Monday, June 26, 2006

Mea Culpa

I'm embarrassed.

I have dodged phone calls for over 32 hours, because I decided that I didn't want to do something that I committed myself to.

(Jill is holding up the proverbial Loser sign with her forefinger-thumb on the forehead.)

Crickey. I just love the way I advise others to overlook how they feel and just get the things done that must be done. I seriously failed in doing this yesterday, and now I have my tail in between my legs because I am in deep trouble with my husband's family.

Last week, I called my sister-in-law (not the drinking/drugging one) to say Hello, and she told me that she would be in town all of last week. She promised to call on Monday but didn't until Friday night at 10pm. She asked me to meet her over at her parents house (1 hour away) on Saturday to help her pack up the kitchen cabinets, because her folks had just moved into an assisted care facility.

Hmph. "Okay," I thought, "this is husband's brother's wife's parents. I can do this." And I did. For about 6 hours. But she wanted me back on Sunday and damn, but I was not in the mood to go back to that house and sift through food that expired in 1991, and sticky jars with seeping molasses, and decrepit jars of sprinkles that couldn't be thrown away because they "held too much sentimental value."

I cleared out two, full households last year after the deaths of my sister and my mom. It's hard, thankless and emotional work. And no, I didn't ask any extended family members to help.

On my way out the door, I mentioned to sister-in-law that she might want to run the sprinklers because the front yard grass was dead....a real curb appeal killer.

S-I-L: I'm not going to run the water! People aren't acting as though there is a draught, and there is!

Jill: I wasn't aware that there were any water restrictions.

S-I-L: There aren't! But c'mon! We need to preserve water!

This would have been easier to digest if she hadn't spent 30 minutes explaining how important it was for her parents of get their Asking Price for the house. When I pointed out some minor "fixes" that would help buyers see the value in the house, she pooh-poohed me.

S-I-L: The buyer is just going to have to know that this is an old house that will need some fixin' up.

Jill: Sure, but if you took down those broken, plastic shades on the lanai, they'd be able to see the backyard.

S-I-L: Yeah, I think my parents put those up in the '70s.

Jill: Exactly.

S-I-L: No, they need to stay. They were a part of our lives here.

Jill: (wince)

I could sit here all day and kvetch about why I didn't want to go back. But the key point here is that I took the coward's way out and just.didn' Sister-in-law left 6 messages for me yesterday, finally wondering "if I was OK."

Dear Lord, I am a schmuck. Why didn't I just tell her No or make up some silly excuse.

Dodging a commitment is very bad on the stomach...not to mention the head. I am now going to have to figure out how to explain and apologize. She already knows I am a Loser (thumb and forefinger in place), now I'm going to have to snivel and be the Bad Person.

Really, I was trying to be a Good Person and I sort of succeeded on that first day. But any points that I made certainly went down the drain yesterday. Leaving me to wonder:

Why wasn't she the Bad Person for even asking me to do this in the first place?

Why wasn't she the Bad Person for calling me 4 days late?

Why wasn't she the Bad Person for asking me to help her pack up a house when she knew that nothing could be boxed or thrown away because of her mother's state of mind?

The answer? Because I am the Bad Person. Always. My fate in life, I know this to be true. I grew up this way and it's a role that either lands at my feet or is heaped upon me by my family.

I've grown to accept it. Except when I'm smack dab in the middle of today.