Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Little Anal

Don't get me wrong... I love the guy. He's funny, sweet, basically pretty naive and innocent, and he loves my daughter. Yeah, I'm talking about my new SIL. He's a truly good guy... but he's a little anal. Yeah. Really.

You have to understand, he comes by it naturally. I don't know his family well, but from what I've seen I love his mom, his two younger brothers are sweeties, and his dad is...oh, gee, how can I put this nicely...? He's thrifty. No, that's not it. He's conservative. Nope, that doesn't quite say it either. Okay, no more pussy-footing around... he's cheap. Nice, but a bit obsessive when it comes to money.

This, I'm afraid is one of the traits that has passed down a generation.

I'm glad my daughter has someone who is conservative, as God knows her father and I aren't very good at it, but there comes a point where I draw the line. We aren't rich by any means - we're middle class, but Hubby's theory has always been, "You can't take it with you". The line was drawn this weekend. Daughter and I were doing a bit of sale shopping. You have to understand something - I'm not really a typical woman when it comes to shopping. I only go to the mall about four times a year and I've almost always got a list or an idea of what it is I'm going for.

Having said that, there are a couple of stores I like going to for comfy clothes. Old Navy is one of them. I practically live in sweatshirts and fleece in the wintertime and my wardrobe consists of t-shirts the rest of the year. Because I wear them all the time at home and at work, they get used and abused and it doesn't take long for them to get ratty looking. I mean, after you've let muddy-pawed critters tromp all over you and worked up a good sweaty lather in the garden, it doesn't take a genius to figure out it's going to eventually not look like new. Soooo when I spot one of my favorite places, we often take a lap through the store to see if anything is on sale I can stock up on, like tees or sweats.

While in one of those places this weekend, I did get a few sale items, then she and I both spotted these long, fleece tops at the same time. They looked soooo comfy! Yes, even though it was 100 degrees heat index out at the time, we both have vivid imaginations and can see ourselves curled up with a book in the dead of winter wearing the 'gotta have' shirt. But! I haven't told you the best part! It wasn't just the perfect cozy shirt, but it was on sale for $4! You heard me, $4!

Soooo...I tell daughter I'm going to buy her one. She says... "well, when SIL calls in a few days to ask about it, you'll have to tell him I've had it forever." (The old hide the new stuff in the closet for a month or so, then bring it out and tell Hubby I got it a loooong time ago...she learned it at her mother's knee). Why? I say... I'm the one buying it, not you. Here's where it gets weird.
SIL thinks she shouldn't take things from me, that she's taking advantage of me. WTF? I get it when he's trying to control her spending, but now he's trying to control mine? To make her feel guilty for me buying something for her? I've done this her whole life - she's my kid, for goodness sake! Hmmph. This isn't setting too well.

I love the guy, but he'd better get his shit together pretty darn quick, or we're gonna have words. This reminds me of my beloved grandmother who used to live right next door to us when I was in kindergarten. We were very close. She was, however, my biological mother's mom and my biological mother died when I was three. My father remarried when I was five, and we lived next door to his ex-mother-in-law. Does that make sense? At any rate, she would babysit me every Friday night when they went bowling. Yeah, it's exciting in this here Iowa-y place...

So we moved away after a year or so to another town, and my grandmother moved to California to be with my aunt and her family. About once a year she would try and come back and visit some of her family that still lived in the area, and me. Visiting me meant presents. She traveled a lot and she'd gotten me a charm bracelet. She would send me charms from all over when she visited, and then when she came back we would go find new ones that were just things I liked. One year she bought me an instamatic camera. She'd take me to dinner and we'd talk and laugh and catch up and then shop.

My parents, especially my mother, were furious. They had their minds made up that I was begging my grandmother for things that they couldn't (or wouldn't) buy me. I think she just wanted to make up for times we couldn't be together and to let me have some things to remember her with when she was gone... like the camera that we took lots of pictures with of each other and I have to this day.

I'm sure SIL means well, but this behaviour just reeks of the kind of control that my parents tried on me years ago. It didn't work then and it ain't gonna work now. I hope he understands that someday...