I’ll confess that I didn’t think I had the heart to write Chapter Four.
After the last installment, the MIL suddenly became sweet as pie and began baking cookies, smiling in a non-feral manner, and crocheting booties for the baby.
My angry, icy little heart softened. Why, she was almost behaving like a…mother! I would cease and desist my nasty writings, for surely I was as guilty as she had been of being in a Permanent Bad Mood.
"Why is she being so sweet?" I asked a friend. "It is only a matter of time," said the friend, in the manner of a Yogi mystic. "One can only pretend to be so nice for so long. Then her facade will crack. The evil still lurks within."
The sweetness persisted, although I still lived in fear. I never knew when she might snap and turn into a snarling caricature of herself again. And insidiously, over time, some gentle truths began to reassert themselves. Her television remained on 24/7, a peevish noise that bit into the back of my brain like a wasp always just out of view. She continued to refrain from changing her clothes from one day to the next, which just didn’t seem sociable. She persisted in cooking her relentless stews and onions, dragged from the Stop ‘n Shop in Larchmont, and leaving pots of the stuff all over the fridge shelves, taking up all accessible space.
But it was the slippers…those sadly misshapen, wretched slippers, that broke my noble spirit once again. The maddening shuffling became my own personal version of Poe’s telltale heart–shuffling, shuffling, like a metronome that would not let me rest! I heard the slippers shuffling away while I was taking a shower. I heard them while I was trying to type something on my computer. And, just this morning, as I thought I might snuggle close to dear husband with an amorous intent, I heard them right outside my bedroom door. There’s nothing like the shuffle of a MIL’s slippers to put an icy dash of water over one’s loins.
I was going to be nice, I really was! But the slippers have possessed my soul and urged it into impossible evil. Could she not wear shoes! Could she not pick her feet even an inch off the ground while ambulating about the house! Some kind readers may be thinking: "But this is a poor old destitute woman! How can you be so cruel? Clearly, she doesn’t have the strength to put on shoes nor to cease her shuffling." No doubt, you’re picturing an old white-haired little granny with birdlike bones and a dowager’s hump. This is not my MIL. She is as able-bodied as an ox with a mind as sharp as a tack.
She is certainly hearty enough to go down from her room 18 times a day to check for new packages by the front door, or to tote a bushel of onions from the grocery store like a pack animal. I will swear in a court of law that she is capable of picking her feet up when she walks. She just won’t.
Here is the hard, cold fact: The MIL can be as sweet as she can be for the next 12 months, and I will still want her to leave my home. Really, it all comes down to one thing. Until she goes, my libido will remain in permanent frozen limbo, cowering under the wan weight of a fluffy pair of stained slippers. The next time she opens my bedroom door to ask if we have any oregano in the house, it may retreat forever. I’m too young to let that happen! My Evil Plan for removal of the MIL may contain one or more of the following elements:
1. Gently gnaw on the cords to her television set so that it goes permanently on the blink.
2. Place one small sardine inside the heating vent in her room.
3. Drill a small hole in the roof above her room so that the rain drips in.
4. Hire a friend to make "woo woo!" noises outside her room every night.
5. Leave theLoop open to this page on the computer in the den
6. Always do the laundry and the dishes, on hot, at the precise moment that she takes her weekly shower.
7. "Lose" certain certain essential tools, such as the can opener and cheese grater, for weeks at a time.
8. Leave piles of mud, sticks, and leaves randomly on the kitchen floor.
9. Accidentally, in a merry game of catch, toss a brick through one of her furniture units.
10. Rent and deliver a large, oiled, live hog to her room.
Other ideas, anyone?