Nothing too new from the in-laws, but it's been a while and a few small things happened over the summer, so thought I'd do a quick recap.
The other night I was sorting stacks of mail. Does anyone else let it pile up for months and then do one big sort? No? Just us? Discovering expired coupons, random detritus, overdue bills....sigh. Hate.
Anyway, at the bottom of the stack, I found the unopened father's day card my inlaws sent to my husband. He had scoffed at it when it came in and tossed it on the pile. These many months later, I decided to open it to see if they had anything to say. Standard issue cheap card, signed simply with their first names: Betty and Frank (not really). No love. No Mom and Dad. Nothing. The lengths these people go to to send a message in store bought greeting cards continues to astound me. And the fact my husband never even opened it and I just saw it 4 months after the fact does nothing but amuse me.
We did some driving up north this summer. My husband's uncle lives along the Jersey Turnpike, so we decided to stop off and see them. Remember, it's been nearly two yer since the blow up with my in-laws, and nearly a year since we last spoke with them. The uncle and his wife fixed lunch for us and we had a nice visit, introducing them to the little guy (who's middle name comes from the uncle). People in general do not understand family estrangements.
Uncle: how's your dad.
Husband: well, as I told you ove the phone we haven't really been talking to them. It's been a while.
U: yeah I haven't spoken to him since spring. How's he enjoying retirement? I heard he was busy with some house repairs?
H: uh, not sure.
Aunt: Is your mom still working or has she fully retired?
H: uh, I don't really know, you know I haven't spoken to them in a while.
A: and how are those dogs?
H: uh, they're fine...
Essentially, the aunt and uncle refused to believe we really hadn't spoken with them in 2 years. A family estrangement of that level was just incomprehensible to them. We just played along - when you haven't seen family in a while, there's a lot of vague generalities you can say without saying anything at all.
A: and what's your sister up to these days?
H: uh...busy, you know...
U: Does she like her condo?
U: yeah, weren't your parents buying her, or wht they put down a downpayment for her to move out and buy a condo?
WTF? So these are the people who declared bankruptcy ten years ago, slightly recovered from that, and are now living off the estate of husband's grandfather. That money is going to be gone in just a few short years. A downpayment for his stupid sister to buy a condo. Jerks.
Later in the summer, we met up with husband's brother and family. Nice visit. There was much discussing of said condo. The in-laws are blowing through money like there's no tomorrow - Caribbean vacations, this downpayment, yard work, new windows on the house (the house that is still fully mortgaged, though bought 30 years ago!). They will run out of money. And they will never be able to live just on social security. Father in law has a pension from a solid company, but given this economy? Counting on pensions to last another 20 years is gambling. There's no other retirement money. Brother in law says good thing they signed for that condo, as that's where they'll be living in just a few years.
I spent some time with my sister in law, discussing it all. She said mother in law has moved from bitter angriness to more of sadness. She asks them all the time if they've heard from us. Mther in law is apparently on meds and slightly more stable. I told SIL I was sorry they were dragged into this at all, and she said if it wasn't us it would be someone else. As long as we've known her, she's cycled through hatred of someone - us, my BIL, her sister, her neighbor, her best friend. It really never ends.
I cannot believe my little guy will be one year old soon and they've missed it all. I'm glad they have, but I just cannot believe the craziness. It is incomprehensible, even with all the other bad inlaw stories I've heard.
But for me, it's all just one big relief. And I admitted as much to my sister in law. Look, I feel badly for my husband being estranged from his family, but quite honestly, it makes our busy lives easier. We don't need the drama. And even if there was no drama, just the pressure of visiting them and their demands that we fold our lives around theirs is no fun.
I just picked up pics from my daughter's birthday, and will mail them off. (She sent her a savings bond, so I can acknowledge that then, too.) We're headed to my parent's for Thanksgiving and little guy's birthday. So I don't see any time in the near future for any contact. Thank goodness.
I was cleaning out the dining room last week and found the returned box of their Christmas presents from last year, shoved under the china cabinet. I suppose we just re-wrap the gifts and mail them off again?
2 days ago