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Priscilla’s Visit from her Mother in Law

Priscilla’s Visit from her Mother in Law

Priscilla’s mother in law came to visit and she tried her very best to resolve things without violence.


Dearest Priscilla,

You know how I loathe to be the bearer of bad news, but due to the most dreadful of circumstances, I fear I have no choice. The whole ordeal began with Roger who started walking around with a rather pleased expression on his face all the time. This kind of contentment on Roger's part caused my heart to race with trepidation. It's not, heaven forbid, that I don't wish for Roger's happiness, I sincerely do. It's just that the last time he came in looking that happy is when he dropped $130,000 on some sort of ridiculous motorcycle. It was fire-engine red and he looked like an idiot riding it. He said that it made him feel alive, the sensation of the wind in his hair. I didn't have the heart to point out that it's been years since he's had any hair.

When I called Mother to tell her what had transpired, she was in the middle of having her weekly waxing appointment. At the mention of Roger parading around town on a red motorcycle, she became so alarmed that she shot right out of the beautician's chair, inconveniently forgetting that the woman was just about to remove the last wax strip. I am somewhat unclear about what happened next, but Mother showed up at my house twenty minutes later missing half of her left eyebrow.


"Take me now God, take me now!"

You know Mother, my darling, and as you can imagine, suffering the loss of part of her eyebrow is similar to what other people experience when they are told that a vital body part must be amputated. So there I had my husband going through a midlife crisis and my mother in a manic state over her eyebrow. Priscilla, I would not wish this kind of turmoil on my worst enemy. Mother was so impossible that by the time she made it onto my upstairs porch screaming "Take me now God, take me now!" I almost considered letting her jump.

Instead I called Mother's psychiatrist, Dr. Brinkley, who promptly came to the house with some meds for her. The cocktail of drugs from Dr. Brinkley put Mother to sleep, so she was no use at all, which left me to contemplate my plan of action alone. There wasn't very much to think about though, for I knew there was only one logical solution. That night, while Roger was asleep, I went to the garage where he had lovingly parked his motorcycle and cut the brakes. Priscilla, I love him too much to see him humiliate himself. It was really the only thing I could do.

Two days later he was riding to the golf course, was unable to stop at a major intersection and ran himself into a pole. The motorcycle was destroyed, and Roger recovered from his concussion after just a few days, thus ending the sordid incident. But this is not about the motorcycle; it is about the expression that preceded it, one that he was now wearing yet again. Something terrible was going to happen.

"My mother is coming to visit!" he exclaimed proudly "I've known for days, but was waiting for the tickets to be confirmed. Isn't that wonderful?"

No, it was not wonderful. Roger’s mother, Phyllis, is one of those people who make you wonder why God couldn't make the world just a little bit larger, so that she could be that much farther away. I break out in hives when I see her name appear on the caller-ID. I fake a contagious illness every single holiday to avoid family gatherings where she might show up. (It's been 27 years straight, you would think she'd catch on, but I guess now we know where Roger gets his brains from.) Fortunately, she is generally too busy going on cruises and traveling the world to torment me with her presence.

"When is she arriving?" I asked, my mind racing already trying to come up with an excuse. "She's on the way from the airport now," Roger squealed. "I wanted to surprise you, but I just can't contain myself any longer!" Dear Lord, the woman would be here in fifteen minutes and even if I overdosed on something, it probably wouldn't even work that fast.

It seemed like only seconds later that I heard her voice in the driveway. "I'm glad you didn't clean up for me" she declared upon entering the house "I wouldn't want you to put yourself out. Besides, I am sure a little dust never did anyone any harm. Although, I must say it is a good thing I'm not asthmatic". It was all I could do not to claw her eyes out. I have two lovely Hungarian housemaids who dust daily and my house is always immaculate. But Roger seemed oblivious and was already showing Phyllis to the guest quarters.

I spent the next week in a state of constant meditation and prayer. I would not, I promised myself, sit in jail for years for murdering that woman. Orange is simply not flattering to my skin tone and I hear the food there is quite distasteful. But it took only minutes of Phyllis's company to cause me to reconsider. She was never at a loss for words. "My dear, it is so nice to see that you aren't bothered by a few extra pounds, but are you certain that your cardigan wouldn't look best in the next size?" It took all my self control not to ask her if she was certain she wouldn't look best on an autopsy table, but I bit my tongue and held it together.

"Roger, you look dashing," she said the next day. "Clearly you and your wife have been using different trainers". I looked to my husband of two decades for a bit of support, but he was still standing there with glazed eyes and that dopey "mommy loves me" expression on his face. When she asked me if I was considering surgery to "mend my bulging waistline", I realized it was time to turn to my only other ally. So I called Mother. "Phyllis is here" I whispered into the receiver. "Oh honey!" Mother exclaimed sympathetically "Why didn't you fake Malaria? You haven't used that one yet."

When I explained to her about Roger and the surprise, she vowed to help me devise a plan to get rid of the nightmare that had birthed my husband. And that is how we came up with Plan B. The next morning, I told Phyllis that I was quite certain that I had eaten something bad the other day and might have a highly contagious form of mad-cows disease. Knowing Phyllis and her fear of illness, I waited expectantly for her to announce her imminent departure.

Later that evening Phyllis approached me. My heart soared with anticipation. She was leaving at last! "My dear" she began "I googled the symptoms of mad-cows disease and when I read of the mood inconsistencies and erratic behavior described there, I'm fairly convinced you have had this illness for quite some time! Whatever the case, I cannot leave Roger with you in this unstable condition, so I am pleased to inform you that I have extended my stay for another month. Isn't that wonderful?"

Bake me some cookies Priscilla and bring them when you visit me in Prison. Blame it on the mad-cow disease if you will, but I am going to kill her.

All my love,

March 10, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 19

(18) Bobby5000, February 17, 2016 5:22 PM

dealing with barbs and needles

One way to deal with comments is to take them literally. To "I'm glad you didn't clean up for me," respond, oh yes I did, I spend about two hours cleaning the kitchen and rec room. Make the needler make a clear nasty comment or take it back. Don't cover for him for her.

(17) Rachel, March 21, 2012 5:52 PM

Thank You, Priscilla!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Priscilla, You are one wise woman! Why? Because you followed another wise person's tried and true advice which went something like:"it's so much better to laugh about it than to cry about it!" Well, in your case, it's so much better to laugh about it than to "kill" about it. Right? And, my dear, orange doesn't match my skin tone either, so thank you for providing me a viable alternative to messing up my finely-tuned fashion by throwing it over for a neon orange jail suit. Orange jail suits don't work for any season. 'Nuff said! Dearest Priscilla, could it be that, gasp, we have the same mother-in-law masquerading as two different people?! No, that is not likely. So... the next option is, they must have been twins who were *accidentally* separated at birth...yeah, that's more like it! Only, my mother-in-law has comments and actions that are even bigger doozies than the ones you describe!! Like, lets take the time when she was visiting our home without her husbad so that I could study for my LSAT exam. She was "helping" my watching my one-year-old son so that I could study effectively. It all sounded reasonable before the visit, but when she arrived, ohhh watch out!! As soon as she arrived, she went to the store to get all of my husband's favorite food.Then, at night, she would corner her son (my husband) in his office, and she would talk about what a horrible wife and mother I was, and then she would recommend a divorce so that she could move in and raise her grandson and take care of her son the right way! But, the crescendo to this situation arrived on a Saturday afternoon when she was being particularly rude and dismissive. My husband, herself, and myself all sat down for a family conference. About 5 words in, she started screaming and my husband asked me to leave the table. Soon after that, she came upstairs and body-slammed me. At that point she found me and body-slammed me. My husband took her to the airport as she yelled about killing me the whole way!!

(16) Anonymous, March 18, 2012 6:08 PM

LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!

Does the author know my MIL??? This captures her in a nutshell. This wass such great comic relief from a stressful situation. I will be by my in laws for Pesach and I think I'm gonna diffuse the tension by thinking of Priscilla/ Vivian and Phyllis! And to the two posters who found this so offensive, maybe you guys don't have emotionally abusive mothers in law and besides this is really for entertainment - whats up with taking every detail seriously????

(15) Yentel, March 18, 2012 12:30 PM


Why do people always write about mother-in-laws, why not about father-in-laws? Being a mother-in-law with 13 wonderful children-in-laws, I am very offended! I think the writer has a very good sense of writing, but shoudn't be writing about such sensitive and controvertial topics. I didn't particularly enjoy this article and I think being the amazing you are, you shouldn't be publishing such things!

(14) Liba, March 18, 2012 1:05 AM


I enjoyed this so much! Although my mil is not evil like this it was still such a great laugh. Can't wait for the next!

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