Emma
It wasn't bad enough that I had to throw that Christmas party for the mom's group, but five minutes before I was about to relax with a glass of Coca Cola and a Kardahians marathon, Antonio dropped the bomb.
"Emma?" He asked from the door way to the living room.
"What."
"I have to tell you something."
"What Antonio?"
"I don't know how I am supposed to tell you... Well..."
"Please just spit it out so I can watch tv in peace!" I said exasperatedly.
"Myfamilyiscomingoverfordinne rtomorrow." He said, blending all of the words together so I couldn't understand what he said.
"Repeat that please." I said.
He took a deep breath.
"My family is coming over for dinner tomorrow."
My eyes widened.
"Antonio!" I exploded.
"Why didn't you tell me earlier so I could plan? I have to clean up all these party decorations, and do all the dishes and plan a meal. We don't even have anything to cook for an extravagant dinner..." I trailed off. Looking at my watch I saw that it was 10:00 pm.
"Walmart should still be open." I muttered.
"Emma, I'm sor-" Antonio began.
I held up my hand to stop him.
"Save it." I said.
I got home at eleven after an exhausting trip at wonderful of all wonderfuls, Walmart.
I unloaded the groceries and put them away.
I glanced at the mini calendar on the fridge.
Four days until Christmas, and Antonio's family was coming over for dinner tomorrow. I was going to make lasagna and garlic knots and then a Chocolate cake for dessert.
I sighed. I was tired, but not as tired as I was going to be tomorrow night, that was for sure.
To tell you the truth, I was terrified of meeting Antonio's mother. What would she think of me? What would she think about the way I discipline the kids, keep the house, cook? What was she going to think about the way Antonio and I acted. Would she believe our facade that was masking the truth?
Was I going to have to kiss Antonio and act all lovey? I groaned loudly because I knew the answer.
I didn't know how much more of this I could handle. It's not like a regular job, with breaks and vacations. It is a full time, never ending, job.
I went to bed and tossed and turned all night, wondering what was going to happen tomorrow.

I awoke at six, feeling very grumpy, sent Antonio to work with coffee, a doughnut, and a slight glare, and then I set the girls (Camilla was on Christmas vacation)
In front of the T.V and began ultra cleaning the house.
I dusted and vacuumed every available surface, I mopped the kitchen floor and then decided that wasn't good enough, so I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed it clean. Then, using wood cleaner and a light blue dusting rag, I polished all the cupboards, chairs, and the table.
I wiped all the appliances, and then went into the girls rooms straightening bedcovers, picking up dolls and dirty clothes, and then cleaned out Antonio's room. In a panic I realized that my Mother-in-law probably would want to see the whole house which included "our room" . She couldn't know that I had a separate room. I knew that in his family that would seem suspicious.
So I gathered things from my room and brought them into his.
I hung up a few dresses and shirts in the closet next to his and also a few nightgowns.
I places a few classic romance novels on the bedside table and changed his comforter from the black one to one that was a royal blue.
Glancing sideways I noticed the pictures of his ex wife.
I took each one of them and shoved them into his sock drawer.
Then I went into the master bathroom and put my hair dryer and makeup bad on the counter. Deciding that it looked to neat, I took out a few mascara, lipgloss and concealers and strew them around the wide double-sink counters.
With a sigh I gazed at my handiwork. Not too shabby. It looked like we actually shared a room.
After that I went into my real room and shoved all of my stuff into the closet. Then I changed the comforter to a green one with palm leaves on it and left that room looking like a real guest room.
I wasn't too excited about having to undo all of this hard work later. I looked at my watch and saw that it was already four. His family was coming at six.
I rushed into the kitchen and began preparing food. I got the lasagna in the oven and the dough for the knots was rising.
With a sigh I sank onto the barstool.

Despite what all other wives may think, I truly have the worst mother-in-law in the world.
The moment she walked in the door she held me at arms length and said "Well, Antonio she isn't half as pretty as you made her out to be. Well, you always did have a knack for exaggeration, my son."
I could tell that she liked to use the world 'well'
"I am Anastasia and this is my husband Geraldo."
"Nice to finally meet you, Antonio talks about you all the time."
Anastasia looked sympathetic. "I wish I could say the same."
After a pause she spoke again. "Well, Emma what's for dinner?" I put on a smile and said, "I made lasagna and garlic knots, and I'm going to make a salad."
Anastasia leaned over to her husband and whispered into his ear loud enough so that I could here.
"She must think that all Italians eat is food with sauce."
Antonio cleared his throat noisily and led his parents and two sisters (who had been silent the whole time) to the living room.
The tv was turned on and I went into the kitchen to make the salad and check up on the other food.
Antonio came into the kitchen.
"I can't deal with this all night." I said.
"I know my mother comes across mean, but she honestly is a nice person." He said.
I snorted. "I'm sure. Anastasia entered the room. Perfect.
"I just wanted to see what was going on in here."
"Everything's fine." I said.
I guess that Antonio could tell I was about to lose it because he came up behind me and rubbed my shoulders.
When his mother wasn't looking he whispered "You're doing fine." In my ear.

I managed to make it through the dinner and the oh-so-wonderful tour of the house.
"Bye-bye sweetie, Nonno and Nonna will see you on Christmas." Anastasia said, leaning toward Loretta's highchair.
I coughed.
"Wh-what?"
"Oh yes, did I mention we had a hotel and were staying until Christmas."
"Oh Mama, you didn't have to get a hotel, you know your always welcome here." Antonio said grabbing his mother's hand.
I sent him a panicked look but he obviously didn't pick it up.
"Well in that case, We'll all just stay in the lovely guest rooms." Anastasia said.
I groaned. I was going to have to deal with her for at least four more days.
Why me?
This was strike three for Antonio.
Strike one: grocery store
Strike two: telling me last minute that his mom was coming.
Strike three: inviting them to stay with us.
He's all out of strikes.