Sometime late last spring, my father-in-law told Dr. Darling that he had volunteered to serve as chauffeur for his wife and her best friend who were attending a Cliff Richard concert in Malmö this past weekend. The ladies were making a big “Girls Night Out” of it, including hotel accommodations, and he wanted to know if he could stay at our place on Friday night.
Given that they live two and a-half hours north of here, it made sense that he wouldn’t want to drive back up to Falkenberg after the show. So even though we are usually wiped out at the end of the week and would never intentionally plan to have overnight company on a Friday, Dr. Darling told him he was welcome to stay at our place and then promptly forgot about it. (It was six months away after all.)
I know the subject came up again in August when Dr. D was trying to coordinate getting him a key so that he and his wife could stay at our place one night while we were cycling the Lofoten Islands (which became enough of a logistical nightmare that I was ready to pay for them to stay at a hotel). And knowing my father-in-law, it was probably mentioned at least in passing virtually every time they’ve spoken since then.
About a month ago he called with a more formal reminder, at which time he provided a few more details about the ladies’ plans (a bit of shopping on Saturday morning). Then last week he called to say he’d be dropping “the girls” at the hotel in Malmö early Friday afternoon, and was surprised (as usual) when the Swede told him we would both still be at work at that time. Seriously, both he and his wife seem to have some kind of mental block on this issue because the fact that we both have full-time Monday-Friday jobs (for the moment, anyway) NEVER factors into any plans they make involving us.
In addition to this little peculiarity, he has a well-established habit of not listening to Dr. Darling very closely. Combine that with my Swede’s seeming inability to ask a follow-up question, and you basically have a perfect recipe for regular occurrences of miscommunication that are invariably annoying, often inconvenient and occasionally hilarious. So I probably should NOT have been surprised to learn, while eating the home-cooked meal he thoughtfully brought along for dinner Friday night, that the concert wasn’t until the FOLLOWING EVENING.
He was in another room when this somewhat relevant bit of info came to light, causing me drop my fork and mouth silently to Dr. Darling, “Does this mean he’s staying until Sunday?!” She assured me in a hushed whisper he wasn’t and that she had NO IDEA the concert was Saturday until after she met up with him on her way home from work. So we would basically be hosting him until about 10:30 Saturday night…at which point he’d fetch the Cliff Richard fans from arena and start the long drive back up to Falkenberg. What the hell? Wasn’t avoiding that drive late at night the whole point of…oh never mind.
Fortunately we hadn’t made any other plans for Saturday, so him hanging out until the concert was over wasn’t a problem. It just would have been nice to know about it in advance so that we could have at least had something on hand to make for dinner. (The weekly grocery run usually happens on Sunday, so the cupboard pretty darn bare on Saturdays.) The concert had been on their calendar for six months…you’d think the fact that it was a Saturday night performance might have come up during the multiple conversations he had with Dr. Darling about his visit.
Now as I mentioned earlier, this type of misunderstanding between Dr. Darling and my in-laws is so commonplace that it’s borderline comical. And I realize that I have to take some responsibility for my own frustration because I continue to rely on her to handle 95% of our communication with them…especially the stuff that involves any kind of coordination and pre-planning. CLEARLY, THAT. MUST. STOP.