Continuing the effort to stay posi and think happy thoughts, I am reposting this tale about last year’s visit to Kennywood. Because summer is upon us and that is reason enough to smile. I’m about to bust out my Brady Bunch soundtrack in a hot minute and no I don’t care how many scene points I just relinquished by telling the Internet that I own such auditory garbaggio.
We go to Kennywood every year on Father’s Day, not because we love Henry, but because it’s been statistically proven to be one of the least crowded days of the season. Chooch and I were so excited that we spent the two days preceding watching Kennywood videos on YouTube. I had Chooch convinced to try some of the bigger rides this time, but unfortunately he was still about a half inch too short, which was devastating (more for me than him, I think). I’m trying to groom him into my future riding partner since apparently everyone else is too old and susceptible to whiplash to ride anything that spins faster than the carousel. Again, devastating (more for me than them).
Janna met us there, and I think she purposely was a little late because she knew the first ride we’d go on was Garfield’s Nightmare, which used to be cool when Garfield had nothing to do with it. Now it’s just this commercial monstrosity that makes me cry tears of nostalgia. Too bad Janna ended up taking Chooch on it twice in a row at the end of the night when Henry and I were in line for the Skyrocket.
I think love for Potato Patch fries is inherent for any child born in Pittsburgh. It’s not something you even have to tell your kid about, they just automatically know that they crave it and eat most of it while your head is stupidly turned. That and a piece of pizza is all I ever eat at Kennywood.
Oh, and ice cream! These are the best ice cream cones at Kennywood. I always get crushed peanuts on mine, so Chooch has really failed me in that department. The cone comes with a cherry speared through the top by a toothpick and Chooch used to give me his when he was a baby but I guess he’s too big to share now. I didn’t get a cone this year. I feel like every time we go to get one, Henry starts a fight with me so then it ends up with me crossing my arms like a ten-year-old DJ Tanner and saying, “Just forget it. I don’t want one now.” Usually I cave, but this year I was so over it. Plus, Henry told me I was fat, so who wants to ice cream after that, you know? (He will argue that I’m mincing his words as usual, which is why I’m about to invest in a TAPE RECORDER to keep in the pocket of my trench coat at all times.)
While we were eating, Chooch realized that he had a blister on his foot and started whining at appropriate Chooch-levels, which in turn made Henry bitch about how “If your mom was a real woman, she’d have a Band-Aid in her purse” because I never have anything in my purse other than crumbs, pennies, iCarly pocketbook filled with concert tickets, assorted lip gloss, an issue of Alternative Press and a fake finger. I never have hand sanitizer, tissues, medicine, first aid amenities. That shit’s for grown-ups. In fact, earlier that day, I had to text Janna and ask her to bring me some “just in case” tampons, because I forgot to stick some in my purse.
“You should ALWAYS have them in your purse!” Henry yelled, when I tried to make him buy me some at a 7-11 down the street from Kennywood. Anyway, Janna isn’t a bitch like Henry, so she brought me two and then we had a clandestine tampon hand-off, which wasn’t obvious at all as we stood in the middle of a walkway with people bumping into us.
However, on this particular day, I DID have a Band-Aid. And boy did that ever put a clamp on Henry’s flapping maw when I extracted it from my purse. Except it was an ethnically correct Ebon-Aid that Jason gave me when we were visiting the Alternative Press office last month, and of course we were sitting next to a black family so Henry actually moved Chooch to the other side of the table, I guess so they wouldn’t see that Chooch’s wound was about to have soul. Because I’m sure they would have cared.
Chooch and Janna were still eating their ice cream cones by the time we walked over to the train. I wanted to go inside the little station and get in line post haste, but they were eating so slow. The train is literally the lamest ride in all of Kennywood, but for some reason I was jumping around in anticipation like it was really the line to stone Fred Phelps with Gaga CDs. I finally threw my arms up in disgust and went inside by myself. Henry coaxed Chooch to eat faster and they joined me on a bench in the waiting area soon after. But Janna, we all just just abandoned her outside of the train station. I could see her, roaming around, dutifully eating her ice cream, and for some reason, this made me break out into this really obnoxious giddy bray that I do when I’ve lost all grip on reality and just can’t contain it any longer. Henry hates this. He’s 100% immune to laughter, it’s not contagious for him at all.
And then Janna, who still had some of her cone left, walked right past the ride attendant and joined us on the bench. This made me laugh even harder, Janna smuggling in an ice cream, and I was trying to smother my laughter into Henry’s arm. He kept shrugging me off him and the other people waiting for the train started to wonder if maybe I had a medical condition because I was crying at this point. Janna sat there, enjoying the rest of her ice cream, waiting for the train.
When the train came back to the station, I shouted, “GET THE BACK ROW!” while racing over to claim it. Everyone else who was waiting got up and calmly began to board, because it’s just some stupid scenic train. No one ever rushes for shit like that. Not even church ladies. There was enough room for all four of us, but Henry opted to sit alone. I can’t imagine why.
I think I just like the train because it goes past the river and allows me the opportunity to make gagging noises and remind everyone how much I really hate the river.
Hold on, I just peed a little. This was before Janna hit her head. I have no idea what was happening but it brings me great joy.
Then Janna hit her head getting off the train and I sincerely almost pissed myself from laughing so hard, at which point Henry legitimately scolded me like a real life father and reminded me that it’s not nice to laugh at my friends but I really feel like he wanted to laugh at this one too. “That’s enough, child,” I believe is what he said. God, go parent some other girlfriend. I’m laughing right now, actually, remembering the look on Janna’s face, like she hadn’t noticed that she might need to stoop down a little before attempting to exit the train. In fact, the next day, I remembered this at work and started laughing uncontrollably alone at my desk, so then I decided to tell Barb, but I couldn’t stop crying and I’m sure she was like, “I don’t understand why this is funny” along with anyone who is reading this, but it’s like, my cardinal rule to laugh at my friends’ misfortunes. Which might be a reason why I don’t have many friends.
Contraband ice cream and head-bumping never seemed so funny.
Creeper gon’ creep. We broke up at least a dozen times during the day so he was pretty free to ogle all the pre-teens sausaged in ill-fitting swimsuits. Go get ’em, tiger.
Henry didn’t smile once all day. Even when I showed him the awesome (and I do mean awesome) Skyrocket photo, his lips sort of twisted around his teeth like copulating worms under a nest of bristling moustache whiskers, but then ended up in a snarly frown.
Things Henry hated that day:
- Being at Kennywood
- Being at Kennywood with me
- My childlike wonder
- The sound of my contagious laughter
- Riding the Log Jammer
- Riding the Log Jammer with Janna
- Getting wet on the Log Jammer
- Getting wet on the Log Jammer with Janna
- Barely missing the senior discount
- Spending money
- Spending money on games
- Losing money on games
- Being a disappointment to his son as he lost money on games
- People in wheelchairs
- Carrying my purse
- Being Henry
- Being alive
- Not being able to listen to Dance Gavin Dance
- My face
- His hair
- Not finding anyone with worse tattoos than his
- Checking me for menstrual stains
- Having all his Potato Patch fries disappear
- Having to sit next to me on two whole rides
- The word “Daddy”
- The word “Henry”
Moments before I took this picture, Janna was staring off into the horizon, smiling a smile similar to the ones I’ve seen on the faces of Mormon missionaries when they’re talking about God and pretending they don’t notice their bodies are enveloped in heavy wool during summer. She gets like that sometimes, all sorts of winsome and benevolent, like a walking flesh vessel of Little House on the Prairie episodes. She’s pure, I’m prurient. For example, earlier that day, when I spotted an albino, I laughed lasciviously to myself and then tweeted about it, whereas Janna’s heart probably exploded with candied compassion as she considered sharing her sunblock with him.
When Janna got on the Paratroopers, she accidentally sat down on the safety latch and cried about it for the whole ride, which made me cry tears of amusement. Janna is so entertaining to me! I’m actually surprised she went on the Paratroopers at all, since it’s kind of hardcore for someone like her. I was able to con her onto ONE thrill ride all day, my beloved Aero 360, but first I had to sit there and watch her (slowly) eat a strawberry parfait. I kind of wish she had puked it up on the ride.
I rode my other favorite thrill rides alone, while Janna sat on a bench like my mother, waving to me while I was in line. I didn’t mind it too much until I was in line for the Volcano (f/k/a the Enterprise) and the ride attendant asked, “Single rider?” like it was so obvious.
“Was that you who was with me when we had to walk down from the top of the hill?” Janna asked as we stood in line for Phantom’s Revenge. Janna had to walk down the rickety, vertigo-inducing steps of a steel coaster and never TOLD ME? I swear that broad has a goddamn secret life. Furthermore, how can she not remember who she shared such a harrowing experience with?
“Um, if that was me, I wouldn’t be standing in this line right now,” I pointed out incredulously. I hold grudges, and I’m pretty sure if a coaster ever broke the fuck down while I was on it, our relationship would be forever done-zo. This created a discussion of what would happen if it broke down in a spot where there weren’t steps.*
“I don’t know,” Janna pondered. “I guess they would call the fire trucks.”
God, she’s so stupid.
“Or a helicopter,” I suggested. “With Punjab hanging down from a rope.” And then I couldn’t stop laughing about that, because Annie always makes me laugh. That ginger trollop.
*(Henry the Rational Bubble-Burster was quick to point out later that it wouldn’t just stop anywhere else other than the first hill. Which has steps.)
Wishing for a new daddy. That’s what Craigslist is for, son.
My new boyfriend! Ruffle-collared is a huge upgrade from blue-collared, and people can still tell me that my boyfriend needs a haircut, except he probably won’t sass me when I stick up for him. Win/win.
Chooch won a stuffed monkey within 20 minutes of being at the park. Of course it became everyone else’s responsibility. He left it on the Whip and didn’t even realize it until a half hour later. Good thing it was one of those few times I rose to the occasion of motherhood and remembered to grab it as we got off the ride. This fucking thing was a germ dumpster by the end of the night. Chooch rubbed him against every garbage can we came across, kicked him on the ground, dropped cheesy fries on him, dropped him on the carousel and made Janna dislodge herself from her horse in order to fetch it (which made me double over with laughter even though it totally wasn’t that funny, according to Henry, who didn’t laugh at ANYTHING ALL DAY).
Anyway, I dubbed the monkey Bane. I should probably throw him in the washing machine. Oh, who am I kidding? Henry will do that shit.
$2 down the drain.
You know it’s been a long-ass day full of ethnically-correct bandaged blisters, hurt feelings and salty regret when the kid willingly leaves on his own.