Living with Witches, Sirens & Sisters-in-Law

Living with witches, siren spells

Daedalus Howell
Dec 8, 2011 – 04:55 PM
Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell

There are phenomena men will willingly endure for love, though they should know better. Okay, maybe it?s not entirely love motivating them all the time, but it?s ?loving husband of? that ends up on the tombstone, so we can pretend.

  This is what happened to me: I married into an Italian-American family that boasts three sisters, one of whom is my wife. To wit, the holidays are like a cast reunion for some Fellini-inspired version of ?MacBeth,? but just the part with the ?weird sisters.? Over and over.

  Yes, they?re witches ? there, I finally said it. I love them, but they are witches. I knew going into the deal that together they shared some sort of mystical power that amplifies when they?re together. It?s like living in an endless episode of ?Charmed? but crunchier.

  To invoke the spectre of Stevie Nicks, my wife and sisters-in-law are most likely ?white witches.? Not in the formal, Wiccan-hippy sort of way, but from what I?ve ascertained from their collective spending habits.

  Between them, there are enough potions, lotions and post-Burning Man kombucha-drenched hippiness to stock an apothecary.

  Harry Potter would wet himself if he saw my wife?s medicine cabinet (and, yes, it?s hers, all hers ? I ceded control of the master bathroom the day we moved in).

  Yes, I should have known better when I was going into the deal, but who besides Glynda asks, ?Are you a good witch or a bad witch? when dating? That these women are beautiful is testament to their relative lack of evil ? that?s how it works, right? I don?t know. Nor do my brothers-in-law.

  When it comes to holiday get-togethers, we find every excuse to inoculate ourselves with wine, lest we fall prey to some conspiracy or other.

  One time, for example, I came home to find that the three of them had decided to essentially upholster the kitchen floor with some sort of woven grass matting. It was like a third-world macram? carpet, a plus-sized hula skirt spread over the linoleum, which the sisters had deemed ?too ugly.?

  Somehow, a scratchy, floor-sponge was supposed to be prettier.

  After some tense negotiations, the mats were finally removed. And, of course, I was the bad guy. In real life, if someone makes your kitchen floor look like a barnyard they?re the bad guy. But if you?re dealing with witches, it?s the old rubber and glue rule, my friends.

  The best part is when it turned up on my bank statement. I never mentioned it; no reason to stir the pot ? or the cauldron, as the case may be. I got enough of my own ?double, double, toil and trouble,? so I?d rather not invoke their wrath. Or worse, their ability to convince us weak menfolk to go on impossible missions for bizarre ingredients (eye of newt, wing of bat) to bring some ancient family recipe to life.

  Two sisters of the three purport to be gourmands (one, fortunately, makes food for mortals, but at the cost of some self-loathing). Consequently, there?s frequently something missing that one or more of us husbands has to go find.

  And the racket these chicks can make. With three Italian women, the sound produced is more than the sum of its parts ? it?s exponential. It?s like having the entire city of Salerno debating the relative merits of neti pots in a single room. 

  But just when you?re about to bludgeon yourself to death, their voices become a fugue, a beguiling chorus of laughter and sighs harmonious enough to rival birdsong, Bach and most Beatles b-sides. Such is the bittersweet bother of family. And for a moment you think, they?re not witches, they?re sirens. That?s until you?re halfway across town entering yet another grocery store on a vain search for organic bresaola and you realize they were casting a damn spell.

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