My outlaw in-law


I know that I promised that AGMA’s next blog post was going to be about Roman toilets.

While it’s an important subject that needs further investigation and elaboration, something’s come up that demands our immediate attention.  And it kind of has to do with Rome in a twisted, round-about way.

Do you have an outlaw in-law in the family?  We do.

Of course…

My MIL married her husband at age 15.  That boggles my mind. How is that even legal?  But this was back in the late 40’s in the hills of North Carolina where I think child brides were common. Probably all too common.  At least she didn’t marry a cousin.

My husband was born when she was the only 17.  And she had had all three of her children by the time she was 22.  I could barely take care of houseplants and keep them alive at 22.

As a result, she is “young” for having a 65 year old son.

When her husband, my father-in-law, passed away ten years ago, she went into a deep funk.  Now mind you, they really couldn’t stand each other.  There was nothing but nasty bickering when we were around them.  Quite a bit of venom was spat about.  Good times. But I guess when you’ve been together with somebody for 56 years, it’s not easy to say goodbye no matter how much you couldn’t stand the sight of them.


It took her about two years to get her bearings and realize that she could do whatever she wanted to do.  She didn’t have to ask permission anymore.  Spend all night at the casino if she wants.  Go to plays and musical shows.  Buy a double-wide in the mountains. And travel.  She just loves to travel.

And that’s when the trouble started…

At this point I have to reiterate that I am a “value” traveler.  I like bargains.  I’d rather take $3000 and go on two “value” trips than one upscale trip.  It’s just the way AGMA rolls.

She doesn’t like to travel alone so she invited us to go on several tours with her to Scotland and Ireland.  The tours were very nice, but pretty expensive; not in keeping with the AGMA travel mantra of “value”.   We kindly, politely turned her down.

Then she offered to pay our way.  For both trips.  My husband was wary.  Very wary.  He’s learned over the years.  “TANSTAAFL!” he said.  He said we’d “pay” if we went – one way or another.  I just felt sorry for her that she was so lonely, and encouraged him to accept her kind gift.  Think of the joy and pleasure it would give her.  Yeah right…


She’s difficult to travel with, especially in these later years now that the demon of dementia that has started to rear it’s ugly head.  She’s terribly picky about what she eats.  She took it as a personal insult when she was offered lamb and/or salmon on both the Scotland and Ireland trips.   She hates lamb and fish.  For Pete’s sake, it’s Scotland and Ireland – all they eat is lamb and fish!  But she gets irrationally angry.  Like a child.  Nasty.  Charming…   She also gets horrific jet lag and sleeps for nearly two days after flying across the Atlantic. And she gets confused very easily.  On one trip, she couldn’t remember how to get back to her room in the hotel from the dining room.  Ah oh.  On another trip, she brought English Pounds to a Euro country and got upset because they wouldn’t let her pay with GBP.  Get the picture?

Now comes the Rome link.  Wait for it…

Evidently, our recent trip to Rome was the straw that broke her camel’s back.  My husband’s sibling reports she became furious after we told her we were going to Rome.  Turns out she’s terribly angry that we haven’t invited her on any of the trips we’ve gone on over the past couple of years after “all she’s done for us.”  Yeah.


You pay now or you pay later.  My husband’s a wise man.

So she did the rational, sensible, practical thing.  She immediately booked a trip to Rome for a week.  By herself.  Leaving a week from the date she booked it.  Leaving yesterday.  We got a text today that “all is good”.  Oh my God, my head hurts…

My husband tried to talk her out of it, offering himself up as a sacrifice.  He said he would go on a tour of Italy with her in the Fall. Too little too late.  She is stubborn.  She is irrational.  She is losing her ability to keep herself safe.

My outlaw in-law.

Aging parents…

The *hit is getting ready to hit the proverbial fan.

36 thoughts on “My outlaw in-law

    • So I think she just stayed in her room today and Facebooked – her last post was at 4PM Rome time! OMG – shoot me now! At least she isn’t out on the streets getting lost or mugged. So your mom is kinda crazy like that? Oh my… Thanks for the nice comment and the chuckle. I figure you either have to laugh or cry!


  1. Oh my gosh does that sound familiar. I still have nightmares about a fish dinner in Glacier Park with my 90+ mother-in-law. And it is so horribly true that nothing is free when it can be paid for with guilt. There are kind and helpful people everywhere so I’m sure she’ll be fine in Rome…maybe…yes, definitely she will….I hope.


    • Love it! Yes, definitely, maybe, it’s iffy… Would love to hear about the fish dinner sometime! But you are right, I believe there are more kind, helpful people in the world rather than the dishonest, nasty types. We’ll just send that out into the universe and see what happens. Day 2 complete and so far so good! Thanks for the encouragement!


  2. I’m so old – I have no clue what TANSTAAFL is but I will google it…just thought of another good thing about divorce – you lose that MIL!!! Gosh that is the best thought I’ve had all week.


    • I just talked to a friend today who took her 89 year old ex-MIL out bra shopping! Her ex has remarried, but his mom really likes my friend. There’s a special place in heaven for people like that! 🙂 I guess I should have put a link in – people are just too busy and to Google TANSTAAFL is an extra step that folks might not have the time for. But it’s not new, it’s from the 60’s. But unless you took my husbands econ class or read a Robert Heinlein book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistresx, I don’t think you would know. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!


      • I didn’t know it was from the 60s..I thought it was one of those new terms that my kids are using that I have to google as well. I went for months thinking that LOL was “lots of love” until someone sent it to me in an email that wouldn’t be saying lots of love…oh dear!

        Yes a special place for those that like their mother in law after divorce. I do get along with my ex.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t you hire the Pink Panther to spy on her in Rome for your own peace of mind? Sounds like she and Peter Sellers could have some beautifully daft moments they’ll never remember..


    • It IS sad, but in another way, you have to laugh or you go crazy! So far she’s alive… Yesterday (according to my husband’s sibling), she slept from 10 AM to 6 PM. And the first two days she stayed in the hotel and Facebooked (her FB posts are a whole other blog post…) I go between being angry with her to feeling sorry for her to giggling. Now you know why I run! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. I had to google it, too. LOL! Boy, don’t I know that’s the damn truth.

    Oh my God, I bet your husband is freaking out about his mom, or maybe it’s c’est la vie? Or que sera sera?

    I’m so glad that my aging parents-in-law don’t have a computer or any access to internet. Of course, they’re in their late 80s and we can barely get them to drive 3 hours to visit us, so I doubt they’ll be taking off to Europe anytime soon.

    You’re hilarious, and I can’t wait to hear about the toilets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah – he’s freaking out but there’s not a lot we can do! I so WISH she had no computer or Internet access… We think she’s fallen victim to one of those Nigerian prices who sent her an email or a FB post or something like that. Plus, I’m convinced that 30% of her Facebook friends aren’t “real” people. My head hurts again! The funny (not really funny) thing is that we offered to fly here here for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but she said she was too busy cleaning out her house. Clearly she wasn’t all THAT busy… Toilets next I promise!


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  6. Oh I enjoyed this post so much. When I was in the midst of having my own set of out law-inlaws, I used to be amazed at the situations they could get themselves into and out of without damage and danger. My mantra was “God protects fools and sailors” for several years. Best of luck and isn’t it amazing that your mother in law is in ROME ALONE! Kind of boggles your mind doesn’t it?!


    • JoHanna, that’s been my mantra… “God protects fools and ________ (I’m filling in the blank with mother-in-laws)” And “boggles your mind” doesn’t even begin to describe it. In the 5 full days she been there, I’m pretty sure she’s spent most of her time in her room – the weather hasn’t been too good and she is still on Arizona time (sleeping during the day and up at night.) Sad but strangely comforting. One more full day tomorrow and she comes home on Tuesday (has something like 3 connections she has to make – nice…) If she can stay out of trouble tomorrow, I think we’ll be okay unless she get’s lost on the way home. Crossing my fingers…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You are so wise to post anonymously! Love your sense of humor. Probably the most important item you took on that trip to Scotland and Ireland.

    And I am so with Ya about value travel. Not only can you go more places, but you get a far more authentic experience. If you want luxury and glitz, you can spend the weekend in Las Vegas, and travel the faux world without experiencing jet lag!


    • Totally agree! So much more fun taking public transit and eating at the little out of the way places that don’t over charge you and underwhelm you! We have done tours in the past couple of years, but they were value tours! Went to Croatia in 2012 for 10 nights staying at GREAT hotels and it was like $950 (w/o air – used miles to book the air)! Off season, out of the way places, budget hotels with decent reviews – it’s way easier to value travel than people think!

      And yes, with my blog, anonymous is the only way to fly! Maybe I’ll put something in my will about it so my family can go and read about the AGMA they didn’t really know (that I wasn’t “allowed” to show…) Thanks for stopping by and smiling AND commenting!


  8. My first foray into being online was a bunch of MOOCS where I either posted either anonymously or using a long long ago distant relatives name because it was such a lyrical name. Reached a ‘tipping point’ of sorts when I began thinking “Gosh, I wish I had said that” because the name of the long dead and unknown relative had in fact become a fictional character. When I decided to do the Website…I took a deep breath and called it by my name…
    I must say that I do miss the anonymous and the lyrical sounding fictional character some days. I think your family and friends will have quite a hoot of a good time reading your blog when you are done with it.
    All the best to you.


    • Oh my – I had to Google MOOC… Every day’s a school day as I like to say! I think that I’m basically being a coward being anonymous. But I acknowledge and embrace the cowardice! 🙂 I’m just too worried about what people I know might think (hard to believe right?) so to be really able to be me, I’m anonymous. For now. Who knows, I may come out of the closet one of these days… But trust me, I don’t think some of the people I’ve written about will like it very much. Not much of a sense of humor if you know what I mean – Debbie Downers… And thanks for your good wishes!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Did your outlaw/in-law get back form Rome once again proving ‘God protects the fools and sailors.’
        Indeed I am now owning what I say, and it is a very interesting experience!
        “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

        ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life


      • I just love Anne Lamott! She has a way of just laying the bare naked truth out there… Yes – she made it home. Yes – she was protected by a very merciful hand. We are 95% sure she didn’t leave the hotel or if she did, it was only for a day out of the 6 full days she was there. But she is convinced that she “did” Rome and is telling everybody what a great time she had and how they should go to Rome. My head still hurts… So are you going to blog about your experience? You have me curious.


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