A Misery Christmas Tale

Annie Wilkes: WHAT’S THE MATTER? I will tell you “what’s the matter!” I go out of my way for you! I do everything to try and make you happy. I feed you, I clean you, I dress you, and what thanks do I get? “Oh, you bought the wrong paper, Annie, I can’t write on this paper, Annie!” Well, I’ll get your stupid paper but you just better start showing me a little appreciation around here, Mr. MAN!

My father unfortunately passed away in April, so this Christmas was going to be a difficult event.  We all knew that, but we wanted it to be special anyway. We all wanted to support my mum through this difficult time.

I cannot comprehend how difficult it must be to lose your partner of 50 years and having to face the World alone.  The emptiness must be overwhelming.

It was going to be a special Christmas, not in a positive way, and at the same time a new beginning for the family.  We all had to cope with the emptiness of not having dad anymore.

As I’m living abroad, my mum wanted to make it really special for us, as we embarked on the journey to the family home.  However, I did have some reservations about living in her house for two weeks.

See, my parents sold their large house some years ago. It was just too big for the two of them. So they bought a small townhouse.  It was perfect in size.  You can only imagine the impact of 2 adults and 3 kids invading the house, having to live in an area designed for 2 people.  It was tight.

Anyway, she had gone and pulled out all the stops to make sure we would enjoy the stay, and had given us two rooms; one for the kids to sleep ‘n play in and one for my wife and I + the baby.  Still, I had this weird feeling that we weren’t going to get a relaxed stay.

My mum has always had a problem with untidiness, and this has been driven into me since I was 2 months old.  Clean up after yourself! Keep the house presentable!  So, the arrival of her favourite son and his family would test her patience and sanity to the limit.

I’ve always said that my mum has some sort of OCD and the house is always spotless, but since my dad passed away the OCD has taken over her life.  The house is spotless, everything has it’s unique place in the drawer and she makes lists of what to do and when.  I wonder if she has a map of the house with all items clearly marked, a bit like the Marauder’s Map in Harry Potter.

So, within 3 hours of arriving, the house was starting to look like a war zone. The kids were pulling out all their toys and running around the place – as kids do.  My wife and I started to unpack.  Well, we just opened the suitcases.  When you live in a confined space, it’s often easier to just live out of the suitcase,

Me and my (own) family have very little interest or time to clean up all the time, so our house at times looks like something that was hit by a hurricane.  It’s not that we live in a pigsty, as my mum calls it, but we just don’t vacuum every minute.  That also includes leaving the laundry for an extra day or leaving the dishes on the counter until the morning.

And, because my wife does such a great job at looking after the kids during the day, I help out by doing the dishes and tidying up.  This, and the fact my wife is not Danish, has really pressed the wrong buttons inside my mum’s head.

So, for the past 13 years, when we have been home on visit, my mum has always made smart and spiced comments aimed at my wife.  We have always ignored it, mainly because we were only home for a few days, and I didn’t want to waste time on arguing.

Annie Wilkes: I have this gun.
[pulls the trigger]
Annie Wilkes: Sometimes I think about using it. I’d better go now. I might put bullets in it.

For some reason, my mum has never accepted and embraced my wife, which I still find strange.  I guess it’s the famous syndrome where mother’s never appreciate that their son has found another woman or maybe it could be something more sinister…

Within 30 hours of opening our suitcases, in our allocated box room, my mum was already throwing her sarcastic and nuclear comments at us.

At times I felt she was the re-incanated Miss Scrooge or Miss Frost, but because of her spicy remarks and evil eyes, she reminded me more or Annie Wilkes (the main character in Misery).  With the wintry landscapes outside and the almost impassable roads we couldn’t leave the house.

Annie Wilkes: And don’t even think about anybody coming for you. Not the doctors, not your agent, not your family. ‘Cause I never called them. Nobody knows you’re here.

She was obviously missing my dad, but she should tell us to help out instead of doing it all herself.  Because of her stubbornness, she did nothing but clean and cook as soon as we arrived, while giving out.  Not a nice Christmas spirit.

I frantically tried to make sure the areas we had used were wiped down, as if we hadn’t been there, and made sure the doors to the two rooms were closed.

The kids gradually became more and more wary, and wanted to get out all the time, despite the looming snow storm and impassable roads.  We left the house every chance we got, to avoid making the OCD kick into overdrive.

It was ackward and strange.  We wanted to have a nice family Christmas, but didn’t feel welcome.  I know this was not an easy festivity to deal with, so soon after his death, but I would have hoped for some less frosty greeting.

Ah well, there are plenty more Christmas’s coming up, but it might be a while before we stay with Ms Wilkes again.

Annie Wilkes: He didn’t get out of the COCKADOODIE CAR!
All quotes courtesy of IMDB<!--

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