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There’s Been A Spike In This Kind Of Argument Recently

, , , , , | Related | December 29, 2021

I visited my parents for Thanksgiving recently. My mom has relatively recently gotten big into extreme conservative websites, as in the sites that complain that Fox News is way too liberal. I’ve seen a lot of silly changes as a result of this, but out of all of them, my biggest complaint is her refusal to get the vaccine despite the family all telling her it’s safer and my father complaining they can’t go on any vacations because she isn’t allowed to travel.

Mom: “I heard the vaccine hijacks your body to produce spike proteins.”

Me: “Well, it does teach your body to make spike proteins. That’s what teaches your body to fight the disease; it’s literally the vaccine’s job.”

Mom: “But it hijacks your body. Your body is so busy making spike proteins that it doesn’t protect against other diseases.

Me: “The spike proteins should only be generated for a few weeks. After that, the vaccine gets flushed out of your system, and without it, the proteins would stop being made. Besides, your body is making thousands of proteins every day; one more protein — and one made in very small quantities since it’s only created where the vaccine is present to trigger it — is chump change compared to all the proteins your body already produces. It shouldn’t stress the body, and the immune system is otherwise pretty independent from the protein production process, anyway.”

Mom: “That’s not what the sites I read said.”

Me: “No offense, Mom, but I don’t really trust the sites you read. You’re going to sites that people only visit if they want to hear that there is a problem with the vaccine, so those sites will tell you there is a problem whether or not there is one. It’s a kind of blatant conflict of interest. I only trust actual studies and scientific research.

Mom: “But they did that once. There was this doctor who had a patient who was getting treatment for something else anyway and was planning to get the vaccine, so the doctor suggested they do a study. They tested him before and after he got the vaccine, and afterward, his numbers were all down.”

Me: “What numbers?”

Mom: “The other spike proteins.”

Me: “Spike proteins are a [disease] vaccine thing. We don’t really call the other proteins your body makes ‘spike proteins’.”

Mom: “Whatever they were, the other proteins were lower.”

Me: “Okay, so, first of all, I doubt this supposed doctor actually published any paper on it, so we don’t have any proof he even exists. Like I said, you’re going to sites with an agenda, so it’s hard to trust they are publishing honest news. But even if this doctor did exist, and it was so easy to test protein production, it still wouldn’t mean anything. That was one guy without any kind of control; it’s purely anecdotal evidence. Maybe the guy had extra stress that week, or was injured, or didn’t eat well, or any one of a number of other things that could affect protein production other than the vaccine. There is no way to prove this one guy, if he even exists, had a drop due to the vaccine and not some other reason. That’s why proper studies need a large number of people and controls.

Mom: “Well, it’s still something. What do you have to prove that it doesn’t happen?”

Me: “A multitude of studies done by numerous independent sources.”

Mom: “What studies?”

Me: “They had to do a ton of studies before releasing the vaccine. Yes, I know it’s still technically an emergency authorization, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do any studies at all. They’ve done numerous studies with literally hundreds of thousands of people involved. How do you think we know the success rate of the three vaccines? They gave a ton of people the vaccine and then saw how many got sick and how many were fine, and they compared that to a control because proper studies have controls! Why do you think it took longer for teens and then kids to be authorized for the vaccine? Because they had to do additional studies focused on those ages to make sure it was safe for them. If it was as easy to detect a body being ‘hijacked’ as you say, then don’t you think they would have noticed it when they vaccinated hundreds of thousands of people and watched them afterward to see what happened? There are numerous independent studies from many different countries, so you can’t say it’s just one group trying to keep things a secret or anything; it would have to be a worldwide conspiracy.”

My mom just sort of quieted down at this point. She didn’t say anything for a bit, and soon, we were able to change the subject. I can only assume she realized she didn’t have much room to argue with me on the subject.

I can only hope that between my dad and me, we might eventually convince her to trust the vaccine. She is in her late seventies and not taking any precautions about the crisis. She wanted to invite my sister and her family, who had just been exposed to the illness, to our house last holiday and was only convinced it was a bad idea when I pointed out that if they did that, I’d either have to leave or wouldn’t be allowed to go into work for two weeks afterward. I really am a little worried for her safety.

Not Tow-day, Lady!

, , , , | Friendly | December 29, 2021

I have recently purchased a home and am in the process of repairing it. It’s a steamy hot day, and I am waiting for the HVAC repairman, hoping he can resurrect the air conditioner without breaking the bank.

The front driveway is shaded with a huge pecan tree that provides a lot of shade. There aren’t many trees on the block, so there are frequently cars parked in the shade. I don’t blame them; as long as they aren’t blocking my driveway, I have no concerns with who parks there.

I’m on a ladder on the side of the house and hear a car stop and park. I am hoping it is the HVAC guy, but it’s a sedan with two ladies. The driver parks so that her car completely blocks my driveway. I wave and try to get her attention before she exits her car. She looks directly at me and chooses to ignore me. I begin walking toward her car. I am not even annoyed at this point. She can have some shade; she just can’t block the driveway. I wave again, but she is hurrying to exit her car.

Me: “Can you please move forward about six feet to leave my driveway clear?”

She ignores me. The other lady with her clearly hears me as she turns and looks at me.

Me: *Louder* “Excuse me. You need to move your car out of my driveway.”

She continues down the street with an armload of paperwork, giving me no response whatsoever. I follow the ladies, now getting annoyed with the driver’s obvious decision to ignore me completely.

I see my HVAC guy approaching, so I flag him down.

Me: “I’ll have the driveway open for you in a minute.”

I am gaining on the woman. I see her stop, so I jog the twenty steps to her and again ask her to move her car ahead a bit. She acts as though I am not even there, so I repeat my request, and she repeats her performance. Okay, now I am pissed. I step into her personal space and loudly repeat my request. She looks directly at me.

Woman: “This is a state-funded street and I will park wherever I want.”

Me: “Yes, but you’re impeding my access, and that isn’t within your rights.”

Woman: “I will park wherever I want.”

Me: “Who are you visiting?”

Woman: “I have several friends who are on my roster to visit today.”

I look and the papers are of a religious nature.

Me: “You will move away from my driveway or you can explain your rights to security.”

I head for home. She decides to further state her rights, and I decide to make that call. The HVAC guy has parked closely behind her car to glean a scant bit of shade.

HVAC Guy: “I’m eating my lunch quickly as I was a bit early.”

I offer him a cold drink of water while I make a call to security.

Security: “We’ve had problems with her in the past. I’ll gladly refresh her with the rules again.”

He was there in minutes. I explained that she was welcome to park in the shade, just not to block access to my driveway. I pointed to where she had gone and left to get the repairman started.

We were in the backyard when I heard a shriek. Apparently, the woman felt it was okay to push the security dude! By the time I got to the front yard, the police were arriving. They arrested her at the request of security, and her car was towed!

Nobody Puts Baby In Daylight Saving Time

, , , , , , | Related | December 28, 2021

Daylight Saving Time always confuses my dad’s thirteen-year-old beagle, Baby. Baby gets up from her nap in the sun and goes to sit by her bowl. She lets out a very big, very dramatic yawn and stares at my dad.

Dad: “Not yet, Baby.”

Baby grumbles.

Dad: “Don’t you take that tone with me. It’s not time—”

Baby lets out a soft whine.

Dad: “Baby, it is not 5:30.” *Points at the clock on the wall* “It’s 4:30.”

Mom: “You didn’t change that clock, [Dad].”

Dad: “What?”

He looks at the clock and sees that it does say 5:30.

Dad: “Oh.”

Mom: “It’s 5:30 to her.”

Baby looks back and forth between Mom and Dad, her tail slowly picking up speed.

Dad: “Okay, Baby. Now look—”

Baby breaks into a full-body wiggle and starts howling. Dad tries to talk over Baby’s victory noises.

Dad: “Tomorrow, it will be 5:30 for real!”

He puts food down in front of her and she gobbles up every last piece before going back to her nap spot.

The next week, I am back again and 4:30 rolls around. Again, Baby wakes up from her nap and goes to her bowl. Dad sighs and gets up.

Me: “I thought you told her 5:30?”

Dad: *Sighs* “I did. She made some very loud arguments at 4:30 in the morning. I had to relent.”

Mom: “She’s a good girl. Let her eat when she wants.”

Baby gets to eat at 4:30 now, twice a day. My dad gets up early to feed her breakfast and then goes back to bed. Baby, of course, has no issues with this new plan.

Infinitely Better Than A Dusty Old Sofa

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 28, 2021

I have a weird knack for finding unusually valuable things, especially when I’m not looking for them. Several times, I’ve grabbed an interesting-looking book from a free book box only to find out later it’s worth anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Secondhand furniture, too, and thrift store jewelry — I have a weird talent for picking a piece I think looks cool that turns out to be some fancy antique or valuable designer piece.

Probably my favorite example, though, found ME as I was taking a walk one evening.

Small Voice: “Mew.”

Me: “Huh?”

Small Voice: *Very insistent* “Mew!”

And out from under my neighbor’s hedge crawled a half-grown kitten in rough shape. Despite looking like he lost a cage fight with a rabid bear, he came right up to me and sat on my feet, meowing. So, I brought him home.

My boyfriend and I got him washed off, got the cuts cleaned out, and gave him some canned tuna, which he promptly inhaled, purring like a lawnmower. It wasn’t until the kitten was curled up on the couch that his fur started to dry enough for us to realize he had a very unique spotted pattern that we’d never seen before. He looked like nothing so much as a tiny leopard.

The kitten clearly had belonged to someone; he was very comfortable around people, and when we got a temporary litter box set up, he jumped right into it with a visible air of relief. With a coat that distinctive, we figured it shouldn’t be too hard to find his owner. We checked the county’s lost pet website. We asked the local animal shelter. We checked the town’s Facebook page. We asked the neighbor whose hedge he had been under. We checked the local bulletin boards. And we found… nothing.

The kitten, by this point, had made himself right at home, sleeping with us at night and pouncing on our socks, and neither of us objected to the idea of keeping him, so we decided to find him a vet while we kept looking.

Vet: “Well, he definitely got into a few scrapes but nothing that shouldn’t heal up. I’ll prescribe him some antibiotics just to be sure, and since we have no way of knowing if he’s been vaccinated, we should get that scheduled if you want to keep him.”

Me: “Sounds good. Any idea what breed he is? I’ve never seen fur like that.”

Vet: “My guess is he’s a Bengal cat. Maybe a Savannah cat, but he’s not quite leggy enough. You don’t usually see spotted coats like that outside of a few specific breeds, but there’s no way to tell for sure unless you wanted to get a genetic test done. He’s a handsome little thing either way, though, and clearly friendly.”

Me: “Has anyone reported one of those missing?”

Vet: “Not that I’ve heard. I’ll ask around, but he isn’t microchipped, either, so if you found him without a collar, I’d guess he’s just a stray.”

Armed with the newfound knowledge that our little rescue was probably a Bengal cat, we kept looking, and we still found no hint of who his owner might be. After a few months, we decided he was probably ours for good and scheduled a few more vet appointments for him.

The kitten was terrified of going outside and absolutely detested other cats — unsurprising, given the state we found him in — but was a sweet, outgoing little cuddlebug when he was safely inside with us. [Boyfriend] and I were relaying the story to a few friends who were over to visit when this conversation happened.

Friend: “He’s a Bengal?! Those things are valuable. You should show him!”

Boyfriend: “He’s probably a Bengal. We don’t know for sure unless we get him tested. He couldn’t be a show cat, anyway; he has too many scars from when he was a stray, and we don’t have any paperwork for him.”

Friend: “But you could get him tested like you said and prove he’s a Bengal! Then you could show him.”

Boyfriend: “I don’t really want to. It sounds like a lot of work for something neither of us are interested in, and more importantly, being stuck at a cat show all day would stress [Kitten] out. He hates other cats.”

Friend: “But the stud fees from a show-quality Bengal would be awesome!”

Me: “Well, he’s definitely not going to be a stud cat. He’s getting neutered next week.”

Friend: “What?! You have a Bengal, and you’re neutering him?!”

Me: “Well, yeah. We’re not showing him. We’re not breeding him. He’s a pet cat, and I want him healthy and mellow. And also, did we mention he hates other cats?”

Friend: “I can’t believe you guys!”

Up to this point, the kitten had been sitting quite contently on [Boyfriend]’s lap, but at this outburst, he flattened himself into [Boyfriend]’s arms and made a VERY unhappy noise.

Friend #2: *Laughing* “See? Even the cat agrees it’s a bad idea. Drop it, man. He’s their cat; they can do what they want.”

Our friend did finally get over it when it became clear that, yeah, our cat really does just loathe every other cat in existence and that going outside turns him into a shaking, yowling ball of stress. Six years later, his original owner still hasn’t shown up, we still don’t know if he’s actually a Bengal cat, and we don’t really care.  Designer breed or not, he’s our handsome furball, and he’s definitely my best find!

Three Sheets To The Wind And None Left For The Wedding

, , , , , , , | Related | December 27, 2021

When my fiancée and I got engaged, her parents invited my parents and me to their house for a meal to celebrate and to try and get to know them a bit better.

I offered to drive my parents and noticed that they were fairly “merry” when I collected them, but unfortunately, I didn’t realise just how drunk they actually were until weeks later.

My wife and I hadn’t discussed any wedding costs with them at this point, and although her parents had offered to put something toward it, we had assumed that we would pay most of the cost ourselves. However, on the drive to my in-laws’ house, my parents grandly announced that they insisted on paying for half the wedding.

They refused to hear of it when I told them that their offer was far too generous, and then they made the same announcement to my fiancée and my future in-laws several times over the course of the night.

My fiancée and I ended up planning a relatively small event. In the course of planning, we both sent my parents some of the plan information and some initial estimates by email and messenger, which they typically made some polite but non-committal comments about.

Then, I visited them one weekend and had this conversation with my Dad.

Dad: “Why are you sending us all this information? It’s nice that you want to keep your Mum in the loop, but the financial stuff seems like it would be a bit personal.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Dad: “Well, why do we need to know what this is costing you?”

Me: *Laughs* “Good one.”

Dad: “I don’t see what’s so funny about this. You don’t actually expect us to pay for any of this, do you?”

Me: “Are you being serious right now? We didn’t ask you for a penny! You offered and actually insisted on paying for half! We’ve been actively trying to keep the price down to avoid asking you for too much.”

Dad: “Rubbish. If you can’t afford to get married, then you shouldn’t be getting married.”

My mum later insisted on giving us a gift toward the total cost, but I was told that since my sister had eloped without getting married, they would need to give her the same amount of money as anything they spent on us, so they couldn’t afford too much for that reason. 

From offering to pay for half the wedding, their gift was reduced to a small contribution, which they then later reduced further to paying a token toward the cost of the reception. They didn’t have any change in circumstances and are fairly well-off; they were just so drunk on the night of the meal that they made an extravagant offer but didn’t remember making it. My parents are alcoholics and I knew they were drunk, but this was the first time that either of them had done anything like this.

Whilst I was grateful for any gift, having to explain all of this to my fiancée and in-laws — specifically that my parents weren’t keeping their promise because they had been so drunk that they didn’t even remember making it — was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life.