This weekend, I am trapped in Mammoth – I mean on vacation in Mammoth – with my in-laws.  It is snowing buckets outside (can I use that phrase with snow, or only with rain?).  Literally feet upon feet of snow is falling from the sky out there!  And there is wind too.  Gusts and gusts of wind.  Making it impossible to go outside to enjoy oneself.  So I am stuck.  Inside.  With my in-laws.  Not really enjoying myself.  If I wasn’t a wuss girl from California, I would be outside in the 10 degree weather doing anything else.  But because of my inability to withstand freezing temperatures – damn you California weather! – I am stuck inside listening to my husband, his father, and his two uncles fight while they attempt to “enjoy” themselves over a game of Risk.  This is honest to goodness the dialogue that is going on behind me:

“There are a lot of stupid things you can do in this game, but taking Africa right now is about the stupidest I can think of.”

“Why is everyone gaining up on me.  I’ll take Germany if you don’t watch yourself!”

“Why are we fighting?  You guys need to shut up and play the game!”

“Its impossible to play when everyone decides to invade my countries and get me out after two turns!”

(the above should have written in all caps to truly express the palpable anger in the room)

Anyways, Risk arguments aside, I had two apifanies this morning during my forced confinement:

First of all, in-laws are kind of an outdated concept in today’s modern culture.  Hear me out on this one.  I mean, you fall in love with this man, pledge to spend the rest of your life with him, and suddenly you become a bona fide member of his crazy family.  As if putting up with the crazy in your own family isn’t enough.  Now you have to spend every holiday, celebration and, yes the occasional vacation, with this surrogate family.

I think the joining of two families made way more sense in the old days.  Lets consult my completely made-up case study:  Family #1 owns a farm and finds themselves short on cows.  Family #2 has cows, but needs more pigs, which are busting at the seams on Family #1’s farm.  So, Family #1 and #2 hitch-up their daughter and son, exchange some livestock, and everyone is happy.  The families may have to put up with some crazy, but now they have their cows.  Crazy in exchange for cows was just logical back then.  I may have gotten a wonderful husband when I got hitched, but I didn’t get any cows.  Just the crazy.

Secondly, I think I’ve pinpointed the main reason holidays are so intense:  they revolve around a meal where typically more than one family member is contributing.  This was proven this morning when it took 5 people – 50% of the total number of people on this vacation mind you – to cook some eggs and a few waffles.  What was supposed to be a lovely breakfast on a cold winter’s morning transformed into all out world war 3 when the waffle maker refused to heat-up, Uncle Dean put onions in the scrambled eggs, and someone made the coffee using 5 tablespoons of grounds instead of 4 (the horror!).  Why is it always the most mundane, everyday things that families chose to fight over?  I can’t remember a more stressful meal that didn’t fall between late November and late December.  Families can be stressful a certain percentage of the time and cooking can be stressful at times, but put them together and things are stressful 100% of the time.  I am not looking forward to dinner!!