Still over here pouting about all the amusement park action we’re missing out on although I guess you could say that this covid experience has been a real roller coaster ride. Here is a Flashback Friday to the time we went to Kennywood with our Castle Blood friendos. Adding this to the list of shit I will no longer take for granted!
It’s become a tradition for us to go to Kennywood on Father’s Day, rain or shine, but this year Henry was all, “We have too much going on this week, so no Kennywood.” I was about to pitch one of my signature wailing fits over this, but then I remembered that we’re going to an amusement park later in the week in Indiana so I silently resigned to the fact that there would be no June Kennywood outing this year.
Look at me, acting my age.
But then on Saturday, our friends the Handas asked if we were going, because THEY were going and also so was Ricky, better known as Gravely of Castle Blood fame.
“Chris just asked if we were going to Kennywood tomorrow,” I sighed dramatically. “Because they’ll be there.”
“IT’S ONE OR THE OTHER!” Henry reminded me in Dad Voice. “YOU WANT TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS!” Then he went outside to check on that kid that we occasionally parent.
A few minutes later, he came back in and sighed. “Do you really want to go tomorrow?” he asked me in a peaceful tone.
“YES!” I squealed, when I realized that I was about to get my way again because I’m the best, bitches!
And that is how we ended up at Kennywood by noon on Sunday. Chris and Kari were 5 minutes late, god forbid, and Chooch was flailing around on a bench openly preaching about how bad he hates his life for having to wait an additional handful of minutes in front of Kennywood. His story could basically be the Diary of Anne Frank of his generation. But then he became distracted by the three people next to us who each brought their own can of Pringles, which Chooch felt was overkill.
“REALLY? THEY ALL HAVE TO HAVE THEIR OWN PRINGLES? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” And they were only three feet away from us, so that was lovely. Meanwhile, I was busy mocking all of the families that arrived in matching t-shirts but secretly I wished that I had made Team Douche Troop shirts for my group.
Stupid Chooch and Katelyn beat us on the Racer (that’s the name of RACING ROLLER COASTERS for those of you who do not have the luxury of going to Kennywood and knowing these things) and kept bragging about it for like a full 3 minutes which was annoying in and of itself but even more annoying to me was their lack of dedication to the bragging, because if it had been me, I would have mentioned it for the rest of the day, in a variety of ways. Spelling it out in ketchup and cheese fries if I had to. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW TRUE WINNERS ACT.
I have always been terrible at shooting galleries, but have really fond memories of my Pappap kicking ass at the one in Kennywood. Henry taught Chooch how to aim at the targets and I was like, “Henry, Henry, Henry, teach me, teach me, teach me” while tugging on his shirt but he conveniently acted like he didn’t hear me. OH OK FATHER OF THE YEAR. God, fuck you. I’ll get some nice even-older gentleman to show me the next time and then you’ll be sorry.
YES YOU WILL BE SORRY.
Sadly, it seems that our Father’s Day luck has run out because the park was actually crowded. Henry and Chris kept arguing that it wasn’t that bad, but look: I have grown accustomed to sashaying my fat ass right onto any ride I please with nary a wait in line.
So when I saw that there was maybe a fifteen minute wait for the Log Jammer, I was like, “OH ARE YOU KIDDING? NO JUST NO.” So Chris took Chooch and Katelyn on it while I hung back with Henry, Kari and Ricky and whined about needing food and beverage and then Henry snapped some generic retort at me so then I got all pouty and Fuck You-y and Ricky just stood there taking it all in.
“Wow, you must have really great angry sex,” he said.
God only knows what sorts of competitions Chooch and Katelyn engaged in on the Log Jammer. They get along surprisingly well for kids that age but there’s still that underlying “We are opposing genders and must meet the quota for pointless arguments” theme going on.
Like when we were eating lunch and they were competing over who knew more math and who had the healthier meal.
God, these kids are such hooligans.
About that lunch. We ate at the cafeteria, but there was nothing there that I wanted so Henry hurried up and got me pizza from a different part of the park before I freaked out in front of his bros, OMG.
We constantly had to wait for the grown-ups. Ugh. Grown-ups are slow. COME ON, GROWN-UPS. My favorite part of the day was later when we were heading for the Swing Shot and Chris told Katelyn to stop running.
“But Erin’s running!” she cried. Damn right Erin’s running. The faster I run, the fewer the bitches that get in line before me. Please, let me write an Amusement Park Handbook.
It was a full day of weird poses. pulling faces and line-standing contortions. I was just thankful that there were very minimal pleas to play games, which is my least favorite thing to do at amusement parks.
EXCEPT WHEN THE PRIZES INCLUDE STUFFED UNICORNS ARE YOU KIDDING!?
Sadly, I didn’t win a unicorn. BECAUSE HENRY NEVER GAVE ME MONEY TO PLAY!
(Did I mention that I lost my wallet last week? Because I lost my wallet last week. I canceled my debit card but still haven’t gone to the bank to ask for a new one because I clearly don’t have adult priorities.)
All day long, Chooch was whining about wanting to ride Kennywood’s newest ride, the Black Widow, but no one would volunteer as Sucker Tribute because that ride just looks like a swinging heart attack. It’s actually similar to that German torture device I rode last year at Canobie Park with Alyson, but it goes much higher in the air.
“Ricky will ride it with you,” one of the grown-ups joked. I wasn’t paying attention who was saying what at the moment because I was too busy trying to calculate how many rides we still needed to ride versus how much time was remaining. I AM A TYPE A AMUSEMENT PARK GOER.
“What am I riding?” Ricky asked, blissfully oblivious.
“The Black Widow!” Chooch shouted triumphantly.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“It’s just a Kiddieland ride,” I laughed.
But then Chooch told him what it was exactly and Ricky said, “Oh, it’s an actual ride. I thought you were talking about your mom.”
It took me awhile to process this, but then I laughed. GOOD ONE, RICKY.
Chooch is finally tall enough to ride everything in the park! This was his first year riding the Thunderbolt now that he’s a magnificent 52 inches in height, holla atcha yardstick. When we were in line, he accidentally touched this white foamy stuff on a bush and I was like, “OMG YOU TOUCHED SPIT! THAT’S SO GROSS!” But then later when we were telling Henry, he was like, “That sounds like it was spider eggs to me” so I was like, “OMG HE TOUCHED SPIDER EGGS! THAT’S EVEN WORSE!” God, my kid is disgusting. I hope none of those eggs found their way into his ass. That’s all we need.
Chris and Ricky sat in front of us on the Thunderbolt and I was so excited to see Ricky’s white locks billowing in the wind. It was as majestic as…billowing white locks on the Thunderbolt.
Then we went on Noah’s Ark, which used to be the best dark ride that ever dark rode, but has been super lame for me these last several years because they changed it so much and I hate change, but this time, Chooch and I got to lead the group and for some reason this was extremely hilarious to me and I got super hyper and kept screaming cries of faux fear and concern and then I had the bright idea to turn the flash on and start taking sneak attack photos of Henry and the rest of our group from behind corners, and then Chooch and I would cry with laughter and run away real fast.
Here is where I’m pausing to breathe.
This kept going on and on through the whole Ark until we got to the end and discovered that random people had managed to insert themselves in the middle of our group, so we were mostly just being assholes to strangers.
Otherwise known as: Any Other Day.
This was Henry’s standard “You guys are fucking idiots” reaction. And then we all sat at a table while Henry told us stories about how he watched Actual Noah building the Actual Ark.
Because Henry is old.
Fun fact: Henry wore that same shirt to Kennywood last year, too.
This is the first year that Chooch didn’t spend the entire time “wanting.”
“I want ice cream.”
“I want stuffed animals.”
“I want games.”
“I want the deed to Kennywood.”
Except, he did have a moment in line for Noah’s Ark where Henry was The Worst Dad He Ever Had because he wouldn’t buy Chooch lemonade at that exact moment.
THANK GOD he got his fucking lemonade afterward though and calmed down enough to take the 57th selfie of the day with me. Right after this photo, I ran into one of my old high school friends, Heather the Ken! I hadn’t seen her since 1998, so it was pretty awesome/awkward. “You ain’t kidding,” Henry drawled when I later said that it was kind of awkward. I suck at seeing people I know, but it was still cool.
Call it old age, but these last several years, I have felt SHEER TERROR every time I even just glance at the Phantom’s Revenge. And every year I make the conscious decision to not ride it. But then every year I somehow find myself in line, doing the pee jig. This year, it was just Henry, me, Chooch and Chris who rode it. Henry and I sat behind Chris and Chooch and I wasn’t aware that I was being loud enough for Chris to hear my panicked narration, but when we got off the ride, he said, “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom’s Revenge.”
It starts with the ascent up the inaugural hill, which is where I moan, “Oh, I forgot how much I hate this part…..oh god we’re going to die….WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!” and then after we reach that daunting daunting zenith, I am an emptying bag of battle cries. I also enjoy letting every one know each and every time I feel the slightest twinge of pain, like, “MY BACK JUST BROKE! I ALMOST LOST MY ARM!” And then I usually cap it off with a finale of Nancy Kerrigan-approved “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”s.
And then the ride coasts back into the station and I’m all “Fuck yeah, Phantom!”
Afterward, the rest of my party turned into unfocused loiterers and I was getting so anxious! I even walked far away from where they were sitting at one point to see if they noticed that I was gone. I DON’T THINK THEY DID!!! I was in a BIG HURRY because I wanted to ride the Exterminator next and that’s basically the best ride in the whole park in case you don’t live here or just have bad taste in amusement park rides. I nearly pee my pants on it every year! (And sometimes you can scratch out the “nearly.” FULL DISCLOSURE UP IN HERE.)
While waiting for my group of Southern Meanderers, aka Careys, I stood and watched the Black Widow do its thing. When we were in line for Phantom’s Revenge, I caved and told Chooch I would ride it with him, but ONLY so that I would have leverage for the future because that’s my solid gold parenting style. Just watching it Jello-fied my legs, but a promise is a promise. However, I started imagining every last worst case scenario, so that really helped.
(NO IT DIDN’T HELP.)
Finally, everyone started walking toward the Exterminator and I was like, “YES YES YES!” and started to get in line, but then they all went and fussed with the lockers and in the meantime, approximately FIVE PEOPLE got in line in front of us.
THANKS A LOT, GROWN-UPS.
The line was kind of long and Henry kept trying to put me on blast by pointing out how whiny I was being when I really didn’t think I was being whiny just because I kept letting my body go limp against him and saying things like “WE HAVE BEEN STANDING IN LINE FOR-EVHAHAHAHA-ER.”
But whatever, the Exterminator is worth the wait. It’s basically like the Crazy Mouse but INSIDE A DARK BUILDING. It makes me choke on my own laughter every single time, like I have a disease.
Chris got in a car with Chooch and Katelyn, leaving me, Henry, Kari and Ricky to squish ourselves into the next one. Except that the car we picked was “sensitive,” whatever that means, and the bored Kennywood worker made us get into the next available car all the way at the end of the line. This meant that Chooch, Katelyn and Chris had returned to the station before our ride even started, since there were four cars in front of us.
“They’re going to think we perished when they see that we’re not behind them anymore,” I laughed. And we found out afterward that they sent our car through empty since it was malfunctioning, so when the kids saw an empty car return to the station, they got scared. HAHAHA.
Anyway, I managed to not pee my pants this time but fuck, I laughed so hard that my face hurt (I know, I know, it’s killing you guys too). It’s such a satisfying ride!
After that, I rode the Whip with Chooch and Katelyn, whose relief that we hadn’t actually perished on the Exterminator had worn off by then. It took us forever (read: 5 seconds) to get in line though because we couldn’t get around dumb Henry who was walking excruciatingly slow and totally Whip-blocking us. That motherfucker.
Every time our car would whip us around the bend, we would scream “WHIP SELFIE” because it’s imperative to be obnoxious at amusement parks. Also, because we had just taken a Whip selfie:
The next day, I noticed that my Facebook friend Kelly had checked into Kennywood on Sunday as well, and I commented to tell her that I wish I had seen her. She said that she saw me speed-walking by when she was getting on the Whip, so it must have been right around this time. It made me laugh so hard to know that someone witnessed me being an impatient maniac.
Right after this, Chris, Chooch and I convinced Katelyn to ride the Swing Shot and she basically hates us forever now. As soon as the ride started, I remembered how horrible it is and screamed, “MY TEARS ARE REAL!” at one point, which I’m sure did wonders to ease Katelyn’s nerves. Henry, Kari and Ricky were watching from a table and said that looked like an actual cartoon during the whole ride.
I mean, she didn’t cry, but she certainly was NOT happy.
Henry trying to escape.
Then it was time for ice cream!! This is my favorite part of the day, food-wise. Most people will tell you that Potato Patch fries are the creme de la creme of Kennywood cuisine, and I won’t argue there because those are the most perfect french fries in the entire world. But I rarely hear anyone mentioning how delightful the Golden Nugget square cones are! You guys can get soft serve anywhere. Gimme my square-edged chocolate-dipped delight.
Henry and Chris were talking about how they used to think it was just a Klondike shoved into a cone until they saw the Golden Nugget workers actually cutting blocks of vanilla ice cream. It never occurred to me that it could have just been a Klondike, and Henry was like, “REALLY!? I THOUGHT IT WAS AN OBVIOUS ASSUMPTION SINCE KLONDIKE’S ARE FROM HERE!” in that belittling tone he loves to use on me, except I’m paraphrasing here because clearly “assumption” is too big of a word for him.
Fun Fact: Klondikes are apparently from Pittsburgh. I just learned this on Sunday because I’m seriously the worst Pittsburgher ever.
This was right before the hardcore amusement park riders ditched us for Kiddieland. They were gone for an hour! (Don’t worry: Chris went with them.) The rest of us hung back and found ourselves in a discussion about Mr. Big, Extreme, and Meatloaf which met Henry’s criteria of “Anyone but Jonny Craig.”
Ice Cream Brones.
Look! It’s a Henry in its natural, agitated state.
Gross, I know.
Chooch is finally tall enough to ride the Sky Rocket, which is Kennywood’s newest coaster. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it does go upside down. Henry, Chris and I had to beg Chooch to go on it. It wasn’t the upside down-ness that had him scared, it was the first hill, an inversion, that was freaking him out. (And he didn’t even know that it was one of those launching coasters.) At one point, he sat down and put his face in his hands, but then he turned around and started to twerk. Hey, do what you gotta do, right? Twerk it out son.
There was a guy in line with us who had an apple tattoo and I wanted to sow him mine so we could be apple ink bros but Henry stopped that from happening.
Spoiler alert: Chooch made it through his first Skyrocket ride alive. His reaction was, “That was it?” I just kept screaming, “IT TICKLES!” the whole time and Chooch was like, “Please stop embarrassing us.”
I asked Chooch for a quote expressing how he felt about riding the Bayern Curve with Katelyn and he said: “I’m a cat.”
So anyway, this was a hilarious moment for the rest of us because the Bayern Curve is one of those rides that pushes the front rider into the back rider so Chooch was like FML through the whole ride. It was incredibly rewarding to watch, as a parent who is verbally abused by her son on the daily. (His sass is off the charts these days.)
Remember when I said that Chooch mostly made it through the day without tantrum? Well, that’s because he was waiting for the VERY END, when the park was closing, to project his exhaustion and hunger on the fact that Henry wouldn’t buy him Dippin’ Dots because Henry is a terrible person who doesn’t feed his children. He was outright CRYING about this and it was so annoying and disgusting, so I guess 8 is not the magic age where kids stop acting like spoiled assholes in amusement parks.
We left the park and Henry fed him a burger and miraculously, Chooch was fine.
“Ugh, he’s so much like you,” Henry muttered.
As always, it was wonderful spending a day with the Handa’s and Ricky being there was an added bonus even though he MADE FUN OF ME a lot and even when he was just saying regular things to me I think he was still making fun of me but sometimes I’m too dumb to realize.
I feel like I’m forgetting lots of things.
And now we get to do this all over again at a different park on Thursday, wooo!!!
P.S. We never made it on the Black Widow. Chooch and I were in line for approximately one minute before he said, “So….maybe I should just wait until I’m talk enough to ride ALL of the rides here*. And then I’ll ride the Black Widow.” Then he ducked under the railing and left me standing there alone.
*(There’s only one ride he can’t ride yet and it literally never running every time we’re there.)
SONOFABITCH. All that positive thinking I put myself through, for what.