So, last weekend Anthony's mom and stepdad came to town. They came down in an RV and either didn't think or didn't bother to bring their own vehicle to drive around with (the RV allows you to hitch a regular car behind it for towing so once you get to where you're going, you can park your RV and drive your regular vehicle) so of course they were expecting Anthony and Ben (Anthony's brother) and Mel (Ben's girlfriend) and me to drop everything and chauffeur them wherever they wanted to go. But the thing is, Anthony's stepdad, Don, is SUCH a cheapskate that he just wanted to go and LOOK at things, not DO anything. So we drove them from mall to mall and store to store so they could browse, but they didn't need or want or buy anything.
They wanted us to meet them for breakfast at McDonalds in Walmart on Saturday morning. Walmart for reasons unknown encourages people to 'camp out' in RVs in their parking lots, so that's where Crystal (Anthony's mom) and Don were staying because it's free. By the time we all got there, as Ben was running late, Crystal and Don had eaten at McDonalds but McDonalds had stopped serving breakfast. None of us really wanted fast-food burgers for breakfast so I pointed out that in the mall where the Walmart is, there's a chain family restaurant. Don immediately said he didn't want to pay for breakfast but Crystal said it was fine, they'd eaten but they were happy to keep us company while we ate. I assured Don that we'd be paying for our own breakfasts. Once we were seated, they started ordering stuff, fully expecting us to pay for their second breakfast now. Anthony just paid without a word as he didn't want to make waves. I would not have done. I would have just asked the server for separate checks.
Over the entire weekend (I refused to go along on Sunday; I have responsibilities around the house to see to..laundry needed done, the grass needed cutting badly, the kitchen was a mess, etc..I'd been counting on having my weekend to get all that stuff done.) Anthony drove them wherever they wanted to go. They spent a LOT of time over at Ben and Mel's just sitting around, he said, because no matter what was suggested, Don refused to spend money to do anything. When Ben and Anthony suggested we go for brunch Sunday morning to Crystal, she burst into hysterical tears begging them not to suggest it to Don because if they suggested spending money, there'd be a "price to pay". Honestly she made it sound like as soon as none of us were looking, Don was going to thrash her to within an inch of her life. When asked what this "price to pay" would be, Crystal said, "Don will complain, he will just complain the whole time about spending money, he'll complain and I can't handle the complaining!" Really? If true, that hardly seems worth the histrionics and I might be more deeply concerned if this wasn't her typical reaction to things...she likes to turn on the waterworks and create drama so her sons will come running to her rescue. I've watched the cycle over and over and it drives me crazy. Her favourite thing is that when she hasn't heard from Ben or Anthony (what she thinks is) frequently enough, she will send a text message from out of the blue saying she and Don are divorcing. It never happens though; they've been married nearly two years and I can think of four instances just off the top of my head where she's announced their marriage is beyond repair and they're getting divorced. At this point I'll believe it when I see it.
So after last weekend of driving them everywhere, Anthony's car (his dad decided he liked the van better, so he offered to trade us for a car that was exactly what Anthony had wanted in the first place, rgghh!!) was running on fumes. I had set some money aside (money's still really really tight for us) so that we could go to a local event called Heritage Days, which is a big multicultural festival where all different cultures display their food, art, music, dance and traditions for everyone to experience. It's a hugely fun popular event and we'd planned to go with friends. I had set aside what little money I had left (about $40) so Anthony and I could go, and sample the food and see the shows and just have a day to have a good time with friends after last weekend being pretty much monopolised by his family. But because he'd had to drive them around all last weekend and they didn't so much as mention gas money, the money I had set aside for this weekend for us ended up going into the gas tank. So now, I'm missing an event I've been looking forward to for weeks because they're too cheap to offer to pay for gas. Whether or not Anthony brought up the topic of gas money I don't know. Crystal and Don left on Tuesday (FINALLY!) to go see Don's family in Saskatchewan (we are in Alberta). Crystal and Don actually live in British Columbia. They were not supposed to be coming back through our town for at least another week.
SURPRISE!! Don got into a fight with his family so they cut short their visit and are back in town Friday! Which they called to tell us on..you guessed it! Friday! If you are not familiar with Canadian geography, go online, look at a map and find Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Don's family is, and then find Edmonton, Alberta, where we are. Look at the distance. That's how much time they had to let us know they'd be back in town sooner. But they didn't. So now for the second weekend in a row, Ben, Mel, Anthony and I are expected to drop all our responsibilities and plans to go...I don't know, sit in the RV and stare at each other in a Walmart parking lot, because Anthony and I are flat broke, Mel and Ben are in the process of breaking up*, Don certainly won't spend any money and Crystal will dissolve into hysterics if anyone even suggests it.
* Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...since Don and Crystal INSISTED on hanging out at Ben and Mel's for like the four days they were here, refused to go do their own thing and just generally made home life as uncomfortable as possible for Ben and Mel, it was pretty much the last straw that ended their relationship. They'd hit a rough patch and wanted to spend some private time trying to work things out, but even when Ben privately mentioned this to Crystal, she wouldn't hear of it and either didn't or wouldn't understand that Ben and Mel were in a bad time and needed their privacy. Ben is HER BABY so OF COURSE she would be there and how dare he even suggest otherwise! Ben and Mel are now broken up (this was really the last straw I guess) and Mel is getting herself together to move out, and Ben needs to either find a new place or a room mate stat, because he cannot afford the rent on their house himself.*
Even just refusing to be around these people (which I plan to do...they want us to spend the whole day with them today, I've already told Anthony I am not going; I have things to do) isn't enough because even though it means I don't have to deal with them as much, Anthony still does and by extension, so do I because their demands and expectations are costing me financially, they are costing me relationship-wise (their presence always always causes tension between Anthony and I because he has a really hard time refusing their demands, no matter how unreasonable, and because I flat-out refuse to drop everything and spend my weekend with them unexpectedly. The weekends are really the only time Anthony and I get to spend together because of work and everything during the week, and now his family is taking that away from us for the second week in a row.
They often treat us and talk to us like we're still children; they seem to have a hard time getting that we are adults with adult lives and adult responsibilities. We are not misbehaving teenagers. We are never treated with respect. They have no respect for our privacy, our homes, our relationships, our responsibilities or for us as adults and I am sick of it.
I feel like I cannot win for losing with these people. I can't stand being around them, Anthony is disappointed if I refuse to go because it means he has no backup...I'm apparently the only one with the nerve to say "Well, we have to get going now!" If I'm not there, Crystal and Don want to know where I am or why I never come out with them...they are convinced I'm a recluse I think. If I go, I spend the whole time trying to hide how annoyed/miserable/bored/uncomfortable I am the entire time (last time, when they insisted we hang out with them for the entire day, Don wouldn't hear of stopping for something to eat so by the end of things, I was ravenous, cranky, tired and light-headed because we had been on the go all day and not even paused for a snack. Don even thought it was hilarious how loud my stomach was growling.)
I've really just had it with these people. What should I do?