We're in South Texas right now, preparing to have Christmas later today with my husband Jim's 92 year old mother. We don't know how many more years she'll be around so we made the three day drive down from Virginia to the town she lives in. She's in an assisted living facility, a very nice one. We had lunch there yesterday.
The drive down was largely uneventful. I was happy that I was finally able to use all of our hotel points and get all our rooms comped, free rooms at some very nice places. We stopped to see family and friends on the way down, ate at a few of our favorite places.
The first indication that this trip was about to take a hard left turn into Asshole Ville happened when we left the interstate. First Jim called up his brother, who'd arranged for us to stay at an AirBNB house near the Maw in Law. There was some miscommunication between Jim and his brother, where his brother kept insisting all the information on the house we were staying in was in an email. Jim tried to explain that we'd not seen that email, we didn't have our main email service on our Iphones, we rarely check that account and we weren't at a place to pull out the laptop and get that email.
Jim's brother refused to give him the information over the phone! In fact, he started ranting at Jim that the AirBNB owner had gone to the airport hoping to meet us. We'd made it clear from day one we were driving so I could see my mother and take care of some real estate business in Louisiana.
Jim's brother has for many years now been outright hateful to Jim, treated him, and sometimes me, like we're some sort of hateful shiftless white trash. I don't know the entire cause of it, but the Bro in Law keeps talking about how Jim used to torture him as a kid and how his parents always focused on Jim. He's resentful still to this day.
I don't know, I just know that fifty years is a long time to hold a stupid grudge.
We got back in the car and headed to the city we were supposed to stay. Immediately we drove into a heavy chemical fog and I went right into a very bad asthma attack. If I had to rate it, putting the Fort Lauderdale attack in October as a '9', then I'd put this one as a '7'. We had to switch drivers and I had to swiftly medicate. Later I looked it up online and there was a refinery, a paper mill and two chemical plants in that town we were driving through.
At the same time we've gotten another phone call, this time with the address of the house and directions as to where the key is to get into the house. Jim asks if they want to visit, get together for a little while and is rebuffed.
Get to the house and it is straight up gorgeous! Beautifully decorated and appointed, but the second I step foot in the house I start having another asthma attack. This time because the house is filled with those plug in scent thingies, very scented candles, mold and there's a hairy dog bed sitting right next to the bed in the master bedroom. For added bullshit make my asthma insane the air conditioning is set at 83 degrees. It's hot outside, it's hot, hairy and stinky inside.
There's not one television in the entire joint at all. Not that I spend my entire life watching the boob tube, but hey, we're in South Texas where there isn't a lot of things to do or open Christmas week.
After unplugging all the air fresheners, moving the dog bed into the room tricked out as an office and reprogramming the thermostat plus tossing in more drugs my asthma eases enough that I can take out Jim's laptop and get him online to check his fantasy football information. Nowhere in the house, not on any of the printed out information from the home owner or anywhere, is the password for the wireless internet. Jim texts the sister in law asking for that information.
Hours pass, no word, then suddenly I get a text from the Sis in Law that has an attachment of the original AirBNB reservation telling me I need to contact the homeowner and get the information and it was all in our email box anyway so she did not know why we were being so obnoxious and bugging them so much over this.
I'd been cranky up until receiving that text and it kind of pushed me over into fucking nuclear pissed off at that point. I had been sitting next to Jim a few weeks ago when we'd gotten a phone call from the sister in law saying not to worry about a thing, that everything was arranged, just show up and meet her to get the key. Now I'm being told we're selfish and obnoxious for not following the directions in an email that didn't even end up in my email box?
Keep in mind also that when this trip was planned months and months ago I'd been researching where to stay, etc, when the sister in law without asking me went ahead and booked the AirBNB house for us and used the Maw In Law's money to pay for it. She didn't consult us at all about what we needed, she just did it. I had a free week coming to us at a resort I was planning on using on their Riverwalk resort in San Antonio for this week.
This is a problem for me because I have multiple chemical sensitivity, severe allergies and my asthma is bad. This is all before the thumbpocaylpse making me even sicker now. The one hotel chain I stay at has my long list of ADA accommodations, no recent painting of the room with latex paint, certain types of cleansers cannot be used, there has to be a outlet for my VPAP within three feet of the top of the bed, the list goes on. That chain has never failed to take care of me and my various issues. My sister in law knows I am sick, but she didn't consult me at all in booking this place. After a day in the house it's obvious too that the house has mold in it somewhere. I am having to pour in the asthma meds.
Using the information she sent me I tried to go into the contact the homeowner site at AirBNB only to be rejected because I did not know the email address that was used to book the reservation. Last straw.
I texted my sister in law back, told her that because our daughter Laura's boyfriend had to keep working (he's a writer for a Bitcoin site) that the internet was required. I explained yet again that without the internet we could not access that old email box they'd had all the emails sent to and that AirBNB would not allow me to view any of the information since I wasn't the one that booked the reservation in the first place. Then I outlined in a very calm and rational manner that not sending me personally the emails wasn't a good thing, that she'd told us just to show up and she'd have the key and most importantly, I had not been consulted on the reservation and was now having problems with my asthma because no accommodations had been made. I was polite and factual.
Within a minute my brother in law called me with the router password. He read it out, I wrote it down, thanked him and hung up.
That was two days ago. There's been no further phone calls. Just discovered a few minutes ago that my personal email box is filled up with emails from my sister in law starting late yesterday. I haven't opened any of them and I am not going to. I just do not need the headache.
Yesterday when we had lunch with my Maw in Law she asked me when we were picking them up to go to lunch at the brother and sister in laws house. I had to tell her repeatedly that I did not know since no one had actually invited us or told us what time. I suspect that is what the emails are about.
On the way down here from Virginia one of my clairvoyant friends told me 'Don't let *insert names here* bully you' and I laughed it off, saying there was no danger of that, no one bullies me. I see now how wrong I was.
All of this just breaks my heart for my husband. I've seen him time and time again reach out to his brother, his brother's first wife and now this new wife in friendship and love only to be rejected, put down, minimized, treated like shit. He's been very upset over the last few days, deeply affected by the negative behavior of his brother. When we were initially planning this trip Jim wanted to stay in their guesthouse, that they rent out, and was told that we could not stay there because he is 'too high maintenance'
I'm not putting up with this bullshit. I'm likely going to call out a few folks today on their ridiculousness. Jim just wants to be with his family, has always been willing to let bygones be bygones. Plus we've opened our house and hospitality to this family many times.
The good. We're here with our kids, spending time with them for the first time in years since everyone's gone off to school and life. My mother in law seems to be doing well.
And as I'm typing this I just heard that the sister in law is ill and we'll be here alone with the mother in law. The brother in law is dropping off food for us. Interesting development.