Here’s where I tell you that I liked my in-laws. I really did. My father-in-law, in particular, and I got along rather smashingly. Things weren’t quite so smooth and easy-going with my mother-in-law, but much of that could be chalked up to my being extraverted and affectionate and her being subdued and guarded. I think she sometimes felt accosted by me and I often felt shunned by her.
Anyway, I enjoyed my in-laws well enough under most circumstances, but I wouldn’t say those circumstances included having them suddenly sprung upon me right in the midst of a stressful move. We were already dealing with a lot of issues and the idea of having to be “on” and a good hostess just about put me over the edge.
To be fair, they had gotten a hotel. And I was grateful. While ordinarily I would hate for visiting guests not to stay in my home, with a tiny 1-bedroom apartment and lots of balls in the air, it was a bit of a relief to me. (Does that make me sound awful? I worry it might. But it’s the truth.)
My husband, like me, was unsure why they had come, exactly. He didn’t appear all that thrilled, either. They said they were there to help, that they could tell we were overwhelmed over the phone and wanted to do something. This all sounds great, but, really, we weren’t sure what they could do.
Either way, it was the weekend and we figured we should enjoy it. Sunday afternoon, we picked up some beer and chicken wings and we all settled in to watch some football. His dad mentioned not feeling great, but it didn’t seem to be bothering him too much. Yawning, we said good night after the game, and they headed back to their hotel.
On Monday morning, my husband, again, dropped me off at the training center, this time driving the Jeep Liberty rental since, at the time, it was the only functioning vehicle we had. I told him I’d see him around noon and went in to do my classwork.
Noon came and I was standing outside, waiting for him.
By 12:30, I was pretty stressed out and wondering if he had forgotten me. This was 2002, remember, and cell phones weren’t something that EVERYONE had. We were among those who lived without them.
When he finally showed up, close to 12:45, I was pretty irritated, to be honest. I had been waiting an awfully long time and I couldn’t figure out what would have kept him from getting to me.
“Where WERE you?” I asked, not entirely sweetly, as I climbed in the front seat.
“You don’t want to know,” he mumbled, staring straight ahead and driving.
I really looked at him and saw the grim line to his mouth.
“What happened?” I finally asked, which, in retrospect, would have been a much kinder question to lead off with.
He met my gaze.
“Dad’s in the hospital.”
The rest of this story can be found here:
Part 1: Itchy Feet
Part 2: Looking Northward
Part 3: Picking a Town
Part 4: The Job “Search”
Part 5: Selling Our First Home (at 25)
Part 6: Sold!
Part 7: Virginia or bust!