It’s A Dog’s Life, Indeed!

, , , , , , | Related | August 1, 2019

My aunt is one of those people who treats her dogs like her biological children, but she takes it to the next level. Here are a few of the things that she does for them:

She feeds them only eggs for every meal.

She has rugs laid out so they don’t have to walk on the hardwood floors.

Every holiday, she gives them each a full human meal.

She has them open their own presents every Christmas and still gives gifts in their names — we’re all above the age of 25, by the way!

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Dye-ing With Laughter

, , , , | Related | July 27, 2019

(My sister and I drive to Florida to take my five-year-old grandson to visit his great aunt and 85-year-old great-grandparents — my ex-in-laws. While there, his great aunt is very happy about getting to color Easter eggs with him. Her parents are relaxing in the backyard while she gets everything set up. When she’s done, she tells my grandson:)

Great Aunt: “Okay, go ask Gramma and Grandpa if they’re ready to dye.” 

Me: “NO! NO! WAIT! DO NOT SAY THAT! GO ASK THEM IF THEY’RE READY TO COLOR EGGS!”

Ex-Sister-In-Law: *as we’re all laughing hysterically* “OH, MY GOD! NO! I WASN’T THINKING! AUGH! THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HORRIBLE!”

Me: “You’re welcome.”

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Possessed Of An Overactive Imagination

, , , , , , | Related | July 7, 2019

When I was eight, I developed epilepsy. It was on both sides of the family, and my mum had it as a child. So, as the oldest, I am the one unlucky enough to have it, as well. 

I didn’t find out by dropping and having a seizure or staring off into space like usual. My aunt was cutting my hair when it happened. I don’t remember it very well, but she does. Clearly. She had no idea I was epileptic, so her first reaction was to scream and yell about possession. 

I had apparently stood up without warning, walked in a straight line, and started talking in what she thought was Latin. For months, she tried to say it was demonic possession, regardless of the countless doctors and MRIs and CAT scans showing I had epilepsy. She was always overreacting about everything, so no one believed her. 

She is still claiming my case of chicken pox at nine was the fifth disease.

And that she isn’t insane.

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Auntie Is Twenty Minutes Behind Everyone Else

, , , , , | Related | May 24, 2019

(My husband has recently medically retired from the military after an 18-year career as a military logistician. He severely injured his back during his last combat tour and, due to that and other injuries and his PTSD, he is rated as 100% disabled by the VA. He has decided that he wants to work after retiring but he has to clear the job he takes with the VA due to his rating. He ends up finding a very good job as an operations manager for a janitorial company in a city 20 minutes from the small town that we have just moved to. I am talking to my elderly aunt on the phone and telling her about his new job. She is literally obsessed with a major national retail chain, and she always tacks on an extra S to the end of it.)

Me: “[Aunt], [Husband] just got a really good job as an operations manager with the company that provides cleaning services to all of the hospitals in [Nearby City].”

Aunt: “Don’t they have a [Chain]s in the town that you live in? My neighbor retired from the military and he got a job unloading trucks at the [Chain]s in [Town she lives in]. It’s a fine job! Why didn’t [Husband] get a job at the [Chain]s near you?”

Me: “Yes, they have a [Chain] Super Center, but unloading trucks only pays $11 an hour. Anyway, [Husband] can’t lift anything heavier than 20 pounds due to his back injury. Plus, this new job pays around $25 an hour.”

Aunt: “But [Chain]s has that great program where they hire veterans! [Husband] should have gotten a job there!”

Me: “Yes, but those jobs don’t pay very much. [Husband] spent the last eight years of his military career managing groups of more than 40 troops. Being a regular retail employee is actually a real insult after having a career like that. He manages 30 people at his new job. Plus, the VA told him that he cannot get a job where he has to do any heavy lifting.”

Aunt: “But [Chain]s is such a fine company! I go there all the time! Don’t you want him to have a job where you shop?”

Me: “[Aunt], we don’t even shop at [Chain] very much. We like [Other Companies]. Anyway, why would [Husband] take a job that he isn’t medically cleared to do for a few dollars above minimum wage after a career as a highly-decorated military sergeant?”

Aunt: “But I love [Chain]s! My neighbor really enjoys his job. I think that it’s stupid to drive an extra 20 minutes just to be called a manager at a job!”

Me: “Didn’t you hear that his job pays $14 an hour more than he would make at [Chain]? Plus, the company specifically wanted someone with prior management experience in the military for his position.”

Aunt: “Well, yes, but I still think that it is stupid to drive an extra twenty minutes for a job!”

(I dropped it after that. My husband has been at his job for five months now and both upper-level management and his employees absolutely love him. I don’t know why she thought that working at that chain for a few dollars above minimum wage was somehow better than making $25 an hour at his job!)

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The Engine Of Racism

, , , , , , | Related | May 9, 2019

(My uncle’s car of twenty years was going through a major rough patch; it required a week-long trip to a mechanic almost monthly. This raised a few alarm bells since a car that left a mechanic shouldn’t need another a month later. Before he brought it back again, I convinced him to let my mechanic — who happens to be one of my oldest friends, us having been best friends since we were four — take a look. Naturally, this involves getting his hands and a few tools inside. After reminding him the two of us know almost nothing about cars, he gives us his professional opinion.)

Friend: “To fix your car, I’d have to replace part or all of the engine. That’s already pretty pricey, but to get at certain parts of the engine, I’d have to pull apart the car’s frame. Since that complicates the job and makes more work, the cost of fixing her would be enough to buy two cars. And that’s before we add on fees for the rental car you’ll need in the months she’ll be on the lift. If you don’t fix it, it’s worth more as parts than as a car. I say you should trade her in for a new car and not spend one more penny on her.”

Uncle: “Do you mind if I talk to my mechanic first? Just to hear him out?”

Friend: “You can, but could I come along? Just to ask a few questions you guys might not know to ask?”

(After a little cajoling from me, my uncle agrees, and the three of us drive up the highway to his dealership, each in our own car due to schedules conflicting. I’m going to take this opportunity to repeat that I know almost nothing about cars, so the technical parts of the conversation sound like a trombone to me. The comprehensible parts are as follows:)

Mechanic: “Nothing too bad. It’ll be ready tomorrow afternoon. Job’s more annoying than it is hard.”

Friend: “What about his [car part]?”

Mechanic: “Used, but not worn out.”

Friend: “And how exactly did you check that?”

Mechanic: “Same way as any other. [Outlines a complicated-sounding procedure].”

Friend: “And what were the results?”

Uncle: “He said he checked it and it’s fine!”

Me: “I think [Friend] wa–“

Uncle: “It’s fine!

(This basic conversation loop a few more times, each time detailing a different part of the car. Eventually, my friend throws up his hands and walks out. Once he is gone, the mechanic continues talking with my uncle, and I completely tune them out. When I rejoin, my uncle has decided to trust his mechanic and leaves his car for another day of repairs, which turns into a week of repairs. But the story doesn’t quite end there. Since he doesn’t yet know he’ll need a rental car, I have to drive him home, which means taking the highway. And he opens his mouth.)

Uncle: “I shouldn’t have listened to you!”

Me: “What was wrong with involving [Friend]?”

Uncle: “All he did was get in the way! He wouldn’t listen one bit to my mechanic!”

Me: “He wanted to analyze the exact results himself, not just hear, ‘It’s fine.'”

Uncle: “Well, [Mechanic] told me that [Friend] poking around might have damaged something, so I might not have a car tomorrow.”

Me: “[Friend] is a more competent mechanic than that. Any problems weren’t his doing. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he saved you some money by tightening up a few things.”

Uncle: *scoffs* “And you’re trusting the [racial slur]!”

(For the record, yes, my friend is black, and we are white. I pull over the car and hit the brakes.)

Me: “Trusting the what?”

Uncle: “The… the…”

Me: “Get out!”

(He tried to backpedal some more, but I wasn’t having it. I grabbed my keys, got out myself, and physically pulled him out of my car. I got back in and drove off, leaving him to walk back along the highway. He made his way back unmolested, but not one bit wiser.)

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