Erin Kelly, Not Kelly

Grilled cheese 4 lyfe, right across the throat.

Jul 122024
 

It’s me, the miserable one. Today has been somewhat of a breakthrough day.

I guess.

I had scheduled the day off over a month in advance, figuring that I would need the day to get some shit done for the graduation party. But, as you know, I have been half-crippled with these awful feelings – and before you think to yourself, “It was just a cat” please unkindly fuck right off because she was a family member and it has unlocked layers of past grief and anticipatory grief so I have been going through it these past two weeks and again am grateful for my friends who have checked in on me.

In the morning, I went for a walk and finished two books, one of which was a book on coping with the loss of a cat that my brother Corey had sent me and while it made me feel like every raw nerve in my body was being poked and prodded at times, it was overall a very cathartic read and you know what I did when I finished it? I contacted a local therapist experienced in EMDR therapy and am in the process of getting something scheduled.

So I feel positive about that.

I still cried a bunch of times today BUT! Chooch spent a large portion of the day with me and that was so good for me to get out of the house and I dunno, live a little. I let him drive, which is also good for me because I’m a passenger princess. So that in and of itself was an adventure.

I wanted to go to Round Hill Park because it’s symbolic in a way. He and I went there one day during the summer of 2020. I had taken a day off because they were pushing us to take PTO even though we were working from home and there was nowhere to really go because it was still the height of the pandemic. But I had suggested Round Hill because it’s outdoors and I thought we’d be safe. It was the summer before he started high school.

This is the summer before he starts college. I am gutted.

He agreed only because he was excited to drive that far out, I’m sure.

We had to drive past his doctor’s office on the way – in Jefferson Hills – so I suggested that we stop there because he had some immunization paper work for college that needed to be filled out. He was just there last week for his wellness visit and they gave him his records then but Drexel was like NO IT HAS TO BE DONE ON OUR FORM PLEASE AND THANKS. Anyway, we went in and he was like, “I have a PDF—” and the lady was like, “Great, please print it out and come back.”

Like, no offer to just print it out there, just sent us away like we were riffraff begging for loose pills.

(j/k she was nice but still.)

Then we went to Sheetz and got coffee and breakfast. Chooch regretted “not backing in” to the parking spot. He is obsessed with backing in, like why do guys think this is such a flex??

Anyway, Round Hill was nice and not crowded. We saw some animals that reminded us of Bambi though, like this rabbit:

And this goat:

:( I’m still in agony. It hurts so bad.

There was some annoying little girl over by the horses being a total know-it-all. I guess she and her mom are regulars because they were like ALL OVER one of the horses even though there are signs everywhere that say no petting, but the mom seemed like she was on a personal level with them, and was flaunting it which was kind of off-putting but you do you, horse lady.

Chooch thought he was safe from a photo shoot but then I saw some lady across the street in a field of flowers taking pictures and you know, monkey see monkey do, so I made him go over there with me and he was so pissed.

“This could be our last time here together,” I said somberly to Chooch, who sighed, “THAT is what you said the LAST time, too.”

Then we began our QUEST for a printer.

Apparently, CVS prints documents for you but we couldn’t find one that was on the way back to where his doctor is, so we stopped at a Rite Aid in Elizabeth were some old lady was like OH HAHAHAHA WE STOPPED DOING THAT YEARS AGO like we were transplants from the 1980s asking for the latest blockbuster on VHS.

Desperate, Chooch turned to Google and found some place in Clairton called Precision Copy Center with zero reviews but we shrugged and decided to check it out. To be fair we could have done this any other day because the deadline isn’t until Sept 1st but it became A MISSION to get it done WHILE WE WERE OUT.

After nearly getting t-boned by a pick-up truck, we pulled up to this random copy place next to the river in a rundown area next to a moonshine distillery??? and they were like “um try Kinkos maybe???” I think this was a commercial printer, lol.

I  guess I can’t embed videos anymore on this broke-add blog that is another thing that is dying in my life and I just can’t give a shit about it anymore. https://www.ohhonestlyerin.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/07/IMG_3512.mov”>IMG_3512

Anyway, we ended up at the Pleasant Hills Library and the librarian looked surprised that two people under the age of 70 were requesting print services. But it was a success and now the doctor’s office has it and will get it back to us within 3-5 business days and it’s one last college thing to worry about it.

That map on the floor was for people to write down adventures they’ve had in a certain place and then stick it on the map so I did one for getting married in Seoul while Chooch was struggling to only print the pages he needed so we wouldn’t be OVERCHARGED god forbid (it came to 60 cents and I brought in FOUR QUARTERS so we were on a BUDGET).

Wouldn’t Chooch and I be incredible on the Amazing Race?

THEN we had to go to Giant Eagle (UGH GROCERY SHOPPING) to get gluten-free bread and a small gluten-free cake for tomorrow because “one and a half” of his friends are gluten-free whatever that means. Following the baker’s directions to where the gluten free cakes were located was like a side-quest. We had to go back  to the bakery and ask for directions a second time, LOL. But, we succeeded.

Everything is annoying / stressful / sad / panic-inducing lately. It’s going to be OK though, right? Eventually?

Jul 102024
 

It’s been hard. I went to a pet grief support group Monday night. Henry came with me and it was us and five elderly women who are regulars. They were so welcoming and comforting. One could have passed for my friend Marlene’s sister, right down to her dry sense of humor.

Per the Fight Club-seque rules of the group, I am not permitted to share any details of what everyone discussed. (I’m not kidding!! “What is shared in the room stays in the room.”)

I’m really trying to not sink into the grief but the cat loss book that my brother sent me (seriously my friends and family have been truly holding me above water) says to DRIVE into it. So, OK – I’m doing that. I’m letting myself sob. But I’m also going for walks. I’m (trying) to help with party decorations. But I’m also desperately wishing I’d come back that walk and see her waiting by the window.

I am also seeking therapy to help me process the trauma of this. It’s hard enough losing a family member but the way this happened has wrecked me for what feels like life. I am looking to try EMDR therapy.

I’m still not really eating. I have almond milk with a scoop of protein for breakfast, a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and dinner is usually a cookie or ice cream. I don’t know what is happening to me but I cannot bring myself to making my morning smoothie or anything else that was a routine because it just makes me think of Drew and I feel broken again. Baby steps. One day I will want to eat dinner again. One day, using the blender won’t make me cry.

I am working on not blaming myself but it is so hard when I was the only one here. I am trying to stop the WHAT IFS (I had reacted faster) and the BARGAINING (I would go back to 2016 and relive all the trauma with my grandparents house / Sharon if it meant reliving Drew and Penelope’s first year with us). I know this will take time. I’m writing in her tonight because it’s like a pep talk. I can do this. I have lost and mourned others. No one will replace Drew. No one will fill her spot in my heart. I couldn’t stop it. It’s not OK but it has to be otherwise I will be living in this loop forever and it is so painful. It hurts so much.

Some positive things:

  • I did my annual wellness check yesterday and all my numbers came back in the green. Yay.
  • The Olympics will be starting soon. Yay.
  • Spending time with Chooch. He still hasn’t gotten his license but has his permit so we’ve been letting him drive us around. Last night, I was his passenger and he decided he wasn’t feeling in the mood for music so he turned off the radio and just talked – no soul-baring convos or anything like that but just some light chitchat and it was just what I needed, especially when we drove past a fire station and he suggested finding a baby to leave on the doorstep lol.
  • Penelope is still here.
  • The squirrels are still here.
  • Today I went into the office just to get out of the house and I got to see Sue and Megan and I walked around disgusting Pgh but it was a bit of normalcy. While there, my laptop died and I was issued a new one. The IT guy said I AM THE FIRST PERSON IN THE FIRM TO GET THE NEW MODEL. I said I’m going to brag about it and he said “oh you definitely should.”
  • New NCT127, which Drew would have loved (well, I would have loved pretending that she loved it to annoy Chooch).

Jul 072024
 

It hasn’t been a full week yet. It is ok that I’m not ok. I keep telling myself this but then I go back to wailing I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU IM SORRY every time I’m alone.

Yesterday was truly bad. I spent most of the morning drowning in hopelessness and feeling like I couldn’t go on. None of the pet grief hotlines are real – busy signals, voice mails, complete wrong numbers. So I looked up general grief hotlines and started texting with someone from one of them. I didn’t help.

But then I called my friend Lisa and we talked for an hour. She is a hospice chaplain and has walked me through the grief process of my Pappap all the way up to Marcy. I should have called her so much earlier because she helped me calm me a little even though much of the beginning of the conversation was me slurring incoherently around uncontrollable sobs.

Lisa said that what she is hearing is that on top of grieving my best friend, I am also grieving the fact that my son is leaving for college. I told her that after this happened, I only feel emotionally stable when Chooch is down here with me during the day. If he goes back to his room, I cry. If he runs to Dunkin, I cry.

It’s compounded grief. Why is this happening. I was taking solace in the fact that Bambi would be here with me when Chooch goes to college and now she’s not here and yes I have Penelope but she is very much the opposite of Drew and doesn’t come around much during the day so I am going to be so alone as I work from home every day.

My favorite tattooist – Erin from Kyklops – messaged me and said I don’t have to wait for her fall bookings to open, she is ready when I am. I know memorializing her on me will be cathartic and I want to get that done ASAP. I am scrambling to grab onto anything that will stabilize me but it feels like I’m paddling through quicksand.

Lisa also made me feel that my emotions are valid and that I shouldn’t feel this distressed over “just a cat” because she truly was so much more than that and the trauma around watching her die in front of me and not being able to stop it after I had always said I would never let anything happen to her, it’s so much. I can’t handle it. This grief is actually making me feel like my heart is going to just stop.

Henry called the vet yesterday, the one I took her to last week, and as soon as he said “Drew” he said that the person he was talking to said, “oh, Bambi” and that made me break down all over again. Anyway, he told them that I’m having a hard time and they gave him some resources for me, one being a pet grief support group that happens to be meeting tomorrow night so I’m going to go to that. I need help. I need so much help.

We went to the Asian market today to get some stuff for Chooch’s graduation party and as we were walking thru the parking lot, an older white lady was like HELLO! as she got out of her car and I was like do we know this lady. No, we didn’t but she was just one of those people who likes to talk to everyone so I ended up walking with her and she was like “I love this place so much, I get so many interesting things here!” and then she asked Chooch if he likes to cook Chinese food and he goes “no but my dad makes Korean food” and she screamed KOREAN!!! through the parking lot and I was like Jesus Christ lady. So she asked me how he got into making Korean food and I gave her the condensed version, ending with us getting married in Korea and she was like Omg congratulations and you know what, I almost started to tell her about Drew because I am so desperate for human connection right now, anyone to listen and empathize, and she seemed like a great candidate but then I was like Erin stop, this lady came here to buy peanut oil (which Henry had to help her choose), she is not here to be your suicide hotline.

I can’t imagine doing anything I used to love to do now that Drew’s not here. I had to ask Henry to change the notification on his phone because I used to mockingly reenact it for her every time it would sound off. I had to ask him to change the song that Alexa would play when I ask for her to turn on the living room light because I used to sing that to her too.

I can’t watch travel vlogs. I can’t watch kpop content. Everything is dead to me. I have had on Sky News all day because there is nothing else that I can stand to have on in the background. Just give me bland British news.

Sorry to sound like a 5-year-old but WHY?! I don’t understand how this happened!!! Why was she taken away from me??

Jul 062024
 

I am looking through my blog for pictures to use for Chooch’s graduation party and of course I keep stumbling upon Drew memories. Most are making me burst into tears to the point of nausea (I tried texting a crisis hotline this morning – it did not help).

But this one made me almost laugh. I miss her so much, my little USP. From November 2018:

**********************

You guys know how Chooch and I fight over everythang right? From semantics to the hue of the sky to Yanny or Laurel, we will bicker until Henry has to threaten to take away our privileges. I guess that’s what happens when you’re basically the same person. (This is why I can’t be friends with people who are too much like me!)

(Also, can you imagine if Chooch was also a Leo?!)

We even fight over cats, as in, whose cat is better/prettier/smarter/cuter/less smellier.

Last night, everything was pretty quiet. Chooch and I were coexisting peacefully, watching theme park YouTube videos, when I looked at Penelope who was sitting on her tower like a perfectly furry loaf.

“Penelope is so cute, she could be a Disney character!” I cooed. “Penelope, you could be Snow White’s kitty!”

Chooch fake-gagged on his water. “YEAH RIGHT, she’s more like Hunchback of Notre Dame!” And then he kept calling her Quasimodo (after he googled the name because HE WAS TOO DUMB TO KNOW.)

(YEAH I CALLED MY KID DUMB AND I’LL CALL YOU DUMB TOO SO GO AHEAD, REPORT ME.)

So in retaliation I looked at HIS CAT DREW and in my effort to come up with a better burn, I blurted out, “Yeah well Drew could be Ursula’s….SHOULDER PAD!”

Chooch gaped at me. “WTF?” he cried. “That doesn’t even make sense!”

“YES IT DOES!” I was now on my knees, laughing so hard that my eyes were birthing pure drops of comedy rain, picturing Drew perched on Ursula’s shoulders, a natural extension of her oceanic hideousness.

Chooch continued to scoff at me so I ran upstairs and woke up Henry so I could tell him my sick burn.

He too just stared at me. “You’re so dumb,” he murmured. But he just wasn’t awake enough to fully grasp the perfection of this insult, the smartly crafted nuances of my name-calling.

I came back downstairs and continuously called Drew “Ursula’s Shoulder Pad” until Chooch eventually blocked me out. Later, I laughed myself to sleep.

********

This morning, Chooch was still dwelling on it. “And Ursula doesn’t even wear a shirt that would have shoulder pads,” he argued, desperately grasping for straws but MAMA OWNS THIS SODA SHOP OF SICK BURNS, BOY. NO STRAWS FOR YOU.

On my lunch break, I was on the phone with Henry as usual. He’s like obsessed with me and makes me check in with him every afternoon. (Lolz.) He had just gotten home from work and was starting to say something about Drew.

“Ursula’s Shoulder Pad,” I corrected him and he flipped out about how dumb it is. So triggered!!

“Do you think it’s just as good or better as when I used to call Speck [RIP] ‘Breakfast Nook’?” I brayed which is how I talk when I’ve reached Critical Giddiness.

“THAT WAS JUST AS STUPID,” Henry barked. Wow, Henry’s got no jams.

I kept randomly thinking about this all day and I’d have to stifle my snort-laughs at my desk. Finally, I went over to tell Glenn and Todd. Todd stopped listening as soon as I said “cats” because he hates cats. But Glenn heard me out.

“That’s…really stupid,” he said, BUT HE WAS TRYING NOT TO SMILE. “It doesn’t even make sense. Why….?”

By the time I told Lauren, I was Bobcat Goldthwaiting all up in her space but she thoughtfully considered it and said, “No, you know what? It is funny. I don’t really know why, but it is. I’m on your side!”

YESSSSSSSS. I couldn’t wait to tell Henry.

“No, it’s still dumb, and Lauren is dumb too for encouraging you,” he sighed when I told him after work.

Just a few minutes ago, I was dancing to the Ursula’s Shoulder Pad jingle which I made up on the fly. “I really think this is the funniest thing I’ve ever said,” I said while sliding around in my socks. “I’ll never be this funny again!”

“It’s literally the dumbest thing you’ve ever said, so….” Henry sighed.

TOUGH FUCKING CROWD.

But seriously, look at those arm barnacles!

(Henry just said I’m dumb again and that’s literally all he ever says to me so I think that means he has a crush on me.)

(YOU GUYS I JUST MADE THAT PICTURE THE LOCKSCREEN ON CHOOCH’S PHONE HE IS GOING TO BE SO PISSED!)

ETA: Or is she really HENRY’S SHOULDER PAD?? Oh shit did I just … MAKE SENSE of this?! Did I just … TIE THIS ALL TOGETHER? Wow, that’s almost like real blogging.

Jul 042024
 

My bereavement diet of peanut butter toast and ice cream is going strong, so for dinner I had ice cream at Page’s. Every dog in line with their owners reminded me of Drew because Chooch would always say “look at that Bambi (what he called Drew) dog” and I would say, “that doesn’t look like Bambi at all” but tonight I came home and told him that I saw two Bambi dogs and all dogs now look like her to me, I am fucking haunted.

There is a sign that literally says WAIT TO BE CALLED TO THE WINDOW in like 4 different ways but this lady was like “does not apply to me” and was standing so close to Henry while he was paying that he walked into her when he turned to leave lol.

Anyway, I got a blueberry soft serve. It would have been more satisfying if my best cat had not just tragically and traumatically died in front of me 4 days ago…

It’s not getting easier yet. I am truly thankful for the friends who have repeatedly checked in on me this week. Texting and chatting with them has been the only thing helping me get through the days. I hate being in this house. I hate the mornings especially – no Bambi to catapult into my bed and gnaw at me viciously because she’s in such a hurry for me to get out of bed, you can play Connections later, let’s goooooo. I hate nighttime because I start to panic about going to bed because I know I will wake up repeatedly through the night with my mind whirring.

Today, Penelope has spent the whole time laying under the chaise lounge on the backporch. She has eaten at least but I am freaking out and keeping an eye on her. I don’t know if she is also sad or what but I cannot lose her too. We were going to go to the Butler County Fair today just for something to do, to try and have some semblance of fun, but with Penelope acting so down, I opted to stay home.

I would give up the chance to ever go to Korea again if it would bring back Drew. I would give up ever even leaving the state again if it would bring her back.

Jul 032024
 

This is Drew right after we adopted her in January 2016. I am not handling this well at all. I have barely eaten anything (a mini blizzard, peanut butter toast, a Rice Krispie treat since she died on Monday) and I can stop full-body sobbing. I know this is normal and that many people experience this level of grief but it doesn’t help me right now. I don’t know what I need. Time, I guess.

Penelope has been spending more time with us so she definitely is aware. Usually she will sleep all day on the back porch but she has been out and about more.

Ever since last fall, I felt so disoriented. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe my subconscious knowing that our days with Chooch living here were numbered, maybe it was the stress of trying to help the new neighbors through a language barrier, but I can tell you that 2024 has not brought much more comfort, starting immediately with Barb dying.

Yes, there was Korea but I will tell you, that is bringing me no comfort right now.

All I can think about is when Chooch leaves for college in September, how lonely it is going to be around here. I expected obviously that Drew would be with us still and that we’d have each other to lean on during the day but then she was taken from me and I can’t make any sense of it. I can’t stop thinking about it and picturing that last moment, literally watching her die and not being able to do a fucking thing about it.

This was literally just Sunday morning. I had seen an IG reel the night before where someone turned a Churru treat into a popsicle and Drew went nuts over it which shocked me because she was our fussy one.

I bought cooling mats for both of them just a few weeks ago. Drew used to run and slide on hers across the room. She had even just been doing that Monday morning before I logged onto work too. It was such a normal day so far.

I am never going to read this again because I don’t want to remember the pain I feel right now but I have to get these thoughts out of my head and I don’t know what else to do. I’m spiraling out and have cried so much that I can’t believe I’m not just a desiccated skin sack at this point.

Jesus Christ she meant everything to me.

Jul 012024
 

I lost my best friend this morning and I can’t fucking process it. One minute, Drew was standing on the beverage buffet, looking at the birds. I was standing next to her, petting her and talking to Henry on the phone. I had just hung up with Henry and started to walk back to my desk when I heard a thud. I turned around and Drew was laying on her side on the floor, convulsing, her tongue protruding. I was screaming BAMBI! BAMBI! (that’s Chooch’s name for her and I call her that more than Drew, too) and then I called Henry and screamed “I THINK BAMBI IS DYING COME HOME” and then I ran next door to HNC’s house and straight up banged on his front door. Poor guy was so bewildered when he opened it and I was like CAN YOU TAKE ME TO THE EMERGENCY VET I THINK MY CAT IS DEAD and he was like Jesus Christ let me get dressed real fast (he had pants on at least) and then I ran back into the house but you guys, I knew it. I knew she was gone. She was limp in my arms and I was begging her to come back and even by the time HNC got me to the vet down the street, only about 5 minutes had passed but it was too late. They couldn’t do anything and I am still sitting here crying like I’m going to throw up, haven’t cried like this in 9 years – when I lost Marcy. I just don’t understand how this happened. She was fine, we sat on the porch before work, she had her treats, she was like ” INORITE” as I was on an endless call to the help desk right when I logged on to work. And then she just wasn’t alive anymore. SHE JUST WASN’T ALIVE ANYMORE.

I want to punch something so hard.

I wanted to punch everyone at the vet.

The vet said that it was likely a blood clot that went straight to her brain, there wasn’t nothing that could have detected it, nothing they could have done or I could have done like that is supposed to make me feel any better knowing that the one living being I spend most of my time with, literally SO MUCH TIME TOGETHER, is just not here now and there is no going back, there is nothing to undo it and I am so fucking pissed and depressed and traumatized and I don’t FUCKING UNDERSTAND.

I was sitting alone in the cry room when Henry and Chooch showed up – Chooch was home when this happened but he was asleep and I don’t know how he didn’t hear me screaming but I didn’t want to waste time trying to wake him up and I don’t know if that was the wrong choice or not but he didn’t know that she had died when they showed up even though I had texted Henry and told him and then all three of us just stayed in this tiny room holding her and crying and even Henry who never emotes was crying and how is this happening. Why, I don’t understand she is my best friend and now I feel so alone immediately.

SHE WAS ONLY 8 YEARS OLD.

It feels like I only JUST said goodbye to Marcy and now that same pain is happening all over again. I feel so sick. I feel so bad for Chooch. Bambi was his baby. When we adopted her, I went into it with my heart still hurting from Marcy and I said to myself, “This is for Chooch. This is what Chooch needs and I am doing this for Chooch” and I swore that I would love the new cat, I’m not a monster, but I didn’t want to get attached. And of course I got attached instantaneously. I thought about her all day at work the next day and was so excited to go home and play with her. And then right after that we adopted her sister Penelope and they don’t really like each other all that much but Penelope knows. She can sense it and she’s being really mopey and weird and I hate this for all of us and now I can’t sing my “It’s one and two and two and ones!” to them anymore when I walk into the room and I don’t think Henry will miss that but maybe secretly.

I want to always remember how she has been afraid of the threshold to our bedroom since she was a kitten and to this day (ugh) she would very tentatively approach and then fucking LEAP across the room straight onto our bed, usually landing on my groin and causing me to scream in agony.

I want to always remember how she would wait for Henry to get comfortable on the couch and then decide that she wanted to sit beneath the throw blanket that I keep on that side of the couch and he’d go, “Ugh, fine you asshole” and move over, and then hold up the blanket so she could burrow under it.

I want to always remember how she would jump on Chooch’s shoulders when she was a younger cat.

I want to always remember how she would interact so docilely with the squirrels BUT HATED THE BIRDS.

She was so jumpy and sensitive. One time I had my hair in a ponytail and she for some reason didn’t recognize me and slowly backed away.

No one else ever really got to meet her or experience her quirks because it was STRANGER DANGER every time someone came over, but for us three, she was such a GIGANTIC part of our household and our lives. Like, she was ALWAYS with us.

She called treats “trits” and if I spelled “Is it t-r-i-t-s time?” she would run to the kitchen and wait. She and Penelope eat their trits on fine China saucers (well, from Goodwill).

I am so unbelievably wrecked. She is so special to us. I thought we had so many more years. I thought Chooch would go away to college and I could taunt him with pictures of Bambi loving me more and forgetting all about him. I just, I really thought that.

Jun 302024
 

Wow. This weekend was…a weekend. Every time I suggest going away somewhere, Henry reminds me that we “just” went to Korea and I’m like “yeah but that was in March?” and then he proceeds to teach me economics – which I never took in high school or college and baby it shows.

So, it was another lowkey weekend. It’s fine. I’ll survive. One day when I’m retired and living off my fat pension – OH WAIT lol.

Here are some things that happened that were notable-ish:

  • Friday night, Henry and I played tennis. Well, I played tennis. I felt like I was starting to really get my serve-groove back so that was a nice start to the weekend!
  • We went to Michael’s and got stuff for the graduation party and I spent a lot (A LOT) of time going putting photos in folders to be printed for embarrassing collages to be displayed. I’m excited for this party to come and go.
  • Henry and I walked to Potomac Station for some afternoon delights (the actual kinda not the skyrockets in flight kinds) and had a nice chat with the owner! HE IS SO FRIENDLY and that just made me like the place that much more. He even showed me a sneak peek at the July drink menu which will be debuting later in the week and yo—get your ass to Dormont because you’re gonna wanna try these! Also, one of the treats we brought home was an ube tea cake and PERCY, HOLD ME BACK because I’m about to walk my fat ass back there right now and get another (thank god for my vanity they’re closed now I think lol). Ugh, so good. That combined with the humidity put me in an afternoon malaise though and it was hard to shake it off.
  • Spent all weekend rooting for and obsessing over Seventeen being the first kpop group to perform at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in the UK which, if you even sort of know me, you’ll know that I have always wanted to go to this festival when the Cure is headlining but have never made it there (yet?). Anyway, I have been seeing really awesome comments online from random British festival attendees who were raving about the performance – a lot of these comments were from middle-aged men too and I was like so proud like these are my 13 sons, yo. And NME rated their performance a perfect 5/5. I’m dead.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8z5lSqpHkK/?igsh=MXgxOXN4eDMydTRsdg==">https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8z5lSqpHkK/?igsh=MXgxOXN4eDMydTRsdg==

Seungkwon has that crowd eating from his hand and I love to see it.

  • We hadn’t seen our neighborhood friend Bob and his corgi Spencer in what feels like several mths. Usually, we’d see him strolling by Spencer at least once a day, then suddenly – nothing. So Chooch walked over to his house on Saturday to do a neighborly wellness check (I love that he did this on his own! He is actually a good kid sometimes) and it turns out that the Spencer household is fine – Bob hurt his back and hasn’t been able to walk Spencer but other than that, things are ok thank god. Chooch ended up staying for over an hour chatting with Bob and his wife Ann, and offered to walk Spencer but apparently, Spencer will not go without Bob. Ann said she can’t even walk him! Anyway, we are all relieved to know that nothing dire has happened.
  • Chooch went to his friend’s girlfriend’s birthday party last night which was APPARENTLY ALSO A SLEEPOVER, calm down Erin, your son is an 18-year-old high school graduate, he does not need a permission slip from your old ass. Anyway, while he was gone, Henry and I watched the Brats documentary because, while I already wanted to see it, after I listened to the guys from the DVE morning show talking about it with one of the St. Elmo’s Fire writers when we were en route to Allentown last week, I was like, “No, I’m scheduling this for Saturday night.” I mean, what else do Olds do these days on Saturday nights?? Breweries or stay the fuck home, I feel like?? Unless someone invites us out, you can catch Henry and me sitting on the couch, watching YouTube. ANYWAY, so we watched the documentary and wow, I had no idea that any of this was going on at the time. I mean, also I was like 5 or 6 and not reading newspapers or watching talk shows, so how would I know that those group of actors ABHORED the label “The Brat Pack.” Yeah, it was depressing. I partially knew going into it thanks to DVE that it was going to be like that, but I really had hoped there would have been more “here’s footage of the Brat Pack hanging out together” except that, well, if you watch the damn thing, you will know that they LEGIT DID NOT HANG OUT TOGETHER.
  • When I was scrolling through my YouTube feed this morning, one of the Korea channels I subscribe to popped up and the title was GOODBYE BEEMO and the thumbnail was them sitting on a couch with a MEMORIAL PICTURE OF THEIR CAT IN FRONT OF THEM and I fucking burst into tears with such a quickness. The absolute worst. My heart breaks every time someone loses a beloved pet whether I know them or not. Hate it.
  • Henry is on an avocado toast kick which is weird because he’s Henry, with a palette designed for Slim Jim’s and Moon Pies. He got one at Dunkin’ yesterday (weird) and then made his own this morning (and it was good??!!).
  • Today, we went to my friend WONKA’S daughter’s grad party in Boyce Park! It was such a beautiful day! The food was good, I ate cake and played Badminton, had some solid chats with Jess, and Henry and Chooch did drone things with Wonka. And we pet dogs! And we ate cold grapes coated in a moderately sweet cream cheese concoction that were addictive! It was a really good time but also lowkey depressing that we have children who have graduated from high school. Here is a picture of when Wonka came to visit right after Chooch was born – Anais was about 5 or 6 mths old here! Fast forward 17 years and Wonka would be Chooch’s mentor for some senior project that he had to do. Chooch has always had a nice bond with Wonka and I wish I could go back in time and ask him to be Chooch’s godfather instead of the guy who hasn’t been a part of Chooch’s life at all after his first year BUT THAT’S FINE HE WAS ONLY MY BEST FRIEND AT THE TIME AND I NEVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT CHANGING BUT YOU DO YOU DO. (*angry panting*)


OK on that bitter endnote, I do not anticipate anything noteworthy happening now (well, now that I typed that…) because it’s almost 8PM. Bye.

Jun 282024
 

Oh shit, this has to be one of my favorite Chooch-eras of all time. He rocked that purple hair, then pink, then pink and blue, then just straight-up bleached for a good year, year and a half. The annoying part is that at the time, other kids in his school weren’t dying their hair yet, going to Warped Tour, etc. so he got bullied that year and it was really fucked up. OK, I’m getting all pissed off again, nearly 10 years later, and that wasn’t the intention of this blast from the past!

I definitely want to include at least one of these at his graduation party, but I know he’ll be pissed, haha.

OK, enjoy the pictures and whatever words I wrote back then (I didn’t look at that part).

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Incredibly, Chooch agreed to an impromptu photo shoot today when I came home from work and didn’t even ask for money or Skylanders in return. And I know exactly why.

 

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Chooch has a “girlfriend” apparently. She’s someone from his class and before school ended, they exchanged Instagram names. So now he’s all about pictures of himself, so that he can post them and then tag her to see if she’ll say anything. Usually it’s things like, “You’re weird.”

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So he was like, “Yeah let’s do this thang.”

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His go-to pose.

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His hair combined with his loud mouth make it easy to keep tabs on him when he’s out and about.

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Obligatory Flock of Seagulls shot.

In other news, taking in-focus photos is becoming increasingly harder for me to accomplish because my eyesight is getting so horrible but I still haven’t made an appointment to get them checked because I LIVE DANGEROUSLY. Also because I constantly forget to do adult things.

Jun 262024
 

(8:07am) Good morning party people, we’re currently en route to Allentown, PA to spend a few hours at Dorney Park. They have a new dive coaster and we need that cred. It takes a bit over 4 hours to get there so I really had to plead my case to Henry on this one haha.

We were just listening to one of the writers of St. Elmo’s Fire talking on WDVE in the wake of the Brat Pack doc and now I am desperate to watch that movie again – one of my faves when I was a teen!! Henry just admitted that he doesn’t think he ever watched the whole thing, oh my godddddd. Guess that’s what we will be doing this weekend.

(8:36am) Since my last check-in, we grabbed morning sustenance at Dunkin, Henry went the wrong way and denied it, then almost went through a redlight RIGHT IN FRONT OF COP and acted like it was NBD even though he did a HARD STOP that threw me forward and if it had me driving, Henry would have lambasted me and revoked my license because I’m a WOMAN.

(10:28am) Just stopped at a restaurant area in Sideling Hill whatever that means and Henry is being so annoying and also breathing heavy.

(11:51am) Welcome back to The Rest Stop Report. Just stopped at one outside of Harrisburg. Bathroom was clean. Came out to some weird hullabaloo at the vending machines where Henry was standing with a fistful of dollars like he was in the pit at a strip club, while Chooch was like GET ME THIS GET ME THAT. The vending machine had TUNA AND CRACKERS. I wanted Henry to get it for an experiment (a Will This Kill a Man experiment, specifically) but he ended up getting nothing so I don’t know what all that singing and dancing was for.

Apparently a package of Veggie Sticks was half sticking out and Chooch wanted Henry to shake the machine to see if he could knock it loose but Henry’s excuse was that “someone was working there” – bitch where? We saw no such employee. This was just his excuse to not have to be exposed for WEAKNESS.

(1:06pm) we made it!

(1:27pm) Iron Menace, the new one, down for maintenance ugh!

So we came to Steel Force and had to wait for them to clean a seat that someone puked in!

Also Chooch was a bitch about this picture. God forbid I’m trying to collect MEMS of our last summer together before he sets collegiate sail ugh.

(2:36pm) Hello from a table after eating cheese flatbread and witnessing Henry having a shit fit because he ate more than his share of a fried tasty kake krinkle (??) and we called him out on it. My least favorite thing about him is when he gets all high and mighty and gaslighty, wherein he acts like he’s this PERFECT MAN who never does anything wrong.

“You have a Saint complex!” I cried. “And I’ll tell you exactly who gave it to you – your mother!”

It’s true. He can do no wrong in her eyes and she makes sure everyone knows it. If only she knew the Henry we know!!

Anyway, Iron Menace was chefs kiss! Chooch’s 351st credit!

Also, it’s this babe’s 100th bday and she is riding gloriously like a young lady!

Still pouting lol.

(2:45pm) LOL HE WONT EVEN SIT NEAR US ON THE TRAIN.

(3:09pm) FORGOT HOW TERRIFYING THIS IS.

(3:28pm) Slowest log flume ops.

(5:32pm) We just pulled out of Dorney so I will do little recaps here and there on the 4.5 hour drive home (ugh) but wow what a nice day except for when Henry threw his little bitch fest earlier over lunch. He’s sort of ok now.

Look at this cute shirt I bought!!!! I was going to get a Steel Force shirt but then I saw this and had to snatch it because CLOWN LOVE.

(5:44pm) At Trivet Diner whatever that means. Our server is very nice so far and is sorry that they don’t have almond milk for the cold brew that I am about to regret ordering.

Also our server likes my sunglasses and the cold brew is good so this is going well :)

Better than listening to Chooch recount all the times I acted like a baby in Stockholm. Ugh. When I pointed out that it was because he ruined my life because I wanted to go to the Vasa museum but we went to the Viking museum instead, he put on this really slow, drawl of condescension and said, “And we could have gone there too. You looked in and suddenly you said we couldn’t go because you wanted to eat instead, so then we had to go and eat. Remember.”

Um wait. Hahah hold up now hunny. What now?!

(6:26pm) one of the servers called over another server when I was paying because she wanted her (Crystal apparently) to see my phone case and Chooch mumbled “wow are you happy now, it’s all you ever wanted.”

We just left and I’m lamenting that I didn’t leave a big enough tip (more than 25%) and Henry and Chooch yelled in tandem, “it was plenty!” I’m sorry but NORA was NICE.

(6:42pm) At Sheetz and the power went out! A bad storm is on the horizon and I’m lowkey terrified because we’re going to be driving into it. :/

Here are some dreamy pictures from Dorney <3 the only slight downside was the ops on talon. Literal station wait yet it took us so long to get on and sent that Henry looked like he forgot who we were when we rejoined him. Also on the way there, a guy running one of the games kept yelling “Win your mom a prize! Hey, win your mom a prize! Where are you going?! Your mom wants a prize!” And then to the two boys behind us, “Hey win that kid’s mom a prize.” Lol.

Ok thoughts – loved it in the back/middle. Did NOT love it second row/last seat on right. I felt like a rag doll in a bad way. But overall what a great addition. I love the industrial makeover that whole section of the park got.

Steel Force Club Forever!! Chooch ride it two back-to-back times before we left. The second time, there was barely anyone waiting in the station so we just jumped up a few rows. The guy who got in behind us was like “Ooh you guys skipped the line! I saw what you did! Don’t worry I won’t tell” and then to Chooch he said “Your mom cracked the code!” But it was totally Chooch who chose to do this after seeing another girl do it on the first ride we were on that round. I remember the last time we were there in 2019, it was similar low crowds and we asked if we could stay on and the line attendant was like NO U HAVE TO GET BACK IN LINE and it was RIDIC because they were sending trains with like four people in them.

Anyway. Steel Force is so good. After we ride it the first time today, we did go all the way around and got back in line, only to get on a train and then have the ride attendants yell EVERYONE OUT because someone puked. The ride op in his little hut yelled AGAIN?? into his microphone because it had legit JUST happened before we rode the first time and we had to wait for them to clean it and send it empty. But yeah, happened again less than 10 minutes later! This time they had to wait for more cleaning supplies so they asked everyone to leave the line.

The real question: WAS IT THE SAME PERSON.

There was a ride attendant named OMAR on Talon and he was nice but slow AF and everyone was like OMAR! when our train was on the brake run while the slow-ass ops were preparing to send the train in the station. Omar seemed like he liked the attention but I don’t think the kids calling for him had good intentions.

Chooch hating life.

Telling me I can have some of his dippin dots if I could find a spoon on the ground because he’d rather a dirty floor-spoon go into his dippin dots than one that had already previously been in my mouth how sweet.

I love the color palette of the enterprise!!! Also I miss the enterprise at Kennywood and hate the replacement they put in.

Somehow we missed the kiddie cred in 2019. This was one of the most jerky/janky kids coasters I’ve ever ridden. I hated it lol.

There was almost someone who puked on the Tilt a Whirl too and that someone was me lol. Whoooo this was a doozy on a hot-ass day. Look at creepster Henry on the wall.

(8:42pm) Ugh Henry is making me drive. BRB.

(10:10pm) UGHHHHH at a rest stop finally – it was / is raining so hard with lighting everywhere and I was silently screaming as I white-knuckled the steering wheel, trying not to hydroplane on the fucking turnpike, while Henry relaxed in the passenger seat. I hate him. Now he’s inside the rest stop probably treating himself to some snacks from 7-eleven fucking asshole.

Also I wish our 7-elevens were like Asian ones and were actually fun to stop at.

I’m publishing this now because my muscles hurt from being clenched for the last hour and I want to do some calming breathing exercises or something (sometimes I miss my smoking years because this would be one of those CALLS FOR A CAMEL moments of yesteryear) but maybe I’ll stop back with one or two more updates, who knows.

(11:19pm) just checking in to say we passed through the Squirrel Hill tunnel and I want everyone to know that Henry got to drive the last leg home in perfectly dry weather MUST BE NICE.

Jun 252024
 

FULLY obsessed with the latest Red Velvet comeback, the song itself is majestic, the Midsommar-concept of the video is haunting and perfect for the song, and of course I love seeing the RV girls back in action. SM needs to care more about them, I fucking swear to god. This video is so aesthetically pleasing.

Now I want to go and watch Midsommar again – it’s been too long. (It came out in 2019?!)

 

Jun 232024
 

 

Chooch went out with his friends yesterday and next thing I knew, he was texting me pictures of the guts of a dilapidated church. I was like, “Omg this is so cool! Let’s go back and do a photoshoot there, I’ll pay you!” But then I found out it’s in a…not good area and also I’d have to CLIMB into it, so, that’s a no for me, Nigel.

He sent me all the pictures he took and some of them are really quite striking so I wanted to post them here because you can bet I will never climb through a window of a broke-down church in East Liberty to get my own shots. I mean, I might end up getting other kinds of shots, if you know what I mean. o.O

Free ur self / Love ur self.

Chooch could have played Kitty Cat Play Time, the original piece he wrote with his piano teacher, Cheryl. I bet it would have sounded extra haunting.

I didn’t see all of the TREACHEROUS photos until after he was home, THANK GOD because these gave me jello legs and I am not thrilled that he was trouncing around on the precipice of danger.

This sounds like the name of a stupid story I would have written for Blogathon.

There’s a video of him and his friends walking up those steps and standing on this ROTTED WOOD GLASS-STREWN FLOOR so I’m realllly not a happy mommy about that. But this photo is cool.

This made me think back to the time I did an overnight investigation with a local ghost hunting group at an abandoned elementary school in South Park and saw graffiti left behind by Blake and his friends, lol.

I really liked this shot but I’m not stoked thinking about where exactly he was when he took it. THE ROOF?!

 

THAT’S HOW THEY GOT INSIDE NO THANK Q.

Well, that’s all for me, the lady who is now living vicariously through her 18-year-old kid because she has nothing great going on in her own life currently, boo hoo.

Jun 222024
 
  1. She’s Not Sorry – Mary Kubica

Love me a domestic thriller. This was almost a 4. I genuinely did enjoy it but the plot kind of went haywire at a certain point, almost like she had ideas for two books and then decided to smash it together into one. The one storyline was VERY predictable, not connected, and completely unnecessary. But the twist in the main plot was A GOODIE.

2. Funny Story – Emily Henry

OK, if this has been the first Emily Henry book I had ever read, then 5 stars, easy. But, Happy Place is the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned, and this just didn’t quite reach that level. So, solid 4 stars it is. Emily Henry writes the best side characters – every single one has a purpose, an intention, dialogue unique to their personality. I know I have said this before, but once upon a time, I went to college for English writing and this is the snappy, whippy, smart and sardonic dialogue that I used to strive for. You know, back when I “wrote.” Sigh. Emily Henry’s books are such a fun summertime escape for me and I really think that the only thing that would make them better would be if I was reading it poolside. In Wildwood, maybe. Nothing too fancy.

3. Nigh Watching – Tracy Sierra

Remember what I was just saying about Emily Henry’s knack for realistic, smart dialogue? This book ain’t that. It was FINE but also, what. Just a whole lotta gaslighting and WTF is happening now. It starts immediately with a home invasion and I was worried that the entire book was going to be married to this one event – the man searching the house, the mom and two kids hiding in the panic room. But, it does move on to other settings, and there are also flashback chapters.

This might be one of those times where the audiobook ruined the book for me. Narrator’s natural voice was fine but when she started doing other voices it was just annoying. There’s an entire chapter where the main lady’s voice is raspy and SHE DID THIS AWFUL VOCAL FRY-esque thing which was like the nails of influencers circa 2015 on a chalkboard.

Actually the book itself was pretty mid regardless.

4.  The Vacation House – Jane Shemilt

Yooooo. I picked this up on a whim from the library and almost DNF’d it because of a slow start. But man, this caught me off guard how much I loved it. A book about rapists getting their comeuppance. We love to read it.

Really frustrating to see how the victim’s family was completely torn apart while the perps went on to live their best lives, which is so often the case.

5.  Worry – Alexandra Tanner

I mean, one of the characters is a rescue dog named Amy Klobuchar, so that should clue you in to the irreverence that is Alexandra Tanner’s writing. Simultaneously made me glad that I’m not in my 20s living in NYC with a younger sister and also sad that I’m not in my 20s living in NYC with a younger sister. The trials and tribs! A multitude of LOL moments. Loved it. Would watch it if it became a TV show.

6.  Expiration Dates – Rebecca Serle

3.5 – this was a fun concept and quick read! This broad gets a magical slip of paper every time she meets a man that tells her how long the relationship will last, until she meets one where no expiration is given. I enjoyed this more than I imagined – thought it would just be a sappy romp, and I mean – that it was – but it also kind of hit.

7. Rebecca, Not Becky – Christine Platt and Catherine Wigginton Greene

I would have liked this better if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook, I think. This was interesting in that it was written jointly by a Black author and a white author, and centers around a Black female protagonist, and a white female protagonist who is on a constant  mission to prove that she is woke, and while she has all good intentions, it does tend to come off as performative – especially in the eyes of the Black character, whose family has just moved into a wealthy predominately white neighborhood. Lots of thought-provoking discussions on race and prejudice, and many uncomfortable moments as we watch Rebecca Not Becky go above and beyond to make a token Black friend.

But yeah, the audio narration was grating.

8. I Did It For You – Amy Engel

Holy shit, this one was a HOT MESS. 2 stars. Skip it. The “big reveal” was actually so fucking laughable.

Not to shame the Young Adult genre, but I actually had to to doublecheck Goodreads to see if this was YA because it felt like it was written for pre-teens. Nope. This burning sack of dog shit was meant for adult eyeballs.

9. Real Americans – Rachel Khong

Easy 5 stars. Solid. Will live in my head for years to come. I love a multi-generational immigrant saga. My favorite section was the first one though, following Lily, a Chinese American struggling to find her professional footing during Y2K times.

I read “Goodbye Vitamin” by Khong several years ago and that was also a 5-star. I have been waiting for this book since then and it was worth it. She is a phenomenal writer. Also? There is a touch of magical realism in this, as a bonus. Please read this.

(Holy shit, I just started to involuntarily sob as I thought about one of the final chapters, LOL, is the heat getting to me or is it just me being like OH HI I HAVE A HEART.)

10. They Call Us Enemy – George Takei

A graphic novel written by George Takei of Star Trek fame about his childhood days growing up in concentration camps in America during WWII. I cried so much reading this.

11. I Thought You Said This Would Work – Ann Garvin

Two old college friends (grudgingly) reunite on a roadtrip to get back their friend’s dog who was turned over to a shelter by her ex-husband. Oh, and the friend is in the hospital battling her second round of cancer. Aside from the cancer, this was a very silly romp of a book, lots of capers, lots of madcap action, lots of quirky characters picked up along the way. I rolled my eyes a lot but somehow, by the end of the book, I was like JESUS CHRIST and bawled my eyes out. All that silliness did nothing to prepare me, that’s for sure.

12. When Among Crows – Veronica Roth

An interesting Slavic fantasy, very quick read, and very obviously the beginning of a series. I did enjoy it but is 3 stars enough to continue on to the next book? I dunno. I think this might be a case where the audiobook could have enhanced my experience because I read that it’s a full cast, but I didn’t want to wait for it so I just read the physical version. Wow cool story Erin.

13. Hello Girls – Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry

A YA Thelma and Louise-ish? It was OK.


OK, I’m out. I got the new Riley Sager from the library today and I am excited to see if I love it or hate it, there’s never an in-between when it comes to me and Sager.

Jun 212024
 

Hello from the tail end of one of the longest 4-day work weeks I think I have ever experienced. How is that possible?! Anyway, I was going to do a book recap today but it’s 95000 degrees in my house (at several points today you could have found me sitting at the computer with an ice cube on my head – and down my shirt – so that should be all you need to know about how I’m dealing in a heatwave with no A/C) and also I have been doing nothing watching this video on repeat much to Chooch’s chagrin because IT’S FROM 4 YEARS AGO AND HIS LOSER MOM ONLY JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT IT! God, sorry I exist! I shared it to some people at work and only ONE of them remembered it from FOUR YEARS AGO so maybe it wasn’t viral in this region!! At one point, Chooch yelled from the top of the steps, “Oh my GOD, are you watching that AGAIN??” And then last night, he was putting something on Netflix so, from the dining room, I changed it to this YouTube video and he was getting so perplexed as to why the TV was changing back over to YouTube. He kept going back to Netflix and I would just do it again, with quiet tears of laughter streaming down my face and mixing with the SWEAT THAT HAD ACCUMULATED THERE FROM DOING NOTHING OTHER THAN JUST BEING. “Just let it go and see what it’s trying to do,” Henry said calmly, surely because he knew it was me – Chooch didn’t because he is goddamn dense. So, Chooch let the TV do its thing and when this video started to play, he straight up lost his mind, LOL. This song haunts him now. I made Henry reset Alexa so now when I saw ALEXA LIVING ROOM LIGHT ON this song plays (it’s on Spotify thank god!!!).

I need to also make it my ring tone somehow.

If someone can do that for me, thsnks.

Anyway, here I was trying to avoid sitting here with a hot laptop sitting on my sweat-sticky thighs, but then this song hypnotized me into writing practically an entire blog post anyway when really I came here to post another VINTAGE CHOOCH POST, this one is from December 2013.

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This last week has been TRYING as far as parenting goes. I definitely feel like I’ve been screaming at Chooch more than anything else, because he is so fucking bull-headed (i.e. SO UNLIKE ME). The whole “There goes another Christmas present!

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” tactic totally doesn’t work anymore, by the way. I guess I’m going to have to swap out “Santa” for “Satan.”

“SATAN’S WATCHING YOU, YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE!”

And he definitely still believes in ghosts, so I can always go that route too.

Mornings and late evenings are especially bad. Sometimes he wakes up as Contrary Chooch and will battle me on EVERY LITTLE DETAIL down to the SOCKS I laid out for him to wear. My response is usually, “YOU ARE FUCKING 7 YEARS OLD STFU AND GET DRESSED.” Sometimes I try to kill him with kindness or make jokes, but in the end, I usually end up losing my temper and yelling.

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I hate power-struggles. I HATE PARENTING!

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Last Wednesday night, I was walking home from CVS and he was outside waiting for me. I KNEW he was going to try to bombard me with snowballs so I sternly said, “Do NOT throw snowballs—the snow is too icy!” But that son of a bitch whaled one right at my fucking face and it slammed hard into my temple. I instantly started to cry because that HURT, OK?

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And once Chooch saw that I was straight sobbing (I’m pretty good at embellishing), he got scared. He knew he done fucked up, but god forbid he should apologize. Instead, he starts making excuses and laughing nervously, and by the time we fought each other to storm through the front door, we were both SCREAMING hysterically and Henry came out of the kitchen like, “WTF?”

I stood in the middle of the living room screaming, “I THINK I’M LOSING MY EYESIGHT AND HE DOESN’T CARRRRRRREEEE!!!” and Chooch is yelling, “SHE HATES ME!!!!!!” simultaneously and the neighbors probably have their fingers poised to dial that last 1 in 9-1-1.

It’s been that kind of week.

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But then there are really sweet moments, too. And wine. And those are the things that keep me from getting that artists loft that I keep dreaming about. Like the one BO BRADY had in the 80s on Days of Our Lives. But seriously, how great would that be? I’d fill it with old mannequins and pretend like they were my friends. :(

Oh, right. Sweet moments. Like last night when Chooch was talking about the Santa Shop that’s happening this week at school. He wants to get something for our friend Andrea, but he became very perplexed because “it’s not like they’re going to have any death there.” Henry and I started cracking up but Chooch was very serious. He should write a letter to the paper about how the Santa Shop discriminates against people who collect dead things in jars.

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Unless one of us kills the other before then, Chooch and I are going to see Never Shout Never next Wednesday in Cleveland. Henry isn’t sure if he can go because his job is stupid and I am PANICKING about this. Chooch and I haven’t gone further than like, 50 miles away without Henry. And that’s probably a gross exaggeration. Maybe closer to 25 miles? Sometimes it’s just really hard for me to get into Responsible Parent Mode. I like it better when Henry can just deal with that and I can skip around being flighty and immature. Because that’s my true nature.

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If you live in Cleveland and see two dummies flailing about in Lake Erie, send the Coast Guard because I clearly drove off the map.

(PLEASE DO YOUR RELIGIOUS SPELLS SO THAT HENRY IS ABLE TO GO WITH US, OMG.)

Look, no one wants to put their kids on blast, but it is important for me to write about the lows and not only the highs. Because having shit like this to look back on makes me appreciate the highs that much more. This is real life.

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We argued the whole time we were in the cemetery on Sunday. But then by that night, we were able to co-exist peacefully on the couch and watch the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead together. (OMFG THAT SHOW IS KILLING ME.) And then the next morning, we were walking to school behind our Morning Nemesis and she was SCREAMING at her kid for pretty much no reason and that kind of made me take a step back and appreciate that at least Chooch and I can walk to school together without putting our disputes on display. That’s a small victory, right?

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So no, things aren’t perfect around here. But I guess they’re not really THAT bad either. And when I do start to lose the will to parent, I just go back and look at pictures of Chooch being, well, Chooch. And then it’s not so bad.

(That fucking snowball did really hurt though!!)

Jun 192024
 

It was a real crapshoot but I had the grand gesture of “taking” Henry to King’s Island for Father’s Day, if by “taking him” meant that we all woke up at 6am and made him drive the nearly 4 hours to Mason, Ohio on a piping hot 90 degree day in June. To be fair, Chooch and I swore that we would help drive home but, SPOILER, Henry was in HERO MODE and refused to give up the driver’s seat, fucking bitch boy martyr that he is.

Anyway, we got there an hour after the park opened. The sun was already blistering with nary a cloud in the sky for even the slightest cover of shade, but!! The park was blessedly empty. I mean, nearly every coaster was a station wait. (I texted this to Christina who lives near King’s Island and they were like, “Does that mean it’s not crowded?” YES, YES, THAT IS WHAT THAT MEANS.)

We had as close to a perfect day as possible, really. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if it were 20 degrees cooler, but other than that – absolutely no complaints. No fights. No arguing. No annoying people. No bad ride ops. For as sickening hot as it was, everyone seemed to be in good spirits, right down to the ride operators who were super personable and speedy with the dispatches while also reminding us to stay hydrated.

Henry was sighted here!

On the real though, we have never had to wait very long for The Beast any time we have been to King’s Island, so it wasn’t too shocking to be able to walk right up to the station. The Beast, and the new family boomerang, was the main reason I was so pushy about returning to KI this year. The Beast was recently retracked (just in parts, I believe) and Chooch needed that new boomerang cred.

The first time we rode it that day, I will be honest here: My impression was, “Wow, was that kind of not that great, or am I just spoiled now?” The Beast used to be one of my fave woodies! And I still had fun, don’t get me wrong, but it just didn’t feel as wild and chaotic? We were sitting in the front row of the last car, if you care about stuff like that.

Later though, Chooch and I went back on, this time in the middle row of the last car, and I have to say, it was A LOT more fun that time. I hesitate to say that it had “warmed up,” because it was like 90 degrees that day, and should have been HAULIN’ no matter what. But the second time? DEFINITELY HAULIN’! I kept saying that over and over again too because I wanted to feel like a coaster d00d, man.

Idiot Family.

When we were in line for the Soap Box Racer boomerang, Chooch me some kid’s Instagram from his class where he posted a clip of the LIVE STREAM OF COMMENCEMENT which I didn’t even know was a thing, so hooray knowing that viewers at home got to witness this:

It’s so jarring, even though I’m expecting it, to see Chooch come shooting into the frame. Maybe I was dehydrated and brain-burnt from the sun, but for some reason, this made me LOSE MY MIND in line, and I could NOT stop laughing. To the point where I had to do a modified pee squat to keep from pissing myself. Of course this was the ONLY coaster where we actually had to stand in line (granted, only 10 minutes) because it’s brand new from this season so everyone flocked to it.

This coaster was really cute and what a great fit for Camp Snoopy! I would have been stoked to ride something like this as a kid – who am I kidding, I probably would have been too scared to, who knows.

Blue ice cream is A MUST at King’s Island. What flavor even is it?? Berry, I guess? It’s so satisfying.

I started eating it / catching the drips with my big mouth before I remembered to take an obligatory selfie with it. I’m losing it, you guys. The boxes aren’t being ticked.

We sort of let him eat this in peace.

Boo Blasters was a walk-on and let’s be real, we only rode it to get out of the heat.

Adventure Express is actually my favorite ride at King’s Island LOL. It’s the best mine train that I have ridden in America, to be honest, and they recently rethemed it a bit and it’s so good, just so so so good. Henry is usually a poo-pooer of Adventure Express but suddenly he now says that it’s, “Not bad.” I forgot how unexpectantly aggressive it is and was screaming my face off the whole time.

Also, it was around this point that my stomach was starting to cramp from probably a combo of the ice cream and extreme heat. We rode Banshee after this and 1. I forgot how insane and intense this B&M invert is; 2. the ride op stapled me and I have never before had such an unpleasant experience with vest restraints, 3. my stomach was in so much pain.

I guess that’s the trade-off – everything was practically a walk-on but because of that, our bodies weren’t really getting enough time to readjust and reset in between each coaster which probably wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the whole “surface of the sun” heat advisory that day.

Not pictured, but we also rode The Bat, Orion, Mystic Timbers, and Diamondback up to this point.

Me: I want to get photos of the new themed area.

Also Me: I’m so hot, what was I doing again?

Racer was retracked, but only partially, and I felt like the old tracked portion was bad enough to keep my opinions of this coaster low. Also, I rode by myself on the left side, and Chooch chose to ride with HENRY on the right side, and then they WON. Ugh. BUT I beat them out of the exit so technically you could say *I* won.

The return part of the Racer was actually decent though. If they retracked the whole thing, it would be so re-ridable.

After our second ride on Orion, where some trashy broad was SO APPALLED that the line attendant made her stand off to the side and wait because the rest of her group wasn’t there yet and she was crying because “now look how many people are waiting for the front row!” and the Orion crew member was like, “Too bad, I can’t let you go until your whole group is here.” She did the whole THROAT SOUND TO INDICATE DISGUST AND DISBELIEF IN THE KEY OF KAREN and then started to call someone on the phone to see where they were in line, so presumably that person/people was just going to line-jump their way straight up the station, who even knows. I fucking hate entitled people so much. We all paid to be there, now stand in line and STFU! Also, there were hardly any lines to stand in anyway so why didn’t she just wait until her whole party was ready to get in line at the same time!!??

That was the only weirdness we encountered all day, and it didn’t affect us so whatever.

Taking a break after our second ride on Orion.

Literally just fighting to stay hydrated all day.

Backlot Stunt Coaster! We’ve ridden all three of these around various Cedar Fair Parks, but the one in King’s Island is the best. The one in King’s Dominion doesn’t have any of its effects working anymore, and I think Canada’s Wonderland was the same. This ride is so much fun though.

Also, Chooch decided that he doesn’t care for any coasters that don’t have a launch. Cool. But did we ask.

LOL the last thing we did that day was ride White Water Canyon, the rapids ride, and we got DUMPED ON. The crew also can control the geysers so the kid working in one of the booths downright unleashed on us and we were like drowned rats by the end. Not gonna lie, it felt fucking great in the moment but it was a really uncomfortable walk back to the car after that.

Henry and his uniform of Oversized Shirt and Cargo Shorts.

LOL I just realized that one of the kids in the background had run ahead of us when the gates for the train were finally opened, allowing us to enter the line for the rapids and then he was sooooo distraught because his dad was like, “Fuck no, I’m not running” so the kid kept stopping and yelling, “DAD! COME ON!!!” and then eventually had to admit defeat and let us and everyone else pass him because Dad wasn’t playing the Line Jumping Game. GOOD GUY.

Having ridden everything we wanted, and not wanting to end up in the hospital with heat stroke, we left the park at 4PM. Plus, we (we lol) had a 4 hour drive ahead of us. Lest you think that the day was 100% perfect, I am here to tell you that all bets were off as soon as we left the park and that’s when the HANGER set in bigly and we ended up arguing so bad over where and what to eat and ended up at a truck stop where Henry got two slices of Sbarro for him and me, and Chooch wanted biscuits and mashed potatoes at Popeyes.

It was a terrible, miserable, hateful dinner but hey, at least we had one of the best amusement park days ever beforehand! I’m just going to go ahead and say that King’s Island is my fave Cedar Fair park (I haven’t been to any of the ones past Michigan’s Adventure though).