Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Card Shark

The holidays are an interesting time of year for families. For some, it means multiple celebrations, hours and hours of driving over the river and through the woods to random relatives' houses to see extended family, and eating a holiday meal two, three, maybe even four different times. For other families, it's a time to eat-sleep-shop-eat-sleep-shop-eat-decorate-sleep-shop. For my family, Thanksgiving has always been very low key. Other than a couple times of celebrating with my uncle's family down state, it is usually just our small nucleus, in our own home, with our stretchy pants, our own strange takes on traditional food and one final key ingredient - cards.

While some families stretch out on couches to watch hours of football, TV, and bad ABC Family holiday movies ("Borrowed Hearts" anyone?), my family breaks out the card table and prepares for a marathon day of Phase10, Cribbage, Pinochle, Kings in the Corner, Sequence...snack, bathroom break, and shuffle.

We are a game playing family. Grandpa Lueck was all about Phase 10 and Uno, Grandpa Carder (when he'd actually let us play with him) was all about Spit and Hand & Foot. We've been having family game night well before Milton Bradley made it cool. It started out innocent enough, with Candy Land and Memory, then moved up to MixMax and Yahtzee, and eventually progressed to the marathon games of 10,000 Rummy and Killer Uno. But my favorite games of all are speed games.

8th grade was the year I learned the game Speed. It's like two-person solitaire on crack. It's fast. It's furious. It's full of competition, scratched hands, and paper cuts from flying cards. But only playing with two people leaves everyone else out, no matter how fun I might think it is for everyone else in the room to watch me win. In high school, I was introduced to the world of Spoons.

Spoons is everything a card game should be. It requires strategy, timing, attention to detail, speed, and the willingness to fight to the death for a spoon. It's musical chairs, go fish, memory, and WWF all rolled in to one. I introduced this game to some friends earlier this year, while waiting for movies to begin at outdoor festivals. Our games attracted attention and admiration from fellow movie watchers. In Strathmoore we even made a new friend and added her to our game. And so at Thanksgiving this year, to interject a bit of Lueck Tradition to the Wilson Family Holiday, I suggested we play a friendly game of spoons.

Spoons is similar to the basketball game of Horse - after each hand has been played, who ever doesn't have a spoon receives a letter: S-P-O-O-N-S. Usually the game would end up with scores something like this:
Player 1: S-P-O
Player 2: S-P-O-O
Player 3: S-P-O-O-N-S
As seen here, usually it is fairly close. There isn't always a clear winner, someone has to lose, someone has to win, but everything stays fun and competitive.

Unfortunately, this was not the case this year in Battle:Spoons. Jen, Allen, and I decided to play, while Jen's mom and sister, armed with cameras, decided to watch the game. What started out as friendly competition ended up being more of a massacre. Here was the score after 5 rounds:
Jen: S-P-O-O-N

We decided to try to help increase Jen's chances of winning the next hand by moving the spoons very very close to her, basically under her elbows so she a) would notice when we went for them and b) would absolutely be able to grab one. The video below shows just how that worked out for her.

Yup. So much for our help.
Final Score:
Jen: S-P-O-O-N-S.

Thus endeth the card playing. But oh what a way to go.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How to Make Kate Happy - Tip # 2,309

In case you are just joining us, I still have buckets and buckets of hate for the temps who are still. here. (side bar - doesn't the term "temp" imply a short term hire? As in a couple weeks, at tops a month? These thorns in my side have been here for at least 3 or 4 months. This is no longer temporary in my book.)

I have been contemplating lately asking a coworker - who previously I was very very scared of but now realize although he can be very mean and scary when he wants to be, he is actually quite harmless under most circumstances - to come out and yell at the temps to shut it when they get super chatty, as they do become nearly every day. Today they have been driving me more nuts than usual. Like shave my head and feed babies mountain dew crazy. For reals y'all.

An example for your consideration: Whenever the girl temp gets up to go to the kitchen, she always a) announces where she's going and then b) asks the other two temps if they need anything, and then makes a big scene about how she's "like totally like willing to bring back like extra M&Ms because like I know you like them." It's obnoxious. Seriously, we sit 25 feet from the kitchen - they are all capable of getting things from the kitchen on their own.

And then, without even having to ask him, said scary coworker just threw a very hilarious insult at the temps...
As said coworker (will work on good code name for him...but not now) was walking by my cube, he stops, and says quite loudly "KATE - I AM GOING TO THE KITCHEN. DO YOU NEED ANYTHING? I CAN BRING YOU ANYTHING FROM THE KITCHEN YOU MIGHT WANT!"

...and I started cracking up. And now the temps are very very quiet.

He totally made my day.