My in-laws are in town, and they’ll be here for the next 3 weeks. Now, that might cause other people to groan, look for excuses to stay out of the house, or both, but I actually enjoy having them. They’re only too happy to babysit the kids, they heap glowing praise on my feeble attempts at home cooking and they’re always so anxious to make themselves useful that house is never as clean and shiny as when they’ve around. In fact, the only thing that stresses me out during their visits is the weather.
See, they’re from England, that foggy little island over the pond that seems to have about 3 sunny days per year. Good weather seems to be more important than the national debt, and it’s always the main starter conversation wherever you go. “Bad weather we’re having, innit?” or “Nice day, what?” is not merely a perfunctory greeting, it’s an actual invitation to engage in earnest discussion about the thickness and blackness of the clouds (“Hope they’re not coming our way!” and other weather-related predictions (“I’d better get the washing in, it looks iffy”), expectations (“Hope the weather is better tomorrow!”) or fond reminisces (“Remember that whole week of blue sky we had last year…”).
With such dismal weather, most Britons (at least the ones I know) will escape the UK in search of a sunny vacation whenever they can. Coming back with a tan and stories of hot sunny days seems to be the status symbol in my in-laws’ village — so woe betide the vacation spot that doesn’t deliver the sunny days they were promised! So the week before they arrive, my husband and I scan the weather forecasts anxiously, hoping to give my in-laws a good report before they get here. Fortunately, we live in sunny California, otherwise I wonder how much they would visit. Most of the time their visits coincide with good weather — but it has been unusually overcast, chilly and drizzly since they arrived last week. To add insult to injury, England has enjoyed a spell of hot, sunny weather. The thought that they’re missing out on the good weather over there while enduring crappy weather here is such a huge disappointment. I can see it in my mother-in-law’s face as she comments on the sun shining during the English football game we’re watching on television and says “Well, never mind, at least we’re here with you”. They’re so deprived of good weather, every ray of sunshine counts!
My husband says its silly to worry about something I can’t control, and he’s right. But I want them to have a good time, and that seems to be irrefutably tied to the weather forecast — so whenever they’re here, my spirits rise and fall with the outdoor thermometer. Today is bright and sunny, and the 5-day forecast shows nothing but bright yellow sun icons. It looks like they’re going to have a good visit after all — but perhaps I should recite a couple of prayers, offer up some eggs to Santa Clara and sing some chants, just to be sure.