It's February 3rd and if any mention of holiday decorations comes up right now it's because you see a few hearts or cupids here and there, mostly stemming from advertisements for Valentine's day goodies. If you're like most people who celebrate Christmas, the decorations have long been torn down and the tree, if live, is firewood at this point and it's packed away if it was a fake tree. Any thoughts of Christmas or it's decorations is 10 months away.
That is, unless you're a crazy person like my Mother-in-law, Marge.
I'm surprised that I haven't really blogged much about my whack job of a Mother-in-law as she really is a great source of entertainment if you're not the one banging your head against the wall at her illogical nature and stubborness. I also really should point out that I have indeed grown to love the woman, warts and all. She has a good heart, can be very generous and is almost always well intentioned. That said, there's some wiring upstairs that needs to be ripped out and redone.
The weekend after the new year is when I always tear everything down. Most people are the same way, if they're a touch lazy it may take an extra weekend, but no biggie. Most of the time St. Patty's days comes to pass before my in-laws decide to pack it up. And they used to get a live tree until these past few years. I'm not sure which irked me more- the fact that they had a major fire hazard in their house or now they can keep the tree up until the 4th of July. When it was a live tree I would joke that they threw the tree away one needle at a time and I wasn't far from the truth. So now with a fake tree, they keep it up even longer (and they have), driving me ever more crazy.
I used to have a lot of sympathy for my father-in-law, Gerry, him having to deal with Marge's pack rat nature and never wanting to throw anything away. There's stacks of newspapers in the house (she loves fire hazards?); she saved floppy discs from an old Apple II computer; the fridge is stuffed to capacity because she'll never throw away any food. She even serves expired mayonnaise if you're not vigilant about looking at the labels. I'm not lying when I say that my wife, Lynn, and I will actually go over to their house during their vacations and furtively throw things out. We once found some meat marked with dates from the mid-90's in her freezer downstairs. Marge was keeping meat that was from a cow that was alive when the Ashey twins were still on Full House! She lives with just herself and Gerry and yet she keeps buying food for a family of 5 and storing it in the basement. When armageddon comes a knockin', I know exactly which basement I'm making a break for.
And despite all of this craziness, I've lost most sympathy for Gerry. For starters, I've come to realize that he's a big enabler. He only seems to ever challenge her when company is present so he feels like he has backing. Secondly, I think he's the larger perpetrator when it comes to the tree. I think he pretends that it's Marge who wants the tree up so long, but I've sensed something different is going on, plus, he never complains about the tree behind her back like he does about everything else.
I think he's dealt with her big heapin' helpin' spoonful of loony tunes for so long that he himself has been driven into madness. He clings to that tree and the good times of Christmas for as long as he can. The more you try to pry that tree away from him, the harder his grip gets and the longer the tree stays up.
And you know what is even crazier?
I let it all bother me.
Yes, I make my little jokes to them about the tree or the stores of food and newspapers but here I sit perplexed at all the madness and I can't fathom why they are so.....so....them!! I think I complain about Lynn's Mom and dad more than she does and she's their daughter, so you'd think she'd have about 18 years more stress to bear than me. But for whatever reason, they're driving the bus to crazy town and I'm in right there with them in the front seat.