December 17, 2009
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I was sitting in the study of my home one day, when I heard the doorbell ring. It
startled me and I spilt my strawberry kool-aid. It was blood on the plush carpet. I hurried to the door as quickly as I could, the stain still weighing on my mind like a brick.
When I walked into the entrance way, and saw my daughters flip flops strung haphazardly on the floor, I quickly shoved them under a bench by the door. If they rang the door bell one more time I was going to turn around and not let them in. Against my better judgment, I reached for the handle.
To my surprise, my mother-in-law was sitting on the doorstep, her vintage Victorian tea hat tipped precariously as she tried to balance her suitcase and her Chihuahua, Lola. She smiled, with red lipstick on her teeth, and handed over her dog. “I haven’t seen the house yet, so here I am. Surprise!”
I sighed as she headed in and exclaimed over the bowling alley we put in and was touched when she saw that we had incorporated her old curio cabinet into the setting. The thing was like a time bomb though; I could see it falling apart with all of my valuables inside. She gawked over the pool in the back yard like a child praising their new toy on Christmas, and promised she had brought her suit.
Sadly, she didn’t comment on my favorite part of the house, a grand table that took your breath away as soon as you entered the house. It was dark mahogany and covered in hydrangea and chrysanthemum. The smell was like heaven on earth.
She ran into the living room and hugged my daughter like a bear, who was busy playing Dance Dance Revolution: II. She started in on Wii and playstation, and quickly knew the best strategies to each game. She was fighting my daughter for the remote when I left the room.
While she was playing, I chose to tackle the stain in the sitting room. I went to the kitchen and grabbed some carpet cleaner and rags to scrub with. I worked on the stain forever and finally got it up. As I was finishing, my mother-in-law walked in and was impressed by my stain-fighting skills. But then she looked on the wall and saw all the framed artwork that my children had made over the years. Her face twisted like she had just tasted something sour. “This looks a little bit tacky, what were you thinking?” The pictures and paintings were another one of my favorite things in the house. There were Mothers Day and Christmas presents galore, and they touched my heart every time I looked at them.
We plopped down on the couch, and I thought of all the change we were sitting on. Probably at least thirty dollars, it was a like a slot machine. We talked about how life had been, and I kept wishing my husband would hurry up and get back. While we were sitting there, Lola entered the room. I couldn’t quite figure out what she was holding in her mouth. Then it smacked me, my brand new Steve Madden pumps. I was furious.
I told my mother-in-law that I needed to go make dinner, and she insisted on helping. As we were headed to the kitchen she saw the family photo we had taken that fall. She criticized it, saying my eyes were practically closed. I brushed off her comment and went to the kitchen to make some spaghetti.
To my relief, my husband arrived not long after and gave me a break from his mother. I invited her to stay the night, and discretely implied as to how long she would be intruding.

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