April 23, 2006

Axis II

OK, so I haven't done any spring cleaning since I last spoke of it. My boyfriend's mother would be so disappointed. I didn't do any last weekend either, but that was because it was Easter. I dusted and vacuumed like a mad woman because Boyfriend and I were hosting Easter Sunday dinner for his parents. Interestingly enough, they never made it to our house.

My faux mother-in-law, to whom I will refer to as Faux-Ma for short, seems to have a problem with coming to our house. Maybe she has a problem with us. Maybe she has a problem with me. There has been a history of them avoiding our attempts to entertain them on our turf, especially for holidays.

One time in particular was especially offensive. After several years of celebrating Christmas Eve at their house, we decided we would have them to our house. Actually, I decided, as I longed for a Christmas Eve of my own making, with shrimp cocktail and champagne, nonstop Christmas music piped throughout the house, a crackling fire in the fireplace, and a glorious tree decorated with a Victorian flare. Suffice it to say that my idea of Christmas Eve is as lavish as hers is stark.

We all had a lovely time that Christmas Eve, or so I thought. Six months later Faux-Ma told her son, in private, that she didn't want to have Christmas Eve at our house any more because, "it just isn't the same." Well, she wasn't lying. Christmas Eve at our house wasn't the same as it is as their house, and that was intentional on my part. Boyfriend and I have since stopped trying to do holidays at our house for fear we will make Faux-Ma uncomfortable, and figure that at her age we should just let her live out her remaining holidays any way she wants. Until this Easter...

Boyfriend and I don't usually spend the Easter holiday with Faux-Ma and Faux-Pa (from the French phrase faux pas meaning "false step" or "horribly embarrassing mistake"), but due to extenuating circumstances we thought we'd extend an invitation for them to come to our house for dinner. We caught them off guard with our invitation, and Faux-Ma had no choice but to accept. I planned a wonderful dinner, decorated the house with Easter Bunnies, tulips, colored eggs, and chocolate treats. I spent my entire Saturday preparing for our guests. Boyfriend acted as sous chef and was equally eager to once again try to impress his parents with our hospitality.

We woke up early on Easter morning, putting the finishing touches on the table and preparing the food for cooking. At 8:00 a.m. the phone rang. It was Faux-Ma, sincerely apologetic that they wouldn't be able to attend our feast, our lovely festive afternoon, as Faux-Pa had taken ill. Stomach troubles.

I spoke of this incidence with some friends of mine who know the history of Faux-Ma and Faux-Pa dodging our attempts to entertain them. Interestingly enough, one of them posed the question, "what do you think [Faux-Ma] fed him to make him sick?" Could it be true that Faux-Ma would actually poison her own husband just to avoid coming to our house? It didn't really tax my imagination.

It all made me wonder if this could be a new psychiatric disorder: one part Munchausen by Proxy and one part agoraphobia. I think I'll call it Munchaphobia.

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