Saturday, December 31, 2011

preparing for parents to visit

Been cleaning like a cleaning fool..I guess we only "deep clean" when someone's parents are coming, cause this is the first deep clean since May when my in-laws came to visit. About twice a year of scrubbing soap scum off showers and scrubbing down the baseboards and washing windows seems about right to me.

My mom's house was always meticulously clean, which I didn't enjoy much growing up (I prefer a house that looks lived in) but which has ramped up my anxiety re: her seeing my house for the first time. Especially since she always makes comments that makes it seem like I'm filthy. Actually the first of 2 times she came to visit me when I lived in Philly, she brought a bunch of cleaning supplies like she expected me to be living in filth. Which I'm not! It's funny, my mom always used to talk about how her cooking was never good enough for her mother- I feel the same way about cleaning and her. Can't really feel that way about cooking since she would never eat anything I cooked anyway! :)

I took down the christmas tree and we're probably going to take down the lights today. I'm not going to take the christmas cards down off my refrigerator though- christmas is over so it's reasonable to take down the tree and the lights even though we would probably leave them up a few more days if my parent's weren't coming to visit, but I like those cards, and if they have a problem with that then maybe they should send me a chanukah card and I can put those up too (we got none of those, but several christmas/holiday cards from B's family and my coworkers).

We are going to get some fruits and entenmenns cookies and bottles of water (we also have canned soda) for snacks when they get here. There's not a whole lot of kosher food where we live, so we don't have many other options.

I wrote back to my dad's email asking if they were going to stay overnight here in our guest room, which we invited them to do about 6 times and he never responded to before, and he wrote back that they booked a hotel in a small city about 45 minutes north of here so they can "get an early start on their drive home the next day." (They are visiting me on their way back to NJ from Florida). Trying to be happy they are coming at all and not focus on these bullshit hurtful excuses to not spend more than an hour or two with me (at my PhD graduation- the first and only time they have met my husband so far- they also booked a flight later that day so they *had* to leave immediately after the graduation ceremony and couldn't stick around at all). Small steps, right? At least they are coming, that is huge, for them to actually spend the night would be insanely huge.

Maybe I'll just blame this on my mom's fear of dogs...I mean my in-laws didn't stay at our house either when they visited cause my MIL is allergic to cats. It's not such a big deal...

Well, it's a new year tomorrow and maybe this is the start of a new relationship. Never in a million years would I have expected my mom to come visit me here- I thought my dad would come eventually, but for my mom to be coming to visit is huge. I hope she thinks my house is as awesome as I think it is. :) More importantly, I hope she sees when visiting that my life isn't bizzarely different from hers- no alters to satan, no crosses hanging on the wall, just a normal looking house. I think part of the problem is she thinks I live a crazy different life and that she can't relate to me, and I hope she see's that other than the dietary restrictions and not using electricity or driving once a week (On her part not mine), our lives are pretty much the same.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hi Abandoning Eden,

Depending on various factors, our tentative plan is to come by and visit late Sunday afternoon. Probably around 6 pm. As we travel, we'll call with more accurate updates and timeframes.

Looking forward.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Parental Visit and a Mezuzah

Talked to my dad on Saturday night about him and my mom visiting. They are probably driving down to Florida on Christmas, so they can't visit on the way down (since we will be in the midwest visiting my in-laws on Christmas) but I suggested they come visit on the way back up, which they probably will. So now they might visit on New Years Eve or the day after. Not sure if they will be staying overnight here or not- I invited them to, and told them I could find kosher food and sealed plates and utensils for them and whatnot, and my dad responded he would "take that under advisement" which I guess means see what my mom wants to do. He mentioned something about my mom wanting to check out our new house and I joked about how I'm cleaning frantically for their visit.

One weird note of our conversation- my dad asked if he could bring us a mezuzah as a house warming present. For non-jewish readers, a mezuzah is this little box (usually fancy) that has some torah passages in a scroll rolled up inside, and jewish people put this up on the doorway on the entrance to their house (very religious jews like my parents put it up in every doorway IN their house too). Here's a picture of one I found on the internet:

It's basically supposed to protect your house from bad luck and/or the "evil eye" (Ayin harah) jewish people worry about, and when a family has a run of bad luck, people are all like "Check your mezuzahs" to make sure a word isn't mispelled in the scroll. Cause, god gets pissed when you misspell words in your magical door scroll and causes everyone in your house to die and break their legs and have miscarriages and get fired from their jobs and shit. God is pretty much a douche like that.

Anyways my dad is like "Can I bring you a mezuzah, would that be pushing my religion on you." And I was basically like "umm, no, we dont really want a mezuzah and yeah that's kinda pushing religion." and my dad was like "well I'll have to think of something else instead."

So one sour note to our conversation. There's a reason I've been keeping my distance from my parents for several years, and it wasn't just because they disapproved of me and didn't come to my wedding. It's cause of stuff like this. I want to talk to my parents, sure. About neutral things that don't involve religion. I don't want them bringing me religious artifacts to stick on my front door, or trying to kiruv me, or asking me if I'm doing anything for jewish holidays, or trying to convince me to circumcise my future children, or anything involving religion. It's like one massive jewish guilt trip. Plus it's just plain awkward to be like "No, please don't bring me an expensive box of scrolls I don't believe were written by god to protect me from bad luck I don't believe exists." In not so many words.

It just worries me that now that me and my parents are getting a little closer after many years, the first thing they do is suggest some more religion.

I told this to B and at first he was like "sure they can bring whatever mezuzah they want" before I explained to him what a mezuzah actually is and how this would involve holes in our doorway and magical torah scrolls. I kinda think he would agree to it anyway to make my parents happy. He doesn't seem to think it's a big deal and was like "well you know one of the paintings we have has a bunch of religious symbols on it, how would this be any different?"

It's funny, on thanksgiving right after talking to my parents I was like "if my parents come we should take down the Christmas tree before they get here, cause that would be pretty shocking for them to see for their first visit to our house." And B was all "NO we can't change our house just for them!" Now a few weeks later, looking more and more like they ARE visiting, we still haven't actually put up our tree (mostly out of lazyness since it's up in the attic and we're not even going to be home for christmas) and B said something this weekend about how we definitely can't have the tree up when my parent's come here, at least not for the FIRST visit! :) And he's agreeing to mezuzahs without even knowing what they are... :) We agreed if my parents ask him anything when they are here and he doesn't understand what they are saying he should look to me first and not agree to anything. This will only be the second time B meets my parents- the first was at my PhD graduation in May 2010.