I've been looking forward to telling this one! I hope my use of acronyms is okay; I know they annoy some people but it seemed the most straightforward way to tell the story without worrying about the participants getting mixed up. If it's a problem, let me know and I'll edit it.
Last weekend, DH and I took an extended trip back home to visit friends and family. It was an extended weekend because we had my sister's wedding (went great!) and two baby showers (one of them our own, the other for DH's brother and his wife) to attend. A busy time, but lots of fun.
BG: DH's parents are divorced, and the early years of the split were...very much not amicable. To say the least. In recent years, though, they've learned to be civil, or at least to ignore each other completely when they have to be in the room together. Individually, they're lovely people. There's just something about being around each other or hearing about each other or having anything to do with each other whatsoever that just tends to make with the crazy.
Still, they behaved themselves just fine at DH's and my shower (aside from MIL and the cupcake throwing incident, which is a story for another time). MIL was hosting SIL and BIL's shower (the day after ours), and FIL was not invited to it. DH and I both had mixed feelings about this, but shrugged it off and DH made tentative plans to have dinner with FIL afterwards. /BG
After SIL and BIL's shower, I left but DH stayed to chat with SIL, BIL, MIL, and MIL's younger sister (his aunt) while he waited to hear from FIL about dinner plans. His cell phone rang, DH saw it was FIL, and he excused himself to answer it and finalize plans for dinner. When he came back, MIL would not stop pestering him about who was on the phone. DH tried at first to keep his answers vague, but finally he told her who it was and why he called, hoping that satisfying her curiosity in a matter-of-fact way would end the matter. It didn't. MIL continued the third degree in spite of DH's attempts to redirect, until DH's aunt turned to MIL and said in a gentle but firm tone, "Never mind." She then turned to DH and asked where he was going for dinner, which he answered. She replied, "Well, have fun!" and changed the subject completely.
When DH told me this story, I was absolutely thrilled, but sad that I'd missed a masterful execution of the Bean Dip Stratagem.