“Well Done” For Surviving The Barbecue

, , , , | Related | January 17, 2019

When I was young, we always had family get-togethers at our house, which at the time I was told was because we had the biggest house and yard. While that was true, others had houses that were at least big enough to accommodate everyone. It wasn’t until I was around twelve that I found out the real reason: of all the “local” family members we were the only ones that apparently knew HOW to host a party. My grandmother wasn’t physically up to it, which was understandable; my one maternal aunt and uncle lived in a small apartment; and the in-laws were always so busy they’d only ever want to just order catering when the rest of us preferred home-cooked.

Then there was my OTHER maternal aunt, who whenever (for instance) we were grilling, would always insist on getting her burgers “well done.” Come to find out her idea of “well done” was what the rest of us called “complete charcoal.” The fateful day was when she and my uncle got a new grill and invited just us over to help test it out, which I was all for but my parents, not so much. We get there, and they already have the grill going and all the burger on it. No hot dogs, no chicken, no veggies, no anything else, JUST hamburgers. Okay, I think to myself, it’s a new grill so they’re playing it safe.

Then I tried to remind my uncle, who was doing the cooking, that I liked my burgers cooked rare. “No.” Yeah… So, not only did they like to completely overcook their food, they wouldn’t NOT overcook anyone else’s, even on request! The buns they got were ultra-cheap and had the texture of packing peanuts, and they wouldn’t even allow us proper CONDIMENTS, just a small dollop of ketchup in the middle of the bun and that’s it. Because that’s how they liked it, so that’s how everyone was going to eat it.

They never understood why none of us looked as thrilled with the dried out, burnt, flavorless meat-pucks as they did. They also didn’t get why we never went back to a cook-out at their place, or let my uncle anywhere near the grill at ours.

You Can’t En-jury Any More

, , , , | Related | January 16, 2019

(My mother-in-law has popped by for a visit and to drop off some things. I’m not in the best mood and she notices.)

Mother-In-Law: “Is [My Name] okay? She’s usually much more bubbly and talkative.”

Wife: “It’s… been a rough few weeks.”

Mother-In-Law: “Yeah, the holidays can be rough. At least they’re over now.”

(My wife and I share a look.)

Me: “Not just the holidays, though those were a huge part of it. We had to kick [Ex-Roommate] out over the weekend. They had money problems earlier in the year but they were keeping the house clean, so it was fine for a while, but then they stopped doing that, too.”

Wife: “And they for some reason really had a problem with [My Name] but every time we tried to talk to them about it, they just got hostile and angry. We even have screenshots to prove it.”

(Reads a few messages off.)

Mother-In-Law: “Geez, I’d be in a bad mood after all that, too.”

Me: “Oh, there’s more.”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, no.”

Wife: “Apparently some important health insurance forms never got mailed to us, so [My Name] doesn’t have health insurance for a few weeks while that gets sorted, so we can’t refill her meds. Or go to that specialist next week that we had to fight all year to finally get a referral for.”

Me: “And we were so broke over the holidays we could only afford to give each other a single gift this year, and nothing for anyone else, which my family got mad about. I managed to find two nice things on clearance for [Wife] that were under budget together, but one of them was defective and the other package was stolen off the porch. Since they were both clearance items, no returns, refunds, or exchanges.”

Wife: “And one of the problems we had with [Ex-Roommate] is that [My Name] made them a hat for their birthday and when she gave it to them, [Ex-Roommate]’s response was ‘where would I ever go to wear this?!’ and left it when they moved out. [Ex-Roommate] is also going around telling their friends that we’re horrible people for kicking them out right after their birthday, even though we let them live here for free for three months.”

Mother-In-Law: “I thought [Ex-Roommate] had a second job now?”

Wife: “Yeah, that’s why we got firm about rent. We told them they had to start paying us rent again since they could afford it now and the next day they showed up with a truck and hauled their stuff to their parents’ place. On top of all that, you know about the issues I’m having with my work managers, so I’m looking for another job but nothing is hiring. All this has happened within the last week-and-a-half, so neither of us are in the best of moods right now.”

Mother-In-Law: “Well, YEAH, you guys have had a h*** of a time. I wouldn’t be in a good mood either after all that. Geez, what else could happen?”

Me: *thin smile* “Yesterday I got summoned for Jury Duty.”

(My mother-in-law must have sensed I was at my wit’s end because she canceled her plans so she could take us out to dinner instead. Much to my embarrassment, her offer made me burst into tears and we had to wait for me to calm down to go. I’m so glad the holidays are over!)

Sob Sister

, , , , , | Related | January 16, 2019

(I work at a country club. At a large wedding, I learn that the only thing worse than a bridezilla is an I’m-not-the-bride-or-the-groom-but-I’m-making-it-all-about-me-zilla. This ‘zilla was the girlfriend of the bride’s brother. My manager and I are helping the family do some final cleaning up for the night, and I gradually realize that this one young woman is sitting in the corner, crying. Different family members, including the bride, keep going over to try and comfort her. As we’re all heading out to the parking lot, she’s trailing behind us sobbing loudly. My manager, a sweet grandmotherly lady in her 60s, asks her what’s wrong. Both the bride and her brother try and deflect, but the woman starts yelling how she needs a sister, and she misses her sister, and it’s so unfair she doesn’t have a sister. At this point, my manager and I assume that she has lost her sister — i.e., her sister had passed away — and that’s why she was crying. My poor manager starts telling this girl how she (the manager) lost her son when he was nineteen, and offering to hug her and get her water and stuff. The woman then screams at her boyfriend/the bride’s brother:)

Woman: “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME, [Brother]!” *lays down on the ground and sobs hysterically*

(The bride and her mother are now both pissed at [Brother] because he apparently “promised this wouldn’t happen.” Just as I and the manager are thinking these people are heartless monsters, the groom, seeing our expressions, tells us:)

Groom: “She doesn’t have a sister.”

Me: “I’m sorry. Is there anything I can—“

Groom: “No, you don’t understand. She’s never had a sister. She just gets really upset about totally random stuff when she’s drunk.”

Me: “Oooookay… So, she’s not upset because her sister died? She’s upset because she never had a sister in the first place?”

Groom: “Yup.”

(The brother pulled his car around, they loaded the hysterical crying woman into the car, and he made it all of ten yards before having to pull over so she could throw up. Repeatedly.)

Grooted In Reality

, , , | Related | January 16, 2019

(My dad is away on business, so I go over to my parents’ house to keep my mom company. My mother is notorious in our family for HATING any films with excess CGI, but she demands that we watch something “easy and brainless” so I put on “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” and hope for the best. Fast forward to the next day and my dad coming home. He and I are standing in the kitchen talking and listening to music when my mom comes dancing in.)

Mom: *happily, while dancing around* “I am Grout!”

Me: “‘Groot,’ Mama. You’re ‘Groot.’”

Mom: *happy and still dancing* “I am Groot!”

(My mother dances back out of the room. My father turns to me with a bewildered look on his face.)

Dad: “Is your mom high?!”

(I cracked up. Much to my surprise, my mother had really enjoyed the movie… Especially Baby Grout — er — Groot!)

The Kind Of Stupid Moment You Wish You Could Have Videoed

, , , , , , | Related | January 15, 2019

(It’s the early ‘90s, and a lot of ‘portable’ technology is still pretty expensive. My parents and I have just gotten back from visiting my grandparents’ house in Florida. It was a long, three-day drive; and upon arriving home late one night we’re all very tired and hungry.)

Mom: “I’m thinking of putting on a frozen pizza. How does that sound?”

Dad: “Excellent. We’ll unload the car while you pre-heat the oven.”

(A couple minutes later, the oven has started to heat up, yet something seems off.)

Me: “Mom? Dad? Something smells really funny in the kitchen.”

Mom: “It almost smells like burning rubber or something.” *sudden gasp of realization* “[Neighbor]’s camcorder!”

Me: “What?!”

(Sure enough, Mom and Dad turn the oven off and open the door to find the melted remains of what was once a very expensive, new recording device.)

All: “…”

Mom: “Oh, NO…”

Me: “Why was [Neighbor]’s new portable video recorder in the oven?!”

Mom: “We borrowed it for [Event] and didn’t get a chance to return it before they left on their vacation…

Me: “But why the oven?!”

Dad: “I thought it would be safe there! No-one would look for a VCR machine in an oven!”

Mom: “Well, we’ve certainly proven that part right.”

(My parents bought him an entirely new machine; thankfully, he found the whole story hilarious. We also learned an important lesson: always check your ovens before turning up the heat!)

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