In Xanadu did Kubla Khan…

On Saturday my mother-in-law the Nana B arrived here in South Dakota to visit with her daughter and granddaughter for two weeks or so, and I have been living in crippling fear of it.

Part of the reason lies  with the Queen B.   Any time anyone comes over to visit, she begins to panic at an exponential rate about the state of disorder of the house.   She will fret and agonize over every unfinished project, convinced that such imperfections will reveal us as the unwashed heathen we are to our friends and family.   She will stay up all night to scrub the carpet clean with her toothbrush, lest and errant fiber on the floor betray our pig-sty habits.   Of course, as soon as our guests arrive, she settles down and is once again capable of having a good time and speaking without profanity, but in the hours prior to that… “Why the bloody f**k haven’t you cleaned your d**n toilet DON’T MAKE ME GUT YOU YOU S**T!” And that‘s just if we’re expecting her fourth-cousins (twice removed) who she hasn’t seen in fifteen years and will probably never see again.

This time we’re expecting her mother.

Don’t get me wrong — I love my mother-in-law. She’s a delightful woman who has traveled the globe and takes pride that her son-in-law is a doctor… even the kind who doesn’t help people.   However, the Nana B takes the concept of “cleanliness is next to godliness” and carries it one step further, equating any form of mess with the work of the devil.   She maintains her own home very much like a museum: aesthetically  beautiful, immaculately clean, and under constant threat of legal action should you touch anything.   My mother-in-law can sense dirt in the home the same way a doberman can sense fear in a luckless passerby, and she reacts to it in much the same way.

We’re inviting her to the abode I charmingly call Home Crap Home.

For all intents and purposes, I was expecting Saturday to end in cataclysmic destruction, and was preparing my apology letter to the universe for destroying everything in it over what was probably an errant piece of drier lint found in the middle of the family room.

And yet… nothing happened.

The Queen B has been in an almost zen-like state of peace this entire week, calmly tidying up the place, but not, say, attempting to clean it up at the molecular level.   Then when the Nana B arrived and took the tour of the house, she said it was beautiful and complimented us on the improvements we have done to it… and she’s been like that all weekend.

From these observations, I can only draw one conclusion: the universe did end Saturday in cataclysmic destruction, but I have survived by somehow slipping into an alternate universe.   Because of this, I deeply mourn the loss of everyone and everything in the universe I once inhabited.

Then again, if I would have known that this is how the two B’s acted in this parallel universe, I would’ve totally destroyed the fabric of space-time a helluva lot sooner.

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