So Much For No Child Left Behind

, , , , , | Related | May 19, 2020

In the late 1990s, my dad and step-mom decide to take a vacation to Mexico and take me. I am about seven or eight at the time and I am excited. I have barely ever been out of the state, and many kids at my school have gone overseas or to fancy destinations. I don’t have a passport, so my single mom takes the time to get one and update me on vaccinations, and also to give me my own spending money.

Fast-forward to the night she drops me off. My step-sister, who is ten years older than me, her boyfriend, and her best friend are also coming. They are not at the house, which I think is weird. My step-mom has to work until eleven, so I knew she wouldn’t be there.

Dad: “Okay, let’s get your stuff in the car.”

He starts loading everything.

Me: “Is everyone else’s stuff already in the car?”

Dad: “Sure is. Let’s go. We have to go by your grandma’s to drop something off.”

We drive about twenty minutes to his mother’s house. When we get there, he starts unloading my stuff. This upsets me a bit because I didn’t know the “something” we were dropping off was me!

Dad: “Okay, here is all of her stuff. We will be back in ten days. Her mom is out of town, too. She told me that I couldn’t take her, but she didn’t tell me until we had paid for everything. I appreciate this. I know it’s a hassle.”

I should make it clear that I am the oldest grandchild, but between her and my other grandmother, they constantly argue over who will have me. This is never a hassle for her. In fact, my grandma is acting like she hit the lottery. I seldom stay with her because she still works full-time and my grandfather isn’t a great babysitter because he has no rules.

I spend ten days at her house, in an area with no other children and with the same toys that have always been at her house. I’m bored, so I decide to take out my disposable camera and take pictures outside because we are in a rural area.

Me: “Grandma, I can’t find my camera. Have you seen it?”

Grandma: “Sweetie, why would you need a camera to come to stay with me?”  

Me: “Uh, it was for the beach?”

Grandma: “Sweetie, your dad said he told you weeks ago you couldn’t go. Maybe your mom decided not to pack it.”

Me: “No, she definitely did. I didn’t know I wasn’t going until I go here.”

Grandma: “Maybe you just forgot. Well, we can call your mom and ask— Oh, wait, didn’t she go out of town?”

Me: “Yeah, she went with her sister somewhere.”

Cue my grandma calling my mom’s house, getting no answer, and then calling my aunt’s, where she also gets no answer. I never do find my camera, and strangely, when we go to the store, I notice my tiny wallet is empty of my seventy dollars worth of spending money. My ten days are boring and bleak.

Right on schedule, my dad retrieves me and takes me back to his house. I notice that the little girl my step-sister babysits and takes nearly everywhere is at his house and is sunburned. I find out they took her.

Dad: “Okay, your mom will be here tomorrow after dinner. I just talked to her. There’s some serious traffic in North Carolina. She will get back too late to pick you up tonight.”

I pout in my room, wondering what I did to be left out. When my mom picks me up the next day, I have a bad attitude and won’t tell anyone goodbye. My step-mom is confused, and my step-sister and her boyfriend seem somewhat concerned. My dad decides to lie to my mom on the spot.

Dad: “She’s mad because I won’t let her prance around here in her new swimsuit all day long and do whatever she wants.”

My mom accepts this, but I am not giving in. I won’t talk to her, thinking she is in on it. When we get home and unpack, I find that my camera film has been developed and is in an album. Most of the pictures are of the water and beach, not of anyone on the trip. I also find a hideous green bathing suit with tags attached that is not mine. None of my money is anywhere. I go running to my mom.

Me: “I didn’t take these. Daddy took them! And my money is missing!”

Mom: “Well, did you lose it? And you know he likes cameras. Maybe he was just trying to help.”

I am fed up. I am tired of being punished for no reason.

Me: “Mom, I didn’t go on the trip! He took me to Grandma’s as soon as you were out of sight! I’m not sunburned. I always sunburn no matter what. He took [Little Girl my step-sister babysits], not me!”

My mom calls and my dad is adamant that I went and I am lying. Curious, she calls my grandma, who says my dad told her that my mom refused to let me go that far. My dad then changes the story to say I was so sick he was afraid to take me.

My mom doesn’t buy it and calls my step-mom, who tells her that my dad fed her the same line about me not being allowed to go.

When the dust settles, my dad admits he was mad at me for not agreeing to come live with him so he wouldn’t have to pay child support anymore.

Mom: “I should have known that he would do this. If he had told the truth, you could have come with me. I went to Six Flags with your aunt and cousins because I thought you were going to have fun!”

Surprisingly, she still made me visit with him. After that, things were better, and I was never left behind again.

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Why Don’t YOU Go To The Poconos? Or Somewhere Farther Away?

, , , , , | Related | May 8, 2020

My fiance and I are discussing our upcoming wedding at a family event for my side of the family. One of my elderly relatives is VERY opinionated and thinks that her way is the only way. My husband has just told her that we have booked an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica for our honeymoon. My boss goes to this specific resort every year and he recommended it highly, so we booked it. 

Elderly Relative: “Why don’t you go to the Poconos? One of my neighbors went to the Poconos on their honeymoon and they loved it! You don’t have to fly there.”

It is worth noting that my family lives in central Delaware, a roughly three-hour drive from the Poconos. My husband is stationed at the nearby Air Force base. I am a truck driver for a food service company and the honeymoon resorts in the Poconos are on my route, so I drive there several times a week.

Me: “Why would we want to go to the Poconos? The weather is going to be the same as it is in Dover and I drive there several times a week for work. We are getting married in October and we want a real getaway.”

Elderly Relative: “But the resorts in the Poconos have the most delicious food! My friend says that they got to see a lingerie show there and they got to feed deer!”

Me: “First of all, the quality of the food that I deliver to the honeymoon resort restaurants is very low, the kitchens smell bad, and the places are extremely dated; they get very poor reviews online. In fact, one reviewer referred to one of the resorts as ‘welfare Sandals.’ Second of all, a lingerie show is not our idea of fun. We want to get on an airplane and escape our day-to-day lives.”

Elderly Relative: “What does Jamaica have that the Poconos doesn’t have?”

Me: “Umm, beaches, gourmet food, amazing spas, and world-class service?”

Elderly Relative: “But the Poconos are cheaper and they are closer!”

I look up the Poconos resorts on my travel app.

Me: “No, the Poconos are not cheaper! According to [Travel Site], they are actually more expensive than the deal we got on the trip to Jamaica. We are flying out of Baltimore Washington International and it is only a two-hour drive from here so I am actually driving less. The flight is only three hours.”

Elderly Relative: “You are going to have a really bad time in Jamaica and wish that you went to the Poconos!”

We had an AMAZING time in Jamaica! We spent every morning eating the best breakfast buffet that we have ever had, on a terrace overlooking the Caribbean. We got a massage at the resort spa, which was very nice. The restaurants were second to none and the grounds were absolutely gorgeous. Our room overlooked the Caribbean and was amazing. It actually rained VERY heavily in the Poconos during the week of our honeymoon. So much for the bad time that we were expected to have in Jamaica!

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The Ups And Downs Of Marriage

, , , | Romantic | April 18, 2020

My husband and I decide to drive to France for our honeymoon. After hanging out on the beach for a few hours, we come back to find that our car window has been smashed. I frantically search for my purse, and he for his wallet, but they’re gone.

We go to the police to file a report. The German translation service tells the police what happened and they start laughing at us. I can make out something along the lines of “stupid foreigners.” I complain, but they refuse to listen or take a report or help at all.

Having no money means no gas. Luckily, we have nearly a tank full, but that isn’t enough to make it back home. My husband gets a “brilliant” idea: turn the car off and let it roll down the hills! I have never been so terrified in my life. When we run out of gas completely, we have to push the car up hills.

We also have to spend a night in that car, which is cold because of the window and lack of heat.

Let’s just say it’s a honeymoon that I’ll never forget, and an omen I shouldn’t have ignored!

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What, Is It After Labor Day?

, , , , , | Friendly | February 23, 2020

(It is the 1980s. My parents have been invited by some friends of theirs to go on a cruise. My dad is exploring the ship when he is approached by an elderly couple. Note: my dad is currently wearing white pants and a white jacket over his shirt.)

Elderly Woman: “Excuse me, can you tell us how to get to the pool?”

Dad: “I don’t know. I’m on vacation, too.”

(The woman huffs and walks away, and says to her husband:)

Elderly Woman: “The nerve of that guy, wearing white on a cruise ship.”

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Canadians Stealing All The Jobs Stolen By Mexicans

, , , , , | Friendly | September 1, 2019

(We’re Canadian and live in British Columbia. When my dad retires, my parents buy a cottage in Clallam Bay, Washington, about a six-hour drive south from our home. We often go down for long weekend trips. My husband and I are walking back to the cottage from the beach. A van full of people keeps passing us; it is obvious they are lost. Finally, they pull up next to us and ask for help.)

Lost Driver: “Can you help us find the Anderson place?”

Me: “No, sorry, we don’t live here; we are just visiting. I don’t know who the Andersons are. Do you have the address? I do know some of the road names.”

Lost Driver: “What? I can’t understand anything you said.”

Husband: *slowly and louder because we think the guy is hard of hearing* “We don’t know the Andersons. I have my phone if you want to call them for directions.”

Lost Driver: “Your accent is ridiculous; I don’t understand a thing. Where are y’all from?”

Me: “British Columbia, about a six-hour drive north.”

Lost Driver: “You’re British? Your accent isn’t British. I can’t understand you at all.”

Me: “Not British, British Columbian. We’re Canadian.”

Passenger: “Oh! I love the Canadian accents; they sound so educated.”

Me: “Didn’t realize we had accents. We’re not that far over the border.”

Passenger: “Your accent is great! You say things like a-boot and gar-adge.”

Husband: “About and garage?”

Passenger: “You’re not saying them right… Are you not Canadian?”

Husband: “I am, but I think that accent is more from the east coast, like Newfoundland. Like, people from Rhode Island sound different from people in Seattle.”

Lost Driver: “What? So you’re from Rhode Island? Makes sense. I can’t understand a word they’re sayin’.”

(Finally, we just tell them there’s a gas station two roads over that probably knows where the Andersons are.)

Lost Driver: *as he rolls away* “All these foreigners, taking our jobs and houses… Don’t understand a word they say….”

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