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What A Strange Salad

, , , , , , , | Related | November 3, 2020

My uncle is relatively nearsighted. Our two brothers both inherited my dad’s stocky build but my mom’s fair and easily sunburned complexion, while the older brother also inherited Dad’s thick crop of chest and back hair. My sister and my uncle are hanging out on the beach on a family vacation.

Uncle: “I can see your family out there in the water, but I can’t tell which one is which.”

Sister: “Oh, that’s easy.” *Points at youngest brother* “Tomato.” *Points at older brother* “Hairy tomato.” *Points at Dad* “Bear.”

And that is how new family nicknames are born.

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.

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.

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!


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

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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!