May 252022
 

In addition to eating at Melt  (which took longer than any line we stood in all weekend, by the way, so excruciating!), we had great luck on rides! First I should note that as soon as we got to the park that Saturday, Chooch and his friend Zakk immediately went off on their own, as expected. I mean, I certainly didn’t want to hang out with two 16-year-olds anyway! So it was just Henry and me, like we were on a date or something. It was crazy!! The last time we went to an amusement park alone was before Chooch existed, and now the park we went to no longer exists! (Geauga Lake in Ohio – can’t remember if it was a Six Flags then or not…)

Technically, the last time we went to without CHOOCH specifically was King’s Island in 2005 but I was actually in the very beginning of my first trimester, unknowingly, but I’m not counting that because Christina and their sister were with us so it was less DATE-ISH.

Henry kept trying to hold my hand, even. I would allow it for a moment but then I’d say, “OK it’s too hot for this, go away now.”

We were kind of nervous when we got to Cedar Park because there was a SHIT LOAD of school buses there. I guess a bunch of school bands were doing a thing that day. Somehow, it wasn’t as crowded as we anticipated though, and Henry and I immediately rode Gatekeeper after waiting for only about 30 minutes which IS NOT BAD. Somehow Henry had never ridden it before because he claims that he doesn’t “care for” wing coasters that much. Wow, what an elitist.

But then he admitted that it was “good.”

Steel Vengeance was “only” a 60 minute wait at one point so we got in line after the DICK at the entrance yelled at me about my fanny pack which is totally small enough to fit in the free lockers inside the ride line, but OK DICK. He was the only sour Cedar Point employee we encountered all weekend, and his demeanor was exactly the same both days.

“How many pictures of this do you need?” Henry asked while I snapped away in line.

One for every ugly, plain gray t-shirt you have. Get ready for some iron-on action, big guy.

Of course it ended up being a longer wait than an hour but whatever. The thing I say in my head now while standing in line for roller coasters is: what would I be doing if I wasn’t here right? Probably sitting on the couch at home.

So who cares.

I will say that one of the most annoying things about Steel Vengeance is that it’s in a corner of the park that’s cut off by train tracks and I EFFING SWEAR TO GOD every time we’re in a rush to get there, that motherfucking TRAIN is going by so the stupid gate is down and a crowd of antsy people is forming, ready to rush the damn thing.

But Jesus, when it was finally our time to get on this thing, I was so stoked. I do think that Iron Gwazi has edged SteVe out just a tiny bit, but if anyone ever tells you that Steel Vengeance is overrated or overhyped, they’re a fucking joyless idiot. This coaster is everything. I guarantee if you ride it, you will have no idea what hit you. It really takes you there, lol.

A stupid post-Melt selfie. We were going to “casually walk around” and “digest” but then Valravyn had a 15 minute wait because it must have been down and we walked by right after t reopened, so we jumped on that. I don’t really care much for this one, because, like Henry and his hipster opinion of wing coasters, dive coasters aren’t really my jam. They’re one-trick ponies and just don’t do much for me, and Valrayvn (I have no idea how to spell this) is actually my least favorite of all of them.

Henry has never ridden this one though so I felt that we had to do it. The line moved so fast because people weren’t really using Fast Lane thank god. The most exciting part was when a young kid (maybe 9th grade?) told me he liked my tattoo and then said, “Must be a special cat.” YES, YES, SHE WAS, THANK YOU FOR RECOGNIZING THAT, BOY-O.

Here is a picture of Raptor (a better coaster) while in line for Valrayvn. Seriously, how do you spell that? I don’t feel like looking it up.

Really excited.

I love this part of Cedar Point! Frontiertown or whatever the fuck! However, I usually only see it in a blur when I’m running from Millenium Force to Maverick or Steel Vengeance. It was nice to “take it easy” this time around. I mean, we kind of did. There was a moment on Sunday when we were eating lunch in the little food truck area across from Iron Dragon when I happened to see that SteVe had A FIFTEEN MINUTE WAIT. I was like, “BITCH, WE GOTTA HAUL” – Henry and I nearly knocked the table over in our frenzy. And if you know the layout of the park, you know there is NO SHORT CUT to the other side of the park, so we had to speedwalk through Frontiertown and then GET STUCK WAITING FOR THAT FUCKING TRAIN TO PASS, ugh. But that was Sunday and we’re only talking about Saturday, so.

More shots of SteVe.

OMG did I even know that Cedar Point has a Troika?! We never have time to do flat rides usually but we did this time and Henry was so thrilled.

Especially when the ride operator was like, “Who’s ready to ride?” and I was the only one who screamed, and then when she said, “Come on you can do better than that” I was the only one who screamed even more maniacally.

“OK that’ll do,” she said as she started the ride.

“I CARRIED THAT WHOLE THING ON MY BACK!!!” I screamed as we were spun into the air. “YOU’RE WELCOME!!”

Love making Henry ride flat rides, lol.

Raptor selfe.

Henry hates inverts but I made him ride this anyway because the line was only like, 30 minutes and I haven’t ridden this since 2019. I forgot how GOOD IT IS. Also, I think B&M inverts are my second favorite coaster type??? If you don’t know my #1, then do you even read this crappy word cemetery?

MAGNUM SELFIE! The park closed at 8pm that night and we JUST BARELY made it into this line. The girl at the line entrance just got the call to close the line off but we slipped right on through while she had her back turned, lol.

Henry hates Magnum so much but I pouted until he gave in. I always win!

Anyway, we ended up being the third to the last train of the night, but when we came back into the station, there were only a few other people waiting in line for the last train of the night. Henry and I had already gotten out but the kids behind us asked if they could stay on. The ride attendant who bore an uncanny resemblance to my brother Ryan said yes so I screamed, “OMG US TOO????” and he laughed and nodded. Henry was like, “Have fun with that,” and left lol.

Here I am on the last train of the night! You can tell Henry took this with his shitty phone because it’s a weird size. I hate when he takes pictures with his phone. But anyway, Magnum is so painful but it makes me laugh so hard and that last tunnel with the lights and space sound effects is just SO GOOD. Henry said it feels like it’s running on square wheels, and I do agree with that, lol. It’s a fucking spine smasher, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I was so excited to tell Chooch that I ended my night on Magnum, but in true Chooch fashion, he up-staged me….

…by not only getting to be one of the last trains of the night on Steel Vengeance….

….but being allowed to stay on making his train the ACTUAL last train of the night….

….AND HE WAS IN THE BACK ROW!!!!

THAT IS THE FUCKING DREAM!

We knew that he and Zakk were in line for this so we had already walked over to the area to wait for them. We watched the one train return to the station and everyone on it just erupted in a massive chorus of ONE MORE RIDE! ONE MORE RIDE! Henry was like, “I think they’re on that one….” and sure enough, we spotted Chooch’s striped shirt as the final train of the night roared past us. I was SO JEALOUS but also extremely stoked for him because that is fucking AWESOME and you know what else makes it even better? It was Zakk’s first (and second!) ride on Steel Vengeance, so what a fucking way to experience it!

When they got off and rejoined us, I yelled, “I HATE YOU SO MUCH!” Chooch was straight gloating, and Zakk said, “I can see why that’s your favorite!” It turns out they actually rode it THREE TIMES: when they got off the first time, the crew was like, “If you hurry, you might make it back into the line before they close it…” so they ran off and around, managed to be one of the last people to squeeze into the line, and then that’s when they got the back-to-back SteVe special. SICKENING!!

At this point, the park was CLOSED so our walk out was super quiet and peaceful. I love the feel of an amusement park after-hours. I also love that Cedar Point doesn’t shut down lines before the park closes. I have to give them so much credit for that. So pro-tip, loiter around the entrance of SteVe and wait until a minute before the park closes to get in line, I guess!

This is them on the last train of the night. UGH.

At least he granted me one selfie, lol.

What a great first day. <3

May 242022
 

Guys, we went to Cedar Point last weekend as a belated birthday “party” for Chooch which I think I probably mentioned in some scattered blog post or another at some point. He brought his friend Zakk. It was one of the best times I’ve had at Cedar Point to date, which is a huge feat considering how finicky this place can be.

Back when our friend Jason still lived in Cleveland, we used to meet up with him at Melt for some pre-show grilled cheese action. This was when Melt was still new and novel and didn’t have a ton of locations spread across Ohio. So when Cedar Point got their own special Melt location, it wasn’t that exciting to us.

However! Jason no longer lives in Cleveland and we no longer road-trip there constantly for concerts, so it’s been A MINUTE since I burnt my mouth by scarfing a Melt original too zealously. Normally we don’t do sit-down meals at parks but I thought it would be nice to pencil it in this time since it was kind of a special occasion and Chooch had a friend with him.

I checked in with Chooch around 2 and he said that they were both ready to eat too, but they were in line for Magnum. Henry and I had just gotten off Steel Vengeance (<3) so I told him we’d just walk to Magnum and wait for them there. He texted me again right as we got to Magnum and said they were in the station about to get on.

Oh, good! We were just in time to see their train leave the station and then promptly get stuck on the lift hill, lol.

At first, we thought that someone got busted with their phone out because one of the Magnum crew people left the station and walked up the track to them. She was going back and forth, stopping at certain rows, so we weren’t sure what was going on at that point. Then she left and a few minutes later, another crew person went down under the lift hill and pushed a button as a recording came on that said ATTN THIS RIDE WILL NOW RESTART so that was fun to watch.

Magnum’s manual literally says, “Turn it off and then turn it back on.”

This ride is soooo janky but iconic and incredibly photogenic.

LOL Chooch.

Finally, we were reunited as a QUAD and walked together (sort of) to Melt. I was happy that it wasn’t crowded AT ALL and a little surprised when the hostess said it would be a 20 minute wait. I looked around at all the empty tables and said, “OK. We’ll wait.” The place was literally at like, less than 25% capacity, but OK.

We had JUST sat down in the waiting area, and the hostess was calling my name, cradling a stack of menus in her arms. Literally less than a minute after she told us it would be 20 minutes?? Did she mean 20 seconds??

I loved that Melt’s decor was a marriage of the traditional Melt aesthetic (vintage plastic holiday yard statues, old school arcade vibes, etc) with historical Cedar Point memorabilia.

Anyway, it quickly became clear that when the hostess said “20 minutes,” she meant 20 minutes for the waiter to take our order which was whatever, but it became progressively longer between returns to our table. He was really personable at first but then gave us less attention every time he got a new table and I was super butt hurt over this.

Meanwhile, Chooch ordered some type of “wet” chicken sandwich but refused to say the “wet” part and just sort of pointed at it instead. He got the vegetarian version of his and I got the vegan version of the BIG PARMA (a whole one so Henry and I could share). Henry got an order of tofu wings, and Zakk just got chicken strips – lame!

It took so long for our food to come out. It’s frustrating when you see tables that were seated way after you get their food first. People were coming and going and we were all just sitting there, idly sipping our drinks and looking at our phones….

…well, the guys at my table were looking at their phones. I was looking at everyone else’s food around me and eye-stalking the young food runner who kept coming out of the kitchen with NOT OUR food.

And then when our food did come, they only brought me a half of my sandwich like they were TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING (“It’s called smaller portions, HONEY”). This was an issue because I knew we were going to get charged for a whole, and also because half of this was supposed to be Henry’s. But the way I said, “I ordered a whole,” came off sooo bitch-babyish. It was like I had floated over myself and just in time to witness the stampy-foot whine come out of my mouth, like I was complaining that Santa brought me a brown pony when I ASKED FOR A BLACK ONE WITH A WHITE DIAMOND ON HER NOSE.

Whatever. Some people find this side of me endearing, like Veruca Salt Lite.

Meanwhile, Henry was mumbling, “Don’t worry about it” but I was like BABE I GOT THIS. (LOL I would never call him that, FYI.) Anyway, I got the other half of my sandwich in less than 5 but then it seemed like our waiter liked us less after this so I was sad because I really liked him but it was clear that he was only interested in playing with all his SHINY NEW TABLES.

We cut Chooch and Zakk loose after they were finished eating because it became clear that we weren’t going to get our check anytime soon. So now with those two gone, we had an open window to the table in front of us: a mom and dad with a daughter who was about 4, a boy who was like 3, and then a super little baby. The girl spilled her chocolate milk ALL OVER HERSELF and started crying, which brought me so much joy. So the mom dumped the baby on the dad was took the crying girl into the bathroom to mop her off.

“Wow, she actually got all the stains out,” Henry marveled when they returned. Laundry-related things excite Henry greatly.

Still waiting for our check, and now these two older women were standing right next to our table, like so close that I actually thought maybe we had been there that long that Chooch and Zakk had grown up into middle-aged women? Turns out they were looking for the chocolate milk bitch. They finally spotted her (I mean, she was literally at the next table, put your fucking glasses on maybe) and handed her a bag from the gift shop with a NEW FUCKING T-SHIRT IN IT (well, obviously new – I assume it wasn’t off the back of some other child-bitch). I can’t remember what the damn thing said now but it was purple and had like a cupcake on it that said best day ever, or something, like why wouldn’t you get a Cedar Point-specific t-shirt, but OK.

So now the dumb girl was happy again and I really needed to pay the damn check and get away from this Church of the Latter Day Saints commercial.

First of all, how do those women even know that this kid deserves a non-milky, dry t-shirt? She could be a terrible kid!! She could have a record at pre-school!! What if she’s a kindercare bully?? There could be a row of mutilated, naked babydolls in her closet!

I felt very conflicted over this good Samaritan spectacle.

“I would never do something like that for a kid,” I murmured around my straw (paper even, go Melt!) as I took a sip of water, and Henry said, “Yeah I know.”

But then! Her little brother fell out of his chair – not even all the way. It was a super slow descent where he lazily ping-ponged between his chair and his dad’s chair, and didn’t even hit the ground, but still somehow hurt himself enough that he started wailing, so now the mom had to take the baby from the dad so that the dad could hold the screaming toddler in his lap.

IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH.

I wasn’t ruling out the possibility that he did this on purpose so that someone would buy him a shirt too. We made eye contact while he was crying and I hope that I was able to convey in my returned glare that it wasn’t going to be me, buddy.

Finally, we got to pay the damn bill and get the FUCK out of there. Great food but easily one of the most frustrating Melt experiences of my life, lol ugh.

May 232022
 

When GOT7 left their agency in January 2021 after their contract was up, they swore that they weren’t disbanding and would come back as GOT7. As much as I wanted to believe them, it was hard to because if you are even kind of into kpop, you know the inevitable heartbreak of stanning a group only to have them disband after their contacts expire (usually after 7 years). So many of the groups I loved when I first got into this lifestyle have disbanded and it still makes my heart burn when I think about it! (Sistar, Miss A, 2NE1, Infinite….and can we not talk about the limbo state of BIGBANG?)

Anyway, somehow GOT7, even with the members all scattered in different agencies, managed to pull off what everyone said could never happen. THEY CAME BACK AS 7 MEMBERS. They fucking kept their promise!

This song is SO GOOD and the video is serving up visuals on 7 silver platters. I feel so content right now! GOT7 were one of my first kpop loves, especially from a kpop cardio standpoint (lol) and also one of the best concerts of my life. 

OK ONE MORE: Here’s a live performance because I CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF SEEING THEM TOGETHER.

May 222022
 

Let’s barrel through this quickly. It was a very up and down month.

  1. Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead – Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2)

OK, usually my the second book in a series, I start to lose interest, but Finlay Donovan and her sidekick Vero are hysterical and I love how over-the-top these books are. It has a very modern day Lucille Ball / I Love Lucy feel to it. So good. Light, upbeat, and entertaining. This would be the PERFECT beach/airplane read, too.

2. 5 Centimeters Per Second – Yukiko Seike & Makoto Shinkai

5 Centimeters per Second (5 Centimeters per Second, #1-2)

This was OK but I think I just don’t really like manga. Reading in reverse just isn’t my jam.

3. Such a Quiet Place – Megan Miranda

Such a Quiet Place

This was fine. I gave it a three. I wouldn’t recommend it but I also wouldn’t…NOT…recommend it. You know what I mean. A basic thriller. Cannot remember a single character but there also wasn’t anything “wrong” with this either.

4. Heartstopper: Volume 4 – Alice Oseman

Heartstopper: Volume Four (Heartstopper, #4)

You already know: FIVE STARS, A MILLION AND FIVE HEARTS. This graphic novel series has really touched in me and made me feel more emotions than most any other book I’ve read recently, so don’t get caught up in the YA-ness of it all. This installment deals heavily with eating disorders and mental illness and it was done in such a thoughtful and sensitive way.

If you haven’t watched the Netflix series, I highly recommend it. Especially if you particularly are looking for a TV show that doubles as a psychic bear hug.

Also? I read this in the car during our spring break road trip and that vacation was sooooo good so I will always associate these two things with each other now and that makes it even better.

5. How to Kill Your Best Friend – Lexie Elliott

How to Kill Your Best Friend

Very very very far-fetched but who reads thrillers for a dose of reality, you know? I thought this was a pretty entertaining book about a group of friends – who were all on their college swim team, this is somewhat relevant – reuniting at some South Asian island resort (Thailand, maybe? I can’t remember the exact location now) where threats and murder ensue. This was apparently the second book I read by this author, and I liked them both so now perhaps I should make a point of remembering their name.

6. Real Easy – Marie Rutkoski

Real Easy

This book was t-r-a-s-h. Entirely too many characters. Shitty dialogue. Predictable plot. Best thing is the cover but what does that even have to do with the book, you might ask? WHO KNOWS. I urge you to skip this.

Oh, apparently I actually wrote a review on Goodreads:

OK hear me out. The story itself was good, and the strip club setting was interesting. But the writing was unbelievably frustrating – it was jumbled and very “try-hard” at times. Like come on, I don’t give a shit that the Denny’s waitress had husky blue eyes flecked with gold. Get over yourself.

Also, so many damn characters, and most of them were strippers with two names (real and stripper name) so it was extremely difficult to keep them straight. Same with the cops. So many. Who even are you.

Yep. That sounds about right.

7. A Bad Day For Sunshine – Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)

If Lorelai Gilmore was Star Hollow’s sheriff, but Stars Hollow was in New Mexico. That makes it sound like it could be better than it is. I mean, it wasn’t the worst book and I liked how every chapter opened with either a witty phrase from one of the town’s shops’ signs, or a blurb from the police blotter, etc. It really helped back up the “KOOKY TOWN” premise. I liked that it went back and forth between the mom, Sunshine, and her high school daughter who was finding it hard to adjust to a new school having just moved back to Sunshine’s hometown. The characters were quirky and the writing was good but I just wasn’t really into it enough to continue on with the series.

8. Reckless Girls – Rachel Hawkins

Reckless Girls

I gave this a three on Goodreads apparently but my initial reaction when it was time to review this here was one of annoyance and mild anger because I think I actually hated this. It’s an adult thriller but it came off as a bit Young Adult-y at times, like maybe I would have enjoyed this is high school. I was hoping that the secluded island setting would offer a bit of escapism but it just felt suffocating.

9. Fool Me Once – Ashley Winstead

Fool Me Once

Bro. I was a little disappointed when I saw that Ashley Winstead’s follow-up to her debut novel was going to be a romance.  I LOVED last year’s “In My Dream I Hold a Knife” so much, and that was a dark academia / thriller. I picked this up anyway out of curiosity and I am so glad that I did because it was fantastic. Laugh out loud funny, realistic/believable character dynamics and dialogue, and a story that I actually cared about. It was a wild ride and I was rooting for our main character the whole time, in both her romantic endeavors and professional growth. The side characters  were practically punching their way off the pages, the hijinx were hilarious and believable, and the feel good factor was off the charts. My face hurt from all the smiling I did while reading this.

SO GOOD and I am now anxiously waiting to see what Winstead is whipping up next. This broad has written her way into my heart. This was my second 5-star of the month! See?? I’m not *that* picky.

10. The Unsinkable Greta James – Jennifer E. Smith

The Unsinkable Greta James

Wow.  To think that I almost returned what ended up being my THIRD FIVE STAR BOOK OF THE MONTH back to the library before reading it because I was afraid I was running out of time before Asian Read-a-thon started. That would have been a fatal error because this book, despite being set on a cruise to my least favorite place in the whole world – ALASKA, literally cruised its way into my heart. Almost immediately, I had a feeling that this one was going to become a forever favorite and I was right. The writing was fresh, the dialogue was SNAPPY (clearly dialogue is super important to me), and the story itself was a heartwarmer but also a heartBREAKER.

Greta is a somewhat-famous musician, a fact that her dad can’t stand. Greta gets guilted by her brother to take her recently-deceased mother’s spot on an anniversary cruise that her parents had planned with two of their married couple friends. Now they have this floating prison to attempt to salvage their relationship, and it is an amazing process to follow. This book had me straight up laughing out loud on one page and then sobbing like a bitch five pages later. In fact, I kept getting a lump in my throat every time I tried to give Henry a synopsis.

I cannot recommend this enough. It’s fantastic. I need to add more books from this author to my TBR because her writing is totally my style.

 

May 212022
 

Cleveland is hosting an Asian Festival this weekend and the reason I know this is because a few weeks ago, I received a message on Etsy from a customer asking if it would be ok if she included the Minho card she bought from my shop in a raffle that she would be doing at the upcoming festival. She is part of a local Cleveland Kpop radio show called A Sprinkle of Seoul and they were going to have a booth at the festival.

This was exciting! Of course I said yes and then I sent her some additional SHINee cards too because her booth was hosting a cup sleeve event to celebrate SHINee’s 14th debut anniversary!! I got the info from her and then planned on coming out for it.

Their booth was so cute!! Lauren was so friendly and fun to talk to. She gave me a Kpop crossword to complete for a chance to win an album and it was CHALLENGING! You had to guess each Kpop group based on two songs and some of them weren’t super popular. I almost didn’t even get the BIGBANG one!! And then I couldn’t remember Astro even though I JUST watched their comeback stage this morning. I did eventually get it but Henry of all people had to give me hints. I only completed about 75% of it but she said I could still qualify lol.

I always wanted to go to a cup sleeve event!! They do these often in South Korea – fan sites will usually order cup sleeves to commemorate their bias’s birthday or an anniversary of a group’s debut, and then collaborate with a cafe to host the event. We saw a couple when we were there but it was never for a group I cared much about.

I brought out some of my fave SHINee pins to display on my dumb person for today too <3

I also excitedly outed Henry as a HUGE WONHO STAN to the A Sprinkle of Seoul peeps and they were very understanding because how can you not appreciate Wonho.

Anyway, here’s the cupsleeve!

We went inside a small Asian mall type of building where this eclectic vending machine resided. There was a bubble waffle joint and I felt inspired for one because it’s been a minute, so while we were waiting for our order, I used the restroom only to discover that MY PERIOD WAS HERE – luckily it had just started so there wasn’t an accident but of course I didn’t bring a purse that had my tampons in it. There was an Asian market connected to the tiny mall we were in so Henry was like WAIT FOR THE WAFFLE and ran over to get me tampons but couldn’t find any so got me PADS INSTEAD. UGH.

(I don’t know if this is universally an Asian thing but I know for sure tampons are rare in South Korea. I definitely had to buy emergency pads there on my first visit!)

Meanwhile the guy called my number at the waffle place and I was standing literally right there so I held out my hand to take it but he shoved the waffle in a bag and threw it on the counter at the front behind the lady taking orders and I was like HELLO WTF and because PERIOD I internally threw a fit and GAVE UP. Now Henry was back with the PADS and I was like THEY CALLED OUR NUMBER AND DIDNT GIVE IT TO ME, YOU DEAL WITH IT.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, I feel like I had a point.

Anyway, after all of this menstrual/bubble waffle drama, we left because it had gotten super crowded AND HUMID at this point, and I had already accomplished what I wanted – meeting Lauren from A Sprinkle of Seoul and supporting the Asian community!

Plus, I wanted tampons, please and thanks. While Henry was in the nearest CVS fulfilling my tampon dreams, I started cracking up as I realized that I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought my own tampons?? Henry is a real one.

Then we went to Brewnuts for some donuts. My bro Corey went here on a recent visit to CLE and highly recommended it to me. The last time we were in town, it was closed because it keeps hipster hours. You know, Wednesday-Saturday or something ridic.

My first impression was: this place looks annoying. Every table was full of not-my-types looking they just rolled up post-run for some dones (THAT’S WHAT THIS PLACE CALLS DONUTS WHICH I’M NOT GOING TO LIE WAS VERY OFF-PUTTING PROBABLY JUST HOW MY PENCHANT FOR CAPSLOCK IS TO YOU) and brews.

But the decor was so my style!

But then the young broad who waited on us (not this lady pictured, she was fine) was borderline rude and stared at us blankly while we looked at the menu after – god forbid – not knowing what we wanted after she IMMEDIATELY tried to pressure us into ordering before we even fully approached the counter.

I’m not saying people need to slap me in the face with the rainbows shooting out of their asses, but a small smile or even a moderately upbeat tone to the voice has never hurt anyone before.

BUT I GUESS THIS IS JUST ME SNIVELLING.

Anyway, we were here for donuts. I got the hot honey cornbread – you know how in sitcoms, whenever a man sees a really hot woman, they bite their fist? I AM BITING MY FIST AT THE MERE MEMORY OF THIS BITCHIN’ BABE OF A NEVER-DONES.

Holy mother, hold my rosary. I’m gonna need two hands for this.

It was SO FUCKING GOOD. Yoooooo. The perfect amount of heat from the hot honey, the cornbread crumbles were NOT messing around, and the donut itself was a bangin’. Unfortunately, I had to split this with Henry (I didn’t know that was the plan and had already started beasting the cornbread side so then he got hardly any of it lolol) but I could have easily inhaled this whole thing on my own.

Meanwhile, Henry ordered the wrong thing for himself. What he wanted was the cherry almond fry cake, but what he asked Miss Personality for was the cherry blossom, which essentially was just a regular iced donut with a cherry blossom design piped on it. Hahaha.

I got iced chai. It was so-so.

Henry got some frou-frou stroopwaffel latte and when the donut dick asked if he wanted whipped cream on it, he enthusiastically said YES and is now, hours later, complaining that he had too much sugar today.

Meanwhile, I had to use bathroom so I could swap out the pad for a tampon. I know, you thought this chapter was closed, yet here we are for the shocking conclusion.

I thought the bathroom was so cute! After we left, I showed Henry this picture and he said, “Oh, yeah, you mean the men’s room.”

“What do you mean, the men’s room?” I asked.

“Oh, I thought you knew you went in the men’s room. That guy was cleaning the women’s room and I figured he told you to just use the men’s room,” Henry said in a shruggy tone.

“Um, no I didn’t even know there were two restrooms?! I thought it was unisex??”

“It’s not a big deal, no one cared that you went in there, I’m sure. Plus, the guy had JUST cleaned it so you’re good.” HOW DOES HENRY KNOW SO MUCH DETAIL ABOUT THE BREWNUTS FACILITIES?? Where was I when he was supervising all of this janitorial action??

“Henry, I threw my pad in  the garbage can in there!” I cried. “In the men’s room!”

Oh yeah, THAT was the point of my Hello, Period story.

Anyway, now I want to go back and see the ladies room sometime.

We brought some donuts home with us so Chooch could try: a lemon-filled one, stroopwaffel (popular flavor there I guess) and Henry got his dumb fry cake thing or whatever the fuck it is. I could not eat here very often if I lived in Cleveland. They are good, but gigantic and HEAVY. Plus, the donut box was literally soaked with grease by the time we got home, which does make me have some slight regrets knowing I put that shit in my body.

But, you know, when on your period, etc etc etc.

“I am not sitting in this car for two hours after that, we need to for a walk,” I demanded, arms crossed and sitting on my princess tuffet, a/k/a the passenger seat. So bitch ass Henry found the nearest cemetery (Riverview I think?) and we want on a very uncomfortable digestion stroll through sopping waves of humidity with roiling stomachs.

Somehow this was the first time we’ve ever gone to a cemetery in Cleveland even though we have been there so many times. It was a decent cemetery. I made Henry take pictures of me because I’m obsessed with my shirt.

DON’T BE SUSPICIOUS….DON’T BE SUSPICIOUS.

Then we finally started our drive back home. We stopped at some idiotic family restaurant called THANO’S in Boardman Ohio about two hours post-donut inhalation because I needed real food to sop up the sugar. My body does not like it when I eat like this. :(

Originally, Henry told me to look for places to eat in Youngstown but then CHANGED THE ROUTE and rendered my hard Yelp work USELESS.

Ok this place had pretty good fries and our waiter was ok except that he said “ladies first” to me which set me off because what if I don’t identify as a lady, but I HATED THE AMBIANCE. There was no music playing and felt more quiet than the cemetery we came from (which I guess wasn’t that much of a feat considering the cem was right next to a major highway). The only noise came from the booth behind us, occupied by a totally uncouth couple, the broad of which answered her cell phone at the table and then proceeded to have a loud convo in public, and the guy of which ate his French fries with a mouth opened so wide that I could every cockle of each fry cracking under the weight of his gnashing teeth. Ugh plus it was also so wet-sounding.

Meanwhile my $6.99 grilled cheese (a rip off) didn’t have the tomato I asked for so Henry gave me the tomato off his plate but it was too thick and cold and ruined my grilled cheese even more.

“Just a reminder that the grilled cheese at the places I found on Yelp were only $3.99,” I said, my face resting more bitchily than the donut dick’s.

And then we came home.

May 202022
 

Oh shit, the last spring break vacation post! Is that true? Yes! Okey-dokey yo.

We spent the second half of Thursday at the Kissimmee Fun Spot location. It was threatening to rain as the day got later, but we managed to complete a streak of perfect weather theme park visits! Our luck is usually not that great. And there were no crowds here at all so we were straight walking on everything.

The first thing we did was go on Mine Blower because it was our most anticipated ride there.

….and also right at the entrance, lol.

Good lord, this coaster is INTENSE. It’s a Gravity Group hybrid and should honestly be illegal, I think?? It was rough and felt like it was running so out of control that I was actually terrified and that  doesn’t happen to me very often! (Twice at this park though, apparently lol.) It also has a zero gravity roll, which really makes you feel like this coaster should be called Your Last Ride. However! I did like it, it just wasn’t re-rideable for me. I rode it once when we got there, and then Chooch and I rode it again once it got dark, but…that was enough for us. Even Chooch said he couldn’t marathon this fucker.

Right away, I loved the vibe and ambiance of this Fun Spot way more than the Orlando location. It felt more colorful and lively (even though the crowd count was probably about the same) plus it had that little lake area which looked SO GOOD once all the lights came on at night.

This chubs was just casually napping in the grass next to a flat ride like he was an operator on break. Loved him!!

Chooch got a King Cake sundae and was all, “This isn’t all that” so I was like “LET ME TRY IT” and I thought it actually was pretty close to being “all that” so I made Henry go and get me my own. I ate it all with no regertz in that moment.

Fun Spot shares the space with another area called Old Town which is more of the shopping/entertainment section. It does have some rides though but I guess the big draw is the CAR SHOWS that happen on the weekends. Thank god it wasn’t a weekend. Although my dad would have loved this place because he is (or was, at least) super into car shows.

I bet this section in POPPIN’ on the weekends. There was some pretty entertaining/hideous karaoke going down on a stage outside of one of the bars though, so that was fun-ish. I suggested that Henry and I could sing Air Supply again like we did at a noraebang in Seoul but he was like, “no I’m good.” I think Chooch might have attempted to emancipate himself if that happened, anyway.

There were LOTS of Trump-Lovers shirts and shit in all of the Old Town shops which was not great but also expected because Florida.

Henry’s favorite part was when he was handed a fresh, piping hot soft pretzel in the arcade. OK and usually I hate arcades but this one had some stupid Wheel of Fortune game that I became obsessed with after watching Chooch play it once, then I kept asking him for tokens or whatever and he was super pissed.

Henry bought this pretzel while we were waiting an actual eternity for Chooch to cash in his tickets at the prize center. He takes this shit so seriously and tries to use up every last ticket. One of the guys behind the counter said, “Here, let’s end this” and actually gave him something that was just a bit over whatever his remaining ticket count was. So then he had a small armful of stupid little toys and candy. All of those toys are probably under my seat in  the car right now, I guarantee it.

OK honestly would you look at how beautiful this is?

I love that this place was like the perfect marriage of amusement park and carnival. (Except that the ride operators came off as way more trustworthy than carnies. Well, the Mine Blower crew was questionable though, lol.)

One very notable fact about this Fun Spot is that there is a year-round haunted walk-thru in Old Town which was designed by the same special FX company that does Hundred Acres Manor in Pittsburgh. Now, I’m not the greatest fan of that haunt, in fact I think it gets worse every year, but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to go through a haunted house.

In April.

In Florida.

It’s an upcharge attraction so we ended up forking over $30 for both Chooch and me to go through. We were the first customers of the evening and the dead guy running the joint had a very enjoyable time talking to Chooch about Iron Gwazi and trying to intimidate me. I will admit that I was a bit nervous only because it was just Chooch and me and sometimes I get super paranoid.

But it turns out it was very much like Hundred Acres Manor in that it had a handful of live actors but mostly animatronics. It was OK. If I ever went back, I would 100% skip it though, sorry.

The best year-round haunt we ever did was FOR SURE the one in Gatlinburg. Holy shit, that one was legit bonkers and the whole time I was screaming WTF IS HAPPENING and we were also in there with an entire family who were off-the-wall terrified and the dad was screaming like a bitch and they kept making me and Chooch go first – it was an incredible experience. If you’re even in Gatlinburg, take a break from the moonshine sampling and check out that haunted house.

Seriously, this place was SO PRETTY.

We left around 9 or 10, having claimed all the coaster creds and ridden all the flat rides we were interested in. Right as we were leaving, it started thundering and lightning really bad, and then it was storming by the time we made it back to the hotel. What luck!!

I can’t express how much I loved this trip and how it was the first time where we seemed to really gel as a family. I guess Chooch and I are finally coming of age, you know, and Henry is lightening up some. Sure we still had small spats here and there, mostly driven by hunger or food indecisiveness or exhaustion. But we always got over it. I’m very relieved to finally be done with the recaps but also sad that this means it’s time to put this vacation to rest. It was such a good one. I love having fun with these two dumbos. And also, I can tell Henry had fun because he was suddenly super into buying hats and souvenir shirts. Who even if this guy. Is this his version of a midlife crisis? Coaster snapbacks instead of muscle cars?

Anyway, if you stuck around for this whole extended blog-saga, THANKS FOR LETTING ME SHARE! (That’s what those dumb broads always say on A Beautiful Mess and I always say out loud, “I didn’t.”)

I will leave you with a video of Mine Blower:

May 192022
 

Hey Phil. Here are pictures of Chooch and me riding some rides at the second Fun Spot of the day: Fun Spot Kissimmee! (Which is evidently pronounced Kiss-IM-mee which I learned only about a month before our trip thanks to copious YouTube video-bingeing.

I liked this Fun Spot significantly more than the Orlando one – it was just more scenic, with a livelier atmosphere (although, may the Orlando locations gets more poppin’ at night), and just all around better rides. So of course I took way more pictures at this one and will now ask your forgiveness as I proceed to split this up into parts. Hopefully just two. Here is Part 1.

There were FIVE coaster creds for Chooch to collect at this Fun Spot and one of them was this super exciting kiddie coaster, which is also the coaster featured on his recent birthday cake, lol.

I was originally going to ride it too but we can no longer fit in one seat together on kiddie coasters now that Chooch is basically a grown-up, and as much as I dislike CHILDREN, I would have felt like a Big Asshole for taking some dumb kid’s spot. So I sat this one out.

If this had been a Wacky Worm though, I’d have elbowed a kid out of my way.

Then we headed to the very back of the Old Town section of the park (technically this was a completely separate area but the rides there were included in our wristband, which by the way, was discounted since we had already purchased one at the other Fun Spot. THAT IS CALLED “SCORING A DEAL”). There’s a super janky coaster called Hurricane that dwells back there and I was 100% not looking forward to riding it.

At first I thought it wasn’t running, but then a ride operator at a nearby flat ride called over that she would be right there, so….woo.

Look how much….fun…I’m having! Oh man I really did not trust this contraption.

Then this ride, where first my wrist band suddenly quit scanning but the super nice ride attendant let me on anyway, I guess because I have SUCH AN HONEST FACE and do look like a SCAMMER, and told me to just go to customer service and have it taken care of afterward. Then once we got situated in a car, the restraints wouldn’t go down and he was like, “Man, first you’re trying to sneak on my ride, now you’re breaking it!” and I FEEL LIKE WE IMPRINTED THEN. My response was a full-blown giggle fit in his face and Chooch mumbled, “You’re so embarrassing” which, now that I think about it, is usually the most amount of words he says to me at a time these days.

Shoooooot, this ride was FUN, fam. You might say it was a real FUN SPOT. I love me a spinning crazy mouse coaster and this one made me laugh hysterically while also white knuckling the safety rail because of those perilous turns.

EVEN CHOOCH IS PRESENTING A FACE FULL OF FUN AND JOY!

…unlike when we rode the screamin’ swing thingie together.  I love these damn things. We rode it again about 20 minutes later and the ride operator was like, “Don’t sit on that side,” and pointed to the one side that was now roped off – WHY. All four sides were opened when we last rode it, what happened?? Hopefully it was just that someone puked and the operator didn’t have time to clean it??

And here were are about to get the last row on Mine Blower for a night ride. Um, that coaster was WILD – possibly too wild.  It was out-of-control, breakneck speed fast, to the point where I was sincerely worried that we could get hurt. And the Mine Blower crew were absolute psychos, in the most complimentary way. I think you have to be to operate this crazy-ass woodie.

We’ll discuss that more later.

This concludes “pictures of us riding on rides.”

May 182022
 

Guys. You guys. Guys guys guys. Brenda, listen up. You too, Vic. We’re going back to Wildwood this summer! Not for like, a “vacation” per se but for a COASTER ENTHUSIAST EVENT!! We did some dark ride events in the past, but never a coaster one and I am so ready for ERT on Great White, boy-o!

We’re registered with the help of our new coaster group membership, motel is booked, and I am STOKED FOR IT. Mostly I hope that I make friends with at least one person in the “club” or whatever because ya girl is lonely and needs someone to squeal with about amusement parks.

And now Henry can buy a new Wildwood hat!!

We had such a glorious time there together last summer and I am so excited that we get to return. Young Erin is proud that Old Ass Erin is still having the most fun!

Day 5 of my roller coaster road trip bday thingie: WILDWOOD

May 182022
 

On Thursday of that one week in April that now seems so far away because IT IS since I am so fucking slow at blogging, we were able to squeeze in two smaller parks called FUN SPOT. These are Henry’s favorite types of parks because you can pay per ride in lieu of getting an all-day wristband and that is definitely his jam. I know what you’re thinking: why would you choose to go to a dinky park like this when you’re in Orlando, the theme park capital of the whole motherfucking planet? Well, both Fun Spots have a small coaster collection and Chooch has gotta get those creds, yo.

Fun Spot Orlando, which we will recap here first, has a woodie called White Lightning which was manufactured by GCI and is the only wooden coaster in Orlando!

But first, we chose to ride Freedom Flyer which is a Vekoma SLC  (Suspended Looping Coaster) first. Typically, these types of coasters are TRASH (except for the one at Morey’s Piers!). But this one was a family model and surprisingly smooth and unjanky.

Before we even got to ride it though, we had to have an ALTERCATION with two bitches who cut us in line, and by “we” I mean “I, myself, me.” There was a garbage can blocking a gap in the queue so that people could only enter from one side. So Chooch and I entered correctly, while two DUMB MIDDLE SCHOOL BITCHES (actually the one looked like she could have been 13 or 31, one of THOSE) squeezed past the garbage can, eliminating the need to go through the entire queue (which was not that long and OH YEAH, EMPTY)  so they cut us off at the station and got to take the front row.

“I guess a garbage can blocking the entrance actually means just squeeze through,” I said loudly to Chooch as we stood behind them waiting for the train to return. I knew they heard, and they refused to look at me even though I was facing them and GLARING. Henry, who was standing off to the side, said he could tell something was going down. I’ve just like HAD IT WITH LINE JUMPERS. I don’t even care that there literally WAS NO LINE. Follow the fucking rules, you dumb assholes. Because you know that people who act this way in amusement parks are just as bad everywhere else!!

Maybe if we didn’t go to so many parks, this wouldn’t bother me as much but shit gets OLD, people.

“You’re not behind the yellow line,” Chooch said to me after the ride attendant made the “stand behind the yellow line” announcement. Like, a centimeter of the toe of my shoe was stepping on it.

“Either are they but they also cut so I guess they just don’t know how to follow rules,” I said haughtily, still on my high horse and WOO BOO was the view up there dandy.

One of the little bitches, SNORTED and said to her friend under her breath,  “aaaand we’ll do it again!” in a cheerleadery tone and I about exited my body and crushed them between the thighs of my inner demoness. Little bitches!!

Luckily, that was the only negative thing that happened all day. I had to actually laugh because when we first arrived around 2pm that afternoon, one of the park staff members apologized in advance for the “crowds” we may encounter. Apparently, there was a school trip happening that day. So we were prepared for the worst, only to see that there were essentially no crowds whatsoever!

Oh and a bonus is that entry to the small Gatorland exhibit was included with our wristbands! Henry had to stand outside though like a sad man lol.

I was obsessed with Big Nasty. Imagine keeping this toothy chunker in your effin’ backyard!! What an asshole that person is. I hope they  get a lot more than just a slap on the wrist and that Big Nasty has a better life even though he is still in captivity. :(

We had fun watching the gator handlers feeding the smaller kids. But my favorite part was the SUPER ADORABLE GUY who was in charge of the “hold a gator” station. Chooch and I even went through a second time so he could hold one and I was very agreeable to his request because I WANTED TO SEE THE SUPER ADORABLE GUY again.

We also had a fun time in the gift shop (Henry joined us for this portion since it was open to all). Chooch wanted a stuffed animal because when doesn’t he, so he asked the lady at the register how much it was and she was like, “I don’t know, how much does the price tag say” and I loved her for that, lol. We were all lowkey bullying Chooch and it was quite fun.

Henry manned up and put enough money on a Fun Spot card in order to get a ride on White Lightning, which was the only coaster he was interested in riding here. I guess he’s too good for the kiddie coaster. But Chooch and I are not:

White Lightning was A LOT better than I expected it to be! Really smooth.

Why do I look like I’m a calm and casual paddleboat ride lol.

Chooch and I got right back on, this time in the front seat. Henry even bought us both White Lightning t-shirts which we didn’t ask for but he was being oddly pushy about it, SUSPICIOUSLY PUSHY if we’re being honest.

Chooch was obsessed with buying a refillable slushie thing and finally got his way. It was very hot on this day and I stole several sips which were very refreshing even though I do not consider myself a slushie person by any means.

Henry realized that the White Lightning crew didn’t make him scan his Fun Spot card which meant he still money on it, so he actually became A DAD long enough to go on the go-carts with Chooch. Oh by the way, the go carts (there are THREE tracks) are included in the wristband! That shit is usually an upcharge everywhere else!

I’m not a big go cart person. We used to this place called Trackers (I think??) in Pleasant Hills when I was younger and I had a bad experience one time when I didn’t notice that the dumb ref guy was flagging us to pull into the thingie and I kept going, so then I was the only one out on the track and when I got back, the dude yelled at me and it was v. embarrassing. So now I hate go carts. There. I told my traumatic go cart story.

Sadly, this is where I was sitting when I found out that Tim Feerick from Dance Gavin Dance had died. I ran over to tell Henry while he was still in line and he looked like he really had to dig deep to scoop up a crumble of empathy from the depths of callous manly-man-man heart.

Waiting for the go cart idiots. During my wait, I saw the LINE JUMPERS for only the second time, lucky me. They were in line for another go cart  track but then left, presumably because they were unable to cut and unaccustomed to having to stand in line with the rest of the basic riff raff.

Chooch ended up winning because Henry, who was in the lead for most of the race, ended up breaking down twice, LOLOL. It’s what he deserves.

Chooch looks exactly the same in both pictures, which is cracking me up. Was he sleeping?! I mean, ops *were* extremely slow on this coaster.

Oh shit, I forgot to mention that we also went through the fun house which was SKETCH but also longer than I expected.

Overall, there wasn’t much to do here once we knocked the coasters out, but the Gatorland section was cool and the park itself was very clean. If you’re a coaster cred collector, I would definitely suggest coming here because White Lightning was cool, dude. Cool.

We wanted to hurry up and get to the nearby Fun Spot Kissimmee before it started storming so we left after about three hours.

Had to get a refill before leaving for the next Fun Spot, COMING SOON.

May 162022
 

I don’t even know where I am in this damn spring break wrap-up anymore. I covered the most important topic: IRON GWAZI. So now let’s just take a relaxing stroll down memory lane, look at pictures, dip out now if you want, stay if you please. EITHER OR.

Dude, I’ll tell you right off the bat that BGT has A LOT of coasters and luckily they were all running so Chooch got a full sweep of coaster creds. Coaster in the first picture up there is Kumba. It was OK but old. I liked the secluded area it was in though – that was cool. And this was a walk-on.

Through that opening resides what is quite possibly my favorite B&M invert, Montu. I never really cared much for inverts until I rode Great Bear at Hershey, and then I had a REALLY GOOD night ride on Banshee at King’s Island. THEN I rode After Burn, which is one of the few saving graces (in my book, you guys, not trying to start a park war here) at Carowinds. That was actually my new #1 until Montu.

Then I rode Raptor for the first time this past weekend since 2019 and decided that inverts are actually one of my fave coaster types now I think.

I even love Alpengeist at Busch Gardens Williamsburg but mostly for the theming. That one is SO ROUGH and hurts my back but the theming is killer.

But back to Montu – it was one train ops so we had to wait for about 30 minutes which was actually kind of long on this particular day when you consider that we had walked on Kumba, Sheikra, and Tigris. (OMG speaking of Tigris – the family next to us in the station was in front of us two days prior in Sea World when we were in line for that fucking Atlantis water ride that broke down; Chooch is the one who pointed them out because he allegedly the teenager daughter’s shoes. Mm.)

(I mean OK maybe that was the case!)

Shit son, Montu was fucking incredible. When we were rolling back into the station, Chooch and I just looked at each other with our eyes in the universal widened O’s of WOW. “Did that just become my favorite B&M invert??” I screamed in Henry’s face when we reunited with him and he tried to play along but Henry isn’t as WITH IT when it comes to coaster types and manufacturers as me and Chooch are. Just so you know.

Also, Henry hates inverts because he has poor taste.

Oh shoooot, this was a fun family coaster! Cobra’s Curse, I think? And also the cause of the one sole fight that Chooch and I had that day. The wait time was posted as 45 minutes, because it’s a family coaster. Chooch wanted to ride it anyway which is astounding considering he’ll be the first one to go OH HELL NO when the wait is anything longer than 20 minutes. Boy hates waiting. I mean, I’m not so sweet on it either. But he is way worse and will complain like an old man in desperate need of a prune.

All I said, “I want to ride this too but MIGHT WE go and get lunch first before we all start to get hangry?” and that was all it took. He got all bent out of shape, and then I got pissed at him for being pissed at me, and Henry was like, “WHAT IS HAPPENING” so I said, “OK fine you spoiled brat, let’s go get in line” and now suddenly Chooch “didn’t care anymore” and kept walking in the opposite direction so I said, “Well, I’m going to ride it” and stormed off so then they both had to turn around and follow me. I got in the queue first, but Chooch caught up and then we proceeded to not talk to each other the whole time, which ended up only being 20 minutes anyway, and the line was inside so it was nice to be in the shade, and then somewhere along the way we forget that we were giving each other the silent treatment and started talking to each other again and had a wonderful ride on Cobra’s Curse, thank you very much.

It was spinning coaster AND it had a creepy elevator lift!!

THEN we went to eat. We had another meal voucher thing and this one place had the Impossible Burger so that is where we went except that, even though it wasn’t even the height of lunch time anymore, the line was almost out the door. Where had all these people come from?? The park was barely crowded! The problem was that there were multiple different food places but nowhere for the individual lines to go, so everything converged into one long line until you got to a point where you could break off and go where you needed to be, but those lines were actually way slower-moving. Like, slow-motion slow. There was one lady behind the burger counter and she was taking her good old time. And you know what? Couldn’t even really be mad. I’m certain the park was understaffed causing everyone there to be overworked and she even said several times, “I’m exhausted.”

I mean, we waited longer just to get to the counter than we did on ANY ride there that day.

And the worst part was that when Chooch and I got there, there was only one Impossible Burger left and she was like, “Can you wait a few minutes?” so I was prepared to forfeit my lunch and eat later if I needed to, so that Chooch could have the last Impossible Patty standing, but she was like, “You really want to eat this?” she said, picking it up with two pinched gloved fingers. “It’s been sitting here for a long time. I wouldn’t feed this to me DOG.” So then I was like, “OMG fine, we will wait for fresh Impossible patties then” so we had to stand off to the side. Now we had front row seats to watching this lunch lady assemble burgers for her customers and it was E X C R U C I A T I N G. Like, my skin was twitching because I wanted to hop the counter and help her.

Anyway. It took about 5 minutes for our patties to come out but then we had to watch her attempt to build them into totally unappetizing burgers-with-fixins and she messed up like two times. Sweet baby Jesus, it was an exercise in patience, but there was a group of college kids in front of us who had also suffered, so when we went from that line to the long ass beverage and check out line, we all bonded over our traumatizing experience. I like being a part of something like that with strangers! Henry wasn’t a part of this portion of the lunch line so he wouldn’t know. But we all shared a bonding moment when one of their friends, still in line to pay, needed a water refill at that point and was having a crisis over having to stand in the drink line again so we were all like “JUST SQUEEZE IN AND FILL IT UP!” I was like, “You gotta rehydrate after being in this line for so long!” and Chooch turned himself inside out with the forceful eye roll he gave me.

It took us so long just to get to our table – somehow Henry beat us, even though he struggled with the cashier he got stuck with who kept trying to charge him for things even though he had a voucher. I wasn’t hungry when we first got there, but now I was literally chewing on the inside of my mouth so I practically inhaled my SUPER TERRIBLE BLAND Impossible Burger. Literally just tasted like a really cheap original Boca Burger. I  mean, I wasn’t expecting much from what was basically a glorified cafeteria, but the fact that it was JUST COOKED – like, I WATCHED the cook as he was cooking it and then cook-walked it on over to the tray behind the glass – made me think that it would at least be semi-edible. I guess it did have a lot of time to cool off and get mushy while we were standing in the beverage line from hell.

Even worse than this was the SUPER CRINGE acapella group that came out while we were eating. They made my stomach hurt, honestly.

Aside from the 10-minute spat with Chooch, this was the only negative part of the whole day. And it was a LONG ASS DAY because we had to drive about 90 minutes each way so  that’s saying a lot!

Cheetah Hunt is one of the most popular coasters in the park and I was really looking forward to it! It’s an Intamin multi-launch coaster and as you well know by now if you’ve had the endurance to get through these word-salad disaster posts, this trip was very Intamin-heavy. That being said, if we had started with BGT, I think I would have loved this way more than I actually did. It was fun, don’t get me wrong! I loved how unique and long of a ride it was – a really great family coaster and honestly something that I think would be really cool at a park like Kennywood. I don’t see Kennywood every getting an RMC or B&M, but an Intamin multi-launch family coaster would be awesome!

Henry was on the train after us (he was too busy fucking around with a locker and we didn’t wait for him so he had to get in line alone. This was the theme of this trip lol). Chooch and I were also in the front row too so don’t go patting Henry too hard on the back!

It’s actually built next to the actual Cheetah area which is cool but I still don’t understand how those animals could actually be unbothered by thrill rides going off all around them. :/

Sheikra was a really great dive coaster, and that’s saying a lot because I don’t really care too much for this type of ride. I loved the layout and the whole area of the park it’s in.

A HIPPO! We watched this big guy cool off in the water for a really long time. Hippos are cool.

BUT DEADLY.

Overall, we had a wonderful time at Busch Gardens Tampa. Iron Gwazi is KING, Montu is PRINCE, and honestly pretty much everything else was solid except for maybe Scorpion which was a bit too old school for me. But, it’s a Schwartzkopf and only one of three remaining in the world so even though I don’t count coaster creds like Chooch does, I had to ride it. It wasn’t as terrible as I expected, but I wasn’t trying to ride it again.

In case you were wondering.

We left right around the time the park was closing (8pm), took the TRAM* back to the parking lot and then journeyed back to Orlando. It was relatively uneventful. We stopped at a gas station for snacks to eat in lieu of dinner because we are super great at vacationing.

*(NOW I WANT TO GO BACK TO WILDWOOD, HENRY ARE YOU READING THIS, WATCH THE TRAM CAR PLZ IT’S UP YOUR BUTT**.)

**(My standard response to everything Henry asks is, “I dunno, up your butt?” because I’m a 13-year-old in 1985.)

Stay tuned for the last two parks of Florida, which we did on the same day so maybe I’ll try to squeeze everything into one post but probably not because my blogging endurance is dwindling in my older age.

May 152022
 

We spent the weekend at Cedar Point for Choochs belated birthday…event? Celebration? I dunno what you want to call it but he didn’t want a party so we told him to invite a friend to take to cedar point for the weekend.

BEFORE: we were getting ready to leave Saturday morning around 7am. Henry was loading stuff into the car or doing otherwise boring dad shit. I had just been outside feeding the squirrels and left the front door open as I’m wont to do because our cat Drew likes to roll around on the porch and be close to all the nature-y things.

Suddenly (갑자기), Chooch yelled, “THERE’S A BIRD IN THE HOUSE!” I thought he was joking but NO there was a small sparrow (maybe?) all scared and fluttering around the house. Drew, Miss Hardcore Bird Hunter, was suddenly NOT SO TOUGH now that her prey had invaded her turf. She was like THE FUCK IS THIS while I ran around trying to get the bird to fly out a window. After about a minute, it flew out the still-opened door just as Henry was coming into the house to assess the sitch after hearing us scream BIRD IN HOUSE.

Drew the Brave had slunk off onto the back porch by then, just as Penelope came flying down the steps, looking super alarmed with a “WHAT DID I MISS” expression on her precious face.

“You and Drew almost had a new roommate!” I laughed.

Nothing else to report on that. THANKS FOR LETTING ME SHARE.

AFTER: We had a really fun day at the park. Chooch and Zakk were hungry because they didn’t spend their money on food as suggested/recommended (we bought them lunch!!) so we went to this diner/family restaurant/greasy spoon called Dianna’s. We went there once last year after Cedar Point too.

Henry and I weren’t hungry but decided to get pie AND OH MY WHAT A GREAT DECISION.

Ok so you know that me and my luck with cream pies is a crap shoot. When I heard that butterscotch pie was an option, I ordered it because my MOMMY used to make butterscotch pie when I was growing up and it was to die for.

I immediately had ordering regertz because what if it tasted like nursing home food?

IT DID NOT. My god, it was wonderful. Even Chooch, upon stealing a forkful, gasped an appreciative, “Oh!”


Henry and Chooch got coconut cream and BUCKEYE, respectively. Henry’s was excellent – my preferred kind of coconut cream that isn’t too pudding-y and has actual coconut shards in it – but Chooch’s buckeye was the CLEAR WINNER. I loved my pie but when I tasted his, I did have ordering regertz then.

Our waitress was wonderful too but she had to leave us at 10pm because she had to be back at 8am. She made sure all of her tables knew this detail of her life.

Oh and Chooch’s friend Zakk ordered chicken Alfredo after contemplating which burger he wanted. Kids are funny.

Then it was time to go back to our rooms at the SEA CREST, a family-run motel that Henry has been trying to get us to stay at since 2019. The first time, we pulled into the parking lot and I said “oh hell no” and we went to a chain hotel WHICH WAS ACTUALLY TERRIBLE and cost much more. So this time I let him have his way since we needed two rooms.

You know, it was actually fine and out of all the places we’ve stayed at recently, it gave me the best nights sleep somehow.

I just had to lean into the Sam & Dean Winchester aesthetic.

Henry kept screaming about how all the reviews were great, and everyone said it was clean AND THATS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

It actually was clean. It smelled like the 1970s but I surprised myself by being ok with it.


Wood paneling? Check.

Strange ceiling tiles and off-off-off-off brand of toiletries? Check.

Vintage rattan lampshade thing?? CHECKITY CHECK CHECK CHECK.

1950s Filing Cabinet Olive Green hues in the bathroom? Ch-ch-ch-check!

Creepy single middle-aged man for a neighbor who was outside of his door smoking every time we came and went? YOU FUCKING KNOW IT.

(Sorry, no picture!)


Man Born in the 1960s art installation? CHECK PLZ.

Here’s a bonus picture of my donut from this morning because it perfectly matched the color palette of the room.

Anyway, Henry wants to stay here every time now and I think I might actually be ok with it??!! It was QUIET and aside from being a living time capsule of the 1970s, it actually was a quality deal. There I said it. Henry and THE REVIEWs were right.

May 132022
 

This week was one of the slowest weeks I’ve experienced in forever. I kept thinking it was the next day, almost every day. Maybe it’s because I went into the office twice, I dunno, but yesterday in the office felt like the longest work day since before the pandemic. Megan said it was because we didn’t get to go out for a lunch break walk and she’s probably right. It was also a lot of socializing and I am still so exhausted, like I have a chatting hangover. It was…a lot. I think I’ll stick to my one-day-a-week routine, thanks.  The older I get, the more I learn about my extremely fickle social preferences and one of those is that I definitely prefer 1-on-1 chats.

Anyway, the rest of the week was same-old. Here are some fivers on my mind(ers). Please do be enjoying.

  1. Slushie Standoff

Chooch has really been going through it at work lately, to the point where sometimes I forget he’s only 16 because he comes home SOUNDING LIKE ALL OF US. Valid gripes, training woes, stupid people rants, managerial clashes.

The latter is what brings us here today, my fine blog-eyeballers. Because when Chooch came home from work Monday, practically foaming at the mouth as he angrily recounted his night, I thought of YOU, DEAR READERS, and how much I wanted to tell you this story.

OK so there is new-ish manager at McDonald’s. We’ll call him FRED for the purposes of this story. Now, FRED and Chooch have been butting heads for a few weeks now, it seems. In Chooch’s words: FRED came from BURGER KING, where things are done DIFFERENTLY so now he thinks everyone at McD’s is doing it WRONG and he’s fucking shit up, essentially. Like, sit down FRED, amirite? Now Chooch has told me a whole collection of maddening stories so far, like FRED telling him he’s in the way (“when it’s actually FRED’s big ass that’s in the way, but cool” Chooch spat the other day), and at one point Chooch purposely told some other co-workers that he doesn’t respect FRED, knowing it would get back to FRED because hi, teenagers.

(This cracked me up because it reminded me of when I worked with ELEANOR as some of you might remember. Her strategy was to lodge complaints to the snitches in the department knowing full well they’d go scampering TO THE OFFICE with these bread crumbs of employee unrest. She killed me.)

(I mean, not literally, I’m still here. Although we did have a fight over scissors one night which could have gone terribly awry.)

“Did FRED find out?” I asked.

“Yeah! He cried about it to [another manager] but she didn’t give a shit!” Chooch laughed.

At work on Monday, someone came thru the drive-thru and ordered three blue slushies. According to Chooch, their machine is wonky but the work-around is that you have to defrost it or something, who cares, I was zoning out when he explained it – Chooch takes his job very seriously. So, FRED does not know this fix and was struggling. Instead of helping him (because anytime Chooch tries to help, FRED tells him he has an attitude problem and calls him YOUNG BUCK), Chooch just stood there and watched with delicious anticipation.

FRED, now realizing this was going to take a bit, told the car to pull over and he’d bring them out.

So then he finishes the blue slushies, leaves them at the machine, and goes out to the car to tell them that they were done and he’d bring them out.

“Wait, but if they were done, why didn’t he just take them out with him then?” I asked a la Fred Savage being told a bedtime story.

“Exactly! Because he’s a moron,” Chooch said.

While FRED was out there doing a questionable attempt at customer service, another car came through and ordered a blue slushie. So…Chooch (being Chooch) took one of FRED’s slushies and gave it to them.

BECAUSE CHOOCH WOULD.

Now, FRED is back inside expecting to collect THREE BLUE SLUSHIES. Here, Chooch pantomined FRED counting the slushies and going ballistic. “WHERE IS THE THIRD SLUSHIE?? I HAD THREE SLUSHIES!!”

Chooch calmly told him that he gave it to another car.

“BOY, DON’T BE GIVING AWAY FREE SHIT!” FRED shouted.

“I didn’t. They paid for it,” Chooch said in the only way Chooch knows how: full of teenage arrogance and heavy on the sarcastic monotone.

Then FRED told another manager that he was taking his break because he needed to get away from “that kid.”

He reminds me SO MUCH of me when I was a young worker person.  

(Sorry, I love this ^^^^ story so much that I will take any chance I get to link back to it!)

Anyway, Chooch was going to put in his two weeks notice today and then just get a new job when he comes back from Mexico in August but then he said, “What will I do with myself for all of June??” so I think he’s going to stick it out for now. I gotta hand it to him – he genuinely enjoys working. Thank god he got something good from his dad!!

     2. Chooch Ran Away

I made Henry go for a walk with me after dinner since I missed my afternoon walk. Look, I’m an addict, OK? I’m a food-phobic, exercise-maniac, walking-addict. Do I need therapy? You bet. Do I care? Not currently.

Anyway, now that I got that honest confession off my chest, I dragged Henry around Dormont for a walk. He got to stop and get cold brew at Dunkin’ so he was mostly content. (I almost typed “sedated,” and I guess that too; dude practically sleep-walks through life.)

We got home and 10 minutes or so passed. I wanted to tell Chooch something so I ran up to his room and started banging on his door with FIRE ALARM vigor like I normally do, which normally causes him to hiss, “WHAT DO YOU WANT” but this time – silence.

I yelled, “I’m coming in!” and when I burst through his door like a firefighter, I found it empty. HE WAS GONE.

“Chooch ran away!” I screamed to Henry as I came barreling down the steps. He of course ignored me because I was making this way too dramatic and it wasn’t worth the energy.

“He’s probably riding his bike somewhere. It wasn’t in the basement when I was just down there,” Henry mumbled, probably cruising the listings for some auction site that he is OBSESSED WITH lately and it’s so annoying.

Then I got caught up watching roller coaster videos on YouTube (my visual Snuggie, OK?) and forgot that my child was gone. I mean, he’s 16. He comes and goes as he pleases.

He burst through the front door about 20 minutes later and I was like, “Oh. It’s you” and he was like “I saw [friend from elementary school] but didn’t say because my face is so numb.”

Now my mommy-panic was activated. It’s always during times of bodily harm that I’m catapulted into Mom Mode. Yes, it’s alarming even to myself. “OMG why!? What happened??” I screamed.

He just started at me. And then, slowly, “Because I was at the dentist….”

OMG THAT’S WHERE HE WAS! I totally forgot that he had an appointment. Good thing he remembered and that he’s able to take himself there via bicycle because Henry and I SURELY didn’t remember while we were out gallivanting around Dormont like two non-parents.

And that’s my story about how Chooch ran away, straight into the dentist’s chair.

3. Baby Buddy & Bambi (aka Drew)

Are you sick of hearing about my squirrels? OH WELL probably everyone at work is too, to be honest. We have a new lady on our team and every Tuesday I’m like DAWN LOOK AT THIS VIDEO OF MY SQUIRRELS and she’s like “*nervous laugh* oh jeez.” Anyway, look at Drew, that unbothered queen.

 

4. RiverPOUNDS

OK that makes no sense, but let’s roll with it.

Today one of my coworkers asked me if I had plans tomorrow and I said YES’M I AM GOING TO CEDAR POINT and she was like OH OK because apparently she had won some Riverhounds tickets (THAT IS A PGH SOCCER TEAM IN CASE YOU ARE FROM LIKE, OTTAWA, AND DON’T KNOW) and had planned to take her niece and nephew but they have prior commitments so now she’s trying to find people to go with her and I’m sure I was not the first person she asked but THANKS FOR THINKING OF ME.

Anyway, the whole point of this is that way back in like 2000, I quit my job that summer and then babysat the two daughters of one of my ex-co-workers. The older one, ERICKA, was such a biotch, I fucking swear to god. Like, the highlight of that summer for me was when she went away to some church camp and I only had to deal with the younger girl for like a week and that was fine because she was sweet but as I’m typing this I cannot believe that anyone trusted me to watch their kids ALL DAY LONG when I was 21 and a total irresponsible moron and not only that but they let me drive them places in my EAGLE TALON which I drove like a fucking race car and I took them to places like THE SOUTHSIDE which was still cool back then and full of punks and other boho types.

Then Ericka came back and was inexplicably obsessed with the song HOOKED ON A FEELING and asked me who sang it and then proceeded to not believe me even though I know everything about music but cook on little middle school bitchdemon.

Wow, I really hated her. My brother was in the same grade as her I think. I about to text him to see if he knows what she’s up to now that she’s like 30.

Oh wait, my point!!

So Ericka played soccer and I was always having to take her to her dumb practices at Mowry Park. There were some Riverhound players at one of the practices and I guess it was a big deal but I had no idea we even had a soccer team (maybe it had just formed at that time?) so I was not impressed. But the reason why I remember this is because this was the day I was sitting on the side of the field and ERICKA came over at one point and apropos of nothing other than the fact that it was true, bluntly said to me, “You really need to lose weight.”

I WAS WEARING AN ORANGE SHIRT THAT DAY TOO AND NEVER WORE IT AGAIN THANKS YOU DUMB BITCH.

So my point is that every time the Riverhounds come up (which is periodically because our Firm is always giving out tickets it seems, I think we’re a sponsor probably), I can hear that brace-faced bitch telling me I’m fat IN SO MANY WORDS.

5. THE CARPET MAN

You guys. Henry found my fake poem collection in the attic, in a binder, printed on old-school see-through printer paper with light gray type. I was so excited!! I went through a heavy fake poetry phase in 10th grade because my friend MELISSA/MARTHA/POPTART was actually serious about writing poems and kept a poetry notebook in her bag at all times, so I, being the BULLY OF A FRIEND that you all know to me, decided that I too would be a poet. I even gave myself a pen name – EMERALD – which two entire teachers began calling me when I asked them to (my 9th grade english teacher Mr. Gershna and one of the gym teachers MR ROSENSTEEL, loved both of them).

Anyway, my friends mostly thought this was so dumb, except probably Janna who enjoyed being the subject of many poems, such as the JANNA IS READING A BOOK TRILOGY. But my favorite was the FIVE POEM SERIES spawned by the fateful time my mom took me to HUGHES FLOORING to pick out new carpet for my bedroom and I imprinted on THE CARPET MAN, but not in a romantic sense for myself, but moreso in that I was orchestrating a grand imaginary romance between him and my mom.

Then of course I borderline stalked him, even making my friends Keri and Ken drive me to the carpet store for literally no reason other than I wanted to cachinnate all over the carpet samples and then choke on my idiocy.

Anyway!!! No one understood why I was so fixated on him but I just was and it gave me so much joy to scribble out stupid “that’s a real stretch” poems about him. Having this back in my life inspired me to google him and I think the found the obituary for his mom!!! :(

I thought it would be super hilar to make a little chapbook dealio for my mom for Mother’s Day, since the Carpet Man series happened because of her. I made the background of the cover and every page various pictures of CARPET, naturally, and then I needed to add more poems because Shutterfly was like “we will not make a five page book for you, that’s fuckin’ ridic” so I added some other Val-inspired poems as well. It arrived yesterday and I have been CRACKING UP over it ever since!

I’m taking it to her tonight and she is either going to like it or be super confused.  If she even says she doesn’t remember this phase, I will die.

THIS WAS A WHOLE FUCKING THING. It happened when I was in 8th grade and I was SOOOOOOO OBSESSED with it (for literally no reason) that I even tried to explain it to my homeroom, going so far as to draw a diagram on the chalkboard and I was laughing so hard that I almost peed and blacked out and Scott Ash called me a SPED which I never understood until I was thinking about it recently and it clicked. All this time I thought he was calling me derogatory term for lesbian.

THE MONKEY BAR IS A LOCAL BAR IN THE TOWN WHERE I GREW UP.

This was maybe my MOST FAMOUS POEM. I think I wrote about this in greater detail at some point, but this one is a classic that I wrote after she called the police on me in 10th grade because I took a streak knife to the family portrait and then locked myself in my room and she was scared about what my explosive anger and I were planning next. 👼🏼 Meanwhile, all I was doing was sitting on the floor, being a depressed teenager, and listening to Bone Thugs n Harmony. They ended up taking me to the ER by ambulance. The EMTs that fateful afternoon were two seniors who sat near me in study hall. But no, I wasn’t embarrassed. And once I guilted my mom into signing me out of the ER (the doctor wanted to admit me–for what, I’m still not sure 👼🏼), she took me to McDonald’s on the way home and we all got a big laugh out of it. She did say that I wasn’t allowed to go to Kennywood for school picnic day after that but then school picnic day came and guess who was at Kennywood, jotting down notes for the KENNYWOOD SERIES of poems she was going to pen?

👼🏼

Actually, this was a supremely bad time in my life. I was going to a child psychologist, medicated, and having severe explosive anger issues, and also was self-harming to an extent and also dabbling in anorexia which I told myself wasn’t that but just a form of punishment – I mean, all functioning people withhold food from themselves. 10th grade was….awesome.

We were actually just fondly reminiscing about this day recently. She said the family portrait is still in her shed if I want it. I had no idea she kept that??

I sent this to my brother and it prompted a whole text discussion about how we looked like a family that had it all but we were sooooo dysfunctional. I mean, how many people can say that they have a normal family though, right? What even is that.

👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼 👼🏼

WOW I’M SENSING A REAL THEME WITH THIS POST AM I HAVING A BREAKTHRU.

 

May 122022
 

This year’s Mother’s Day was pretty ok! Chooch had to work so that was not cool, but he had a card and present waiting for me before he left!

It fucking kills me that he called me “Mother” since we’re such a casual family. So faux-formal! Janna said she was pleased to see that he finally mastered the art of properly addressing envelopes. Same! But then later that day, Henry said that Chooch actually came downstairs the night before and whispered, “Just to double check, it’s my name that goes on the envelope, right?”

OMFG the kid is such a scary genius but cannot grasp the concept of envelopes.

Sigh.

Also that card was JARRING. I was expecting sound and a pop-up, but not the LIGHTS and for some reason it really scared me.

Also x2 can we discuss the “(maybe?)” he dropped in after the “your son” part.

He also got me this really cool incense burner thing where the smoke billows down like a waterfall. He said it’s popular on Tik Tok but that’s not why he bought it – he already knew about it, of course, because he is Internet Hipster. Apparently there was another gift en route, which I ended up getting the next day and found out from Henry that Chooch paid an extra TWENTY DOLLARS of his McMoney  to have the shipping expedited, and it still didn’t arrive on  time, so now I want Henry to quietly  transfer $20 back into his checking account because that was so sweet but also very unnecessary!

Anyway, he got me the Glitch Mode NCT Dream album!!

I was so impressed because it was the RENJUN version and that’s my Dreamie bias! So I posted on Instragram about how sweet it is that Chooch knows my biases, etc only to find out when he came home from work that night that he had no idea and just chose one at random.

“I thought Haechan was your bias,” he said.

“HAECHAN IS MY OVERALL NCT BIAS ACROSS THE BOARD BUT RENJUN IS MY NCT DREAM BIAS DON’T YOU READ MY BLOG??” I cried, while Henry just sat there all smug because he knows all of my kpop preferences.

Henry got me a Kohl’s gift card and this delectable spread from 350 bakery. Dude. The one in the middle is blueberry pancake poptart which is my new favorite thing ever. The cookie sandwich up there is FRUITY PEBBLES (I get why they made it into a sandwich because cream = milk I guess but I honestly would have preferred just the cookies as standalones) and I have to plug their cinnamon buns (that sounds deviantly sexy) because they are legit some of the best cinnamon buns I’ve ever had. I know, I know, “but Orems!” Orems are the OG Big Daddy of Pennsylvania cinnamon rolls, but they are really a different type of cinnamon roll. These ones are smaller, denser, and wear a thick and luscious cream cheese icing hat.

I like your style, 350 cinn.buns.

Then Henry and I went to a cemetery in Beaver. We tried to  take selfies but OMG SUN.

There was an entire squad of baby squirrels in this cemetery and we spent SO MUCH TIME feeding them (yes, we travel with walnuts in the car because we’re always going for walks). Oh my GOD, I could have just moved right in (preferably as a living person, not a corpse in the ground) because I was having the best time watching them chirp and chase each other.

Some of the headstones had really nice art / landscapes imprinted on them. “When I die, I want my headstone  to have a picture of cats, squirrels, roller coasters, and Korea. And grilled cheese,” I said.

“Wow,” Henry murmured. “That’s…a lot.”

(Actually, I want to have one of those GREEN BURIALS so I can come back as a tree and then squirrels can play on my branches, OMG what a delightful notion. But then some assholes like GARY & SONS will probably just come out and savagely cut me down one day. Because that is my luck.

Then today, my final Mother’s Day gift arrived. It was this cute squirrel necklace from Henry, which I sent to him on Instagram a few weeks ago and said GET ME THIS FOR MOTHER’S DAY. I mean, I really cook, plate, garnish and serve this shit right up for him. I don’t fuck around anymore. THIS IS WHAT I WANT, BUY IT FOR ME.

And of course my Mother’s Day gift to myself was STRAY KIDS TICKETS, BOY-O. Overall, it was a good one. Henry could always stand to do more though. I mean, I’m a leo with extremely high expectations. So.

May 112022
 

Yo, did I end up liking Busch Gardens Tampa better than Williamsburg?? OMG I think so? I will say though that both parks KILL IT with their coaster line up. So many parks have like, one or two Really Great coaster and then there’s a big drop-off in quality (you catching my shade, Carowinds?) but I feel like both east coast Busch Gardens parks got it going on because I’m a 1990s r&b slow jam lyricist now, ooh baby baby. Yeah.

ANYWAY!!! I will do a ride recap in another post. This one will just be about us, me and the Robbins Guys. The Kelly-Robbins cohort. We had an excelsior time and only fought once, and it was – wait for it – over food. But it ended almost as quickly as it began. I think we are *almost* at the age where we can vacation together without fighting every damn day. I have been looking back fondly at this trip ever since we came home, and I think that, aside from Korea, it will go down in the books as one of the best times we’ve had as a family.

I mean, look at us! We weren’t even mouthing off to each other behind fake smiles!

Probably talking about 3D printing stuff or other things that don’t plump my pleasures.

I don’t know what that means. I was trying a “just go with it” technique but that was weird.

Can you imagine if I taught writing classes? LOL LOOK FOR ME ON SKILLSHARE.

More boring talk. I don’t know why they were walking so fast, but my feet were like bloody stumps by Park #4 and I was struggling to keep up. And you know that it must have been dire straits because I am essentially a Professional Ambler.

Waiting for the train. Chooch was all of us at this moment. This was one super fast-paced trip and the prospect of sitting on a train was tantalizing.

OMG the train guy aggressively told us to go to the front of the train but we disobeyed him and went to BACK. We are from Pittsburgh, land of JAYWALKING and sitting where you want to sit on a scenic train.

OK this train was amazing because it was basically a SAFARI. We got to see all kinds of animals like giraffes and zebras and a shit ton of other animals I have never heard of. It was wonderful.

And we could see Iron Gwazi peeking through!

YOU GUYS there were so many Mr Gray Guys – Busch Gardens edition flouncing around. We watched some young guy feed one and pet him and then the squirrel was like “I’M YOURS NOW, LET’S GO” as he tried to climb into the guy’s backpack! It was GOALS. I have Girl Buddy fairly acclimated to me, like I can hand feed her and she’ll (sometimes) come when I whistle or scream GIRL BUDDY, HI! COME HERE! I HAVE WALNOOOOOTS! but I have been too afraid to try to pet her.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Chooch and a THREE-LEGGED Mr. Gray Guy!! I’ll tell you, these squirrels are living their best lives at Busch Gardens.

Lol, I forgot about this at the time, but when we came upon this hut thing, Chooch screamed, “It’s the hut that Molly was in! Let’s go!” and I was like, “Wha—?” and then I remembered that MOLLY, the girlfriend of one of the guys from YouTube channel In The Loop, did a fake “house tour” when they were last at Busch Gardens.

“Take a picture of us where Molly stood!” Chooch demanded, and Henry was like, “OK but I don’t know what is happening” similar to this other time we were at a theme park and made him take our picture somewhere Molly had previously posed.

Honestly, we love Molly. I hope we run into her at a park someday.

PROBABLY bitching because Henry’s FUCKING SHOW was squeaking through the whole damn trip. It’s still squeaking and driving us up a fucking wall. I reminded Henry of the time recently when he was about to get into the car and was like, “Oh. Wow let me take care of this first” and pulled a huge fucking thick ass nail thing out of the sole of his shoe. Now we can’t remember where this happened, but he thinks that was probably the genesis of THE SQUEAK.

This was literally so annoying that I wrote about it in nearly every post card I sent.

Chooch was TOO TIRED to walk down to the gift shop that I stopped in before we left the park. We found him sitting on bench, befriending a duck. This is Peak Chooch, honestly. You can always find him off somewhere talking to an animal. Who even knows where he got that trait from.

And that’ll do it for this post.

May 102022
 

People. Listen. You know that I am a SLUT for Rocky Mountain Construction. One of my bucket list items is to ride every RMC in the world because they are actually works of art.

One of the most controversial RMCs of late is Iron Gwazi in Busch Gardens Tampa. It was originally a dueling coaster called Gwazi, which was notoriously rough and a prime candidate for the RMC treatment. It was like HUGE NEWS in the coastersphere when Busch Gardens officially announced that it would definitely be happening. I think this was in 2019, and it was slated to open for the 2020 season.

Welp. We all know about 2020.

So then it was pushed to 2021 but ended up SBNO (standing but not operating) for the entire season. I looked GREAT though! Seemingly complete, but you know, you just couldn’t ride the damn thing. I remember at some point during the summer of 2021, there were videos circulating of IRON GWAZI TESTING!

But then nothing.

The park finally announced sometime that fall that it would be officially opening in March 2022. We had actually tossed around the idea of doing a Florida park road trip last January, but omicron was still rampant so we nixed that idea. It was for the best though because I don’t think I would have been able to handle being that close to such a magnificent RMC without being able to ride it.

Imagine my screaming when we solidified our spring break plans and I finally let it sink in that I WOULD BE RIDING IRON GWAZI less than a month after it opened!! (I mean, GOD WILLING.) The world’s steepest and fastest hybrid coaster! (As of this posting anyway!)

Obviously we made a beeline for Iron Gwazi as soon as we arrived at Busch Gardens on this beautiful, sunny Wednesday in April. It is right near the entrance too so that was great! Now that I’m thinking back to this day, I don’t even remember walking through the gates. I mean, we definitely did, but I have no recollection of it AT ALL. I just know that we got there a little bit after the park opened and I was so nervous that everything was going to be crowded already.

LOL. Janice. Please. Iron Gwazi was a motherfucking STATION WAIT.

A STATION WAIT.

Can you even!?!?

And not just for our inaugural ride. It was like this all day long. I think the longest we waited MIGHT have been 25-30 minutes but that was just because we wanted the front row.

LOOK AT THE FRONT OF THE CAR THOUGH!!

And I loved all of the greenery around the queue, and the polynesian-esque roof thingies. I am very cultured. Look at me go.

I love this picture of us so much!

OK let’s back up, Brenda. The line attendant was assigning seats but anytime we asked for the back, they were just like, “That’s fine” which cracked me up. I love a backseat ride on an RMC, and this was no exception. Broken record here, but I am not good at explaining roller coasters so I will just say that this was 100% worth the hype and I got off the damn thing feeling INVIGORATED. Like most RMCs, this bitch is RELENTLESS. It makes you feel like you’re being yanked around on a leash, or riding out an avalanche down a mountainside. From the first drop, you’re just careening at breakneck speed, unable to even contemplate the elements you’re whipping through.

And it only got better and better with every ride as the day went on.

Here’s how you know RMCs are the real ones: Henry does not often re-ride coasters, but he always gets back in line for an RMC.

This is Henry agreeing with what I just said up there.

I rode once with Henry in the third to last row and this broad in the dress was right behind us yapping at the back of my head the whole way up the lift hill, and on one hand I was agreeing with all the super hype shit she was saying about air time, etc, but she was more annoying than anything else. Especially when we arrived back on the brake run and I said to Henry, “OK, that sealed it for me. I like this better than Steel Vengeance,” and it was almost like she heard me and was purposely squawking to her husband about how Steel Vengeance is still superior because it’s a longer ride, and OK I’ll give it that, but Iron Gwazi did more for me in a shorter amount of time than SteVe.

Also, SteVe is RARELY re-rideable. That motherfucker always has a huge line every time we’ve gone to Cedar Point, except for when it’s down.

Which is often.

So this is why I’m ranking Iron Gwazi higher – the entire experience from the queue to the ride itself was just a bit better than SteVe in my opinion.

Chooch and I got right back in line and this time opted for the front and that dumb bitch got in line right behind us so we had to endure her being a THOOSIE IN A DRESS again but at least since she was in line for the same row as us, that meant I wouldn’t have her screeching behind me again.

She was the only person who annoyed me all day (aside from Henry, natch) and honestly, she wasn’t even that bad.

EW, DAVID.

Henry liked Iron Gwazi so much that HE BOUGHT THE DAMN HAT. Chooch got a t-shirt. I got nothing and I have big sads over that. I should have gotten at least a coffee cup or something!

This was the last BIG COASTER that we had to check off the list for this road trip and it was really like saving the best for last.

Ugh, but VelociCoaster…

No, Iron Gwazi….

Yeah, but those VelociCoaster night rides…

OK but Iron Gwazi’s insane elements…

Yeah, I can’t decide. Those are two very different coasters and ride experiences. Can it just be a tie!?

This was our 8th RMC (just Henry’s 6th LOLOLoser) and it’s safe to say that RMC still owns my heart. This trip had Chooch replacing B&M with Intamin for his favorite manufacturer, but it’s still me and RM sittin’ in a (hybrid) tree.