Saturday, October 8, 2011

Family Feud

My thoughts EXACTLY.

When I was a child and home sick from school, or even as an adult hopped up on cold meds and camped out with green Gatorade on my couch far from the office, I would always adoringly watch The Price Is Right and Family Feud. I've always loved game shows. I've always enjoyed yelling at the TV, much like I do when watching sports. In a way it IS a sporting event. Only the prizes are much shinier. Oooh. Ahhh! Interestingly enough, my dear long-time friend, William Calonge, and his beautiful wife, Caitlin, will be appearing on a new episode of Family Feud on October 20th which I hope I will be able to catch online somehow. For now, I can easily catch a live version of The Feud right here in my living room.

As I mentioned in my last post, this week was a Chinese holiday. I had off from work and we'd been filling our time shopping, going to the park, meeting friends and feasting at buffets with ill-mannered patrons. But what I neglected to mention was that this Chinese holiday technically ends on Friday. Which means on Saturday (today for me), people have to get back to work to make up for the time off. What the what? Yup. I had forgotten about this simply because it doesn't affect me. I work at a Korean school in China. Koreans like their weekends. Thus, our school was not forcing the children (or teachers) to come in over the weekend to make up for the Chinese holiday. My friend Andrea was not so lucky since she teaches at a Chinese university. She was beyond annoyed to find out she had to go teach today. What we both found completely absurd about this whole thing was that people would go to work on Saturday and Sunday instead of having off Monday through Wednesday and then working Thursday and Friday, then having the weekend off like normal. But China, as I have learned all too well, is not a normal place.

I should have realized that MIL would have thought I'd be like the other sheep and have to follow the flock to work on a Saturday. But I was too busy enjoying my time alone with my daughter without her grandma's snaggle-toothed face lurking around my house, speaking loud enough to wake dead ancestors from a million moons ago with her grating village voice. It just so happened that, for whatever reason, Raelynn woke up at 3am this morning and wanted to play despite being very sleepy. I sat up for 2 hours until I finally succeeded in getting her (and myself) to go back to sleep. For this reason, my husband left me alone until after 8am, taking Raelynn into the other room to give me some peace.

But that peace soon shattered into a million shards of biting anger. He came back and woke me with the news that his mother was here. I could hear her clunking around in our kitchen and I just wanted to scream. Why the fuck was that old cow in my house today? She couldn't give me one week alone with my daughter who she gets to see more than I do so I can work to support our family? Fuck. My blood boiled. I dug my nails into the mattress to keep from screaming obscenities. My husband angrily told me to keep calm and I did try to remember that I married him, not her, and that my father said I needed to try to be kind to this woman if I wanted to make my husband happy. But damn her! I wished so hard we could move far away and never have to see her again.

In the meantime, it's not possible yet, so I must get up and dressed and tolerate her ruining my second-to-last day off. Lane assures me she'll go soon (which she did, and I was able to enjoy a lovely day with my husband and daughter). She just wants to see the baby. "She sees her all week while I work," I snarl. I must seem like such a bitch but I honestly can't take it. I did not carry this beautiful child into the world so this woman could act like she's her own or teach her how to lack good hygiene and manners or dress like a blind Sunday school teacher. Nofuckingway. I'm not having it. He then tells me the thing that nearly made me go for blood: "She just wants to make sure the baby is ok." Ok? Ofuckingk??? How would she NOT be ok? She has us for parents, not them! I explain this to my husband and let him know that I hope something was translated incorrectly because I'd hate to be insulted in my own home by 2 people whose lack of education and common sense and disregard for safety is beyond terrifying. The people that were going to give a child under 6 months a grape to eat. The people that overheat the baby in summer. The people you have to remind to wash their hands with soap. The people that, despite being shown where all the blankets are, use TOWELS to wrap the baby to keep her warm. The people who put loose towels on top of the baby and leave her unattended so she has more of a chance of suffocating. I am forced to leave my sweet baby with these complete morons and THEY want to see if she is ok?

As Raelynn plays with her grandma, I seclude myself in the bedroom to get dressed. And that's when my husband reveals something to me. His dad picked a fight with him this week. He's been picking many fights with his son lately and where I once felt FIL was more cool than MIL, I'm now changing my mind on that. He criticizes my husband constantly, even more so than MIL does and I'm getting more than a little pissed off by the horrible things my husband is told by him. In one argument, he told Lane that real men don't hold babies and don't stay home with them. Um, so why do I see all kinds of manly Chinese men all over this city happily carrying their children around? In another, he and his wife both called my husband terrible things for not having a full-time job right now. Because his mother would have been offended and shamed if we didn't ask her to watch the baby, we have to wait for her to get here every morning. It's an hour and a half commute for her but soon, they will be moving right around the corner (oh joy). Still, she can't get here before 8am which means my husband has to stick around if he wants me to pull in the kind of money I'm making. Still, it's OUR fault for not letting them stay in our house, where there is no room for them to stay - even if I liked them. Which I don't. At all.

Lane thankfully listened to me and started tuning his dad's comments out. The last thing FIL had fought with my husband about was that he said we should hire a nanny instead because watching Raelynn is hard for his wife. Well, I had said I'd pay for a nanny - hell, I WANTED A NANNY - but everyone flipped the fuck out because that old zombie goatface with rat teeth wanted to spend time with her grandchild. My husband was really upset about the argument and to try to be nice to his mother, he INVITED her to come so his father wouldn't have something to bitch about since FIL is now constantly guilting my husband into thinking that he's a bad son. All this on one of my days off. A day when this woman is not supposed to be in my space. He said this as he was vacuuming our room, which I suspect was so he could cover up the scream he knew I'd make when he told me this. And boy did I scream, especially when he told me he knew YESTERDAY that she would be coming!

I felt so betrayed, yet I understood my husband's need to stick it to his father and to make his useless mother feel as though she's contributing in some way. Of course, I didn't just roll over on this one, but I've got my husband's back. He's a smart man and a good man. And he's a better son than these 2 country bumpkins deserve. I let Lane know that if something like this should happen again, he needs to tell me first. Not when I'm first waking up. But hell. I'm working this job so we can afford to send Raelynn to an international school when she's old enough. So that we can move to a bigger apartment. So that we can visit the states and eventually live there. So that we can give our daughter the very best in life. They can feud with us all they like but we will not lose this battle. Survey says: Shut The Fuck Up.

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