The Bookworm

When my MIL comes over to our house, she sometimes pokes around on our bookshelves, looking for something to borrow. This generally doesn’t bother me. If my conservative MIL wants to borrow some of my old college textbooks on intersectional feminism or some of my husband’s Kurt Vonnegut collection, she can be my guest. But…

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The Dance

When Jack and I got married, we didn’t plan to have a dance at the reception. The biggest reason was budget – we just didn’t have the money for it. My MIL, who loves any reason to throw a party, was horrified when she inquired about our plans for a dance and I told her,…

The Best Response

My in-laws are not the best with computers, and email us quite often asking for help. Many years ago, Jack and I found this email in our inboxes: Subject: Help! Hi Jack and Emily! The computer is on the fritz again. I’m so sick of this thing! Someone from the Geek Squad is coming to…

The Bulldozer

My MIL sometimes resorts to what Jack and I call “bulldozing” behavior. If she thinks she’s permitted to do something, whether because of social customs or just because she thinks she’s right, she will bulldoze everyone around her in an attempt to get her way. The story that follows is a classic example of this.…

One Million Dollars

My in-laws are not what I would consider rich, but they are comfortably upper-middle class. My MIL likes to put on the appearance of being wealthy, while simultaneously being notoriously cheap. She is also obsessed with keeping tabs on other people’s money – she can tell you how much her friends made, what their homes…

The Christmas Card

The year that Jack and I got engaged, my future MIL proposed using Jack and I’s engagement photo for the family Christmas card. “And,” she enthused with a sparkle in her eye, “in an oval bubble located in the upper left corner, would be a photo of Charles and I, smiling down on you in…

Sign Language

Jack wound up proposing to me at a local art museum. He asked me to marry him using sign language, which I had taught him. I took American Sign Language (ASL) in college as my foreign language elective. By the time I met Jack, my knowledge of ASL was beginning to drop by the wayside,…