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.