Monthly Archives: December 2003

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I decided to crack open this bottle of wine that I got at the Xmas party. It’s tasty, yet faintly reminiscent of Church Communion Wine. The cork was an SOB to get out, so there are floating bits in the bottle.

I just noticed that this wine is 11% alcohol. The generic Nyquil that I take is 10% alcohol. But they don’t ask to see your driver’s license to prove you are 21 when you buy it at Wal-Mart.



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I got invited to an actual New Year’s Eve party, but due to circumstances beyond my control (the lack of reliably working tail lights on my car), I am staying home. I can’t be sure the back lights will work, and if they don’t, I don’t want to be on the road with all the drunkards. Anyway, I’ve got those four bottles of wine from Uncle William’s Christmas party, plus another bottle my Aunt Pat gave me at my mother’s house, so I’m set.

Speaking of family, my birth mother’s family may be straight from Ireland, but the grandmother I grew up with was German. She taught me how to cook (amongst other helpful life skills) and was a fantastic woman. Last night in her honor, I made a pork roast in a Dutch Oven (water, apple juice, assorted herbs and cloves), fine egg noodles with butter, sauerkraut with caraway seed and butter fried apples. It was my version of comfort food and I really enjoyed fixing it (and eating the leftovers today).

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I had the weirdest dream last night and I hadn’t even taken any generic Nyquil. Maybe it wasn’t “the” weirdest, but it was freaky nonetheless. I was in my own house and climbing the stairs to the second floor. I looked down and the floor was covered with ants. They were crawling everywhere, and weren’t very orderly (like they are in real life). I magically produced a can of bug spray and starting spritzing them, but only half of them died. I was stuck with dead ants and bug spray all over the floor AND live ants crawling everywhere. Gross.

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When I got home from running errands this afternoon, two neighborhood Tom Cats had treed my little Packy. I shooed them away by saying, “Get out of my yard, freaky cats. She ain’t gonna have your babies!”

Actually, that didn’t work, but a menacing stamp of my foot in their general direction caused them to saunter into Cat Guy’s yard and let me get Packy out of the dogwood tree.

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If it’s December 30th, it can mean only one thing – time to pay the property tax. Each year, I spend this day shuttling between different city offices and standing in line to write a check. Solely for my own entertainment, I reversed the order in which I usually visit the offices.

I left home and went to the Allstate office for a copy of my Proof of Insurance (obvious) so that I could renew my license plate and auto registration. There was a new clerk there and she tried to tell me my homeowner’s policy was in “cancellation mode” due to non-payment. I told her it was paid up for the year and that the policy didn’t renew until January 17th. That I knew about my policy seemed to frighten her, so she took the note out of the computer.

Next, I stopped at the Post Office to buy stamps. Not on the To Do List, but it was on the way. Across the street is the Board of Education Office and there was a man inside yelling about how high his taxes were this year. The lady was trying to explain that the PVA just tells them about the property assessment and they just mail out bills. He demanded to speak to the PVA and sat down. When I went inside, I made sure to mention that my taxes were forty cents less this year. Mr. Angry just fumed.

Then I drove to the Municipal Building (the “City Office”) to pay the City taxes and my utility bill. The utilities were ten dollars more than the tax. Wacky. The next stop was the Court House to renew my tags and pay the Sheriff’s property taxes. The longest line was at the auto renewal, since it was the end of the month. I always end up paying more than I expect, and this year was no different, since they tacked on the Porsche tax.

Speaking of the Porsche, I dropped off some Porsche Panorama magazines to the guy that bought the car and he bent my ear about all the work he’s had done already. Now it has all new wiring and a new fuel pump. I was wondering why he needed to buy the car at all, since everything on it is going to be replaced. He could have just ordered the parts One Piece at a Time and saved money.

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The party at Uncle William’s house took the form of an organized program. I think that’s the only way it would work with such a large group. The festivities began at 6 in the evening and everyone ate appetizers from the dining room table. People were free to mingle, eat, drink, play the piano, sing Christmas carols, etc. Around 7, after making sure everyone had arrived, the table was officially opened and a line formed so folks could get a serving of yummy food on their plates. There was more mingling, singing, drinking and so on.

At 8, the actual program began. Everyone was herded into the living room and two of the teenage boys held up a large American flag. We all said the Pledge of Allegiance, then sang the National Anthem and state song. Uncle Joe read from the Declaration of Independence and Grandfather’s military medals were handed down to the next sibling to display for the next year.

Next, all the grandchildren gathered around Aunt Marie while she read the nativity story from the Bible. She also told us that she and Grandma used to pray specific Proverbs for each grandchild and she read each one to us, then handed us our printed out card with the Proverb on it.

Then, each of the siblings (they included me, even though technically I am a “grandchild”) got up to tell everyone else what they’d been doing the past year. Aunt Janet said she always gave her siblings a gag gift on their 50th birthday, and this year it was Uncle George’s turn. She’d saved a pair of his purple and gold satin boxer shorts from the 70’s, had them framed with a poem and a picture of him wearing only those and a fedora while frying fish at Cape Cod. He said he was going to have to be more careful about where he threw out his underpants.

Aunt Kathy gave me an old picture of my grandparents holding their two oldest daughters (the second one is my birth mother). My grandmother was only 21 in the picture.

The book The Night Before Christmas (by Major Henry Livingston Jr., not by that poem-stealing asshat Clement Clarke Moore) was passed around and everyone read a line. Then the grandkids swapped gifts and left the room.

Now it was time for Bad Santa. All twenty-six wrapped, but untagged, gifts were placed in the middle of the room and twenty-six people drew numbers from a jar. I was number 18. Number 1 chose a gift and unwrapped it. Number 2 was allowed to take Number 1’s gift OR choose an unwrapped gift from the pile. If Number 2 took Number 1’s gift, Number 1 got to get another unwrapped gift from the pile. The only rules were that you couldn’t take back something that had just been taken from you, and a gift could only be taken three separate times. When it came to me, I chose a box of four bottles of wine that had already been taken twice, so my gift was safe. Others weren’t so lucky!! One girl had nine gifts taken from her.

Bad Santa took until almost one in the morning because of the number of players. There were two intermissions for bathroom breaks, as well as food and beverage runs. The shrimp trays NEVER ran out. Once we were finished, everyone piled back into the kitchen and dining room for more food and drink and socializing. We all had a spectacular time and I was glad to have the chance to visit with everyone. I was also glad to see some old family photographs and see “from whence I came”, as it were.

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The weather was unseasonably warm today. Since the temperature got up to 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), I was able to get away with wearing just a t-shirt and one thermal-lined flannel shirt over it. Hahaha!! Just kidding. Or am I??

I talked to my mother on the phone yesterday and she was depressed that I might have had “more fun” at Uncle William’s Christmas party than at hers. I told her I have lots of fun at lots of parties, but she doesn’t get upset about those. She said this was “different”. So I talked her down for about thirty minutes and told her I’d just mail her a bill for the phone therapy.

I am designating 2004 as the Year I Get My Shit Together. Let’s hope it works out better than previous years, especially those designated as Year I Win The Lottery.

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Time for Sunday Scam E-mail of the Week. This week, we meet a widow and mother of two “all girls” from Nigeria.

From: “MRS GINA ADAMU”
Subject: [Spam] GREETINGS, SAVE MY LIFE !!!
Reply-To: mrsgina3333@fsmail.net

Dear Sir/ Madam,

I greet you in the name of our Lord . My name is Mrs Gina Adamu. I am a widow and a mother of two all girls. I know you will see my letter to you as an embarrassment considering the fact that we do not know ourselves. I plead with you to be patient with me I feel very pleased to contact you for some assistance and business relationship. I live in Nigeria with my children. My late husband was a loving, caring and hardworking businessman who died unfortunately In a ghastly auto crash. Before the sudden death of my beloved husband, and father of my daughters, my late husband intended to establish a business in the united states of America with the sum of $10 million united states dollars, but unfortunately he died before this proposed venture. Following his death, his family members insisted that I am not entitled to his property (Assets and money) since I am a woman and my offspring’s all girls as I do not have a male child for my husband. Well according to some barbaric traditional laws here in Nigeria (Africa) which doesn’t permit a woman to inherit a man’s property, as they are expected by tradition to take over the management of his business and other properties including myself who automatically becomes a wife to one of his immediate brothers. Unfortunately to this wicked family members, the $10million united states dollars which my late husband intended to use in establishing a business in the United States was deposited in a bank account unknown to his family .I and the lawyer is the only one aware of this money, so I have discussed this matter with a staff of the bank that i want this money personally so that I will be able to take care of my children’s educational needs since my husband’s family members vehemently opposed the furtherance of their education. According to the staff of the bank, the best way to secure this money is to transfer this money to a bank account outside Nigeria For safe-keeping, later it will be used for business establishment subject to the Advise of whosoever finally assists us. At this juncture, I there fore ask for your sincere assistance in providing us with your bank details and the enablementestate. To be able to help me, kindly send through my email, your personal details including your contact information for easy communication. Thanking you for to facilitate the remittance of this fund into your nominated account. As soon as I get your positive response, I shall provide you with all the necessary detail for this transfer. However, I have decided to to give you 30% of the total money as a reward for your sincere assistance while 10% will set aside for any accidential expensethat we will incure in this transaction such as TAXES from your side and my side too, and the remaining 60% of the money will be for my investment as I will want to keep aglow my late husbands dream of investing in real your anticipated response.

Mrs Gina Adamu