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She’s Your Wife, Not Your Servant

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 6, 2021

My wife and her girlfriends all liked getting together for various holidays after college life ended. She had known her girlfriends since first or second grade and they all grew up together. On holidays such as the Fourth of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, they’d make plans for everyone to get together with their significant others and eventually kids as they came into the picture.

My wife and I were the first out of her girlfriends to get married and we were the first to have a kid out of the group.

One of her friends got married a year or two after us and had a kid about nine months after we did. I always liked her friend, but I never liked her boyfriend (now husband). He was just one of those people you meet and you can’t figure out why, but you don’t like them. He gave off a bad vibe that I can’t describe. Even the wife’s friend at one point was uncertain if she should stay with him because of how he acted and treated her. He wasn’t physically abusive and he wasn’t really verbally abusive, but he kind of treated her as a mother figure and not a wife. He was always expecting her to drop what she was doing at any given time to do things for him, and he couldn’t be bothered to help out when she needed help. She stuck with him and married him. This story takes place about two years after their first son was born.

I like speaking my mind; it’s the one thing my wife is incapable of until she’s really pissed. She knows I don’t like her friend’s husband and she constantly tells me to not say anything and to be nice when we get together as a group.

Well, this time, my wife isn’t in the room and an opportunity presents itself.

It is a July Fourth get-together. My daughter is about three and my wife’s friend’s son is about two. Inside, at the dining room table, my wife’s friend has my daughter sitting on one knee and her son sitting on the other and she’s entertaining them and helping them eat. My wife is outside chatting with other people and I’m inside helping with my daughter.

From outside, in walks [Friend]’s husband. He sees her sitting at the table with two kids in her lap and helping them eat. I know he sees her because when he walks in, he looks directly at her, and then his eyes shift to me as I sit next to her and my daughter on her knee. He walks through the kitchen area, fills his plate with food, walks past the drinks — beer, assorted alcohol, and pop — and then walks back to the patio door. As he’s about to step outside, he stops, turns, and says to his wife:

Friend’s Husband: “Wifey, go get me a beer and bring it out to me right now.”

Friend: “Sure, I can do that.”

Me: *To the wife’s friend* “No, you’re busy helping the kids. You don’t need to stop what you’re doing to get a beer for him. He should have grabbed his own as he walked by them.”

Friend: “That’s okay. I can get him one.”

She goes to move the kids off her lap, but I stop her and shake my head no.

Friend’s Husband: “Now.”

I shoot her husband a nasty glare and finally get to speak my mind because my wife isn’t in the room to stop me.

Me: “No. She’s busy. You clearly see she has two kids on her lap that she’s helping feed, and you walked right past the beer on your way through the kitchen. You can get your own f****** beer.”

It felt so good to finally say something to that jerk.

He looked at me like a deer in the headlights, his face turned bright red, and he sulked out the door with his food. He never did get a beer from his wife that day, and in the nearly ten years since this incident, he’s avoided me at any gatherings.

That Time Search And Rescue Almost Had To Report To A Drive-Thru

, , , , , , , | Working | December 5, 2021

I’m an accountant. It’s early February, and everyone is getting their W2s. This is the first rush to get your taxes done, and we are fully booked. This means I’m working crazy hours doing people’s taxes. I’m working from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. I don’t have time between clients to eat, so I eat a big breakfast and usually get something from a fast food place before bed. I usually go to marginally healthier places.

Tonight, there is a terrible blizzard. Instead of driving out of my way on the dangerous roads, I decide to visit the burger place with a drive-thru that’s near my home. It’s a bit after 10:00, and the sun’s well set, but the street lights are still on. Big huge flakes are falling from the sky, but the roads are mostly clear thanks to Minneapolis’s wonderful, overworked, but very effective snow removal people. I’m a bit low on gas, and my phone is dead.

The parking lot for the burger place is full of snow about two-thirds as tall as my tiny compact car, but there appears to be a shoveled-out line through the drive-thru, so I’m not worried.

I should have been worried. The path gets rougher and rougher the deeper I go into the line for the speaker. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t turned into the parking lot, but by the time I have finished my turn, it is already impossible to go back.

I order some food at the window… and my car becomes stuck. I can’t drive it forward any further; the wheels just spin.

I ask the employees for help. They can’t come out for safety reasons. That’s fine; I fully understand.

Could they pass me a shovel through the window with which to shovel out my car? No, they don’t have one. 

Do they have any salt I could apply? How about packets of salt for the fries? No, they can’t do that. 

What about cardboard? Do they have any old fries containers I could put under my wheels? Drink containers? Paper bags? No, can’t hand those out like that, either.

Is there someone who’s supposed to have cleared the parking lot? There’s a private company that’s supposed to do it, and they haven’t.

How are they going to get their own cars out of the parking lot? They don’t know. Their own cars are well and buried. (I feel pretty sorry for them, too, at this point.)

Could they have maybe put a sign out at the entrance saying, “Enter at your own risk.”? If I’d been warned, I wouldn’t have come through. No, that’s against policy, too.

Could one of them use the phone in there to call a tow truck? My phone is dead. Nope. They’re not allowed to use the phones inside for that purpose.

Could they call my spouse who lives with me about five blocks away? Nope, can’t do that either.

Can I leave my car here, walk five blocks back home, grab my shovel from home, and dig my car out? No. Apparently, I’m not permitted to leave my car here; they’d call the cops to give me a ticket.

Could they call the cops without me leaving the car here so I can get some help getting out of the snow? No.

What the f***?!

Could I come in out of the cold so I don’t freeze while I wait for someone to rescue me? I don’t want to leave my car running, I’ve only got a quarter tank, and I don’t know how long this could take. No, that’s too risky. Apparently, I could be a physical threat to them. Or someone could, and it’s unfair to play favorites. Fine, I understand.

So, I waited with my car turned off, in the cold, wearing a suit and a tie, until someone else got to the drive-thru and was willing to help me get my car loose with the old cardboard and pushing trick.

I drove off without paying for nor picking up my order. I did try to give the guy who helped me a twenty, but he said he didn’t want any money.

I understand that they couldn’t help me, and I understand why, but it was a very frustrating and frightening experience.

And if they can’t provide for the safety of their customers, why couldn’t they have posted a sign saying so? I wouldn’t have gone into their drive-thru had it been apparent from the street that I was on my own. I’ve not eaten there ever since, especially not on snowy days. It seems too risky.

Sensitivity Isn’t Native To This Coworker

, , , , , , , , , | Working | December 4, 2021

I work for the TSA. Most of you don’t like that very much. I am terribly sorry for the things that cause our negative reputation. I know it’s well deserved. I really am sorry.

I personally need the health insurance very badly and appreciated the $22-per-hour starting wages — which have gone up since then — pretty well.

One of my coworkers is patting down a Native woman. The woman has two long braided lengths of hair. My coworker grabs the braids and makes a “giddyap” motion like one would do with reins on a horse and says, “Hu-ha! Giddyap, cowboy!”

They put the coworker on bin running for a few months and made her take a sensitivity class.

I still feel bad about this.

Some Landlords Just Aren’t Good Lords Over Their Land

, , , , , , , | Legal | December 1, 2021

Ages ago, before the Internet and cell phones, I shared an apartment with three of my buddies near the university we attended. When we first looked at the place, there were some obvious issues with the building itself and with the particular apartment we were looking at. We were assured that everything would be taken care of. Yes, we were naive.

The building supposedly was “secure” in that it had a lobby separated from the interior of the building by a locked door that could be opened by key or by a button in each apartment. There was a phone in the lobby that would ring the phone in an apartment if you entered the apartment number. The door worked as advertised except there was a missing glass panel in the lobby where, by ducking through the opening, you could get into the secured area. The phone also worked, but the phone numbers it rang were never updated, so entering our apartment number rang some poor folks who happened to have the number of whoever lived there years ago.

The first winter, we discovered that the fans on two of the three electric heaters didn’t work. We reported it to the superintendent (who lived across the hall from us) but it was never fixed. Eventually, we got them to work ourselves, but they were really noisy.  

The toilet tank leaked into the bowl which would then eventually flush after about an hour and repeat. Yeah, reported and not fixed, so I figured out how to replace the seal on my own.  

There was some damage to the walls and inside doors; one area looked like the previous tenants had a dartboard and were very bad at darts. That also was reported and then never fixed. There was cracked glass in some windows, there were doors that didn’t close properly, etc., etc. Always the same thing: reported and never fixed.

After about a year, the building was sold to a different company. This had no effect on any repairs.

Oh, remember that superintendent? One day, I came home from class and there was a big lock over their door handle and an eviction notice stapled to their door. I happened to have parked in front of the main window into their apartment, and the next morning I noticed it was broken and their stuff was all gone from their apartment. I guess they did a “midnight move”. This led to some confusion for a while as that is where we were supposed to drop off the rent.

Eventually, we all graduated and moved out. A while went by, and we were informed that we were not getting our security deposit back “because of the damage you did to the apartment”. Fortunately, we had documented everything, and the one guy who was still living nearby managed to get them to issue checks to each of us for our part of the security deposit.

And — drum roll — the checks were returned when we deposited them because the checking account had been closed — for quite some time as it turned out. Oh, well, they would issue new ones… if we stopped by their offices in person. They were open Monday through Friday, eight to five. As the individual amount was only just over $100, it was not worth it to take time off from work and drive there from my current living location, which I would guess was their plan all along.

A few years later, I read about the companies that had owned the building while I lived there. They had a scheme where they would sell their buildings to each other every so often which “reset the clock” on repairs that the city housing inspectors had ordered. From talking with other people who had lived in their other buildings, apparently ours was better than most, which is hard to believe. At least the city eventually caught on and changed things so their scheme didn’t work.

The last time I was in that neighborhood, the building was still there, and I was tempted to peek in the lobby and see if that glass panel was ever replaced.

Soothing The Limping Cat, The Barking Dog, And The Standoffish Horse

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 26, 2021

I’m the author of Soothing The Skittish Cat. The cat in that story passed away at eighteen years old, not nearly as skittish as she was when I met her. One day, our downstairs neighbor knocks on our door, and my wife answers.

Neighbor: “Hey, is your wife home?”

Wife: “Yeah, what’s up?”

Neighbor: “My cat’s limping and he won’t let me near him, so I think he’s hurt. He likes her. Do you think she’d come take a look?”

I go downstairs and the cat limps right up to me. I immediately notice what looks like a bite mark on his hind leg.

Me: “Ah, okay. You need to get him to the vet. It looks like something bit him and it’s infected.”

I scoop the cat up into my arms and deposit him into the carrier the neighbor has, the cat purring the entire time.

Neighbor: “Thank you. I knew you could get him to behave.”

Me: “You’re welcome but… why me? He is your cat. Sure, he likes me, but…”

Neighbor: “Oh, he only lets you pick him up. Sort of like how [Neighbor #2]’s dog only lets you walk up to her porch without barking his head off. I’ve lived here for ten years and he still barks at me. You moved in last year and he’ll walk right up to you.”

Wife: “And my mom’s dog will literally only listen to you. You literally trained her because she wouldn’t listen to Mom at first. And that horse we saw at the state fair that apparently doesn’t let people touch him but wouldn’t let you stop scratching him, then he put his head on your shoulder and went to sleep — even the owner was amazed.”

Neighbor: *To my wife* “I’m pretty sure your wife is a witch.”

Wife: “She has a lot of familiars. You should have seen [Skittish Cat] when she first moved in with me; she got right in [My Name]’s lap on day one.”

The cat was fine after a round of antibiotics but I had to coax him out of the carrier when the neighbor brought him home. Apparently, I’ve been designated the friendly neighborhood witch!

Soothing The Skittish Cat