Dear Mother-in-Law.

I love you. You’re great. Thank you for taking me into your home and your family with open arms. I got lucky as mother-in-laws go.

But you fucking irritate me. A lot.

If living off only your salary means there’s no money for gas in your car, or enough money to catch up on bills, why do you go to Walmart at 2000 on a Saturday night and buy shit-food? Why do you spend money on twenty SmartOnes chicken fettucines and Salisbury steaks, Special K cheese crackers, marshmallows, a case of Coke, Febreze? WHY? Do you realize the $35 you just spent you could’ve spent on better quality produce and real food that would last you through the week and into the next, and still leave some extra cash to go into your car? That you could use the bits and pieces of air fresheners throughout the house; or better yet, implement the wax warmers and candles you have in every room in the house? You can reuse those over and over without dicking up the air in the house with aerosols. So what if the smells make me sick? I”m pregnant, any fake fragrance makes me sick. I can hide in the bedroom, and I do that enough anyway. You need gas to get back and forth to work more than you need TV dinners and carbonated drinks. Drink tea – we have a whole Sam’s Club box of teabags, multiple pitchers, two refrigerators, and oh, by the way, there are still 3 giant McDonald’s cups of unsweetened tea, unfinished, in the fridge that I’m sure you could empty out and reuse. Speaking of, why don’t you reuse or recycle anything? Why does everything have to go in the trash, or better yet, why do we have to buy shit that can’t go anywhere but the trash, like styrofoam plates? It may not benefit you now to recycle, but with all the empty pop cans laying around, I bet you could at least get a couple dollars a week. If you stocked up, you could get $20 out of the recycling center in a month!

Why do you pay for 400 channels on satellite and only watch 5? Better yet, not even when they’re on. You have everything DVR’d, so you can watch it all at once whenever you get time to sit down and do it. Which is never, because when you get time, you don’t feel like it, and it’s DVR’d, so it can wait. And there’s a DVR in your bedroom, which you never watch. And there’s a TV in our bedroom, that I only use for the music channels when I’m cleaning or going to sleep. No, I don’t give a shit that the TV’s back on. We didn’t have TV for three years when we were on our own, and I didn’t really miss it then, or for the three days it was off, here. As long as I have Internet, I’m pleased as punch. I don’t watch the TV when it’s on, so why would I worry when it’s off?

Why do you not listen when your son tells you that we need to cut back on our water usage until there’s a good rain? There are five of us living on one well. FIVE. The pump isn’t that great in the best of times, and every time you’ve gotten home this weekend, you’ve washed two loads of clothes. In the middle of the day. And then asked me to wash a load of towels while you were gone. (Aside: how in the unholy fuck do two short little people use a cabinet FULL of towels in less than a week? I would have thought it was impossible, but you’ve proved me wrong. REUSE YOUR DAMN TOWEL. YOU’RE CLEAN WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE SHOWER, THE TOWEL JUST GETS WET. Throwing your wet-ass towel in the hamper and leaving it buried under other shit just makes it moldy, and guess what, THAT’S WHY IT SMELLS WHEN YOU USE IT. Brain, use please.) What do you do when we tell you the water pressure’s down and the pump is running constantly at around 40 psi but it started out at 10, so don’t use any more water except what’s necessary until we get a good rain? You turn on the kitchen sink and leave it on while you stare at it. Asking “Are you sure the water’s not running? Did you wash your hands in the kitchen sink?” is not an appropriate response. Then, washing another load of clothes, and your hair in the kitchen sink even though we’re not going anywhere until church in the morning, before the sun even starts to go down? Good job. Way to make an effort.

You want to be healthier, lose weight, cut back on your diabetes medication? Walk more often, or at least more than a mile every three or four days. (It doesn’t work if you don’t go.) Drink water instead of pop – just because it says it has no calories and has no sugar in it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Learn to cook (and eat) something besides casseroles, white grains, and shit that has cheese and condensed soup in it. If you don’t want to cook, tell me what you want and I’ll cook it. You load the dishwasher – no, wait, I’ll load the dishwasher. You put shit that doesn’t belong in there, like my bamboo and my good knives and Tervis tumblers. Oh, also stuff that’s already been washed. (Why do you do that? If it’s on the drying mat, drying, then why do you feel the need to put it in the dishwasher?) That’s why we run the dishwasher every night, which is not necessary, by the way. So tell me what you want made, and I’ll make up a meal plan for the week, and we can go to the grocery and get what we need, instead of Special K crackers and four bags of marshmallows, and a case of Coke and a case of Pepsi Max. It’s a start.

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