Feb 082016
 

Because I lead such an exciting life, I stayed up late Friday night watching old Wildwood, NJ videos on YouTube. There is something REALLY ENCHANTING and perverted about watching the home movies of strangers and I don’t give a fuck, I’ll do it until I die.

I would say about once a year, I go through heavy Wildwood withdrawals and I need to nourish myself with copious amounts of nostalgia, even if it’s another persons memories.

My family vacationed in Wildwood every summer. It’s one of the few spotty memories I have of my birth dad, and also some of the best memories I have of my mom. My grandparents came too, every summer, and it was just the fucking cherry on top of the entire year. I can’t think about that beach and boardwalk without being flooded of the best memories and thoughts of my Pappap. Literally, the best memories of my whole life were made in fucking New Jersey, of all places.

I haven’t been back since 1991 and as much as I want to, I’m also terrified because I don’t want to see how much it’s changed. I stupidly made the mistake about 10 years to look at the Morey’s Piers website and I felt like Morey himself had kicked me in the gut with a steel-tipped boot, that motherfucker.

ANYWAY. Before I wind up just straight up living in the rabbit hole, let me get to my point. One of the videos I watched on YouTube was a clip from a 1994 documentary and now I’m utterly obsessed (what else is new) and going to buy the entire film because how I can not have a chunk of cinema like this in my private collection:

I’m kind of sad that I only ever experienced Wildwood through the eyes of an innocent child, there only to ride some fucking dark rides and eat a goddamn hot dog at Hot Spot B. I never got in a fight with anyone there other than my step dad. And I didn’t even put him in the hospital!

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Feb 052016
 

You already know that I’m a horrible mom. I mean, psychologically horrible. I can’t help it! I live and breathe to punk people and no one is easier and more fulfilling to punk than my own kid. And believe me, he gives it back to me! It’s like our thing. We love to fuck with each other.

Off and on over the years, I’ve made loose comments about the man who lives in the attic. The steps to the attic can only be accessed from Chooch’s room, so it’s my way of nudging him down Night Terrors Alley. He’s always just like, “YEAH OK MOMMY” and then we all laugh and go about our day. But lately, it’s been heating up. My response to almost everything has been “manintheattic” and Henry gives me a disappointed look. Like when Chooch had a fever last week and woke up in the middle of night and dressed himself. He was horrified when he woke up because he never goes to bed with a shirt on.

“And now I have on TWO t-shirts?!” he cried, like call up Scully and Mulder, quick.

“Manintheattic,” I half-coughed. “Sometimes he dresses you during the night. You’re like his living baby doll.”

“YEAH RIGHT!” Chooch scoffed, but I could see that there was a tiny glimmer of doubt in his eyes.

The next night, as we all in our respective bedrooms for the night, Chooch made a fake phone number using one of those free text apps and started prank-calling me. I stupidly fell for it too, and I got so nervous when I saw a call coming in from someone with our area code BECAUSE WHO COULD IT BE, WHAT DID I DO NOW!? Then I realized it was the idiot in the next room over. So I made one too and said, “Be quiet down there, I’m trying to sleep.” And then “Good night.”

“You’re a dick,” Henry mumbled into his pillow when I giddily showed him my work.

The other day at work, I decided to create an Instagram account for The Man In the Attic.

Because these are things normal moms do.

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Step 1: Find a good snap of Gary Busey’s mug to use as my user pic.

Step 2: Follow Chooch.

Step 3: Comment on Chooch’s most recent video of the kittens.

“You need to put them in the basement while you’re at school. They’re very disruptive during the day.”

Step 4: Post pictures.

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I was crying at my desk over this while several of my co-workers clucked their tongues and made various remarks about Chooch’s future therapy bill.

“He does it to me, too!” I yelled in defense.

Glenn just shook his head at me and Todd struggled to wrap his head around how anyone thought it would be a good idea to have a child with me.

“My mom used to do this shit to me all the time when I was kid,” I explained during one of our daily “Dissecting Erin’s Childhood” conversations at work.

“Oh,” Todd said, attempting to understand how this was normal.

“I don’t talk  to her anymore, though,” I added as an after thought, and then we all started to laugh, because: family.

“I’m going to pay someone to hide in the attic one night,” I said, and everyone groaned.

***

After work, Henry dropped Chooch off downtown because he and I were going to the Pens game. First, we went to get dinner. Over pizza, Chooch learned of the Man In the Attic’s Instagram account.

At first he was like, “Wait. What. How.” But then his brain kicked on and he said, “Yeah OK, I know this is you.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me see that. Oh my god, this is so creepy!” I exclaimed, scrolling through Instagram on Chooch’s phone.

“Whatever, I know it’s you.”

I kept denying it over and over, and then we went to the game, where me made jokes about how Henry was home alone with the Man In the Attic. I thought everything was good. He knew I made the Instagram account and was able to find some humor in it, life goes on, Pens win, etc etc.

But later that night, after we came home from the game and Henry retired to bed after a long night of staying home doing nothing while Chooch and I screamed our faces off at Consol, Chooch brought up the Instagram account.

“Honestly, this is you, right?”

I couldn’t believe this was coming up again because I was certain he knew it was me. I mean, Chooch is a pretty bright kid!

But the sinister side of me saw this as an opportunity to continue the fun, so I denied it. Over and over and over.

“Chooch, like I have time to do shit like that at work, really!” I said with faux-annoyance.

(LOL, this was the biggest lie I’ve ever told.)

Suddenly, we had a replay of the Doll Episode. He was pissed, and he was also tired: A deadly combination.

He got so angry because I wouldn’t admit to it, that he started sobbing. Like, hands covering his face, body-convulsing sobs.

Since he’s my son, I initially couldn’t tell if he was faking it or not.

Turns out, nope. Thems some real optic-wets right there.

So of course I dropped the gag and hugged him, swearing it was me and apologizing profusely, but he shrugged away from me and shut himself in the kitchen.

When he came out, he spat, “DELETE IT. DELETE THE ACCOUNT.”

I promised I would, and then he retreated up the steps to his bedroom, sniffling and wiping tears with the back of his hand.

I felt like a complete asshole.

“Good for you!” Henry spat with disappointment when I went up to bed later and filled him in. “I’m glad we spent all that money on his new bed, because you’re the one who’s going to be sleeping in it!”

***

The next morning, Chooch was still bitter, but by the time I came home from a day of being scolded for being a terrible mom by my co-workers, Chooch had cooled down. I honestly think that the biggest issue here is that he hates it when I prank him better than he pranks me. But I’m happy to report that Chooch has now accept The Man In the Attic as a part of this household and has even added my newly-created phone number to his contacts as Manin Theattic. One day, we will laugh heartily about this over Christmas picnic in the cemetery with his children. I just can’t help it—I was born with a very dominant Prankster gene. (Or as some might argue—a Bully gene.)

The funniest part about all of this is that I’m the one who’s actually terrified of the attic.

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Feb 042016
 

1.Valentinin’

The serial killer cards have been flying off the shelves this season and I am so happy about that! If I could do this for a living, I would be ecstatic. Designing these things bring me great joy! A few orders came in this morning and I faux-bragged about it to Glenn, ending it with “No big deal.”

“You’re right,” Glenn grumbled. “It isn’t a big deal.”

“Hashtag so what,” Todd chimed in and I lost it. I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE.

Then a few hours later, I received some really great customer feedback.

“Hey Amber,” I called over to her desk. “Someone else thinks I’m wonderful, too.” Because Amber always tells me I’m wonderful just to ruffle Glenn’s plain, boring feathers.

“Hashtag who cares,” Todd chimed in again. “Just trying to keep you grounded so you don’t start coming in here wearing sunglasses.” And then somehow it escalated to the point where Amber2 printed out a sheet of my employee photo and gave it to Glenn! HOW QUICKLY THE TABLES HAVE TURNED! Actually, not very quickly, considering it has taken three years for someone to hand-deliver this idea into Glenn’s lap.

And this concludes the story of how Amber2 re-earned the Mean Amber moniker!

(Seriously though, go get a card or 7!)

In related news, I had all of these Valentines designed in my head, featuring the guys in our department, and they were going to be super hilarious but the rational, job-security-desperate side of me kept whispering, “You could get in trouble for this one, Erin.” I confided in Wendy and at first she was like, “No, I think these are fine. Also, I can’t believe I’m helping you with this.” But later in the day she came over and was like, “OK I’M SORRY BUT I’M PARANOID AND I DON’T WANT YOU TO LOSE YOUR JOB.” And I agree with her that there are certain scenarios where this could become an HR nightmare. So, no Valentines, work pals.

2. GUYS DID YOU KNOW I HAVE CATS AGAIN LOL
  

They’re finally succumbing to their instinctual sisterly napping behaviors and I’m so thrilled! Sometimes, Marcy used to let Speck cuddle with her even though they weren’t real sisters and Marcy hated everyone but Henry and Satan. So this is bringing back some warm fuzzies or whatever you sappy people call that shit.

Chooch has changed Penelope’s name to Penelopiss.

“Get it? Because instead of PeneloPEE, it’s PeneloPISS?”

Yes, son. I get it. I got it. Thanks for ruining my cat’s name.

Such tired.

3. HOCKEY FUCK YEAH!

Barb, my favorite person in the whole entire world, gave me her tickets to the Pens game on Tuesday. It was super last minute, and I still wasn’t feeling entirely well, but fuck it: hockey over everything. Luckily, Chooch is super down with going to to Pens games now because he understands that this is the way of life.

Plus he gets to spend my money on overpriced ice cream bars.


  

We loved the people in front of us! (No sarcasm.) No one ever wants to high-five me at hockey games, but this guy did! And we scored six times too so that was SIX HIGH FIVES. I used real, old-fashioned math for that one. Not Common Core. I’d still be typing out my answer, otherwise.

OK, not to be all sentimental and MommyBloggy, but when Sidney Crosby got a hat trick, Chooch went ape shit because he totally understood the greatness of it all, and I got all teary-eyed because this was a MEMORY that Chooch and I were making together, and it involved the Penguins! A team he used to hate! Ugh, my heart.

Also, here’s some pictures of Barb’s chili pepper-pants’d boy toy:

I kept texting them to her throughout the game and I can only imagined how annoyed she was.

Anyway, other shit happened but I’m going to save that for Chooch to tell. We’re hopefully going to start a new monthly thing called Chooch Chats where people ask him shit and then he gets to talk his face off. Henry and I are going to try to film the first episode this weekend provided we don’t kill each other and that I don’t lose interest, because I’m pretty whatever about YouTube. I’m sure this will fizzle out just like all of my other sad attempts at series do. (RIP: Frown of the Day; Henry Bombs; Goofus & Gallant, OhHonestlyErin-Style; Freaky Features…..sigh. I have no niche.)

4. CARLY RAE JEPSEN

Literally the only reason I watched that live Grease thing last weekend. Did you know that I have never seen the actual Grease movie? And that I have no plans on ever remedying that? I just have never given a shit about it and I remember DEFINITELY running out of shits to give back in high school when our dumb drama club people performed it one year and if I heard someone say the name “Kenickie”* one more time as I walked down the hallway, I probably would have dropped out then instead of waiting until a month before graduation.

*I had to google how to spell that dumbass’s name.

ALL OF A SUDDEN I’M REALLY ANGRY NOW!?

Anyway, CRJ was beautiful as always. I guess the rest of it was OK? I couldn’t tell if I was supposed to like it or not.

5. The People Vs. OJ Simpson

Obviously I have been chomping at the bit for this series to start. Obsessed since ’94! I’ve referenced my OJ pog story on here at least 87 times so I’ll spare you. Last year, I was inspired to make an OJ painting, and this was before I even knew that a series was being made! Literally, I was like, “What should I paint? OJ shit.” Like the cast of the OJ trial are the new happy trees.

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If I still used LiveJournal, I’d be using my Kato Kaelin and OJ icons exclusively right now.

Kato OJ

Well friends, that’s all I feel like finger-pounding out right now. Maybe another day, I’ll sing you the song of THE MAN IN THE ATTIC. But right now, my cup of cream of wheat is calling my name. Peace out, Girl Scout!

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Feb 022016
 

Party People

  • Kara
  • Corey
  • Chris and Monica
  • Blake and Haley
  • Aaron and Erica (I think — drinking does not allow me to remember names)
  • JANNA – WHO WAS THE LAST ONE TO ARRIVE

In my quest to be more social, and to satiate Chooch’s constant desire to play games, I planned a small game night for January 23rd. The theme was BREAKFAST FOODS, because God forbid I should just have a regular game night and let my friends bring a simple bag of Fritos. I had big hopes and aspirations for this game night: a waffle bar! some type of OJ punch! egg things!

But this before I knew we were getting a kitten(s).

So instead of an elaborate spread fit for the gods of the A.M., Henry half-assedly churned out ONE VARIATION of waffle (PLAIN) and made some crappy chili chicken dip to meet the “savory” quota, leaving me to my own devices to come up with other dips.

I went with the exotic Nutella; the opulent purple Funfetti frosting straight from a can; and a maple fluff worthy to coat the gullet of the worlds most renowned gourmands.

A/K/A maple syrup mixed with Marshmallow Fluff.

Thank god for my back-up plan: CAP’N CRUNCH PARTY MIX. And no I didn’t use a recipe! Instead, I concocted it in my head, at work, and bounced ideas off of Glenn.

“What else should I put in my Cap’n Crunch party mix?” I asked him.

“What all have you got so far?”

“….Cap’n Crunch.”

“……”

A day later, I shouted, “PEANUTS! Peanuts would go good in a Capn Crunch party mix, right?”

“Sure,” Glenn mumbled.

In the end, I went with honey roasted peanuts, pretzels, and then I attempted to drizzle white chocolate over it but newsflash: I don’t know how to drizzle white chocolate, so it wound up hardening very quickly and then I decided to just go with white chocolate clumps.

“I like how some of the pretzels have white chocolate on them,” Chris said in a very complimentary manner which I greatly appreciated.

“Thanks! I did that myself. They’re HAND-CRAFTED.” I literally was so angry at the white chocolate that I started smashing mounds of it against the pretzels as a form of torture. I showed you, white chocolate.

Then I dumped a bunch of sprinkles on it. Then I made Henry go and buy me chocolate chips, and hooray, that shit was happy to be drizzled.

It worked. This shit was teeth-rottening divine.

Keeping with my staunch theme of breakfast foods only, Kara brought delicious chocolate-filled croissants and mini muffins; Chronica brought monkey bread which we were all eagerly awaiting since they texted me a picture of it and my phone promptly got passed around; and JANNA WHO WAS LATE brought a French toast casserole. She was late because the casserole was still in the oven when game night was scheduled to start and I was like, “WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO PUT IT IN THE OVEN THEN JANNA.”

Whatever, it was really good even though she was an hour late.

And when Blake arrived with his posse, he was carrying a bottle in a bag and I thought to myself, “Oh my god, Blake is like an actual adult now! He brought something to game night!”

YEAH, A BOTTLE OF MAD DOG FOR HIMSELF!

We played Taboo first, because I forgot until the last minute that our Catchphrase broke a long time ago and we never replaced it, because why would we ever think to replace my FAVORITE GAME NIGHT game. Taboo is basically almost the same game but it just doesn’t feel right in my hands.

Game Night: Round One was kind of utter pandemonium because Janna spiked her casserole with Robitussin and some of us couldn’t seem to grasp the “every other person is on your team” concept and Chooch threw a fit at one point and there were close to four separate conversations going on while the person holding Taboo was shouting out clues and then Corey kept hitting the wrong button and Kara looked like she was about to lose her fucking mind.

However, there was a highlight! And that was when it was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “Erin has one…”

My mind reeled. I have many things! What was a thing that I have?! A complex? An estranged mother?

Meanwhile, Monica was already calmly suggesting, “A blog.”

First guess. And she was right!

This was right before Kara ripped off her face to reveal the Directionator. LISTEN TO HER READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW ALONG, PEOPLE. Together, we can all get through it.

This is the first time I didn’t take a picture of my dumb beverage buffet. I made a punch that was supposed to be a screwdriver but it wasn’t (the recipes on Smirnoff’s website are lamer than your average lifestyle blogger) so I changed the name to Good Morning Punch. It was OK. Nothing fancy like you’d typically expect at my ragers.

Corey and I made Janna tell her harrowing tale of Robitussin codependency, like this was a surprise intervention. No one laughed nearly as hard as Corey and I did, if at all.

The last game we played was Likewise, and I was on a team with Erica (really hope that’s her name). She chose wisely because we dominated. If her name really is Erica though, I sincerely regretted naming ourselves the A+ Team when E2 was the clear choice. We did butt heads a quick second though when the prompt was “something unusual at the beach” and I wrote down “Igloo” because hello, that’s unusual. We had a slight argument about it but I got way and no one ended up getting any points for that round anyway, soooooo.

The last question was beautiful singer or something and I was trying to send ESP waves to Henry and Corey so that they would write down Robert Smith but they kept smirking at me confusedly, so we ended up going with the obvious choice of Justin Bieber, matched two other teams, and FUCKING WON.

BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I DO IS WIN.

And we all lost at Cards Against Humanity to a nine-year-old, and then Chris taught Chooch how to crochet while Monica tried to get us to guess “Janna fondling breasts coated with Robitussin” during some late night charades.

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The end.

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Feb 012016
 


That means, here are pictures of cats to cleanse your palate from my recent OMG SO SICK posts.


Drew is a spaz and totally outgoing. Chooch found a Kitkat wrapper in his pocket and she has been running around the house with it clenched in her mouth like it’s the fucking Hope Diamond.


Penelope is still leery of the whole thing. She really only lets us pet her when she’s too tired to run away. I slept on the couch the other night when I was OMG SO SICK and she slept on my legs so that was something. She and Drew are so different.


Chooch has been calling her Penope and Leslie Knope.

SHE’S SO CUTE AND I WANT TO CARRY HER AROUND IN A BASKET OF DAISIES BUT SHE WON’T LET ME, WTF.  

Henry acts like he’s so annoyed that there are two destructive beasts in the house, but he totally loves it. Plus, they’re not nearly as destructive as me and Chooch. So there’s that at least.

Thank god Chooch can wear all of his cat shirts now without feeling like a poser. It was a rough 10 months for him.

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Jan 302016
 

I’m feeling better now, at least enough to where I’m mobile, but now HENRY is apparently sick?! So typical of him. I just went upstairs and asked him how much longer he’s going to be sick because I have things I need him to do, and his response was a stuffed-up, “OMG REALLY?!” 

God, Sick Henry is rude as fuck.

Ok I thought I was getting better but I WAS WRONG. Please make my face stop hurting. Today is so frustrating!

Chooch is giving me Shaytards updates and I’m like honestly not listening because that family is a bunch of Fucktards. Why do people like them get Internet famous? I do not understand. Let’s be real. (If you don’t know who they are, I’m proud of you. Now google that shit so you can hate them with me.)

I want to shove eucalyptus rods up my fucking nose. Where can I buy those. 

Now Chooch is singing the Shaytard’s Christmas song to me and I think one of my ears is bleeding. I’m sorry ear. Would you like to commiserate with my nostrils? They’re dripping, too. 

I’m watching NHL All Star coverage but nothing exciting is happening right now other than PK Subban talking about his ugly AF plaid suit. 

Only one good thing has happened today and that is my Basement record was delivered. Here is a picture of Henry reading the newsletter that came with it, like he suddenly cares about the scene. Fuck you, Henry. 

  
I want a smoothie bowl that has carrot juice in it but it has to be pure carrot juice and Henry supposedly couldn’t find any at whatever back woods store he went to and is “too sick” to go to Whole Foods, etc. Then we fought for a bit about who is more sick and I won. 

“Here, I found a recipe for making your own carrot juice out of carrots in 14 easy steps, with pictures,” I said, chucking my phone into Henry’s chest. 

He tried to get me to choose a different smoothie bowl recipe but I WANT THE CARROT ONE.

He threw my phone back at me and muttered, “I guess I’m going to the store to get fucking carrots, because that’s what my life has been reduced to.”

I’m so delirious that I can’t tell if I’m laughing or crying right now. #hellhouse

  
LOLOLOL Henry’s back with carrots and looking so stoked on life. 

Henry’s currently in the kitchen, blending the carrots that he went out to buy after I threw a Sick Fit, which would have been prevented had he just gone the extra mile(s) to buy the carrot juice in the first damn place!!

How do the Flyers even have anyone in this All Star game? That team is so gross. However, I will happily visit their city in March when we road trip for the Emarosa show*. I can’t wait to eat their ice cream & donuts. Thanks for having SOME nice things to offer, Philly. 

*(The show is in Lancaster but I cried until Henry said FINE WE CAN ALSO GO TO PHILLY.)

I slept for 15 minutes. 

Henry just came in and sat down?! I asked him what’s the word on my smoothie bowl and he claims that he has to “let the carrots steep” whatever that means. I HATE TODAY. 

These Flex Seal commercials taunt me. I dream of buying a bucket of that tar shit and making myself & everything around me water-proof.

Henry just felt my forehead and claims that I don’t have a fever. Well, his hand is wrong because yes I do. Whose fucking grandma does he think he is, anyway.   

I WIN. 

I’d love to tell you the verdict but I can’t taste anything. I’m sick, remember?

BUT NOW I’M FREEZING. Smoothie bowls are cold. 

Henry is jawing off about allllll of the thinnnnnnngs he did today even though he was soooooo sickkkkkkk, so I started singing my Henry the Martyr jingle, but I’m all stuffed up still so I started coughing and choking and it was ruined, just ruined. Although now that I think about it, it kind of sounded like Frosty the Snowman so I guess the world isn’t really missing out after all. 

Now we’re talking about biker gangs but I can’t remember why. 

Earlier today, like probably around FIVE AM, one of these idiot kittens knocked over a succulent and spilled dirt all over the coffee table. Henry just now walked past it on his way to bed (it’s not even 10pm but he’s all “I’m sick and going to get rest like normal people do when they’re sick”), pointed to the dirt on the tablecloth and asked, “What are you going to do about this?”

“Wait for you to clean it,” I answered matter-of-factly. 

I mean, duh. 

Now I’m down here alone watching an Eagles doc and feeling sorry for myself. Hotel California always makes me think of sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night to meet my boyfriend Psycho Mike. I had to walk down some really dark creepy streets and there was this one house that always gave me Alice In Wonderland vibes and then right after that was an abandoned house that sat up a bit on a hill and screamed BATES MOTEL and I CANT TELL YOU WHY* any of this made me think of Hotel California but I went through a heavy Eagles phase as a teenage so get off my fucking back why don’t you. 

*(GET IT?!)

Joe Walsh was my least favorite Eagle. 

I still haven’t made a Glenn Frey RIP Glenn. (“You Belong To the City” forever.)

My mom used to go to aerobics classes when I was really little and one of the routines was to Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry.” They did a move called the Taffy Pull (OMG THAT SONG IS PLAYING RIGHT NOW ON PART 2 OF THIS DOC) so I have a natural inclination to bust that out every time I hear that song, which I did not do right now because I’m typing on my dumb phone. 

Don Henley seems like a cunt though, doesn’t he. 

Today is Phil Collins’ birthday, FYI. 

I’m taking NyQuil and passing out, at which point I will probably dream of carrots dancing to Hotel California. Can’t wait. 

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Jan 302016
 


I’d be happy numbing just my face right now. 

I feel much better than I did yesterday but my face still feels slightly like Pangea breaking. I’m glad I didn’t have any plans this weekend because I think that critically acclaimed “rest” that everyone speaks so highly of might be what I should strive for. I don’t get sick very often so when I do, LOOK OUT. 

If there is one thing I don’t do well, it’s sitting around doing nothing. And it looks like it’s going to be a nice day! I feel like Timothy from Secret of NIMH.   

Whyyyyyyyyy. 

Today’s big question, other than the above Whyyyyyyyyy, is “How many episodes of Soap will I half-watch before I finally change the channel?”

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Jan 292016
 

I’M SICK. I felt it coming on two days ago but I thought it passed, then it cold-cocked me in the face today and I had to leave work early. I’m a hot mess. Rested a little bit but now I’m sitting here, all bundled up and bored. So I decided to do a little iPhone photo dump because what else have I got going on, other than cold sweats and hot compresses?   
Still obsessed with a defunct restaurant I’ve never even eaten at: Ernie’s Esquire. Sometimes I google it to see if I can find anything new, and the other night I did! Someone posted this old Ernie’s postcard in some Pittsburgh nostalgia Facebook group. Ugh, that joint looks like it was THE SHIT. 

 Me n bae. This is probably how I got sick.   
I bought graham cracker coffee at Nicholas’ the other day. One of my last moments of joy before I got SICK. 

 Haven’t been able to work on any paintings for a while on account of getting kittens AND SICK.    

Amber2 brought this crazy cake-in-a-box to work last week and it say there for a full day because no one was brave enough to open it. I even tried to woo the HR guy on our floor into opening it.

“I really want someone to open this,” I said, my voice pregnant with hints and suggestive lilts. 

He pushed on his way past, got close enough  to read the MYSTERIOUS ITALIAN, and then said, “It’s not going to be me” before heading back to his office. 

I’m losing my touch. 

But then Amber2 came into the kitchen and together we unboxed it. The powered sugar was packed separately in a pouch, so Amber let me do the honors. I was hesitant at first and then just dumped the whole thing out in no particular pattern.

One of of our coworkers walked by and asked what it was.

“A science experiment,” I said. 

She believed me.

It sat there untouched for quite a while. Not even Glenn was brave enough to try it. Finally, some hours later, I took a small piece. It was spongey, like if someone wet a biscotti and then let it mostly dry. 

I enjoyed the presence of this cake. It was a good conversation starter. 

 One of my unbirthday presents from Gayle, which reminds me, SHE DIDNT GIVE ME JANUARY’S.   

Henry reupholstered our two bar stools just in time to get two kittens!

  

I was bored a few weeks ago and painted this crap over top of a picture from goodwill. 

    
Such productive.   

YOU GUYS. I could die. I started yelling at work when Emarosa tweeted this and immediately shoved my phone into the faces of Amber 2 and Todd (Glenn was gone for the day but I Emarosa’d him the next morning, don’t worry). 

“Wow,” Todd said. “It could be tomorrow or 300 days from now.”

Ugh. 

Then I found out that CASEY BATES is producing it and luteralt, 100% TREMBLED as I texted Henry about it, whose response was: “Who?”

Ugh. 

I’m the kind of girl who fans herself over who is producing what record, ok? Let me have my small joys. 

  
Speaking of small joys, I finally finished the first Law Firm zine and was able to distribute it the other day! It seemed to be pretty well-received and I hope it doesn’t get shut down because it seems like it could be a really fun, interactive thing for our whole group. This issue featured an interview with GAYLE who shared her time as a TRUCK DRIVER with us. It was great. I had to censor the part where she talked about being offered blow jobs by a lot lizard, though. Look at me! I’m already a REAL MEDIA MOGUL!

I tried to sketch a picture of the ITALIAN CAKE for the Things That Happened In January page but it ended up looking like a haystack of dicks wearing a toupee, so I just used the actual picture of the cake. 

Carrie and I had lunch with Allison on Wednesday so I brought her a copy. She was all excited about it and then ALMOST LEFT IT BEHIND as we were leaving. I grabbed it from the table and gave it back to her. 

“I carried that the whole way here for you,” I said in a hurt tone. She seemed geuinely sorry. 

In other news, I got my Brand New and Basement tickets yesterday so that’s a pretty big joy. 

I was going to watch horror movies but then I remembered I took my contacts out and I still don’t have glasses. So I guess I’m going back to bed. I think my neck is broken. 

 

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Jan 282016
 

It’s been very overwhelming here lately. Not in a bad way at all! But having cats in the house again just seemed like something I would never be ready for. And I’m going to be honest — it took me a few days before I really opened up to Drew and now I’m like I WONDER WHAT DREW IS DOING while I’m sitting at my cat-less job. She has really adapted extremely fast to our weird house, and she definitely fits in. Weirdos unite, you know?

I’m hashtag-obsessed with this one already.

But then Monday morning, Drew’s world came crashing down when Suzanne brought the second kitten to us. I had this adorable scene in my head where Drew would prance over to her and give her welcoming nuzzles, and both would be overjoyed at their reunion.

But no. Second kitten was terrified and trembling, and basically stayed scrunched up in the corner of the couch all day long.

And Drew, meanwhile, was PISSED. She greeted her sister with a trying-too-hard hiss and growl and then spent most of the day peering at her from afar. I guess Drew got a taste of being an only child and she liked it, guys. Who’d wanna give that up??

Nope.

Penelope seems to definitely remember that Drew is her sister, and will literally cry out for her. But Drew just turns her nose up, because she’s a human now, you guys. She has no furry sister.

I hadn’t even so much as considered any names before Drew’s sister was brought to us. I wanted to spend time with her and see what felt right. And, much like when Riley was born and “Choochie Cabrera” naturally rolled off my tongue, so did “Penelope Ann Killer.”

Haha, that’s so dumb I said to myself. But then I said it a few more times and couldn’t stop laughing because this kitten was so scared and timid…and then it just stuck.

Penelope Ann Killer.

So fucking dumb. YET PERFECT. And now this old Pinback jam has been stuck in my head:

Oh hay, just lounging on my chair, in my house, with my homies, #nbd.  

Drew spent all of Monday acting out and pouting, kind of the same way I acted when my mom brought my brother Ryan home from the hospital. I get it, Drew.

Monday night, I put on a Touche Amore video and Penelope’s eyes got super wide; she recoiled a bit and from across the room, Drew had this mildly sympathetic look on her face that said, “This is our life now, get used to it, girl.”

After she stole part of my bagel.

By Monday night, Penelope decided to emerge and start sniffing around the house, which irritated Drew. It was pretty clear that Penelope was not intimidated at all. Sorry, Drew.

It’s kind of been disorienting having them around, because it’s been nearly a year since anything with fur has resided in our house (aside from Henry’s mouth-fur, that is), plus we’ve been redoing our bedroom and kitchen so I’m kind of like WHERE AM I all of the time now. Henry’s mom was here that night and consistently referred to both Drew and Penelope as “he” and “him,” so at least that added a bit of normalcy in the house.

This little rotten cat has completely usurped control of the house. I’ve had to relocate most of my succulents because of her! MY PRECIOUS SUCCULENTS.

I have a feeling that Penelope is going to be one sassy little princess when she is fully out of her shell.

Somewhere, Marcy is laughing at me from her throne made of Christian skulls. I miss you, my little Pretty Rainbow Sparkles. I miss all of The Original Four. Moving on really sucks, and I’m still crying approximately 4 times a day, because when don’t I cry, really? But, these little two brats needed us and it feels good to give them a good, crazy home. And, at least I have my shrine for the others, so they’ll always be ever present. <3

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Jan 262016
 

Hi hey hello this is a live journal post from 9/2005 when I was a few weeks pregnant & craving meat, old political pins, & OJ Simpson stuff. 

****************

The Inseminator and I celebrated Labor Day by waking up ridiculously early and going to a flea market. He suggested it the night before so there was no struggle trying to get me to wake up; I likened it to Christmas morning.
As soon as we arrived, I already saw the first item for my wish list. Imagine a regal and proud black grandmother, donning her Sunday’s best and finest pearls, sitting pretty with her head tilted to the left. Now, surround this vision with a giant gilded frame and you have what I covet. 
“Why would you want a portrait of someone’s grandma?” Henry scoffed. “And look how big it is! Where would you even put it?”
I couldn’t help but picture it hanging above my bed, watching over me every night. Like a godmother. I was getting more and more attached by the minute and I couldn’t stop thinking about who she was. Was she even still alive? I bet she made a mean Sunday dinner. I imagined she was also in a gospel choir. It pains me that I’ll never get to eat her corn bread.
Henry dragged me along in spite of my warnings of, “Don’t jostle me; I’m pregnant.” We walked disinterestedly past table after table of rusted tools and crocheted doilies, until something finally snapped me out of my pout.
A stack of R.L. Stine books. And not those shitty Goosebumps books, either. I’m talking the real deal. Gems like “The Babysitter” (and the sequel too, I almost died), “Beach Party” and “The Dead Girlfriend.” I scooped up about eight of them (in preparation for my baby’s future) and held my hand out for Henry’s money. The man behind the table counted my change while a lit cigarette dangled from his lips and I kept leaning back further and further like I was competing in a stationary Limbo, trying to avoid the smoke. It’s amazing what a week of pregnancy will do.
As I happily tucked away the change in my purse, Henry disgustingly asked, “Why is it the only time you take out your wallet is to put my money in it?” It’s funny because it’s true! I love looking at the financial pain on his face. The way it’s been slowly chiseling lines into his flesh–ooh it makes me tingle. And then I realized that I was carrying a bag full of paperback books so I flung it at him and said, “You carry this; I’m pregnant.” 
Playing the pregnancy card rules. Why didn’t I think of this a long time ago?
Minutes after pleading with Henry to buy me this fabulous antique wooden chair with a ten foot tall back (“It can be my pregnancy chair! I’ll sit in it everyday!”), I stumbled upon a table that would change my life forever.
It was a table displaying a wide array of antique political pins. And I wanted. Wanted wanted wanted.
There was one in particular that I couldn’t pry my eyes from. It was the size of a quarter with small silver balls decorating the black velvet edge and the face of some dude was in the middle.
An elderly man came over to help me. I stubbed my finger into the glass case and said, “This one, please.” He pulled out my pin and when he placed it in my hand, I felt goosebumps (and not the lame R.L. Stine kind). 
“That’s from 1896, you know,” he said in between old man shakes. Ooh, the history–I could barely stand it.
“Wow…….who is it, anyway?”
The man laughed, which kind of made me mad, and said, “That’s Bryan. He ran against McKinley.”
I don’t doubt that my face had sprouted undulating question marks, but I still wanted it. “How much?” I asked. I figured I could learn all about this Bryan fellow after I bought it. Henry was standing off to the side, showing us his back. This is what he does when he doesn’t want me to see him laughing. 
“Fifty dollars” the old presidential snob laughed, as if he knew this was too much for me. Well, he was right–this time.
“Oh,” and I handed it back to him.
But don’t think my dreams have been thwarted. I’ve already imagined myself wearing a black beret, boasting that pin on the front for all to admire. I’ll be back. I’m going to collect political pins now. 
I walked away with my head down and Henry tried to cheer me up by reminding me that we could go look at the selection of junk indoors, and maybe I could find some cool necklaces. I wasn’t trying to hear it, but as we crossed the threshold to the building, I stopped abruptly and started sniffing with my head held high. That scent was unmistakable, wafting seductively around my head like a ghost trying to score some oral. This was pretty good considering it was 8:00 AM and the hot dogs weren’t even out yet.
“I want a hot dog. With relish.” I haven’t partook in meat for 10 years and now this dumb kid is trying to make me throw that all away? It hates me already, doesn’t it? “Man, I’ll take anything on a bun right about now,” I moaned.
Henry’s eyes were glazed with shock, but then he started laughing. Sometimes he’s just asking for my fist in his mouth. “Cravings, huh?” No shit, asshole, is that what that is? Thank god for Henry — not only is he a Professional Driver, he’s also a Professional Father. I can already hear it: “Well, when my ex-wife was pregnant…” or “When my original son was born…” Goodie, I can’t wait to have my pregnancy compared to his ex-wife’s. 

And speaking of cravings, gone are the days of sour cream love. I ate so much of it that when we went grocery shopping over the weekend, I almost heaved in the middle of the dairy section. Then this morning, I had a fleeting memory of my sour cream and cracker meals from last week and started dry heaving into my soaped-up hands. Oh god, here it comes again.
I was starting to get angry and was just about to throw a tantrum when the perfect distraction, as if sent by god himself, manifested to my right.
“Oooh! Toys!” There was an entire section filled with stuff like Thomas the Tank Engine (in eighth grade, I signed everyone’s yearbook with my Thomas stamp–I was really into it) and old McDonald’s glasses. This corner had it all. Everything but OJ Simpson stuff, which is what I was really in the mood for. They had Pogs there, which made me think about my OJ Simpson trial Pogs. I even had this really elegant brass (or something like it) slammer that had a picture of Simpson’s face engraved in it, with “Innocent” across the top. I cherished that slammer, and then some jerk in my homeroom stole it from me because it made him “sick.” 
After a hyper Chinese woman held me captive in front of her table for 20 minutes, tempting me with hermit crabs (I just bought another one the day before; I named him Dijon and he and Tabasco are getting along just fine) and bamboo shoots (“They’re good for your mind“), my heroic boyfriend came back and saved me (after ditching me to begin with) and we left to get breakfast.
“Is that good?” I asked as Henry shoveled sausage links into his gyrating mouth.
“What, my sausage? Yes.”
“I bet.” And I went back to silently eating my non-meat, non-taste breakfast.

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Jan 252016
 

After last month’s experience at the Smiling Moose, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to go back there again alone. But Hail the Sun was playing and I really wanted to see them because they bring me great joy, and after the last few week’s of feeling bogged down by…what? Dismal weather? Restlessness? Mental illness? Bad Mexicans? I really needed to get my ass to a show. It had been a month since the last one and that’s just unacceptable.

I was prepared to go alone, especially after Henry ignored the Hail the Sun Facebook invite I sent him. And then yesterday, he sent me a text that said, “Did you get tickets yet? Because it’s sold out.” And my face was flush with panic as my fingers quickly typed in the information to Facebook because one of the local bands on the bill was selling tickets directly and I was prepared to beg them for one. But then Henry was all, “Lol.”

I hate him.

Good thing I asked Janna to watch Chooch because Henry ended up going with me after all! I was in such a great mood because of it that I actually paused outside of the Smiling Moose in order to have a pleasant conversation about my ray-gun purse with some pink-haired lady smoking a cigarette. She asked if it was Betsey Johnson and I was all, “Ha! I wish. If it is, someone accidentally sold it to me for super cheap!” And then we talked about Betsey Johnson’s current line of things while Henry stood there, bored and cold.

That is how you know I’m in a fine mood: when I engage in real life, proper conversations with strangers!

It was happy hour when we got there, so Henry happily went to the bar in the back of the upstairs. For as many times as I have been there, I have never gone to the bar upstairs (only the main one downstairs) because I always go right to the front near the stage and people-watch, i.e. nervously text and tweet while watching people out of the corner of my eye. The first band was still setting up, so I  joined Henry and had whatever Arsenal Cider was on tap. Henry asked the bartender—who was super nice, and one of the best parts of the Smiling Moose; I fucking love their bartenders—what some kind of beer was and a man turned around and said, “If you like IPAs, you will really like that.”

Henry doesn’t like IPAs, whatever that means, so he was like awkwardly trying to thank the guy for his suggestion without actually ordering one.

I stood back there with Henry through two songs from the opening band, Scene Stage the World, but finally Henry sighed and said, “Go. I know it’s killing you” so I happily skipped away to the stage. I liked this band, but no offense to them since I have no clue what the meaning behind it is, but I really hate the name. I’ve had to double check 5 times to make sure I got it right because y brain just won’t accept it as a real thing.

After their set, I weaved my way back to the bar and saw that HENRY AND IPA GUY were talking! They looked like all ‘Nam buddies, too, all casual and comfortable against the bar, beers in hand, until I rolled up and it got awkward real fast. I caught the tail end of their conversation, and Henry was saying something like, “Yeah, I like them” about some band which is probably a total fucking lie because Henry likes nothing. My presence really put a damper on their budding romance though: the conversation seemed to taper off mid-stream and Henry’s new boy toy uncomfortably shifted away from the bar, leaving me and Henry standing there alone. Then he eventually drifted away.

“Whoa, did I interrupt something?” I laughed.

“What? No! He was just telling me that he came here from West Virginia to see that band. One of the guys is his downstairs neighbor or something…”

WHOA, he was telling Henry about his living situation?! UBER INTIMATE.

And that’s when I discovered that Henry, Mr. Ew, IPAs Are Yucky, had an IPA IN HIS HAND.

“It’s actually not bad,” he said, wiping foam off his mustache with the back of his hand. “It’s like….creamy. Here, try it!”

Bitch, get that glass of adultery out of my face.

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Just then, someone walked by and Henry quietly shouted, “IS THAT DONOVAN? HE CUT HIS HAIR.”

For someone who doesn’t like any of the bands I take him to see, he sure as fuck can spot all the members. Yes, Henry, that was indeed the singer of Hail the Sun. Good job!

“That guy has a fake leg,” Henry whispered. “DON’T LOOK! I saw him adjusting it earlier.” This is what Henry does at shows. He rarely looks at the stage. So if you’re ever at a show and see Henry there, you better check yourself because he will definitely be watching.

Like the fucking background creeper that he is.

I ditched Henry again in favor of the second band, False Accusations. Before they even started playing, I felt like I had seen them before because their bassist especially looked very familiar to me. Then they started playing and hearts sprung out from my eye sockets and a crown of blue birds circled around my head.

The guitarist’s dad was in attendance, and he pushed his way through the crowd in order to snap some pics with his flip phone and I melted from the adorableness of it all. Turns out that the dad was also Henry’s fake-leg friend from the bar. He couldn’t wait to tell me afterward.

Anyway, I scoured my blog after their set, determined to figure out where I had seen them before, and it turns out that they were the opening band when we went to see Icarus the Owl 9/2014, but we had arrived during the tail end of their set and never caught their name. WELL, NOW I KNOW.

And this is why I continue to write on this thing regardless if people read it or not, because it sure beats relying on my own memory.

The third band was Makari, and I was excited to see them because I had heard of them and thought they were going to have that Blue Swan vibe that I love. But no. It was like something from a 2008 Rise Records showcase. I mean, they weren’t BAD, but they were kind of boring and the singer was a little annoying.

However, their bassist looked like a young Raising Arizona-era Nic Cage and I pretty  much spent their entire set marveling over that while trying to scream about into Henry’s furry ear. Henry just frowned in disagreement.

Makari doing Makari things. They’re from somewhere in Florida, but the singer told us that he was actually born in ALTOONA, PA which no one was that impressed about but I really wanted to scream, “DID YOU EVER GO TO LAKEMONT PARK!?!?!?” This was the most interesting part of their set for me.

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That’s the wall where I almost died last time.

Before Hail  the Sun came on, I turned around to talk to Henry (trust me, it pained me to do so), and I noticed that two of the guys from Save Us From the Archon were there!

“Henry!” I urgently hissed at him. “I want to congratulate them for getting signed to Tragic Hero!”

“Oh my god,” Henry sighed. “Then just do it.” Which of course kickstarted the hamster wheel of self-doubt in my head. SHOULD I?!?!?! SHOULDN’T I!?!? HOW SHOULD I SAY IT!?!? WHAT IF I STUTTER?!?! Ugh, I hate myself. Some prog-head was chatting their ears off anyway, so that was my sign to just turn back around.
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But then finally, finally, finally it was time for Hail the Sun and I rejoiced! This was maybe the sixth time we saw them live and I have to say, it was definitely my favorite. I love that Donovan is the drummer/singer JUST LIKE PHIL COLLINS but that they have someone slide in for him halfway through the set so that he can get up front and center and scream into our faces. I love watching Aric Garcia do his tight, concise head shakes, and I love watching maniacal Shane Gann show off his skills for all the prog nerds.

Just being there righted so many wrongs. This is the only drug I’ll ever need.

(I mean, unless I end up with some serious illness, then I guess I’ll consider taking actual drugs.)

This song especially rips out my heart every time:

My heart drops when the t-t-telephone rings..

I like turning to Henry afterward and saying, “Maybe…” with a shrug. And he just smirks and rolls his eyes. Because he knows that I’ll probably starve if our lives ever divide.

The crowd was great, better than I could have imagined that night. That’s not to say that it didn’t smell like piss and B.O. up in there, because it still definitely did. Probably more so than the last few times I’ve been there, to be honest.

 

Set List:

  • Will They Blame Me If You Go Disappearing?
  • Cosmic Narcissism
  • Paranoia
  • Rolling Out the Red Carpet
  • Human Target Practice
  • Falling On Deaf Ears
  • Black Serotonin
  • Relax / Divide
  • Ow! (Splidao!) [I Like It, Though]
  • Anti-Eulogy (I Hope You Stay Dead)
    Encore:
  • Railmaster
  • Eight-Ball, Coroner’s Pocket

I wanted to buy merch afterward but Cheap Henry had no cash on him (ON PURPOSE probably) so I was like, “Fine, forget it!” and we left. On the way back to the car though, I saw AJ and Samantha from Save Us From the Archon, so I stopped them and just quickly let the congratulations blurt out of my mouth without thinking too much about it. They were super stoked about it and formally introduced themselves; it was wonderful and I was so thankful that Henry had kept walking because he always makes me feel 150% more stupid about fan-girling. When I caught up with him, he laughed and said, “Happy now?” YES, THANKS.

****

When we got back to our house, I noticed that Janna had driven HER MOTHER’S CAR to our house!

“OMG does she know you drove her car, JANNA?!” I cried while laughing hysterically.

“Yeah!” Janna scoffed, already regretting this poor choice of vehicle. “My car needs inspected so she told me to take hers!” she added defensively.

“BUT DID SHE REALLY!??!” I screamed, practically squatting to keep from peeing my pants. Janna just rolled her eyes. Then I took a picture of Janna’s mom’s car to send to Corey.

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THOSE ARE THE EMOJIS HE USES FOR THE SILHOUETTE OF JANNA’S MOM IN THE WINDOW AS SHE IS BEATING HER AND YELLING AT HER.

OMG, TEARS. This will never get old.

What night, man.

 

 

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Jan 232016
 

Today has mostly consisted of housecleaning and getting to know Drew    Walden, but I keep calling her Drewbarry. I think she’s into us. Chooch was explaining his record player to her, and that was just really adorbs, until he put on his Twenty One Pilots album and she was like “THE FUCK?!” and quickly backpeddaled out of his room. 

 Not quite sure about Trudy.   
Drew shares the same sentiments about this shelf as most people. Right after I took this, she knocked that clown on the top left off the shelf and broke its hand. BUT IT’S ALL GOOD. The person who gave that to me is a creep who is banned from my life so GOOD FOR YOU, CLOWN. 

And then she kicked dirt out of one of my succulent pots but I was like ITS OK. Even though I was internally weeping. 

We got a dumb snow storm so Suzanne wasn’t able to bring the second kitten over, so now we’re going to arrange another kitten exchange later this week. I haven’t had kittens in SIXTEEN YEARS. It was honestly that long ago when Marcy had Don and Willie. (And others too but I somehow found the restraint needed to not keep the entire litter.)

We’re having a small game night tonight so it will be interesting to see if Drew change out. My other cats were basically born and raised in a highly social household, so this was shit was no big deal to them—except for Marcy’s daughter Willie, who just never warmed up to people. I’ll be really sad if Drew isn’t a social butterfly!

It’s weird being able to participate in Caturday and #catsofinstagram again. It feels like forever. But also, it feels like only yesterday when I said goodbye to Marcy. Ugh, life is so cruel. 

In other news, the new Basement record comes out next week and I can hardly stand it!

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Jan 222016
 

All week, I was telling Chooch that we were taking him to a foster home. At first he was like, “Yeah, OK” while laughing to himself and going back to whatever lame YouTube video was currently rotting his brain. But I kept it up, subtle mentions and reminders here and there. I would say things to myself like, “I need to start packing Chooch’s clothes…” pretending like I didn’t know he was listening to me, and he would cry, “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!”

But there was a glimmer of doubt in his eyes. I know what that looks like and I saw it.

Before Chooch left for school Thursday morning, I hugged him and whispered, “I’m really going to miss you.” And then when he and Henry picked me up from work that evening, I asked Henry where all of Chooch’s clothes were.

Henry is really lame (see also: not as twisted as me) and struggled to play along.

“You were supposed to PACK HIS CLOTHES,” I said, making “FOLLOW ALONG, MOTHERFUCKER” eyes at him.

“Oh….yeah. I didn’t have time. I, um, brought that blanket though,” Bad Actor mumbled.

“I know you’re lying!” Chooch spat, shaking his head and looking out the window. And then, realizing that we weren’t going the normal way home, he nervously asked, “OK seriously though, where are we going?”

I kept saying “your new home” while Henry said, “Don’t worry about it” until finally, Chooch got so frustrated that he willed himself to fall asleep.

When we arrived at our destination in McKeesport, I woke Chooch up. He looked all around and saw a woman, presumably his new mom, standing in her driveway.

“I’ll just wait here,” he spat, trying to pull the car door shut.

(Wow, as I’m writing this, I can see why Wendy called me a rotten mother…I’m totally like my own mother! She would have 100% done this same thing to me. But you have to understand something: this is what we do in our house. We are deep into psychological games up in this piece and TRUST ME – Chooch gives it right back. His memoirs are going to be rockin’ someday.)

The only way I could get Chooch to come out of the car was by finally telling him I was just kidding. Even then, he was skeptical.

***

Last month, Sandy told me that her friend Suzanne had some kittens who needed homes, and for a minute, I was all about it. I sent Suzanne a message on Facebook, but by the next day, I was so overwhelmed with guilt and grief over Marcy that had something of an emotional breakdown. I sobbed so hard, that even hours later when Henry and I were at Target, I was doing that involuntary shudder-sniffle. YOU KNOW THE ONE. My eyes were all red and swollen, people probably thought Henry and I had just come inside to grab some toilet paper and Tim Tams after having a domestic dispute in the parking lot.

So I had to tell Suzanne that I changed my mind. And I felt like a gigantic asshole.

But then on Tuesday, I heard Sandy talking about how there were still three kittens left and that it was almost shelter time. I quickly texted my friend Evonne to see if she could spread the word, because she is a big cat person. Within five minutes, she had me completely turned around and I was sending Suzanne a message on Facebook without thinking twice.

Or even consulting Henry. Shocking.

Evonne is just really good at clearing my head. She made me realize that if I’m not ready now, I’m probably really never going to be ready….so I might as well just rip off the Band-aid and take one for the team, because Chooch has been slowly dying in our cat-less abode.

***

And that’s how we ended up at a virtual stranger’s home in McKeesport, 8:00 on a regular Thursday night.

I will be honest and admit that I cried a few times yesterday at work every time I looked at Marcy’s picture (I have many scattered around) and at one point whispered, “Please don’t hate me, Marcy.” I mean, I know she’s down with her father Satan right now, watching me and Chooch squeezing new kittens, and she’s laughing and thinking, “Better those dumb cats than me!” I didn’t even tell many people that we were doing this because I was worried I was going to back out.

Turns out, Suzanne is an awesome lady and she was so understanding of my previous wishy-washy behavior. We were walking into the house when Suzanne thanked me for coming all the way out there. If I had just picked a cat from the pictures she sent me, she would have gladly the kitten to my house. But I had to be difficult and ask to see all three because I thought it would be fun to surprise Chooch and let him choose. Because that’s how I was coping with this process–by trying to convince myself that this was going to be Chooch’s pet.

Suzanne took us to the basement where the kittens were, and once she was finally able to corral them all out of their hiding spaces, I asked Chooch which one he wanted.

“WE’RE GETTING ONE!?” he cried, like actually cried. Just a little bit though, and he’ll probably try to deny it, but I saw a few optic wets on his face.

Of course Chooch didn’t pick the one I had my eye on since December, so Suzanne jokingly said, “You know, you could take two if you really wanted.”

“HENRY CAN WE?!” I begged, and Suzanne quickly apologized to Henry and swore she was just joking.

But Henry just shrugged and mumbled, “Whatever you want.”

SO I GOT MY KITTEN TOO.

However, these little babies weren’t easy to wrangle, so we settled on just Chooch’s for that night, and Suzanne said she would bring mine to our house another day since it was getting so late and it was beginning to look futile.

I was pretty much in a stupor the entire time we were there. Of course I’m excited about this new kitten, and the arrival of the other one, but it’s still pretty tough on me. I miss each one of the Original Crew so desperately. (Yes, even No Personality Willie.)

The first night was pretty sad for Chooch’s pal, understandably. She was frightened and disoriented, but hung around long enough for Chooch to name her Nightmare.

She slept in my bed for about 20 minutes before HENRY moved abruptly and scared her away. Fuckin’ Henry.

This morning, she was very interested in exploring Chooch’s stinky room. He changed her name to Drew Walden then, after his favorite singers: Christofer Drew of Never Shout Never and Bradley Walden of Emarosa. I definitely co-signed this.

When he left for school, Drew Walden cried like a baby.

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I thought maybe I’d leave the TV on for her today, so I put on Animal Planet and she was 100% NOT into it.

But by this evening, she seems to have definitely made herself at home. She adores Henry which is ugh-worthy, she’s litter-trained, and she is also fucking psycho, so she basically fits in fine. I think she’ll be even happier once her sister gets here, too.

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About twice an hour, I start to cry because Marcy really broke me, you guys. I worry that I won’t love these new additions like I loved the others. I know that it will get easier and that this was the right thing to do, because they needed a home and Chooch needs cats like he needs air. I guess I’m just so afraid of going through it all again.

But then kitten-y antics like this happen, and I’m all “THANK GOD WE HAVE A CAT AGAIN”:

So thank you, Sandy. You thought you ruined my weekend last month when you told me about the kittens, but look! It all worked out!

(P.S. Marcy, I will still always love you most! Please don’t be mad at me! I mean, even more mad than normal!)

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Jan 212016
 

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I was joking the other day at work about how trouble follows me everywhere I go in that department, and why when I am clearly such a sweet, innocent, demure human being!? And it got me thinking about other jobs I had, where I was a holy terror on purpose and gave no fucks about it, because what was the worst that was going to happen? I was going to quit after three days and my mom would still pay my rent.

Rinse and repeat.

But if I had to pick a place that got the best version of Asshole Erin, it was definitely Echostar.

PICTURE IT: The year was 1998. I had recently lost the only steady job I ever had, as a telemarketer for Olan Mills Portrait Studio—which, coincidentally, is how I met the guy who got me to take the only bus ride of my life, which I mentioned last week. Joey was one of my cold calls (as opposed to those on the coveted and golden PAST CUSTOMER LIST) and after letting me pant my way through the whole portrait package spiel, he laughed and said, “Well, that sounds really great, except I don’t need it because I’m a photographer.” Turns out, he was in Pittsburgh going to the Art Institute for photography, and we REALLY HIT IT OFF over the phone. Like, instant connection. This is how people used to hook up back in the day! Over the phone, on sales calls. Anyway, my supervisor was starting to catch wind that I was no longer trying to make a sale, or at least, not the kind of sale I was being paid to make, so I quickly gave him my number and then we proceeded to stay up all night on the phone when I got home that evening and before I knew it, we were making wedding plans, moving to Montana, and buying a sheepdog. I mean, until I actually met him and then it was “……” But I still got on a bus with him and went to his place on the Southside, because I’m fucking smart.

OK OK, so our Olan Mills telemarketing branch got shut down (thanks, Internet) and my mom was started to put pressure on me to find something else. There was another telemarketing job after that, where I sold a credit card terminal to a tattoo shop and then got a free (and shitty) tattoo out of it, because back then I had A Personality and it was impossible for me to not make friends over the phone. Now I won’t even ANSWER the phone. So by this point, I had myself pigeon-holed to the telemarketing industry. It was apparently the only skill I had attained somehow. That’s a little known fact about dropping out of high school: you’re spilled out into this holding cell while everyone else is running off to college like normal, functioning humans, and you’re given two options: drugs or telemarketing. I had a mild interest in drugs back then, but then my friend Brian got me a job at Olan Mills and totally ruined that plan.

After quitting the credit card terminal place, I applied at Echostar (Dish Network), which had just opened a huge call center in McKeesport and it was like A Really Big Deal for us people who weren’t qualified to do anything much greater than bag groceries. It was so new that the call center wasn’t even finished, so the training classes were being held in this really old joint called the Peoples Building, and it was such a shady area that we had to have security guards escort us from the building to the parking garage every night. (Evening classes, ya’ll.)

What I will always remember the most about this job is that I started on the Monday directly after returning from Philly, where I had attended the Dracula’s Ball with my friend Cinn. I almost didn’t show up for my first class at all because my eyebrow piercing had become so infected from all the glitter I was wearing that evening, plus the fact that the new hoop was shoved in forcefully by some guy who looked like the guy Happy Gilmore shot with a nail gun to the point where I PASSED OUT IN HIS SHOP and woke up on a couch with him standing above me, holding a paper towel saturated with my blood, saying, “Wow, look how much you bled!” So all of these factors led to an eventual infection which caused my eyelid to swell up and I had to walk into this class room with my hair covering one side of my face, looking like I was trying to hide a black eye. But then I was like “Fuck it” and just started flaunting it and that was how I made a bunch of friends in that class on my very first day, by being the youngest person in the class who had a gross piercing story to share as an introduction.

(I ended up going to the emergency room right after class that night, where a doctor had to cut the ring out of my face while a nurse watched on and said, “This is exactly why I told my daughter she’s never getting pierced.”)

At the start of this first class, our trainer Mike had us go around the room and say our name with a descriptive adjective that started with the same letter. I fucking love these things because I’m a nerd, so when it was my turn, I shot out of my seat and cried, “EFFERVESCENT ERIN!” Everyone in the class laughed at  my enthusiasm, and that was basically the start of Mike’s infinite disdain for me.

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There were lots of tests and POP QUIZZES.

The class was a month long. We had to learn all about the company, customer service, operating the company’s computer system, and all of the various cable packages they offered. It was kind of like telemarketing and support combined: we had to help customers with issues they might be experiencing with their service while trying to upsale them at the same time. I was kind of torn, because I used TCI for my digital cable and I was obsessed with it. (This was pre-Comcast.) I loved TCI so much that I turned down a pretty nice apartment when I found out that the cable used in that area was ADELPHIA.

P-U.

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I sincerely wish I had stayed in touch with these people. They were fucking nuts.

So my heart was never really in this job from the get-go. (I mean, how much of a heart could one really put into this sort of job, anyway?) Class quickly became less of learning and more of an opportunity to hide behind computer terminals while passing notes and giggling with my new friends, Bobbie (a girl), Roniece, and Letecia.

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These girls though. They were the only reason I kept coming back to that class, night after night. One time, I arrived in tears because my pet frog Hubert had died that day. They helped me eulogize him on our break, and it was the sweetest thing that I will never forget. THEY WERE MY RIDE OR DIES, obviously, except that no one said that in 1998.

We were totally the bad kids, and very quickly we became A Class Divided: there was us and a handful of the other younger people plus some of the soccer moms (surprisingly) and then there were the Others, made up of the older women and the people who were surprisingly actually there to learn. They would get so fucking irate every time Mike would have to stop class to chastise one of us. It got really bad too, and if us Bad Kids wound up in the same place as some of the Others during our dinner break, they would get so ruffled and tight-lipped, like we had just sleazily oozed over the threshold, flicking our switchblades open and closed, popping our gum, and making cunnilingus Vs with our fingers.

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It was like being in college after all! Lol, j/k.

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One of the girls in our group got bitched at by Mike because he found out that she was sneaking out onto the fire escape to smoke. So then he had to have the building manager come up and lock the door to the fire escape, which made us scream dramatically about, “BUT WHAT IF THERE IS A FIIIIIIIRRRREEEEE?!” while cracking up behind his back.

There is one moment that stands out the most for me though, and that was the day we were learning how to add notes to customers’ accounts. The company was smart enough to make sure we were on a training server, so all of the customers were Jane and John Does. Trainer Mike was having each one of us take turns going into the fake accounts and adding notes based on the scenarios he read to us, so after the note was “published,” it would show up on everyone’s computer. I quickly realized that if I skipped ahead, I could add fake notes and then everyone else would see them by the time we made it to that particular account.

I quickly alerted my homegirls about this and we all giddily forged ahead and began adding childish notes, the only one I for sure remember was “Our trainer sucks ass.” NOT SAYING THAT WAS MINE.

But it was mine.

Needless to say, when the rest of the class, and Mike, stumbled upon these, there was a major uproar. The people on our side laughed and appreciated the effort of our antics, while the nerdy ones were appalled at our juvenile behavior and began clucking and whatever else old bitches do when they’re mad at the Youth of Today.

Mike was furious. I mean, this was his breaking point. You could practically see his pupils turning into boiling point thermostats, the veins popping out of his forehead like someone REALLY WAIST DEEP in some late night viewing of The Erotic Network, the LARGE FONT letters queuing up in his brain before exploding out into a “I DON’T GET PAID ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT” rant.

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When Mike eventually regained his composure—kind of—he pounded his fist against his desk and demanded that whomever did this, speak up.

Of course none of us did. And he definitely could narrow down the suspect pool to three. But Bobbie, Roniece and I just hunkered down lower, our faces red from stifled laughter.

Then he started threatening us.

“If no one comes forward, then the whole class will suffer!” he roared, and this made the Other Half of the class pivot in their seats, thrusting their fingers at the three of us, screaming about life’s injustices and their inability to get a good Echostar education thanks to our disruptive behavior and basic tomfoolery. Still, we wouldn’t take the blame.

(This morning, I was actually telling Henry this story, and through tears of laughter I said, “Can you believe those bitches were so upset over that? What losers.”

“Yeah, imagine being concerned about your job,” Henry dryly replied.)

Mike then told us that the CEO of the company, Charlie Something-Or-Other, was coming to town to deal with this, that the fucking CEO OF THE COMPANY was flying in from COLORADO just to YELL AT OUR WHOLE CLASS.

Like, OK sure, Mike. We all knew he was coming in because the grand opening of the Pittsburgh location was that weekend. But still we were sure surprised the next night when fucking Charlie himself made a guest appearance in our dumb classroom, and proceeded to lecture us about respecting Mike, how he puts a great deal of effort into employing the BEST TRAINERS to provide the rest of us with the knowledge we need to succeed within the company. Mike stood to his right, hands clasped behind his back, looking smugger than a motherfucker grading Echostar tests.

It was fucking surreal. I loved/hated every moment of it. I think we were simultaneously proud that our actions warranted such a dramatic response, but also stunned that we didn’t get fired when we probably should have.

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Hilariously, that one lady back there in the pink turtleneck was the wife of some dude who worked at my family’s drywall company, so she would go home and tell him about all the shit-stirring I did, and he in turn would go to work and tell my mom. The phone calls I got from my mom was fantastic. “What are you doing over there?!” she would cry. “Please don’t embarrass me!” But that dude’s wife was actually cool as shit; she was on our side and thought the whole situation was hysterical. When the “Goody-Goodies” started to rally against us, she gave me a big pep talk outside on the sidewalk and told me that they were just angry old women who had no joy in their lives and to not let them get me down. I mean, these broads went full-throttle Mean Girls on us, which was stupid because we weren’t directing any of our antics against them. We were just a bunch of goofy idiots who were bored at studying the various remote controls that came with the satellite dishes. I was nineteen — of course I didn’t take this job seriously!

But you know, looking back on it — wow I was a fucking douche bag.

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This was my life for a whole month.

Somehow, we all managed to make it to the end of the month-long training course, but the real victory is that we all PASSED THE TEST. It was time for us to move to the newly-built call center and begin our live training, head-sets and all. But first, we decided amongst ourselves that we should celebrate during our last class.

Even Trainer Mike was on board with having a party, but he was definitely partying for much different reasons.

I volunteered to get a cake, which was no skin off my back because all I had to do was call Mommy and tell her to deal with it.

“What do you want it to say?” she asked.

“I don’t know….;this class sucks’,” I joked. Then we went on to talk about other things, probably me whining about all the things I wanted her to buy me.

The next day, and I remember this vividly because it was a bad day, I had to leave my apartment to go to the mall and pick up the cookie cake. But first, I realized that I forgot my car keys, and how I realized this was that I was unable to open my car door with the CORDLESS PHONE that I left the house with instead of my key chains. And then I couldn’t open the apartment door because my apartment key was on the keychain so I had to call my mom (on the cordless!) to come and open my door with the spare key she had. Even back then, I was a spaz about being late. I have ALWAYS been a spaz about being late.

(Hey 1998 Erin, never change.)

By the time I had my keychain, I was in pedal-to-the-metal mode and floored it to the mall, where I said, “Nah!” when the Original Cookie people asked if I wanted to see the cookie cake before they put it in the bag. Then, several feet away from the stupid Peoples Building, I merged into the right lane and didn’t see that there was a car in my blind spot so then I had to pull over and deal with THAT nonsense.

And so I was late. And in a really shitty mood. Which didn’t get much better when Bobbie lifted the lid of the cookie cake to reveal that it boasted a delicious declaration of This Class Sucks.

“Fucccccck,” I whispered. “I thought my mom knew I was joking!” And then I played back our conversation and realized I never told her what I actually wanted the stupid fucking cake to say.

I was nearly about to cry because everything kept happening! But then I was like, “Fuck it, I’m probably going to quit this job anyway, so who cares.” And it turns out, Mike definitely didn’t care! He came over, swiped off the “cl” with one swift motion of his finger, and then started cracking up.

I guess we kind of made up that day, over pizza and unfortunate cake sentiments. But honestly, I think he was just really fucking giddy about never having to deal with us hooligans again.

I mean, look at how innocent I was! This was also when I was going through a heavy goth phase, in that I spent most of my free time in a goth chatroom, listened to goth music, and had goth Internet friends. I never went full-fledged goth, but LOOK AT HOW PALE I WAS. So I would go to my training class every night and teach all of my new, normal friends things about Dracula’s Ball, Sisters of Mercy, and Darkchat. Their response was always, “Giiiiiiirl.….” paired with the raised eyebrow of skepticism.

I did end up quitting right after we “graduated.” It just wasn’t for me. I saw Bobbie once afterward, when we met at Nigro’s, a lounge down the street from Echostar. And the next summer, I hung out with Roniece and it will forever be known as The Night I Died On The Street In Front of a Strip Club In Braddock; but earlier that evening, Roniece’s grandma saved my friend Keri from possibly dying from a bee sting, so the day was clearly full of second chances. I kept in touch with Leticia the longest out of all of them, and dragged her to the Denis Theater twice to see “white people movies” which she bitched about on the way there and then gushed over the way home. (“Shakespeare In Love” and “American Beauty” lol.) I even visited her a few years later when she had a baby. But eventually, I lost touch with her too. I wish I could remember their last names so I could Facebook-stalk them.

Anyway, the moral to this story is that I am not even close to being a troublemaker at my current job, even though Todd thinks I’m a “bully.” So there.

(I think I actually am kind of a bully though.)

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