My brother Ryan asked Chooch to pick somewhere he’d like to go for a birthday dinner, and I was bracing myself for the inevitable Burger King (he likes their veggie burgers) or Denny’s, but he shocked me with his off-the-cuff response of “Tillie’s.” I thought he hated that place! When he was little, he used to whine loudly that it stunk in there and we’d be like, “THAT’S THE BEAUTIFUL STENCH OF HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE, MORON.” But I guess his palate is finally starting to mature past the age of cereal and (faux) chicken nuggets.
Before we left, I made him pose for some pre-11 birthday photos, because the glory days of 10 are waning quickly and I NEVER WANT TO FORGET HIS PRECIOUS DECADE-OLD CHEEKS.
These birthdays slaughter me, you guys. Being a mom hurts. WHERE DID MY BABY GO.
(Be prepared for a landslide of gratuitous throwbacks tomorrow on his actual birthday. Sorry in advance.)
I let him wear my G-Dragon pin because I guess I love him.
We picked up Judy on the way, and she proceeded to jut a finger at every vacant lot we drove past en route to McKeesport, informing us of whatever dance halls, bars, and diners used to be there, and how her ex-husband used to sing at some lounge that had since burnt down, which caused Henry to have lots of questions.
Not of the fire, but of the singing, I guess.
“There used to be a place I went to on the river down there,” Judy mused, staring out the passenger window as we crossed over a small bridge into McKeesport.
“The Palisades,” Henry said, causing Judy to laugh uproariously for some unknown reason and shout, “No! It was down on the river!”
“Yeah, the Palisades!” Henry argued, and Judy was nearly crying at this point, she was laughing so hard, and we had no idea why. DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO JUDY AT THE PALISADES?!
“I forget how to do it,” said my gifted child as he handed his beaten bread across the table for Henry to finish buttering.
Dinner was so great, as usual.
“I haven’t been here in about 30 years,” my mom said at one point, inspiring me to say that I had never heard of it until my friend Heather took me there for my 19th birthday.
“I’m surprised Pappap never came here,” I said.
“No, he did,” my mom said, telling me the name of the friend he used to frequent the place with.
“Wow, your Pappap actually didn’t take you somewhere,” Henry chided. Fuck off, Henry.
Meanwhile, Chooch regaled the table with his tragic toothpick story, which made Ryan remember the time he drove one of his 80-wheeled remote control cars into my hair when I was laying on the floor (probably daydreaming of rollerskating on clouds with the Care Bears).
I don’t know how Chooch managed to eat any of his spaghetti in between gulping for air during his non-stop monologue. That kid could have a future in MCing variety shows in Korea. HE ALWAYS HAS SHIT TO SAY. ALWAYS.
Unless there is a pretty girl nearby.
I tried to get Henry to stop my brother from picking up the tab.
“Ryan’s our dongsaeng, and in Korea, dongsaengs would never be expected to pay for a meal!” I explained.
“Well, this isn’t Korea,” Henry sighed, while my mom rolled her eyes and Ryan shrugged it off as Erin being Erin.
Later on, we got some obligatory ice cream at Handel’s and managed to make it through an entire evening without arguing!