Aug 202013


I decided Friday night that I wanted to have a picnic at some point over the weekend. This is the process at my house:

  • I decide on something
  • I tell Henry the thing that I have decided upon
  • Henry does everything that he needs to do to make the decision turn into a tangible thing, whether he wants to or not

What I decided was that the picnic would happen on Sunday at Buttermilk Falls, which is a quaint little nature-y thing in Beaver Falls, PA. It’s been a few years since we last pilgrimaged out that way and I thought maybe this time Chooch would be old enough to appreciate it more. And appreciate it, he did. He kept calling it “Paradise Falls” and couldn’t stop gushing about how it was the best place in the world, and I was like, “Wow, this kid has some low standards.” I mean, it’s nice there, sure. But it’s just this tiny waterfall-thing with a very small plot of land upon which to picnic if you so desire. But I  kept my mouth shut because it was nice to see that Chooch was actually outside and enjoying it inside of counting down to Minecraft.

We climbed around a little bit along the rocks along the creek before getting our picnic accoutrements out of the car.


The look of delirium. Henry’s nailed it.


So…I got stuck on a rock. I’m notoriously panicky when it comes to climbing things, even low-to-the-ground things, and I was wearing TOMS which aren’t really known for their rock-climbing attributes. Luckily, there happened to be a couple walking by at the exact moment I wailed, “I FEEL LIKE I MIGHT FALL OMG” so the lady said to who I assume was her husband, “Give her your hand!”

Meanwhile, Henry just stood there and frowned while this panned out.

(I guess I should note that really what was going on here is that I didn’t want to get wet.)


This is pretty much what the area looked like when I was OMG STUCK ON A ROCK. So, not really all that scary. (OK, not scary at all. But I’m sure you already knew that.)



Don’t clap for him, Chooch.

So, in the short amount of time I was stuck on a rock, some large family (people-wise, not weight) arrived and usurped our picnic spot. Granted, our shit was still in the car, but what are the odds?! Anytime we’ve ever gone to Buttermilk Falls, we’ve been the only people there, except once when a nearly-nude man was sitting on a rock meditating. Old Erin would have flipped out, but Current Erin was like, “Oh wellz0rz, let’s just sit over here by this tree, far away from those assholes and mock them from a distance.” Plus, after what happened the day before, I was treating everything with a newfound appreciation. More on that later this week. I’m not quite to the point where I can write about it yet.


White Trash Picnic.


Henry had to make a special trip to the grocery store for picnic staples on Sunday morning. Things like bread and cheese and peanut butter and potato salad and apples and pretzels and other snacks—literally NONE of this we already had. You might as well turn Henry into the authorities you guys because obviously he is STARVING me and Chooch. God, Henry. Try taking better care of us.

Anyway, while Henry was busy assembling sandwiches and whatever, I decided to be helpful and suggested that I would walk to the nearby Mexican market in order to procure beverage despite Henry’s persistent dissuading. I made Chooch go with me because I always feel like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown when I go to any sort of market alone.

Inside the Mexican market, Chooch made sure to yell loudly about how badly it “stunk” in there, because that’s his signature move whenever we’re the only Americans in a foreign store.

After spending entirely too much time pacing in front of the drink cooler, I finally settled on a nice cold bottle of Glucosoral because I liked the picture. I called Henry to see what he wanted and he kept insisting the he was “fine” and “good,” didn’t “need anything.” So I chose a bottle of some kind of mottled juice cocktail called Boing. Chooch decided to be boring and went with Gatorade. Then he bought a pack of cookies at my insistence, which made Henry bitch upon our return because “You never like any of the cookies you get at that damn store!”


Anyway, it turns out my selection was basically Pedialyte for grown-ups. Since I wasn’t currently suffering from diarrhea, I didn’t drink it.

“This was FOUR DOLLARS?!” Henry barked when it was his turn to inspect it with his SERVICE eyes. I just shrugged. I don’t look at price tags, usually. I guess $4 is steep for a non-alcoholic beverage. “This is why I don’t like letting you go to stores alone,” Henry mumbled.

I wasn’t alone! Chooch was with me.


Henry couldn’t drink his Boing because it required the help of a bottleopener, which I assumed he didn’t need since he was in the SERVICE. Isn’t that what teeth are for? Couldn’t he have used a sword?


Mexican cookies that Henry and I both predicted Chooch would not like. And he didn’t.


A so-so PB&J* and some awesome bowtie pasta salad with PINE NUTS. Pine nuts should be in (most) everything.

(*I told Henry that all I wanted was a fancy PB&J but then he went to some low-brow grocery store where high quality food is made by Michelina’s, so what I got was a so-so PB&J on super dry bread with gross jelly and plain, non-fancy peanut butter. Thanks for nothing, Henry.)

Although, I will admit, Henry made some sort of lemon mango compote which he spread on top of chocolate waffles, and that was pretty fucking good.


Then we played several rousing rounds of Boggle. Chooch is really good at those games where you’re given a word or a phrase and have to find as many words as possible out of the letters. When we were at dinner with Matt and Kristen in Boston, that was one of the games on the kids menu and literally the first word he found was “retard.” I think that Matt’s favorite part of our visit.

But Chooch is less than stellar at Boggle. I think it’s because he hates the rules. So he eventually quit playing in order to put more effort into the role of timekeeper. He had to use the timer on his (my old) phone, which caused The Bed Intruder song to blast across peaceful Buttermilk Falls.

(Yes, that used to be one of my ring tones on my old phone. I confess.)


I drank a venti iced coffee on the way there, so of course I had to pee almost immediately upon arrival. Unfortunately, the only option was this disgusting, slasher film outhouse.


So we left. I peed in a Sheetz up the street. It was good.


We couldn’t end the weekend without a trip for ice cream. However, we pretty far from Pittsburgh so we had to rely on Yelp to tell us where to go. We wound up at Witch Flavor? which was OK, but didn’t really do it for us. Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’m used to walking into an ice cream parlor and thinking, “OMG I WANT EVERY FLAVOR HOW WILL I CHOOSE?!” But for the first time ever, I was thinking, “I don’t really want any of these flavors, how will I choose?” I wound up with coconut chip. It was OK. Chooch and Henry were “eh” with their choices too.

I think the problem was that I was really craving soft serve. What I wanted was some kind of soft swirl under a crunchy nut/sprinkle armor.


A so-so ice cream cone.


I also was less than impressed with the girl working in the shop. She was kind of shitty and condescending and I really wanted to walk out. Dude, you work in a fucking ice cream parlor. Get stoked.

Afterward, Henry essentially took me what appeared to be Back to School clothes shopping. (I can fit into clothes in the juniors section again!) I guess all that role-playing convinced Henry that he actually is my dad.

And here’s some boring video I made (with Chooch’s help) of our picnic thing:

  3 Responses to “An Oh Honestly Picnic Thing”

  1. You would have for sure died in that outhouse, via a handsaw probably.

  2. Your family is so adorable. I love picnics!

  3. Jeff wants to know if you got any pics of the actual falls? Or were you still too traumatized from your near death experience the day before? I’M SORRY!!!

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