This past weekend marked the third one in a row in which we entertained out-of-town guests … not a record by any means, but kind of stressful none-the-less.
This is because Dr. Darling, a classic INTJ, is physically exhausted by any kind of prolonged social interaction and I am driven crazy by my in-laws’ unwillingness to let us act as actual hosts. And by that, I mean the simple things like having a vote as to whether or not we should attempt to have a cook-out in a windstorm. At the beach. Hauling everything (including the grill) by bike so that they can have wine or beer with dinner. I wish I was kidding.
Now I need to be clear that I’m talking about my father-in-law and his wife, not my mother-in-law … who is a pretty easy-going house-guest by comparison. She was down from Halmstad the previous weekend for Midsommar and we had a very nice visit. My father-in-law, and more specifically his wife, are much higher maintenance in spite of the fact that they always bring their own sheets and towels.
First off, they always invite themselves, though I can’t really blame them for that because the Swede — whose responsibility I believe it is to issue such invitations — never seems to get around to it. So I don’t really mind that part, especially since they tend to give us plenty of notice. But once they arrive, they totally run their own agenda … which was even more aggravating than usual on Friday night since it was Dr. Darling‘s birthday.
This visit, besides the ill-timed BBQ at the beach (which did not happen courtesy of the weather, thank you Mother Nature), their plans included watching the EUFA Under 21 soccer match between Sweden and the UK (which we had to record so as not to interfere with dinner), getting a tutorial with how to organize pictures on their laptop, and having us explain of all the accessories that came with their latest mobile phone, including installation of the accompanying software on the aforementioned computer. Oh, and did I mention it’s a WinDoze machine equipped with Vista? I wish I was kidding.
Now why they rely on us for this kind of technical assistance is kind of a mystery considering that my step-mother-in-law has two highly tech-savvy sons of her own, and Dr. Darling‘s brother, a mobile network engineer, lives less than a half-hour away from them. The only thing we can figure is that none of those guys have the patience to explain things to them in terms they understand. Score one for the “alternative lifestyle” branch of the family that includes the foreigner.
They left about 3 p.m. on Saturday, which means they accomplished a hell of a lot in less than 24 hours. We, on the other hand, were left exhausted and kind of dazed, actually. On the plus side, they did give us our birthday presents (mine’s this coming Saturday) in the form of cash, but it was tempting not to see it as “payment for services rendered.”