Aug 312017

Well, we managed to squeeze Kennywood in right before the end of the summer season, but it was pretty much a bust. We chose this day a month in advance to ensure that we could get the day off work and that Janna, Blake and Haley could make it too, but the bad thing about planning so far out is that none of us know what kind of stew to cook up in ye ol’ cauldron to foresee the weather.

Spoiler alert: it stormed hardcore halfway through the day.

But! We were able to enjoy a few hours before that happened and this post here will do its best to illustrate that.

This was the first time in two years that Henry was actually joining Chooch and me at Kennywood, since we don’t go on Father’s Day anymore. He wasn’t happy that Chooch and I have made our traditions in his absence, such as: getting there as soon as the park opens (Henry never took us there that early!) and going the supposed “long way” which is how I used to get to Kennywood as a kid.

“Yeah, because you lived in another part of town then and it made sense to go that way!” Henry tried to reason by YELLING IN HIS DAD-VOICE which always makes me turn up the music.

I got my way of course and we left about three hours earlier than Henry would have liked and went the “long way” through West Mifflin, god forbid.

We actually got there a little bit too early though because the gates hadn’t even opened yet and there were quite a few lines already formed. Henry was being SO ANNOYING, jumping from one line to the next, trying to find the shortest one and it was really embarrassing. Like who is ever that high-strung about getting inside Kennywood?

There was a fuckarow with the lines anyway, because a bunch of different high school bands were there and the one Kennywood ticket girl was trying to corral them all into one line and they were such dunces about it and of course out of every line there, the only one it affected was OURS, good job, Henry. Couldn’t have just stuck with the first line.

By the time we made it up to the front, she was still bitching about it.

“I don’t understand what was so hard about that,” she scoffed at me and also no one in particular. “All I asked them to do was stand together. They’re in a band! That’s literally their JOB, to STAND TOGETHER IN A LINE!” and I just cracked up so bad. It was a good start to the day!

Until we made it through the ticket gates and Henry made us go LEFT instead of RIGHT when we ALWAYS GO RIGHT. Never in my life have I gone LEFT—that’s the way we always LEAVE the park! Little did we know that he was setting the tone for the day, because everything had an air of unfamiliarity to it after that.

Blame Henry, all dingdong day long.

Once we made it through the tunnel into the park, Chooch and I screamed, “Exterminator!” and took off in that direction while Henry just dawdled behind us like a fucking farmer from the 50s. Half of the Peters Twp band seemed to have the same idea and I was trying to get Henry to speed it up so we wouldn’t stuck with them in line but nooooo, Henry was all, “Don’t run! Take your time! Slow down!”

OMG why did we bring him!?

Of course, we ended up smack in the middle of the band kids and it looked like it was going to be terrible because some of them were teetering on line-jumping, but then one of the kids in front of us asked me, “Do you guys want to go ahead of us so you’re not stuck in the middle of the band kids?” and I was like, “Bro? You reading my mind, bro?”

He did this grand flourish with his arm and we happily jumped ahead of them and it was WONDERFUL, THANK YOU KIND BAND NERD.

There were some others in front of but they weren’t a part of the clique I guess, and were mostly keeping to themselves. This is how I learned some new hand-slapping games that Chooch said he would play with me but I had stage-fright because it seemed difficult and I didn’t want to mess up in front of people! There was intense counting involved. Counting is not my strong-suit.

Neither is typing.

Or talking.

Or breathing.


(Or sighing.)

We had to wait in line for about 15 minutes for the ride to open since it was still early. But once it opened and we all moved inside (the Exterminator is an indoor coaster), the band kids got super rowdy and immediately started screaming at ear-fucking levels and Henry’s grimace was devouring his whole point. Then they started high-fiving their friends as they passed each other in the queue and I was giddy because one of them high-fived me too but then I realized later that maybe he was just preparing his hand for his bandmates behind us that he was about to pass.

But I was so eager to get a piece of that hot high-fiving action! I love high-fiving. High-fives over hugs.

I jokingly said that I was going to make Henry ride with those annoying kids and he said, “I already have annoying kids to ride with.”

Oh snap, pops.

Finally it was time for us to get on the ride and I was beyond stoked, doing a bunch of “me-me-me-me-me”s to warm up my throat for the radical levels of shrieking I was about to unleash as soon as the ride started. I LOVE SCREAMING MY FACE OFF ON RIDES. It’s kind of my THANG. I will scream to the point where I’m laughing too hard to scream and then I’m peeing too hard to laugh.

Fuck yeah, Exterminator!

I had to laugh though because during that whole ride, I was the only one vocalizing any sort of feeling: literally, it was just my dumb big mouth filling up that entire warehouse, and each car of band kids that passed us were somberly quiet. After all that commotion they caused in line!

After that ride, Chooch and I made Henry watch us ride the Swingshot, which I successfully scared/horrified/enraged everyone on it with us with my blood-curdling Kerrigan-cries of “WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!” and “OH MY GOD NO NO NO!!!! I FORGOT HOW AWFUL THIS IS!” before my finale of “rosary in tongues.”

“You’re so embarrassing,” Chooch muttered when the ride stopped and I happily announced to everyone that we survived.

Then we rode the Phantom’s Revenge, where Chooch viciously mocked me for initially calling it the Steel Phantom WHICH IS WHAT IT USED TO BE CALLED WHEN I WAS CHOOCH’S AGE, OK?! The line was still really short so we ran for the back because back is best, fuck the rest.

Henry had to ride alone and he said he was fine with that because we’re annoying.

(Chooch just barged into my blogging life and said, “How the hell can you write about Kennywood? We did nothing!!” I mean it’s almost true, but still—there’s always shit to say about Kennywood!)

On the Phantom, Chooch and I had the very last seat and Papa H sat in front of us. We fluffed his hair and made our presence known the whole way up the first hill, and I think Henry was seriously reevaluating some life decisions, especially as the coaster made it over the crest and my murder-moans kicked in.

I just can’t hold it in, OK?! There was one year that the Handas were with us and Chris was like,  “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom.” It’s just what I do, guys. I have the vocal chords of a fucking 1970s Scream Queen. 

Then we made Henry go into Noah’s Ark since he hasn’t seen it since it was renovated. Chooch and I ran like escaped zoo animals to the entrance and then had to stand there and wait for our slow-lumbering counterpart, so thanks for that, Henry.

You meandering asshole.

Henry wasn’t impressed with renovated Noah’s Ark. WELL GUESS WHAT I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH HENRY.

OMG Chris gave me a heads up last month about the new waffle stand that Kennywood has. Normally I’m not a big amusement park eater (I prefer eating National Parks, instead) but I was like, “Hold up wait a minute, Henry give that boy all your money because mama wants some wafels with all the dinges whatever that means.”

Henry was annoyed because Blake had texted him and said that they were nearly there and Henry needed to meet them at the entrance because he had their tickets, and now I was throwing waffles in his path like perilous banana peels and he was mad because waffles weren’t even spelled right, OMG!

He paid for our waffles and then barked, “You assholes can wait for them by yourselves, I’m going to get Blake.”


Anyway, it was worth it. My waffle had Speculoos on it (first dinge is free!) and Chooch had strawberries on his. We were in a fucking waffle ZONE by the time Henry emerged through the entrance tunnel with Blake, Haley and Calvin.

Calvin’s first trip to Kennywood! He was so stoked! You just can’t tell from this photo.

Immediately, we dragged Blake and Haley on the Skyrocket. I was getting impatient because I thought they were right behind us but they were still giving Henry instructions on how to babysit a sleeping baby in a stroller. While this was happening, some fucking family of hunters crawled out of a West Virginia holler and got in line in front of us, so we were stuck in their local yokel presence the whole time and I wanted to KILL the camo-clad patriarch, who dumped a bottle of water over his nasty son’s head, and then the kid proceeded to shake his head like a dog after a bath, spraying his sweat-juice all over me and I was in TEARS.



And then the whole time, Chooch was under the impression that he was going to be sitting with Blake, until we got all the way to the front of the line and Haley was all, “Oh no, Blake’s riding with me.”

Oh man, these two have the best rivalry. I love spectating because I have nothing to lose in it!

Chooch was all dejected but I said, “YAY WE’RE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN!” and Chooch was like, “When are we ever NOT together?” as he begrudgingly climbed into the last car with me.

And this was when I realized that we had never gone to an amusement park with Haley before, because she seemed positively startled when the coaster shot up the first hill and I started screaming.

I heard her say to Blake, “Oh, I can’t with her!” LOLOLOLOL.

You can’t but you willlllll!!!!

Meanwhile, Henry was talking off Calvin’s ears about the Service and probably fishing in ponds and how to change a tire. Sterile Henry Tales.

After one whole ride, we took a time out so Haley could feed Calvin. We were all just standing in there in front of her, in an awkward semi-circle, and in my head I was like, “Can’t we like, walk and do this, I don’t understand.” I get really nervous when there’s too much standing over in an amusement park. I have shit to do!

I finally got them to walk toward the Jack Rabbit, where Blake handed over Calvin to Henry, who stood in the shade and fed him his bottle while we kids got to be kids.

I had to zoom in and crop, so this picture is shitty but there’s Henry pretending to be a single dad.

[Side bar: Chooch has been calling Blake “Blook” for the last year now I guess because he has this weird quirk where he enjoys replacing vowel sounds, and I found myself slipping and saying “Blook” the other day and I felt like such a loser.]

Haley called the first seat when the line was cut off right in front of us. That’s always the best feeling because you know when the next coaster rolls up, you get dibs on whichever seat you want! But Chooch was all, “No we’re getting the front seat!” and Haley cried, “Us moms get first choice!” and I was like “Us moms? Who is she talking about….oh, lol, me.”

But as you can see, Chooch has literally no soft spot for mothers and viciously blocked us from the front seat. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted the front seat until that moment!

This was when I realized that Haley’s hatred of Chooch had distracted her from buckling our seatbelt and even though I’m smiling in this picture, I remember that in my head I was like, “HURRY UP BEFORE WE DIEEEEEE.”

We spent the whole ride flicking and pulling Blake and Chooch’s hair. THAT’LL SHOW THEM.

Haley and Blake had a list as long as Santa’s with all the food they needed to eat that day, so instead of continuing to ride, we took a time out to get food. Chooch and I weren’t hungry and wanted to keep riding, but the adults were like, “Calm down, kids, let the grown-ups eat.”


Chooch tried to get Blake to ditch the food foragers and come ride something with us, but Haley was like,, “No. Blake needs to get in line for Potato Patch while I’m in line for a corn dog” and Chooch looked so sad. I put my arm around him and said, “It’s OK, little buddy. You still have me! I’ll ride with you!” and a halo of blue birds flew around his head chirping, “FML FML FML.”

I wanted to ride the Thunderbolt while everyone else was standing in various food lines, but Chooch is like obsessed with Blake and needed to keep him in sight I guess, so we rode the Turtles instead.

It may have been the saddest ride on the Turtles of all time. Also, it was a really long ride! I was really into it at first but it went around about 10 times too much and I started to feel green.

The grown-ups had a table ready for us by the time we were sufficiently Turtled, and this would end up being one of the last dry moments of the day.

Le sigh.

I’ll end here with this picture of Henry leering perversely at his corn-breaded wiener. Part 2 coming soon!

  One Response to “Kennywood, Part 1: Before the Storm”

  1. Still Tolhursting. This just completely made my afternoon!

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