So, how did I end up at the In-Laws despite a cunning plan to get out of going to the In-Laws because of my uterus and its monthly Armageddon?
The original, pre-impending-menstruapocalypse Christmas plan was: Go to my mother’s on Christmas Eve. Stay until the 27th. On said 27th, go to the In-Laws’. Go home on the 29th. Spend New Year’s Eve barricaded in own flat, eating Potatoes Dauphinoise.
The plan-we-ended-up-with was go to my mother’s on Christmas Eve. Stay until Boxing Day (the 26th) because that was when my period was due. Go home. Stay at home until said period became bearable (say, around 29th or 30th). Then, go to In-Laws until New Year’s Eve, if they still wanted us. Then go home, etc.
Visiting the In-Laws was mandatory, in some shape or form. Do you remember I told you H’s grandfather was seriously ill a few weeks ago? Well, the hospital managed to do some minor surgery to make him far more comfortable, and we all hoped he’d be well enough to go home for Christmas, though we are all aware he’s in his 90s and there is no cure for being 90, or for his health condition, especially as he’s his 90s. (I’m sorry, I know I’m being vague, but I’m trying to respect H’s family privacy to some extent, also not make myself Totally Googleable with the identifying details). Anyway, a few days after that good news, we found out that he was still very weak, and therefore would only be transferred to a smaller, more ‘convalescencey’ hospital closer to home, rather than sent actually home home. And then, a few days after that, we found out that it was not only serious but terminal, and the surgeons had done all they could to make him comfortable, yes, but it was worse than we’d first thought and this was going to be his last Christmas. Hell, we don’t even think he’ll see Easter. So H absolutely had to go and see the In-Laws and visit his grandfather.
In the end, the Christmas calvalcade went thusly:
Christmas Eve, we went to my mother’s, and my niece Minx was delighted to see us, and there was much cuddling and giggling and playing of daft games.
Christmas Day, my mother and her two talented and diligent sous-chefs, May and H, made a full-on proper with-sausages-and-sprouts-and-carrot-batons-and-potatoes-and-bread-sauce-and-gravy turkey roast for us three plus step-Dad, sister, niece, and a couple of old-friends-of-the-family (or, waifs-and-strays). And there was the traditional Christmas pudding, which we drowned in brandy and steamed for hours and still came out like rubber, at which point step-Dad confessed it had been in the cupboard for *cough*many*cough* years. Mum and I had wisely made an alternative pudding as well, because we had Had Our Suspicions. Then my uncle and nephew came over for tea-and-cake, and we opened presents around the tree, just like real families, by which point Minx had pretty much exploded with excitement, bless her. It was nice. It was actually, really, nice. OK, so the cooking-dinner bit drove me mental because I spent the entire morning chasing over the house trying to get my mother to tell me things like at what time did she want the potatoes done, but this is par for the course – my mother is a herd of squirrels all by herself. Add in my sister, small children, and my step-Dad’s habit of dealing with it all by Vanishing, and, well. Eh. It’s Christmas. Chaos and overdone turkey is normal. And, actually, really, nice. In a family’s-like-that way, not a culinary-masterpiece way, obviously.
Boxing Day, I did not get my period. I know. I know. I peed on sticks and they all said ahahahaha go away. So H and I were hauled along to a big family dinner at an aunt’s which I hadn’t even known about until, ooh, lunch-time Christmas Day, but which was also, in the end, actually rather nice (though I did have occasion to lock myself in the lavatory and roll my eyes at least twice). Also, my uterus got outed as Evil Overlord and Spoiler of Parties, not by her own self at all (thank fuckitty), but by H, who was cornered and interrogated by said aunt, and of course silence fell over the dining-table of a dozen-or-so loud and chatty people just as H said ‘endometriosis’, because life is like that. But I have a post brewing about the Outing of the Uterus, so begging your patient indulgence, I’ll get on with this recappery now instead.
By Boxing Day evening I was beginning to feel crampy and to spot, so when we got back to my Mum’s house, I was all for flinging the next part of the plan into gear – the bit where we fled back to our scruffy little flat and Endured. H was going along with this, because I have trained him well, but, as he folded his spare trousers and rounded up the discarded socks, he was being, not querulous exactly, but, anyway, our flat had no food in it, and my Mum’s house had lots, also heating and company for Hs, and if we were adopting a Total Openness And Honesty policy with regards to Cute Ute The Despoiler, did we really need to fold our tents, like the Arabs, nnd as silently steal away? I tried to explain that we did, because, well, because that was the plan, damn it. No changey the plan. Not coping. I want to run away and hide, OK? Also, ow. And I burst into tears. At which propitious moment (natch) my Mum appeared, and of course was concerned, and of course, being hugged by my mother while weeping (the CIA should try it as an interrogation technique) I sort of went ‘WAAAAAAAH my period WAAAAAAAAH being sick WAAAAAAAAH hurts WAAAAAAAAAH so humiliating WAAAAAAAAAAH wanna hide in batcave WAAAAAAAAAH!’
As a net result of this, I found myself tucked into a sort of nest made out of all Mum’s most frayed and battered towels, two hot-water-bottles, a duvet, a blanket, a lap-tray for the lap-top (audiobooks keep May sane) and an old gallon paint bucket.
The 27th I therefore spent at my mother’s.
H called his parents to say May had, err, got her period unexpectedly (lies! But, less awkward, for H at least, than saying, well, we knew we might have to change plans at short notice for nearly two weeks, errr, because, well, because we just knew, OK?) and was busy being sick in a bucket and taking tramadol (my FiL has a mighty respect for tramadol. They gave it him once post-surgery and it made him hallucinate and he now thinks it’s hardcore).
And we spent the 28th there as well, with less being sick, and more getting up in the evening and playing cards (while stoned on tramadol and diclofenac. Gentle Reader, I could not count to ten. I think I lost).
On the 29th, I felt so very well – and, yes, I know, this period sucked less than previous ones (w00t!) – that we went to the In-Laws. We’d missed the tiny-house-crammed-full extravaganza by then, so things were much quieter and calmer, and despite the your-bedroom-is-our-sitting-room thing and the no-sink-in-loo thing, all that, we managed quite well.
(Though there was the moment when my MiL saw me coming out of the loo with my handbag (purse, to you Americans) slung over my shoulder, and said, with a peal of laughter: ‘May! What on EARTH did you take your handbag into the loo for, you silly girl? Eh?’ and H, who was in the next room and overheard, swears he also heard the crunch as every single muscle on my face froze into a look of petrified horror and my shoulders hunched into a solid mass of AAAAAAAAAUGH).
Mainly, and importantly, H and I got to see his grandfather, and talk with him, and hold his hands, and let him know we loved him.
And then we came home and did the Potatoes Dauphinoise thing. And now we wait. And plan another visit. But chiefly wait.