Oct 202017
 


Wednesday was picture day and I decided that I better take my own pre-picture because he never fails to eff up his hair between leaving home and saying “cheese!” or “organic locally-source hummus!” or whatever nutritious PC thing schools pretend to care about these days. 

There are a lot of attitudinal things I dislike about the age 11, but mostly Middle School Chooch has been pretty cool to observe. Dude is serious as fuck about his school work, has a good group of friends (and not that hoodlum DAVID SHITFER*), and is funny as fuck. 

*(NOT HIS REAL NAME.)

Here are some Chooch Tales. 

  • Last week we were en route to a haunted house and out of nowhere, he blurted out with passion, “Just once in my life, I want to cut down a tree.”  His anger seemed unreasonable but I’ve never wanted to cut down a tree so who am I to say. 
  • Almost every night, we take a walk around the neighbors, just us two, and have spirited conversations about grammar, the characters of Brookline, school drama — it’s so much fun and we always come home with something to tell Henry because Brookline is always poppin’ you guys. Like last night for example, a dead leaf wanted to walk with us so we all skipped down the sidewalk together, and then we overheard a super vitriolic domestic argument coming from one of the houses and it was chilling. 
  • Today was parent teacher conferences and I’m proud to say that Chooch is super-loved up in that school. I always feel like I’m walking around with a celeb when I’m there with him. His Communications teacher is this older black woman who is challenging him so hard and I love her for it. She said he is one of only two people in the class who has an A because everyone else is having such a hard time adjusting to middle school. Then we ran into his Second Family who I have actually never met and the mom came over and gave me a big hug and gushed about how much they love having Chooch over and how he is the spitting image of me. The communications teacher said it too! I love when this happens because it feels like I scored a point against all the jerkbuns who say he looks like Henry. Then we chilled with the VP and talked about PVRIS because that’s what level we’re on over there. Oh! And his one teacher from last year shouted down the hall, “What’s up Riley! You going to see GWAR this weekend?” because now he’s notorious with some of the male teachers  for meeting GWAR at Warped Tour lol. 
  • Hey speaking of Chooch’s celebrity status, we were on a family walk (lol) back from the local coffee joint when some broad yelled hello to Chooch from her car. Who the fuck was that, I asked. Oh, she lives across from Bob. She has two Corgis. Bob, you may remember, is the older man a few streets away who Chooch befriended because he too has a Corgi. Chooch has so many neighborhood friends. Which reminds me that I never wrote about his cookie dough sales from last month. There’s a lot of words for that one so I’ll have to get back to you. 
  • In case you were wondering, Chooch still hates pretty much everything that I like. Today, he said, “ugh I just noticed that you’re using a kimchi jar as a succulent pot.” His voice was full of disgust and contempt. Two of his least-favorite things about me, colliding!
  • Chooch wants to be this alligator hoop skirt thing for Halloween, thanks Wicker Man pagan procession:


(Henry just yelled THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TIME!)

  • Chooch’s favorite Kpop song is GO GO by BTS. 
  • He’s excited to go to South Korea because they have a raccoon cafe, it’s all he cares about. Of all the millions of awesome things there….

I guess that’s it for now. We’re currently en route to Royal Oak, Michigan and I need to talk Henry’s ear off. 

PEACE OUT GIRL SCOUT. 

Oct 192017
 

Castle Blood: 2017 (Nostalgia Tour?)

Saturday, October 14th we went to Castle Blood and I’m not going to tell you too much detail what happens because it might ruin the fun for you. 

First, in the beginning where you get info on what you have to scavenge for, this year there was a clock in the middle of the room and you pick a number and the number you pick is the year of a random tour that has the items you have to search for. The kid in our group picked 6, so it gave us the year 2006 which was a Witch’s Goblet, Web, and a Widow. With the web it allegedly was a token but we ended up not getting it because we couldn’t solve the puzzle.

Also, in the part where we go up the stairs, we couldn’t get up because we had to tell a Halloween joke to get approved. So I panicked because I wish my friend was here because she is a jokester!

I stuttered and said, “U-mm, what- what does- is a ghost’s favorite -fruit- berry?”

There was a brief uncomfortable moment of silence and while people stared at me I gulped and said awkwardly, “A “booberry”, oh haha!”

The guy who asked us stood there perplexed and said, “Umm, I guess, umm, I guess that will be acceptable.”

I stood there all flustered and hopeful to get the beads because I like being praised, but he bequeathed the beads to the other kid and he was pronounced the leader of the faction. The kid strolled up the stairs like he ran the place and I slowly trampled up behind him.

The next most important part was how we searched for a specific piece of glass around the place, I won’t tell what it is, you will have to find out yourself.

We made it to the lab where there was a puzzle to get the token, but it ended up being too challenging so we didn’t get it. I sensed the blood rushing up to my brain about to burst because I felt agony. Agony from not solving the puzzle.

Then, there was a funeral and mum was picked to kneel down to the corpse (Freddy?) and say that she misses him. Which then some girl had to put the roses/flowers in one of the heads that she thinks could be Freddy’s and then the head would talk and say like thank you and stuff. Then we got a glass piece.

Then there was a part where I got sprayed by like water. It was a part with a spider queen and she asked if we had anything for her and we all said no and she told us to leave. Then one of her baby spiders sprayed me because I was standing right next to it. 

Finally, we got to the part where we would get the witch’s goblet. The witch said that she had some glass transforming thing that turned glass into (not telling) and she took our glass piece and put it in a pot. 

Then she pulled out a goblet out of the other pot and said, “Hmm, this isn’t a (not telling) I’ll just put it back.”

So she reached for the other pot and was about to drop it, so I said, “Oh no, don’t do that! We need that goblet!”

“Need it? Why would you need a goblet?”

“For a quest.”

Ahh I see, so here you go,” and she handed it to me and I refused.

I said, “Oh no, give it to him he needs it,” and I pointed at the other kid.

She handed the goblet to the kid and his dad snatched it from him, and then they started “brawling” and “screeching”.

That was the end of the quests and we got our fangs along with some oozing red candy as blood for the fangs. In my opinion, Castle Blood was marvelous because I loved the part where I got to tell a joke, I loved all of the puzzles, and I love how the actors take good responsibility with their roles. They really take part in their characters! You should all go and enjoy yourself.

So enjoy your day and stay tuned because I will be doing another Haunted post pretty soon!


 

 

Oct 182017
 

There was this cute cafe down the street from my work that I liked – Umbrella Cafe. I mean, technically I was only there twice, but the one time I had some kind of vegetarian goulash that made me feel like I was making out with a Romanian. It was wonderful and rustic!

Anyway, like most good things, it closed up around the beginning of summer and I was so sad. “You act like you ate there everyday,” Henry scoffed. (I guess I do this a lot.)

Shortly after, a large piece of paper went over the window that said “Bae Bae’s Kitchen coming soon” with a cute little outline of a house. For some reason, I thought that maybe it was going to be Southern comfort food? I kept picturing someone’s adorable grandmother who goes by the name Bae Bae, pulling out some fucking delicious corn bread from an oven and setting it down next to a platter of fried okra.

Months went by without an update, until one day a few weeks ago, there was a new sign next to the door, kind of not easy to see unless you’re actively searching for clues, which I was (I have little going on in my life, you guys, please let me have some thrills). On this new sign, I saw my favorite word in the whole entire world: KOREAN.

A FREAKING KOREAN RESTAURANT WAS GOING IN DOWNTOWN!

Immediately though, I wondered if it was going to be some kind of American-Korean bastardization because it seems like all of the “hip” American restaurants lately have some kind of twist to Korean cuisine on the menu. And Pittsburgh has very few traditional Korean restaurants. So I wondered.

Finally, it opened, but of course it was the week I was off work. Several people texted me about it and I was like HELLO I HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THIS. Lori said she would go with me, because she was with me one of the two whole times I went to the Umbrella Cafe, so it seemed fitting to ask her. But then she wasn’t at work on Monday or Tuesday and I wasn’t sure of her whereabouts and didn’t even consider to check the department calendar. I figured I would just wait it out. I’d make it there sooner or later.

But then! I walked past it yesterday on my break and my heartstrings were all sorts of tugged and tangled. I started to keep walking but then something in my gut stopped me and I backpedaled my ass straight into Bae’s Bae’s Kitchen, where I was greeted by a friendly Korean girl wearing a bandanna in her hair, and I was immediately so happy, why am I this way.

This is one of those joints where you order at the counter, so I walked up with a purpose and when the guy behind it said hello to me, I blurted out, “I HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE” and he was like, “OK! Let me help you…” He started explaining to me what various menu items were and I was trying so hard not to be a Hallyu know-it-all, so I just kept nodding and let him finish. I asked if the kimbap (I pronounced it the correct way, thanks) had meat in it, and he showed me that there was also a vegan version.

“Are you vegan?” he asked, and I said I was just vegetarian.

“I just pretend like I don’t know that kimchi is made with anchovies,” I laughed.

“I’m pescatarian, myself,” he said, and I savored this beautiful moment of camaraderie. I WAS HOME. Then he started to explain to me what japchae is and I was like, “Dude, I have like four bags of that in my house right now” except that I just smiled giddily instead.  You guys, you should have seen me. I was literally bouncing from foot to foot with my hands clasped under my chin.

I had already eaten my daily oatmeal lunch (I’m a sad person), so I decided to just get something light for that day. I opted for a take-out container of vegan kimbap, kimchi, and milk tea.

“Do you want boba in that?” he asked me, and when I exclaimed, “Yes!” he gave me a smile of approval.

“You get to pick a straw!” he said, offering me a selection of fat, neon straws. I picked pink, of course. And then he handed me my receipt with both hands!!!!!!

While I waited for him to finish making my milk tea, I gushed about how excited I was that they opened up downtown, and he thanked me. I wanted to be like, “I AM GOING TO SOUTH KOREA NEXT MARCH!” and also “DO YOU LIKE RUNNING MAN?!!?!?” but I took deep breaths and forced myself to bring it down a notch.

“There are utensils over there,” he said, pointing across the restaurant and in my head I was like, “LOL, OK, I have chopsticks in my desk, but thanks.”

I wanted to take some pictures of the interior and the menu, but I was the only one in there (it was after 2pm, so kind of an off-hour) and felt like everyone working there was paying attention to me. So I left with my food and immediately called Henry.

“Was he Korean?” he asked me after I told him about my exchange with the guy at the counter. Like I said, we weren’t sure if this was going to be some Americanized joint, so it was a valid question.

“Yes, they all were,” I answered.

“Did you just say ‘we all were’?!” Henry asked incredulously.

“No, I said they all were…” I said, but to be honest, I was a bit unsure and kept trying to play it back in my head.

“You totally said ‘we.’ Wow, what a Freudian slip,” Henry laughed. Fuck off Henry.

***

I was still on a Bae Bae’s high today and was telling some of my co-workers about it.

“You could have just checked the calendar!” Lori said when I told her I went without her because I didn’t know when she was going to be back in the office. “We could have went today!” And then later, I accidentally left her off of a department-wide email, so I’m losing points with her left and right. Now she will never make me another Special Event countdown calendar!

Meanwhile, I had talked such a good game that Todd was totally geared up to check this place out today for lunch.

“Where is it, again?” he asked.

“It’s down by where my favorite homeless person sits,” I said matter-of-factly, and Todd knew exactly where I meant because I have dragged everyone down into my crazed abyss. Unfortunately, Todd was on late shift today so he got to Bae Bae’s at 4 and apparently they were only serving drinks at that time because they were preparing to open back up for dinner at 5.

Lauren said she could appreciate that, but Todd was all, “I walked so far out of my normal radius for that!” But then Amber suggested that maybe our next group team building exercise could be lunch at Bae Bae’s. SHE IS THE BEST!

(Would it be embarrassing if I ask them if they’re named after a BIGBANG song?)

Oct 172017
 

Being off work for an entire week right after I began my ambush decorating really slowed my roll. It especially sucked that I wasn’t there when two of my coworkers got to see their newly Halloweened offices.

However, it gave me some time to collect my thoughts for the (most likely) final horror set.  Trust me, I was really pumped when it hit me that I could turn Jill’s office into a Wicker Man shrine.

#NotTheNicholasCageOne

I spent Sunday afternoon sitting Indian-style on the floor, hot-gluing popsicle sticks while watching South Korea travel blogs. This is my life. I also ran around the house, collecting other things I needed, like some of our old plastic animal masks and Chooch’s stuffed rabbit.

I barely said hello to anyone when I got in Monday morning, I was in such a rush to get this shit done before Jill arrived. Debby and Marlene watched with great interest.

“Oh, and there’s the rabbit mask! Oh, and there’s the sheet music!” Marlene exclaimed as I set out each object.

“Have you seen The Wicker Man?” I asked excitedly, after being certain that this one might wind up being the most obscure set yet, even more than last year’s Ju-On (or, you know, Lou-On).

“No I have no idea what this is,” Marlene said, and then she and Debby cracked up. I tried to give them a quick run-down and they were just like, “Wow. How many Academy Awards did that win?”

“Christopher Lee was in it!” I said all defensively, and they just laughed harder.

My life, you guys!

Image result for summer is incumen in

This is the old-as-fuck English round that the crazy Pagans sing at the end of the movie.

#NOTTHENICHOLASCAGEONE!!!!!!!

Summerisle was well-known for their apples. 

“KILLING ME WON’T BRING BACK YOUR APPLES!”

Anonymous letter received by Sergeant Howie, the protagonist, asking him to come to Summerisle and help find a missing girl named Rowan Morrison.

Picture from one of the creepy harvest festivals and a March hare, which represents the missing girl. 

Green Man Inn is where Howie stays while he’s in town and it’s full of debauchery. MY KIND OF INN.

“Oh, I know that movie,” Todd said disgustedly when I was telling him I decorated Jill’s desk. “It was so stupi—-”

“NOT THE NICHOLAS CAGE ONE!!!!!!” I shouted. Ugh! His version was a desecration of the original, a motherfucking disgrace.

Anyway, I stopped by Jill’s office later in the morning to see if she liked it and she seemed….thrilled! I would target everyone there if I had the time/energy/brain power. There’s one other one that I MIGHT do if I can find the time, but it’s looking like I might skip it. But happily, I still haven’t spent more than $10 on this whole thing!

***

I was inspired to watch (THE ORIGINAL) Wicker Man Sunday night, after getting all of my props together. I let Chooch watch it with me because I forgot how much freaking nudity is in it, so that was goddamn fantastic. Then yesterday, I came home from and he was like, “LOOK AT WHAT I TAUGHT MYSELF” and when he put his hands together, I thought it was going to be more sign language because he’s been learning that in gifted this year, BUT NO IT WAS THE FUCKING SONG THE WEIRDO BOYS SING AT THE MAY POLE IN WICKER MAN.

“OMG please do not ever sing that in school,” I begged him, and he was like, “Duh.”

I am the worst parent ever.

Later, on our nightly walk, he blurted out, “The Wicker Man was so good. I LOVED it. Like, a lot.” Yeah, I wonder why?!

Oct 162017
 

Friday, October 13, 2017 we went to Dark View in Toronto, Ohio with Janna and it was sweet.

In this picture I’m biting my nails because I’m “spooked”.

It was chilly while we were there and of course, like most haunted houses, there was smoke so it smelled like (smoke?).

We were waiting for some one else to get in line so we weren’t the first people because that would be really annoying and we would be the first targets and we would be the first people the guys terrorize.

I guess it was a bad idea to wait because we were the second people but we had to wait for like three more groups because of FREAKING V.I.P! V.IP always ruins everything. The host dude thing guy was telling us a (fake? true?) story, it was debatable.

It was normal and it was definitely a fake story because it was like “Pretty Boy Floyd was killed by my Grandfather. Don’t believe that the government killed him.”

Then it took a dark turn and it kind of sounded true because you wouldn’t make stuff up like this, and in the rural Trump-lovin’ area we were in, it was definitely true. Then since our groups were switched because V.I.P took half of our group we were left with these three pre-adults and they were cool, not annoying at all. (no for real, not sarcasm).

Then the three guys had to get marked to get in, but before that he had to give someone his flashlight and walking stick so he gave them to mum and she was like super excited. (I was forced to write this. Lol). Then the guy drew a butt on one of their wrists and then on the other was a spaghetti factory throwing up or something.

Then those three guys didn’t hear the story so the man was like, “I will tell you guys the history of this house.”

Then I said, “Ugh!”

He glanced at me and said, “OK, you don’t have to hear it.”

So he told the story and I stood there and waited, then we were finally going to go but the guy, let’s call him Sal, grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “You’re going first.”

I said, “Umm, No thank you.” And I walked back to our group.

He pulled me back and said, “You’re going first.”

So I went with it and walked in the shed which we had to go in before we did the attractions.

I sat at the end of one of the benches that were in there but the guy tapped me on the shoulder again and said, “No, you sit here,” as he pointed to the middle of the bench.

I asked, “Why?”

He walked away and closed the door, then the lights shut off and some dragon thing started moving and talking, it was just going over the rules like ,”Don’t touch anything, and nothing will touch you,” Boring… *Snore*

One part in the house we went into some ritual room to keep the ghosts away, and we had to do a chant (I don’t remember it, I think it was German or Russian or Gibberish) but at one point we had to form a circle and hold each others hand but when it came to daddy and one of the kids to hold each others hand, he refused. Which made the kid sad. (He cried, go to his Go Fund Me page and donate money to cure him of his depression) Comment #CureThatKid if you made it this far!

Then there was a trail and there a tree dude and I said, “Groot!” but he ignored me. );

But there was also a leaf guy and I said, “Groot’s brother!” but he also ignored me. )’:

That was the end of my sadness but then it was my joy because Michael Myers was there and I could say that mum loves him and he can follow her, which he did.

Finally we made it to a circus and it was AMAZING.

There was the main clown who lead us through the whole time and we met him at the Kissing Booth and he asked, “Does anyone want to kiss?”

He looked at daddy and said, “How ’bout you, you Big Beautiful Bearded Man, wanna give me a kiss?”

But yet again Henry made another person sad, because he likes to spread his hate all over.

So the clown led us and then this fat guy peeked over the fence and started talking to us.

“Who’s excited to see The Fat Man?? I have eyes and a smile on my belly!”

Then the main clown was like, “No one does, go away,”

Then some conversation was going on but I forget most of it.

Then we went through a maze and I lead because I’m a beautiful Corgi, and I hit a dead end then I turned around and pulled another flap and saw a guy in a hat standing there, but I squeezed passed him and exited.

Then we ended up with the fat man guy, but before that there was a gymnast who was saying, “If you liked it clap twice, and if you don’t like it clap twice because he will beat me,” and he pointed at the main clown. He ended up doing *pretty* bad but with all gave him like fifteen claps.

The fat man didn’t really do anything except make the face on his belly talk, and then he told us to go through this cushioned tunnel and tell the guys at the end that Fatso sent us.

We got to the end and of course I was leading so I got jump-scared by an air-horn. I guess it was the end because we were getting our picture taken.

When we were standing there, there was a cannon going down and I guess going to shoot but when it hit zero we all flinched, it took our picture, and it splashed us with water. That was very unexpected but I knew something was going to happen, I’m sure everyone else did too.

Overall, it was amazing. My favorite part was when “Groot” came out because he was so cool. But since I want to get to 1000 words, I’m going to write a few more. If I had to pick another part I would say the maze because I like leading! Bye guys and gals!

Oct 142017
 

Look. I used some ironic Pittsburghese up there in that title and typically that is a pet peeve of mine but I figured since this is kind of a Pittsburgh tourism post thing, might as well add the full flavor, right YINZ GUYS?

Ugh.

Scott and Maya had left the itinerary of the day up to me, but they did express interest on going to the aviary at some point to watch the bats getting fed. I had no objections to this, but I will admit that the aviary is not something that I would have put on my own Pittsburgh travel itinerary. Not because I’m like, anti-birds or whatever, but because I honestly usually forget that this place even exists.

In fact, the last time (and maybe possibly even the only time?) I was ever there was when Chooch was 3 months old and I was adamant on taking him there for some reason even though Henry kept reminding me things like, “He’s only 3 months old” and “His eyes can’t even focus yet” and “He will never remember this.”

I think I got a discount for being a Pitt student maybe, and that was back when I was trying to milk it for all it was worth. So we went and two things happened:

  1. Chooch didn’t care
  2. Chooch doesn’t remember it (and I barely do, either)

I went to the aviary’s website the night before to see what the admission fee situation was like, and was surprised that it was only $15 (that seems reasonable) and that it’s apparently the largest in the country!

So after our Millie’s ice cream lunch, we walked over to the Gateway T station where some elderly couple, clad in Hawaiian button-downs and fanny pants, accosted us and started firing off questions; first they asked us if we were from Pittsburgh and I hesitated, unsure of my answer, because I was afraid of the questions that would follow. Turns out they were trying to get to the Carnegie Museum of Art and Janna and I tried to explain that they couldn’t get there by using the T and then the lady was pointing at a map like, “But it’s right there, can’t we just walk” and we just like, “Hey babe, that’s just where you catch the bus to get you there” but she was arguing with us about it and then the guy was like WHERE ARE ALL THE CABS which is the Pittsburgh equivalent of Pee Wee asking to see the Alamo’s basement, for real.

We suggested an Uber or Lyft but the lady was like, “I DON’T HAVE THAT APP” and honestly, their attitudes were pitiful and didn’t make me feel inspired at all to help them any further. Fucking swim there, it’s a beautiful day and the river’s right there, you know?

Ugh, talking to strangers is so exhausting.

Anyway, we got on the T and Maya was just like, “Aw, this is cute” because she and Scott lived in NYC, so…..the trolley here really is cute compared to a true urban transportation system. But I managed to get us off at the right stop (fine, Janna did – I’m not very familiar with the T past Gateway) and then we made it to the aviary on foot without getting lost so this day was shaping up to be quite the success. And all of my work friends were so worried about what I was going to do to these poor people!

Inside the aviary, I was reminded about how much I love birds and how so many of them remind me of my cats. There was one majestic owl in particular that made me mentally weep for Marcy. :( She always reminded me of an owl.

The penguins were especially delightful and showing off for us. Maya said their daughter is really into penguins so that’s just another check for the “pro Pittsburgh” column because HELLO OUR HOCKEY TEAM IS THE PENGUINS. Plus, they’re a better team than Nashville. *insert fingernail painting emoji*

I really liked this room because not only was there a Buffalo Bill’n flamingo, but Janna almost whacked in the head twice by free-flying birds and it was amazing.

You guys, I didn’t realize the bats were going to be so big!  I was expecting those little tiny fruit bat things that my dad used to taunt in our backyard by throwing a wiffle ball high up into the air and making them dive down for it. Sigh, fun times on Gillcrest Drive. These bats were like ACTUAL VAMPIRES. I was so stoked! These particular bats are Flying Foxes.

Janna mused, “Aw, they’re like foxes with wings.”

“That’s why they’re called FLYING FOXES, JANNA,” I yelled. God!

Anyway, the feeding was way more exciting than I ever could have imagined. One of the aviary workers came into their habitat with a pail of watermelon, grapes, and…papaya? I can’t remember what the third fruit was now. You know me and my details! Let’s just gloss over everything as usual.

While the lady was hand-feeding them (they’re particular little suckers! GET IT—SUCKERS?!), she relayed some facts about them, like how big their wingspan is (like 4 feet or something) and then started talking about the dangers of unsustainable palm oil so now I’m obsessed with it and even downloaded the app that she recommended so that when I buy Halloween candy, I can make sure it’s from a company that’s not an enemy of the rain forest. (Look up “sustainable palm oil” in your app store and join me!)

Major props to Scott and Maya for suggesting the aviary. I had a lot of fun there and felt that just watching the bat feeding alone was worth the price of admission.

While we were there, I sent Chooch a picture of some giant condor that reminded me of his idiot cat Drew and he was so angry that we wnet to the aviary without him. I mean, even before he knew we were going to the aviary, he was mad that he got left behind, but have you met Chooch? He is the worst when it comes to things like this and would have totally impeded upon the day and started to complain that his hip hurt from walking too much. He’s pretty dramatic.

We capped off the day of sightseeing with some coffee at Colony Cafe, where we got to relax and get to know Scott and Maya some more. They are so freaking easy to talk to, it’s kind of maddening. How do I unlock this life skill?!

After that, we all walked back to the Wood Street trolley station, where Janna had a total tourist moment by not being able to put money on her Connect Card, so Scott gave her a dollar so that she could just be a TRUE N00B by paying cash on the T. Oh, Janna. While we waited for the T, some crazy Steelers fan tried to engage me in FOOTBALL TALK but I shot him down, only for Scott to be like, “I know football things” so then they started talking about sports things and I thought to myself, “If they move here, they will be just fine.” Honestly, all it takes is even one small nugget of knowledge of one sport, any sport, and you can get by. Plus, Maya accidentally was wearing a Batman shirt in the official color palette of Pittsburgh so I think people were mistaking her for a fan of the Pirates/Penguins/Steelers, pick one, any one.

(I think it was on the trolley where we heard people talking about Nashville for the second time that day, and we all exchanged looks because what were the odds, you know?)

Anyway, we parted ways with Maya and Scott when the trolley rolled up to Station Square. They were going to check out Mt. Washington via the incline and I really wanted to do that too but Janna had a pie to make and I had to go home and get all of the pie party decorations out of the basement and then decompress because I always get so stressed out the night before the pie party, you have no idea.

As soon as they got off the trolley and the door closed, I looked at Janna and gushed, “OMG I LOVE THEM!” and Janna agreed that she also thought they were great and we both started to hardcore hope that they will move here. There were absolutely zero bad or weird vibes. Yes, I was still a little nervous and a lot shy because that’s just me, but I could tell that these are people I can be myself around and I was really excited for Henry to get to meet them the next day.

Meanwhile, not only did Janna have to pay an extra fare for using cash, she also lost a quarter because the fare thingie doesn’t give change. She was pretty nonchalant about this though which was annoying because I wanted her to be more upset. On the walk back to my house, though, some (possibly drunk?) guy walked past us and when he pulled his hand out of his pocket, some change flew out and clattered to the sidewalk. He glanced behind him when this happened, but then kept walking, undaunted that he lost money.

“Janna, you should pick that up. It will make up for the quarter you lost,” I urged. There was at least a dime and a nickel chilling on the sidewalk, plus whatever he dropped further up the sidewalk, but she chose to just pick up the nickel. As soon as it was in her hand, I yelled, “JANNA YOU JUST STOLE FROM THAT MAN!” and he whipped around to look at us while she tried to pass the nickel off on me! I was like, “I DON’T WANT YOUR STOLEN MONEY!” so she ended up leaving it on some sign that was in front of the pool hall we were walking past.

It was great. You should have been there.

*****

Later that night, I got an alert that the Pens game wa starting. They were playing Nashville. I guess all the “random” Nashville talk we kept overhearing that day wasn’t so random after all! Oh ho ho hockey.

Oct 132017
 

Me: This song makes me feel so sad. Like cripplingly sad. Like full-body sadness. 

Henry: Then why do you listen to it?

Me: Because I love it…?

God he asks stupid fucking questions. 

Anyway, I’m certain I’ve posted this video before but oh well it’s too good not to share again. It wasn’t really feeling like October to me (maybe the 80 degree weather?) but then I put this on the other day and yeah, there’s October. I was ready to pumpkin the FUCK out of this month after that. 

I’ve been home all week, maybe I mentioned it earlier but I can’t remember. It’s been a long week you guys. I don’t do the whole “relaxing” thing. I can’t binge-watch shows in my PJs. Instead I’ve just been acting like I’m on speed all week yet I feel like I’ve accomplished NOTHING. It’s been a weird week. I can’t explain it but I feel disoriented and not myself at all. 

Also, this week has taught me that I really don’t like being alone. Here are two pictures of me forcing Peenlop to hang out with me. Ugh. 


I’m going to a haunted house now. Bye. 

Oct 122017
 

Wednesday, we went to Hundred Acres Manor, and by we I mean my mom and me because Henry was spooked and scared. In my opinion, HAM this year was better than last year’s HAM. At the same time we were there I had an essay to finish but I will get to that at the end.

While we were in line waiting for HAM to open there was this couple, and another guy who was the third wheel, which the guy kept picking up the girl so she could see something and she kept saying she could see and for him to stop, so he was very annoying.

Getting ready to go in!

When we got into the inside line there were these two girls with the “Plague” and they were traumatizing everyone in line. Then they both saw me and started traumatizing me instead. They ignored mom because they said she was already “sick”. Then one of the girls was a Victorian lady and she asked me how I wanted to die and I said with no hesitation at all, “I want to get eaten by a cat!”

Then she said confusedly, “Well that’s different.”

Then she walked away because she was weirded out. Then I had to say very loud so everyone can hear me, “I am safe right here!”

So then the Victorian girl came over and leaned very close to my face and said, “You are not safe here, the monsters inside will eat you and you will end up like me, and if they don’t eat you, I will.”

Then mom said, “You like her.”

Then I glared back at her, crossed my arms and said, “Sure I do.”

Then she rolled her eyes and said, “You keep smiling when she comes over.”

“She is IN MY FACE!”

“Well you keep taunting her!”

“UGHHHHHH!”

When the doors finally opened we waited a while then I kept doing the word “elevator” in sign language because of the next part in the haunted house. Then we were by ourselves and mom instantly squirming and asking, “Is that real?”

Then I say no and we kept walking towards the elevator and the house owner (I guess) asked us if we were ready and we were quiet. Then he said, “I said are you ready!”

Then mom said, “Yes,” but I said, “No.”

Then quickly realized that that was a bad idea because he started glaring at me. Then the elevator door opened and we walked in.

A little bit further in we got to a whole outside part and it smelled of a mix of sewage, fog machine gas, and also the smell that the people spray to make it smell bad intentionally. So mum started gagging and making the noise you make when you are about to throw up because it smelled really bad. Then there was her favorite part, the re-birth part, where you walk through those cushioning things, but it was like we were actually getting re-birthed because the room was glowing red and there was a thumping of a heartbeat.

Then another one of her favorite parts was when we were walking through the foul stench of butchered meat in the slaughterhouse. She was also coughing herself moribund. Then we got to a house that had a Halloween party going on inside, and the girl who answered the door said,

“Oh thank you so much for coming! But you guys aren’t DRESSED UP!” 

“Well we forgot, sorry.”

“Don’t LIE to me!”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Enjoy your time here!”

So we walked through the house and then music came on and I started grandma dancing. While I was dancing the host came out and said, “Why aren’t you enjoying yourself!?”

Then I said, “I am. I was just dancing to the wonderful music!”

“Oh you were! Thank you guys so much! Have a great day and thanks for coming!”

That was my favorite part because it was the least scary!

 

Me after HAM, I am spooked!

We left Hundred Acres Manor and while we drove away, we could really smell the sewage. Then me and mom told dad all about HAM because that’s what we do.

 

We started heading to Eat n’ Park to meet our friend Chris. While we were waiting to order I was very tired and also couldn’t think about anything else but my essay because I only had two paragraphs on it and I needed to write 5 bodies. Then our waitress came over and took our orders.

Suddenly it became such a ludicrous moment because I ordered the salad bar and came back with a salad with no dressing. Chris and mumsy started making fun of me because of that. I didn’t understand but I thought maybe it was adult humor that I didn’t understand because it’s bad.

Haha, Cheerio!

Oct 112017
 

I am so excited to write this blog post and it will likely be rife with typos because of said excitement (and also because it’s me typing this, remember). Ok ok ok. So, my friend Maya and her husband Scott have been tossing around the idea of moving and somehow, someway, Pittsburgh made it on their short list of options.

Maya and I go way back, and by way back I mean to somewhere like 2008 when we were both active members of a sellers group on Etsy called Etsy’s Dark Side. It was a lot of fun – people in the group would swap business cards, etc so when an order would go, you could include a cute little pack of swag from other shops in the group, kind of like back in the PENPALLING DAYS when you’d throw in some FBs* with your letter for an added bonus. Maya was so great at organizing these swaps! Our one friend Agony’s Decay used to send us little skull-shaped soaps to include with our orders. I was just thinking about this yesterday and felt inspired to re-order business cards from Vista Print for the first time since 2011. I’m good at running a fake business.

*(Pre-Facebook, “FB” stood for “friendship book” which was a small handmade book of stapled paper, sometimes just index cards, that would get passed on from one penpal to the next with each person writing their name, address, interests, etc with the hope of making new penpals; it was like a super rudimentary Craigslist.)

Anyway, some of us became “outside of Etsy” friends and by that I mean we friended each other on Facebook. Mostly, I didn’t interact very much with any of them but Maya was one of the few that I felt like I clicked with, even after I stopped being as active on Etsy as I was back then. And you may remember that Maya is the maker of my favorite dolls!

(Christofer Drew, Jonny Craig, Vic Fuentes, Birthday Clown keychain!)

Technically, that Christofer Drew doll is Chooch’s, along with a Ju-On doll she made him a few years ago, which is in his room because she’s one of his favorite possessions.

Maya and Scott have been wanting to head on over to Pittsburgh to scope it out. When I told her the date for the pie party, they decided that would be a fine weekend to come out, eat some pie and check out some possible neighborhoods. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE! I was at work when she told me and I made some (probably disruptive) exclamation at my desk and then ran around telling people. SOME PEOPLE were like, “Great, if you’re giving her the grand tour, they’ll probably scratch Pittsburgh off the list.”

Ugh, shut up guys.

They got in Friday afternoon but I was working late shift that day (#fml), but they hit up 21st St. Coffee, Primanti’s, and the Wood Street Gallery on their own because they’re capable humans. We didn’t actually meet up until Saturday. Janna joined us because I was afraid they’d ask simple questions about the city and I wouldn’t be able to answer, like, “What is that building?” or “Is it safe here at night,” but I figured if they asked me things like, “Hey where did that creepy guy hug you that one time?” or “Where did that machete thing happen?” I’d be fine.

They didn’t ask, but don’t worry: I SHOWED THEM ANYWAY!

I feel like I’ve been training for this day though, all these years, all those lunch break walks. I have gotten so good at Pittsburgh! Well….kind of. I know the good alleys and where to get ice cream. I also know when to avoid walking around down there (4pm – when all those fucking school kids are running the sidewalks acting like they own the goddamn town, ugh GET OFF MY LAWN) and where to get a good non-Starbucks cup of coffee. (Pro tip: anywhere that’s not Starbucks.)

Henry dropped Janna and me off at Scott and Maya’s hotel in the Strip District and I was prepared for awkward greetings because have you met me? Maybe you haven’t. I’m missing very valuable social skills. We’ll touch on that when I get to the Pie Party post, don’t you worry. But thank god Maya and Scott have enough of those skills to make up for my deficiency because I immediately felt at ease.

Plus, it helped that right away Maya gave me this adorable Monster-era G-Dragon that she made me, so that got me talking animatedly about kpop which is my ultimate comfort zone, <3

She even embroidered the “BB” on his back, I love this little baby G-Dragon so much!

The first thing we did was walk under the Convention Center, because there’s this cool water-path thing that’s usually lit up by pretty lights but I think that it must be turned off for the season now. But at least it gave Janna and me a chance to tell them about the annual furry convention, WHICH THEY WILL GET TO EXPERIENCE IF THEY MOVE HERE.

Add that to the “pro” column, guys.

We walked down Liberty and I was sad that my favorite homeless guy wasn’t out for them to see. Actually, I don’t think he’s homeless, and I’m mad at him (again) because he was shaking his Big Gulp cup of change super aggressively the last time I saw him which I thought was just completely unnecessary because he should know by now that I don’t have any change to give him.

Then we walked to the Point so I could show them the fountain. (“When you start seeing 87 pictures of the fountain a day on Instagram, that’s when you know it’s officially summer,” I read to them from my guidebook. I’m good at this.) They saw the fountain. They took pictures of the fountain.

Then Scott asked a question!

“Do you get much flooding here?” he asked innocently, not knowing that his simple inquiry was forcing my brain to do things and I JUST DID NOT KNOW THE ANSWER nor could I think fast enough to make one up. It was hot that day, OK? Really hot and humid for October.

Thankfully, Janna started spewing out some mundane flood facts and to myself, I thought, “This is why I brought her. Thank god for Janna and her knowing of things.”

You might notice that this post is curiously remiss of photos of them. That’s because I was still testing the waters and trying not to be as extra as I tend to be when I’m excited about fresh (faux)meat. 

I decided I would lead my tour group to Market Square. Janna and I told them about how the restraurant NOLA catches fire a lot and they were like, “That’s concerning.” Janna was all, “Yeah but the food there is good” and I couldn’t really back that up because I’m a vegetarian and New Orleans-centric cuisine hates my people.

We walked past some scary propaganda thing being filmed and then I lead them to Millie’s for the best ice cream in Pittsburgh. Actually, I lead them past Millie’s because I wasn’t paying attention, and also the Market Square location of Millie’s didn’t have super impressive choices this time, but my condensed milk nectarine was a delight. Janna got strawberry (*snore*) and Maya and Scott both got milkshakes (blackberry cobbler and Vietnamese coffee, respectively) and I was really excited about this because for some reason, I never think about getting milkshakes at Millie’s. They said it was good though! Janna made me get sprinkles on mine because she wanted it to look like I was trying to emulate her. It was OK.

Fine, it was wonderful. I usually only get sprinkles on soft serve! I am a very particular ice cream orderer!

There were old people in Millie’s talking about Nashville which was coincidental because you know, Maya and Scott live in Nashville. I felt like the old people thought we were totally in their way and hated us because we were like half their ages.

We pulled some tables together in the center of Market Square and talked about our lives, and Pittsburgh, and the fact that Maya is too scared of haunted houses (#fakegoth!). I was acutely aware during this time that conversation was flowing effortlessly and I was getting attached to these people, oh god!

Check back later for part 2, where I successfully got them on the trolley, compared every bird in the aviary to one of my cats (past or present), and caught Janna stealing. It was a jam-packed day, you guys. We did lots.

Oct 092017
 

Time needs to slow down and also speed up simultaneously. I’m having a major countdown going on internally, but at the same time, I’m trying not to rush through the days, especially these sacred fall days. Why does fall have to be the shortest season of the four? It still feels like summer here in the ‘Burgh – my hair was a frizzy nest and my face had that totally attractive humid glaze to it all weekend and I just wanted to cry. Today was no better, except that I didn’t have to go to work because it’s Day One of my Week Off For No Reason! (Actually, the reason is because I had to start using some PTO before I freaking lose it — I go through this every year). So since I’m sitting here at 9:30pm, post-Kpop workout, and dying from the humidity in my house-oven, I figured I would let off some steam by thought-dotting.

  • Speaking of devastation (let’s just dive right in!), Lauren heard that the Pirates were doing a collection for Puerto Rico relief last week, so Nate and I joined her Tuesday afternoon in walking over some much-needed goods across the bridge to PNC Park. I contributed a bunch of pet food, which was on the list, and Nate & Lauren rounded up some bottled water and baby supplies. The plan was just to stop at the local CVS on the way over, but Henry caught wind of the plan and was all, “CVS IS TOO EXPENSIVE I WILL BUY THE PET FOOD ELSEWHERE” which meant I had to lug this big bag of pet food to work that morning, no big deal. But Nate & Lauren have normal spouses who didn’t meddle so they got to have normal commutes in and then bought their stuff at CVS, where the cashier tried to make some dumb joke about the varying diaper sizes we threw down on the counter and Nate desperately wanted him to think that we were all three in some progressive millennial three-way relationship and that he was actually the mother of our babies. But the cashier was already too focused on sharing various DIY projects that we could do with excess plastic bags, and that was just really weird, because he was talking about how they make sturdy ropes and now I’m positive that he knows this because he’s used one on the milkmaid he’s holding hostage in his basement. We also know that he has an ex-wife and that his roommate is one of his CVS co-workers and I”m hoping that it’s the other cashier who was working that day, who was imploring people to COME ON DOOOOOOOWWWWWN to his register. So, that was an adventure. Then we lugged all of our items over to PNC Park, where we were told some of the players were milling about but admittedly none of us know a single Pirate so that didn’t really concern us. We just wanted to do our part because fuck you Trump. I also really liked how symbolic it was that the Pirates were doing this because the one thing I do know about the Pirates is that Roberto Clemente was trying to do this same thing for Nicaragua when his plane crashed. I might not be that into baseball, but I am for sure a fan of the Pirates.
    • Honestly though, why is everything so terrible. I felt guilty because I want to help everyone. Houston, Puerto Rico, Mexico City, Las Vegas…how do you choose who needs it more??  Just take all of my money. :(
      • What if one of those evangelical raptures actually happened and those of us who were Left Behind are actually living in some horrific Limbo of mass shootings, fatal acts of nature, Trump, etc etc.
  • Henry was over here the other night mouthing off about how he was using sriracha back before using sriracha was cool and is that like listening to a band before Pitchfork rates it?
  • I worked from home on Friday and boy let me tell you no one in my house ever wants to talk to me as much as they do when I’m working from home.
    • Also, I wonder if the cats noticed that I was playing the same song over and over.
  • Henry and I were about to walk into CVS the other night when some broad came over to me and asked, “Excuse me hon, are you from here?” and I was like OMG WHAT DO I SAY WHICH IS THE CORRECT ANSWER LAWD HELP ME so I blurted out “yes?” like a total stoop, waiting for her to say she needed directions or my body on ice in a bathtub but no, she wanted to know where the best place is around here to get pizza. SHOO, GIRL, YOU CAME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. I will talk to anyone about my pizza opinions. Pizzopinions? I told her Giovanni’s and Fiori’s and Henry was all, “Girl bye” and went into CVS because we have very different pizza palates. Pizzalates? No, that doesn’t work.
  • Henry was studying the Seoul subway lines and in that moment, he was Oppa Supreme.
    • Until today, when I learned a new Korean word: 빵셔틀. It means “bread shuttle” and it’s slang that Korean school bullies use to refer to the weaker kids that they make run errands for them, like they are literally shuttling around bread for the bullies. HENRY IS THE WEAKER PERSON IN MY HOUSE WHO CHOOCH AND I MAKE RUN ALL THE ERRANDS. This couldn’t be more perfect. I texted it to Henry in Korean and he put it in Google translate and sent me a screenshot with a bunch of “????”s, like he thought that I made a mistake and was trying to make me feel dumb, BUT WHO IS THE DUMB ONE NOW, BREAD SHUTTLE.
  • Three girls left Girl’s Generation, you guys. “They went from 9 to 5,” I said sadly. “Yeah, that’s not how math works,” Chooch said snidely and I yelled, “ANOTHER GIRL ALREADY LEFT EARLIER, OK!?”  Pour one out for SNSD (that’s what they’re called in Korea; try to keep up):

  • There’s this one crossing guard that I always exchange awkward and flat “good morning”s with on my way to the trolley every day. I don’t usually get much out of him in the way of personality, but on Monday, almost as an afterthought, he said to me, “You’ve lost weight, haven’t you?” and then he started to backtrack by saying, “I mean, not that you needed to, um…you know—” and I cut him off to thank him, genuinely, because I had just been looking at a recent picture of me from Amber1’s bridal shower and feeling really shitty about myself, which I try not to do anymore, but you know…we all have those days and it sucks, but sometimes you just gotta let yourself have a negative thought or 87, get it out of your system, shake it off, pound a cupcake….and then start over with a positive mindset the next day. But man, I know it’s a slippery slope making that type of observation about a woman and then having the balls to say it to her, but I really did appreciate it because I have really been working so hard and most days it seems pretty unnoticeable.
    • This wasn’t anywhere near the levels of awkward achieved by a security guard at one of old jobs who insinuated that he wouldn’t have guessed I was a vegetarian because, you know. “No, what?” I pressed, until he DREW AN HOUR GLASS SHAPE IN THE AIR WITH HIS FINGERS. Wow dude wow. I actually was pretty whatever about it but a co-worker overheard and got offended FOR ME and ended up reporting the guy. It turned into a whole thing and I got fucking interrogated by the supervisor of the security guards and I was just like, “Look, it was a dumb comment and I don’t think he even realized what he was saying” because I have had much, much, much worse said and done to me and that wasn’t something I was losing sleep over. Dude either got fired or quit, I don’t know, but I never saw him again after that, all because of a dumb comment.
      • WOW THIS BLOG POST IS SO HEAVY.

  • My mom took Chooch to Trax Farms last weekend to get autumn decorations for our house. They came back with the obligatory corn stalks and a pumpkin. After assessing the corn stalk sitch, I determined that they needed fake blood and baby doll heads. “Really?” Chooch cried, throwing his hands up in the air. “Val and I go and get nice decorations for the house and of course you want to ‘add blood’ it.” WOW AND I THOUGHT HE WAS MY KID.
    • But then a few nights later, we went on a late night stroll around Brookline (we live dangerously) and had a lively conversation about our grammar pet peeves. WOW HE’S MY KID.
      • Speaking of that, Henry used a double negative around Calvin’s impressionable 4-month-old ears and I almost castrated him right then and there. DON’T TEACH THE BABY BAD TALKING, HANK. Honestly though, I have tried an exhausting number of times to teach Henry what double negatives mean and I guess he gets it but he just doesn’t care. At least he doesn’t say “ain’t” or “yinz.”

We’ll end with a cat video because that’s just how it’s gonna be.

Sometimes Drew has to be reacquainted with her tail.

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

Oct 072017
 

September was a decent month. I really can’t complain. We went to Chicago; I saw Taeyang and Emarosa; BTS released a new album and it’s jam-packed with, well, jams. And Blake and Haley moved super close to us!

We took Blake and Calvin to Parker’s for breakfast last Saturday. There was a nice morning bustle happening there and it pleased me greatly to see this place getting some action. Blake was impressed by the aesthetics. It’s something that Brookline was in desperate need of, you guys. Something cool.

Chooch was stoked because he finally found someone to play games with (Parker’s has several shelves of games) and this is also how we learned that Chooch sucks at Guess Who. Like, maybe he’s trying to abolish gender norms but he never asks, “Is it a boy or girl?” which is like the standard #1 question to ask when playing this game. But he’s like, “Is it a ginger?” “Does it have brown eyes?” “Is it kind of fat but not?”

My favorite part was when one of the moms from Chooch’s old school rolled in and was going to sit next to us until she saw me and then awkwardly said, “OK let’s sit over here,” and moved to a different table. LOL ALL THE WAY TO HELL.

Ooh, then I found this great comforter just when we were in need of a new one! Henry only said no because “it’s too expensive” and not because it’s Bigbang. I can only imagine the bitchfest this would cause from some people. “OMG she doesn’t let him sleep ever, but when she does, it’s under a bunch of Asian boys!” Yes, Henry’s life clearly sucks so hard.

My favorite part about this is that G-Dragon is in the middle and that’s pretty much where I sleep.

We went to the first haunt of the season! You can read Chooch’s review here. (He really put a lot of effort into it because he knew he was earning $5 worth of Robux whatever that even is, I don’t ask.) I’m worried that we won’t get very many haunted houses in this season because our weekends are jacked but I’m off all next week so I’m going to try to squeeze some in during the week! Some of them are open on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which benefits me and we all know it’s all about me. My co-workers remind themselves about this all the time.

Obligatory truck stop bathroom selfie. You guys, we originally stopped at a Sheetz and it was the first time ever that I encountered a filthy, unusable restroom in a Sheetz. Every toilet was packed with poop and there were wads of wet, soiled toilet paper everywhere (hold on…..I’m burping up vomit). I WAS SO ANGRY. It was out in a rural area too so as we left the store, I loudly said, “FUCKING REDNECKS PROBABLY SIT ON THE TOILET, CHEERING FOR TRUMP WHILE SHITTING OUT THEIR BEEF JERKY EVERYWHERE” and Chooch started choking because he was laughing so hard, and Henry was like, “Please don’t make these truckers and hunters converge on us, thanks.” We drove for a little bit and I used the bathroom at an actual truck stop and it was so clean and wonderful. SHEETZ, YOU’RE GETTING A LETTER FROM ME. HOW YOU DARE. 

What else…Henry and I watched “Lavender” Sunday night, some horror movie with Abbie Cornish and my takeaway from that is that she’s a pretty terrible actor. The movie was more sad than anything, but there were some creepy parts. I’m not sure that I would go out of my way to recommend it though.

I also spent some time trying to teach Henry all the members of BTS because previously he just thought everyone was Jimin, because that’s a 52-year-old white American man for you I guess. Like, he came home one day last week and said, “I saw Jimin’s dog died” because he gets notifications from AllKpop and complains about it YET DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT. And I was like “Ok but it was actually Jin’s dog, nice try.” Anyway, now my friend Lizz (the only other kpop-loving friend I have!) and I are certain this means Jimin is Henry’s secret bias. 



And now I’m going to go and get ready to show my friends Maya and Scott around Pittsburgh because they’re visiting for the first time from Tennessee! And tomorrow is the pie party! #stress

Oct 052017
 

Well guys, it’s that time of year again! As usual, I was waffling: did I or I didn’t want to decorate for Halloween at work? It takes a lot of mental energy out of me, but I had a few ideas that I came up with several months ago, so I did a quick inventory of the things I’d have to actually spend money on because that’s a huge factor: the more I already have on hand, the more inclined I am to put the effort in.

I did a quick Goodwill and craft store run Tuesday night and $5 later, I had everything I needed to get the four offices decorated.  Some of the offices required $0!

OK, first up is Terry’s office. This was the first one that I came up with a few months ago and if only you could have been there when I excitedly spun around in my chair to tell Glenn…

“Pet SemaTERRY, get it Glenn? SemaTERRY? Because his name is TERRY?!” I squealed.

“Yeah, I get it,” he mumbled. Just jealous that he didn’t think of it first, that’s all.

Anyway, this one required $0. I inherited those tombstones from Barb years ago and they’re actually mainstays on my desk. The stuffed cat is Chooch’s (“Please don’t rip it up or put blood on it!” he begged) and that sign was made be me demonstrating my awesome cardboard box-ripping skills.

I can’t tell if Terry likes it or not. He hasn’t said anything. Glenn disappeared from his desk at one point the day I decorated this and when he came back I yelled, “WHAT, WERE YOU TALKING TO TERRY!? DOES HE LIKE HIS OFFICE” and he was like, “NO I WASN’T TALKING TO TERRY.”

Honestly though, I was so giddy about this one all day. It was so stupid in its simplicity, yet so PERFECTLY PUNNY.

OMG this next one was one that I wanted to do last year but I ran out of time:

My hands felt arthritic by the time I was done cutting those branches out. When I was taping them up the next morning, my coworker Amanda was like, “Let me guess—Children of the Corn!” and I was like “NO AMANDA I DID THAT ONE LAST YEAR, DO I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE WHO WOULD REUSE AN IDEA?!” Ugh, god.

The worst part about this is that I came in 30 minutes early on Wednesday to decorate and I was SO PROUD OF MYSELF and couldn’t wait for Aaron’s reaction, but when I went back to my desk, Glenn said, “LOL, Aaron is working from home today.”

Ugh.

Henry helped me make the chainsaw.

“I thought you said you weren’t decorating this year so why am I sitting here cutting out a chainsaw?” he sighed when I stopped him en route to Slumber Town and handed him a pair of scissors.

The only thing purchased for this one was poster board for the trees.

In case you have no idea what this is from:

Image result for ash vs evil dead

I didn’t even have to bring a book from home because Gayle turned one of the cabinets into a library, so I grabbed the first chunky hardback in there (thanks, Nora Roberts). I was going to make my own Necronomicon cover out of a latex mask but I wanted to get this set up the next day so…..a quick print-out it is!

Also, the chainsaw is green because my piece of red foam-stuff wasn’t large enough.

Cathy is visiting us from the Harrisburg office! Today was her first day in the office so Amber suggested yesterday that I decorate her desk too. Luckily, I had some extra stuff on hand, like this bloody sheet that I used for last year’s “Carrie” desk, a creepy clown doll, spiderwebs, severed fingers, a vintage picture of an actual dead guy in a coffin that I used for my funeral parlor theme desk a few years back, and probably what scared Cathy the most: an Asian snack on her keyboard. I think she felt welcome!

OK, this next one is my favorite! No, they’re all my favorites. I love all my babies equally. But seriously, when I made the connection that Patrick shares a surname with the Stranger Things family…it just all fell into place.

So I turned his office into a shrine for older brother Jonathan Byers.

The pictures he took of Barb on the diving board and Nancy in the window. There’s an actual scene in Stranger Things were the photos are hanging on a string like this. I didn’t have any string, rope, or twine, but I DID have some old party hats in my desk! So I ripped off the elastic.

In the show, Jonathan actually uses a Pentax and I’m so mad because I do have an old Pentax from the 80s somewhere in my house, but I couldn’t find it. So this Konica will have to do. Also, if you watched the show, you know that he liked The Clash’s “Should I Stay Or I Should I Go.”

The nail-studded baseball bat Demogorgon weapon that he carried. Thank god for cardboard boxes.

I had to carry this on the trolley with me this morning. No one even noticed.

I had a strand of white lights on hand, so I quickly painted them yesterday after work.

Total amount spent on this: $0.

I don’t know if this is good or just admitting that I’m basically a hoarder.

OK, the last one I decorated today is, in Glenn’s words, a bit of a stretch, but I had to do it.

Chris’s office is right next to me and I was disappointed last year that I couldn’t think of anything for his name, and then it hit me.

“Think about it, Glenn. ‘Chris Kenrick,” I said the other day after I came up with it.

Glenn just shrugged.

“Chris Kenrick. Chris KenRICK. Chris KenRICK GRIMES,” I blurted out giddily.

“Wow,” Glenn said, totally not impressed but probably a little.

In case you don’t watch The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is the main character.

Image result for don't open dead inside

Today, Catherine said, “You are totally wasting your talent here!” and then started preaching about how I need to find a job that utilizes my skills, but I literally never see any job openings for “half-assed horror movie-themed office decorator” so it looks like the law firm is stuck with me for a little bit longer.

I have two other offices on my radar, but I’m off all next week so I don’t know if I will do it when I get back — is it worth it? UGH MAYBE PROBABLY WE’LL SEE. I can never tell if I’m going to get in trouble for this, but I guess that’s half the fun of being the office black sheep?

If you’re interested in last year’s decorations, please turn your attention here and here.

Oct 042017
 

One evening last week, Blake was like, “Hey can you guys watch Calvin while I do laundry” and of course we were like um fuck yes. These are things that happen now that Blake and Haley live literally a five-minute walk away. It’s pretty awesome, if we’re being frank up in here.

BUT. When Blake got here, he set down Calvin in his carrier and said, “OK, I’m taking this guy with me to help with laundry” and there was this split second when I thought he meant he was taking Henry and my heart almost jettisoned out of my chest because DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE WITH A BABY, OMG HELP SOS.

Thank god he was talking about taking Chooch with him, not Henry. Then I was all, “Oh ha ha ha, I knew that’s what you meant, lol.”

But I mean, fucking phew, amirite.

These pictures are really terrible quality. I think my phone is dying or something.

Henry was in the middle of making dinner when Blake dropped off Calvin, so I got to chill with him a bit and make sure he didn’t stick his fingers in any sockets or whatnot. We got along pretty well! He seemed interested in my dumb face, and we watched kpop videos together and he smiled a lot, but you know, could have just been gas.

I even held him for approximately one minute!

That was when I finally found a name for Calvin to call me: NOONA! In Korean, it’s what boys call their big sisters and older girls in general. Blake and Haley approved it, so there.

Penelope is scared to death of strangers but she was super interested in the small babe, surprisingly.

Henry is a pretty good grandfather, I guess. He makes dumb baby noises though and I’m just like, “Please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.”

Calvin’s new friends, Leatherface and Pennywise.

Calvin doesn’t stay still long enough to not be a blur. It’s like taking a picture of someone who’s just watched that video in “The Ring.”

And this was after our breakfast at Parker’s on Saturday! I love this. And Chooch loves having Blake within walking distance. (Not sure how Haley feels about that though. J/K, I have a pretty good idea!)

Oct 032017
 

I went from “I’m not decorating at work this year” to “I just spent an hour on the floor cutting out branches.” 

Please enjoy this video while I soak my arthritic hands in… whatever you soak arthritic hands in.  I kind of want henry to break up with me briefly so I can sing to him. 

Oct 022017
 

So this is it, the first haunted house review of 2017. So this place was about an hour away, and GOD was I bored. We got there but it ended up being the wrong place, it was some redneck festival or some kind of derby. We don’t know that for sure but the amount of middle-aged men and women in camo jackets and bandannas covering their bald head was immense. The actual haunted house was down the street a little more.

So we finally arrived at the actual haunted house and not some stupid festival. The place was somewhat crowded but yet again not really. It was also very frigid, but thankfully they had fires. Oh and also this photo was taken right after I saw this little witch and said,

“Don’t even ask-,”

“Go stand over there and I’ll take a picture.”

“Well, I expected this.”

,

We eventually got our tickets, after the ticket people asked why only two, so I said with no hesitation ,

“Because he is too scared,”

Then one of them asked, “Why are you too scared?”

“I’m not scared,” Dad groawled (my new word for groaning and growling at the same time)

Example: The tone of every word Henry Robbins says.

We got in and I instantly ran to the fire and warmed up.

 

 

We were bored and mom made me get a picture with her even though I was still warming up by the fire, oh and also we were waiting because the present hay-ride was crowded and we wanted space to ourselves so we waited till it left, and we were also waiting for it to get darker out. Somehow it got super dark in like 30 minutes, and I was confused how I didn’t see the night getting dimmer.

I asked daddy to be the killer because he has a beer-belly in real life and in the cutout, and also because daddy is a country man with a chainsaw.

We got on the hay-ride sooner or later, but it took forever because I guess the first one didn’t go until it was super dark out, and then while we were on the next one we had to wait for the first one to go through the whole thing just so we can get all of the people because while we were on, most of the guys followed us forever. While we were waiting, this dude was driving some like tractor thing with a coffin on the back of it and then some lady was like,

“Oh that’s a coffin ride, you pay $5 per person to ride in the coffin, and he takes you to the little cemetery and you get your picture taken.”

Then some lady said, “Oooooh, we have to do that! We have to do that after this, we are going to do it, right???”

The lady was way too stoked I thought maybe she was gonna push everyone out of the way to be first in line for it because she kept saying how fun it sounded and how she was going to do it.

So after like 20-30 minutes we finally started to go and move forward. We saw the fake cemetery that you drive past in the coffin. I thought it was real and you go a pretty far distance but, no. Also it was a pretty long while until the first guy approached us, and of course it was a fun house/show, but it wasn’t a clown like you would suspect, no it was a ring master type guy, he wore mostly all black with white stripes on most of what he was wearing. He also had white face paint with black eye shadow and outline around his mouth. Then some psycho patient guy was climbing on all of the bars and poles on the trailer and he was getting in everyone’s face and business. Then I saw Freddy, of course because he is a very popular choice at haunted houses, he started climbing and doing weird gymnastic type stuff all of the tractor and I could of sworn he was going to fall and break a leg or something, but no. He also jumped onto a hearse and started riding on top of it while it was moving, and it was some crazy stuff.

During the hay-ride, I didn’t want all of the monsters to stay all over me, so I told all of them that my mom was making fun of them even though she wasn’t.

Then, there were these chainsaw guys who made me cringe because they had they saws pressed against the bars and it was making a screeching sound and it started to vibrate the whole floor of the tractor, and he did it right next to me!

Then we came to a stop and we got off. Now we had to separate into 2 groups, I guess 5 to 5. We ended up with the two ladies who were talking about the coffin ride thingy. They were fine, they weren’t annoying. We had to go through a corn maze which was really simple and boring because the 1st group got every single chainsaw guy and we got through no problem what so ever. Then that was the end of the hay-ride/maze part. Now onto the actual haunted house! So mom and I went through by ourselves and she was like panicking and stuff and I held onto her so she didn’t get scared, but it made her even more scared because she kept asking if that was me holding her. Then every haunted house has to have a doll room, so we got into the doll room and the girl asked if we wanted to play and I said,

“Sure! What do you wanna play?”

Obviously, no one ever asked her what she wanted to play because most people run and scream. So she took a while to find something to play, and then she glanced at the dolls and then mum pulled me out of that room and I called,

“Sorry! Can’t play right now!”

Skipping ahead a little bit we got to one of those cushioned tunnel or in mum’s words, Birth Canal. Of course mum hates it so she zoomed through it while I fell behind.

She was running so fast that I had to keep up with her and then we caught up to the group that went in 10 minutes before us. Oh and she also kept going,

“What is THIS???”

“What is THAT???”

“Omg!!!”

Then there was this weird hearse road thing and there were two hearses that were like crashed and trashed. Then some pig guy jumped at us and mum left me behind.

After all of that there was a slaughter house type thing where a pig looking butcher dude was staring at me and I said,

“I don’t approve of what you do for a living,”

Get it? I don’t like how he chops up, you know? No? Whatever.

Then there was this man with a cattle prod and he was snapping it constantly and it was creepy.

Then yet again with the cringe there were these chainsaw guys using the saw on metal again! And it was very CRINGY!

So those were all of the important parts of the Hay-Ride and Haunted House part of Valley of Terror that I could gather for you all today, but there is still one more thing I need to add.

 

This was taken in the coffin ride because mum and I chose to do it together because she refused to do it without me, definitely not the other way around….

So she thought it was just going to be a plain old boring ride in a fake coffin but there was a twist. It took forever basically and when we got to the cemetery the lights in the coffin turned off, and there was this weird lullaby or chant sang by these creepy kids, and then the base of the coffin shocked us, and also mum would not stop talking through the whole thing.

So there you go, those are all of the important details that I could possibly gather up for this post. See ya!