Calling the In-Laws

So apparently my father-in-law was ticked off that I didn’t call him before, during, and after last Sunday’s Jets game. Did I mention they won?! Anyway, the old man is a Jets fan, but has no one to watch the game with or talk to because he has no friends. This is not an exaggeration. Both my father-in-law and mother-in-law have alienated every friend they have ever had. Spend five minutes with them and you’ll know why. Now, they’re not bad people. Really. Especially when they’re apart. But when they’re together it gets Ali/Frazier ugly. There’s a lot of backstory that I won’t go into, but trust me, they’re nasty to one another. I once witnessed my future mother-in-law (I was only dating my wife at the time and still cant believe I married into this family) try to stab my future father-in-law with a fork. One of the highlights of my life.

Anyway, I didn’t call him on Sunday. Here’s why. When I do call their house, my mother-in-law answers the phone. Always. I don’t think my father-in-law is allowed to answer the phone. So I have to go through her barrage of questions (how are the kids, my wife, how’s my job, what channel is ABC out there, etc., etc.), which are the same even if I already spoke to her earlier that day. And then when I ask to speak to Pop (that’s what we call him), first she’ll say “Let me see if he’s home.” Now believe me when I tell you that this woman always knows where her husband is. I think she put a low-jack on him years ago. Then, and without warning, she screams his name so loud right into the phone that I am immediately deaf for the next ten minutes. He’ll pick up the phone, gruffly say “What?” then say “You can hang up, Alice,” and then we both listen as she breathes heavily pretending not to be there. He then screams, “Alice!” and she’ll quietly say, “Oh, I didn’t  know you picked up.” Then we blissfully hear the click. It happens this way exactly the same every time.

Pop and I will finally start talking sports. He has an opinion or two. But about 35 seconds into our conversation, Alice will pick up the phone and yell, “We’ve got to get going, Joe!” The poor guy lets out a sigh, says it was nice chatting with me, hangs up the phone. But my mother-in-law is now on the line and asks to speak to my kids. See, they don’t really have anywhere to go, she just doesn’t want to let my father-in-law talk. To anyone. It is during these few insane moments that I appreciate my family most. Maybe I should call my in-laws more often.

Oh, and…Go Jets!!


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4 Responses to Calling the In-Laws

  1. Fellow Father says:

    Show a little respect.
    Did your father in law ever have to…
    Deal with play dates
    Sacrifice holiday weekends for soccer games
    (Soccer! Had soccer even soiled America yet back then)
    or been forced to Witness and “coach” the birth of your wife? (sorry for that awkward image)
    Wait, what am I saying? Your father in-law isn’t owed the respect.
    You and I and every man who is currently raising kids does.
    Where’s our dignity?
    What happened to America?
    What happened to handing out cheap cigars to some stranger who tells you you’re a father?
    Nowadays you have to hand out expensive Godiva CHOCOLATE cigars to the OBGYN you are over paying and knows you and your wife far better than a man who has that kind of access to your wife.

    Go Jets.

    • Easy there, fella. It’s true. That generation has no idea what we have to go through, nor how much we envy them, as bitter as they are!!
      Personally, I prefer Godiva chocolate, but that’s just because I don’t smoke cigars.
      And as far as that image, well, I’ve blocked it out. Oh no wait! There it is. Eccchhh!

  2. WTFather says:

    That generation does know what we are going through and they are LAUGHING THEIR WRINKLED BUTTS OFF watching us live out a self imposed lifestyle that serves only to spend our entire retirement on keeping our children so busy they will never have the free time to develop an imagination or sense of adventure.
    The big question is, how did mankind devolve so much in the last 2 decades?
    Oh, wait let me race to Facebook to ask a million “friends” I will never meet their take on the destruction of the American parent.

    • Wow. And I thought I was bitter. I hear you, Pal. We look back on our fathers as these unbelievably hard working souls who we barely saw. But now I’m wondering if they weren’t just geniuses who knew that keeping a little distance between them and their family would actually give them more freedom. This is all too deep for me. I just want to be able to sit for 15 minutes in my chair without being nagged by someone (even the dog) in my family. Is that too much to ask?

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