The dissertation was only the beginning.

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T: Amazing Husband
ST: Three-year-old Wonder
Prof. G: Advisor I
Prof. C: Advisor II
Julie: Stylish Sister
Rob: Awesome Brother
Belle: Our Cat
Bill: Grumbling BIL
Rita: Uncomplicated SIL
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Quote of the Day
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Yesterday we confirmed that the end of this month will be busy with visits from family. On October 20 my MIL is coming to town to visit Pond House for the first time, and the following weekend my parents and my brother Rob are coming.

When MIL said she was coming, T and I both felt a little panicked. My MIL is a sweet woman and I enjoy her immensely, but both T and I are worried about her reaction to this house. She's a very, very particular woman, even more so since FIL died in 2000: her house is neat, sterile, organized, and new. She has top-of-the-line everything (kitchen appliances I would kill for, including the most amazing microwave I've ever used). She does not do any work on her house herself: she hires out the painting, the decorating, and sometimes the cleaning. When she built her house (a large condo) a few years after FIL died, she became obsessive about it, so much so that T couldn't stand to talk to her about it. For example, she sent her the bathtub in the guest bathroom back FOUR TIMES because she "thought she could see a little scratch in it." Four times? She still complains about her kitchen ceramic tile because there's a slight (read: completely unnoticeable) discoloration on one tile IN THE CLOSET.

You can imagine why we're a bit nervous about her first visit to Pond House. You're on this journey with me, and you know that Pond House is a big work-in-progess. Nothing is perfect or even close to it. Nothing is the way we want it, although we know it will be someday. When we showed MIL pictures of Pond House before we bought it, she not-so-subtly discouraged us from taking on such a big project. Not even the beauty of our yard could distract her from the ugliness that is our brown tub. She has no imagination when it comes to houses like ours; it is impossible for her to see the diamond in the rough. (She is very excited, on the other hand, for Bill and Rita's new house. They are indeed moving after all, and have decided that they are going to build a five-bedroom McMansion in the suburbs. Bill's justification for this is that he has "such expensive tastes" and "couldn't live with anything less than granite countertops and designer lighting." Give me a break.)

My parents, as you also know, are completely the opposite of this. When they first saw pictures of Pond House, they were practically ready to buy it for us. They saw what we saw: a house oozing with potential, a project that would test our creativity, a place we could inject with our personalities. When they were here to help us move in this past August they could not get enough of the place and the fun projects they could do with us. As I've said before, my parents are devout do-it-yourselfers, and the thought of paying someone to decorate, clean, or paint your house is more revolting to them than it is to T. My Dad has already been chatting with T on the phone about what project they're going to tackle over the long weekend they're here. Dad is especially thrilled because my brother Rob will also be here, and that simply means more manpower to do bigger jobs.

It's going to be a busy end-of-October for us, but also good. Despite the bit of stress MIL's visit will cause us, I'm really looking forward to seeing her and so is ST (who adores her because she is always full of surprises for him, usually plastic bugs and baseball cards that she somehow manages to pull out of her purse in an almost endless stream). And of course I'm looking forward to seeing my parents again, and to the projects we're going to tackle when they're here. I'm hoping to get rid of this disgusting 1980s item from the stairwell, which Mom says makes her feel like she's on the Love Boat:

Maybe the cutesy wallpaper in the half-bath downstairs will go, too. How lucky is MIL, though, that she will be able to relive the 1980s in our brown tub? I'm hoping she doesn't decide to check into a hotel!
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 10/05/2006 02:26:00 PM  
6 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 3:53 PM, Blogger phd me said…

    Good lord, I have that same horrendous light fixture in my entryway! And my house was built in the '90s!!

  • At 4:04 PM, Blogger Leah said…

    Sounds like you're in for some fun visiting times. Maybe tell MIL you bought the house for it's retro-chic feel?

  • At 4:43 PM, Blogger Ianqui said…

    That story about Bill and Rita's house is disturbing. I see the same thing in my sister's husband, although I don't think even he would dare to say that he has "such expensive tastes" that nothing else will do.

  • At 6:35 PM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Oh, Ianqui... I could go on and on and on about Bill. He's in a class by himself, truly. Everything in his life is a trophy of some sort: wife, truck, house, kids, etc. I'm sorry that you have to deal with the same sort of thing in your BIL. It's exhausting.

    Phdme... we should sell our light fixtures on eBay as a matching set! Surely if someone wants ONE, they'll be even happier with TWO! (And heck, I still have the one that used to be over my dining room table... make it THREE!)

    Leah, I'm not sure MIL would go for retro! I'm not even sure she'll go for "renovation-chic," but here's to keeping our fingers crossed!

  • At 4:46 AM, Blogger trillwing said…

    If I were in your shoes, I would hope that MIL *does* decide to check into a hotel. You have more patience than I do--I couldn't deal with that kind of nitpicky criticism.

    Good luck!

  • At 7:40 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Wow, it sounds like you'll be very busy indeed! I wish you the best of luck with your MIL. As far as MILs go, I've hit the jackpot, mine is great! I'm actually at her house right now.

    My parents seem to have a lot in common with yours. My dad is the handyman by excellence. He's redone the whole kitchen in my old house (there are photos in my blog somewhere, let me know if you want me to get you the link :), helped my husband to put laminate in both our houses, and more... (you probably saw the photos in the blog)

    I'm sure you'll have a blast when they are there with your brother! oh... those light fixtures are pretty bad!! I think your MIL is definitely going to be appalled at your house :)!

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