Activity 1: Listening Comprehension
Answer the questions based on the conversation between co-workers Rhonda and Mac:
Where are you spending the holiday?
a big company event is coming up
the supervisor gave them a lot to do
they just got back from a holiday
he's annoyed at him
he feels sorry for him
he respects him
her relatives' house
at a restaurant
cooking at home
with Mac's parents
making a pumpkin pie for Mr. Green
spending the holiday together
taking a road trip
help prepare the turkey
invite Mr. Green to Thanksgiving
work late on the holiday
It's not clear
Activity 2: Learn the expressions
Mac: Man, I can’t wait for this week to end and for Thanksgiving to begin. If I see one more report, I’m gonna pull my hair out.
Rhonda: This has really been the week from hell. Mr. Green sure piles on the work every time we prepare to take off for a holiday.
- I’m gonna pull my hair out = an exaggerated way to express that you can’t endure much more
- piles on the work = gives LOTS of work
Mac: That’s because he’s a tightwad. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he allowed his employees to have a few paid days off. That’s why he’s made this last week so tough – he wants to squeeze out the productivity before the holiday. I’m surprised he hasn’t chained us to our desks yet.
- tightwad = someone who doesn’t like to spend money (negative connotation)
- it wouldn’t be the end of the world = it wouldn’t be a disaster
- squeeze out = get something by applying pressure
- chained = used metal chains to keep someone prisoner
Rhonda: I know. But let’s not let him ruin our Thanksgiving. When I get out of this stuffy office I’m going straight to the grocery store and buying the biggest turkey I can find, along with the ingredients to make one of my homemade pumpkin pies.
- ruin = destroy, make bad
- stuffy = describes a place that lacks ventilation (negative connotation)
Mac: Oh, now my mouth is watering. As much as I love my wife, she can’t cook to save her life. We usually spend our Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I actually had some homemade pumpkin pie.
- my mouth is watering = that sounds delicious; I want to eat it!
- she can’t cook to save her life = she has ZERO cooking ability
Rhonda: Well, then, why don’t you load Megan and the kids into the car and come over to our house on Thanksgiving? We’d love to have you.
Mac: Oh, I don’t know. We wouldn’t want to intrude on your family’s holiday.
Rhonda: Who’s intruding? You guys are like family to us, Mac. Intruding? Good grief!
- intrude = enter without permission or without being welcome
- Good grief! = an exclamation of surprise, shock, or amazement
Mac: All right… okay… we’ll come.
Rhonda: Great! We’ll have a ball, you just wait and see. Roger will get the fireplace going. We’ll stuff ourselves full of turkey and pumpkin pie, savor some hot chocolate and sit by the fire.
- have a ball = have fun; have a good time
- stuff ourselves = eat excessively
- savor = greatly appreciate the taste or smell of something
Mac: Ahh, that sounds really nice. Way better than sitting in a plastic booth listening to some crabby waitress complaining about working on Thanksgiving. It sure puts a damper on my holiday spirit.
- booth = a type of seating used in diners and restaurants
- crabby = in a bad mood
- puts a damper on = makes less enjoyable
Rhonda: Well, keep in mind that we all have to make a living, and that waitress is probably just scraping by. It is sad that some people can’t be with their families on the holidays. I feel bad for those people.
- keep in mind = remember; don’t forget
- scraping by = having difficulty surviving on a low salary
Mac: Like Mr. Green – I don’t think he has any family in the area. He’ll probably spend the holiday right here in the office poring over reports and grumbling that his accounting department is incompetent.
- poring over = read or look at something carefully
- grumbling = complaining in a low voice
- incompetent = not intelligent, not skilled
Rhonda: Maybe we should invite the old fart to Thanksgiving at my home?
Mac: Uh… you might wanna think twice about that, Rhonda. He’s so demanding, he’ll probably write up a report critiquing your pumpkin pie and file it with your performance review.
- old fart = a disrespectful way to refer to an older person (very rude!)
- think twice about that = reconsider if it is truly a good idea or not
- critiquing = analyzing and evaluating
Rhonda: Don’t be so uptight, Mac. I’m sure even Mr. Green loosens up a bit during the holidays. Yeah… I will invite him, if he doesn’t have any other plans.
- uptight = anxious, tense
- loosens up = becomes more relaxed and friendly
Mac: ::sighs:: The more the merrier, I suppose. Okay – I’m just gonna wrap up a few things, and then head home. See you tomorrow at 6?
Rhonda: You bet!
- the more the merrier = if there are more people, it will be more fun / enjoyable
- wrap up = finish
- You bet! = Yes, definitely!
Activity 3: Vocabulary Quiz
Download the text to do this exercise!
Activity 4: Speaking Task
Mac doesn’t seem to get along very well with his supervisor, Mr. Green. Talk about either a particularly good or particularly bad boss you’ve had. Also, do you prefer managing people, or being managed, and why?
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