Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Five Stages

Once again, the time for our annual trip to Texas draws ominously nigh. Ten days in San Antone with my mother-in-law, truly a daunting prospect. My own mother commented the other day that every year I go through a predictable battery of emotions in the days leading up to this trip. It was a true insight (my mother is nothing if not psychologically insightful), but, further, I have discovered that my stages of dealing with this annual pilgrimage closely follow the famous 5 Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

Denial: Although Sgt. Pepper repeatedly reminds me that I must do so and soon, I delay purchasing the airline tickets till the last possible moment. The weeks and days pass by, I am frequently online aimlessly wandering about, and still I do not pay a visit to the Jet Blue website. It is simplicity itself to accomplish this task, and still I do not. I am in full-fledged denial. We are not going to Texas, and so I have no need to buy the tickets.

Anger: Finally, grudgingly, I make the reservations and the purchase. We have a departure date, we have our seats. We have laid claim to the little packages of chocolate chip cookies and blue potato chips and crappy headphones that will all soon be ours. And now, I am angry. I am testy. I feel put upon and act out at home. It is Sarge's fault that he has a mother to whom we must pay this visit. I begin to believe that we exist in some odd opposite universe, where he begat her to torment me.

Bargaining: I lose my nerve for the task ahead, and begin to plead with Sarge like he's God and can grant the reversal of fate. I will bake his favorite molasses cookies every day all year, watch Kung Fu movies, get out my violin and serenade him, discuss the works of Philip K. Dick (okay, that wouldn't be such a hardship) ad nauseam (but that would), and generally fulfill any whim or dream that he could cook up, if he would only let us forgo the trip. Heck, I'll even do all that if he would agree to make it a seven day road trip with a three day visit instead...I can tell Sarge, who really feels the same way I do, is about to start bargaining with me to let him stay home, so I rapidly cycle into the next stage,

Depression: I'm now resigned to fate, and become sadly quiet and pessimistic. I cry easily, and lose interest in daily activities I once enjoyed. I have trouble sleeping and lose my appetite. The black cloud descends...and I find myself caught between gloom and a dubious

Acceptance: I honor this new stage with the purchase of sunscreen and travel-size toothpaste and I unearth our duffel bags. We are going to Texas, it won't be so bad, at least it's in the 80s there and the Mexican food is amazing...

but then, in a strange out-of-body moment, I book a hair appointment for Monday morning, our departure date. Because if I have a hair appointment, that means we're not going to Texas...

and I'm right back at Denial...

20 comments:

just bob said...

I go through those same five steps every morning that I have to go to work... denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

It could be worse... it could be Texas in July when it will be 100 degrees and 100% humidity.

Megan said...

At least it's not Houston.

The Idle Devil said...

That's me when I must visit my grandmother who doesnt like me.

Suzanne said...

Well screw it!!! I'm happy to say I have the best damn MIL in the whole wide world and I've just been nominated at Bob's joint! Get your sorry ass over there and vote like hell. Hopefully more than once! This means of course you didn't pull it out. It also means you're going to Texas.

;)

P.S. Bob...hope this doesn't hurt me in competition. YOU HAVE A FUCKING JOB!!! So many don't. Count your blessings. That coming from a girlie who isn't even religious. Seriously! Oh, and Bob, thanks!! XO

Baino said...

Aww can it be that bad? You should have a day at our annual 'family picnic' now that's torture! As for your bargaining, you didn't mention sexual favours . .that might do it!

Brian Miller said...

haha. fun way to look at it. the consolation, the food is great in Texas! San Antone...the riverwalk was cool, but the Alamo was a lot smaller than i imagined.

savannah said...

10 days, sugar, 10 days...and you get really good tex-mex food! now, miss daisy is a lovely thing, but sugar...everyfuckingday? count y'all's blessings! remember, 10 days only! xoxo

(this was a fantastic post, btw!) ;)

Candie Bracci said...

I know the feeling when you don't want to go somewhere,but those moments also happen to be the best ones,most of the times.But,I don't know about Texas at all.

mago said...

Prepare well and march through.

MJ said...

The only consolation is knowing that without her, there wouldn’t be a Sarge.

Leah said...

Bob--funny, Sarge feels the same way about his job...it must be exhausting to go through all five stages every morning! You need to boot up an espresso machine.

Megan--we were in Houston last year. Weird place.

Idle Devil--it's so scary to have to go on a visit like that, isn't it? I like to be liked, I guess.

Suzy--I think Sarge has the best MIL too!

savannah--honestly, everyfuckingday is just a bit unthinkable. You're a strong woman, my dear. And yes, the Tex-Mex is to die for...I cannot wait for it! We even get Mexican home cooking some nights, as Sarge, that Heinz 57, has Mexican relatives too! I'm always psyched when I see that his cousin has gotten out her mortar and pestle--I know it means a delicious dinner--

Baino--I was going to mention the sexual favors, but I decided to keep it a family post, lol!!! Family picnic? Maybe you'll do a post on it for us? I like to hear about other people's wacky families.

Candie--undoubtedly, we'll have fun too. I'll try to look on the bright side. Texas is a super-fun place to visit, so that's a major plus.

mago--battle imagery is quite apt!

MJ--that is a huge, huge consolation. But sometimes when I think of that, there's a strange cognitive dissonance...

Lisa said...

Okay, I feel a bit of a rant but it will pass. Houston is not a bad place to visit or live. As far as visiting the MIL, it is true that it can be a hardship but rememebr that without her there would be no Sarge and then there woudl also be no Hedgie....perhaps this year I can even manage a day up there and take you away for a distraction....keep me posted....

Leah said...

Lisa--I was just trying to be accommodating to Megan, LOL (Hi Megan!). I actually loved Houston. It was weird in that I'd never been there before and I couldn't quite get a sense of it, yes, but... In fact, Sarge and I are considering buying some sort of property somewhere, either in San Antone, Houston, we've even toyed with the idea of Corpus Christi. We eventually plan on "retiring" for at least a couple months of the year to Texas. I think I've had a love affair with it since we lived in Austin, and Sarge since childhood.

Lots of things about Texas in general suit me--the less pressured living (I guess I can't totally generalize about that), the affordability of a lot of places, the climate (I adore the climate). My MIL aside, I always wish we could spend more than ten days there--on our own terms of course--hence the idea about buying.

Anyway, it's true what you say about Sarge's mom. I really really try to keep that in mind...

Dot-Com said...

I bet Texas is nice and warm this time of year. I would love it! I was happy for the five minutes I needed sunglasses today *lol*

Brandy Rose said...

Mexican food!!! My fav!

Jimmy Bastard said...

Oh how I sympathise with you hen.
I too have the odious pleasure of visiting the M.I.L for a long weekend very soon.

I'd rather be sticking red hot needles into my eyeballs than visiting with mammy-death and her iron scones.

Leah said...

Dot--it's in the high 80s this week! I will be very glad for some of that heat.

Brandy Rose--I know; that alone shall sustain me!!!!

Jimmy--Oh dear. Gird yourself, as will I. Iron scones? Perhaps you can bypass those? Your teeth, you know, need TLC...

kylie said...

ah yes, that denial thing. i'm so good at that.

my mil is in malaysia, which pretty much excuses me from seeing her. also, she doesnt speak english and i dont speak cantonese.
i do understand tut tut noises and shaking heads.

sorry i havent commented of late, i just have nothing to say. i read every post though.

xo

Leah said...

Kylie--I sort of wish I had a language barrier there...and as for commenting, of course it's not mandatory! Never any need to apologize for that--it's perfectly acceptable not to always comment!!!

xo

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Hey girl,
I'm with kylie...my BF of 10 years has a mom who speaks only spanish. That means I don't have to talk with her that much on the phone. A language barrier can be a good thing.
Have fun in Texas.
Giddyap Little Horsey.