Things went alright. Not good, by any means, but alright.There had been much anxiety about having invited her and SJ over for Christmas Eve. For days I agonized about whether I should tell her I'd changed my mind or just lie to get out of it. Eventually, I decided to just go through with it and learn from it.
The first thing was NM and SJ showed up with a big ole thing of beer. Now, first off, NM knows that none of us here drinks. Dh, FIL and BIL will occasionally have a drink but only very rarely and never beer. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I'd specifically requested that there be NO ALCOHOL when I extended my invitation. Had I not been plagued with a bladder infection that made me feel like total crap, I would have made a huge issue of it. Instead, I chose to save my energy for preparing the remainder of the food.
A day or two before the party, NM had offered to bring a dip. At first I said no but then I called her back and said I had some fresh veggies that I could cut up if she still didn't mind bringing a dip. NM said, "Sure. No problem." and so, on the morning of the party, I spent a good time chopping up the various veggies and putting them into a dip tray.
When NM showed up, she handed me a bag. I looked inside and found several bags of bread sticks and a large, pinkish colored ball shaped thing on a plate. I said to NM, "Where's the dip?" and she answered, "That IS the dip." I looked at her, confusion on my face. "THIS is the dip?" NM said, "Well, it's a cheeseball actually." Thinking she'd prepared an extra item, I took to looking back in the bags and said, "Well then where's the dip?" She said that was all she'd brought.
As if it wasn't bad enough that she'd promised a dip, KNOWING full well it was for a veggie tray, the cheeseball she brought was made of cream cheese, pureed shrimp and onions. Dh hates onions and I am lactose intolerant so neither of us could partake of the stupid thing.
Forward to a bit later in the evening...my three year old ds and NM are playing a fish game that ds got for Xmas. It's kind of like a memory game where you "fish" for the cards and if the color matches that of your little plastic boat, then you put the fish in your boat. The first person to fill their boat wins.
Well, ds - being THREE - kept putting some of the cards back around the edge of the pool so that he would remember what they were and where. Technically, I suppose this is cheating but, the kid's three so most people wouldn't think of it that way nor would they care. Not so with NM. She kept "joking" about how ds was "cheating" and eventually got up and refused to play anymore on the grounds that ds was cheating.
Forward a bit later into the evening...MIL, NM and I are all sort of picking up in the kitchen and putting the food away. At one point, MIL walked into the other room and immediately NM is at my side. "So.." NM says, "What did BIL and SIL get ds for Xmas?" NM, being an N, has been concerned for some time now with what everyone else gets ds for birthdays and other gift-giving holidays. Always she must have the best (read, MOST EXPENSIVE) gift. I told her, with seeming could-care-less attitude, that they'd taken him to Build-A-Bear for Xmas. "Is that it?", she said. "YES," I answered. With that, NM uttered an "Oh.." in such a way that made it clear she felt superior for having spent more money on ds than they did.
Shortly after that, NM announced they had to get going. I've never been more relieved to see her go.
One good thing that came out of the evening, for the first time I was very aware of just how tense I get when I am around NM. The entire time she was here, I was on edge but it got especially bad whenever she came within about 10 feet of me or so. At those times, I noticed that my neck and shoulder area became very tense and tight. Likewise, as soon as she was further away, I immediately relaxed. The same is true for relating to her conversation-wise. I'm very tense when speaking or interacting with her. By contrast, I felt and feel very relaxed when interacting or speaking with my MIL.
Oh my! I nearly forgot the best part of the evening! Shortly after NM and SJ arrived, dh, FIL and BIL were in the living room watching the show, "Cheaters" on tv. That was all it took for NM to launch into her stupid stories about her ex - my dad - and what a "louse" he was, how he "abused" her and, of course, how he "broke her heart" when he cheated on her. Repeatedly. With his current wife. (None of which I believe anymore, for the record.)
As if it wasn't bad enough that she chose the forum of a Christmas party to vent her venom about my father, she didn't just tell the story once. Or twice. Or even THREE times. Nope. She apparently - as I later found out from dh and FIL - told her story FOUR OR FIVE TIMES! Dh and others didn't understand NM's need to tell and re-tell the story but I got the message loud and clear. No one was paying NM any attention and so she kept re-telling it as a means of trying to get attention. Since no one was saying things like "Oh you poor dear!" or "What a jerk he was!", she just kept on talking and talking like the freaking Energizer bunny. (Where is that blasted eye roll smiley when you need it? LOL)
When I spoke with NM briefly today, she said she didn't know if she'd be able to make it out here for a visit this week before leaving for vacation later in the week. I told her it was no big deal, that if she couldn't make it, we'd just see her when she got back. And, THIS TIME, I meant it.