The Invasion of the In-laws is over! And it was rather successful, I must say. I am slowly recovering.
In order to share the experience with you all, I am providing this handy pie chart...
As you see, much time was spent on food. And on worrying. Not MY worrying. THEIR worrying. They worry. And fret. And second-guess. Much stress is caused by this worrying. And much medicinal alcohol is consumed due to worrying. Oh, and "the mouse" is...Disneyland. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Since this was such a large occasion, and the family is such a wealth of material, I will be sharing the experience in parts. Please indulge me.
Part 1: The Invasion -
They all arrived on Thursday.
My BIL, Tony, and SIL, the amazing Niki, got here in the morning and rented a car. Tony, by the way, doesn't understand why Niki is "the amazing Niki" and he's just plain Tony. I told him it's because she is part of this entire crazy family by choice, and puts up with them up close, while I have a 2443.79 mile buffer. The old ones came in about 4:00, and Jimmy picked them up at the airport.
It was then that the worrying about food began. Where should we eat? What should we eat? Who wants to eat? Who needs to eat? Will they eat that? Did you eat? Did he eat? He didn't eat. Did you eat? When are we gonna eat?
While Jimmy took the old ones to our house, Tony took Jude to baseball practice, and Niki and I went to the grocery store, because it had been decided that we would "just get some cold cuts". While I had prepared by filling our home with much, much, much food, I had failed in purchasing an adequate amount of cold cuts. The in-laws are cold cuts people. Lots of cold cuts. I'm afraid that I'm not much of a cold cuts person, my people pretty much believed that cold cuts were to be eaten exclusively on picnics. But I've adapted to the cold cut thing, and Niki and I loaded up on meats and cheeses and breads and store-bought potato salad. Mama was rolling in her grave, never having bought store-bought potato salad in her life - she made a mean potato salad.
We also stocked up on foods to be kept in the hotel. Because God forbid there was a moment in the day when food wasn't available. Water, seltzer (these people love their seltzer), cereal, yogurt, cheeses, crackers, orange juice, chocolate. Everyone in the family is a chocoholic, but no one admits it. Almost everyone keeps a secret stash of chocolate to nibble on through the day. I will name no names. Mommy.
I realize that all this food talk makes it sounds like the family eats too much, which isn't true at all. They really aren't overeaters, in fact Mommy and Aunt Grace eat very little (well, except for the chocolate thing). They're nibblers. I think they just need to always be prepared for every possible need that anyone might have. It's sort of preemptive worrying. And it's a pretty damned high-maintainance group.
Everybody seemed okay with the hotel. I'm afraid it wasn't anything special, but it must have been clean enough, because Mommy didn't sent me to buy more Lysol or anything. And honestly, they spent very little time there.
On Friday, Aunt Grace stayed home with me to cook/prepare for the First Communion party on Saturday, and the others went out to eat. Grace always wants to help. When she first started coming to visit us, I never let her, I figured it was her vacation, and the idea of a houseguest doing housework was against my upbringing. But I have come to understand that work and chores actually make Aunt Grace happy. She likes to be useful. So I've started saving little tasks for her, and I must say, it's a huge help. I set up the ironing board for her in front of the tv so she could watch her stock market news on CNBC, and let her do all the ironing. She's an excellent and enthusiastic ironer. She particularly enjoyed ironing Jude's little white dress shirt for his First Communion, which is really very dear. She also polished all the silver and swept the porch.
Everybody else went to eat at a little cafe in the Hollywood Hills, near where we used to live before we bought our house. Which is nowhere near where we live now. But they had been there before back when we used to live in the old place, and as I mentioned before, Pop doesn't like to go anywhere he hasn't already been. So despite the fact that there are about 2000 cafes in the City of Los Angeles that are closer to the hotel, they chose to go to this one. While there, Mommy went a little crazy, and ate a plate of silver dollar pancakes AND drank an entire huge egg cream. Mommy l0ves an old-fashioned egg cream. Unfortunately, the old-fashioned egg cream didn't love her, and she spent the rest of the day in the bathroom at the hotel. I will say no more. Sigh...
Jimmy then took them all down to The Actor's Studio, which was apparently pretty exciting. They got to meet Martin Landau and Mark Rydell, who are the artistic directors. And Niki said she got kissed on both cheeks by an exotic Italian actor. Grace and I were still at home ironing and cooking, respectively.
Then that night, we all went out to eat AGAIN (well, all of us but the poor ailing Mommy). Remember the many concerns involving picking a restaurant which I described HERE? Well, Osteria Mamma turned out to be a good choice, and I think Jimmy's palm greasing didn't hurt. We got a nice table, and lots of attention. When we got there, Jude immediately asked to see Mamma, who is the owner/chef, and is in fact the owner/manager's mamma. Mamma came out right away to see Jude and meet the family, and they all talked to each other in Italian, which was pretty cool. It's sad that Mommy didn't get to meet Mamma, especially since she'd been "dreaming about" Mamma's pasta, and that's why we went there in the first place.
Based on the farewell we got as we left the place, I'm pretty sure that Pop did his over-tipping thing. We practically got a standing ovation from the waitstaff.
Did I mention how happy Jude was to have his family with him? He was so happy. Absolutely over-the-moon happy. He truly adores then. And honestly...so do I. So don't give too much credence to my complaining.
Coming up on Second Blooming...
Invasion of the In-laws Part II: The Communion