Night of the living-dead tomato plants
For the last two months of my pregnancy, my son and I had to move in with my mother. My pelvic disorder meant I needed help with/someone to do my basic mummy jobs such as cooking, nappy changes, bathing, dressing. I was also unable to navigate stairs, and my mum's house handily has a downstairs double bedroom with ensuite. (the house is so over-renovated, they will be bumping their heads on the ceiling price for the area.) HID sometimes stayed over with us, and always gave Boy his evening bath, but spent much time at home, getting last minute preparations done. But my mother in law lived at our home while she was in town, so there was always someone to feed the cat, water the plants, and keep the place looking lived in. Or so I thought.
About a month before baby arrived, there were certain items I needed from home that could not be sourced by HID. (No. Because that would involve him knowing practical things like where "we" kept Boy's pajamas. And it just wasn't worth explaining it all.) So HID took me on a trip home.
The smell hit me as soon as the door opened. Sort of a musty, moudly combo, as though the house had been empty for months. Clearly, no one had bothered opening a window for weeks. I walked into the badly-in-need-of-a-good-hoover living room and was met by toys strewn all over the floor. It was over a week since Boy had last visited for a play, yet it was apparently fine for people to step over them. (Since returning home, I've realised that many small items, such as jigsaw pieces or toy cars, that I'd lovingly organised into separate storage bags, have totally disappeared thanks to careless, if any, tidying up techniques. What a shame.)
The kitchen bin was way over due being emptied. There were rancid vegetables composting themselves in the fridge drawers. The kitchen floor was equally littered with crumbs and sticky spots. The bottom stair still had the line of dust from the stairgate we'd taken with us a month before. I dared not look in the bathroom. The nappy bin in Boy's room (god knows the last time he'd had a nappy change in there) stunk out the whole upstairs. And his cot had no sheet in it, just the plastic covering. And MIL had been complaining that he as refusing to nap when she babysat for him here. Well, the reason is obvious. Would any of you like to sleep on a bare plastic mattress in a room stinking of human excrement??
The most upsetting thing was the beautiful vegetable garden I'd lovingly planted. I can understand that it wasn't weeded. But EVERYTHING was dead, due to not being watered. The pumpkins had spread all over our small, now overgrown, lawn and garden chairs (that had STILL not been put away) from the veg patch. Well, just look at the pictures. I'm sure you'll understand how I felt. Was it really that hard to water a few plants? The place looked like it was made up for an outdoor halloween party!
HID works 12+hour days at a stressful job. He was also making time to cross town to spend time with us, and fit the new bathroom, and build a cot, and re-paper the living room. On the other hand, MIL does not work and had been traveling round Europe in a campervan for 6 months. So she was using our home as her full-time residence while she was in the country. Although,it certainly didn't look like someone was living there,let alone spending a full 24hours there, save a few trips to tescos. I can't believe someone could live like that! Did she not notice? Or could she not be bothered? She was helping with childcare an afternoon a few times a week, (the most she has ever seen Boy) but surely there was time to run the hoover around the place in the space of a month?! Yes, she's not in the best of health,but surely,on one of her "bad days", her boyfriend (also staying in our house) could be supervised in some simple chores such as plant-watering? Perhaps it is even fitting that he pitch in?
The thing that really grates is that she had found the time to heavily prune back the front garden (all the while,my lovely vegetables lay dying), so obviously, keeping up with the Jones' is important to her. It could also be to do with the fact that the house used to be hers, but we haven't changed the front garden much yet, it's still pretty much as she left it.
Needless to say, poorly and seven and a half months pregnant (and even if I wasn't!) the sight of my home in this state left me emotional, to say the least. Livid would be a better word. I explained to HID that under no circumstances was the house to look like this when I came out of hospital with a new baby. Luckily for him, and MIL, it didn't.
Labels: mothers in law