I always bring spare TOMS.
So, my new thing has been to do whatever the fuck I want in the days preceding my birthday (excluding murder, unfortunately) and Henry knows better than to stand in my way. He didn’t even act too put-upon when I, with arms haughtily akimbo, announced where I wanted to go for my birthday weekend. I wanted to spend my birthday weekend at Waldameer Park, getting down on some dark rides and hopefully not getting sick this time. Erie’s only about a two hour drive, so we didn’t have to get up at 4AM or anything, which is good because I still had a slight food coma from the previous night’s dinner with Wendy and Evonne at Savoy. (Butternut Squash in chocolate raviolis with lobster, fuck yes.) It was nice to be all leisurely and listen to Hands Like Houses on repeat (and also the Dance Gavin Dance and letlive. Spotify channels, FTW) while still making time to yell at Henry for no reason.
I even let him book a super crappy hotel in Nowhere, Ohio so that we could focus more on the f-u-n and less on the hemorrhaging of money. Because we’re still not rich. (Any day now, Chooch!)
Part of my new-ish outlook on life is not throwing a huge fit and screaming, “MY LIFE FUCKING SUCKS!!!” when it starts raining as soon as we pull into Waldameer’s parking lot. The old Erin would have thrown a fucking fit and proceeded to ruin everyone’s day probably while causing several scenes. Trust me, I’m not proud of the way I acted in my 20s. Whoever told me that 30s are better was right.
It’s a good thing I brought those spare TOMS.
Temperature-wise, it was only about 70 degrees on Saturday, and that’s better than 100, I reasoned. So what if my hair is going to get wet? At least my face won’t look like a glazed ham. And because of the weather, the park wasn’t crowded with assholes! I think the longest we stood in line for anything was about 20 minutes, and that’s because it was the Whacky Shack, so people were just using it for shelter.
Henry opted to not get a ride-all-day wristband because it’s the biggest waste of money on him since he DOESN’T RIDE ANYTHING that won’t give him a blow-job afterward. This meant that Chooch and I were BFFs all day and had all kinds of inside jokes. Henry overheard us laughing hysterically once and so he did that weak I-Want-To-Be-A-Part-Of-This laugh that he’s probably been doing since junior high because no one wants him on their team, and tried to get us to tell him what we were laughing at.
“You wouldn’t understand,” I sighed while Chooch rolled his eyes at Henry. “It’s an inside joke.”
“You two aren’t on the inside of anything,” Henry mumbled and stalked off.
I wonder what it’s like to be Henry, in public with Chooch and me. I’d like to think it must be EXCITING and a REAL HONOR. But somehow I think the reality of it is akin to visiting the hyena exhibit at the zoo.
We had about to kill before the rides opened so we took shelter beneath the awning of some small building. Of course an entire extended family had to sidle up next to us. They were mildly annoying, but it wasn’t until one of them shouted, “THAT WAS A GREAT GRANOLA BAR YOU MADE!!!” to this one Earth Mama, who responded, “GEE THANKS THE RECIPE IS ON MY BLOG” that I shot Henry the “remove me from this situation NOW” glare. I then proceeded to mock, “OH THANKS FOR THE GRANOLA BAR” in a Fargo voice every time we saw the bitch after that.
Oh, I just can’t stand it.
These Tea Cups aren’t as much fun as the ones in Canobie Lake.
OMG this is the saddest Henry face of all time.
We made him order us food and then abandoned him for the gift shop. When we returned, he was standing there alone, looking around for us, dejectedly holding a tray of pizza, and we started cracking up. Henry, in fact, was NOT laughing along with us.
I got pissed at 4 kids inside the Pirate’s Cove (a dark walk-thru attraction) for acting like fucking animals. You know what I said to them? ‘YOU ARE ACTING LIKE FUCKING ANIMALS.” One of them tried to be cute by swinging himself under a railing in one of the rooms and wound up tripping Chooch, who was walking along the serpentine-queued rows like a civilized amusement park-goer. Another fucker cut in front of me and then freaked out when he realized he was separated from his hooligan sister and I screamed, “THEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE CUT IN FRONT OF ME, DUMMY.”
I almost said, “WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?!!?” at one point until I realized that their parents were probably just as bad and in my mind, I caught a glimpse of an ensuing fistfight.
I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! A hall monitor for an amusement park.
Major giggle fits on the Tilt-A-Whirl! Such a classic ride.
This is what Henry did all day: stood around looking suspiciously creepy. Imagine how much creepier he looked when he was trying to HIDE BEHIND A TREE while Chooch and I were in line for god knows what. I get that he was trying to be cute, but to all the parents of the swarms of kids out there that day, that maneuver translated to: CREEPY.
THERE WERE AMISH PEOPLE THERE! AN ENTIRE HORDE (AND NOT ‘HOARD’ LIKE I PREVIOUSLY TYPED)!!! Actually, I’m not sure if they’re Amish or Mennonites, but it was fucking wonderful. An entire brood from baby to grandma. I realized some of the dudes would be pretty fucking hot if they lost the Johan-hair.
Just Shrutin’ along, pretending our ice cream is flavored with beets.
OMG I actually felt kind of bad after taking this picture, like I stole some of their innocence (and soul). What the hell is happening to me!?
Henry was all excited because one of them (not pictured, unfortunately) was a ginger and he’s never seen a ginger Amish (Mennonite? I really need to read a book about this. Or ask Siri. But she’ll probably just give me a list of places to get an omelette, because she’s hearing impaired) in all of his years. And there are a lot of years there.
OK I finally gave up and Googled. 99% sure they’re Mennonite. Chooch and I were in line with some of the menfolk for the Whacky Shack and I got to hear them speaking in their weird German farmer tongue!
One of the highlights of the day for me was standing in line and watching some teenager pretend like he was going to puke on the Wipeout. Some lady even ran up to the ride operator and screamed, “THAT BOY LOOKS LIKE HE IS GOING TO PUKE! STOP THE RIDE!” She was really concerned and I kind of wished she would be my mother. Meanwhile, Chooch and I were standing in line with this kid’s friends who were trying to take pictures of him every time the ride would spin him back in our direction; his tongue wagging like a dog and he was leaning over the edge of the ride. I started to think he maybe wasn’t pretending anymore, which made it even funnier, until I realized there was a chance I could feel some of that vomit spray against my face. When the ride stopped, he got out of the car and fell to the ground, prompting us to laugh harder.
He was still sitting on a bench near the ride by the time Chooch and I departed the Wipeout, and that’s when I realized that he actually was sick. His face had that balmy glaze of motion sickness that I know so well now that I’m an old person.
The Whacky Shack is a really great reason to visit Waldameer, but the best ride in the whole park is the motherfucking Ravine Flyer—a totally bitchin’ wooden coaster. Waldameer is this little, family park in goddamn Erie, PA of all places, the kind of park that Mennonites visit, apparently. Right? Total podunk amusement park with quaint little dark rides and a Musik Express, and then OH HELLO RAVINE FLYER! I rode this alone last year and it scared the shit out of me. I totally wasn’t expecting to have my ass kicked on a coaster in a park that makes Pittsburgh’s Kennywood seem like Cedar Point. So I was really stoked to drag Chooch on it this year since he’s tall enough now.
Except that Chooch REALLY didn’t want to ride it. “Uh…not just yet. How about later? Let’s come back.” He kept coming up with all these excuses, but before he could think to exclaim, “I’m pregnant!” it was our turn to board. I tried to distract him by pointing out the glorious views of Lake Erie as we ascended the inaugural hill (also while trying to distract myself from thinking about the lady who recently perished on a coaster in Texas, ugh ugh ugh).
By the time the coaster reached the top, Chooch didn’t have any more chances to tell me he hates me, because that fucking coaster literally takes your breath away. It is NONSTOP and so fantastic. There are tunnels! It crosses over traffic twice! It’s really fast with a ton of hills! And that concludes my review of the Ravine Flyer. Go to Waldameer and ride it.
Oh, and Chooch fucking loved it, btw.
After hounding him all day, we finally got Henry to ride the Ravine Flyer. Waldameer is a cash-free park, so you basically get this credit card-like thing and add money to it from various Wally Card machines. Each point equals a dollar, so Henry had to use 4.5 points on his card to ride the Ravine Flyer, which is way better than paying $25 for a wristband only to ride one thing.
While we were in line, “Is This Love?” by Whitesnake came on and I started cracking up because it just seemed like the kind of song that SHOULD play while Henry is standing in line for a bitchin’ wooden coaster.
We rode this approximately 18 times that day! The last time we rode it though, there was an incident with not one but FOUR linejumpers. Mama don’t play that game and before we knew it, those four little pre-teen motherfuckers were begging us to go in front of them just to get me to shut up. One of them even tried to offer Chooch candy in an effort to kiss my ass but I was like, “NO MY SON DOESN’T WANT THE SUGARY CONFECTIONS OF A LINEJUMPER.” God, get fucked you little dickhead. And one of the girls was black but a ginger at the same time and I was really confused but too angry to admire her mutt-like qualities. She can get fucked, too.
THE LINE WASN’T EVEN LONG ANYWAY! They had two trains running, and each time we rode it, I promise you we only stood in line for 5 minutes. There was no need to show off your Olympic dreams by hurtling a fence just to cut off the 6 people who happened to get to the line before you. KIDS CAN RUIN ANYTHING.
Anyway, I like to think that Chooch was super proud to be my son at that moment.
This billboard thing was located right outside of the Ravine Flyer entrance, so Chooch and I kept referring it to as “The Bob and Tom Ride” all day, which was infuriating Henry because he didn’t know why we were saying that. SUCK IT, HENRY. My favorite part of this picture is that we had abandoned Henry at the Dippin’ Dots stand, just totally up and left him to take this picture, while the kid behind the counter started asking Henry questions he couldn’t answer because only Chooch and I knew the answer.
(Turns out he was just asking Henry to repeat what I had ordered, but Henry didn’t know what I had ordered because he doesn’t pay attention to me. SO EITHER START LISTENING OR DEAL WITH IT, HENRY.)
I guess Henry managed to have a good time somehow. He’s one of those weirdoes who are content watching other people be happy and having a good time. I don’t get that.
Anyway, the very last ride we rode that day was the Mega Vortex, which is the exact same ride as Cosmic Chaos at Kennywood—a ride that I really enjoy. But for some reason, this one churned my stomach in such a way that I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to walk off the ride, churned it even worse than when Chooch spit on me on the Scrambler. It also seemed like it was much longer of a ride than the one at Kennywood, and I collapsed onto the first bench I came across after it was over (and after Chooch ditched me as usual, so I was the last person to get off the stupid thing, how does it always work out that way??). And then it started pouring (the rain never really cleared up that day, but it never rained hard enough for any rides to shut down), so that combined with my new olive-green complexion was my cue to leave. Seven hours is plenty of time to get your money’s worth at Waldameer, trust me.
I was so sick and clammy from that fucking Mega Vortex that I immediately fell asleep in the car. I guess that’s what I get for making fun of that nauseous kid on the Wipeout.