Aug 122020
 

HEY Y’ALL just some words talkin’ ’bout the boring ass shit that my kid and I have been up to while stranded at home these days.

We have really been trying to make the best of this limited-option summer. Our summer breakfast club has been barely limping along, because neither of us really want to eat in restaurants so for like an entire week, we were like, “Donuts?” “OK, sure.” And then we’d just walk to Potomac Bakery, grab a donut, get some coffee across the street at Muddy Cup and bring it back to our front porch.

It is what it is, as…you know, the people say. 

It’s hard to find breakfast options that work as takeout, though. I mean, sunny side up eggs? Definitely not. Pancakes? Ugh, probably will get soggy.

THESE ARE THINGS YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER. 

So we’ve been trying to find places that have breakfast sandwiches. I noticed one day on a walk that another local cafe, 802 Cafe (which is such a fucking original name, it’s literally the street number, but OK) had “SPINACH ARTICHOKE HANDPIES” written on its sidewalk sign.

Hold up, wait a minute, savory handpies and they don’t have meat?! Fuck yes.

So Chooch and I went there on Friday and he was so annoyed because when the barista asked if I wanted them heated or to go, I said to go and he shot me that shitty teenager side eye like the barista was going to do anything different than I would do by nuking it for 90 seconds.

I mean, mine was fantastic but of course Chooch, already setting the tone for this breakfast session, was like, “it was ok but parts of mine were cold” which was his passive aggressive way of throwing it in my face that I told the barista we’d heat them up at home. God, why are kids such assholes. 

But yeah, the handpies were from a local joint called 350 Bakery (ugh, what is up with numerical names?! I hate them!) and I am basically obsessed. Which I know, how odd, since I rarely become obsessed with things. 

Ever since I broke my back [honestly, it’s been like a month now and I probably should go see a doctor but you know me, stubborn and whatever else they say about me behind my (broken) back], I’ve been using my lunch breaks to go for walks instead of doing whatever home workouts I felt inspired to do that day (usually cardio dancing!). Chooch has been going with me which means he’s bored AF at home to be willingly going on strolls with his mother. Literally, I never have to force him, he’s just like, “Let me get my shoes.”

We saw this cool sign on one of our walks last week:

I of course sent it straight to Henry.

We’ve been walking around one of the local high schools lately and I’m so mad that the track is locked to the public because I used to love walking on that thing, especially during the Law Firm walking challenges! I would walk so many laps, I would forget where the fuck I was. Those were the days. Sigh.

Yesterday, right before we left for our walk, I noticed that we were both wearing Dance Gavin Dance shirts so I made up a jazzy jingle about Mommy & Son Matching Shirts Let’s Go For a Walk Cha Cha Cha. Chooch was like, “OH HELL NO” and was about to change his shirt but then he was like, “fuck it” with a sigh, because ambivalence always wins these days.

Then I was like, “Oh, also, I have to return a book to the library” and he was like “FML” because he hates Book Erin so much and even the simple act of me dropping a book into the curbside book return bin makes him irate. Plus, I made him pose for a picture!

We almost had to go to the post office too but I got angry because there were people in line and I just can’t deal with covid-era post offices these days, you guys. No thank you. 

We went back to 802 Cafe though because I wanted an iced coffee to take to the playground, and Chooch was so embarrassed because I told the barista that we bought handpies from there last week and then he spent a good while mimicking me saying, “HOLY CRAP THEY WERE SO FREAKING GOOD” and called me a suck-up and I was like, “Who was I sucking up to? That cafe didn’t even make the handpies!” 

He just gets so mad when I find my voice (I call it the pre-meat company voice, from back when I still had a personality) and talk to strangers in public (as opposed to talking to stranger in private, which sounds way more scandalous and interesting…)

Anyway, I was trying to make nice with the barista because when we were there on Friday, I ordered a rose latte with almond milk and I caught that red bottle cap out of the corner of my eye and looked over just in time to see her tipping over a jug of Vitamin D above my latte.

“WAIT!” I cried out. “Is that almond milk?” 

She stopped suddenly and if this moment had been animated, we’d have all froze while the stream of milk would be swirling in midair, looking at its watch and sighing. “Oh shoot, I’m so sorry!” she said, hurriedly capping the jug and pulling out the carton of almond milk, just in time. Sorry, Vitamin D swirl.  She kept apologizing and I was like, “I mean, I wouldn’t have died or anything…” Truth be told, I think I might be a bit lactose intolerant these days but the real reason why I hardly ever ingest real-ass milk anymore is the calories, lololol. God, I’m such a superficial vegan. 

(I’m not vegan, but when you consider what I eat on most days of my life, I probably live a 75% vegan lifestyle by sheer accident and laziness.)

Anyway, then we made it to the playground and he was happy for the entire 3 minutes he was able to enjoy life on a swing until I was like, “Oh shit, we have to start walking back or I’m going to be ‘late’ getting back to ‘the office’!” 

Today’s adventure found us walking to the used book store on Potomac. I wanted to find some good horror paperbacks from the 80s because I think they would make cool plant shelves in the kitchen. Just…trust me. I know what I’m doing. Unfortunately, I spent most of the time just looking for the horror shelf (yes! just one small shelf!) so that by the time the lady finally decided to help me, I was too aggravated to even care that much so we left. On our way out, she said, “Didn’t find anything, huh?” in this SUPER CONDESCENDING VOICE while making a “AW SO SAD” face and I was like, “She probably thinks we’re illiterate” and Chooch was like, “Well, you listen to audio books more than actually reading these days, so you probably are.” WOW RUDE ASS! And I will have you know that I’m selective about what books I listen to on audio and which ones I read with my eyeballs! I like listening to memoirs because they’re more personal and intimate that way, and I like listening to thrillers because they help my work day go faster. But most other things, I read! WHY AM I DEFENDING MYSELF HERE?!

Then we crossed the street and went to Muddy Cup for refreshments. I got a cold brew and when the barista (this older Black woman who we’ve only seen twice so far but she is SO FREAKING LOVELY) asked if I wanted room for cream, I said “Sure,” because I always add cream at home since we have a fridge full of fancy flavors. 

I LOVE WHEN MY ALLITERATION FLOWS SO FUCKING FREELY FROM MY FINGERTIPS!!!! 

We both misunderstood each other though and I caught her just as she was about to top it off with some half-n-half.

“No!” I said, probably a bit too passionately. “I have cream at home that I can use.” 
She was like, “Oh. OK.” And then I worried that I offended her; I mean, I know it wasn’t like, half-n-half from her very own teat or anything, but I feel like I came off as being super paranoid and sketchy, the way I said it like that. 

Also, I’m not sure my addition was right when I was leaving her tip on the receipt…

What a strange week of milk-centric cafe outbursts.

Here’s where shit gets good, you guys. On our way home, we were waiting to cross over this busy road called WEST LIBERTY AVENUE. There’s a crosswalk where it intersects with my street. The walk sign had just come on, and it’s a good thing that I’m a professional at crossing the road there (that’s where I would have to cross every morning when walking to the stupid ass trolley!!), because I know that cars in the right turning lane don’t always pay attention to the big fucking NO TURN ON RED sign and just love to squeal their way around that bend regardless of pedestrians.

So while Chooch and I were crossing, I was being uber-vigilant and it’s a good thing too because this big ass motherwhompin’ dumptruck came hurtling through and made that turn RIGHT IN FRONT OF US without stopping. The driver made eye contact with me too and just kept on going, forcing Chooch and me to stand in the middle of the crosswalk and wait. (And then of course that set the tone so the car behind him tried to pull the same stunt but I screamed OH NO YOU DON’T and it was a super old man who looked scared, so he stopped. Because you know, the light was red.)

Anyway, guess what company that dump truck belonged to? FACCHIANO!!! The same company that employs another driver who nearly turned me into a road pancake two weeks ago!!!

Oh I was fuming.

“I AM WRITING A LETTER!” I yelled. “No! I’m going to call them!” Chooch was like, “Oh god” so I opted instead to email them. I donned my Karen wig, went to their shitty ass website (they use WordPress, lol muy professionale) and clicked on the top dog’s email address.

“They’re not going to care,” Henry laughed when I called him screaming my face off. 

Anyway, here is my email. I made sure that I didn’t swear or make threats which is usually my go-to but I have learned that I am sometimes not taken seriously and perhaps considered “hotheaded” and written off, for some reason.

 

In the meantime, I went on Google and had a grand time reading some of the reviews this Shit Inc. has received:

  

 

LOL, OK Jimmy Dean. You stick to the sausages and leave the review-writing to the big kids. 

 

So basically, it sounds like being an inconsiderate fuck stick is what they’re looking for on CVs so keep that in mind if you’re ever finding yourself applying at this garbage dump of a company. 

I was super fired up at this point SO I LEFT A GOOGLE REVIEW, TOO. I AM UNSTOPPABLE. Meanwhile, I was emailing my team at work because I needed to vent and now they call me Karen Kelly.

Anyway, fuck off Henry, because Michael emailed me back within the hour!!!

I mean, OK cool – you stole a book title there, bro, and no I didn’t get the vehicle numbers, I was too busy clutching my pearls and fanning my ghost back into my body!! And also “IF THIS HAPPENS AGAIN”?? If it happens again, I will be calling the local news stations and I dunno, the Brookline Patch, lol. Get those mommies up to speed. And you better believe I’ll start a full-fledged smear campaign with stickers and yard signs. Everybody loves them some stickers and yard signs.

In fact, I might add some chalk messages to my social justice sidewalk tomorrow.

Back at work, Nate emailed me and said ERIN THEY UPDATED THEIR WEBSITE:

(Please note that is my employee ID which was taken 10 years ago and although I have recently had an updated photo taken last fall, whoever is in charge still has not updated it even though I have sent three follow-up emails and then gave up because COVID, WHO CARES.)

I was crying from laughing so hard and when I showed Chooch, he said, “Wait – they put your picture on their website? They really did that?” Yes, Chooch the Gifted. It’s all real. Shh, sweet boy, go back to naptime. 

I’m now scared of how he’s going to fare with online schooling this semester. 

Well, that’s all I have right now. My life is so exciting! Maybe if I had something better to do rather than roam around my neighborhood in a state of constant ennui, I wouldn’t be putting myself in the position of vehicular homicide so often!

Oh no wait I lied I have one more thing! On one of our walks last week, actually I think it was Friday, we passed a house that had a Little Library and inside was the third Elizabeth Acevado book I need to read in order to complete the trifecta, but I said, “I WILL GRAB IT ON THE WAY BACK” then I was preoccupied with finding a missing TURTLE because we saw several MISSING signs posted except none of them even mentioned the turtle’s name which made me feel like the turtle’s home was emotionally abusive and he ran away on purpose.

Ugh I get so distracted. Anyway, on the way back I was back in BOOK MODE because what else do I have to live for, but as we approached the block with the Little Library, I spied a young couple rummaging through it and I started blabbering to Chooch about how she was going to take my book and do you think she’s going to take my book and Chooch was like “well she’s holding a blue one and your book was read, oh wait she’s putting that one back…” and then it looked like she was going to go for my book but it was a fake out. Instead, she closed the door and they continued walking on, at which point I speedwalked (my back still hurts too much to run) over and snatched my book so fast.

“We should have a Little Library in our yard,” I said to Chooch. “But it can be like a creepy circus tent—“

“Oh boy, here we go,” he sighed.

Actually, we probably shouldn’t have one. With the riffraff shuffling past our house on the daily, it’ll just become a catch-all for vomit, syringes, empty prescription bottles…no. Just, no.

Aug 112020
 

Oh boy are you guys in for a treat (you’re not). I’m combining two old blog posts featuring Henry having a grand time at two (2!!) county fairs sometime way in the past. As some of you might know, we no longer attend county fairs on account of ME NEARLY DYING AT ONE back in 2013 or some such year.

But I guess since COVID has us quasi-housebound, even a janky-ass county fair is making me feel all wistful and wanderlusty these days. Anyway, two things to note:

  1. In the first recap, I got in all kinds of trouble for referencing Henry’s ex and she even texted him while we were in Tennessee after I posted it and said that she was going to knock my teeth down my throat or something and Henry was like, “Erin…what did you do?” and I mean, c’mon – it wasn’t really that bad. I can’t remember if it was worse and he made me edit it though.
  2. That “new friend Seri” in the second recap turned out to be a Single White Female (or “Fingle” as I originally typed because my brain hates doing anything extra once I log off work for the day) except that she was married. But yeah, wow, she exited my life like a fucking tornado and then when I didn’t care, she sent her husband to my house to talk to me, lol. OK, cook on, psycho.

OK, so now you’re all caught up! Enjoy these wonderful Henrycentric posts because everyone knows Henry is the real star of the OHE show.

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HENRY GOES TO THE FAIR: 2011

Henry claims to be “too busy”* to deal with my questions regarding his day at the fair, so I guess I’ll just share my pictures of him without his thoughts and dreams.

*(This might have something to do with the fact that we leave tomorrow morning for a week in Tennessee and I have done exactly fuck-all to help prepare for this.)

Remembering what it was like to have his ex-wife at his side.

Had Henry cooperated, one of my questions was going to be if he ever took his ex-wife to the fair on a date, but then I realized that was a dumb question, considering that’s probably where he met her: in the Grandstand during the tractor pull after accidentally knocking over her empty can of Schlitz-cum-spitoon and falling into her Loony Toon-tattooed saggy tits. (Henry was really into redneck things in the days pre-Erin. Thank god he met me and now knows the wonder of Warped Tour, Jonny Craig, television programming for tweens and Christmas picnics in the cemetery.)

Why so happy?

Then I was planning on asking him what had him smiling so much all day. Was it because we were hanging out with our news friends Laura and Mike and he doesn’t want them to see that he’s really nothing more than a gruff. blue-collared killjoy? But then I realized that the origin of his happiness was probably a toss-up between going a day without a jock itch flare-up and his ex-wife getting re-married.

Looking for a rabbit to boil in a pot on his ex-wife’s stove.

So, this picture was a happy accident. It looks like he’s trying to have a Hulk Hogan beard. Now I want to play around with options for Henry’s facial hair. Suggestions welcome. Maybe something ginger-hued a la JONNY CRAIG.

No, seriously—-who taught this man how to pose? Motherfucking Gumby?

Pedo Alert! Please put your non-descript shirted self back in your non-descript white van and vacate the premises.

Henry rode one ride all day! But it was just the Fun Slide. Our son was too embarrassed to stand in line with his own creep of a father, so he tried to encroach on the family behind him.

I wonder how bad this aggravated his hemorrhoids?

If I knew I would get an answer from him, I’d ask him if the Fun Slide lived up to its name, but judging by the way he was walking like he had just got done straddling a bull (or his ex-wife), I’d say it did.

And if I asked him what his favorite ride is, he’d just say “the ride home,” so why even bother.

He’s just lucky I’m at work and don’t have time to churn out a Goofus and Gallant.

 

THE MELON SHIRT: SUMMER 2012

When Henry came downstairs on the day of the Big Butler Fair, his torso was modeling a brand new nondescript t-shirt in a garish hue of jack-o-lantern.

“Nice orange shirt,” I exclaimed on a rocking bed of laughter and derision.

“It’s not orange,” Henry snapped. “It’s melon.”

As if that was supposed to make me stop laughing.

There are many facets of Henry’s life that I have my thighs squeezed around in a death grip, but his fashion sense is not one. I have made futile efforts in the past to get him to break free from generic, joyless threads mostly purchased from Wal-Mart but eventually I had to concede, wave the white flag, turn my attention to dressing my kid instead. Henry’s dresser full of boring, plain and Faygo-printed t-shirts is pretty much all he has left to his identity and manhood.

(It probably doesn’t help that I was trying to groom him into a singer from a post-hardcore band, swathed in Drop Dead Clothing sweaters and neck tattoos.)

My new friend Seri met us at the fairgrounds that afternoon with her husband Pete and their two sons, Aldy and Max. Apparently, Pete had originally attempted to wear his own nondescript orange shirt to the fair that day, but Seri made him change. So after the obligatory introductions were over, Pete and Henry had a special moment of “I can relate to you.” Henry’s first impression of Pete was probably a confusing cocktail of empathy and pity garnished with a burgeoning bromance twist.

Being plain.

However, when Pete was talking about his own orange shirt, Henry was quick to interject, “My shirt is melon, not orange.” My blue-collared boyfriend has turned into a color-snob hipster overnight. Next he’ll be insisting I call him my “cerulean-collared boyfriend.”

My brother Corey came out to the fair later that evening and when I texted him our whereabouts, I tacked on, “Just look for Henry’s orange t-shirt. It looks like he’s single-handedly promoting Halloween.”

And Snooki’s skin tone.

And Tang.

And the FLYERS.

No Orange Shirts Allowed on the Wacky Worm.

It was easy to spot Henry each time the rest of us lively non-old humans would go on rides; he would lumber around the fairgrounds, toting my iCarly messenger bag and wasting money on all the nearby games that he never wins and even if he did, no one would be impressed.

DON’T DRIP ICE CREAM ON THE ORANGE SHIRT OMG!

When I was on the ferris wheel with Seri, it was fun to seek him out in the crowds below, like Waldo on fire. But then I noticed that quite a few other men were also wearing bright orange shirts, though theirs were advertising plumbing companies, Harley Davidson, strip clubs and guns.

Seri mistakenly referred to The Shirt as “cantaloupe,” which made Henry snap for the 87th time that day, “MELON!”

I always thought cantaloupe was a melon, but I guess not when applied to the Color Wheel.

 

It’s surprising he would even let me this close to him after 9 hours of ridiculing his orange shirt.

Some day, I’m going to snatch all of his nondescript shirts (or “blank,” as Pete prefers to call them) and screenprint Jonny Craig’s face all over them.

Aug 092020
 

I feel like July was a slow reading month for me because of all of the house bullshit we’ve been doing but I just counted 16 books so I guess it still pretty literary, lol. Anyway — let’s talk about the first half SHALL WE.

  1. Patsy – Nicole Y. Dennis-Benn

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I did not enjoy this book at all. I actually started it at the tailend of June but it wasn’t holding my attention enough for me to feel very inspired to power through it. It’s about a Jamaican woman who essentially abandons her small daughter (I think she’s 4? 6?) in order to go and start a new life in America. She leaves the daughter with her bio-dad and swears she’s going to send for her, but the real reason she’s gone off to America is to rekindle an old romance with her childhood best friend, who has moved on and gotten married and now Patsy has to start from scratch and newsflash, America AIN’T THAT GREAT.

The book goes back and forth between Patsy’s struggle in America and her daughter’s own struggles growing up in Jamaica with some major sexual identity crises. I wish we had gotten more from the daughter’s perspective because Patsy pissed me off and I truly didn’t care about her selfish ass.

2. Saints and Misfits – S.K. Ali

Saints and Misfits

I was excited to read this after buddy-reading the author’s latest book, Love from A to Z, with Henry last spring. This wasn’t *as good* but I still enjoyed it. It’s billed as a “modern day My So-Called Life, but with a Muslim teen” and I think that’s pretty accurate. The main character is all up in her head for the entire book and it can get tiresome at times, and there’s also a guy who sexually assaulted her but she won’t tell anyone and that was SO FUCKING FRUSTRATING to me because he was such a fucking creep and just kept appearing and I was like SCREAM IT LOUD, GIRLFRIEND.

I think I gave it a 4 but it’s definitely more of a 3 now that I think about it.

3. Rules For Vanishing – Kate Alice Marshall

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Man, this book was SO TRY-HARD. I’m not even sure I would have liked it when I was a teenager. I picked it up because I had been reading some heavier subjects and thought this would be a nice light supernatural mystery because it’s supposed to be urban legend-y with a disappearing teenager, but it was so poorly written with way too many characters, none of which I gave a shit about, and there were entire chunks of chapters that I ended up skimming toward the end because I wanted to know how it was going to end which was the only reason I didn’t DNF it, but it was pretty bad, and it had an open-ending so I’m sure we’ll get a sequel at some point and I promise you I won’t be reading it.

I wish I had listened to my Booktuber friends who said it was dumb but I always get swayed by a gimmick!

4. Felix Ever After – Kacen Callender

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This is another book that everyone has been hyping lately and while the main character was kind of unlikable (for me, anyway) I’m glad that I read it because I admittedly have not read many (if any) books with a trans main character and I actually learned A LOT about this, for instance: I never knew that calling a trans person by their old name is called Deadnaming and it’s incredibly offensive and triggering for them (that part I could have guessed, but I never knew it had a term).

Felix is already very much out but this book is more about the struggle they face with trying to bury the person they were before. For example, Felix goes through great lengths to hide all of their old photos, and confronts their dad at one point for consistently refusing to call them Felix.

So many things made me cringe and flinch though. I mean, there’s a HEAVY Catfishing plotline and Felix just makes so many shitty choices. I just really didn’t like them very much at all but I enjoyed the book? Just not as much as I hoped? I’m getting worse at book reviews, if that’s even possible.

5. Diary of a Murderer: And Other Stories – Kim Young-Ha

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This is, as the title suggests, a short story collection. The title story was SO GOOD, definitely the best one. Though I wonder: would I have enjoyed this book as much if I wasn’t super-absorbed in Korean culture? I’m not sure. But the vibe I got from this was reminiscent of one of my favorite Korean dramas, “Come & Hug Me,” which is about a serial killer and made me feel so tense and uncomfortable, much like this book did. Well, the first story, anyway. I already forgot the other ones.

I’m just not a lover of short stories, I think. I’m learning things about myself this year.

6. The Ghost Notebooks – Ben Dolnick

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SHIT I LOVED THIS BOOK. It got very mediocre reviews though and I guess I can of understand because it’s not a ghost story in the traditional sense, but it’s very much an exploration of a deteriorating relationship. The atmosphere in this was thick, I felt like I was really in some New York farm town, but the best part was Ben Dolnick’s writing. This book is written from the POV of the boyfriend and I just felt so sympathetic toward him and, when shit really starts to unravel, I was rooting for him so fucking hard to prevail. When I’m that invested in a character, I don’t care about anything else. Honestly.

Anyway, Nick’s gf Hannah gets a job at some small-town museum called the Wright House, but the catch is that they have to live in the old-timey house-cum-museum. Everything starts out fine, they’re excited to start a new life away from NYC, but then Hannah, who has a history of mental illness, starts acting weird. Do not go into this expecting a traditional haunted house story – this is a slow burn, and it’s very focused on the relationship between Nick and Hannah, so we get a lot of flash backs into the beginning of their relationship, as well.

I just thought it was so well-written and beautifully layered. There’s another “ghost-y” book that I read later on in the month that was a bit similar except that I didn’t care about the couple at all. But this one was a full-on chef’s kiss for me – now granted, my palate is probably very different than yours, so if you read this and hate this, don’t come knocking on my (goodreads) door.

7. Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand 

Sawkill Girls

Another YA book that is well-lauded throughout the Booktube community but just fell flat for me. I liked that it had very strong female leads and featured a sapphic romance, but the story just felt convoluted and am I dense or something because this book is literally for young adults and I had a real hard time following the plot.

I don’t feel like writing anything else about this one. I’m bored just thinking about it. tbh.

8. Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevado 

Clap When You Land

OK, can we give it up for Elizabeth Acevado? SHIT SON she is definitely one of my favorite writers, having read two of her books now. This one, like Poet X, is also written in verse, but here we have alternating perspectives: two girls who will come to find out after their dad perishes in a plane crash, that they’re sisters. It’s actually based on the flight from NYC to the Dominican that crashed in November of 2001, two months after 9/11. I truthfully do not remember this which makes me feel like an asshole but I was 22 and quite honestly was definitely not watching the nightly news and this was pre-smartphones so I was getting tragic news alerts every hour like I do now, fml.

Anyway, this book goes back and forth between the two teenage sisters, exploring how their dad’s death affects each of them and how very different their lives are, one growing up in NYC and one in the Dominican.

(I’m actually tearing up as I write this because this story really hit differently for me, because I went 19 years of my life not knowing that my birth dad had other children. He died when I was 3, so meeting them was something I had to do on my own, without him, and…it was strange. I do not have a relationship with either of them.)

If you’ve never read an Elizebeth Acevado book, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the audio because she does her own narration, and especially for Poet X, it just feels like a PERFORMANCE. I never thought I would like a book written in prose, but Poet X turned me into a believer, and this book sealed the deal. I just got her other book from a local Little Library on my lunch break walk with Chooch on Friday, so I am stoked to compete the Acevado trifecta and then patiently await her next book like a good little reader.

Aug 072020
 

Remember in the beginning of quarantine, way back in that month that some of us might remember as “March,” I was doing a Friday 5 recap of my work weeks in quarantine? And then I gave up after less than a month because it made me feel worn out and no way was I going to keep that up for what, an entire month? MAYBE TWO MONTHS? Lol, that was so super cute when some of us thought we’d be going back to work at the end of April, May at the latest.

Anyway, that was my intro for the edition of Friday 5.

FOLLOW LOOPS

Remember how Chooch and I are obsessed with getting our cats to be more popular than Blake’s dumb cat on Instagram? Well, two days after I started an account for Penelope, I found this thing called a “follow loop” and sorry if you already know about this but I have never been in this numbers game before on the ‘gram, so I’m walking on new ground over here. Anyway, if you don’t know what it is, it’s this dumb thing on Instagram where you have to tag some friends and then follow everyone the Follow Loop account is following, and then the Follow Loop account starts following you so that everyone who joins also follows you, and, and, and, breathe. But yeah, it’s dumb and tedious but I went, I mean Penelope went from like 50 friends to 500 in a day and Chooch and I were cracking up because Blake, I mean, Ham, had more followers than us before this and then we both blew past him. Henry was like THAT IS MEAN but we were like DO NOT TELL HIM! WE KNOW HE IS YOUR FAVORITE SON BUT PLEASE KEEP OUR SECRET! and it was real tense there for a while because we weren’t sure what Henry was going to do.

THEN!!! One of our dumb ass mutual friends became a HOST for a follow loop and she POSTED ABOUT and tagged HAM so then HAM joined a follow loop and got a bunch of new followers too! I was so pissed and Chooch was like, “THAT’S IT, I’M QUITTING INSTAGRAM.” Meanwhile, Chooch and I, I mean Drew and Penelope, both got added to some pet group chat where everyone posts three emojis when they post a new picture and then the members of the chat are required to go and like that picture, but some people are also like VOTE FOR MY DOG and then someone in the group chat accidentally video-called all of us and then spent the next hour apologizing and every day I say I’m going to leave the group chat  BUT I NEVER DO. I have GROUP CHAT GUILT.

Last week, I spent my entire turn in the weekly meeting whining about the Instagram drama and then followed up with an email containing screenshots of all three cats’ profiles so my coworkers could see how much cooler Drew and Penelope are than BASIC HAM but then my one co-worker missed the point completely and her reply was all about how HAM IS SUCH A GOOD-LOOKING CAT AND SHE LOVES HIS NAME and I was like NO JOYCE! INCORRECT!! YOU LOST THIS ROUND!

Meanwhile, Chooch is quitting follow loops because not everyone follows him like they’re supposed to and he only wants cat accounts as friends. “Now I have an aquarium following me! I hate it!” he cried in anguish and I couldn’t stop laughing at the thought of an actual aquarium holding a phone and scrolling through Instagram.

Anyway, my screen time is so high lately because I have to spend so much every day fulfilling like and follow promises on Instagram and commenting things like, “Hey furiend, have a purrfect weekend! Lookin’ good in that bandanna!” Ugh I hate my life. But! Penelope has been making lots of friends, like this dog who also likes Taemin, and a cat who loves the Cure, lol.

DUMPSTER DRAMA

I was on my way to the library during my lunch break walk on Tuesday, but I cut through some side streets in order to prolong my arrival time because god forbid I arrive too early for my scheduled curbside pickup time. Anyway, I was walking down a sidewalk when I passed some broad asking (aka screaming across the street) a neighbor if he knows who’s been putting dog shit in the back of Dan’s dump truck, and she was RULL mad about it, but the real question is: what cunty things has Dan done to have dog shit put in the back of his dump truck. Also, RIP to the ears of the baby she was bouncing on her hip while hollering across the street to Mike the Neighbor.

From what I gathered, this is apparently an ongoing thing.  Mike the Neighbor sadly did not know who the culprit is but hollered back that it was “rull fucked up” and he’d “let yinz know” if he saw anything.

Isn’t a dump truck just a giant garbage can anyway?

I texted Henry about how I walked past neighbor drama but KakaoTalk changed “drama” to “dramatically” and Henry said that he would have liked to have seen me walking past neighbor, dramatically.

NELSON SULLIVAN

nelson sullivan | Tumblr

This next one is literally the biggest thing that has been going on in my life, you can ask Henry and Janna – they will confirm with a heavy sigh. So, one day last week, a video titled “Train to Coney Island” came up in my YouTube feed, apropos of nothing. Naturally, I clicked on it and was super stoked to see that it was from the late 80s! Just some friends, one of them with her two children, going to Coney Island on a train, no big deal right? But then more videos from this YouTube started auto-playing and I was like, “Oh OK so this gay dude from NYC basically videotaped his whole life, like I used to do in the 90s.” Still, didn’t think too much of it but left it on in the background.

Something made me look up and pay attention though when this one video came on. Well, not just “something” – it was titled “Nelson’s Last Video” or “Tape,” I can’t remember. It was just him, his dog Blackout, and his friend walking around on July 3, talking about the cookout that’s going to happen for the 4th of July, and how much the piers have changed since the 70s, nothing too life-shattering….until the video ended with a note that said it was his last video BECAUSE HE DIED OF A HEART ATTACK LATER THAT NIGHT OMFG. It made me feel totally rocked, for some reason, I can’t really explain why — I obviously didn’t know him, but just watching a handful of his personal home videos felt so intimate, like some kind of boundary had been breached. Anyway, I started poking around the YouTube channel where his videos are uploaded and learned that he was a videographer/documentarian of his friends and NYC in the 80s and his video collection has been digitized. That’s when I started to notice some of the titles of the videos included names like RuPaul and Andy Warhol…so I googled him and he was actually really good friends with RuPaul before RuPaul was a superstar, as well as Keith Haring and music journalist Michael Musto (pictured on the right up there) who I am now obsessed with after watching hours upon hours of these videos.

I never really knew too much about the Club Kid scene but Michael Alig and James St. James appeared in a bunch of these videos too and I was like….wait, isn’t that Party Monster? So I fell down deep and started watching Geraldo episodes with the Club Kids and then made Henry watch Party Monster with me last weekend and I have been having nightmares about Michael Alig ever since and also I had no idea that DJ Keoki ran in that circle and was Michael Alig’s boyfriend!?!? I used to love DJ Keoki!?!?

I keep texting Janna and making her watch these videos and it’s just crazy to me because he was literally vlogging before anyone else. He even has a video where he says his resolution is to put the camera on himself more often and he wonders if people will think that looks weird…in the 90s, I was always shoving my camcorder in everyone’s faces. I have a boxful of 8mm that need to be digitized, and I’m sure it will be excruciating to watch these now, as a 41-year-old, hearing myself talk in my weird, fake-ditzy babydoll voice, but I am so glad that I was so into recording shit back then (no sex tapes, shockingly!) and watching Nelson’s tapes reaffirms that sentiment.

They also make me feel an ache in my heart that I can’t quite explain because how do you miss a scene that you were too young to be part of? I certainly wasn’t going to drag shows and Michael Alig’s Outlaw Parties when I was 8.

OR WAS I.

I think also it just makes me sad on a really deep level to see all of these people hanging out without cell phones up in their grills. actually talking to each other. Strangers knew how to talk to each other back then! And it makes me have a vague recollection of how outgoing I used to be at one time and I think I would have really loved being part of that group. :(

WINE BOTTLE

Well,  this is timely. Remember in my last post when I mentioned that Chooch’s punishment for breaking his phone screen is to read vintage Oh Honestly Erin blog posts, starting with my infamous Vegetarian Dinner Party from 1996. If you read that post, you know that SPOILER we had to call the cops because someone was stalking me and by doing so, we panicked and dumped out the bottle of white Zinfandel that I had been saving for 10 years, having received it as a kid from my godfather who said, “For the girl who has everything.” Or some kind of sappy sentiment like that, but I remember REALLY latching onto this gift because I was…what…6 or 7? And a bottle of wine was such an adult gift! The idea behind it was to obviously save it for a special occasion when I was old enough to pop the cork and I really felt like this “adult” dinner party I was hosting at my house senior year while my family was out of town was a totally special occasion – I mean, right? It was all of my closest friends!

So yeah, someone was like, “Yo we’re a bunch of teenagers with no adult supervision here with an opened bottle of wine and the police are coming” – I mean, why didn’t we just hide it? I dunno what we were thinking and I don’t feel like re-reading that damn thing to see if it explains that thought process at all, but the point here is that one Twitter, one of my friends replied to the post and said, “I’m angry about that wine!” or something to that effect and I was about to reply and tell her that I actually still have the empty bottle after all these years but thought, “Wait, I’ll go and take a picture of it too so I can add that to the tweet” but I couldn’t find it in any of the spots where I could see it in my mind, which I thought was odd, but didn’t feel like doing any deep investigation into the matter because it was late and I’m not very good at looking for things anyway.

This morning, I was emptying the recycling bin in the kitchen, which I don’t normally do because Henry has giant clear bags for the recyclables so I let him deal with it, but I was in an angry cleaning mood when I woke up and I didn’t know where he put those bags so I decided to just use small blue plastic bags. You already know where this is going, but after clearing out about half of the bin, I was going to stop because I usually only go halfway when cleaning, but something made me get one more bag to fill…

…and that’s when I saw it.

Way at the back of the bin.

I knew it without even seeing the label.

It was my wine bottle.

SOMEONE HAD TOSSED MY WINE BOTTLE AND SURPRISE SURPRISE, NONE OF THE ASSHOLES I LIVE WITH WILL ADMIT TO IT.

Honestly though – what are the fucking odds that this happened now?? Honestly, if Amanda hadn’t even said that on Twitter, I wouldn’t have even noticed that the bottle was gone, and what if I hadn’t been the one to empty the recycling bin!? Oh man, my head was HOT this morning. Both of my roommates got a tongue-lashing.

“A BOTTLE THAT I HAVE HAD SINCE I WAS SIX YEARS OLD!!!!!!” 

SIDEWALK TAG

A few weeks ago, the sidewalk near Chooch’s former school was torn up and replaced and he was so upset because his initials were carved into the old sidewalk. On my birthday, Henry and I were walking to the post office (see? I told you my birthday was a fucking snooze) and on our way there, we passed a section of freshly-paved sidewalk next to his friend’s house so I texted him and said “now’s your chance.” On our way back, we saw that he had indeed cashed in that chance, but he fucking  tagged his cat’s Instagram handle. Literally, all it said was “@that_cat_bambi.” I thought it was funny, but Henry, Sidewalk Law Expert, was PISSED.

“Oh! That’s just fucking great! Now this can be traced right back to us!” he cried, and I was like, “….is this illegal or something?” (Oh shit I just googled and it’s considered vandalism if you don’t own the sidewalk; I’m a 41-year-old child learning the laws of the land. Leave me alone.)

This sidewalk is only a block away from our house so Henry stormed through the front door and was all, “YOU BETTER GO AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT” at the same time I was saying, “You should have put “@gentleman_ham is a racist.”

But Chooch only honed in on what Henry was screaming about and you could see the sweat forming a beaded chain on his brow as he laughed nervously. So he ran back up the street and apparently just scribbled out everything but “bambi” and Henry was like, “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU” because the sidewalk is literally next to Chooch’s friend’s house, and that girl knows that he calls Drew “Bambi,” and her dad is like BIG CRAZY.

“What if she sells me out?” Chooch said, his voice quaking like Sally Struthers. “Like, ‘I know who has a cat named Bambi, [insert full ass name] living at [insert address].'”

Literally minutes later, HER DAD CAME OUT OF THE HOUSE (Chooch was watching sheepishly like a coward from our front porch) and smoothed out the whole thing so now it says nothing, it’s just a big smear.

“OMG WHAT IF HER DAD SAW ME DO IT??” Chooch cried, biting his nails. Her dad is not to be fucked with, like he has terrorized his kids in public before because one of them ate his chips and he hunted them down on the boulevard to interrogate them. Chooch was a witness and said it made him appreciate us, his lazy parents who make empty threats and dole out weak punishments, like “OH HO, NOW YOU’VE DONE IT! You will read my blog.” Anyway, Chooch was legit pacing and panting off and on for an hour after this, waiting for a knock at the door, and then he heard POLICE SIRENS and nearly broke his neck whipping his head toward the door and back to us. “The police wouldn’t come for something like that, would they?” he asked, his face blanched, lips white.

Oh shit, I was loving it. It was, now that I think about it, the only time on my birthday that I felt really good!

He’s been careful about keeping his head down lately when we walk past that house, now with weirdly-smudged sidewalk, but this morning when we were walking to get breakfast, Big Crazy was waiting to pull into his driveway and Chooch started frantically whispering, “OHGODOHGODOHGOD WE MADE EYE CONTACT GO GO GO.” Lol.

Aug 062020
 

I need to shoot out some thoughts, bullet-style. Stick around – my word bullets are basically just styrofoam pellets so it won’t hurt too much if you get hit, but you mind your eyeballs on those typos. Goggles might help.

  • Henry started working on my Seoul subway sign again on my birthday, per my wishes. Prior to this, I don’t think he even looked at it since May. MAY! An entire season ago! He was “waiting for a part” to be delivered and then when it was, after 2 weeks of the UPS mishandling it, it was damaged (of course) and he had to return it and then wait until he received a refund to reorder it because he’s a cheap-ass, and then (and then and then!!!) by the time the replacement product was delivered, he had already moved on to a new project, which was the coffee table redesign. So now here we are with two unfinished projects plus an unfinished kitchen! LOVE TO SEE IT. Oh is that the wrong use of that? Sorry. I’m 41.

  • You guys, I’m loving the fact that my local library is one of the branches that’s open for curbside pickup!! What I don’t love, however, is that I have to fucking call them and schedule a time to pick my books up, which completely negates my favorite part of the library: self-checkout. And the one librarian always acts like it’s such a struggle to check the schedule to see if my suggested time is OK and you know what? It’s always OK! There is never a line out there! But on a positive note, the library security guard is the one who actually goes inside to get the books for us readers and he is such a fucking joy, I swear to god. And he knows my name now! It feels so good to hold books in my hands again, you have no idea. I dumped them all in Henry’s lap last weekend and screamed DO YOU WANT TO LOOK AT MY BOOKS? He said, “oh boy” but he read the synopsis for each one.

  • Speaking of books, one of the best ones I read this year was made into a movie and Netflix just released the trailer!!

  • Chooch broke the screen of his iPhone yesterday and I don’t know what’s happened to me but instead of igniting a wildfire throughout my neighborhood using nothing but my sheer fury as a flint, I calmly told Chooch not to cry about it and we’ll get it fixed.  I mean, sure, I have ulterior motives, like making him do 5x as many chores and reading one post a day of my choosing from my blog archives. (We started with this classic and he was not amused.)
  • I found on eBay a copy of Soap Opera Digest from 1984 (my best year) with HOPE and BO on the cover and now I’m desperately trying to figure out how to incorporate this into my 80s kitchen.
    • Also, last week I revisited my love for Battle of the Network Stars which is basically where I binge videos of this stellar show on YouTube every 5 years or so and gush about how much I love Robert Conrad, who I didn’t KNOW DIED EARLIER THIS YEAR!? I woke up Henry to tell him and he said he thought that I knew that, that we had already dissected my sorrow and grief every which way back in February when it happened, and maybe we did? Everything pre-COVID feels so far away. Anyway, I was like, “OMG I should find Robert Conrad/Battle of the Network Stars memorabilia for the kitchen except that Robert’s last appearance was in the 1979 games!!! He came back as a commentator after that, but it’s not the same. Pictures of mid-tug-of-war shirtless Robert or GTFO. Meanwhile Chooch was like, “The fuck are you even watching?” I kept trying to get him to be interested in it, but it wasn’t holding his attention — not even the infamous Kristy McNichol obstacle course DQ!!!! (I mean, spoiler alert.)

  • Chooch was thirsty the other day so he made a party punch for our household of 3, as you do during a pandemic. It was OK. He keeps insisting on using my good wine glasses to drink this in though and I get so fucking nervous about it. “I’m not going to break it!” he screamed, trying to make me feel bad for treating him like a child, so I made sure to remind him about the iPhone screen he literally JUST CRACKED.

  • In other beverage news, one of my fave local cafes, Black Forge, announced a new specialty drink for this month called the GOD FORBID, which has cayenne pepper in it as well as a communion wafer topper, and hoo boy did that give my throat a nice fiery slow-burn. I loved it. Spicy drinks are my thang and it makes me sad that I can’t stomach Bloody Marys because I think I would love those spicy ones, but you know, I can’t get behind the tomato part of it. My aunt Sharon used to always drink those on the plane and the smell would make me want to puke.
  • Chooch showed me the “secret playground” he goes to sometimes only it’s not a secret at all, it’s part of some rec center, and I made the mistake of going on the spinny thing and then almost didn’t make it back home in time to log on to work after my lunch break, also I almost left my wallet-thing there because I clearly don’t know how to leave the house properly anymore.
  • Henry gave Chooch’s locks a covid-cut tonight and he hates it but he was dying to get it cut, and it’s not like he’s going anywhere anytime soon so I’m sure he’ll survive.

Also, he hates this picture so of course I had to post it. Also, I painted that door!

Wow, anyway, I’m going to end this here or else I won’t have anything left for Friday Five tomorrow, oh no, wow, that would be the worst.

Aug 052020
 

I don’t even know where I am in this whole progress post process anymore. But here are some pictures of new additions. Things have been getting more fun for me because all of the big stuff is done (wall-painting, floor-laying, Ikea stuff-building, etc) and I’m free to add all my stupid touches.

Like a pastel Caboodle to hold all the band-aids and sundry that Henry loves to pile atop the fridge!

My friend Courtney made me those Golden Girl magnets a few years ago – they were perfect then, but even more so now! We’re also turning a bunch of pictures of ourselves from the 80s into photo magnets, so that’ll be super obnoxious.

My phone arrived over the weekend! (Sorry if that crooked photo bothers you but please note that I straightened it after I took this photo and didn’t feel like retaking it because I’m a lazy blogger whose life is anything but curated.)

Henry the amateur electrician is going to find a way to make it light up (we think it still works, according to the eBay description) and if the kitchen gods decide to smile down on us, he’ll hopefully be able to find a way to get it to do what I REALLY want, which is to turn on a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen when the receiver is lifted, at which point the room will be filled with the joy of 80s new wave.

But with the way things have been working out, I’m not holding my breath! In any case, it’s a fun decoration.

Another thing that we finally checked off the list was the spice rack!

This is actually how the whole thing started, btw. It was sometime last spring and I said to Henry, after watching the video for Damien’s song Cassette, “We should make a spice rack out of old tapes.” I don’t know why my mind went specifically to “spice rack,” but it did and from there, it turned into, “Actually let’s just redo the entire kitchen in an 80s theme. You know, to match the spice rack.”

It took Henry about a half dozen attempts until he finally understood my vision and built something that was (mostly) what I wanted. I mean, not that it matters, because I don’t cook and have no use for spices, but Chooch is already bitching because he can’t see what anything is, so I was like, “Uh, just alphabetize them? Then at least you’ll know a roundabout starting point.” He was super thrilled with my solution.

It just needs an LED lightstrip underneath it.  I mean, obviously.

Fun fact: That’s my favorite Cure album. That’s not my favorite Phil album though. (Come on, No Jacket Required.)

Meanwhile, if you would have told me six months ago that I’d be up until 1AM working on one (1!!!) cabinet door on August 3rd, I’d have cracked up in your face and said, “yeah OK I’ll be on the Erin’s 41st Birthday Mini Cross Country Amusement Park Tour then and also ew, I hate my kitchen, it’s a dump.” Oh, how covid has changed our lives.  I decided that only the top two cabinets will have this design and the rest will just be painted in geometric quadrants in the 4 colors of the walls. Because this is best used in small doses, I think – even I know my limits!

The cabinets, being as old as they are, have clearly been through the war. So even after Henry sanded them down, the surface was still pretty pocked on both. I was originally going to make stencils and handpaint the shapes, but I knew because of the bumpy surface it would like ass. So instead, we made vinyl stickers, which didn’t really save too much time because handcutting these were a bitch, and  then I did all the black squiggles by hand and that’s what took the longest. My hand and back hurt so much by the time I was done, but I was determined to get at least one banged out in one sitting. I made the second one last night so I’m excited to eventually have cabinets again!

This is just sitting in there right now, for picture-purposes. I think it will look even better once we make “The Coreys” cabinet pulls! Also, I need to get some old teen magazines from the 80s to make a collage inside the cabinet doors.

Still on the To Do list: Making the curtain for the kitchen door, the neon sign (which is paid for and in production!!!), whatever Henry can manage to do with the phone, the rest of the trim needs painted and reattached, and supposedly Henry is redoing the countertop but we’ll see how that actually pans out because Henry and epoxy aren’t the greatest of colleagues. Oh, and I still haven’t found a ceiling light that makes me happy.

But even in the state it’s in right now, it is a million times better than the den of despair it was as recently as June, and walking in there doesn’t make me want to put my fist through a wall anymore!

Aug 042020
 


I was up until 1am working on one (1!!) kitchen cabinet FML but I still woke up early to watch Taemin’s new video and I am super delirious & giddy, ugh my coworkers are probably thanking COVID right now because I have “be incredibly annoying” punched in on today’s agenda – I guess we know what I’ll be screaming about in my weekly meeting today.

So…a new Taemin video came out today and it’s also the first day in three weeks that I haven’t spent the morning walking half-hunched with a hurt back. Coincidence? NO – THE HEALING POWER OF TAEMIN!‬

Ugh. Taemin. I’ve waited a long time for this!

Aug 032020
 

Hello. I meant to write about last weekend, well, last week, but I get so one-track-minded sometimes that I wasn’t able to pull myself away from whatever other nonsensical bullshit I was doing, so here we are. And honestly, it’s not like I did much aside from – wait for it – kitchen bullshit. 

But here are the 2 standout points.

Wimbledon ’92

On Saturday, the ghost of Erin 1992 whispered in my ear, “Remember Wimbledon 1992…..” and suddenly I couldn’t get to my Roku fast enough. I NEEDED TO WATCH ANDRE AGASSI WINNING WIMBLEDON IN 1992. Because I’ve reached the next level of coronavirus which is: relive Andre Agassi’s first Wimbledon win on YouTube and cry like it’s 1992 and you still have a collection of Agassi-related newspaper clippings & drawings in a neon yellow see-through binder. What?

“Oh man, you have NO IDEA how much I loved Andre Agassi,” I moaned as Henry walked past me to go and do actual labor on the kitchen. (These fucking cabinets, man, lol oh god kill us.) 

“Um, yeah, actually, I do,” Henry scoffed, because apparently being with me for 20 years makes him an expert on my obsessive personality. 

I have a vague recollection of making congratulatory signs after Andre won and hanging them at the end of my street. Also, I posed this on Instagram and my friend Liz commented that she remembered my AA obsession fondly. We were really close in middle school and she got dragged down in a lot of my bullshit, like when I would listen to nothing but the cassingles for Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” and Sophie B Hawkin’s “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” (that b-side, good lord) in my walkman on our trip to Lake Chataugua or when we go to the movies and I would have to have an empty seat next to me in which to place my Paul Coffey hockey card because I had the hots for me, which is exactly how my dad would phrase it if you were to ask him, “How did Erin feel about Pittsburgh Penguins Paul Coffey in 1992?”

So yeah, I had the entire Wimbledon finals match on that day and felt all the emotions when Andre won (and also every time he lifted his shirt to wipe his face OH MY FUCKING GODDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD) and then all these other old tennis matches played on YouTube for pretty much the entire day because no one could be bothered to change it.

Erin Calls 911
 
Henry and I had just returned home from a Target run on Sunday afternoon. When we were crossing the street to our house, I was semi-aware of a man who had seemingly emerged from one of our neighbor’s driveways and had crossed the street. I didn’t really pay much attention to him, but Henry, who was outside still trying to get the paint off the cabinets, came inside and told me to look out the window. 
 
The man was still outside, right across from our house, and he was very clearly under the influence of…something. Pills? Heroin? It seemed much worse than alcohol. He kept taking things out of his pockets and dropping said things all over the sidewalk, one of the things was a pill bottle, which was empty as evidenced by the way nothing dropped out when he turned it upside down and shook it.
 
So then he started licking the inside of the bottle.
 
I see a lot of weird shit on the street and usually I’ll just let it go, but this guy looked like he was a danger to himself. At one point, he was walking in the middle of the street and cars were having to swerve around him — I don’t live on some sleepy suburban street, you guys. It’s a pretty busy thoroughfare and I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking a leisurely, impaired stroll down the center of it. 
 
So I called 911. Which is scary because I always hesitate to get the police involved in any situation because who the fuck knows if it will escalate, but hey – the subject of my call was a white man, so at least he had that going for him.
 
Sigh.
 
I kept my eye on him while waiting for the cops to arrive, and that man was a dumpster fire. His pants were falling down, he was swaying, picking stuff up off the ground, re-dropping the same stuff, examining the empty pill bottle….it was so fucking depressing to watch.
 
Anyway, the cops came and talked to him for awhile, then eventually cuffed and searched him. Finally, the paramedics rolled up and took him away. I mean, I’m sure that didn’t end up being in the magic wake-up call that he needed, but I can only hope that it prevented him from hurting himself or someone else, at least on that particular Sunday. 
 
I don’t like making assumptions, but I’m pretty positive this was a drug thing and I just can’t emphasize enough how much I fucking hate drugs. I hate seeing what they do to people and it scares me how all it takes is one wrong choice, or having a surgery and becoming dependent on pain meds, or maybe you made a new “friend” who likes to “party” and just one time won’t be enough to hurt you…Well, whatever the case it might be for the man on Pioneer, I hope that he’s able to find the support and strength to get sober. Because that was so depressing and disturbing to watch and I kind of want to throw up just remembering it. 
 
Well, on that somber note: ciao for now!
Aug 012020
 

Ughhhhhhhh. Full disclosure, I have been off-and-on throwing bitch-ass tantrums about this since my actual birthday on July 30th. Like, I could say something Pollyanna-esque such as: Henry and I both had the day off work so I got to spend time with him and Chooch and in the end that’s all that matters…

And ok deep down that’s true and I KNOW it’s true and five years from now I’ll look back on this birthday and think “Well, Covid canceled my plans and I was stuck at home but that’s ok because I was in good health—” OH STFU FUTURE ERIN you know damn well you’re gonna be recounting in your head then list of people who forgot your birthday and the things Henry COULDA done but DIDNT do because while he is great in many ways, sweet surprises and planned-out activities are not his strong point and yeah he spent the day working on projects around the house at my direction but it would have been nice if he was like “Get in the car! We’re having a picnic in the wilderness!” or something like that I don’t know!

But I know in the Other Deep Down that anything he would have suggested would never have been enough because it always goes back to the fact that I miss my Pappap on this day more than ever and how do you compete with the greatness that was John Stonick? I mean, really.

My childhood best friend texted me on my birthday and said “wish we were swimming in your pappap’s pool today” because she knows. Christy knows.

So instead of eating the omelette Henry made me for breakfast, I made myself toast using the heels of the bread because that was all that was left of the loaf and what a perfect symbol for the day, and then I salted it with my tears and ate it with my lip protruded.

We went back and forth like this all day. It had its good parts though.

We got take out from Green Pepper for dinner. I really wanted mul naengmyeon, which is a Korean cold buckwheat noodle dish and Green Pepper is the only korean restaurant around that had it on their menu.

(Last year on my birthday, I was having vegan naengmyeon in Insadong, I’m not crying, you’re crying, oh wait your tears are from rolling your eyes so hard that you hurt yourself.)

Of course, because it was my birthday and nothing goes right on my birthday, it ended up being more of a “bibim” naengmyeon which means it’s mixed up in a sauce (gochujang) and that was OK but the noodles were definitely not buckwheat and it just wasn’t what I wanted even though it was still good. Also, they charge extra for kimchi (???) and are super skimpy with it too. My noodles cost like $13 which is hilarious because in Korea it would have been like $5 or $6 maybe even less but whatever America sucks.

I would also like to point out that jamming your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice, a la Chooch up there, is extremely BAD FORM in Japan! I believe it has something to do with symbolizing death? I’m not sure if any other Asian cultures have anything similar to this so it’s probably best to just never stick your chopsticks in bowls of rice, as a rule of thumb. Look at my blog being educational! Now if only I could start proof-reading like the old days.

Ignore the mystery stain on the non-table cloth, but here I am trying to be natural, lol.

I cropped this photo when I posted it on Instagram because the way the shirt is laying, it looks like my boobs are super-droopy?! I swear to god that’s just the shirt!

I do love that shirt, btw. I wore it especially for my “birthday dinner” since I pretty much have had no reason to wear anything other than band t-shirts and yoga pants over the last 4 months.

I chose a matcha cake from Sumi’s, and it was honestly the best part of the day. Even Henry, who doesn’t like green tea, thought it was just lovely.

It even had a tiny bit of pat (sweet red bean) in it! Chooch immediately picked it out of his slice when I mentioned it, so I should have just kept my mouth shut.

So yeah, it wasn’t the greatest birthday but I can definitely confirm that I have much worse (like my 21st birthday where my friends tried to have me 302d because I was suicidal/losing my motherfucking mind – that was a good one). I would have much rather been in the midst of the amusement park extravaganza that I planned for myself but at least I made it to 41, blah blah blah, hashtag blessed, etc.

At the time of this blogging, I have spent the last three days pouting and having mood swings and being nostalgic and ungrateful, so when I hit “publish,” that means I have to officially walk away from this year’s birthday and move on with my damn life, lol. Jesus, I hate myself.

Jul 312020
 

Celebrating a birthday during a pandemic is pretty depressing, especially when pre-pandemic you had a 5-day amusement park-laden road trip on the calendar. I’m not going to lie and pretend like I was a big girl yesterday and being grateful for the good things because come on–we all know I’m a bitch baby Leo suffering from crippling me-me-me syndrome. So instead of recapping my actual boring AF 41st birthday (I’ll do that another day when I’m done pouting lol you think I’m joking), I thought I would bask in the past and revisit my 5 favorite birthdays of the last decade.

Because why not. Gotta get it out of my system so then I can move on and adjust to Year 41.

  1. 34th Birthday Dinner at Shakespeare’s

I don’t remember why I was so adamant about having a birthday dinner at this Shakespeare-themed restaurant outside of Pittsburgh, but I just remember sitting at the table, looking at all of my friends, and feeling really lucky to know such awesome people. Sadly, a TON of people at that dinner no longer live in Pittsburgh but I am at least still in touch with all of them. Actually, now that I think about it, I have more friends scattered across the country than I have in Pittsburgh, so that’s pretty depressing.

AnyWHO:

My 34th Birthday at a Castle

2. 32nd Birthday at the Roller Rink

I got gypped out of a big 30th birthday celebration (I think I spent the day helping a friend move into her new apartment and then I had a grilled cheese for dinner and to be fair, grilled cheeses are one of my all-time favorite foods, but come on guys). I was determined to have a re-do, so two years later, I rented an entire roller rink (it actually wasn’t as expensive as you’d think plus we were friendly with the owners) and invited all of my friends and pretty much the entire department at the law firm. My friend Kaitlin made me a Robert Smith cake and Roller DJ played a mix that I gave him which was full of post-hardcore, Phil Collins, Billy Ocean and “JACKIE BLUE.” It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had!

My 32nd Birthday Roller Skating Party

3. That Time We Did a Southern Road Trip For My 35th Birthday

This trip was SO MUCH FUN. If you click on the hyperlink in the title, it’ll take you the entire category so you can read all of the posts, but for the purpose of this post, I’m singling out the photo-post from my actual birthday where my friend Octavia showed us around her hometown of Savannah and even though it was like 100 degrees, we had the best time with her and learned so much!

Savannah Sights

And she took us the storied Bonaventure Cemetery! Traipsing around cemeteries in new-to-me cities with finally-met-IRL friends are the makings of an excellent birthday!

Bonaventure!

4. SEEING MOTHERFUCKING G-DRAGON WHILE TURNING 38

Any chance I get to repost this moment in my life, I will SURELY take it! I splurged (and by that I mean I used my tax refund) to buy VIP tickets to see G-Dragon on his solo tour in Toronto ON MY BIRTHDAY in 2017. I was within FEET of him and I’m not kidding when I say that I still get chills and Jello-legs when I go back and replay the video of that moment. This was honestly one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, a real experience, and it was my first time in Toronto. Henry and I had a really great 3 days there and only fought once, on my actual birthday, and it was, of course, over where we were going to eat lunch because I am basically an infant when it comes to feeding time. But aside from that, it was just the best weekend, and my actual birthday was like a fucking dream because, um, you know how much I love G-Dragon, right?

Act III:Motte, Part 2: Where I Left My Body On Earth & Wafted Up to the Heavens

5. Turning 40 IN KOREA

Look, I don’t think I will ever have a better birthday than I did last year and I really honestly am grateful for that, all bitch-baby wah-wah jokes aside. Henry even pointed out on the eve of this year’s birthday that I have been very spoiled over the last several years and he’s not wrong; I was basically setting myself up for disappointment this year and COVID made damn sure to drive that one home, lol. Nothing I could have planned for yesterday could have topped last year, which was spent walking along the Chungyecheon, eating naengmyeon at a traditional Buddhist vegan restaurant in Insadong, and then attending a live taping of The Show, one of the Kpop Countdown shows that broadcast weekly in Korea. That whole entire trip was EVERYTHING and even though I’m Forever Sad that I’m not there everyday, my heart experiences a special type of swelling whenever I think back to that trip. You might call it obsession, but I call it—-yeah, OK it’s obsession.

The Day I Turned 40 in Korea: The Show! 7/30/19

When I think back to all of these great birthdays, I feel loved and excited and lucky that I get to have these great friends and experiences in my life, so maybe my 41st birthday was lame and non-descript, buy maybe GET THE HELL OVER IT, ERIN. They can’t all be great ones! And I mean, I did get to have cake, at least.

More on that sometime later! I fell into this spiral of Nelson Sullivan home videos on YouTube and I am fucking obsessed and wishing I was a club kid living in NYC in the 80s.

Jul 302020
 

My French press broke last month so every morning, Chooch and I have been walking to various local cafes in order to get my AM fix, and even though it has been consistently in the 90s, yes, I still get a gigantic hot black coffee.

Luckily, I finally got a new French press and by that I mean I got a new French press immediately after my other one broke but it was a different size/style/make/model/whatever and I didn’t feel like reading the instructions to see what the water:scoop ratio was so it just sat there for three weeks while I shuffled through the early morning streets of Brookline every morning to get fix until Henry finally was like “for God’s sake” and showed me how to use my new French press.

Anyway! The point of this post is that some notable things happened during my coffee foraging days.

1. TOURETTES

OK look I say this all the time and I know I need to come up with a new name for my favorite local character and I suppose I could call him Dave which is what his name apparently is, but he’s always shaking his fist and screaming obscenities at garbage and I saw the movie “Niagara Niagara” so I clearly am a certified expert on the subject.

Anyway. Chooch and I had two (2) encounters with this vocal fella during Dire Coffee Days. The first incident was when we were waiting to cross West Liberty Avenue at the same time as him, and when the walk sign came on, some asshole in a work van nearly killed us by not recognizing the fact that he was prohibited from turning right on red, and he had to slam on the breaks when he was already halfway over the crosswalk! Tourettes (OK fine, let’s call him Brookline’s Best from now on) hollered, “WHAT THE HELL!?” and Chooch and I were like, “YES WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE FOR ONCE.” It really felt like we had experienced something special and deep with him, you know? Even though he never acknowledged the fact that we were standing there too.

Then!! That same week, Chooch and I were on the same route, because we were on a donut-kick* for a week where we found comfort and a simple pleasure in treating ourselves to a donut at Potomac Bakery and then skipping across the street to Muddy Cup for our morning refreshment. 

*(See also: the kitchen was still kind of a mess to be in and we used any excuse we could get to grab food that didn’t need prepared at home.)

As we were approaching the bakery, I noticed that BB was peering into the front window. Then he started mouthing off about something, fished around in his pocket, and crossed the street: 

“Maybe he doesn’t have any money,” I said and the briefly had a vision of me buying him a bag of pastries and him either being very happy or calling each breakfast bun a motherfucker while punting them into traffic. But it turns out, he was digging for his mask, which he found and then put on, only to come back across the street to the bakery. However, we made it there before him and there is a sign saying that only 3 people can be in there at one because it’s so small and, you know, social distancing is still a thing. There was already someone inside so I worried that he was going to be angry that Chooch and I beat him there, but it turns out occupancy issues are not his concern because he just flung the door open and strode right on in, but to his credit he did hunker back in a corner while the rest of us were being waited on.

Chooch and I got our donuts and as we were walking out, BB was being waited on.

“I’LL TAKE THAT CHERRY ONE. YEAH. YEAH YEAH YEAH. YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH. THE CHERRY. AND THAT APRICOT ONE THERE TOO. YEAH YEAH. YEAH YEAH YEAH!! YEAH! THE CHERRY AND THAT APRICOT ONE. YEAH!” 

It was so exciting! As we stood outside of Muddy Cup, waiting our turn to enter, we watched BB continue his jaunt up Potomac. I wondered out loud where he was going and then remembered that I would occasionally see him on the trolley in the mornings back when “going to work” required leaving the house, and he got off at the same trolley stop downtown as me. I wonder what he does down there?!

2. MASK SHAME

One day last week, Chooch decided to make breakfast for us so I walked to Muddy Cup without him to procure our AM beverages. My favorite barista was working and I told her that Chooch was at home making breakfast and that’s why I was acting all tense but she probably thought to herself, “No, you’re acting the same as usual, weird and strung out with paranoia like you just lit up a church” but she just smiled and commented that Chooch and I seem to have a really great relationship and then I did that thing that I do where I get all self-deprecating to the point where now I’ve just painted myself as an abusive parent, so that’s how coffee-procuring went.

When I left Muddy Cup, I had a drink in both hands so I just left my mask on, because god only knows how many clusters of people I might have to pass on the sidewalk and now it wouldn’t be as easy to get the mask back on without stopping somewhere to set down the drinks, and ugh do you see how difficult my life is?

So, I’m walking home and thinking about how it’s a good thing that I opted to keep the mask on because I did in fact pass quite a few people, and not all of them were masked, and look I know there are articles out there that are like YOU DON’T NEED TO NEED TO WEAR A MASK WHILE WALKING ETC but isn’t it better to mask than not mask, as a general rule of thumb? I know I for sure don’t ever give someone a side-eye for wearing a mask while walking with no one around. In fact, good for them. THAT’S HOW YOU NORMALIZE MASKS!

I made it all the way to my block without incident, actually that’s not true, some asshole in a contracting company truck nearly ran me over when he failed to stop at the stop sign as I was crossing the street and the amount of times this happens is actually disgusting, and usually the person driving gets all indignant and throws their hands up at me like it would have been my fault if they ran me over and ruined their precious day. Usually this would happen on my walk to the trolley for work, because people are in such a hurry to blow through that stop sign and then….sit in traffic. 

But this guy was overly apologetic, which actually felt worse, because he was so over-the-top with his contrition that I feared he was going to pull over and want to talk it out or something. I was just like, *nervous muffled mask laugh* hoping that he would go away, but then after he let me (so gracious and cavalier!) cross the street, he made his dumb right hand turn onto my street and JOVIALLY YELLED OUT OF THE PASSENGER SIDE WINDOW about being “Sorry, again!” and then he made a joke that I didn’t hear so I just laughed along anyway and prayed that he would just drive off into the ether.

HE WAS ONLY BEING NICE BECAUSE HIS EMPLOYER’S NAME WAS ON THE TRUCK AND HE DIDN’T WANT ME TO CALL AND COMPLAIN, I AM PRETTY FUCKING SURE.

But whatever, I’ll take his overzealous niceness over what happened next.

I was THREE HOUSES AWAY from my own house when I approached a man who was, it appeared, cleaning out his dad’s house. I think the guy who lives next to Chooch’s nemesis Larry either died or was moved into a home because the son was bringing out all kinds of wheelchairs (too modern, not for collecting) and other medical equipment whenever I passed earlier on my way to get the coffee. Now he was standing near the sidewalk talking to some men who presumably had come to pick up some of this stuff, because they were wearing matching neon yellow t-shirts and drove a pick-up, unless they’re just in a neon gang or something, that could be.

One of the guys was all, “OH SORRY” and moved out of my way even though he wasn’t actually in my way but I appreciated his noonchi (that’s Korean for SELF-AWARENESS/TACT). However, the supposed son of the home owner sneered at me, “There’s more than  6 feet, I think you’re fine.” 

I didn’t understand what he meant at first so I just nodded and kept walking, but then I realized, what a bitch ass motherfucker, he was shaming me for wearing a mask. And then, to the mask-wearing woman who was directly behind me walking her dog, he said, “Oh what, no mask for your dog too?” 

I was so pissed after I walked into my house and just kept replaying that dumb slob’s stupid ass remark over and over, but then I was momentarily distracted because Chooch was done making breakfast and I was starving but also wanted to make sure that he didn’t damage anything in the kitchen hahaha like I would even know, so I forgot about it for a bit but then later on when I ranted about it online, my friend Shawn was like, “and then did you pull down your mask and cough on their baby?” NO BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T HAVE A BABY BUT I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK. You know how sometimes shit like this happens and it doesn’t fully register in the heat of the moment until you’re removed from the situation? That’s how this was. 

It’s been a week and I’m still angry about it. Why are we still being bitch-babies over masks? Just fucking wear one so the rest of us can not die/stop having video meetings/send our kids back to real life school/go on our postponed vacations/ride a fucking roller coaster/etc. I don’t even care if these pieces of shit wear MAGA masks because at least it means THEY’RE WEARING ONE. 

Anyway, those are the most exciting experiences that I had while having to leave the house every morning to get coffee and the whole time I was writing this all I could think was “hoo boy I can’t wait to finish this so I can go and make coffee using my new French press” and you know what? THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM GOING TO DO RIGHT NOW. Have a blessed (???) night. 

Jul 292020
 

AHAHAHAugh…fucking kitchens.

I had to look at the calendar on my phone to see if I even have the weeks straight because it feels like this project has been going on as long as COVID’s been in town, but I guess that this is technically the end of the week 4 since we started this on July 2. I really thought we would be done! I guess it would help if Chooch and I could be trusted with tools and whatnot, because this has basically been Henry’s solo project. (See the drawers in the background? Those are from the coffee table that we started redoing in June and then never finished because the kitchen happened.)

I had been dreading this part of the process because I was concerned that my lack of doing anything painterly or artisterly lately would hinder my ability (and patience). But it ended up being OK and didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would! I didn’t time myself, but maybe it took a total of 90 minutes? I did part of it while the door was upright and then Henry took it off the hinges for me and that was moderately better except that I had a hunchback for a while afterward. Also, that Memphis design is programmed into my muscle memory for life now I think so if you need anything with a 1980s pattern scribbled upon it, I’m your girl.

Chooch wasn’t impressed. (Actually, he did walk past once and say, “That looks good” which was super alarming because he never cares about anything I do.)

Henry finally did some of the trim so now one side of the room actually looks finished!!

The door matches my coffee cart, lol. I couldn’t find a coffee canister that I liked so I made this one out of a basic canister from Target: just painted the top pink and got a vintage Alf figurine to use as the topper/lid pull/whatever. And my Korean ahjumma instant coffee sticks are perfectly contained in a Goonies cup.

My Baseball Card Vandals Phil Collins card is right at home here!

Meanwhile, Henry finally finished stripping the paint off all of the cabinets so hopefully this weekend we can start painting those so that another side of the stupid room will be kind of complete. And we went to Eide’s (a big music store/comic book place in Pittsburgh which used to be way cooler than it is now and it’s where I used to go in the late 90s/early 00s to get all of my Cure bootlegs!) because I needed a couple more cassettes to be able to start working on the spice rack. I had snagged a lot of 30 tapes from the 80s on eBay but it turned out that I needed about 6 more. I’ll tell you what – vinyl may have made a comeback and I know it started to be trendy a few years ago for bands to release limited edition cassettes, but it’s been surprisingly difficult to find used tapes! We went to the Exchange and Henry went to a few Goodwills, to no avail. And honestly, Eide’s only had one small display that held maybe 75-100 used tapes, but IN THAT COLLECTION WAS, OMG…..

THE BACK TO THE BEACH SOUNDTRACK!!

Henry was the one who actually saw it and I yelled, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, although it was muffled because I was wearing my mask. They also had GLORIA LORING which was a no-brainer because she was on Days of Our Lives and that soap took up a huge chunk of my life in the 80s! IT’S THE ONE THAT HAS “FRIENDS AND LOVERS” ON IT.

Henry started building the spice rack on Sunday and now it’s Wednesday and still unfinished because that’s how Henry rolls. He starts a project and then doesn’t touch it for days (sometimes months, you can ask the Seoul Subway Wall Hanging that’s been chilling in the basement, untouched and unloved, since May, no big deal).

I even let him include one (1!!!) Ted Nugent tape in the rack, and now I’m about to take it back because he doesn’t deserve it!

(OMG Henry is actually finishing the spice rack as I write this so maybe I’ll be able to include it in the next round of updates.)

Jul 272020
 

Hello. Earlier today I had a migraine (I think??) and then ended up puking up a smoothie bowl and sleeping from 7pm-9pm and I feel better so now I’m all HERE I AM! but everyone else in my house has moved on with their lives* and don’t care that I’m out & about so I’m entertaining myself by looking through old pictures which I brought downstairs over the weekend because remember when I said I thought it would be fun to include pictures of Henry and me from the 80s on the fridge? Don’t you listen to anything I say?

*(Actually, when I stumbled downstairs at 9pm Henry was near-catatonic on the couch while Chooch was fully immersed in minecraft & I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned for a split second that Chooch had actually poisoned us so that he could open up our house to his guild of Dischord misfits.)

I found a nice assortment of oldies but of course I was stoked every time I found one from Wildwood and then I would try to explain each photo in agonizing detail to Henry who was barely listening because he was nailing trim to the wall or whatever, like that’s more important. But then I realized, I can come here and do that thing that I do where I hear myself saying the words that I’m typing out loud, in my head, and I picture that I’m presiding over a table full of syncophants who are hanging off my every hyperbolic word, probably with better manicures than my own but they’ll pretend not to notice that I use drug store nail polish because they’re infatuated with my BRAIN not my APPEARANCE. Except that they covet my accessories. I mean, who wouldn’t? It’s OK. I’ll tell you where I got my teeth cameo if you ask.

I chose this picture to talk about tonight because it warms my heart even though, yes, it features my brother Ryan WHO RUINED MY LIFE WHEN HE WAS BORN. I still to this day tell people that my favorite number is 4 because that’s the last good age I had before my Only Child Crown was wrenched from my blond dome. (Don’t get me wrong, I love Ryan! I mean, now.)

So this would have been the summer of 1985 because Ryan was born in May of that year and there he is looking like he still cannot support his own dumb head, what a loser. Anyway, this was taken at either the Olympic Motor Inn or the Waikiki, which were two of the motels we used to always stay at on our family trips to WILDWOOD, NJ, the best place ever (until I discovered that South Korea existed). I always loved the “motel” scene in Wildwood and would get so fucking excited every time we arrived and parked in the garage, because I couldn’t wait to get a Dole Fruit Bar from the vending machine outside of the swimming pool area and use the outdoor shower to get the sand off my feet before going back into the room.

Oh man, would you look at the wood paneling?! The best! That makes me think that this was probably the Olympic (which I think still exists but they took out “Motor Inn” from their name since now people associate motels with and quarter-fed vibrating bug-infested beds and sleazy affairs. But in Wildwood, it meant FAMILY VACATION TIME!) because we only ever stayed elsewhere twice: once at the Waikiki which as the name alludes was Hawaiian themed and I was so excited about because there was A ROOFTOP RESTAURANT and I thought I was fancy sitting up at breakfast drinking orange juice out of a glass with my hair all pulled back in a bun. And then the last time we ever went was in the early 90s after my other brother Corey was born and we stayed at this newly built resort where we had a whole-ass 2-family townhouse thing to ourselves, an immaculate pool, and a private beach: I HATED IT. It didn’t feel like Wildwood. This was also after I started to realize that I had become fat and ugly and had to be seen in a bathing suit and oh yeah I had braces too, and now there were two additional grandkids for my grandparents to pay more attention to and I basically just hated life anyway so it probably wouldn’t have mattered where the fuck we stayed, to be honest.

My grandparents always came with us, which made these trips even better, because my immediate, core family could never sustain a healthy. functioning vacation on their own (I still have nightmares about the terrible time we went to Niagara Falls and my mom decided she was going to leave my step-dad and I was like YES THIS IS THE BEST TRIP EVER but then she didn’t and I was like “Niagara Falls sucks.”

But you know, just like with my brother Ryan, all the love for my dad!

OK back to this picture. I loved that night gown – it had a panda on it, and I am 100% holding a plate of my mom’s specialty: buttered toast with sugar and cinnamon. Oh man, every time she made that for me, I was like, “MY MOM LOVES ME.” I’ve tried to make it several times as an adult but it’s just OK. It’s like how sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them for you, but that logic probably doesn’t apply if I’m the one making you the sandwich, just so you know.

It was weird looking at this picture, because I could instantly remember how that toast tasted (LIKE A MOTHER’S LOVE BEFORE SHE WENT ON TO HAVE TWO ADDITIONAL KIDS AND PAID LESS ATTENTION TO YOU AND ALWAYS TOOK YOUR STEP-DAD’S SIDE IN YOUR KNOCK-DOWN DRAG-OUT FIGHTS SO YOU TRIED TO JOIN A GIRL GANG AND THEN DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL…), how that orange blanket felt (kind of scratchy, tbh) and just generally how that room smelled (like Wildwood, duh). I also remember that Wildwood had Nickelodeon before our cable company in Pittsburgh offered it so it was a TREAT to go there every summer and watch THE MONKEES and YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON TELEVISION (Alastair 4ever).

I always talk about the Boardwalk whenever Wildwood comes up, but to be honest, the Olympic (and Waikiki that one year with the rooftop OJ!) was such a huge part of these vacations that just thinking about it makes me get super choked up and emotional. I want to go back there so badly but I know in my heart it won’t be the same and now Chooch is a teenager and he’s going to be like, “I’m here with my parents and everything sucks” and maybe I’ll just wait until he goes off to college and Henry and I can have an Old Person Beach Escape but then who will ride the rides with me on the boardwalk!? UGH.

And if I ever go back, it will be nice having the option to JUST SAY NO to Cape May, which my grandma always insisted on day-tripping to every summer during MY WILDWOOD TIME and I hated it so much, going to endless shop that all sold the same dumb beach art and jewelry while she filled my head with fat-shaming microaggressions and then one time I bought Mexican jumping beans and thought they were magic. There is a picture floating around somewhere of me looking like I’m contemplating feeding myself to seagulls while we were on a dolphin-watching boat tour, I look like I’m the epitome of pre-teen angst and am looking for ways to peel off my skin, step outside of myself, and swan-drive into the raging sea. So FUCK YOU CAPE MAY. (Although, according to Yelp, it looks like there are some cute vegan restaurants there now. NO! I WON’T BE SWAYED!)

WILDWOOD CREST NJ Olympic Motor Inn Ocean Ave | eBay

Jul 262020
 

*Fun Fact: I spell quarantine wrong every single time.

So this was supposed to be a Friday Five but then Friday came and went and I was too lazy to care. But here are some pictures and words about things that happened last week in case years from now I need to look back and remember exactly when it was that I fed a squirrel bread and apples, but you never know, because this one time recently, Henry and I were trying to remember the name of a restaurant we ate breakfast at when we went to see The Cure in Maryland in 2016 and I was like, “Hold on I’ll check my blog” and you guys, I NEVER MENTIONED IT IN MY BLOG. That literally almost never happens! We checked Yelp and everything, looking for “pancakes” in and around Columbia, Maryland, to no avail. Thoroughly invested at this point, Henry went through all the charges in our bank account from around that time until he finally found it and you would think by now it would be ingrained in my head and I’d have ordered a t-shirt with their logo on it to wear as a night shirt, but no, I’ve forgotten it again.

Anyway, things happened last week! They weren’t ground-breaking, but they were nice memories. So here we go.

   

Chooch made delicious snickerdoodles in the kitchen and he was so stoked. “My first bake job in the new kitchen!” he declared, but still couldn’t be bothered to fully clean up his mess afterward. New kitchens don’t totally change a person, I guess. But damn, these cookies were great. I think it helps that he’s no longer using an oven from, well, probably the 80s so it’s kind of ironic (always use this wrong) that the oven was one of the things that got the ax when we started our 1980s Dream Kitchen makeover.

I really did feed a squirrel though! I’m not sure if they’re the same, but last Friday during my lunch break, I noticed that Drew (a/k/a that_cat-bambi on Insta) was acting all weird at the window, and then I realized that there was a squirrel on our porch and he was TOTALLY trolling her. I mean, he was literally playing peek-a-boo with her around one of the porch columns, it was hilarious. So I threw him some bread and an apple and then went outside to talk to him while he was eating. He was so brave and cocky! I actually started to worry that he was going to push his way into my house, so I came back inside and closed the door.

There is something about wildlife in my front yard that brings out my inner Snow White and I have to drop everything (even a baby if I was holding one which why would I ever) and feed them.

Anyway, the next day, either the same guy or his buddy came around so I fed them another course and it made my heart burst with happiness. 

What else. Last Friday after work Henry and I had to go to Ikea and so far during this pandemic, it was the most people I’ve had to be around and even still, it wasn’t much, but my heart was racing. At least Ikea brings out the demographic of people who aren’t anti-mask assholes, though. And Henry got sexually assaulted by a male cashier who accidentally closed the gate to the one we were in and it smacked Henry’s ass.

“There, I got him for you,” the guy said to me. Ikea is a riot.

Saw this incredibly weird sign last weekend. REALLY EXCITED for August 1!

Now that I started an Instagram for Penelope, that’s all Chooch and I do all day is try to force the cats to do cool things for the ‘gram. Unfortunately for me, I got the cat who is extremely difficult to photograph because she mostly just sleeps in really ugly locations most of the day and then when she actually is up and about, she moves as soon as she sees me lift up my phone. 

Anyway, Chooch and I managed to catapult both accounts so that we now have way more followers than Blake’s cat and we’re so smug about it but Henry said we’re mean girls and he acted disappointed in us because Blake is his favorite son.

I had to lure Penelope onto my painting desk with treats and she gave me approximately .0002 seconds to snap this pic after she finished chewing. 

Saturday night before I went to bed, I was sitting on the couch and noticed that Chooch was standing by the beverage buffet. I figured it was because Drew was over there looking out the window and that he was trying to get a picture of her, so I didn’t think anything of it. Then he turned around and was like, “Um….” and he had this silicone shit all over his hands. I shrugged and was like, “Don’t look at me. Go ask your dad.” 

So then I went up to bed while Chooch was in the kitchen trying to wash it off. I still didn’t think anything of it because I don’t know what that shit is, and it wasn’t on my hands, so why should I care? Just then, Chooch came barging into our bedroom and Henry was very thrilled to have to get out of bed to assist Genius Son in removing his new silicone skin from his hands.  He came into our room looking like he had on Mickey Mouse gloves, it was great. “He’s lucky we had paint thinner in the house or he’d have to live with silicone hands!” Henry yelled. (Actually it was more of a mutter; Henry never yells.)

Also, this was a great reminder to put harmful household things away because 14-year-olds are just as dumb as three-year-olds.

This was also a great learning experience for both Chooch and me because I had no idea that stuff would be so hard to remove from skin??? But at least it has 40% more flexibility in case Chooch would have had to live with it. 

Got some new books from the library during the week!

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Excited to finally move Illuminae into my #tbr!

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I had to do some more friend weeding over the past week because if you seriously can’t understand and get behind the notion that BLACK LIVES MATTER, if you seriously don’t understand that the sentiment is not diminishing the value of OTHER lives but rather stating that ALL LIVES cannot matter until BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO, then why are we even friends in the first place? It’s one thing having values and morals that vary from others in your lives, but this is one that I cannot negotiate with and cannot make or accept excuses for. So good riddance to bad apples. Let’s stop politicizing a person’s race and skin color, for god’s sake. 

I think the highlight of last week was ordering take out from our favorite veg restaurant, Zenith, on Thursday. As soon as I saw that they had their famous tofishy sandwich on the menu for the week, I was like WE ARE ALL IN. This is my favorite thing from Zenith (well, besides their sickeningly divine vegan bundt cakes and eccentric collection of antiques). 

OK, I think this is it for now. I have a long day of more kitchen projects – WE ARE SO CLOSE TO BEING DONE! I’m really happy with the way things are turning out and I also won an eBay auction Friday night for this one item that I had in mind since we started talking about redoing the kitchen and if Henry can make some magic happen with it (see also: take my fantastical conceptual ideas from my brain and turn it into working reality) then I might actually publicly declare my love for him.

TOODLES!

Jul 242020
 

Still over here pouting about all the amusement park action we’re missing out on although I guess you could say that this covid experience has been a real roller coaster ride. Here is a Flashback Friday to the time we went to Kennywood with our Castle Blood friendos. Adding this to the list of shit I will no longer take for granted!

***

It’s become a tradition for us to go to Kennywood on Father’s Day, rain or shine, but this year Henry was all, “We have too much going on this week, so no Kennywood.” I was about to pitch one of my signature wailing fits over this, but then I remembered that we’re going to an amusement park later in the week in Indiana so I silently resigned to the fact that there would be no June Kennywood outing this year.

Look at me, acting my age.

But then on Saturday, our friends the Handas asked if we were going, because THEY were going and also so was Ricky, better known as Gravely of Castle Blood fame.

“Chris just asked if we were going to Kennywood tomorrow,” I sighed dramatically. “Because they’ll be there.”

“IT’S ONE OR THE OTHER!” Henry reminded me in Dad Voice. “YOU WANT TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS!” Then he went outside to check on that kid that we occasionally parent.

A few minutes later, he came back in and sighed. “Do you really want to go tomorrow?” he asked me in a peaceful tone.

“YES!” I squealed, when I realized that I was about to get my way again because I’m the best, bitches!

And that is how we ended up at Kennywood by noon on Sunday. Chris and Kari were 5 minutes late, god forbid, and Chooch was flailing around on a bench openly preaching about how bad he hates his life for having to wait an additional handful of minutes in front of Kennywood. His story could basically be the Diary of Anne Frank of his generation. But then he became distracted by the three people next to us who each brought their own can of Pringles, which Chooch felt was overkill.

“REALLY? THEY ALL HAVE TO HAVE THEIR OWN PRINGLES? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” And they were only three feet away from us, so that was lovely. Meanwhile, I was busy mocking all of the families that arrived in matching t-shirts but secretly I wished that I had made Team Douche Troop shirts for my group.

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Stupid Chooch and Katelyn beat us on the Racer (that’s the name of RACING ROLLER COASTERS for those of you who do not have the luxury of going to Kennywood and knowing these things) and kept bragging about it for like a full 3 minutes which was annoying in and of itself but even more annoying to me was their lack of dedication to the bragging, because if it had been me, I would have mentioned it for the rest of the day, in a variety of ways. Spelling it out in ketchup and cheese fries if I had to. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW TRUE WINNERS ACT.

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I have always been terrible at shooting galleries, but have really fond memories of my Pappap kicking ass at the one in Kennywood. Henry taught Chooch how to aim at the targets and I was like, “Henry, Henry, Henry, teach me, teach me, teach me” while tugging on his shirt but he conveniently acted like he didn’t hear me. OH OK FATHER OF THE YEAR. God, fuck you. I’ll get some nice even-older gentleman to show me the next time and then you’ll be sorry.

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YES YOU WILL BE SORRY.

Sadly, it seems that our Father’s Day luck has run out because the park was actually crowded. Henry and Chris kept arguing that it wasn’t that bad, but look: I have grown accustomed to sashaying my fat ass right onto any ride I please with nary a wait in line.

So when I saw that there was maybe a fifteen minute wait for the Log Jammer, I was like, “OH ARE YOU KIDDING? NO JUST NO.” So Chris took Chooch and Katelyn on it while I hung back with Henry, Kari and Ricky and whined about needing food and beverage and then Henry snapped some generic retort at me so then I got all pouty and Fuck You-y and Ricky just stood there taking it all in.

“Wow, you must have really great angry sex,” he said.

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God only knows what sorts of competitions Chooch and Katelyn engaged in on the Log Jammer. They get along surprisingly well for kids that age but there’s still that underlying “We are opposing genders and must meet the quota for pointless arguments” theme going on.

Like when we were eating lunch and they were competing over who knew more math and who had the healthier meal.

God, these kids are such hooligans.

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About that lunch. We ate at the cafeteria, but there was nothing there that I wanted so Henry hurried up and got me pizza from a different part of the park before I freaked out in front of his bros, OMG.

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We constantly had to wait for the grown-ups. Ugh. Grown-ups are slow. COME ON, GROWN-UPS. My favorite part of the day was later when we were heading for the Swing Shot and Chris told Katelyn to stop running.

“But Erin’s running!” she cried. Damn right Erin’s running. The faster I run, the fewer the bitches that get in line before me. Please, let me write an Amusement Park Handbook.

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 It was a full day of weird poses. pulling faces and line-standing contortions. I was just thankful that there were very minimal pleas to play games, which is my least favorite thing to do at amusement parks.

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EXCEPT WHEN THE PRIZES INCLUDE STUFFED UNICORNS ARE YOU KIDDING!?

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 Sadly, I didn’t win a unicorn. BECAUSE HENRY NEVER GAVE ME MONEY TO PLAY!

(Did I mention that I lost my wallet last week? Because I lost my wallet last week. I canceled my debit card but still haven’t gone  to the bank to ask for a new one because I clearly don’t have adult priorities.)

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All day long, Chooch was whining about wanting to ride Kennywood’s newest ride, the Black Widow, but no one would volunteer as Sucker Tribute because that ride just looks like a swinging heart attack. It’s actually similar to that German torture device I rode last year at Canobie Park with Alyson, but it goes much higher in the air.

“Ricky will ride it with you,” one of the grown-ups joked. I wasn’t paying attention who was saying what at the moment because I was too busy trying to calculate how many rides we still needed to ride versus how much time was remaining. I AM A TYPE A AMUSEMENT PARK GOER.

“What am I riding?” Ricky asked, blissfully oblivious.

“The Black Widow!” Chooch shouted triumphantly.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“It’s just a Kiddieland ride,” I laughed.

But then Chooch told him what it was exactly and Ricky said, “Oh, it’s an actual ride. I thought you were talking about your mom.”

It took me awhile to process this, but then I laughed. GOOD ONE, RICKY.

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Thunderbolt idiots!

Chooch is finally tall enough to ride everything in the park! This was his first year riding the Thunderbolt now that he’s a magnificent 52 inches in height, holla atcha yardstick. When we were in line, he accidentally touched this white foamy stuff on a bush and I was like, “OMG YOU TOUCHED SPIT! THAT’S SO GROSS!” But then later when we were telling Henry, he was like, “That sounds like it was spider eggs to me” so I was like, “OMG HE TOUCHED SPIDER EGGS! THAT’S EVEN WORSE!” God, my kid is disgusting. I hope none of those eggs found their way into his ass. That’s all we need.

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Chris and Ricky sat in front of us on the Thunderbolt and I was so excited to see Ricky’s white locks billowing in the wind. It was as majestic as…billowing white locks on the Thunderbolt.

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Then we went on Noah’s Ark, which used to be the best dark ride that ever dark rode, but has been super lame for me these last several years because they changed it so much and I hate change, but this time, Chooch and I got to lead the group and for some reason this was extremely hilarious to me and I got super hyper and kept screaming cries of faux fear and concern and then I had the bright idea to turn the flash on and start taking sneak attack photos of Henry and the rest of our group from behind corners, and  then Chooch and I would cry with laughter and run away real fast.

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Here is where I’m pausing to breathe.

This kept going on and on through the whole Ark until we got to the end and discovered that random people had managed to insert themselves in the middle of our group, so we were mostly just being assholes to strangers.

Otherwise known as: Any Other Day.

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This was Henry’s standard “You guys are fucking idiots” reaction. And then we all sat at a table while Henry told us stories about how he watched Actual Noah building the Actual Ark.

Because Henry is old.

Fun fact: Henry wore that same shirt to Kennywood last year, too.

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This is the first year that Chooch didn’t spend the entire time “wanting.”

“I want ice cream.”

“I want stuffed animals.”

“I want games.”

“I want the deed to Kennywood.”

Except, he did have a moment in line for Noah’s Ark where Henry was The Worst Dad He Ever Had because he wouldn’t buy Chooch lemonade at that exact moment.

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THANK GOD he got his fucking lemonade afterward though and calmed down enough to take the 57th selfie of the day with me. Right after this photo, I ran into one of my old high school friends, Heather the Ken! I hadn’t seen her since 1998, so it was pretty awesome/awkward. “You ain’t kidding,” Henry drawled when I later said that it was kind of awkward. I suck at seeing people I know, but it was still cool.

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Call it old age, but these last several years, I have felt SHEER TERROR every time I even just glance at the Phantom’s Revenge. And every year I make the conscious decision to not ride it. But then every year I somehow find myself in line, doing the pee jig. This year, it was just Henry, me, Chooch and Chris who rode it. Henry and I sat behind Chris and Chooch and I wasn’t aware that I was being loud enough for Chris to hear my panicked narration, but when we got off the ride, he said, “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom’s Revenge.”

It starts with the ascent up the inaugural hill, which is where I moan, “Oh, I forgot how much I hate this part…..oh god we’re going to die….WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!” and then after we reach that daunting daunting zenith, I am an emptying bag of battle cries. I also enjoy letting every one know each and every time I feel the slightest twinge of pain, like, “MY BACK JUST BROKE! I ALMOST LOST MY ARM!” And then I usually cap it off with a finale of Nancy Kerrigan-approved “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”s.

And then the ride coasts back into the station and I’m all “Fuck yeah, Phantom!”

Afterward, the rest of my party turned into unfocused loiterers and I was getting so anxious! I even walked far away from where they were sitting at one point to see if they noticed that I was gone. I DON’T THINK THEY DID!!! I was in a BIG HURRY because I wanted to ride the Exterminator next and that’s basically the best ride in the whole park in case you don’t live here or just have bad taste in amusement park rides. I nearly pee my pants on it every year! (And sometimes you can scratch out the “nearly.” FULL DISCLOSURE UP IN HERE.)

While waiting for my group of Southern Meanderers, aka Careys, I stood and watched the Black Widow do its thing. When we were in line for Phantom’s Revenge, I caved and told Chooch I would ride it with him, but ONLY so that I would have leverage for the future because that’s my solid gold parenting style. Just watching it Jello-fied my legs, but a promise is a promise. However, I started imagining every last worst case scenario, so that really helped.

(NO IT DIDN’T HELP.)

Finally, everyone started walking toward the Exterminator and I was like, “YES YES YES!” and started to get in line, but then they all went and fussed with the lockers and in the meantime, approximately FIVE PEOPLE got in line in front of us.

THANKS A LOT, GROWN-UPS.

The line was kind of long and Henry kept trying to put me on blast by pointing out how whiny I was being when I really didn’t think I was being whiny just because I kept letting my body go limp against him and saying things like “WE HAVE BEEN STANDING IN LINE FOR-EVHAHAHAHA-ER.”

But whatever, the Exterminator is worth the wait. It’s basically like the Crazy Mouse but INSIDE A DARK BUILDING. It makes me choke on my own laughter every single time, like I have a disease.

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Chris got in a car with Chooch and Katelyn, leaving me, Henry, Kari and Ricky to squish ourselves into the next one. Except that the car we picked was “sensitive,” whatever that means, and the bored Kennywood worker made us get into the next available car all the way at the end of the line. This meant that Chooch, Katelyn and Chris had returned to the station before our ride even started, since there were four cars in front of us.

“They’re going to think we perished when they see that we’re not behind them anymore,” I laughed. And we found out afterward that they sent our car through empty since it was malfunctioning, so when the kids saw an empty car return to the station, they got scared. HAHAHA.

Anyway, I managed to not pee my pants this time but fuck, I laughed so hard that my face hurt (I know, I know, it’s killing you guys too). It’s such a satisfying ride!

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After that, I rode the Whip with Chooch and Katelyn, whose relief that we hadn’t actually perished on the Exterminator had worn off by then. It took us forever (read: 5 seconds) to get in line though because we couldn’t get around dumb Henry who was walking excruciatingly slow and totally Whip-blocking us. That motherfucker.

Every time our car would whip us around the bend, we would scream “WHIP SELFIE” because it’s imperative to be obnoxious at amusement parks. Also, because we had just taken a Whip selfie:

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The next day, I noticed that my Facebook friend Kelly had checked into Kennywood on Sunday as well, and I commented to tell her that I wish I had seen her. She said that she saw me speed-walking by when she was getting on the Whip, so it must have been right around this time. It made me laugh so hard to know that someone witnessed me being an impatient maniac.

Right after this, Chris, Chooch and I convinced Katelyn to ride the Swing Shot and she basically hates us forever now. As soon as the ride started, I remembered how horrible it is and screamed, “MY TEARS ARE REAL!” at one point, which I’m sure did wonders to ease Katelyn’s nerves. Henry, Kari and Ricky were watching from a table and said that looked like an actual cartoon during the whole ride.

I mean, she didn’t cry, but she certainly was NOT happy.

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Henry trying to escape.

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Then it was time for ice cream!! This is my favorite part of the day, food-wise. Most people will tell you that Potato Patch fries are the creme de la creme of Kennywood cuisine, and I won’t argue there because those are the most perfect french fries in the entire world. But I rarely hear anyone mentioning how delightful the Golden Nugget square cones are! You guys can get soft serve anywhere. Gimme my square-edged chocolate-dipped delight.

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Cone-dipping consternation.

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Sprinkle carpet.

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Henry and Chris were talking about how they used to think it was just a Klondike shoved into a cone until they saw the Golden Nugget workers actually cutting blocks of vanilla ice cream. It never occurred to me that it could have just been a Klondike, and Henry was like, “REALLY!? I THOUGHT IT WAS AN OBVIOUS ASSUMPTION SINCE KLONDIKE’S ARE FROM HERE!” in that belittling tone he loves to use on me, except I’m paraphrasing here because clearly “assumption” is too big of a word for him.

Fun Fact: Klondikes are apparently from Pittsburgh. I just learned this on Sunday because I’m seriously the worst Pittsburgher ever.

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This was right before the hardcore amusement park riders ditched us for Kiddieland. They were gone for an hour! (Don’t worry: Chris went with them.) The rest of us hung back and found ourselves in a discussion about Mr. Big, Extreme, and Meatloaf which met Henry’s criteria of “Anyone but Jonny Craig.”

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Ice Cream Brones.

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Look! It’s a Henry in its natural, agitated state.

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Gross, I know.

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Chooch is finally tall enough to ride the Sky Rocket, which is Kennywood’s newest coaster. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it does go upside down. Henry, Chris and I had to beg Chooch to go on it. It wasn’t the upside down-ness that had him scared, it was the first hill, an inversion, that was freaking him out. (And he didn’t even know that it was one of those launching coasters.) At one point, he sat down and put his face in his hands, but then he turned around and started to twerk. Hey, do what you gotta do, right? Twerk it out son.

There was a guy in line with us who had an apple tattoo and I wanted to sow him mine so we could be apple ink bros but Henry stopped that from happening.

Spoiler alert: Chooch made it through his first Skyrocket ride alive. His reaction was, “That was it?” I just kept screaming, “IT TICKLES!” the whole time and Chooch was like, “Please stop embarrassing us.”

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I asked Chooch for a quote expressing how he felt about riding the Bayern Curve with Katelyn and he said: “I’m a cat.”

So anyway, this was a hilarious moment for the rest of us because the Bayern Curve is one of those rides that pushes the front rider into the back rider so Chooch was like FML through the whole ride. It was incredibly rewarding to watch, as a parent who is verbally abused by her son on the daily. (His sass is off the charts these days.)

WHAT’S UP NOW, MOUTH?
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Remember when I said that Chooch mostly made it through the day without tantrum? Well, that’s because he was waiting for the VERY END, when the park was closing, to project his exhaustion and hunger on the fact that Henry wouldn’t buy him Dippin’ Dots because Henry is a terrible person who doesn’t feed his children. He was outright CRYING about this and it was so annoying and disgusting, so I guess 8 is not the magic age where kids stop acting like spoiled assholes in amusement parks.

We left the park and Henry fed him a burger and miraculously, Chooch was fine.

“Ugh, he’s so much like you,” Henry muttered.

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As always, it was wonderful spending a day with the Handa’s and Ricky being there was an added bonus even though he MADE FUN OF ME a lot and even when he was just saying regular things to me I think he was still making fun of me but sometimes I’m too dumb to realize.

I feel like I’m forgetting lots of things.

And now we get to do this all over again at a different park on Thursday, wooo!!!

P.S. We never made it on the Black Widow. Chooch and I were in line for approximately one minute before he said, “So….maybe I should just wait until I’m talk enough to ride ALL of the rides here*. And then I’ll ride the Black Widow.” Then he ducked under the railing and left me standing there alone.

*(There’s only one ride he can’t ride yet and it literally never running every time we’re there.)

SONOFABITCH. All that positive thinking I put myself through, for what.