10

Gator Family Christmas – Part 2

This is the Santa Alligator, he brings presents to every Alligator who serves in the Alligator Army, you all have been added to his nice list :) : r/Alligator_Army

Where we are – Stan and Adele have invited the family to South Carolina to celebrate Christmas. On his way to pick up his son Vinny, Uncle Stu met a woman and thinks he’s in love. You can read Part 1 here.

It was two days before Christmas. Vinny pulled into the driveway and everyone went out to meet him.

Stan: Welcome! Glad you made it.

Stan looks in the car.

Stan: Where’s Uncle Stu?

800-pound gator caught on camera - CNN Video

Vinny: The last time I saw him, he was baking Christmas cookies.

Granny started laughing.

Granny: Stu’s never baked anything in his life. Your mother was afraid to let him in the kitchen.

John: Remember when he tried to grill that turkey? He didn’t realize you had to light the fire ahead of time. He ended up setting the turkey on fire.

Vinny (laughing): Yeah. We had to go buy clam chowder for everyone to eat. Maybe I shouldn’t have said he was baking. He was sitting in the kitchen while Katya was doing all the work.

Granny: That sounds more like Stu.

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Adele: Is Katya his new soul mate?

Vinny: I guess. She seems nice enough.

Adele: How did he meet her?

Vinny: He went up to her house to ask for directions. He couldn’t figure out how to get to my house. She asked him to come in, and he’s still there.

Granny: We should have guessed. So he wants to stay with her rather than us for Christmas?

Vinny: You know Dad. She was nice to him, so he thinks he’s in love.

Gator Country - Gators need cuddles, too!! | Facebook

Stan: In fairness, he does irritate a lot of people. It was probably nice to find someone agreeable.

Vinny: He’s safer with her than some of the other characters he runs across.

Justine: Reading his stories on GatorGab is amazing, Uncle Stu leads a very interesting life for a retired gator.

Adele: He does have some interesting adventures.

Granny: He’s too trusting. He lets other people talk him into doing stupid things. So he’s not coming for Christmas.

Vinny: Katya told him he was welcome to spend the holidays with her if he would like. He thinks it would be a nice change.

Granny: Change from what? He’s never been to Stan and Adele’s. It’s our first Christmas here.

Vinny shrugged. He was disappointed his father hadn’t come with him, but knew that there was no point in arguing with him. His father was as stubborn an alligator as he’d ever met.

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Suzy: Well, that’s disappointing. He’s funny and he tells great stories.

Adele: I agree, honey. Maybe we can invite him again next year.

The rest of the gators spent the evening catching up with Vinny. On Christmas Eve, everyone put their presents under the tree. They drank eggnog and at cookies while Granny told stories about Stan and his brothers when they were young alligators.

Justine, Suzy, and Danny listened intently. They loved hearing about Christmas at the swamp. Before long, it was bedtime.

Granny: You kids better get to bed. It’s time for Santa Claws to come.

Suzy: Oh, Granny! You know we’re too old for Santa.

Granny: I know, dear. But I need some peace and quiet. I’m not used to having everyone around. I want to be well-rested for the big meal tomorrow.

In the morning, they were opening their presents when there was a commotion outside.

Florida Woman Fights to Keep Her Pet Alligator Who Wears Clothes and 'Rides' ATVs - ABC News

Adele: What is all that noise?

Stan: It sounds like sleigh bells.

Adele: We live in South Carolina. It can’t be sleigh bells.

Justine: It’s definitely bells.

This Woman Is Dangerous: Alligator at the door

Someone knocked on the door. Then rang the doorbell. And rang the bell again. And again.

Adele: Hold on. I’m coming.

She opened the door.

Adele: Stu! What are you doing here?

Stu: I thought I was invited for Christmas. Today’s Christmas.

Adele: You were invited. But you told Vinny that you were staying in Florida. With Katya.

Stu: I never said that. I said I wasn’t coming with him.

Vinny: Dad, you said you were staying there.

Florida woman shocked to find 'aggressive' eight-foot alligator knocking on her door | Daily Mail Online

Stu: I did stay there. But now I’m here. Can I come in?

Adele: Of course. How did you get here? Did you drive by yourself?

Stu: No. Katya drove me. She has an excellent sense of direction.

Adele: Where is she?

Stu: I told her she wasn’t invited. She’s in the car waiting for me.

Granny: Stu! You’re an idiot. Tell her to get in here. It’s Christmas. We’re not going to make her wait in the car after she was nice enough to bring you all the way up here.

American Alligators resting

Stu: Okay. I didn’t want to impose on Adele. You’re really going to like her.

Stu went out to the car and invited Katya in. She explained that Stu hadn’t told her that he was supposed to be going to a big family Christmas. Once she found out what he was missing, she insisted on driving him up so he wouldn’t get lost. Her own family was celebrating later in the week so she wouldn’t miss anything by helping Stu.

Stu acted as if nothing unusual occurred. He sat at the head of the table and got the biggest slice of roast beef.

How an Alligator attack got my family into Ducks – Doing Manly Things (Mostly)

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

3

Have You Ever Woken Up Crabby?

I am generally a consistent Type B personality. I notice a lot of things, but very few of them actually have any impact. But every once in a while, I feel like the Incredible Hulk after he turns green. Things that are insignificant before and after annoy the heck out of me:

They play “Escape” (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes a lot at work. Have you ever noticed that both the man and the woman are using the personal ads because they are bored with each other? He gets all excited because he finds out they actually have a lot in common. What have they been doing all this time – staying in and watching TV since their first date?

A woman comes in with two little boys. She asks the one little boy if he is looking for his drink. When he does, she tells him he doesn’t have it because he was too busy playing his “technology games”. Why did she bring up the topic? Why does she keep calling them technology games?

A couple is standing in front of the cheese slices. She asks him what kind of cheese he likes. He tells her cheddar, provolone, pepper jack, etc. She gets all excited and says, “So do I!” Of course you do – he’s listed pretty much everything except limburger. Are they on their first date at the grocery store?

The road I work on has a speed limit of 50 mph. They are (very slowly) doing work on a part of it and lowered the limit to 40 mph. I almost never run into traffic on my way to work at 3:30a. But if I do, they always seem to feel the need to slow down in the zone. Nobody stays at 40 mph during the day (it’s hard to stay motivated when you can’t find the workers). Why do they feel the need to obey when we’re the only ones on the road?

We have to punch in no more than 2 minutes before start time and no more than 1 minute after. I see no reason to get there more than a few minutes early. I pretty much know what time I will arrive by what time I leave the driveway. But if I’m and minute or two behind my “preferred” time, I will stress all the way there over the possibility of being late. When I know I won’t be.

Of course, the day that I’m late is also the day someone has left a cart in the spot I want to pull into. Getting there early lets us pull through one spot into the one in front of it to avoid backing out later. Unless there is a hidden cart which prevents it once you have pulled into the back spot.

I use an intersection with two lanes turning left on a light. The trade-off is that the left-turn light is very short. At most five cars in each lane can turn. Unless the front person isn’t paying attention. Then the first couple of cars turn and the rest of us get irrationally irritated by the extra 90 seconds or so we have to wait.

I go past an extremely convenient gas station. It even has the type of gas that doesn’t guck up the works and cost me a couple of miles per gallon. But it won’t take any card that has the ability to be a debit card. Only the ones that are strictly credit. Almost no one carries enough cash to pay for a tank of gas anymore. Are they in some sort of collusion with the credit card companies?

I love using the self-check at the grocery store. I have used them since they were first introduced. Some people really need to have a cashier help. Like the ones with a basket of produce that all needs to be weighed. Or the ones who can’t seem to find the UPC to scan on each of their items. Or the ones who don’t seem to realize that they need to press the “Pay” button before the machine will take their money.

I don’t really like hamburgers, but my husband and son do. When I pick up the supplies, I like to get decent buns. Onion rolls are my favorite, but anything with real bread will do. I generally shop at the end of my shift, about 1p. Why do I ever run into the situation where all I can find are the icky store-brand little cheap buns? I keep roaming between the bakery bread aisles like I can magically make what I want appear.

Oddly enough, relating all of this has not irritated me. One the other hand, it has reminded me that people can be really annoying.

0

Hmmmm….

Sometimes, my brain runs amok –

Why did I have so much more energy when we had no Internet access?

Why do people wearing shorts and tank tops complain about how cold it is in the dairy section? Why do some of them get irritated when I tell them the cheese likes it that way?

Why can chefs serve possum and muskrat for outrageous prices when those people would never eat that meat at home?

Why does it seem to snow at least a little every day in the winter but we can’t get rain when we need it in the summer? (I’m not complaining)

Why did our new neighbor not check the property lines before taking out bushes on our side? He also cut down most of the trees on his property. Maybe it isn’t an aversion to wild roses. Maybe he just doesn’t like the color green?

Why do they fill holes in our roads with loose asphalt and not pack it down?

Why does driving in the dark in the morning seem so much more unnatural than driving in the dark at night?

A strange cat jumped on our window box and our cats just sniffed it rather than trying to run it off. Is that a violation of the Cat Code of Conduct?

If night crawlers come out in the night, and meal worms hang out in the meal (if given the opportunity), why aren’t wax worms attracted to wax?

Why didn’t the union object to the new time clocks the company put up (fingerprint recognition)? I’m not sure the company understands it – they don’t have baseline prints.

Why doesn’t my sun therapy lamp cheer me up on gloomy summer days when it works fine in the winter?

Why is our ground cover growing into the cement rather than moving the other direction into the dirt?

Why don’t I ever see live skunks on the side of the road?

Why do some people seem to completely lose their sense of modesty when it gets hot? There are some parts of a stranger’s body that I never want to see. Ever.

Why does Kommado Kitty not like her treats when they’re new? Does catnip have to age?

What did beer drinkers do before there were summer and winter options? Was it really a cause of stress?

Why don’t all those kids who play soccer grow up wanting to watch it on TV like the kids who play baseball and football?

Why is the Sunday crossword puzzle in The New York Times so much harder than the one in the Boston Globe? I can’t believe the people in New York are smarter.

Who came up with “amok”? It sounds like your mind is someplace dirty.

 

(btw – I hit my one-year anniversary on WP last week. It seems that most people write something clever about that. I didn’t have anything clever to write, so you can just send me congratulatory chocolate.)

2

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

(Thanks to REM.)

My kids graduated from high school on Thursday. They’re not twins, but it’s a long story. Our district doesn’t have graduations for kindergarten, 4th grade, 8th grade, or anything else. So this is a big deal.

On the last day of class (they let the seniors out two weeks before the rest of the district), they had the “Senior Walk”. This is a long-standing, hallowed tradition. The kids put on their caps and gowns and walk through all the halls saying good-bye to their friends. As my son said, his friends were all seniors, so it was just a long walk. Then they walk across the bridge over the road outside. A lot of the parents come and take pictures, and it ends up in  the local paper. I’m waiting for the movie.

In an epic case of cosmic bad timing, one of the students had died from cancer three days before. It gave the kids a chance to honor him with ribbons on their gowns and signs on their caps. That was the only positive – at least they were all together to support each other. And his identical twin. As I said, it was cosmically awful for these kids.

Next up was the Honors Assembly. I had flashbacks to my own. For me high school was socially passable, academically successful. So my mother made me go. It was an extremely long night. Everyone who had won anything had to troop across the stage and be applauded. When my daughter got an invitation, I was not thrilled. Proud, but not thrilled.

When we got the programs, it didn’t look too bad. There was a welcome by the principal (who everyone likes) and the handing out of several scholarships. We weren’t sure why we were there since our daughter had not won any of the listed scholarships, but it looked reasonable.

I should have realized that there would be a catch. We began with a paean to the top ten academic students. Who were sitting on the stage. They presented the names alphabetically in the interests of treating them all equally. Apparently there was no concern about segregating them from the rest of their classmates.

Being mainly academic scholarships, there was a lot of repetition in who was receiving them. The parents all clapped appreciatively, although a lot of us were wondering why they had been invited to see awards given to other people’s children.

Finally our patience was rewarded. Sorta.  After a break, we were treated to a parade of the students with their pictures and awards/scholarships flashed on a screen. It was great. Except they neglected to list the two scholarships our daughter had won from the colleges she applied to. At least her picture looked nice.

My uncle wanted to attend the ceremony. And drive. My daughter had gotten the directions, and it appeared to be an easy drive. But my uncle had a “better way”. I didn’t find out about the “better way” until we were driving past our exit. Long story short – the improvement added a half hour to our drive. If we’d been a few minutes later, the kids would not have been allowed to walk in the procession.

And we would have been sitting behind the stage. Did I mention that one of the main uses for the building is as a sports arena? It’s the home of one of the feeder teams for the Red Wings. It has two parts, but both are set up in a 360 degree viewing pattern.

As it was, we ended up behind the band. As near as I can tell, the individuals all play fairly well, but the director hasn’t taught them to play as a unit. It was a unique rendering of “Pomp and Circumstance”. Over and over as all 500+ students filed in (it’s a consolidated district). Plus the dignitaries and teachers.

The teachers. I’m glad they weren’t the ones teaching my kids manners. Most of them only applauded for a few of the students. Only a few of the students clapped for everyone. I was proud to see that two of them were related to me. I forgave their ability to sleep in while I get up at 2:30a for a few minutes.

Four of the teachers performed the class song, “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds. I love the song and thought it was a great choice. I think the band was more nervous than the kids. At least their parents weren’t recording every move.

The speeches were short and poignantly sweet. During the procession, they made it all the way to the middle of the “A”s before they got a name wrong. A first name. Totally wrong. He probably would have gotten more applause if anyone had known who he was.

Then it was over. And we had to find our kids among the hundreds of people at the bottom of the arena. That (and getting out of the parking lot) took almost as long as the ceremony.

 

 

 

 

0

Random Thoughts

I drive country roads to work – why do I only run into slow drivers on the straight parts and never on the parts that resemble a NASCAR track?

Why do they name it head cheese when that’s the only disgusting part of the animal that is not in it?

Why do I only see predators (animal, not human) when they have some poor animal in their mouth/talons?

Should I be insulted that when I was pulled over for driving erratically, the cop assumed it was for a medical emergency not for being under the influence?

Why am I the only one on the sales floor when someone breaks a bottle of (really cheap) strawberry wine or a gallon of milk or a jar of horseradish? They really are the only things in the store that make me really gag. (Aside from human emissions of various sorts.)

Why do I attract all of the really strange people? Do I really look like I know what to substitute for spicy paprika (or know what spicy paprika is)? How about all the stores that carry the products that we don’t? The guy who feels he needs to tell me his life story before asking for money?

If my mother knows that I am liberal in almost everything, why does she insist on telling me everything she has “learned” on Fox News?

Does my car have a sign that says pull out in front me, there’s only a quarter mile of empty space behind me?  Or maybe, it’s icy so test my reflexes by cutting in front of me and slamming on your brakes?

Why do people insist on telling the same awful jokes over and over? (“Where’s the cheese? Where’s the cheese? Oh here it is.” as he enters the aisle.)

Why do I only have the nerve to complain online or at home when those are never the people who need to hear it?