Sep 252016
 

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Since the shitty “hotel” we’ve stayed at for all three Riot Fests switched brands, they no longer offered breakfast. Not like we were missing much because it was below basic breakfast fare, we were still disappointed because it was convenient and free. Going to Riot Fest is not cheap, you guys, and I’d rather spend my money on merch than food, ugh. All of this is to say we went down the street to some joint called Victoria’s, where I had crepes that were OK and Henry had meats.

Then Meghan Trainor came on (the worst M.T. song of all time, All About That Bass) and I believe this was the first time where I had found myself in a position where there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t change the station! I couldn’t leave because I was still eating. I HAD TO SIT THERE AND ENDURE IT.

Oh, the horror! The pain! But I reminded my ears that soon they would be in Douglas Park, surrounded on all sides by the most beautiful blend of pop punk, punk rock, emo revival, hip hop — it was all going to be there. Some of my most favorite genres, and most favorite bands.

It was going to be OK, ears. It was going to be OK.

After breakfast, we went back to the “hotel” and ordered the first Uber of the weekend, an older man named Woody, who, in spite of having his GPS up on his dash, asked Henry unlimited questions regarding the route. Henry was happy to answer because he is a PROFESSIONAL DRIVER and I can guarantee that Woody’s lack of directional savvy gave Henry his own woody.

Luckily, through numerous detours and train crossings, we made it to Douglas Park with a good 45 minutes to spare before the gates opened. This year, it was set up a bit differently with only one entrance, but I was happy to see that it wasn’t yet a cluster fuck.

Only bad part about standing in line was this uber-annoying Minnesota broad who talked extra-loudly to her friend about how EVERYONE KNOWS HER and HOW MANY TATTOOS SHE HAS and HOW SHE IS SO FUCKING COOL HOW ARE WE NOT MELTING BENEATH HER RADIATING BRILLIANCE. Henry knew right away that she was annoying me so we communicated through eye-expressions alone, and then when she mentioned in her grating Midwest lilt that she COULDN’T WAIT TO SEE BALANCE AND COMPOSURE the next day, Henry started to crack up because I had literally said that same thing about 37403720580 times that morning.

Ughhhhhhh.

Gates opened late as usual and we ran, I mean I ran and Henry slowly lumbered behind me, to the Riot Fest merch tent to snag a set of the limited edition Riot Fest Garbage Pail Kids and then Papa Drunk skipped off to get his 21+ wristband and guess who couldn’t get her own because she left her whole entire wallet in Pittsburgh? My preparedness is a non-factor in my game of life. Do not ever choose me for your zombie apocalypse team.

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Ugh. First beer at like 11:30. Get it, Hank.

We had some time to kill before noon so we stomped around the food vendors looking for Dark Matter because I desperately needed coffee. Couldn’t find it right away, so I settled for a water and while Henry was paying for it, some guy at the next food booth asked, “Hey! Why’s my name on your shirt?” I looked around and when I realized he was talking to me, I had to glance down to refresh my memory with what shirt I was even wearing that day, and it was my beautiful Howard Jones shirt!

So I walked closer and engaged in a rare conversation, because I hate talking to people but Riot Fest is an exception because it makes me remember who I used to be, how alive I once was, and it reminds me that hey, I’m surrounded by a ton of my people right now, so it’s not really stranger danger, right? Anyway, the guy’s name ended up being Howard Johnson (like the hotel, I guess), not Jones, but he had never heard of Howard Jones before so I encourage him to check that shit out.

Henry was like, “OK REMEMBER WHOSE PROPERTY YOU ARE LET’S GO.” He is like, so possessive of me. It’s almost sickening.

(Lol, sike. He was like TAKE HER, SHE’S YOURS.)

(This just brought up a horrible memory of when I was briefly dating this guy Erik in 1998 and we were hanging out at my apartment with some guy named Kevin who I recently met at a Sunoco — hey, I made friends everywhere I went back then when I still had self-esteem — and Kevin, who was totally blitzed off a 40 of Miller’s High Life, asked Erik if he could steal me and Erik said, ugh do you know what he said? He said BE MY GUEST. I have that heart-breaking moment on 8mm, even.)

(Well, fuck you Erik Grove, because now I’m with Henry and here we are at Riot Fest and some cute guy name Howard is talking to me so suck it.)

First band up was Tigers Jaw at noon on the Riot Fest (main) stage.

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These guys are on Run For Cover Records, one of my fave labels, but this was the first time I ever saw them live. If you know me, you know that I’m horribly fickle with female singers, but I love the boy-girl sharing of vocal duties going on in this band. It’s fun, feel-good indie rock, you guys and there is no reason why Henry should have said, “Nope, they did nothing for me” other than the fact that he wasn’t paying attention because OMG WHAT ARE HIS 57 FACEBOOK FRIENDS DOING, GOTTA CHECK!

During their set, an older gentleman strolled by and said, “GREAT ALBUM!” while pointing to my Howard Jones “Human Lib” shirt. I agree, guy!

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Ahhh, Citizen was next on the Rise stage. I can’t say enough wonderful superlatives about this band. They get me right in the feels, as all the kids and ironic bloggers say these days.

It started to rain during their set and I hated almost everyone around me, but I didn’t let that sully my third live dose of Citizen for 2016. Also, Mat basically dresses like Henry, proving he just doesn’t give a fuck.

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oh, Citizen. ❤️

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

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Here’s Henry, secretly enjoying Citizen and his style-twin, Mat.

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Right after this was Touche Amore on the Rock Stage and I was ready to burst — they’re part of this trifecta for me which also includes La Dispute and The Saddest Landscape, but I’ve never seen Touche Amore before; it was a long time coming.

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Some of the finest post-hardcore I’ve ever heard comes courtesy of this beautiful man. I play their records so loud in the house and Henry and Chooch are always like, full-body eye rolls and grimaces, but GUESS WHAT? Guess who finally jumped aboard the Touche Amore-wagon? Mr. Henry J. Robbins.

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“They weren’t that bad,” he mumbled, and then, “I didn’t hate it,” which in regular people’s terms translates to, “Say, I think I actually enjoyed that.”

Touché Amore 💗

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

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After Touche Amore, I had penciled in a small window for getting food. I can’t remember what Henry got, but I enjoyed a wonderful BBQ jackfruit with slaw on top of a slice of Texas toast. It was delicious, except that the slaw was more just a wad of pickled vegetables, which found me for the second time in less than a week explaining to no one in particular that the only pickled things I like are pickles.

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Oh, I think Henry had vegetable paella and I accused him of being a vegetarian but he defensively said he wasn’t turning his back on meat, he just simply “didn’t feel like eating meat right then.”

HMM THAT SEEMS WEIRD.

Anyway, thanks to Henry having to also get food, I missed Dillinger Escape Plan so thanks Henry, like you couldn’t have waited until later to eat.

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After missing DEP, we wandered over to the outskirts of Douglas Park, where the two smallest stages live. Jule Vera was going to be playing soon on the Storyheart Stage, so we figured we’d just hang out in the grass and take selfies, right Henry? Because that’s totally a thing that Henry does. My hair looked shittier than usual that weekend because remember our shitty “hotel”? Well, they don’t supply their rooms with hair dryers and Henry even tried for a hail mary by inquiring at the front desk if they had any available and the answer was NO THEY DID NOT, YOUR RATTY-HAIRED GIRLFRIEND IS FUCKED, BOIIIII.

So frizzy, air-dried hair it is, then!

We had to suffer through the tail-end of the Far East’s set and I absolutely hated them, like if a person could vomit out of their ears, this would have triggered my aural gag reflex, for sure. Let me just describe it as Reggae No Doubt. I was like GOOD RIDDANCE when they finally ended.

Then it was Tancred, which I kept confusing for Tantric — like, totalllly different band. Fun Fact for anyone who cares: the singer is also the guitarist from Now, Now and the singer from Now, Now is dating Lynn Gunn’s (PVRIS) ex-girlfriend Alexa San Roman, OMG there more you know. Anyway, Tancred is a good example of why I’m picky with girl-fronted bands — they usually tend to have that 90s sound to them and I know this is putting my head on the chopping block, but I really didn’t like a lot of rock or alternative from the 90s, until later on in the decade. SORRY BUT I’M JUST BEING HONEST. In my defense, I was heavily into hiphop, gangsta rap, and R&B back then though.

Also, around this time, Henry started complaining about a “foot cramp” but I was like, “Hmm, that doesn’t sound like the name of any band that I like so I’m officially exiting this conversation, bye now.”

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OK, then it was finally time for Jule Vera and I missed Chooch so desperately. (He’s annoying me so much today though, a week later, so I already forget what that felt like.) Chooch has loved Jule Vera since we saw them last winter at the Never Shout Never and blushed the whole time he was posing for a picture with Ansley, their singer:

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Not even gonna front here, I got totally misty-eyed during their set because it made me miss Chooch so much. We were sending him pictures of Ansley on Facebook during soundtrack and he was getting so mad at us but then he said “SEND ME VIDEOS.” Originally he wanted us to record their whole set, but contrary to popular belief, I actually don’t like being That Person holding their phone up at concerts. I tend to grab a few Instavids (like 30 seconds in length at a time) just for my own posterity and to have something to post on the blog as a memory of the night.

SO FUCKING SUE ME.

But for Chooch, I broke that rule and recorded 30-60 seconds of every song the performed, but I didn’t feel too asshole-y doing so because I was right against the barrier so I didn’t have to hold my phone up high, which means no one behind me was bothered, and if they were, it was probably because of Henry.

Henry’s mere existence is very bothersome to some.

Is it wrong to say that I think a band is adorable? I also think they’re really talented, but there is something really charming about watching such a young band play their hearts out on stage. I didn’t think I was going to care much for them when I saw them last winter, but I fell for them alongside Chooch. He’s got good taste.

Jule Vera killing it.

A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

Some old dude, like even older than Henry, yelled, “Hey what high school do you go to?!?” to Ansley and OK, I get where he’s coming from, but damn dude, that sounded totally creepy, go away. Save that for when you’re role-playing with your old ass wife.

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Their finale had to have made new fans out of the unbiased people lounging under nearby trees. Even one of the security guys came over to get a better look and then to me and Henry said, “This shit is crazy!”

Jule Vera killing it.

A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

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Set Your Goals was up next on the Rise Stage and I was so excited to see them again! They recently reunited and I didn’t even realize how much I missed them. This is the band that Henry always pauses and then asks, “Is this the big guy and little guy?” Ugh, yes Henry. Sure. SYG has the dual-vocals thing going on, and I credit them into getting me into pop-punk, after swearing it off for years. They were my gateway, if you will. I always liked emo and post-hardcore but really never cared much for pop-punk, until I heard one of their songs that Vinnie Cuarana was on, and then Hayley Williams rapping (literally!!) on one of their songs in 2009 really helped the medicine go down.

I made Alisha go see them with me that summer at Mr. Small’s and it was just such an awesome show and I kind of wanted to get punched in the face but it didn’t happen.

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Henry was not into it.

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This guy stood right by us while sucking on his CHRONIC CANDY lollipop and I wanted him so badly to turn to Henry and offer him a lick, which prompted Henry to later go on a tangent about how Chronic Candy “isn’t actually a drug, Erin!” and like yeah OK but it’s still part of DRUG CULTURE and we all know Henry has the D.A.R.E. insignia tattooed on his left ass cheek.

Oh you didn’t know? WELL NOW YOU DO.

He also has “just say no” on his inner lip.

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Anyway, go listen to Set Your Goals.

We tried to catch some of the Citizen acoustic set in the StubHub Tent, which was packed, so we were standing near the entrance when some dumbass rolled up with her friends and proceeded to shriek, totally unrelated to the music, like she had been proposed to and this really set me off so I flipped out and stormed away (I was also suffering through some major coffee-withdrawals, thanks for not having my back this year, Dark Matter!), and had a mini-meltdown, but then Henry calmed me down after some guy stared at me with a scared smile because I think he thought I was yelling at him. Not you, bro. Not you.

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Once Henry verbally massaged my frontal lobe, we were able to catch a little bit of Somos on the Storyheart stage. The best way I can explain this band is that they would be perfectly at home on a soundtrack for any 1980s John Hughes movie. This is a good thing! But Henry doesn’t get it, which is why I had to see them alone at Bled Fest last May.

This was the harried, frenzied block of time on Friday where there were three bands playing all around the same time and I wanted to see them all, so after two Somos songs, we had to do a brisk walk to the Rise stage where Glassjaw was playing and can you believe I have never seen Glassjaw in my whole entire life?? Henry thinks this is incorrect, but that’s because we saw Daryl Palumbo’s other band, Head Automatica at the Cure’s Curiosa festival in 2004. So I got to have major chills hearing Daryl’s screams cutting through the early evening Chicago air. No one sounds quite like Daryl Palumbo!

(LOL, a commercial for Motel 6 just played while I’m writing this and our Motel 6 did NOT look like the one on TV at all. Nice try, Tom Bodett.)

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FUN FACT: I sold a custom serial killer card to G.G. Allin’s brother last year and it was pretty much the highlight of my card-making career thus far.

Oh man, young emo Erin was READY to see Jimmy Eat World again. I kept trying to remember when the last time was that I saw them, and Henry swore that it wasn’t him because Jimmy Eat World is evidently a band that he would remember seeing. I stressed about this for the whole weekend because I was sure that I saw them at one of the Edgefests in Buffalo but I couldn’t find them listed on any lineups, so then I searched for their all their 2001 tour dates and said, “Well, I just don’t know then because this says they only did Warped Tour in 2001….oh wait I was at that Warped Tour, never mind LOL forever.”

Mystery solved! I saw them at Warped Tour with my pal Wonka.

When I first got into emo, it was through Instant Messenger (good ol’ AIM) and I was chatting with some random, and I remember asking him what his screen name meant. I don’t remember the name anymore, but it had something to do with the band Christie Front Drive, and that’s how I fell down the emo rabbit hole and, 20 years later, still haven’t clawed my way back out. Once he suggested that I listen to the Emo Diaries compilations, I knew it was for me.

(Full disclosure, I was still heavy into nu-metal back then too, hahahah, but emo clearly won the war over my heart.)

The crowd wasn’t too bad. My strategy was to stand behind a lady in a wheelchair because no one wanted to stand right in front of her, which meant the view was pretty clear for me. I’m really picky about how far up I’ll travel into the crowds — I base it on how much I love the band and how big/small the stage is. I do not like being close to the main stage because people scare me and I hate feeling trapped.

Anyway, they played my favorite song, Lucky Denver Mint (mixtape staple!)  Enjoy my finger cameo! I’m good at this!

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A video posted by Erin (@ohhonestlyconcerts) on

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It was time for Second Riot Fest Feeding after Jimmy Eat World and I went with a vegan sloppy joe. I think Henry got salt and vinegar fries. Who cares. I kept stealing swigs of his beer and he was getting so angry because “if you had really wanted to drink, you wouldn’t have your left your fucking license at home!!” He kept saying, “I hope you get busted!” because I didn’t have a wristband on, but come on, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m over 21. Maybe it’s debatable in a dark club, but when the sun is shining down on me, the grays are all a’shimmer and the bags under my eyes are looking ready and willing to hold your car keys and Altoids.

So gimme your fucking beer, Henry.

That sloppy joe was wonderful. Riot Fest has the best food! This is what I wish Warped Tour would do — but I guess because it’s at an actual venue and not a park, outside food vendors aren’t allowed in so we have to stick with the standard $10 soft pretzels and nachos or whatever that First Niagara whips up. This is why I just stuff my bag with granola bars!

 

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On the way back to the Storyheart Stage in preparation for BASEMENT!!!, we watched a few minutes of All Time Low at the Rise Stage. I never really got into them that much, so after a song or two, we began to walk away, but then they started the next song and I screamed, “I KNEW IT!!” and ran back to the stage because Vic from Pierce the Veil came out to sing “A Love Like War” with them. Henry was like, “Wha—-what’s happening!?” and had to follow me back. He’s so dumb sometimes. But then he saw Vic and understood.

Vic 💗

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

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For real though, after that song ended, we had to run to the Storyheart Stage because I wanted to be up front for Basement and now, as I type this, I feel like I’m going to start crying because this was the first time that weekend, other than crying about missing Chooch or just being my typical whiny self, that I dropped real tears.

This is the same band that threw a wrench in Henry’s “driving to Disneyworld” plans last April — he wanted to leave on a Saturday morning but then I quietly, while slowly back away, reminded him that I had a ticket to see Basement that night, so we had to wait until 11:30pm that night to embark on our Orlando road trip, lolololololol all the way to the market.

I am obsessed with Al specifically, the guitarist, because he was the man behind the camera in all of the Tuesdays with Tay videos that Henry and I love (well, that I love), and I’m just a huge groupie for Run For Cover Records. Huge. I make Chooch wear their shirt to school in an effort to get those basic Brookline brats interested in good music.

(Hasn’t happened yet, although Chooch played some Emarosa for his friend Dimajio and said that he liked it, so fingers crossed. Chooch is a lot like me in many ways but he hasn’t yet honed the SHOVE YOUR INTERESTS DOWN YOUR FRIENDS’ THROATS skill yet I guess. I’ll work on that with him some more, don’t worry.)

When we were waiting for Jule Vera to play earlier, Henry elbowed me and pointed to the fenced-off area behind the stage, at a white van that had just rolled up. “Isn’t that Basement?” he asked casually. AND IT WAS. Henry is so great at recognizing bands that he hates!

Some of my friends were disappointed in me because I chose Basement over some other band, but bitch please, I’m not going to skip a band that I genuinely love in favor of a band that I don’t like but feel like I’m supposed to watch just to say that I saw them. That’s not me! I like what I like. And Basement pumped me full of life. I love how James has Robert Smith-esque dance moves and I love their energy and their fans aren’t assholes and they’re just adorable Brits who make emotional, heart-felt, energetic rock.

I’m used to disappointing people with my music preferences though. It’s my thang. Bang bang.

Plus, they have a song called Bad Apple and I have a rotten apple tattoo, so I’m kind of obligated to be a fan. <3

Ready to see @basementuk again like right now. One of many high points from the weekend. 😍

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I’m going to listen to them all weekend now because they’re such an autumn band for me. And I finally got Henry to admit that he likes them so it was a big moment in our relationship. This band is just so good, and they are HILARIOUS on social media (their Snapchat stories are entertaining) and I have to say, when a band plays super emotional music but then act like complete clowns on the Internet, I love them even more.

Just do yourself a favor and listen to their latest album. It’s the first release since they came out of hiatus. I mean, I’m no Lou Pappan, but I think “you gonna like it.” (SHOUT OUT TO MY PITTSBURGH READERS LOL.)

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Sep 242016
 

“I wish I was Jennifer Aniston,” I sighed wistfully. 

“Why?” Henry asked, as if this was a statement so extraordinary that it warranted an explanation?

“Um, because she’s the most beautiful girl in the country?” I answered snidely, like hello she’s America’s Sweetheart, you idiot. 

Henry chewed on this and then said, “But then we wouldn’t be together.”

“….yeah, sure we would,” I said with zero conviction. 

“OK how would we have met then?”

“Well, obviously at a Days Of Our Lives convention, where I would be there supporting my dad,  Victor Kiriakis.”

Henry considered this and then, with a smirk, asked, “But why am I at a Days Of Our Lives convention?”

“To see JOHN BLACK,” I shouted in a LE DUH tone because hello, have you ever even read Henry’s LiveJournal?

Meanwhile, at Eat n Park, I got all let down when I thought the beginning of a song was going to be Jon Secada’s Just Another Day but ended up being Ace of Base ughhh. So I sadly tweeted about that and fifteen minutes later, THIS HAPPENED: 


My Saturday night is so fucking full. SO FUCKING FULL. 

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Sep 232016
 

Can I take a moment to toot my parenting horn for a hot second? I mean hey, it’s gotta be better than the endless wave of Riot Fest posts (THAT ARENT OVER YET, FYI). 

I mentioned before that 4th grade was a TERRIBLE year for Chooch, and also me and Henry. The school was calling us so much that I eventually just stopped answering, waited to hear the voicemail, and then made henry deal with it. Behavioral issues all year long! Trouble with other kids. Trouble with teachers. It all culminated with Henry having a legit round table discussion with not one, not two, but FIVE teachers plus the vice principal. 

Turns out, he was bored AF, not being challenged, and genuinely disliked one of his teachers. 

This year has seemed so much better though. He has a group of friends he seems pretty close with, his teachers this year seem to be fair and it old-fashioned like the ancient teacher he had last year, and then this:



He was SO EXCITED to be picked for this and I’m like “ok…dork” but in reality I think it’s because it gives him a sense of leadership, plus attention. 

Which he craves. 

You’re surprised. I can tell. 

He was over it after the first day:


But I thought it was awesome that the principal chose him, especially knowing what last year was like for him. 

(He is a fucking awesome principal and Henry and I both like him a lot which says something because Henry and I rarely like the same things.)

And today, something even more awesome happened: the school called (Henry,  not me lol) to let us know that Chooch has officially been accepted into the gifted program! He was tested last year, in April or May, but we never heard back and figured he didn’t make it. But he did! So now hopefully he will stay challenged and stimulated and far away from TROUBLE. 

OK. Parenting horn is going back into the trunk under the bed, next to the container of limbs and scalps. 

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Sep 222016
 

Henry: There’s Notre Dame.

Me: ….that big dirt pile?

Henry: Well….no. On the other side of that.

***

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I woke up Monday morning with a dire need to get the hell home. We had driven straight to South Bend, Indiana after saying goodbye to Riot Fest on Sunday, and I was so happy to be staying in a decent hotel after four nights in the worst Motel 6 — hey, we do what we need to do to be able to go to Riot Fest, and it may be just be one step up from sleeping in a car, but at least there was hot (almost pressure-less) water…? I tried not to complain too much because #SOBLESSED to be there, blah blah blah. Trying on a pair of grateful-pants. They don’t fit very well.

You know that I missed Chooch a lot when I didn’t consult my Roadside America app ONCE on the way home to Pittsburgh on Monday.  The struggle was real, man, and I barely even wanted to stop for breakfast. But we missed breakfast at the hotel because prissy Henry was too busy lollygagging, blowing out his hair, pomading his beard — I don’t know what Henry does. I never watch him get ready because it’s boring.

Anyway, since Henry fucked up, I found a placed called JEANNIE’S HOUSE which was somewhere that required us to drive around like 8 “traffic circles.”

Traffic circles are cunts. And second of all, they’re roundabouts.

Jeannie’s ended up being… the bomb dot com? All that and a bag of chip? Why were these things ever acceptable to say? Jeannie’s was great. We got to hang with the locals at the counter! And our waitress loved me because I have an awesome phone case; she even made another waitress come over and said, “Show her your phone case!”

I have better accessories than most high school girls.

MAYBE EVEN MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS.

Honestly, that part of me has never changed. I’m literally still the same 10th grader who brought an argyle knapsack to study hall everyday, stuffed with travel games and Floam. People called it the Barney bag, which seemed accurate at the time but now I’m like, Mary Poppins bag would have been better.

But yeah, that’s still me: wearing giant plastic rings and carrying holographic eyeball purses.

Henry just rolled his eyes and proceeded to zone out during this whole exchange.

Anyway, the breakfast fare was standard, but what drew me there was the promise of homemade jams.

I made sure to get a grilled biscuit with my swiss omelet and then proceeded to ask, with urgency, “DO YOU HAVE THE HOMEMADE JAMS?” Our waitress was like “….Yes?” And  then she told me the flavors. I picked peach, which is what Henry tried to also choose until I sternly said, “You have to get a different one so we can share!” and then I coughed, “Idiot” under my breath.

Breakfast was delightful and those jams really did make a big difference.

And then it was back in the car, where Henry was confused by how roads work in Indiana.

Henry: So I can only go left or right? Not straight?

Me: Who cares.

Henry: Well…I care. I don’t want to get a ticket…?

Didn’t Henry LIVE IN INDIANA? I guess he was too busy driving other people’s cars into ditches.

I should have peed before we left Jeannie’s but then we wouldn’t have seen some large, shirtless man yelling at someone sitting in their car in a McDonald’s parking lot after utilizing a surprisingly nice and updated bathroom in a gas station in Smalltown, Indiana where we then got a ton of beverages (including a gross iced coffee), a bag of chip and a (gross) Snickerdoodle for under $5! I think that’s cheap, right?

We also saw not one but THREE cars pulled off to the side of the road where people were picking grapes growing along a median. Wow.

Indiana, you’re flavorful.

That iced coffee was so disgusting though, no surprise. It was this terribly thick concoction and whether it actually had coffee in it is debatable. Also, I was having a hard time getting it to come out of the spout so Henry went and got a gas station employee to assist me before I pushed the whole thing out of a window, and the lady  took the top of which is how I know that the “coffee” lives inside a foiled pouch thing, like ew, and the lady was all, “Sometimes if I squeeze it, it’ll get it started again” and it was just so wrong.

So, so wrong.

Anyway, Henry thinks that she didn’t charge me for it, which was why it seemed so cheap.

“You know like at a bar, when they give you the shot for free if it’s the end of the bottle?” Henry said, and is that what happened the day he drove “Joe’s” car into the ditch!? Too many free “bottom of the bottle” shots?!

Whatever. It didn’t help that shitty iced coffee taste any better.

By the time we reached the first travel plaza in Ohio, I was on the prowl for an iced coffee do-over. Unforch, it was a Starbucks, which I usually tend to avoid, but anything was better than that gas station swill!

I ordered my SMALL NOT TALL coffee and then loudly to Henry I said, “I make a point of ordering either a SM, MED or LG whenever I come here. Fuck a venti.”

“Wow, you’re a real rebel,” Henry mumbled, and then when I asked him if he was getting anything, he scoffed, “No!” Because Henry is hugely against coffee (see also: Henry is a terrorist) and claims that even the cookies at Starbucks tastes like coffee. AND HE HATES THEIR ICED TEA!

Who’s the rebel now?

While at the travel plaza, Henry decided he wanted to get some Hershey’s ice cream and he’s a grown-up so he can have ice cream in the middle of the day if he wants. But there were these two old broads who were lollygagging, changing their orders, musing over which flavor would best complement their daily prunes. Henry quickly grew impatient and, ice cream dreams shattered, moved over to the next kiosk to get some iced tea instead.

But by the time he had finished paying and was handed his empty plastic cup, some man came over for a refill, stepping right in front of Henry and proceeded to pour the slowest cup of iced tea this side of shitty Indiana gas station iced coffee dispenser.

And the whole time, the old broads, now placated with their cups of Hershey chill, hovered behind Henry. They were closer to him than I was and we all know that Chooch and I walk so close to Henry that if he stops abruptly, there’s a people pile-up. Oh shit, Henry hates that about us but I bet if we ever suddenly gave him personal space, he would miss the sound of our adorable shuffling feet.

So now, he’s got this dude tea-blocking him and these broads taunting him with the ice cream he was too impatient to stand in line for, not to mention me standing there laughing at him, and he just looked so defeated and slumped over.

It was amazing.

He was so angry.

Once he finally filled up his cup with Burger King’s iced tea, the old broads walked away. Just like that. We exited the travel plaza the opposite direction as them so Henry could have time to cool off.

“And I thought that guy getting iced tea was the husband of one of those broads!” Henry chirped. “But no, they were just standing there for no reason!” Untrue, Henry – they were standing there to further ruin your experience at the shitty Ohio travel plaza.

In between rehashing every waking moment of Riot Fest, I got Henry to open up a bit about the SERVICE. “Did they ever scream in your face?” I asked him. My only real insight into the SERVICE world is Full Metal Jacket and M.A.S.H.

“I mean, they screamed at us, but not like what you see in  the movies,” he causally answered, temporarily forgetting that he put a ban on answering SERVICE questions.

He said he wasn’t scared when they would scream at him because “eventually they have to stop.” Why did this make me crack up so bad!? How is Henry constantly so even-keeled and level-headed?! Not being screamed at while in the SERVICE fazed him.

I call shenanigans on this, though. I feel like he probably made a lot of tearful calls home to his mommy.

“What was your first day like? Did you cry a lot? Were you worried about not making friends?” I asked, on the edge of my seat but not really because we were in  the car and if I get too close to the edge, my knees are squished against the glove compartment and that’s annoying.

Also, I recently realized that it’s called a glove compartment because its original use was probably to literally put gloves in it!? It was just one of those things where I kept saying the words over and over in my head until it fragmented and I said, real slow, “Glove……compartment. A compartment….for gloves!”

You just gotta let me figure these things out on my own sometimes. Like the time I realized that the logo for the old department store Hornes was actually…A HORN.

Anyway, where were we. Oh! I was asking Henry about his first day at the SERVICE.

“I don’t know…the plane landed at like, 1 in the morning. Then we woke up and got our hair cut.”

Oh for god’s sake, I was squealing with laughter at this point.

“You got your hair cut!” I wheezed.

“Well, yeah,” Henry said, flashing me a concerned look, the kinds that doctors give their patients after they ask if they’ve gone off their meds. “Shaved, actually.”

By this time, I was laughing so hard that nothing at all was coming out but strangulated gasps and Henry was officially done answering questions.

And then we were home, reunited with Chooch and two cats who I’m not certain remembered us. Ob-la-di, motherfuckers.

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Sep 212016
 

choochclown2014

I don’t ever need it to be October to enjoy scary things, but I am definitely getting all amped up over here for haunted houses and Halloween. I admittedly wasn’t feeling it for awhile there, which leads to me believe that I really am more dead than alive inside…or should that mean that I would be even DOUBLY amped?

This is the first time that Chooch has known what he’s going to be for months, but I’m sure we’ll drag it out and wait until the last minute as usual to make his costume. (Lol, “we.”) It’s not going to be gory like the zombie clown or last year’s Death By Stereo, but it will arguably be sjust as obscure as the latter.

YOU’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.

(J/k, it’s not that exciting.)

Other things I’m excited for in October:

  • The 6th pie party! “We” have no idea what “we’re” making, but the theme is “exotic.”
  • More shows, duh. We might be taking Chooch to see the Summer Set in Columbus and I’m looking forward to giving oral to a cupful of Jeni’s.
  • Trying some new haunted houses.
  • Sitting in a cemetery, trying out some new spells.
  • Henry making things with squash and pumpkins.
  • Eating too much of Chooch’s trick-or-treating bounty and then complaining about being so dumb, so fat.
  • Finally wearing hoodies, I hope?! It’s still so hot.
  • Celebrating the idiot cats’ 1st birthday, which is October 3rd according to Sandy who is the fur-mom of their bio brother, Kitten Play.
  • Maybe still watching this season of American Horror Story — will this be the first season since season 2 that I’ll be able to see through to the end?! I hope so. I hate being let down. I already have 509 issues with this current season and it’s only the second episode, are my standards too high? TOO BAD.
  • Not arriving to work a sweaty mess from walking to the trolley in 97 degree heat.
  • Luring Chris and Monica over here for some horror movie viewings.
  • Making fun of the Halloween window displays along Brookline Boulevard. I have no chill for my town.

What was your favorite costume as a kid? I think mine was a Monopoly Board.

monopoly

I actually hate dressing up now, though, and have probably only done so 5 times as an adult. INTERESTING.

Basically, this blog post is full of the things I would say if I had someone to talk to right now, but I don’t because I’m only one awake and I am LONELY AND BORED and also I drank way too much coffee today—good thing I’m on late shift tomorrow because this dumb B ain’t going to bed anytime soon, no sir.

I think I’m going to get a simple jack o’lantern tattoo on my thumb at some point. Maybe as a cover-up for that obsolete H on my ring finger, lol.

(J/K, Henry. Ugh.)

Now’s the portion of the night where I play all my Riot Fest videos and cry like the emo bitch I am. NEVER CHANGE, SELF.

DON’T WORRY, SELF, I WON’T.

 

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Sep 202016
 

Someday, I’ll make it a point of visiting Chicago for no other reason but to be a tourist. But so far, anytime I’ve been there, it’s either been a layover at O’Hare, driving through on the way to somewhere else, or to attend Riot Fest. Riot Fest starts at noon all three days and by the time we get up, eat breakfast, and take a Lyft to Douglas Park (which is on the outskirts of Chicago), there just isn’t any time to like, go stare at our reflections in the Bean or whatever.

This year though, Riot Fest announced that they had scored a lot for festival goers, and Henry said it “seemed like it was in an OK area.” But Henry was like, “I REFUSE TO KEEP PAYING ALL THIS MONEY TO UBER OR LYFT!” so for the second day, we left the “hotel” ridiculously early (like before 9:30) and prayed that we would get a spot.

We were the second car there.

But the upside to this was that we had a ton of free time to explore for once. Maybe it wasn’t the actual city, but it was still a neighborhood of Chicago and I was excited to gawk and ogle the locals. I’m really good at looking like a tourist.

Even here in Pittsburgh.

I have that wide-eyed, lost, looking-for-the-Alamo’s-basement look going on strong.

Henry had us walking for quite some time through a Mexican neighborhood, and I was dying because I love Mexican things but none of the shops were open yet. We passed several men loading up vans with POPSICLE CARTS and I wanted one in the worst way because the flavors were exotic, like guava and tres leches. But they weren’t selling them yet. :(

At first we were just blindly looking for a place to eat breakfast, but then Henry consulted my enemy Yelp and found a place but he was being all weird about it and just kept saying things like “It’s a place with food” and “Just shut your fat face and walk.”

All I knew was that we were walking to “Little Village,” whatever the fuck that is. We just kept walking and walking…

(I seriously just looked at a map of Chicago because I really have no idea where we are in relation to anything every time we go there. Hurray, now I know where Douglas Park is!)

And then we came upon this place, which made me scream, “LET’S GO THERE! UNISEX!”

“The barber shop?” Henry asked in a confused voice.

“How do you know it’s a barber shop?” I cried, my visions of a purple velvet swingers den abruptly dashed.

“Well…because it has pictures of scissors and razors on it…?” Henry answered in that tone he adopts when he thinks my questions are stupid. Sorry, but all of my coddling teachers throughout the years taught me that there are no stupid questions so there. Let’s go get Purped at Unisex.

But then I found a mural and forgot about Purpura Unisex in my delightful and aggressive staging of another Henry photo op.

It’s like reverse instagram husband, you guys.

A MEXICAN PLANT STORE. Ughhhhhh, I wanted to go in so badly but what’s the point—we weren’t going back to the car afterward and I don’t think A Beautiful Mess has posted a DIY for a succulent wig or cacti fannypack yet so how would I carry plants around with me all day?

 Besides, as soon as Henry saw all the religious shit in the window, he quickly steered me across the street.

hipstamaticphoto-495863690-914265

Luckily, we had arrived at the place with food! And it was legit. None of that Americanized Mexican food bullshit. The waitress had to keep stopping herself from speaking to us in Spanish, that’s how real it was. I love real Mexican culture.

That Jesus aesthetic makes my heart do flip flops.

“I don’t know if it’s because we’ve been around so many Mexicans lately, but I had intense dreams about Christina last night,” I casually told Henry in between sips of the best Mexican coffee in the world.

“Well, she’s not really Mexican, so….” Henry mumbled.

I had rancheros and it was so wonderful. Henry had some type of breakfast staple. I didn’t ask. It probably consisted of eggs and some type of meat.

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It was such a fantastic start to Riot Fest:Day 2. And by the time we got back to Douglas Park, the gates were open so we walked right in without having to wait in a dumb line, and we still had 30 minutes to spare before any bands started.

I think Saturday might have been my favorite day.

However! I just realized that I lied when I told Twitter that Henry and I made it all the way to Sunday night before finally fighting, because we fought after we got back to the car Saturday night when I had the audacity to suggest that we go get ice cream. Usually, we get a ride back to the “hotel” (you guys, this place was a dump), and by that time, it’s so late that we don’t feel like doing anything else. But now we had our car and I wanted to go out and get some fancy Chicago ice cream!

Henry’s initial response was to snap at me because he probably wanted to go back to the room and air out his jock, who knows what that weirdo does. So then I snapped back and said something like, “I WAS HAVING SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND NOW I’M GOING TO CRY. YOU’RE MAKING ME CRYYYYYY” and he yelled, “FIND A FUCKING ICE CREAM PLACE, ASSHOLE!” and I was all, “JUST FORGET IT!” and waited until he was already on some highway thing before saying, “Ooh, let’s go to this Black Dog place for gelato!” and of course Henry had to turn around in some unsavory area and go almost all the way back to Douglas Park.

“It would have been awesome if you told me to go here while we were still in the PARKING LOT,” he muttered.

“I would have if you hadn’t MADE ME CRY!” I yelled.

And then he had to drive around the equivalent of our Shadyside* for approximately 20 minutes until he finally found a place to park.

*(A trendy/fancy neighborhood of Pittsburgh that Henry hates because he’s a Blue Collared.)

We passed this art gallery on the way to Black Dog and I asked, “What is this?” to which Henry mumbled, “Stupid.”

You’re right Henry, that was a stupid question because I clearly knew it was an art gallery so STFU.

Anyway, this goddamn place was so worth it. I had a scoop of cassata and brown butter praline and right now, I’m closing my eyes and begging my taste buds to excrete a memory of its flavor.

OK I didn’t actually close my eyes.  I have a hard enough time typing correctly with my eyes OPEN, for fuck’s sake.

Henry had something with goat cheese…and salted cashew caramel? I can’t remember. It wasn’t as good as mine.

“This was totally worth it, right Henry?” I cooed, in the throes of that temporary, short-lived ice cream euphoria.

“It was OK,” he mumbled, trying to get the feeling back in his weener after eating dainty gelato with a pink spoon.

Overall, it was a nice change of pace from the go-go-go environment of Riot Fest, which I can’t wait to recap here for no one but I feel so exhausted every time I try to collect my thoughts. Because I have a lot of those things*.

*(Thoughts, I mean. I have lots of other things too. Like…issues. Neuroses. Pounds.)

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Sep 192016
 

Much to Henry’s  inner joy and invisible mirth, yesterday was the third and last day of Riot Fest. It’s also the first day Henry and I fought– we made it so far! Specifically all the way to Rob Zombie’s set where I tried to lose Henry in the crowd like lol ok what is that going to prove. 

Anyway, we saw lots of bands so let’s see what Henry hated, didn’t like, and thought was “not too bad.” (Heads up, he was not impressed by anything on Sunday.)

  • The Bronx: They were good…? What?
  • Frankiero andthe Patience: I liked that too. (He sounded unsure. I don’t think he knows who this is.)
  • All Dogs: I don’t remember if I liked them. Apparently not. 
  • Dee Snider: Eh. Novelty. 
  • Juliette Lewis & the Licks: Interesting. Not too bad for what we saw before you got hangry. 
  • A Will Away: I only saw five minutes of them so I can’t make an informative opinion. (He was sitting alone by a fence for their first few songs, looking like an undercover cop.)
  • Thursday: I was never a big fan anyway so that didn’t change. (He breaks my heart.)
  • Bad Religion: Pretty much the same. Not a big fan anyway. 
  • Underoath: I don’t know. (He scrunched up his face and made a so-so motion with his hand.)
  • Deftones: I only knew their older stuff, so. Not bad. Can’t say I’m the biggest fan. (Well they played mostly old stuff, so…)
  • Rob Zombie: From what I heard I liked. (When I left him during Rob Zombie, he was standing by himself– obvi–and said that a younger guy was doing DRUGS next to him, but when he saw Henry, he got nervous and put it away. Like no duh, Henry—it’s because you look like a NARC.)
  • Sleater-Kinney: We walked through them? That was it. (Yeah right when they were commending Riot Fest for writing a No Harrassment policy – Henry hates when girls stand up for themselves and get all “lippy about their safety” don’t you Henry the Oppressor?)
  • Misfits: I don’t get it. 

And now is the time where we ask Henry what his dream Riot Fest lineup would be.  Lol, nevermind. Just Ted Nugent. 

Out of every band there this weekend, Henry’s favorite was “I don’t know.”


Henry got lemonade because “everyone else seems to be getting lemonade.” What a fucking conformist. 

Overall, Henry thinks that Riot Fest “wasn’t a bad weekend. At least it didn’t rain.”

Wow. I feel like a need a fucking butterfly net to catch all those words. 

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Sep 182016
 

Oh boy, another day at Riot Fest, another thoroughly interesting and verbose review from Henry. Better get that dictionary handy in case he uses a BIG WORD that you don’t understand probably because it’s some made-up word that Auto Correct chose because I’m typing this on my phone at 11:40pm in our disgusting “hotel.”

  • Brick + Mortar: I liked them. 
  • Plague Vendor: Mmm, for some reason I did like them. (This was like a huge shock to me. I thought he would hate them. But when they told everyone to get down on the ground, he actually did it and he doesn’t even CLAP when a band tells him to, so….chew on that one.)
  • Microwave, acoustic: Ehhhh, I don’t know. Can’t say much. (OK except that this is America and he can actually say whatever he wants, but whatever…)
  • Jessica Hernandez: I didn’t think anything of her. 
  • Hippo Campus: Hippo Campus….um, nothing special. Did we stay the whole time? No? They were very….(I can’t tell if he just quit talking or if he’s getting all Heathers on us. “They were very.”)
  • High Waisted: They were very entertaining. Look I said they were very entertaining.  When do you ever get anything more than that from me, really? (He said that after I got mad at how stupidly succinct he is.) I saw her boob with a star on it. 
  • Motion City Soundtrack: Nope. Nothing to say. (He really hates them and I don’t get it.)
  • Bob Mould: I don’t know his music that well, so…
  • Balance & Composure: Um, I liked them. (he said this in a very upbeat manner and I’m nervous now.)
  • Brand New: Mmm, I only knew a couple of their songs, so…(Also, he read a tweet out loud that said Jesse Lacey should come out and sing Morrissey’s set since he was making everyone wait and Henry goes “Isnt the girl from High Waisted?” And I was like “Well no because she’s a girl and Jesse Lacey is the singer for Brand New.” Idiot.)
  • Death Cab For Cutie: Eh. (Look, Henry is clearly hard to impress. The  music world isn’t full of Ted Nugents.)
  • Morrissey: what I saw wasn’t too bad I guess. I don’t know his music too much to begin with so what would I have to compare it to. (WOW.)

In summary: “It was good up until the end*, I guess. I ate a cheeseburger there today. Nothing special.”

*(He probably means because we had a fight in the parking lot when I said I wanted ice cream HAHAHAHAHA.)

Let’s end with a picture of Henry emerging from his office. I can’t stop laughing at how weird he looks!

(When your significant other goes into a portajohn first to clean the seat for you, that is YOUR PERSON*, don’t ever let ’em go!

*See also: bitch.)

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Sep 162016
 

Wait. One more thing. 

Dance Gavin Dance released a new video today and it is so fucking weird and perfect. 

I won’t be eating donuts for a while – thanks for the diet strategy, guys!

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Sep 162016
 

Day one is over and yes, we’re goddamn exhausted but I’m still going to make Henry give his signature half a sentence review of the bands we saw today. Please note this Henry’s opinion is not a reflection of my own. 

  • Tigers Jaw: “Nothing Special.”
  • Citizen: “They’re good…? That’s it right this second.”
  • Touché Amore: “They weren’t too bad.” (WOW, this one shocked me because he hates this type of music and anytime I played their records st home he gets irritated.)
  • Jule Vera: “Good. It wasn’t bad. I would go see her again….but not by myself.” (FYI it’s a band not a girl.)
  • Set Your Goals (or as Henry calls them “Is this the big guy and little guy?): “Eh. I don’t like them live.”
  • Somos: “Uh, didn’t like them.”
  • Glassjaw: “Mmm. no.”
  • Jimmy Eat World: “Yeah. I did like them but also I like them anyway so…” (?????)
  • Basement: “Hold on, I’m eating. I would see them again. They were good.”
  • Pierce the Veil: “They’re the same every time. Though they’re getting a little….showy. I like them, but….I don’t know.”

Food: “I had salt & vinegar fries which were not that bad. Oh I had paella from Man with a Pan. Vegetable paella.”

(Guys Henry is a vegetarian now I think.)

Uber drivers: “The first one I don’t think has ever driven anyway, apparently. And the second one, he was a nice guy.”

(If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Henry over the years, it’s that he hates being a passenger and nothing exacerbates that more than using Uber and Lyft.)

Day One summary: “It was very tiring and I don’t want to do it again.”

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Sep 152016
 

Me: Well, I guess I’m going to live blog now. 

Henry: …..oh boy. 

***


8:59am: HI EVERYBODY! GOOD MORNING! Henry and I are on our way to Chicago for Riot Fest. It’s not until tomorrow but he made me take an extra day off work so we didn’t have to drive through the night like we usually do, he’s so selfish. (I’m so frugal with my PTO.) So far, we’ve only accomplished stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and breakfast, but at least we’re not fighting yet. (He is in a mood though.)

I miss Chooch a lot already. I made him give me an extra hug before he went to school this morning and you know how much I hate hugs. :( Then I was dreamily telling Henry about the one episode of Inpractical Jokers that Chooch and I were watching last night and now I miss him even more because that’s our show. Henry just told me I’m so weird because I’m cry-laughing at the memory of Sal’s punishment last night. 

I GUESS HE HAD TO BE THERE. 

9:25am: Apparently I don’t open bags of pretzels properly so now I’m being lectured. “You and Chooch,” he just sighed. Oh so I guess it’s my fault that Chooch doesn’t open bags of snacks properly, too. 

(Lol it probably is.)

Jesus, I don’t tie my shoes right (except that I do, the rest of you are the ones who do it wrong), I don’t open bags of snacks right. Why are you even with me, Henry?!

I just opened a bag of Chex Mix and he’s side-eying me. 

10:00am: “I bought three waters. They were three for $2.” Why does he bother telling me these things? Like I care? Is that a good deal, I don’t know?!

It’s like last weekend when we were with Tommy & Jessy, and Jessy was telling us about how she went to some farmers market and got a big brown bag full of cucumbers for $6 and I was like “……….”

10:07am: the new driver at Henry’s job just called him to ask him a question about FAYGO delivering things that you and I wouldn’t understand, so Henry adopted his Professional Driver voice which is basically just his voice was super amplified because all of the people he works with are deaf? Anyway, Henry’s solution to Tony’s problem was to “go ask Kevin.” 

10:22am: Henry’s been struggling to open a 5 Hour Energy with one hand while he’s driving for a solid 7 minutes now because he knows better than to ask me for help. 

11:30am: Listening to Deftones’ “Adrenaline” album super loud and having intense flashbacks of driving around in my ’95 Eagle Talon with Heather the Ken, in the middle of the night, getting pulled over like 87 times during the summer of ’98 (and NO TICKETS until that fall when I dyed my blond hair brown).

Henry is never amused by my stories of yore. 

12:09pm: Henry, trying to make conversation, just pointed out my window and said, “Look, that guy just got pulled over in the middle of nowhere.”

“Yeah but, we’re on a major highway that goes right past that road, so it’s not really the middle of nowhere,” I argued. 

“Well, this highway doesn’t go down there, so it is like the middle of nowhere…” #defensive

“Henry, literally three cars just drove past that road while he was getting pulled over.”

NICE TRY, HENRY. 

12:30pm: Leaving a rest area in Milan, OH, I tried to do my signature “pull the door shut on Henry” and he hoarsely whispered, “STOP THERE ARE PPL BEHIND ME!” and then attempted to run me into a garbage can, making us look like the most bumbling, slapstick domestic abuse reenactors. 

Then in the parking lot, he said, “That guy looks like Will from Emarosa” and he really didn’t at all so I made sure to convey that sentiment to Henry as inconsiderately and obnoxiously as possible so now he’s bitching about how he forgot that I know everything. 

Le duh. 

1:16pm: Juat rolled up to Cosmos Diner in Dover, OH. We’ll see how this goes. 

There is an extremely gravely-voiced waitress here and some older truck driver said hello to her as she passed his table. 

“you don’t know who I am, do you?” He asked. 

“sure do, you’re Tom Servos. I see you on Facebook all the time!” she said. 

“then why don’t you just friend me?” he asked. 

OH SHIT, Tom Servos: Creeper Shamer Extraodinaire. 


Shovel that coleslaw in, Henry. 


Tom’s paying now and the waitress said, “Next time I see you on Facebook, I’m gonna ADD YA and ya better say YES!” and his wife mumbled, “He accepts everyone.”

2:25pm: well guys it happened. I FOUND TOM ON FACEBOOK. 

First, I wasn’t so sure if it was him because his profile picture is just a picture of an 18-wheeler but then I found his MOM and yeah, it’s definitely him. So satisfying. 

Henry is horrified. 

3:19pm: At a rest stop in Indiana and Henry is about to write a letter to Congress regarding the astronomical price of bottles water and I’m like “Maybe that’s to purposely deter people from buying bottled water?!” And then he was going to get a milkshake but changed his mind. 

“Ew why would you get a milkshake from there though?” I asked, totally looking down my judgy nose. 

“Because last time I checked, I can do what I want!” He cried. “I’m an adult!”

Whoa. 

2:54pm: Just ranting as per uge about the NFL guy who knelt during the national anthem. “You know how much I hate football,” I yelled emphatically. “But I would BUY HIS JERSEY, HENRY. I would PROUDLY wear that guy’s name on my back. That POOR FUCKING GUY.”

“Well, he’s not ‘poor’….” Henry mumbled, tryna ruin my moment. 

3:18pm: Still in Indiana. One of these days, we’ll just do the unthinkable and FLY to Chicago and it’ll be great! Except for the part where I’m scared to death of airplanes, post 9/11. 

3:31pm: We’re near Gary, IN and Chooch used to be obsessed with that place because of something to do with school or whatever, blah blah, but now it’s making me MISS HIM even more. I’m going to really miss him tomorrow night during Pierce the Veil. :(

3:50pm (TIME CHANGE): you guys just missed the most exciting moment of this drive: we were paying at a toll thing and Henry was like “what the—” and realized after we drove off that he was OVERCHARGED. 

“I was charged for a 5 AXLE!” he yelled, trying to brag with his TRUCKING LINGO. Apparently the truck in front of us went thru with an Easy Pass and we somehow picked up his toll. 

So then Henry had me call the number on the receipt for him and then acted all put out, like I should be the one doing the talking, but hello they were asking him questions like “what direction are you headed” and “what highway are you on” and “what exit did you take?” and “what is the make of your car?”

BITCH, YOU TELL ME. 

Anyway, Henry came at Nancy the Operator with extreme politeness, as if this is the way to get shit done now suddenly? He even killed her with some of his patented “hyuk hyuk hyuk”s and I was dying, especially when he was struggling to remove my phone from the gigantic Unicorn Tears case. 

So now Happy Hank is getting his $3 refund! And he didn’t even have to call Nancy a cunt–not even once under his breath!

5:06pm: we’ve arrived at that same piece of shit “hotel” we stay at every Riot Fest on Mannheim Rd (what’s up with Camryn Mannheim these days?), except now it’s changed to a Motel 6. “It looks like they got rid of the riffraff, though,” Henry said when he came back with our room key. “I don’t think anyone lives here anymore, at least.”

The room is just one step up from a cinderblock cell, but for as much time we’ll be spending here, who the hell cares. 

5:54pm: We were talking about going to some nearby tiki bar that’s like famous I guess but someone left her license at home in Pittsburgh. 

6:07pm: Henry flew into O’Hare once when HE WAS IN THE SERVICE. 

Henry just yelled,”We’re here for one reason only and it’s not sightseeing in Chicago!!!” WHOA. 

6:18pm: At Giordano’s acting like it’s our first time in a restaurant, ever. Passed some girl on the way in and she was excited about my Pierce the Veil shirt. She was like 13. 

Maybe younger. 

Me: OMGGGGGG!

Henry: What?!

Me: Never mind. You won’t care. OK I THOUGHT THAT WAS TOM SERVOS OVER THERE BUT IT’S NOT. 

6:43pm: one of the busboys here looks just like Kris Letang! Until he turns around and is Mexican. 

7:14pm: OMG OMG OMG – I was struggling  to cut my pizza into bite-sized pieces (have you seen me use utensils? Not pretty) when I accidentally sent a chunk of pizza soaring through the air. It landed on the floor next to our booth and it was like time stood still; I was hoping to kick it back under the table before anyone saw but Kris Letang was walking by and, in a faux-chide, pointed to it and asked, “What is this?!”  I was like “uhhhhh” and he started laughing and cleaned it up for me. “I’m still learning how to cut things,” I said, my face getting all hot because that guy was SO CUTE. He just laughed and said, “it’s ok!” Like I was joking but I wasn’t. 

“You’re so dumb,” Henry sighed. 


#pizzapartysansPhilCollins

7:45pm: Obligatory trip to Target to buy all the things we forgot to pack. :/ #hemorrhagingmoney

8:10pm: Tried to entice Henry with a trip to the World’s Largest Laundromat which is 6 miles away and relevant to his domestic interests, but this apparently falls under the “sightseeing” category and my suggestion has been rejected. 

9:48pm: Watching Blair Witch in our no-frills hotel room. 

Me: “Do you think the Blair Witch is real?”

Henry: “Nope.”

DISAGREE. I’m the Blair Witch, motherfucker. 

Maybe I should have asked Mexican Kris Letang when he was getting off work and gone out with him. LE SIGH. 

Or…EL SIGH. 

[ETA: Next morning: i passed out immediately after Blair Witch was over, which leads me to believe that Henry drugged me so I’d stop bitching about him not wanting to do anything touristy.]

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Sep 132016
 

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It was after 2pm by the time we were done being dummies at Vent Haven, which means we were precariously close to The Witching Bitching Hour, otherwise known as the hunger twilight, where Chooch and I morph from adorably angelic sweethearts into Regan and the Antichrist in Warped Tour shirts.

Henry had approximately 37 minutes to find us a place to eat before the transformation was complete.

Back when Christina and I were friends, I used to visit her pretty frequently in Hamilton, OH, which is a few miles outside of Cincinnati. Since it was kind of on our way home, I suggested that we eat at Hyde’s, a family restaurant she took me to several times. I remembered liking the aesthetic and the pie, and was prepared to throw a fit if Henry said no, but then something miraculous happened:

Henry’s old SERVICE roommate Tim contacted him because he saw on Facebook that we were in the area! As his phone was ringing, he jumped out of the booth and went outside to aswer it; I’ve never seen Henry run out of a restaurant that fast in my life, not even the time he dined and dashed at HOOTERS in 1992.

(Probably true?)

So then Mr. WE GOTTA GET HOME, NO MORE STOPPING! decided that after lunch, we would be meeting TIM at Jungle Jim’s!

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Holy shit, I was so so excited, I could barely eat. Just kidding, I almost accidentally ate my hand while shoving my grilled cheese into my gnashing maw.

We had a really colorful waitress too who made sure she told us how busy she was every time she swung by our table, and I really liked that Real Talk aspect. I want to believe that we were the only table she confided in. I kept hoping she would talk shit on her other tables to us but she never did.

She probably made fun of me to her other tables though after I was a total tourist and asked WTF “sarasotas” are.

Turns out they’re just homemade potato chips served with BBQ sauce.

“That Yinzer bitch over there asked what them sarasotas is, can you imagine,” she probably said to the table of old bitches who came in for pie.

Chooch of course substituted a basket of sarasotas for his fries and Henry was very perplexed by this.

“Why don’t they just call them homemade chips with BBQ sauce, I don’t undertand,” he said.

SO GIDDY.

One thing to note is that I honestly don’t recogize any of the scenery in Hamilton, for as many times as I have been there. Like, if you set me loose and said, “Find Christina’s old house or die” well I guess I’m dead. I don’t even remember the name of the street, and I used to mail her shit all of the time!

I think this is my mind’s way of protecting me, lol.

On the way there, Henry and Chooch argued over the fact that meth and methane aren’t the same.

So nothing about Jungle Jim’s was familiar to me but who cares because a REAL LIFE PIECE OF HENRY’S SERVICE PAST WAS THERE.

OMG you guys. My mind almost melted.

Chooch took these pictures because he’s my little spy in training.

Unfortunately, Tim and Henry talked about kind of boring things, mostly just catching each other up on their current lives. So Chooch and I were like, “Eh, screw this” and walked ahead of them, looking for the Romania aisle.

I never grocery shop, but Jungle Jim’s is huge and full of weird international goods and animatronics. It’s like Chuck E. Cheese for grocery shoppers. This is where I bought my first and only durian in 2004!

NEVER AGAIN!

The last time I was here was August of 2005, when I was about 65% sure I might be pregant. There was a fortune teller thing there, so I inserted my quarter and asked, “Hey, am I pregnant? Because I mean, I just turned down ice cream in favor of mustard, so….”

I don’t remember when her prediction was, which shot out of a slot at me, but GUESS WHAT I was definitely pregnant. Technically, this was Chooch’s second time at Jungle Jim’s, I guess.

My favorite thing about Tim is that he chided Henry about not marrying me so TIM, YOU CAN STAY.

****

Here’s a quick Henry Interview!

What did you Tim and used to talk about at night when you were roommates? GIRL STUFF?

Henry: I don’t remember. It was 30 years ago. Literally, 30 years ago.

So, you and Tim lived together in that place in Indiana?

Henry: In the trailer? Yeah.

Did he know you were the town Eunuch?

Henry, sarcastically I think: Hahaha, oh my god, you’re hilarious.

Did he know you were obsessed with being Erik Estrada back then?

Henry: Just answer it yourself. I’m not answering that. You’re making shit up as always.

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Hmm, I don’t know Henry. That picture tells a different story. Speaking of stories, I heard you and Tim talking about the time you drove some guy’s car into a ditch. Talk about that.

Henry: It was 1986 maybe? We had just gotten off work at 7:30 that morning and went to the bar. We (guys I worked with, there was maybe 4 or 5 of us) pretty much drank all day. I had to run home to get something* so I borrowed Joe’s car and when I got close to my house I turned the corner too sharp and went into a small ditch on the side of the road. I blew out the tire and bent the rim and then I parked it at my house, took my car back to the bar without telling him I did anything to his. He didn’t find out until the next day when he came to pick it up and he found out it was damaged so I had to pay for it.

*(Probz porn to trade.)

Good, that’s what happens WHEN YOU DRIVE DRUNK, ASSHOLE. Anyway, that was a boring story. Did you ever take a bullet for Tim?!

Henry, in an annoyed/laughing tone: No. Psh, take a bullet for Tim..

What is your most vivid of Tim? Was he in Panama with you?

Henry: He was always working on his car because it seemed to always be broken. I don’t remember, I don’t think so but I can’t be sure. It’s possible.

(WOW. SOME FRIENDSHIP.)

Was Tim with you when you went to see CHEAP TRICK in Texas?!

Henry, appalled at this question for some reason: No! That was when I was in training, when I just got out of basic. Tim didn’t come in until my last year maybe…

(So, right before he went AWOL.)

Henry just said he’s not going to divulge the contents of their Jungle Jim’s convo, so basically this was a huge waste of time.

****

Somewhere outside of Columbus, I was imitating Henry so intensely, that Chooch laughed so hard he pissed his pants, which just made Henry even angrier because now he was going to have to stop somewhere so Chooch could change.

“We’re never going to fucking get home. Thanks a lot, assholes,” Henry barked, which just made Chooch and me bust out our sides from all the laughter.

****

When Henry set the GPS that morning as we left our hotel in Louisville, it told us we’d be getting home sometime around 4.

We got home just shy of midnight.

Good god, that was a fun whirlwind trip to Kentucky.

 

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Sep 122016
 

 

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As soon as I saw a museum of dummies listed on Roadside America, my heart sang, “This is the place for us, Erin Rachelle Kelly!” I was ready to get lost in the bowels of a ventriloquist’s wet dream.

[Insert joke about why Henry would want to pay to see dummies when he’s with two of them for free every day.]

After killing an hour in Fort Mitchell, we rolled up to Vent Haven about ten minutes early. The curator was outside and waved to us, so we got out of the car and tentatively approached the property.

“Are you the one who just called today?” the curator asked, after introducing herself as Lisa. I said yes, that was me, and she told me that she almost never has an opening the day-of. “So this is almost like winning the lottery!” she laughed, and I could tell Henry was vehemently disagreeing to himself.

Right when I was panicking about having The Small Talk, another group arrived. This alleviated some of the pressure from us (because Henry damn well wasn’t going to be talking — he was still annoyed that this was pushing back our arrival home!).

We all stood around outside in the yard while Lisa gave us a brief rundown of the history of the museum, which was started out of the home of W.S. Berger when he started collecting dummies in the 50s and eventually his collection grew so large that he ran out of room in his house and had to build auxiliary shed-like buildings in his backyard. Thus, Vent Haven was born, the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism!

“When people see that it’s by appointment only, they think this is some pretentious museum, but I’m the ONLY EMPLOYEE!” she stressed. “I can’t give a tour if I’m at Kroger’s! I need to know when people are coming to my house,” she laughed. Because, you know, she actually lives there too. And it’s funny that she mentioned that because Henry totally groaned when I mentioned that I had to call ahead, because I’m sure he had visions of a stuffy exhibit full of stern-looking elderly people popping Werther’s Originals while an unamused curator monotoned facts around accusatory stares.

(Honestly, I always feel like they think I’m up to something!)

The more Lisa talked, the more I loved her. She was the antithesis of what you’d expect from a roadside tour guide: she was hilarious without being cheesy, imformative without being boring, and her genuine enthusiasm for ventriloquism was contagious. Within minutes, Henry was smiling and laughing. The exact opposite of when we went on the Williamsburg ghost tour!

While waiting for the last group to arrive, she talked a bit about the pyschological reasons why a lot of people are scared of dummies, or dolls of any sort.

“But really, even if they were all going to spring to life and come after you, why would you be afraid of something so small? They’re like the size of toddlers, just kick ’em, you know?” and then to Chooch she hurriedly explained, “I mean, I wouldn’t really kick a toddler…well, you know what I mean.”

I looked at Henry and mouthed, “I.LOVE.HER.”

At exactly 1:00, she interrupted herself and said, “Well, it’s 1. I’m not waiting for them. Let’s go inside and get started.”

ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE HER.

I can’t post the majority of the pictures I took, because of copyright reasons, but there were some photo ops that Lisa gave us permission to share on social media, so that’s what you’ll see here. So ust imagine walking into a small building and being met with hundreds of dead, ogling eyes.

IT WAS EXHILERATING.

I’m not scared of this stuff at all. I mean, I collect clowns and have a mannequin that I use as a Christmas tree—I think I’m relatively immune. But it was admittedly slightly overwhelming at first—the collection is just crazy! Vent Haven is up to 900 now, but not all of them are displayed. Lisa actually had just received a literal carful of presidential dummies (from JFK to Dubya) earlier that week, but hadn’t yet built a display for them.

That’s the other thing about Lisa: not only does she know her shit (one of the people in our group pointed to a random dummy and Lisa dove right in, regaling us with its colorful history), she is the sole creator of the displays and exhibits. “I just really love my job,” she said several times during the tour. It really showed.

And when I pointed out that one of the dolls reminded me of Lady Elaine from Mr. Rogers, Lisa looked at me strangely and said, “You’re not old enough to know Mr. Rogers! I grew up with Mr. Rogers!”

Kentucky, I love you. You make me feel young!

(And standing next to Henry helps, too.)

The last couple finally did arrive and as Lisa watched them get out of the car, she promised she wouldn’t shame them. “I’m an Army brat, can you tell? My dad made sure we were always on time.”

“My dad always made me late to everything when I was a kid, so now I make sure I’m always on time!” I blurted out, wanting nothing more than for Lisa to like me. Henry just rolled his eyes. He hates it when Suck Up Erin makes an appearance.

A little bit later, Henry got to steal my thunder when Lisa asked, “Does anyone recognize these famous ventriloquists?” She pointed to three separate b&w photos on the wall. All men in old b&w photos look the same to me so I gave up after 1.6 seconds.

“Hmmmm….Johnny Carson,” Henry said, pointing to the young guy in the middle.

“Yep!” Lisa said happily. “A lot of people didn’t know he was a ventriloquist.” She told us that puppets and dummies were recurring characters on The Tonight Show during his tenure, but when Leno took over, they ever appeared again because he hated ventriloquism.

As if I needed another reason to hate Leno.

Henry studied the pictures a little harder and, with a hint from Lisa, he was able to also guess Ted Knight. No one got the third one — DON KNOTTS. Too bad, so sad, Henry. You’re not that great.

(Honestly though you should have seen how happy he was to know things.)

Then we got to go outside and play around with three demo dummies that Lisa keeps on hand. We were allowed to take pictures of them, and Lisa even took a picture of Chooch to put on Vent Haven’s Facebook page.

(He acted like a little teenaged shit about it, but that kid was secretly enthralled by this place. I know this because he was enrapt every time I looked at him and he never once asked to use my phone.)

 

The wife-portion of the couple who arrived late told Lisa that she had a dummy when she was a kid, but she’s not sure what her parents ended up doing with it.

“I haven’t seen it in years,” she said. “I have no idea where it went.”

“Maybe it’s here!” I said, clearly as a joke, but she very curtly said, “It’s not. I looked.”

OH OK. This is why I don’t talk to people!

After playing around with the dummies, Lisa took us into another building, where we learned about Harry Lester; the most successful vaudevilian of all time (not just in ventriloquy!) who was basically penniless when he died; and Paul Winchell, who was also the voice of Gargamel on The Smurfs and as soon as Lisa said that, I could picture his name in the opening credits! We talked about Edgar Bergan of course (he was really the only famous ventriloquist I had heard of going into this) and Shari Lewis, and then Henry got to go to the head of the class again when he knew that Wayland Flowers and Madame replaced Paul Lynde as center square on Hollywood Squares.

 

Something he can control!

You guys, Vent Haven brought out a side of Henry that I never knew existed.

There was a section on Jeff Dunham here too. Apparently, he is very generous with the museum and donates a lot of his old props, etc. This is where Chooch’s interest was really piqued.  Lisa played a clip of one of Jeff’s Ahmed routines and Chooch, being right on that apathetic cusp of teenagedom, acted like he wasn’t impressed, but I could see his mind reeling.

There was one last building to visit, with even more dummies. It doubled as the gift shop and Henry’s good mood started to shift when he heard me tell Lisa that I wanted a magnet and her book and sure Chooch, you can get that Jeff Dunham handpuppet set. Henry hates souvenirs.

Lisa was so flattered that I wanted to buy her book. But she was so entertaining and knowledgeable! There were numerous dummies throughout Vent Haven that had signs which said “I’m in the book!” so of course I had to buy it. I had to stop myself from gushing my way to a restraining order, but I just really wanted Lisa to know that I was obsessed with her in all of the good ways.


“You’re seriously the best tour guide we ever had,” I said all breathily as she wrote up an invoice for the admission fees and our souvenirs. I could sense Henry’s cringe all the way on the opposite side of the room. But Lisa took it well!

Chooch wants everyone to know that the 90 minutes we spent there got him into Jeff Dunham (he watched YouTube videos of his performances on Henry’s phone almost the whole car ride back to Pittsburgh) and he is trying to learn how to throw his voice now. I can’t tell you how many times this past week we’ve talked about the things we learned on that small, unassuming residential lane in Fort Mitchell, KY.

Oh, and he also wants everyone to know that Henry had a crush on ANGELICA, the main person from the second group who joined us, and that he kept looking at her ass.

If you ever find yourself in the Louisville/Cincinatti area, I highly encourage you to call up Vent Haven and take a tour. Go not just for the dummies, but for Lisa’s biting humor and delightful stories. She’ll make a dummy-lover out of you!

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“That was fucking awesome, admit it, Henry,” I squealed as we drove away.

With just a hint of a smile, he quietly said, “Yeah. It was pretty awesome.” Ladies and gentlemen, I think Henry had a little bit of fun amongst dummies.

I mean, 90 minutes where all three of us were equally entertained and enjoying ourselves? Lisa was right: it really was like winning the lottery!

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Sep 112016
 

Saturday:

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Henry had to work on Saturday, so Chooch and I were left to our own devices. We spun some records and I curled his hair. I can’t believe he let me curl his hair.

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Then he made fun of me because I sent Al from Basement a birthday snap and HE REPLIED and I was all goo goo-ga ga over this because I’m 16.

Maybe younger.

And then I found my favorite Cure t-shirt that I thought was gone forever, eaten by the trolls that live in the deep depths of my dresser drawers. Turns out I’m just really bad at looking for things.

Then Chooch and I were loose around Brookline for a while when we went for a walk. He was supposed to meet his friend at some lame gaming place but when you let two 5th graders make their own plans….

Let’s just say that our walk was all for naught and they ended up hanging out much later in the afternoon.

Surprisingly, we didn’t fight about it.

Oh!!! And I made him scrambled eggs too! I’m getting better at faking this mom act.

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We had an early dinner at Frank & Shirleys. You can tell it was early because check out that table of Olds behind Henry!

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The lady in the green kept staring at Chooch the whole time we were there, and not in an amicable, cuddly grandma way, either.

Major Burnt Offering vibes. 

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Shocker: Chooch and I both had grilled cheese. It was mildly satisfying.

Came home and watched The Forest. It was only OK but I still cried. 

Sunday:

The day started with a Beatles song on the radio reminding me of the critically-acclaimed Tony Danza/Amy Dolenz movie “She’s Out of Control,” which I saw with my friend Spring at the Maxi-Saver theater, when it was like brand new, probably. This then reminded me of the era of my childhood where I used to pull a chair from the kitchen table over to the counter in order to watch my shows because the rest of my family monopolized the good TV. One of those shows was DARK SHADOWS, the short-lived early 90s remake, with MICHAEL T WEISS. 

From here, I learned that Henry doesn’t remember when MICHAEL T WEISS played DR MIKE HORTON on DAYS OF OUR LIVES so I got (some might say irrationally) angry at him. 


#POWERHOUSE

You should know that Henry just loves when I drag him along on these nostalgic drives through my childhood. 

Especially when I can also tell him exactly what I was wearing during certain events. 

(I don’t remember what I wore to see “She’s Out of Control,” though, but I remember it gave me hope that someday I too would get my braces off and suddenly not be an ugly duckling anymore. Eh….that never really happened. I got my braces off eventually, at least, but that didn’t bring all the boys to my yard.)

(Maybe a few.)

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I found the Cure shirt I bought at their Maryland show in June, which I’ve only worn ONCE, and I was excited to wear it today especially once I realized my idiot nail polish matched it. 

Then I started tearing up on the couch and Henry asked why I was crying. 

“I was just thinking about how much I love Jennifer Aniston,” I answered wistfully, and he was mad. 

Around 11, we drove to Valencia, wherever that is, for some long overdue hangs with Tommy & Jessy! I read the Pretty Little Liars wiki the whole way there, specifically the one about TOBY CAVANAUGH and was surprised at how much I forgot. 

At one point, Henry asked me what I was reading and then mumbled, “oh my god” when I told him. He’s just salty because I watched the last season without him. 

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We met at the Bloom Cafe, part of Quality Gardens, where we all had lunch but Henry, who had feasted on a bag of soft pretzels en route to Valencia, opted for a scoop of ice cream instead. 

Because Henry is an adult and he does what he wants. Be like Henry, eat ice cream for lunch. 

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Bromance rekindled!

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Matching mouths. 

Chooch has ice cream too, but only after he finished his lunch. 

BECAUSE CHOOCH IS RESPONSIBLE. 

After overstaying our welcome inside the Bloom Cafe, we moseyed around inside the greenhouse and I lamented the fact that I couldn’t buy any plant beauties because my cats are dicks. 

Tommy, Jessy, and I all wanted ice cream after that so we drove down the road to Hammer’s and I was excited because I’ve never been there and you know me and ice cream joints. GOTTA TRY ‘EM ALL. 

The flavor of the day was butterscotch! I love butterscotch! I bet those old broads at Frank & Shirley’s do too!

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Fucking Henry decided to severely abuse his power as an adult and had ANOTHER ICE CREAM. 

Unbelievable. 

And the worst part was that he ordered the same fucking thing as me so I couldn’t swap with him if I didn’t like mine. 

Well played, asshole. 


Chooch was like, “uh….no, I’m good” when Henry asked him if he wanted anything because Chooch is not foolish enough to eat Second Ice Cream. 

Chooch is nutritionally responsible. 

(God, that’s such a joke but in this case he really was.)

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It was a really nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon, for sure. Beautiful company, beautiful weather!

Plus I got to take pictures of my ice cream cone and you know how much I love that, basic blogger that I am. 

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This is going to be surprising, but Henry did not have ice cream for dinner. I don’t think he had anything for dinner, actually. But I did and that’s all that matters!

Originally, I planned on bookending the weekend with another horror movie, but instead, I’ve spent the whole evening watching 9/11 news specials, which is scarier than any horror movie I could be watching. I will never not cry over 9/11 and as horrific and tragic as it was, it feels so necessary to me to face it every year and mourn all over again. It’s the true American Horror Story. I will never forget where I was, and who I immediately wanted to be with when news broke: I wanted to be with Henry. 

The same Henry who just shook his head and asked, “Why do you torture yourself with this?”

BECAUSE IT HAPPENED AND WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET. 

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Sep 102016
 

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If you ask Henry, our drive home from Louisville last Sunday was: long, annoying, awful, terrible, headache-inducing, frustrating, expensive.

If you ask me, it was: SO MUCH FUN OMG WE DID ALL THE THINGS!

Before saying goodbye to Louisville, we stopped for breakfast at For Goodness Crepes. Chooch had been craving crepes recently, god only knows why, so we figured we would be nice parents and find a creperie since we usually force him to eat at places that make him miserable.

LOL j/k I wanted crepes too and thought this place had a cute name and that’s all that matters.

As soon as we walked in, I knew I was going to love it because it wasn’t stuffed with people. Crowded breakfast spots make me so anxious – the AM is way too early for me to voluntarily deal with crowds. No breakfast is worth that, sorry not even Pamela’s and I LOVE PAMELA’S.

(Seriously though, come visit me in Pittsburgh and we will go to Pamela’s during an off-hour and you can have the greatest pancakes of your life. AND LYONAISSE POTATOES.)

But anyway, this is about Louisville, not Pittsburgh. I’m not sure what the “best place” for breakfast is considered because I never research those things beforehand, but I was extremely pleased with our experience at this crepe place. I ordered from the savory menu, something called I Dream of Veggies; it was Asian-inspired and had this glorious ginger mayo-type sauce that I would honestly do a shot of right now if placed in front of me, no fucks given. OMG and edamame. I love edamame. This crepe was the limit.

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Chooch got the cinnamon roll crepe and of course I stole several bites — it was like a carnival on my tongue. An actual cinnamon roll was deconstructed inside there, I think, and the cream cheese sauce was so sweet and tangy….take me back. Take me back right now.

Who cares what Henry got. Meat crepe.

Oh also! After we ordered at the counter, I got to pick my own coffee cup! I chose one shaped like a vintage Santa Claus and was stupdily excited about it.

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We played Hangman while we waited for our crepes and it was Big Fun – I love when restaurants provide games. I literally only looked at my phone when I was using it to take pictures, and that’s how it should be when you’re eating with your family!

(I’m sorry, I know a lot of people lump in “taking pictures” as well, but I honetsly take pictures constantly. I love taking pictures, and I love having picture mementos of each day. It’s important to me, as a chronic memory hoarder. I love collecting snaps!)

During Hangman, one of my words was “hyperbole.”

“What even is that?” Chooch asked after no one guessed it.

“Um,” I started, trying to think of the best way to explaing it. “…my blog.”

“Your mom’s whole life,” Henry muttered.

Chooch’s message to Louisville.

At first, I thought Chooch made this one up too and I was like, “OMG MY SON IS A PRODIGY! WHAT A GODDAMN GENIUS! THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN POET!” But then he was like, “No it was already there, I was just showing it to you.”

Great. Back to having a basic 5th grader.

It was sad leaving Louisville without really getting a chance to see it (although we did accidentally go over the same bridge to Indiana like 8x during our stage, so that’s one thing we became pretty acquainted with) so now I want to go back again for a full weekend, when there isn’t a show to go to, because on our way out I saw A LOT of antique stores. In spite of Henry’s valiant efforts to distract me.

Originally, we were going to go to some cavern (Lost Caves, I think? Too lazy to look it up, thorough and informative blogger that I am) but Henry was like, ‘THIS IS IN THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF WHERE WE NEED TO GO. WHY CAN’T YOU LEARN TO READ A MAP, I DON’T UNDERSTAND.” God, sorry to be such a navigational piece of shit, Henry. Go fuck a compass.

I had a back-up plan though, but I was sure he wasn’t going to go for it.

My back-up plan was a VENTRILOQUIST MUSEUM in Fort Mitchell, KY, right outside of Cincinnati.

I kind of just mumbled it.

Henry got real tense behind the wheel and sighed.

“Never mind. You won’t want to go there,” I said in my soft, sad voice, just one whimper shy of reaching full-blown Sally Struthers level.

“It’s probably not even open on Sundays,” Henry said in a tone that sounded to me like he was trying to will it not to be open.

I checked Roadside America.

“It says it’s open on Sundays from May through September!” I squealed. And then, “Oh. ‘By appointment only.'”

So Henry was all, “Yeah sure whatever, go on and call.” Probably because he thought there was no way in hell that someone was going to answer.

But someone did! A woman! I asked her how far in advance appointments needed to be made and she said usually 2 days, but then she paused and said, “Although….how many do you have in your party? I might be able to squeeze you in with my 1:00pm group.”

I told her three and she said that would be no problem! And she took my name! And said she would see me at 1!!

I was so stoked! But then I hung up and noticed that Henry was staring at me in the way that he does when he’s ready to burst into Flames of Madness and wants to take me down into the ashes with him. 

“So….we have an appointment for today! But….it’s not until 1…..”

It was only a little after 11:00am and we were mere minutes away from Fort Mitchell. Henry had plans on us being home that day by 4 and now this was definitely not going to happen if we were still going to be in Kentucky until at least 2pm at this point. 

So I started doing that thing I do where I get real pouty and repeatedly wail, “JUST FORGET IT!” and make him feel like he’s the worst person in the world when he hasn’t even said no yet.

“DO YOU WANT TO GO THERE OR NOT?!” he yelled, yanking the steering wheel and driving the car onto the exit for Fort Mitchell without even waiting for me to answer because after 15 years, he knows how these games end: with probably some crocodile tears and definitely me getting my way.

So now we had an hour + to kill in some small town in Kentucky.

Obviously, we went to a cemetery, where at first I was still being a baby and said I was just “GOING TO SIT IN THE CAR AND DIE” while they were like, “K have fun” and left me there with the windows up.

And then when I finally got out of the car, I set the car alarm off because our car is dumb so then Henry and Chooch knew that I wasn’t wallowing anymore, ugh.

OUR LITTLE ANGEL.

Oh, I just remembered why I was pouting in the car! I wanted to take a picture of Chooch holding the Artifex Pereo screenprint that he had signed at the show, but his posing and posture wasn’t up to my standards so I shrieked, “JUST FORGET IT!” and if I die first, is that what Henry will use for my epitaph?

DEEP THOUGHTS.

Henry found one of those things he used to smoke when he was a kid and I tried to act like I didn’t care because I was still in Miserable Bitch mode, but then I broke down and took a picture.

Sometimes you just gotta let my mood swings play out, guys. I’ll come back around eventually.

(And then I wonder why barely anyone is close to me, lol.)

We still had time to kill, plus Chooch and I had to pee, so we went to Krogers across the street and walked around like we have never been to a grocery store before and then I flipped out because some girl was handing out samples of cheese TOOTHPICKED ONTO MEAT so of course I gave her a huffy “No!” when she offered one to me. 

“Maybe it’s because it’s the meat they’re trying to get you to buy,” Henry suggested around a mouthful of THE ENEMY’S CHEESE SAMPLE, always the Devil’s advocate.

“NO, IT WAS THE CHEESE. SHE CLEARLY SAID DO YOU WANT TO TRY BLAHBLAH CHEESE?!” I barked, so mad that my rage had erased the memory of what kind of cheese was causing me to launch missiles of protest in the first place. 

“Well, you could ask for a sample of just the cheese,” Henry said. Like, oh OK, let me do this broad’s job for her.

“She should have samples of JUST CHEESE already available, because guess what, NOT EVERYONE LIKES MEAT, god forbid!” I cried, deep in the throes of my scheduled Sunday Shit Fit. There was no turning back now. I hated Kroger’s.

I then proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes bitching about it in a passive aggressive manner, as I’m prone to do, hoping that the right Kroger employee would hear me and publicly flog the cheese-sample meater-upper.

Instead, I just loudly said, “I GUESS I WILL JUST HAVE TO WRITE A LETTER!”

“Literally no one is going to care,” Henry sighed. “And also, that girl wasn’t even a Kroger employee, probably.”

This could be true. Janna had a short-lived job handing out samples of peppers or condoms or pepper condoms at Giant Eagle, and it was some temp agency that got her the gig.

Then Kroger’s can just forward my complaint on to her true employer!

Dumb bitch!

OK, that’s enough for this installment. Tune in later to read all about the most amazing museum, Vent Haven. That place still feels like a dream to me.

Dreamy sighs and eyelash bats,

Erin Rachelle, Dummy Lover.

 

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