Ghastly Miscommunications

, , , , , , , | Working | September 17, 2020

One vacation, we arrived at our hotel to find out that they had way overbooked their property and had “walked” dozens of guests to another property owned by the same property group on the other side of the city. We weren’t happy but we rolled with it. 

Unfortunately, this required us to contact all of our tour excursions and have them reallocate our pickup points to be closer to our new hotel. For the most part, this went well, but one company had some issues.

We walked to the pickup point at another nearby hotel for a nighttime tour, and we waited. No one arrived. As this occurred in the pre-smartphone, pre-international roaming cell phone era, we asked the hotel there if we could use their phone to call the tour company, but they did not answer the phone since it was outside of daytime business hours.  

Fortunately, the hotel had an awesome concierge who was familiar with the tour company, and even though we were not guests at his hotel, he tracked down the dispatcher for the company and assured us that we would be picked up soon. He was correct, and shortly a minibus with two other ladies on board arrived along with a harried-looking driver. The only problem was that we weren’t on his schedule, and while we had booked the ghost walk tour, the other two ladies had booked a pub crawl. The tour company had apparently never put the tour we booked onto their roster, and they had never told us when we contacted them about the new hotel or contacted us on the new number we gave them.

So, with the cooperation of his four passengers, the tour guide commenced to go completely off-script and concocted an ad-hoc haunted pub crawl. The tour actually turned out really well in the end thanks to the awesome tour guide, but I’ll never book another tour through that booking company — nor have I ever booked with the original hotel group again.

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Two’s Company, The Whole Family Tree’s A Crowd

, , , , , , | Romantic | September 8, 2020

Shortly after finishing college, a boy I am dating invites me to spend a week in New York City with his family. It falls over our three-year anniversary, so he promises to take me out for a fancy dinner.

I am so excited! I pack a suitcase and drive to his house, expecting to see their minivan packed with bags and everyone getting ready to go. What I see, instead, is a bunch of vehicles parked in the yard and a bunch of people going back and forth between the house and the largest vehicles — mostly two fifteen-passenger vans.

My boyfriend comes out to greet me. 

Boyfriend: *Sheepishly* “Hey. Uh, so, you can say you don’t want to go if you don’t. I totally get it.”

Me: “What is… I thought this was a family thing?”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, but then [One Of His Brothers] found out you were going, so he wanted to take his girlfriend. And [Aunt] and [Uncle] wanted to come, but they have to bring their kids. It kind of… blew up?”

I nod, slowly taking it all in.

Me: “Uh-huh. So, how does this change things up there? Our reservations are for your immediate family and me.”

Boyfriend: “Yeah, well, we’ll have our own room, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

It is, but I don’t want to say so because it seems shallow to not want to share a hotel room when I’m invited on a trip.

Me: “Okay, well, I already took off work, so I might as well go, right?”

The trip was an absolute disaster. We did not get our own room — even though we paid for it by ourselves — because the hotel was completely booked and the added family members didn’t want to stay elsewhere; we ended up sharing our room with his aunt and uncle and their three children. I’m pretty sure it was against policy to have seven people in a room that sleeps four but they never got caught and never offered to split the cost of the room, either.

We also never got our anniversary dinner date because his brother and girlfriend wanted to do a double date and wouldn’t take no for an answer; it later came out that they wanted to get away from their annoying, clingy family members. The irony escaped them.

My boyfriend was truly sorry and did his best to make it up to me when we got back. We dated for a while after that, but when the next family trip came around, I made my own bookings in my own name and put my foot down on sharing.

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Life Goals!

, , , , | Related | September 4, 2020

I am on holiday on the Gold Coast, Queensland. I go for a walk while my wife takes a nap. I walk 12km, but along the way, I need a “rest stop” and go into a local Surf Lifesaving Club. 

When I come out, there is an older woman sitting there looking out at the beach. I ask her what city I am looking back at.

Woman: “I don’t know; I’ve only been here a week.”

It’s Coolangatta.

Me: “What brought you here?”

Woman: “Well, I lived in Tasmania, and I sold my house when my husband died and rented a smaller place. My son and daughter-in-law moved in with me as they had a few problems and they could save a bit of rent money that way. I just had my seventy-fifth birthday, and my son said to me, ‘Well, Mum, time to get a power of attorney for me and for you to move into a retirement home.’”

She pauses and looks out at the beach again.

Woman: “I left them a note on the kitchen table that night and came over here. I’m going to live here where it’s nice and warm. Move into a retirement home and give them access to my money, my foot. They can go find another sucker to be their goldmine.”

I laughed and said I thought she was fantastic. I’m sorry I didn’t give her a hug. Good on you, ma’am; I hope it’s all still working for you!

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Vicious, Unrelenting Beatings

, , , , | Related | July 13, 2020

My boyfriend’s parents invite us out for a family vacation — something we’d both be a lot more interested in if his sister wasn’t also invited. She’s the sort who loves drama, and she doesn’t care whose expense it comes at or how much of it is true.

For example, in college, she spent a year telling everyone her brother, [Boyfriend], died in a fire when they were teenagers to get sympathy drinks, free tutoring, and everything else she could milk it for.

I fell off a ladder a few weeks prior to the vacation, leaving me with a broken wrist and a lot of bruising, and I just know she’s going to try and leverage that into a scenario where she can play at being the hero. Sure enough…

Sister: “[My Name], I’m a little concerned. You said you ‘fell,’ but you know you can tell me the truth. Was it [Boyfriend]’s fault?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Sister: “Has he been beating you?”

Me: “Ugh, yes, constantly!”

I see the smug satisfaction in her eyes as she opens her mouth to deliver a sanctimonious speech about how she can get me help, so I cut her off.

Me: “He beats me at chess, he beats me at Go, he beats me at Rocket League, and Overwatch, and Mario Kart… which is just not cool. I thought my Mario Kart game was top notch! If he wasn’t so sweet about it, it would be insufferable. Good thing I love him so much.”

I can see her getting impatient and it’s HILARIOUS.

Sister: “But does he hit you?!”

Me: “By accident sometimes, sure, but that’s why he mostly plays healing and support characters, and I mostly play DPS characters. We both know my aim is better.”

Sister: “…”

Me: “He’s getting way better about hitting our opponents instead of me, though! We make a good team.”

I left her there grinding her teeth and happily sauntered off to go talk about Cthulhu with my boyfriend and his mom. Later that night, [Sister] spotted the two of us sitting on the couch in our usual positions: me reading and him with his head in my lap, dozing and getting his hair petted. My honey is a six-foot-four snuggle kitten and well worth occasionally putting up with his drama queen of a sister!

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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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