Getting Their Smoke Signals Crossed

, , , , | Related | December 2, 2019

(I am visiting my parents. All of my husband’s side of the family lives in Colorado, as well. I’m not fully paying attention to the conversation as I am getting my daughter ready to leave and go home.)

Dad: “Does anyone on the [Family] side have a smoker?”

Me: “No.”

Dad: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Well, none of the family smokes but I don’t know about [Brother-In-Law], [Other Brother-In-Law], and [Sister-In-Law]’s families.”

Dad: *gives me a strange look* “Sweetheart, what do you think I’m talking about?”

(I look up at him, confused, and make a cigarette-smoking motion.)

Dad: *laughs* “No.”

(Even more confused, I make a joint-smoking motion.)

Dad: “Noooo!”

(Now very confused, I make a vaping motion.)

Dad: “[My Name]!”

Me: “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

Dad: “I meant a grill smoker. Like for turkeys!”

Me: “Ohhhhh… Yes, [Father-In-Law] has one.”

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The Ambiguous Family Robinson

, , , , , | Related | December 1, 2019

(When I am a kid, my family is watching the Disney movie “The Swiss Family Robinson.”)

Me: “So, where are they from? They’re not English.”

Dad: “Maybe France?”

Mom: “Germany? Or are they Dutch?”

(It took us an embarrassingly long time to figure it out.)

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England Swings Like A Pendulum Do, Just Like Her Moods

, , , , , | Related | November 30, 2019

My oldest brother’s first wife was smart about some things and fairly daft about others. She also always managed to find a way to blame anyone but herself when things went wrong. And no matter what you knew about a topic, even if you were the master of the subject, she always knew more and waved away any suggestions you might have.

So, after a class in college about British history, she says that she wants to go to England to see some of the sites she’s been reading about. And she wants to go at a particular time, which is also a window of time that my brother’s job requires him to be at work.  

So, knowing I went to England when I was in college — eons ago — she asks me to go. Happily for me, I have used up most of my vacation time and “regretfully” tell her I cannot go. (I would sooner have gotten into a ring with an angry bull than go anywhere with this woman.)

She asks her dear friend to go with her, instead. A lot of face-palming goes on among the family because we have all met her friend and not only is she a major lush, she is also another “I know everything about this subject which I have only just heard of” person.  

My sister-in-law calls to ask how I got around England when I was there. I remind her I was on a two-week guided tour. No, they don’t want a guided tour. They want to be their own guided tour. How much were cars to rent? I tell her it’s not a good idea to rent or drive a car since the traffic is reversed. I tell her about the railway passes and the underground/tube and how public transportation is so wonderful that you never need to drive at all. I beg her not to drive. The travel agent begs her not to drive.

Nope, they want to drive all over the country on their own. It won’t be fun, otherwise. (These are two women in their mid-forties.) So, the tickets are bought, the plane and hotels are booked, and off they go.  

We figure we won’t hear from them for two weeks.

They call the first night to let everyone know they arrived safely.

She calls the next day to tell my brother that her friend dented the rental car by turning the wrong way out of the hotel parking lot and now they don’t have a car. She calls that night because she can’t find her friend. My brother asks her exactly what he is supposed to do from East Coast, USA. She calls an hour later to report she found her friend in the bar drinking with a bunch of men.

She calls the next morning to say she and her friend cannot stand each other and she wants to come home and get a refund on the trip. My brother calls the travel agent and has to pay all kinds of cash to end the trip, change flights, and make sure she and her friend are on different flights.  

She complains for weeks about the trip and how she can never go back because the country was completely ruined for her. My brother reminds her that she took a person she knew to be a loquacious alcoholic on a trip and let her drive a car in traffic that she wasn’t used to.  

Somehow it is all his fault, my fault, her parents’ fault, and the travel agent’s fault that she hadn’t listened to any of us.  

I’m happy to say that when they divorced, we had a nice little celebration.

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Deadly Choices

, , , , , , | Related | November 29, 2019

(My aunt is preparing to make dinner while my brother, mother, and I are watching TV.)

Aunt: *calls from the kitchen* “Hey, [My Name], will you run downstairs and get some turkey burgers out of the deep freezer? Or [Brother], either one?”

Mother: *very promptly* “I don’t think [Brother] is in the freezer.”

Aunt: “Okay, good one. But will you go?”

Me: “Is it my choice which one I get out of the freezer?”

Aunt: “Yes. Your choice. Am I cooking burgers or your brother?”

Brother: “Don’t give them that choice.”

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Karate Man Versus The Ninja

, , , , , , | Related | November 29, 2019

When I was in third grade, I often struggled to sleep. As most young kids do in that case, I would go to my parents.

I had not learnt how to tell time yet but knew that if the light in the hallway was on that at least one of my parents was still awake and in the living room. 

It was on. 

So, little, tired me walked into the living room — at what I later learned was 2:00 am — to see the back of my dad as he was turning off the TV and other devices. 

To get his attention, I tapped his shoulder.

His black-belt karate instincts kicked in and the only reason I wasn’t knocked out was that I was tiny. 

After much whisper-shouting, and after he realized that he had nearly punched his child, he finally got me to bed. I had to promise to always announce my presence from a distance and for a while carried the nickname of “Little Mouse.”

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