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Countermeasures: Dealing with fundy-in-laws, part II

By exfundy --

This is the second installment of the countermeasures I use to deal with my fanatical fundy-in-laws.

Story #3

Jane (the sister-in-law) refuses to have a computer in their house. Why? Because of all the evil things that can be found online. That age old Christian belief that it's better to completely avoid something good because it can be used for bad things. We have tried to tell her how important it is for her kids to learn to use a computer these days. The argument falls on deaf ears because she is afraid they might see something they shouldn't.

Of course she has no problem coming to our house to use our computer. Many times she either arrives unannounced or calls when she is two blocks away and asks to use the computer. We are generally very accommodating because we do understand that these days there are some things that are just much easier to do with an Internet connection. The thing that frustrates me the most though is she will volunteer to do things for her Sunday school class or some church event that requires the use of a computer and she doesn't own one.

When she is by herself it's not a problem. She goes into our 'home office' and we don't see her. It's when her kids are with her that we have issues. When the kids are with her Jane will come in and lock herself into the office. This obviously means she can not watch her kids. She expects whoever happens to be in the house to watch her kids while she is on the computer. She does not ask if we mind. She does not ask if we are doing something. She has walked in while my wife was cooking dinner and still left her kids to run around the house while she is locked in the computer room. I'm not surprised by this because she thinks about no one but herself meaning she could care less what we think.

Of course I finally reached a point that I had taken enough and began to plot yet another passive-aggressive response to her deplorable behavior.

Within a few days I received a call from Jane explaining that she was just a couple of miles away and she really needed to stop by and use the computer. I could hear the kids in the background and smiled as I told her that would be fine. For the record, she never once asked if I would watch her kids while she used the computer and I was actually busy.

Jane was completely predictable. After entering the house she walked straight to the office and locked the door. Or at least she thought she locked the door. What she didn't know was that the 'lock' on her side was for appearance only. I had switched the handle to actually lock from the outside.

I immediately gathered both of her kids, opened the door to the office and put them inside. After they cleared the door I closed it and locked it from my side.

I stood outside the door as Jane quickly told her kids to get back out because "Mommy was busy." Imagine her surprise when they told her they couldn't open the door. She got up and tried to open the door herself. Finding she could not open it either she hollered to me telling me there was something wrong with the door. Guess what I got the pleasure of doing?

I hollered back telling her the door was just fine. I explained that I had switched the lock to the other side of the door because I was busy too and could not watch her kids nor could I have them running around the house unattended. I even told her I would be more than happy to unlock the door for her when she was ready to leave.

She actually told me she had something really important to do for church and I should have had the courtesy to tell her when she called that I couldn't watch her kids.

Of course I quickly responded to her selfish delusional logic. I said:

"Let me get this straight. You asked if you could use my computer. I agreed. You never asked me if I was busy. You never asked if I would watch your kids. You just decided you would leave your kids out here with me without finding out if that was alright. So how is it that I had an obligation to tell you I couldn't watch your kids when you never asked? You're the one that should have had displayed courtesy by asking me whether or not I could watch your kids before walking in there and attempting to lock them out here with me."

I suppose it wouldn't surprise you to find that Jane was ready to leave that very instant. I happily unlocked the lock and opened the door. She haughtily stomped towards the front door with her kids in tow. I just smiled and waved at her kids as I told them bye.

I think I've made Jane a little paranoid and it's really funny. To this day when Jane goes the bathroom in our house she checks to make sure the door locks from the inside even though it wasn't the bathroom door involved in my little prank. I can't help but laugh a little for a couple of reasons. The first is simply that I love realizing I have made the simple act of going to the bathroom in my home something uncomfortable for her. The second reason is the mere thought of walking into the bathroom on her mistakenly scares me to death. It's something I never want to see.


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