Nov 022019
 

Wow hey hello ok—let’s try something new here. It’s 6:07am and we just left the house for Connecticut and normally I would have the unbridled desire to live blog but I am also behind in recapping my totally not-that-exciting life so I thought, hey, let’s just combine the two. Henry’s being an angry mute right now and Chooch has his headphones on so chances are I won’t have much to live blog about anyway so let’s just jump right into last weekend’s roundup.

On Saturday, I met up with Jiyong and gave her some cookies from our G-Dragon Military Discharge Event at work and she was like O-M-G and immediately took a picture of them. I mean come one they were pretty spectacular!

We talked about nicknames at this language session. She has a great nickname (JangJong) but mine is just either ERINKELLY (ugh) or EK (this one is OK).

We have been meeting at this one Panera lately because it’s the most study-friendly but I think I am going to have to suggest a new place soon because their staff is just not great and the process of getting a coffee drink is tedious now that they hired this older woman who has no clue what’s going and talks loudly about the eye surgery she just had.

While I was with Jiyong, Chooch was at home spectating the local Halloween parade and conning candy off the shopowners.

When I got home, he started rapidly talking about his favorite part of the parade. “The dad was Hopper, the mom was Joyce, the daughter was Eleven, AND THE DOG WAS A DEMOGORGON. IT WAS SO CUTE AND I DIDNT TAKE A PICTURE BC IM DUMB.”

He’s distressed about this.

LIVEBLOG: we just left the Holy Sheetz at 6:50am and I’m now properly roadtrip breakfasted. Also, Sheryl Crow is a person I never really cared for.

I’m trying to stop saying “hate” with so much wanton abandon because I have realized over the last three years that there is really only person I actually hate in the whole wide world and that would be Donald Trump (not my President) so I should really reserve that word for just when I’m talking about him.

Speaking of not saying hate…

After my meetup with Jiyong, Henry, Chooch and I went to the Sewickley Haunted Church which has become our tradition over the last 5 years now I think? We just really like it: it’s cheap ($8), fun, and actually kind of scary too but the kind of scary that makes you crack up afterward.

It’s always interesting to see how they’re going to handle the line-formation, because it seems to change every year. This year, they had a giant U-shaped line of chairs set up, with three large tables in the back of the room. When we arrived, all the chairs were filled so the line coordinator (?) placed us at a table with another family. Then, as more groups were being let into the haunt and seats were freed up, we were moved into the chair queue. It was bizarre but perfect for anyone who hates standing in line, except that 75% of the people there could not grasp the concept of moving down as chairs were freed up. IG was hilarious but Henry was so aggravated about it. There was some vampire lady who was attempting to maintain order but she had her back turned when new people walked into the room, breezed right past the other line coordinator and took four empty seats near the entrance to the haunt?!?!?! All because a bunch of morons didn’t move the fuck down!! I was so mad about it but honestly we only waited for like 20 minutes anyway so whatever.

As usual, we had a good time and keeping with the theme of being behind on blogging, I am woefully tardy with my haunted house journaling today. It’s pathetic how much hand-writing cramps my hands these days!

LIVEBLOG: Henry just flipped out because GPS said we had 8 hours and 57 minutes until our arrival but I said, “I looked it up like a million times and I swear it’s only like 6ish hours away” so then he realized he had selected “no toll route” – 6 hours and 18 minutes to go!

The next morning we woke up early and drove to Sandusky, OH because I had the brilliant idea that we should go for the last season so that Chooch could try to get Maverick as his 100th coaster. I kept checking the forecast and it said it was windy so I did research and it was like “here are rides that usually close in these conditions” so I was prepared for some shit to not be running that day except that we got there, waiting for early entry, were let in with the general riffraff because the staff wasn’t even looking at passes and people were literally squeezing around the barricades like goddamn escaped circus animals, so that was great but ended up being a moot point because nothing was running for early entry, and then 90% of the coasters weren’t running all day, so…

Someone on Twitter was like “what’s open for early entry?” and someone replied “the gates.” Accurate!

I know CP can’t control weather but their public relations is pretty shitty and they were giving no updates as the day went on. I put a moratorium on it after about two hours, when only a handful of flat rides and Wicked Twister were running, and some jerk ride op watched Chooch and I standing in line for the kid coaster for like 15 minutes and waited until we were next in line to be like SORRY U NEED A KID TO RIDE and we were like WOW ET TU, KID COASTER?! Everything was letting us down! The dumb candy store didn’t even have the good sugar cookies.

Thankfully, we didn’t have to pay to be there so we decided to just leave and make the most of the otherwise decent day. I mean, it wasn’t raining or anything and once the sun came out, it was a really lovely day to drive around and enjoy the fall foliage assuming that we are the type of the family to do such a thing.

We stopped in some little Ohio town (Vermillion) to eat lunch and of course everything we found on Yelp ended up being closed because all humans but us fast on Sundays, but then we spotted this place called Old Prague Inn that looked visually pleasing to me because I love old world European bullshit. The menu outside said that had:

LECZO

Locally grown vegetables slowly sautéed with European seasonings and finished with poached eggs. Served over dumplings or spätzles.
Yes. Sign me up. Make it a double. I was fucking GIDDY over this possibility because it’s rare to find anything meatless in a restaurant serving old school European cuisine.
We go inside and it’s a dark and perfect and there’s a pool table so Chooch is stoked. Then the waiter comes over with menus and immediately says they’re out of leczo.
Oh.
We asked the waiter if there was any other vegetarian option and he was like, “Ehhhhhhh. I mean, we could make you a pretzel?”
I DIDNT WANT A PRETZEL, MARK.
I dunno if that was his name.
We rarely do this, but Henry was like, “I’ll just pay for the drinks and we’ll leave” and that is what Big Man Henry did. We got in the car and I almost cried because this day was so frustrating!
I kept trying to find other places to eat but by now my hunger was awakening my dormant explosive anger disorder and it was started to look grisly and red-tinged.
I found one diner and it had PAPRIKASH on the menu just like Prague place so I got angry and said NO and then Henry found another place but it was in a strip mall and I hate strip mall diners for some reason, I can’t remember why, but I know at some point I had a reason.
*lots of screaming & empty threats*
Eventually we settled on a place called Midway’s Oh Boy and it was DELIGHTFUL and also I’m the one who found it, so.

They had veggie burgers – not great ones, but the kind you expect from a small town diner, and I was just grateful they had the option at all because all the other places I found didn’t even have grilled cheese without meat and yes I’m aware I could have ordered it sans meat but the point is that I was angry and you can’t reason with a hot head.

Also when things like this happen and I fly off the handle, I realize that wow I must really be bottling a lot of shit in during the week when I’m busy being “Professional Erin.”

We had a really good waitress, and the joint had one of those fancy jukeboxes that can play almost anything and it had free credits on it so Chooch was tripping over himself to get to it before any of the other patrons…none of which showed any signs of interest in requesting songs.

I was a little nervous, wondering what he was up there so thoughtful requesting, because you never know what weird shit 13-year-olds listen to on their own time when their moms aren’t funneling Kpop down their ear-pipes.

As he slid into the booth, the opening notes of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” filled the diner and he looked so pleased.

“Is this what he requested?!” I asked, and he smugly nodded. So random. The next song was “Come On Aileen” which he also requested because he’s obsessed with it now thanks to “Perks…”

The we gorged on strawberry shortcake and caramel apple pie and it was soooo satisfying and completely turned the day around.

Thank you, Oh Boy. I don’t really understand your secret Oh Boy sauce, but everything else really had it going on. I would be a regular if we lived in whatever town that was.

You guys. PAPRIKASH. I guess we were in a big Czech-populated area of Ohio?! I have never seen the word “PAPRIKASH” so much in my life!

LIVEBLOG: It’s 7:40 and we just passed a billboard for Penn’s Cave. I blurted out, “Are we ever going to go there?!” because it’s tradition for me to ask and tradition for Henry to murmur, “I don’t know” before going back to contemplating how to get out of the next road trip.

Creepy vending machine broad.

We stopped at approximately 27 rest areas on the way home and at every single one, Chooch was panhandling for quarters.

“I told you I don’t have any! Do you think they just generate in my pockets?!” Henry cried and then we had a sidebar conference with the sole agenda of: When Will Our Child Outgrow Claw Machines.

Somehow, Henry’s pants did generate quarters though because at one of the stops, he was like, “Actually…” and that’s how Chooch ended up with three bouncy balls which he hurled against the wall while we waited for Henry to go to the bathroom. He was doing it so aggressively though like he was playing racquetball and passersby were glaring at me for not being a better parent but sorry, that’s because I was in the process of stalking some guy who looked like if our Castle Blood friend Ricky was a big Willie Nelson fan.

“Ok let’s go,” Henry said, back from the bathroom.

“We can’t. Mom’s waiting for some guy,” Chooch said, slamming the bouncy ball off the wall.

“What guy?” Henry questioned, but by then I was too giddy to respond in anything more than Bobcat Goldthwait barks so Henry just sighed and attempted to steal the bouncy ball from Chooch he was actually starting to get sweaty that’s how hard he was playing with this dumb toy.

Yeah Boy!

Then we went to another rest area and he was there too!

On the way out of that one, we were walking through the parking lot when I heard someone cheerful call out, “ERINKELLY!!” Now look, only people from a certain era of my current job call me this, because it stems from when there were two Erins and an Aaron in the office. Some people from that time still work there so it’s inevitable that I still get called that, but there were other people from that time that weren’t so great and I still twitch at times when I’m called “ERINKELLY” because I can hear those other people saying it in their condescending tones and it always reminded me of “Cinderelly Cinderelly!” If that makes sense.

So I got kind of tense, wondering who it was that was calling me ERINKELLY in the middle of a rest stop parking lot in Ohio, but it ended up just being my friend Mary! She used to work in our department but moved to a different department several years ago (Jesus, actually about 7 years now I think?!). Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise! That Sunday had really shaped up to be something good.

Oh, and apparently none of the coasters started to run at Cedar Point until around 4 or 5. What a terrible way for them to end the season. :( I only found that out from irate tweets from people who were there. The official Cedar Park socials were too busy announcing various sales at the gift shops.

I think that about wraps up last weekend so now we can just focus on RIGHT NOW oh boy!

8:27am: Let it be known that I just offered to drive for an hour and Henry stoically waved me off like I just suggested that I join him on the battlefield but that is no place for a woman.

I got coffee at Sheetz (second Sheetz of the day) and usually I tolerate it but it’s not great; however, this cup of coffee tastes super reminiscent to Mister Donut so I began lamenting the fact that they all turned into Donut Connection and now I don’t even think they’re around anymore?! I hated Donut Connection because it was so modern (well, for the 90s) and one of the best parts of Mister Donut was that old, 1950s orange dinette feel it had plus it reminded me of my Pappap.

One time in high school, Psycho Mike took me to Donut Connection for Valentine’s Day. He had a coupon for a free coffee and donut which he used for himself and I had to buy my own, so that was really cool.

11:40am: Guys you’ll never believe it – Henry actually let me drive for 2 hours. I kept offering and he would say NO like a big whiny bitchboy because that way he can complain later on about how I never drive. Anyway, he slept for the first hour and it was glorious because I got to fly along like I used to in my youthful days when I wasn’t dating a professional driver who refuses to be a passenger. Then he woke up and was all OMG SLOW DOWN THE SPEED LIMIT IS 55 YOU ARE DOING 80 GOOD LORD THIS IS A DOUBLE FINE ZONE DO U KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS THE FINE WILL BE $1000 AND YOU WILL PROBABLY GET ALL OF THE POINTS ON YOUR LICENSE!

God, go soak your hemorrhoids, Hank.

Anyway, I just pulled over at an Exxon somewhere past the Promised Land which I thought was going to be a BibliCOOL theme park but it’s just a regular state park I guess. Henry used the unisex bathroom before me and left the seat up so that was cool. When I yelled at him he was like, “It was already up!”

“well you could have put it down when you were done!” I screeched.

And he said, “I wasn’t touching that thing.”

Wow, so leave it for me. Awesome. Maybe next he can procure himself some donuts and eat them in front of me, too.

OMG henry is trying to explain exit numbers to me and I kept saying OK COOL I GET IT COOL but he just kept talking and it’s hard to believe sometimes that he doesn’t teach drivers ed at the community college.

We’re in some town called Port Jervis which is apparently entirely under construction and Henry almost hit a kid on a scooter and then pulled out into oncoming traffic so I was like WOW MAYBE I SHOULD GO BACK TO DRIVING but Chooch said he was more scared when I was driving bc I kept asking what the speed limit was and still did 90.

12:02pm: At this place for lunch and STEELY DAN is playing. Also, Henry dropped his phone on the waitress’s foot.

Chooch just sent our friend Alyson a message to see if she wants to meet us at Lake Compounce tonight because it’s like 2 hours from her. She recently posted on Instagram that she ate a cinnamon roll so he said, “She just ate a cinnamon roll so she should be good to drive.” OK, Chooch.

STAHP. This place actually had a really delicious veggie burger and PURPLE SLAW and now America’s You Can Do Magic is on and I’m in love with this town. Also, bathroom decor on point:

I’m fairly certain our waitress hated us. I tried to compliment the place on their hearty veggie burger (lol) and she was like NO when I asked if it was made there, and then THANKS when I said it was really good.

I could have eaten it plain without a bun or anything.

Our Meanyburger visiting his home.

Of course Arlene & Tom’s has a babbling brook behind their restaurant.

1:48pm: The town of Newburgh, NY is really under Henry’s skin. He saw a CASH ONLY sign for the toll road and panicked that it won’t take EZ pass so he detoured through this town to use an ATM and people here could definitely stand to enroll in Henry’s driving school, also we’re back on the highway and there’s a big MUST HAVE EZ PASS sign so Henry is ready to explode. Lol.

But look how pretty!

Also:

Lol.

2:47pm People are passing us on both sides because Henry is driving below the speed limit. He is the worst.

3:18pm: After a million years, Henry finally brought me to the Holy Land, which is this dilapidated religious “theme park” from the 50s on a hillside of Waterbury, Connecticut.

I’ll do a separate photo dump of this another day. Right now we’re sitting in the car at the gate of it while Henry looks for a hotel and Chooch is crying because he can’t find a stupid geocache and also because he slipped on a rock but is denying it.

Well, I guess I will hit PUBLISH on this piece of shit blog post because we’re almost to Lake Compounce!

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