Image by George Eastman House via FlickrMy super fanatical fundy-in-laws are some of the most rude, disrespectful and arrogant people I have ever had the misfortune to meet. I put up with them for my wife. She doesn't agree with the things they do either, but they are her family and she doesn't want to completely cut them off. We have come to an agreement that I won't just unleash and tell them what I think while forbidding them to ever step foot in my home. In return I do lots of little passive-aggressive things when their actions step over the line. My wife actually gets a kick out of it. The following are the first two stories of some of the countermeasures I have used.
My wife and I threw a birthday party for our daughter's 14th birthday. We specifically designed the birthday party as a cook-out because we didn't want loads of kids running through our house. We wanted our nephew (Nick) and niece (Kristy) who are 5 and 2 respectively to be there because at this point they are still just kids and they adore my daughters. This of course meant their parents, the fanatical fundy-in-laws (John and Jane), would be in attendance.
As everyone arrived we were very clear that the only reason to go into the house was for a trip straight to the bathroom and back. We told John, Jane and their kids twice just to make sure. About thirty minutes into the party Nick asked Jane if he could go in and watch TV. Noticing that I was standing nearby she said no and told him to go play.
A few minutes later Nick ran to Jane and told her he was tired and he really wanted to go in and watch TV. This time Jane was unaware that I was standing behind her. Thinking no one would hear her she told Nick to quietly go upstairs to my daughters room and to make sure he kept the volume down. She of course also gave him instructions on what channel to watch as he was not allowed to watch many things. She also told him to go to the bathroom first and wash his hands before touching anything.
I slipped inside the house without being noticed while Nick was in the bathroom. I picked up the TV remote in my daughters room and looked at the guide. On the local PBS station there was a show all about evolution scheduled to start in 5 minutes time. I set the DVR to record the episode. I hid in a room across the hall and watched my nephew go into the room. He turned the TV on to whatever station he had been instructed. Sure enough a couple of minutes later the station turned all on its own because it was set to record NOVA. Nick never thought twice about it.
About an hour later Nick came out of the house just as I expected. What happened next though was better than I could have imagined. Nick ran straight to Jane and started telling her something. I was too far away to hear the words, but he was very animated.
As Jane listened to her son a look of horror slowly spread over her face. When she had heard all her fundy brain could handle words literally exploded from her. Everyone looked as Jane shrieked, "Nick, that is a lie straight from the pits of hell. God made everything. That wasn't on the channel I told you to watch. Why didn't you watch the station I told you to watch?"
Sensing it was time for me to step in I ran over and went into action. Of course I feigned complete ignorance of the whole thing. I asked Nick which room he was in while he was watching TV. He told me. I immediately explained to Jane that I had set a show about evolution to tape up in my daughters room. I even told her I did it specifically because I knew she wouldn't want one of her kids to see it and I was afraid one of her kids may stop and turn on the TV downstairs during a trip to the bathroom.
Jane was fuming. I think she knew that she had been had and was irate over it. Before she had a chance to react I had one more thing to say to Nick. I asked him why he was in the house watching TV when I had told him and his mom that he wasn't supposed to do that.
I'm pretty sure Jane was praying her god strike me dead that very moment as Nick quickly informed me that his mommy had told him it was OK to go in and watch TV. I looked at Jane and told her I thought we had made it abundantly clear that no one was to be inside for any reason other than to use the bathroom.
Jane hollered for John and Kristy. After John and Jane had a quick whispered exchange they determined it was time to leave even though no cake had been eaten and no presents opened.
I can't be sure, but it seems like the party got much better after they left. I know it did for me.
By the way, before any one tells me that tricking the fanatic fundies kid into watching a show about evolution is no better than the way christians do things allow me to say something. This story does not give you any indication of the extreme amount of disrespect these people have shown me. They have no respect for me at all. Not even in my own home. They must really think that my non-belief entitles them to completely ignore and disregard my rules in my home. My purpose was not to convert their son. Jane is the one that came to our house and blatantly disregarded our rules. Her son should have never been in the house watching TV in the first place. If she had the simple decency to respect us it never would have been an issue. But this is an ongoing and long standing problem. As long as the fanatical fundy-in-laws continue to act this way in my home I will continue to take their disrespect and use it to turn the tables on them and make them the ones that are upset and uncomfortable.
My fundy-in-laws have a habit of taking extreme advantage of any kindness shown to them. Let them borrow something and your lucky if you ever see it again. I'm sure you know people like that and can imagine many of the other things they do. However, the one they are absolutely the worst about is when someone agrees to watch their kids.
The first couple of times they asked my wife and I to watch their kids we told them before agreeing what time they had to be back to pick them up. Yet both times they showed up far later than the time they agreed upon. My wife was ready to tell her own sister that she would never again babysit for her. However, I had a bit of a countermeasure brewing inside my brain. So I told my wife to wait and give it one more chance because the next time I would make them seriously regret doing it.
Just a few days later we got another request to watch their kids. We agreed. My wife and I were both adamant as to what time they must be back to pick up their kids. We even told them they would regret it if they didn't show up in time. They didn't like it at all. They tried to explain that they were attending some type of church event and they would have to leave earlier than they wanted to leave. They even tried to convince us it would be sinful of us to not allow them to stay for the whole event because they were doing something for god. Any other time a statement like that would have been cause for me to throw them all out of the house immediately telling them to find another babysitter. That wouldn't have allowed me to carry out my plan though. So instead I just said, "Then god should have known that and supplied a different babysitter." They finally told us they agreed to our terms. Though I knew they had no intention to actually follow through.
Nick and Kristy love playing with our dog since their parents won't let them have one. Not too long after they showed up both kids were on their hands and knees playing with the dog. I was counting on it. I snapped a picture of both of them in that exact position. I immediately took the picture and uploaded it to the computer and with a little bit of Photoshop, Nick and Krista were not on the floor playing with the dogs, instead they were both on their hands and knees locked into dog kennels. The pictures were ready if I had to use them, and I was pretty sure I would. My wife even asked if I would print separate pictures of the kids, the kennel, and the Photoshopped image out onto a single sheet of paper. I wasn't sure why she wanted it, but I obliged.
Of course the agreed upon time came and went without so much as a phone call from the fundy-in-laws. I'm sure in their mind attending a church event was a righteous and godly thing so it was OK to break their promise to us. Just to be nice we tried to call them. We got the result we expected. They didn't answer their phone. They ignored our calls. That is what they had done both the other times. Sporting a huge smile I set my plan into action. I took the Photoshopped picture and transferred it back to my phone. I sent a text to both John and Jane. It said: 'Had to go. Key under mat in back. Kids can't get into any trouble.' I attached the kids in the kennel picture and hit send.
Within 15 seconds both my wife and I were receiving phone calls from John and Jane. We followed their example and ignored their calls. We got text messages from both threatening to call the police. I wasn't really worried about it. I had all the original pictures to prove there were actually no children locked into kennels.
A few minutes later we heard a car come to a screeching stop in front of our house. Within moments the back door was open and John and Jane both came running into our house as fast as they possibly could. When they saw their kids playing a game on the Wii and not locked into dog kennels they realized we had played them like puppets.
It was obvious that both John and Jane were really pissed and wanted to say something. I could have sworn I saw steam coming from their ears. But both knew they had no legitimate argument. They had broken their promise to us and we had called them out on it. My wife however did have something to say. She stood up and handed Jane the paper with the three pictures. In a very calm voice my wife said, "I want you to keep this picture as a reminder. A reminder of the last time I will ever babysit for you because I won't allow you to use my kindness to take advantage of us anymore. Now, take your kids and leave my house."
At that moment I'm sure the Cheshire cat would have been extremely jealous of the huge smile on my face. I couldn't have been more proud of my wife at that moment. Nor could I have been any more thrilled to see the look of complete and utter defeat present in John and Janes' expressions and body language.
That has been over two years ago and we have kept our word. We have not babysit for them again. They won't even ask us unless they are completely desperate. As a matter of fact Jane was so desperate a few weeks back she called me and asked if I would watch her kids. Asking me specifically is a very rare event indeed. What did I say? I barked twice and hung up.