A Big Favour

My mother-in-law lives in a van. She’s not often the horrible in-law that you hear about, but the van doesn’t make it easy for us. The problem is, she doesn’t have a real place to call home. It’s great for her. Less so for us, because that means her default place to park the van is right outside my front door. Some unfortunate souls have their in-laws live with them, but this is pretty much just as bad. We made a big mistake of letting her keep some things in our spare bedroom. Now she thinks that the house is hers. Every time she goes away, I cross my fingers and hope the van breaks down so she can’t come back.

I’ve heard a few people talk about how nice it would be not to rent, to have a house that you can move anywhere, but they don’t seem to consider the downsides. Once, mother-in-law’s van was having issues a good thirty minutes from my house. Her key wasn’t working. It was one of those wireless ones, of course. The logical thing would be to call a mechanic. Frankston isn’t the easiest drive from my place. But of course, her demand was that we bring the extra set of keys at our house. No surprise, when we arrived, they didn’t work either.

Then she wanted us to drive her to a nearby mechanic. We’d already taken half an hour out of our day, plus another thirty minutes to drive back home. And now she wanted us to be her personal taxi service as well? “I found this great shop for car service, Seaford isn’t that far, is it? Do you think they fix vans?” she asked. “Forget it,” I said. We’d already done enough. The truth was, I knew what came next. When the shop said they’d need a day or two, she’d be asking for a lift back to our place and a bed to sleep on. Not today. She made the choice to move into a van, now she had to deal with the consequences.