A Change Of Pace Can Change Everything Else

, , , | Friendly | December 19, 2020

This is a story about my friend and her husband. [Husband]’s father came to the USA from Europe shortly before World War II. The family only had enough money to send one of their two (very) young sons and [Husband]’s dad was the younger one and he got to go along with his mother. They never saw the family again. [Husband] grew up without paternal grandparents as his grandmother died early on, and because she really didn’t know how to go about searching for them, no one knew what became of the family in Europe.

[Husband] is notorious for going on vacation and driving past restaurants, scenic views, and motels because “there might be something better around the bend.” [Friend] says they have sometimes done nothing but drive their whole vacation, and the conversation often goes like this:

Husband: “Gee, that looked like a nice restaurant. Too late to turn back now, though. There’s something better around the bend.”  

One day, they are on a trip through New England, looking for a place to stay the night, and [Husband] is driving along, doing his usual:

Husband: “Oh, oops, that looked like a good place, but we’ve passed it and it’s too late now.”  

They pass a place that looks very homey and cozy, and [Husband] makes his comment and keeps going. I have often wondered HOW they could go a whole week of vacation doing this, but [Friend] seems to think things are fine. They continue driving, and half an hour or more later:

Husband: “I can’t stop thinking about that last place. It’s like a place I’d really like to stay and it looked so inviting.”

And to [Friend]’s surprise, [Husband] turns the car around and goes back to the inn that is now about forty-five minutes away.

She sits in the car while he goes in to see about getting them rooms. And she sits and waits, then waits and sits. Then, she starts getting worried because [Husband] hasn’t come back yet.

FINALLY, almost half an hour later, he comes out.

Husband: “Come with me. You won’t believe it.”

I’m sure everyone can figure out where this is going, but to finish the story, [Husband] and the owner had the same very very unusual last name. They started talking and comparing notes… and [Husband] discovered that he was talking to one of his first cousins. Years after the war, his uncle had finally come to the US. The uncle couldn’t find a trace of his mother or brother, gave up the search, and settled down.

[Friend] said that they spent most of their vacation getting to know various members of [Husband]’s rediscovered family and having a great time doing so.  

Unfortunately, the experience never did — completely, at least — change [Husband]’s habit of driving on without stopping, but at least he had relatives to visit from then on.

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These Paramedics Never Cry Uncle

, , , , , | Healthy | December 13, 2020

A friend who used to live on my street moved out rather suddenly and then moved house again quite a bit thereafter. It was a little strange, but eventually, we found out that her parents divorced and the housing situation was a bit screwed up because it’s Australia and our welfare system is a bit… stupid.

Her dad has finally settled into a place more permanently and decides to host New Year’s. My friend invites me along, and despite having not really met that side of her family, I agree to come and join in the festivities.

On arrival, I’m introduced to an uncle who is probably only five to seven years our senior at best and who has been drinking rather heavily since yesterday afternoon. He gets to chatting and we learn that he has only recently recovered from a nasty car accident that shattered his legs. He’s all healed up and ready to celebrate the New Year, loudly proclaiming to all who’ll listen that next year will be his year since everything has gone so wrong in this one. I’m sympathetic to the poor guy; the accident was 100% not his fault and it was a horrendous and intense path to recovery. With a small child in his care, I can only imagine how hard the recovery must have been, so I don’t begrudge his drinking. Out of everyone present, he probably has the best reason to be overindulging, and he isn’t an angry drunk by any stretch of the imagination.

The night wears on, and we are about an hour away from midnight. The local sports grounds is hosting a fireworks display, and from the backyard, we will have a great seat for the show. Suddenly, the drunken uncle staggers over to the trampoline and claps enthusiastically at the kids all doing little tricks. One of those kids asks uncle if he ever did tricks and the uncle puffs with pride and declares that he used to be part of his high school’s gymnastics team. The kids all ooh and ahh in admiration, and it isn’t long before they vacate the trampoline and start coaxing [Uncle] to show them some tricks. Bad idea.

He climbs up and starts to bounce. My friend’s dad rushes over and tries to convince the uncle not to do anything silly, but [Uncle] is too caught up in nostalgia and alcohol to listen to reason and decides that trampolining couldn’t be that much different from doing flips on a gym floor. He then jumps super high and starts a backflip; sadly, he isn’t very well in control of the bounce and the trajectory sends him off the mark and he hits the ground hard. There is a sickening, cracking crunch on impact, the kind of sound that reverberates in your teeth and reminds you of nails on a chalkboard.

The ambulance is called immediately and they arrive extremely quickly. They pull up and rush over to [Uncle], who is still very much in a good mood; apparently, he didn’t feel a thing and has spent the time waiting trying to convince us all he is fine and attempting to stand up. The paramedics assess his injuries and gather information from the surrounding family, hand the poor guy a painkiller, and set up a stretcher. Just as they heave him up to slide the stretcher under his prone form, another horrible crunch is heard, and the paramedics lower him carefully to the ground again. A female paramedic feels about his waist and hips and realises that there is more than likely some pelvic bone damage and asks the host for a set of scissors.

[Uncle] is still happy as a clam and suddenly seems to register that there is a beautiful young lass attending to his pants line and becomes very flirty. The paramedic allows the flirting as uncle isn’t being belligerent and it seems to be keeping him relatively still while my friend’s dad runs for the scissors. 

Uncle: “So, what’s a sweet young thing like you need scissors for? I hope we aren’t doing surgery here.” *Laughs* “Though, if it’s you, I guess I wouldn’t mind so much. You’re lovely!”

Female Paramedic: *Laughs* “Oh, no need to worry, sir. No surgery here in the grass. I just need to see your hips a bit better in case there’s more damage we couldn’t see through your clothes. I hope you’re not attached to these shorts, though; we need the scissors to cut them off.”

[Uncle] suddenly starts blushing madly, and the flirty tone is now a little fearful and embarrassed.

Uncle: “Oh, um… It’s just, well, it’s a rather unpleasant job… that is… would your partner here approve of removing my pants?! And… and there are children here! Oh, God! Someone take the children away; I don’t want to be a flasher!!” 

The male paramedic lost it, and through his laughter, he assured [Uncle] that it wasn’t a problem, that they were both trained professionals, and that the kids would be fine as they weren’t planning to cut them off in full view of spectators. [Uncle] was blushing and stammering objections the entire time as a screen was set up and his pants were removed in moderate privacy. 

Finally, they got [Uncle] loaded into the ambulance. The female paramedic was gathering some last bits of information from the family and organising a support person to ride along with them to the hospital. I couldn’t help but ask if this kind of thing was routine for New Year’s. The paramedic laughed and said that, sadly, it was their busiest time of year, but if it’s for someone like [Uncle], she didn’t mind so much. He’s lovely.

[Uncle] just blushed all the harder and covered himself more with the blankets piled on top of him. It was an exciting New Year’s, that’s for sure, and the timing was brilliant, as the ambulance pulling away coincided with the fireworks starting.

The poor guy had re-shattered the old injuries and done some rather significant damage to both hips and pelvic bone. I think he needed pins and plates, and unfortunately, the recovery was a lot longer this time around. It was not exactly the best way to ring in the New Year, but at least he had wonderful paramedics who possessed a great sense of both humour and duty of care.

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Why Would You Want A Reluctant Person To Hold Your Infant, Anyway?

, , , , , | Friendly | CREDIT: elephantturtle85 | November 27, 2020

I’m a twenty-four-year-old woman, and I have a diagnosed phobia of children, especially babies, and especially babies’ drool. I’ll gag and even throw up if a baby touches me. Unfortunately, no one ever believes this. This happens when I am around, in a shopping centre.

My mom and I are out shopping for groceries and my mom’s friend Karen up with her baby. They start small-talking, and I step back and start looking at something on a shelf to avoid looking at the baby, since it’s drooling and if I see it I’ll start gagging,  which is always awkward and embarrassing.

[Friend] asks me to hold her baby for God knows what reason. I decline, saying I’ve never held one and it’s unsafe. She then starts to walk over with the drooling nightmare, so I start backing away and I gag.

Friend: “Why did you gag? My baby isn’t disgusting! What the h*** is wrong with you?!”

Mom: “Oh, she’s weird with germs. It doesn’t matter. I’ll hold her.”

Friend: “No! I want her to hold her! She’s just being dramatic.”

She starts getting closer to me and I start gagging more dramatically; my eyes are watering and everything. The more I gag, the louder and angrier she gets, the closer she gets, and the worse I get. At this point, she’s right in front of me and I’m backed against a shelf

My mom tries to diffuse the situation, but [Friend]’s holding a baby, so what can Mom really do?

Eventually, she pushes the child, who is now sobbing, too close to me. A bit of saliva from the sobbing gets on me, and I projectile vomit my breakfast all over [Friend] and her baby.

She started screaming hysterically, my mom laughed hysterically, and I was just unbelievably embarrassed, so I ran to the bathroom to clean up.

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Nothing’s Warmer Than These Nurses’ Hearts

, , , , , | Healthy | November 27, 2020

When my younger brother is born, he contracts an infection from a nurse that was sick with a cold when she delivered him. As such, he has to stay in the NICU for a couple of weeks. My mother cannot stay in the hospital with him due to having my two-year-old self at home.

My brother is very snuggly as a baby; he loves being held and nestles his head closer to the person holding him. Because of this, he becomes a favorite among the NICU nurses. Naturally, the nurses hold him a lot and pass him around so each gets a turn with the snuggly baby.

One day, when my mother is visiting, she finds out through this exchange.

Mom approaches the NICU.

Nurse: “Quick! Put him back! The mother is coming!”

My mother hears this and smiles instantly; she had been worried that her newborn wasn’t getting enough attention.

Mom: *Walking in the room* “Oh, you don’t have to put him back when I come. I have a toddler at home so I can’t be here as much as I’d like to be, and I’ve been worried since I’m not here to hold him as much as he needs to be. I’m actually relieved to know that he’s getting enough attention.”

The nurses’ faces lit up, and they started to be less secretive about their cuddle sessions, gladly handing him to my mom whenever she was able to visit.


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for November 2020!

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Read the Feel Good roundup for November 2020!

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It’s All About Who You Know

, , , , , , | Working | November 13, 2020

After several years at my first professional job after college, I’m promoted to supervisor of a small group of engineers doing design and analysis of power plant equipment. I supervise the group’s daily activities but have almost no say in who is hired for or assigned to the group.

One Monday morning, I’m called into my manager’s office to be introduced to a new hire engineer assigned to my group. He’s right out of college but seems well qualified.

After about six months, he starts finding excuses for not getting his work done. He’s married with a child on the way, and it seems he needs the job. We discuss his productivity, but things just keep getting worse.

After nine months, he comes in, tells me he’s quitting, and starts gathering up his personal belongings into a briefcase that I have not seen before. The briefcase has a name tag with his name and the title “Vice President of Research” for a company with “[Family Name] Engineering” in a city about a hundred miles away. Turns out his father was the company founder and gave him the vice president job upon graduation, pending working a year in the industry.

Apparently, nine months was good enough for the father. His salary was going to be about double what I was making at that time. The idea was for him to eventually take over the company. We never heard from him again. I hope he worked for his father’s company better than he did for us.


This story is part of our Best Of November 2020 roundup!

Read the next story in the Best Of November 2020 roundup!

Read the Best Of November 2020 roundup!

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