Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Even God Loves A Good Brunette

I interrupt my normal television programme review service to bring you a quick update on the mother-in-law situation.

She’s still in hospital and is still receiving speech therapy. Her vocal chords and tongue are still paralysed. Other than that though she’s in fine fettle.

Fine fettle enough to be extremely rude to Karen who journeyed down to visit her on Monday. The MIL wants an MP3 player so she can while away her time in hospital listening to a choice selection from her classical music collection. Fair enough. No problem. Karen did a great deal of research over the weekend to find the player that would be most ideally suited to her requirements – both in terms of technology and ergonomics (her dexterity is still not fully restored).

However the chosen unit is £50+. Not a great deal of money to the MIL (who is, shall we say, “well off”) and not a great deal of money to Karen’s other relatives (who are the same). But it is a lot of money to us – Karen is still on maternity leave and gets a bare £100 a week and my local authority wages are... well, the basis of a tragic-comedy. Anyway, the MIL suggested we pay for it and recover the money later from one of Karen’s relatives.

Sounds simple enough except – and this will sound horrible – the chances of getting the money actually reimbursed are very slim.

Why is it that people who are rolling in dough are the ones who are most lax about paying up?

Anyway I acknowledge that all this is really just a storm in a teacup in the bigger scheme of things...

...except that when Karen tried to tell her mother how poor we are at the moment her mother (and this is quite unbelievable) put her hands over ears and refused to listen!

I was furious on Karen’s behalf when she told me later.

Such childish, selfish behaviour. It’s the type of thing our boy, Ben, does when we are trying to tell him something that he just doesn’t want to acknowledge as true. It’s acceptable behaviour for a 6 year old. But unacceptable for a 68 year old?!

It basically says: I’m not interested in your problems; they’re not important and are unworthy of my consideration. If she could have spoken I’m sure she would have shouted “Blah blah blah” over the top of what Karen was saying.

For those that may read the above and merely shrug: just imagine if someone did that to you when you were trying to express a concern or voice a legitimate opinion.

Unfortunately, this dismissal of other people’s problems is a constant MIL trait, so we can’t even comfort ourselves with the thought that this is unusual, off the wall behaviour.

And all this occurred on top of the fact that Karen had a hellish journey down to see her mother in the first place: bad weather, an accident on the M40, baby Tom not well and Karen not well herself. My constant question to myself at the moment is: why on earth do we bother?

My one consolation – and maybe this exposes a central wickedness to my personality – is the thought that maybe there is some poetic justice to the MIL’s current condition. It’s deeply ironic (and rather apt) that someone who has caused so much damage, pain and misery with her voice over the years now finds herself totally unable to use it.

Folks, great news!

There IS a God.

P.S. In case you hadn’t guessed it. Karen is a brunette...

16 comments:

Rol Hirst said...

I'm thinking nasty thoughts about your MIL on your behalf.

"Why is it that people who are rolling in dough are the ones who are most lax about paying up?"

Maybe the two are linked?

Tristan said...

I must admit I'd have walked out of my mother's life by now if she acted that way, although I suppose that's a sign of my selfishness.

Careful with the MIL abbreviation, by the way - dangerously close to MILF - and you wouldn't want to give THAT impression with your blog visitors!

Steve said...

Rol, I suspect you're right. Many thanks for your nasty thoughts. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned...

Tris, thanks for the warning. I know I joked about perving about "blue rinses" on a previous post but that really would take the biscuit... Maybe I could adapt the MILF abbreviation to MILK. I'm sure you can work out the modified definition...

Tristan said...

Haha - yes - with you there!

Reluctant Blogger said...

Yes, I feel cross on Karen's behalf too.

I wonder if you have forgotten your hyphen actually - the MIL's age sounds more like 6-8, than 68. If my son did that when I spoke to him he'd get a good cuff round the ear - maybe you might try that on the MIL?

I have no idea how you deal with someone like that. Karen presumably feels she must do her duty and visit her mother on a regular basis despite the appalling treatment she receives?

With regard to the money issue, I know it is hard when you are broke, but you really must just put that out of your mind and down to one of those things - you have bigger things to get stressed about. Don't spend money on her again though. I suspect that richer relatives (and maybe your MIL - although she just sounds mean to me) just forget what it is like to be broke and can't see that £50 matters one way or the other. Or maybe Rol is right and the only reason they are well-off in the first place is because they are so tight!

I wish things were not so horrid for you both.

Steve said...

A good cuff around the ear? Ah Gina if only! Don't give me any more ideas! I must admit the money thing pales into insignificance compared to her rudeness and disrespect towards Karen: it's that more than anything that has really riled me. Thanks for the support.

TimeWarden said...

People with more money than sense are lax about paying up because they take their wealth for granted and thus assume everyone else to be similarly flush.

I most definitely don't believe in God but do believe the Bible to be full of good stories and decent morality. One such is "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"!

£50 might be better spent on a wheelchair or other necessity! An MP3 player is, after all, a luxury which many of us can live without. I don't have one despite being a musician.

Daisy said...

steve...i know what you are talking about and can empathize with you...it is severely annoying...
one thing when i was reading your post that came to mind...doesn't it cost you guys to come and visit her? perhaps if she were given a bill for the transport...time spent there (i always use my base rate of pay at work)...she would get the hint...in print...

and yes i have done this before to bring "awareness" to those who are obviously in their own world...

i know karen probably won't do it but it may make you feel better thinking about it and writing it out all the same...

take heed in knowing at one time, maybe only one, but one, she will be aware of how she is and what she has done...we all will be...(busy doing damage control at the moment myself :))

Steve said...

Hi TimeWarden, your reasoning for the laxness actually runs parallel with our own. To be honest, we understand her desire to have an MP3 player - there is very little she can do in hospital and I don't think her limbs have enough strength to hold a book up to her eyes for very long - it was just her dismissal that the cost of one might be problematic that got my goat!

Daisy, very astute! It does indeed cost money every time Karen goes and visits her - but this is another cost that is dismissed out of hand. We really can't afford it right now but - despite her meanness and bad behaviour - know that it is a necessary expenditure. A bit of understanding and gratitude in return would go a long way to relieving the burgeoning bad feeling that is rising up at the moment. As for her being self-aware... Daisy I'm not sure she could ever allow herself to admit a tenth of it. It would be far too dangerous and scary for her. Thank you for your supportive comments.

Old Cheeser said...

Maybe when she's feeling better you can try and talk to her again - "I didn't appreciate you doing that with Karen - you have to understand we don't have much money at the moment and Karen has a lot on her plate, etc". Assertive but reasonable...easier said than done though!

My own MIL (Gustavo's Mum) is cool and very easy-going/approachable - thank God! Of course she might turn into a battleaxe when she gets older...

Thinking about the reasons for your MIL's behaviour I'm willing to bet that her own frustration with her illness is what lies at the root of it. Doesn't give her the right to take it out on you and Karen though.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Hi Steve

Sorry but I don't see what being a good brunette has to do with anything. Tho' I do speak as a good redhead!

However Mrs Bloggertropolis sounds like she is having a horrendous time of it at the moment! I can only wish her my best and suggest she retaliates by pretending she hasn't got her reading glasses next time the MIL passes a note with her demands on!

Can't have Tom going nappyless for the sake of an MP3 player after all!

Steve said...

I daresay frustration with her illness is certainly part of it OC but, from what Karen has said, she's actually been like this for most of her life. Symapthy only stretches so far... before it breaks! The biggest problem is she doesn't particular respond to "reasonable" or "assertive". I'm thinking of trying "cricket bat" or "monkey wrench" at the moment... ;-)

Too right Laura, and I have suggested myself that Karen refuse to read her communiques in retaliation... however, that is merely sinking to her level and surrendering the moral high ground. And let's face it the view is far better from on high...

EmmaK said...

It is stories like this that absolutely make me believe in God!! Poetic justice for your MIL indeed.

TimeWarden said...

Dunno if it will help any, Steve, but there's a half price sale of iPods at Argos presently (until 19 Feb) from (only!!!) £48.96 (bloody daft pricing!) and MP3 players from £14.99.

I wish someone would tell me what the difference is between an MP3 player and an iPod?!! Even people who own one don't seem able to explain it to me, excuse my ignorance!

Annie said...

Hi,
I wasn't sure how to respond to this post to be honest Steve. It's a real tough 'un and I'm glad you've got loads of support from fellow bloggers.
The trouble with being annoyed is that is affects YOU and not the person you're annoyed with... that person is usually totally oblivious!
I get the impression that Karen must love her mum very much, otherwise she wouldn't run herself ragged trying to please her!
Anyway, nothing in life ever remains the same so chin up kid - less of that anger :-)

Steve said...

Thanks Emma - confirmations of faith are always welcome...! ;-)

Many thanks TimeWarden. The MP3 fiasco is (I think) solved. Karen had a good talk with a relative about it all and I think they've agreed to do the necessary. Regarding the MP3 thing I think an ordinary MP3 player is like owning a Ford Capri while an iPod is like owning a Bugatti...

Hi Annie, chin is up (though a bit snuffly at the moment) and the anger has abated somewhat. This blog acts as a great release mechanism for me. Thanks to Bloggertropolis you have all been saved from my plans for ultimate world domination many, many times... pray I don't stop writing...!