, pick up lunches for the whole family, and bring the lunches back to the hotel so the family wouldn't need to go anywhere. We also went to Big Lots and picked up like 90 other things for them.

We left the house at around 11. At about 11:15, The Barbara called and said that State Farm had her advance check. Of course, she had no way of getting it, so I told her I'd be back around 12:30 and I'd bring her there. This scenario did not exist in The Barbara Reality, so she basically huffed and hung up on me. I shrugged (because I didn't care) and went about doing my business, because bringing food and supplies to people who had neither ranked higher on my list of priorities than getting a check for my mother-in-law that she couldn't cash anyway.

I got back to my house promptly at 12:35, and my mother-in-law was gone. My front door was unlocked and my TV was on. I briefly entertained the thought of some poor fool having kidnapped my mother-in-law until I found a tiny note on my table that said "Got a ride to State Farm office from your neighbor."

The Barbara had never met my neighbor, but felt comfortable going to her house and saying "Hey, my worthless daughter-in-law didn't fall at my feet when I demanded she bring me to the State Farm office, could you give me a ride?" Oh, also, my neighbor was recovering from a hysterectomy at the time. Since she's so incredibly nice, she gave The Barbara a ride.

As soon as she walked in the door, she started barking "I had to pick up my check! You said your neighbor was nice! I couldn't let my check sit there! I had to pick up my check!" I didn't speak to her until Drew got home, and I told him he needed to rein her ass in with a quickness.

If this doesn't sufficiently chap your hide, consider this supplemental story. I stayed with The Barbara for 2 weeks after she had a tumor removed from her kidney. She was in the hospital for about 5 of those days, and I stayed at her dungeon house the whole time. One night, I called the hospital right before I went to bed to make sure she was okay and didn't need anything. She asked if I'd set the alarm yet and I said "Not yet... all the doors are locked, but I haven't set the alarm."

Let me tell you, internets, it was as though I'd set fire to her house. I got a 5-minute lecture about HER house and how I have to respect the rules and people could've broken in and stolen all of her things and RAPED ME. Let's not mention that she lives in a very safe area, all the doors were locked, and in 30 years, nobody's ever tried anything like that.

But hey, if The Barbara REALLY needs to get a check from State Farm right this very second, it's cool to leave my door unlocked and go demanding rides from complete strangers.

If it hadn't been for Rob, I would've quite honestly wound up at the crazy barn.

22 comments:

Jen said...

Sounds like she has a tumor in her head! She is insane! God Bless you for putting up with her!

I have a hell of a MIL too. (FIL IS WORSE) I haven't talked about her in a long time due to the fact that she is setting in with alzheimers and I feel bad if I talk about her, NOW that is!

Let's pray Gustav doesn't misplace her again this year.

mrs.h said...

Who is Rob?

Amanda Wells said...

Completely sympathize, but hey, at least it makes for some great stories!

Jo said...

Uh, yeah... she is WORSE than my mom. I have to honestly say... my mom is a piece of work, but she is NOT as bad as The Barbara.

Big Hugs Stacey! I'll be praying that all goes well for you!!!

Just keep remembering the strides that that wonderfully amazing child of yours is making :)

Stacey said...

Mrs. H - Rob is my second husband. We're a polygamist family. It's God's favorite kind of family!

Or not.

Rob's one of my oldest friends. He's come to stay with us during a few hurricane threats, and the only one that's hit so far is Katrina. He really did keep me sane when my MIL was here - I didn't want to rant to Drew because I knew he'd feel bad, so Rob's presence was a lifesaver. Unfortunately, he was also one of the targets of my MIL's neverending wrath, but he was able to just shake his head at most of it.

He's got a reservation in my guest room for Gustav too, and this time he won't be alone - he's bringing his blushing bride and their two awesome kids along :)

twinsx2 said...

Get her together with my MIL and they can both complain about tier worthless DILs. God help us all.

Watercolor said...

oy vey. She isn't coming to stay with you again with this one is she?! Want to come stay with me??

Sharon said...

YOU are a nice person.
Dang.

HEATHER said...

OH dearie!
She sounds very much like my MIL!
We need to get together and write a movie!

Bird said...

For the love of pants I would have killed the woman. KILLED HER. For what it's worth, there were a lot of people not speaking to their families post-Katrina. It was a bit too much togetherness for a lot of people.

Alice said...

wow...she's nuts (no offense, Drew!) hehe

mayberry said...

Every time I think I've heard of the worst MIL ever, I hear a story to top the last one! Your MIL is ranking at the top of my list right now - and believe me, that's no easy task! Congratulations! =)

Rob the Webkahunah said...

You know, it's funny... I've been telling my Barbara stories to co- workers all morning before I even read your blog...

Yes, I read it, but my PTSD is just fine, thank you because I have come to accept that Drew's mom just enjoys making those around her miserable when she's not happy, and that's just the way she is... Still glad to hear that if the worse comes to worse, we probably won't have to share space with the Barbara.

Of course, my lovely wife would probably just drop her with a Tazer the second she said something disparaging about our kids... Now that's entertainment value :)

From the Doghouse said...

C'mon, I know you said SOMETHING to her - 'fess up, what was it?

Sandi said...

MIL madness. I feel your pain.

i'm black betty said...

i agree with alice...she's nutz!!! sorry, boo... :(

sinister_n_evil said...

Hi Hun...

I just got to read your entry of the barb (as in barbwire)... and rob told me about the shrimp incident... I love you and I love drew... but, i can't promice i will hold my toung should she make an appearance at su casa... you out of respect for your hubby have to walk on egg shells but if she brought up anything about the damn shrimp shells... i would have dug them out of the trash and put them in her pillow case...

sorry... low tolerance for crabby individuals that make my friends miserable...

the next time you are in her presence, start a conversation with drew about how you think she has dementia... don't acknowlege her statements, and suggest nursing home or hospice care for her... maybe she will get the idea...

Deanna said...

MIL's... sigh.

Christina Martin said...

I once came close to marrying a man with a mother like that. Thankfully, she exerted sufficient pressure to send him running from evil me with a bottle in each hand. (Any man who's willing to let his mother run his woman off is not the man to marry.)

niceguy333 said...

i just was curious what other spiehlers did on the earth. I guess since my bad immigration experence with my cheater wife 21 and me being 60 September 3 i have decided to leave the USA and go be with a new wife 20 in Asia. I have been 100 % alone for a year on my farm an its so strange other Americans lead such a different life than I do. A man tried to sell me cable TV an I said " I have not seen TV for 10 years, if you had 1 day left to live what would you do with it? Watch TV all day? Well maybe today is your last day on earth." So I guess riding water bufflow in Luzon and hiding from machine gun welding rebels in Mindanao is tame compaired to the exciting life other Spiehlers live GEE, but the 85 lb 20 year old wife is nice, she said her GFs told her 60 year old men were not HOT in bed. I said " Your a virgin you will not know the difference" Well I guess I have go back to my farm work in Indiana until I can leave :( America. Last week I went made a fish delivery ( I sell fish ) in the sub-burbs aaaaaaaaa that was an experence. I mean people really live right next door to each other and know each other ? How odd ? I am alone on 119 acres and never see other humans.
I see snakes, deer, wild turkey, trees, birds HOW STRANGE other people have lives centered around other PEople? I mean I just live to work for 40 years and now HOPING to live 20 more NOT working and avoiding hand gernades and machine guns, I just want to walk on the beach where it never gets colder than 80 degrees and eat dole pineapples. My new wife is a nurse and yesterday she was part of a group of doctors and nurses giving free aid to street people. She was really freaked on the phone of their desparation. Ok back to my reality but thank you for allowing me to VIEW the life of other Spiehlers even if its like so DIFFERENT from what I see everyday as reality. Howard Spiehler lll

Sandi said...

What.

shiksa said...

One of these days, you're going to compile short stories about The Barb and Garrison Keillor will read them aloud on the radio. With the names changed to protect your son, of course :)