Jul 062019
 

Kpop is a really expensive lifestyle, my chingu. And when groups come here around the same time, we have to choose wisely.

Because we skipped out on this year’s KCON (lineup was not worth the $$$ for me, not a knock against those groups though!) I decided to try and snag tickets for GOT7’s upcoming North American tour instead, since the last two times they were here we couldn’t go because of other concerts.

GOT7 is Chooch’s ult group and he is always mumbling about how it’s not fair that we go see the groups I like, blah blah, so I figured it was time to throw him a bone. I was able to get seats in the front row of one of the nosebleed balcony sections and then told Henry, “Oh yeah, and it’s in Toronto.”

He was not pleased, especially when he realized it was a Sunday. Toronto’s not that far of a drive from Pittsburgh – 5 hours – but when you’re driving there and back in the same day, that’s a whole ‘nother story, broski.  He found a nice parking spot next to a fountain and slept/watched Netflix/walked to Union Station to pee, you know — Henry things.

Meanwhile, Chooch and I managed to get inside ScotiaBank Arena with little problems; it’s apparently the same place I saw G-Dragon in 2017 but just has a different name now. The people who scanned our tickets were so friendly, and then while we were in line for merch, another staff member came over and said to us, “If I told you there was another merch table a few gates over with a shorter line, would you believe me?” Of course it was true, because why would he lie!? So we were able to snatch a tour t-shirt in no time. The staff at ScotiaBank was SO NICE. Trust me, I have been treated like shit by venue staff before, so when staff members do things like give us merch tips, that’s something that can make a good concert experience GREAT.

By this point, it was a little after 7 so we started to enter a stairwell to begin our ascent to the third floor. A security guard blocked our path, and I was starting to wonder if our good run of friendly staff was coming to an end. He told us that the upper levels were closed and I said, no, that was impossible, our seats were in the third level.

“They’re giving out ticket upgrades at the guest relations table,” he said, pointing us the right direction. I couldn’t imagine why this was happening, I have never received ticket upgrades for any show I’ve attended, so I was paranoid. But we got in the fast-moving queue and some broad handed us two tickets for seats in the 100 section so we shrugged and set off to find our gate, at which point we realized that we were like, RIGHT TO THE SIDE OF THE STAGE, only about 20 rows up from the floor, whaaaaaat.

We were so giddy about this, but then I looked around and realized that this was probably pretty shitty for GOT7 though, because it looked like maybe they didn’t sell as many tickets as they anticipated. I mean, they were performing in a huge arena, the same one that the Toronto Maple Leafs play in, and it looked like they closed off the upper levels and literally moved everyone down to fill the seats, and even then there were a lot of empty spots.

:(

But, we went from $80 seats to $125 seats, so that was pretty awesome for us!

GOT7 is pretty popular here in the States, and I think maybe what happened was BTS announced their stadium tour right after GOT7, and people went crazy and chose that over GOT7, because the BTS hype is fucking insane. For us though, we just saw BTS last fall and choosing GOT7 was a no-brainer.

And let me just say, it was WORTH IT. Even though I was suffering through a stomach ache during their whole concert and the entire excruciating drive home to Pittsburgh.

Especially because GOT7 can SANG, motherfuckers. They can SANG SO GOOD.

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Eclipse & aegyo. 💖

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They came out with Eclipse, their most recent comeback track, and I don’t know why I continue to be so stunned at how well the talent of these groups translates to these giant stages, but there is not even a millisecond of slouching or phoning it in. They are ON POINT, and seeing that choreography spill out on the stage in front of us is honestly breathtaking. GOT7 has some of the best dances out of any boy group out there right now. It’s literally sickening.

GOT7 is interesting because they’re not just made up of Koreans: Mark is American/Taiwanese, Bam Bam is Thai, and Jackson is Chinese (Hong Kong). Chooch’s bias is Bam Bam, and luckily for him, Bam Bam is fluent in English and did A LOT of the talking that night!

My bias is Youngjae! He reminds me a bit of Daesung from Bigbang because his vocals are STRONG, LOUD, and SOLID.

He has my favorite part in my current favorite GOT7 song, 1°:

Chooch’s favorite GOT7 song is “Confession Song,” which was this cute little Christmas-y song from 2015 and he kept screaming, “PLAY CONFESSION SONG!!!!” I was like, “Buddy, I don’t think they’re going to play that song.”

They didn’t.

But Chooch still loved every minute of the show. He even got really emotional and teared up when all the members were talking in between songs and Jinyoung said that he wanted everyone to know that even though he doesn’t show his emotions very often, that he still has just as much fun as the rest of the members. It was really sweet but Chooch caught me off guard with how affected he was by that moment..??!

My original favorite GOT7 song is “If You Do” because it was one of my favorite kpop dance workout videos from Sarahkpop, but alas, they did not perform that song so I had to join Chooch in the “NO PLAY SONG” boat.

Still, their set list was pretty solid so we didn’t have any complaints!

  1. Eclipse
  2. Never Ever
  3. Skyway
  4. Ride (JB solo)
  5. Gravity (Youngjae solo)
  6. Intro + God Has Returned + Manana (Rap unit stage)
  7. Jinyoung & Yungyeom unit stage
  8. Stop Stop It (fun fact – this was the first GOT7 song I ever heard when I first started doing KpopX!)
  9. Sign
  10. I Am Me (this song made me cry)
  11. Come On
  12. Just Right (!!!!!!)
  13. Paradise
  14. Thank You
  15. Save You
  16. Teenager
  17. Page
  18. Look
  19. Lullaby
  20. Hard Carry
  21. Fly
  22. Go Higher
  23. Before the Full Moon Rises
  24. OUT

This setlist is actually inaccurate because I know for sure they also performed “Miracle” at some point.

I learned that night that GOT7 is almost entirely self-produced. JB, their leader, produces most of their music and Yungyeom does a lot of the choreography. I had no idea about this and it tripled my respect for them, honestly. Especially since kpop has the reputation of being mass-produced factory music.

After Bam Bam pointed this out, he said that he hopes that one day they will be recognized worldwide as a group who make their own music. Imagine how frustrating it is to be other groups in Korea, busting their asses and brimming with talent, only to be eclipsed by another group who just happened to hit it at the right time.

Ugh I could write an entire blog series on this BUT I WON’T.

Guys, I swear Youngjae waved to me. YOU WEREN’T THERE, OK.

Either Chooch finally getting to the age where an entire concert can hold his attention, or he just genuinely likes kpop better than rock/emo/post hardcore because he’s been so present for these last few concerts we’ve gone to together. Usually, he’ll start to drift off (he fell asleep during BTS and all the non-kpop shows would have him looking at Fortnite shit on his phone) but especially for GOT7 he was screaming his face off and just loving every second of it so sorry Henry if driving to Toronto was annoying for you because Chooch really had a great night.

(But oh lord, that drive home, kill me.)

Anyway, go listen to GOT7! Support them and love them, they deserve it!

Jun 022019
 

Remember how Chooch was student of the month for April at the Teen Center? Well, Senator Wayne Fontana was there last week to present Chooch with a letter of recognition and a $20 gift certificate to Scoops (two $10 gift certificates, one of which Chooch has already misplaced *eye roll emoji goes here*).

Chooch was so nonchalant about this whole thing too, because nothing fazes him. He was just all “Yeah I gave to meet the senator or whatever” like it was another Thursday, no big deal, if Obama calls, take a message. I’d have been a nervous wreck if I were in his shoes!

I know that things can change in a heartbeat (hell, I was a high honor student and threw it all away for no good reason other than, oh wait, severe depression and untreated bipolar disorder lol) but I really feel like Chooch’s future is just going to keep getting brighter if he stays on this path and I’m grateful that our community has an awesome organization that helps with that. I honestly thought this place was just like a glorified lounge where kids played video games after school but it’s so much more than that!

Who knows, maybe Chooch will be Senator someday! (I’d have to scrub this blog lol.)

I didn’t know this was happening that day so I’m just happy he was wearing clean clothes.

Apr 252019
 

I guess I should thank my kid for acting like a smart-ass teen simmering in a vat of sarcasm for the last 8 or so years, but it still is super startling to me that he is officially a teenager as of today.

For as much as we butt heads & word-snipe at each other, I’d like to think that we have a tight relationship and he hasn’t reached that point yet where he’s ashamed to be seen with me and Henry (I just verified this with him right now). It’s been a wild 13 years but wow, you guys, he’s really grown into such a cool homie.

He sent me this text ^^^ yesterday – like, how fucking sweet, amirite?! Granted the present was a load of banana bread that the Teen Center ringleader made, but still! He said he was originally going to give me the loaf that he had already taken a chunk out of, but then decided to give me the full loaf instead. WOW, SUCH GENEROSITY.

Everyone at work always wishes me a Happy C-Section Incision Anniversary on this day because it’s wildly known that I am super neurotic about my phantom incision pain. IT IS REAL AND I HAVE IT.

I was mad that he didn’t even have the decency to dry his dumb-ass 1970s John Ritter hair.

(As I type this, Chooch randomly has the 1980s Music Choice channel on TV and “Spring Love” by Stevie B is on but he keeps having the audacity to TALK OVER IT so I yelled, “I don’t care if it’s still your birthday, I’m trying to listen to this song so STFU!” and he murmured “Wow.”)

What else can I tell you about 13-year-old Chooch…he still loves dogs and asked every dog-walker we pass if he can pet their dog. He is desperate to get a job because he wants to build a gaming computer so he hoards every cent he gets. He loves the lottery (Henry played his birthdate for him and Chooch screamed I HAVE TO CHECK THE NUMBERS earlier tonight like a fucking 80-year-old). He still gets along better with adults. He calls everyone a dingo. He is super independent – during his spring break, he and his friend Haojie rode their bikes to one of the malls six miles away and let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck but at the same time I was like YOU DO YOU CHOOCH because I never would have thought about leaving my neighborhood when I was 13!

However, he’s also as dense as a loaf of fucking potato bread because when they decided to take the trolley home from the mall, he couldn’t find the trolley station and I was like it’s in the giant parking garage past Eat n Park, so he sent me a screenshot of a map of the area and asked me to DRAW IT?! Nate heard me bitching about this at work and came out of his office holding up the satellite view on his phone and said, “YOU MEAN THIS PARKING GARAGE, ERIN? THIS SIX-STORY PARKING GARAGE IN THE MALL PARKING LOT?” I mean, if he couldn’t see that, perhaps he shouldn’t be riding his bike miles away from home?

Anyway, they eventually found the fucking thing and I told him not once, not twice, not thrice, BUT FOUR TIMES to make sure they took the red line.

They took the blue line.

“Don’t worry,” he texted. “The driver told us what to do.”

They actually made it home, somehow.

Oh, another thing about him is that he is really charitable, like he’ll buy his friends drinks from CVS or give a homeless person a buck, but god forbid don’t ask him for one of his French fries. We had a HUGE fight over this last week which resulted in me shrieking about how I shared my body with FETUS-HIM for nine months and then spoonfed his pathetic baby-ass for however-the-fuck long but he won’t give me one fucking fry?!

He gave me two after that.

We walked to Scoops for some birthday ice cream after dinner, and I realized that this might have been the first year we didn’t get him a cake?! Is that weird? Do I get some sort of parental penalty for that oversight? Maybe I can buy him a Hostess cake from a gas station on the way to King’s Island on Saturday, or a cake pop from Starbucks? I don’t even think he cares. He got to have a sopapilla at his birthday dinner and I’m pretty sure he prefers that over cake.

I can’t wait to have patbingsu on my birthday….in Korea, hahahaha, whaddup, Chooch?!?

Anyway, here’s to thirteen happy years with my little BABY-WABY and also 13 years of having a battle-scarred, incision-twingey body thanks to my little BABY-WABY. I hope we’re always close and that when he’s an adult and I’m dead or whatever, he thinks back on his childhood fondly and tells his kids stories about how his mom was so fucking super cool and SACRIFICED HER ABILITY TO COMFORTABLY WEAR A CROP-TOP EVER AGAIN. I mean, I hope he tells them about how his parents took him everywhere and how their friends treated him like he was their friend too and how his mom was the cooler one but the dad was alright too.

(Ugh now Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back” is on this stupid music channel and I might be crying.)

Apr 212019
 

A Chooch For Every Year: 2006-2019

My LITTLE BABY (lol) is going to be THIRTEEN on Thursday, and even though we’re going to be celebrating his big day of birth at King’s Island next weekend, I still wanted to do something small & casual so that our close friends and family could be there too. He’s teetering on that crazy-emotional Not a Kid Anymore But What Am I precipice where he irrationally thinks that we don’t care about him so…fun times!

I thought a small surprise dinner the weekend before his birthday would be perfect, and I made real life invitations to send out too because, you know, how do you invite people to a party when you’re not on Facebook anymore?

And even such a small event still gave me pee-jigs and puke-feels all day leading up to the surprise.

Chooch has been craving Mexican food like a pregnant lady binge-watching telenovelas (he actually is binge’ing* Jane the Virgin and yes I know they’re not Mexican but it’s kind of funny because it basically is a telenovela and in fact, he’s sitting next to me as I type this, trying to give me recaps of the last episode he watched and I truly, sincerely don’t care), so it seemed obvious that we should make Old Mexico the location of the festivities.

*(That word is so weird—like, how do you even spell it. It doesn’t look way no matter which way I’ve seen it and I wish it wasn’t a thing.)

And then the night before, Chooch told us he was going on a hike the next day with the Teen Center and I panicked because WE HAD TO BE AT THE RESTAURANT BY 4:15 AND HAD ACTUAL RESERVATIONS AND THIS LITTLE SHIT WAS GOING TO RUIN HIS OWN PARTY! It ended up being fine, and they got back way earlier than expected, plus he was with his friend Liam so I suggested that he ask Liam to come to dinner (he knew we were going to dinner, but not that a bunch of guests were going to be waiting for him) and Henry was like “GREAT, ERIN” because Henry hates socializing with Chooch’s friends but I like Liam! He was allowed to go so that was cool.

Anyway, everyone managed to get there on time (except for Wendy but I knew ahead of time that she would be late so I wasn’t mad!) and he was so shocked! I was also shocked that everyone who RSVPd really came! MY MOM AND DAD WERE BOTH THERE YOU GUYS. This has never happened. I almost cried, and my dad paid for my mom!! (They divorced like 20 years ago or something but have grown amicable over the years so it wasn’t really that huge of a deal, but now Chooch is like, “MAYBE THEY’LL BE LIKE XIOMARA AND ROGELIO!!” which is a stupid Jane the Virgin reference, so it Chooch tries to do some Grandparent Trap action, that’s not my fault!!)

Tommy and Jessy brought this big birthday balloon with them which was a GOOD CALL because I brought nothing. No party artifacts. No birthday ephemera. No Eyes Wide Shut masks.

After we got to the table, I asked Chooch if he was surprised and he said, “I mean, the hostess asked us if we were with the table of 15, so…”

FUCK.

I think he was still surprised though. In my head, he was surprised.

This was his first time seeing Tommy after THE PRANK. Tommy signed the card “and Charlie” which was the name he was using to prank Chooch with last week, haha.

Wendy made me take this picture of her and then I threatened to put it on our department’s wiki page and she was like, “Oh god, please don’t” and then I told my parents, “This is my friend Wendy, we work together and she’s like my boss, I guess.”

I was so happy that my parents and brother Ryan were there! My other brother had to work, and another person who had to work WAS BLAKE. He tried so hard to get someone to switch with him but it was a no-go and he was pretty bummed out, but Haley, Calvin and Lily were there to represent the Robbins side of the family!

I was so happy that everyone seemed to mesh well with each other, because you never know with dinners like this – they could be awkward!

Also, Henry never looks at us the way he looks at Calvin!?

e

I think it helped that half of us were drinking margaritas. Patty asked me to go check the parking lot toward the end of the dinner to see if her ride was there, and I have to admit that I have no recollection of how I got from the dinner table to the front door of the restaurant, so…

Also, I rarely drink anymore so it really doesn’t take much.

Liam got fish which was an interesting choice I thought for a kid at a Mexican restaurant. I got the vegetable plate with rice and I thought I would be food-shamed over it because again, who goes to a Mexican restaurant for undressed vegetables but I knew that anything else would make me sick for the rest of the night, so I went for it. When it was served to me though, everyone was like, “Whoa, that smells so good! What did you get?” and it was literally just Mexican rice and a boatload of fajita-esque vegetables and it was SO GOOD. I scarfed down that whole plate, felt fulfilled, and didn’t want to puke later that night!

Thank you, Old Mexico!

OMG Wendy talking to my dad, lololol.

Patty and Jessy just met that night but hit it off!

This might be favorite picture of the night: Chooch and his soon-to-be sister-in-law Haley, and believe me, they are definitely sibling-ish!

Chooch and his pal, Patty! She volunteers at the nursing home she used to be a resident at, and she said some of the residents remembered Chooch from when we would visit and he would play piano for them, so they asked her to relay their birthday wishes for him and I thought that was so sweet. Look, I’m really grateful that Patty was able to leave there and go back to her own house, but I do miss when we used to visit her there. Some of those people were major characters!

Chooch with Jessy and Tommy! Tom is his frenemy for real, but they’re like family to us even though we don’t see them often anymore. I was so freaking happy that they could make it, because they live pretty far away.

Wendy and Summer with my family!

Chooch and Janna—man, she has been there from the beginning and is basically family to him. I actually confirmed the date of his dinner with her first before I even made invitations because it was imperative that she be there, duh.

Poor Liam had no fucking idea what he signed up for. He thought he was just tagging along to a quiet family dinner with his friend, lol.

And then Chooch ordered a sopapilla, not knowing that it was going to turn into A THING because he didn’t grow up with the horror of being birthday-shamed by the staff at ChiChi’s like the rest of us did. (RIP, ChiChi’s, and also the people who died because of your poisoned green onions.)

(OMG that fucking corn sidedish they had. WHY, CHICHI’S, WHYYYYYY???? COME BAAAAAACK!!)

One of the waiters gave Chooch a handful of whipped cream to the face and I died. If anyone deserves whipped cream to the face, it’s certainly my kid.

This happened after Jessy commented that Chooch looked the same as he did when he was younger except without the constant ring of ice cream and dirt around his lips and he was like HOLD MY LEMONADE.

This kid will forever make a mess at dinner,

What a great turnout! I think he really felt loved and at the end of the day, this was all I wanted from that dinner.

On the way home, I told him that Chronica couldn’t make it because Chris was flying home from Calgary that day and her flight was delayed. (She ended up not getting home until after 10PM, sadly.)

“Chris and her stupid countries!” Chooch cried.

And when I told him that Kara had tickets to the Beer Barge, he scoffed, “Really? Kara chose BEER over ME?”

Anyway, I’m glad that we pulled this off without any drama and minimal stress so that now I can selfishly focus on King’s Island which you have to know is really more for me than anyone else, lol. LOOK, HE WOULDN’T HAVE A BIRTHDAY IF NOT FOR ME, SO.

Apr 032019
 

I needed a recent non-iPhone picture of Chooch so we had a super-quick photoshoot yesterday before dinner, and Chooch was less-than-thrilled but he did go along with it without too much fuss and didn’t even hold out his hand for payment like he normally does these days.

Right before we went to go outside though, HNC had just parked across the street so I told Chooch I wanted to wait for him to go in his house because I’m more paranoid and twitchy than a tweaker under a Seattle bridge in 1991. It took him so long to cross the street, I couldn’t even believe it. Every time I looked out the window, he was STILL in the street so then I wondered if he was playing Frogger, maybe that’s what he does to blow off some steam after a day of doing whatever it is HNC does.

Finally, Chooch looked out and said he wasn’t there anymore, so I flounced out of the house like a weirdo with my camera, but HNC WAS STILL ON HIS PORCH, UNLOCKING HIS DOOR. And then Chooch came out of the house so HNC was all, “WHOA! YOU LOOK LIKE SNAZZY! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!”

And Chooch just got all nervous and mute, so I said, “Oh, we’re just doing a photo shoot.”

“Oh! Where?” he asked, probably giving us way too much credit and thinking we were going to…Olan Mills, lololol.

“Um, behind the house,”  shrugged and he was just like, “Oh…ok. Have fun!”

But then I did that thing that I do where I’m trying to act like we’re not doing anything weird (and we actually weren’t!!!!) by continuing to spit out superfluous small talk.

“Thanks! Yeah, I need some 13-year-old pictures of him,” I over-explained, and then after HNC said he understood, I tacked on, “Plus, I like to abuse him” and nervously laughed.

“Nothing wrong with that!” HNC laughed, and we walked away.

“Why did you say that?” Chooch hissed. “Now he’s going in his house and calling CPS!”

LOL.

But really, hopefully he didn’t.

So last week, Chooch had to give a presentation on the project he did for Black History Month. His subject was James Beckworth and after two months of hearing about this guy and going to the main Carnegie library to look for books on this obscure guy, all I can  tell you is that he climbed mountains.

I don’t even know when he was alive.

Anyway, his Communications teacher is real uptight when it comes to things like this, which I actually appreciate because he is going to be so prepared for high school reports, etc., and she makes these things super formal. So even though the presentations only last 5-10 minutes, she expects every kid to dress up for it. Usually, Chooch waits until the last minute to drop this on me, but this time he gave me three whole days notice only because he wanted me to buy him a lavender suit!?

Trust me, I love the idea of a lavender suit. So many styling options! Such photo ops! But I wasn’t buying him a lavender suit for a five-minute presentation.

Perhaps for his first dance or…mock trial?

So my response to that was BOY YOU WILL WEAR SOMETHING YOU ALREADY HAVE IN YOUR CLOSET and then I remembered this red blazer that I bought back during my shortlived I AM GOING TO BE AN AVANT GARDE FASHION DESIGNER phase but that quickly ended once Henry was like, “No, I am not buying you a sewing machine because you’ll never use it and then I’ll get stuck finishing your projects.”

….so?

Doesn’t this red blazer look fabulous with his watermelon shirt?! Even he agreed that it was the next best thing to a lavender suit, so we didn’t have to go through our usual head-butting routine. This is what he wore for his presentation and we all lived happily ever after.

KOREAN LESSON TIME: The word for watermelon in Korean is SUBAK.

EXTRA CREDIT: The word for pumpkin in Korean is HOBAK which sounds like ho-bag which makes me think of high school because ho-bag was the cordial “hey bitch” greeting of the 1990s.

He said his teacher’s reaction to his outfit was, “….THIS CHILD.”

Lol.

I can hear her saying that too. She is super sassy and has super-threatening acrylics. Chooch is always like “UGH Ms. SMITH” like everyday but I think he secretly likes her and she definitely likes him because she pushes him extra hard and he is obsessed with getting the best grades in her class.

In other Chooch news, this happened on Saturday:

They’re actually going to have tteokbokki for him this month! I’m not sure if I ever said it on here before, but that Teen Center (it’s actually called the Teen Outreach) is amazing and our neighborhood is so lucky to have it. They offer all kinds of extra-curricular activities like cooking classes, yoga, improv (which Chooch just signed up for) and he also gets paid to attend these weekly “Manhood” classes where he is being taught all the important things (re: PUBERTY, sex, etc.)  that Henry hasn’t talked to him about, and also things like HERE IS HOW TO RESPECT WOMEN, which we do talk about but how many boys don’t know these things!? A ton. And this awesome group is doing their part in preventing future date rapes / domestic violence / sexual harassment.

And yes, I did notice that there is something similar offered for girls, as well.

They even have field trips! He went geocaching last week and learned about aqua pods or something equally as boring, I can’t remember. And they go on hikes during the summer so they’re not actually all sitting around on dirty couches playing video games like I originally thought.

Man, I can’t believe I used to make fun of this place and get annoyed that he spends so much time there.

Anyway, that concludes my obligatory Chooch update.

Jan 072019
 

Look, we all make mistakes. My latest one was falling for some Instagram ad for this awesome looking tiger* coat that LOOKED like something one would wear outside in the cold, and  the price was reasonable so I bought it and then quickly realized it was coming from China, so RIP my hopes and dreams. 

*(The description on the website says it’s a Dragon but it looks more tiger-like to me?)

**(OK, I sort of get the dragon-esque vibes now.)

It took a month and a half to arrive and I knew before I even opened it that it was going to be a dud. The package was too small and light! Oh, that’s because IT’S NOT A COAT. It’s more like…a robe. And it feels like something you would buy at the Halloween store! Like Dracula’s cape! I had just finished sending them an irate, increasingly ALL CAPS email threatening to burn their warehouse to the ground, when I turned around to see Chooch modeling it and I was like OK FINE WE’LL KEEP IT. He made it look cool!

He wore it to his piano lesson yesterday (“I feel like this is something G-Dragon would wear,” he said, which made it even better of course) and his teacher Cheryl loved it. (She has a neck tattoo now?! She is even cooler than before! I love neck tattoos! Well, the cool ones, not the prison ones.)

Then we did a quick photoshoot which didn’t involve any arguing, surprisingly (between Chooch and me; I emasculated Henry for a good seven minutes straight, don’t worry.

It’s an empty bottle guys. I think it might even the same bottle that was there when we took pictures at this same location 2 years ago so you can go ahead and put down that phone now. 

I’m so mad this isn’t a legit coat! I’d have fucking worn it everyday. But as it is now, Chooch likes to throw it on (along with a gas mask) when he hears Blake and Haley going outside to smoke NO NOT BECAUSE HE’S GOING TO SMOKE WITH THEM PUT DOWN THE FUCKING PHONE but because he likes to lecture them on how smoking is bad for their health. So this is like his uniform for that new role in life. 

We watched Bird Box last night but Chooch wasn’t wearing his new “coat” during it.  I was mildly interested after hearing all the DON’T DO THE BIRD BOX CHALLENGE warnings, but truth be told, Sandra Bullock is one of my least favorite actors in the whole entire world and I have been pretty successful in avoiding her for the last decade or so. But my mom was all, “You have to watch it! I watched it 5 times!” 

So we watched it.

My spoilerless thoughts:

  • What a waste of Sarah Paulson
  • It didn’t live up to the hype in my eyes (horror is my favorite genre) but I did like it and it did freak me out and made me scared that this could be the future
  • I’m glad it didn’t go the Cloverfield route
  • S.Bullock was mildly acceptable in this role

This is also isn’t a spoiler but she had two kids in the movie: a boy and a girl named Boy and Girl. Chooch said he was surprised that I didn’t name him Boy and I told him I almost named him Orphan instead SERIOUSLY STOP CALLING CPS IT WAS A JOKE. 

Chooch’s final thoughts on the jacket was that it reminded him of something that a rich man would wear while laying in bed with 10 prostitutes, so…a Huge Hefner robe? I don’t know how he knows about that. Go ahead, you can call CPS on Henry. 

After all that,  I texted my mom and she said she hated the ending so I was like THEN WHY DID YOU WATCH IT 5X.

PROBABLY THE SAME LOGIC I HAD FOR BUYING THIS DUMB GIGOLO ROBE.

Nov 272018
 

The last time we were in Tennessee was in 2011 with our friends Bill and Jessi, and we missed them so much this time around! I remember when they invited us to go with them that year, I was like, “Ew, Tennessee. What’s even in Tennessee?” and then found out that this area in particular is A FUCKING WONDERLAND. It has something for everyone! Country crap for country people. Old people shit for old people. Church garbage for Christians. Outdoor junk for nature nerds. AND A ZILLION TOURIST TRAPS FOR ME.  We will get to all that stuff later.

On Saturday, aka Dollywood Eve, we made some time for some Smoky Mountain action, because you can’t go to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area without doing at least a little bit of nature shit.  I made sure Chooch changed out of his stained hoodie (literally got like 48 stains on it just in the four hours it took us to get from our hotel in Beckley, WV to Tennessee — just watching him eat lunch made me realize that I failed as a mom because my kid is 12 and still needs a bib) and into socially-acceptable garb beforehand, and then we set off for the Great Smoky National Park or whatever, where Henry was immediately at wit’s end with us and praying for a bear attack.

He’s so mean. :(

I’m not the most nature-y person, but damn, it’s really fucking beautiful there you guys. Not a bad view anywhere. (Unless someone with a MAGA hat gets in your line of vision.)

Second time in the Smokies and I still don’t know how to spell it.

Senior picture practice.

He’s a good sport (mostly) about these photoshoots and always has a pose or two of his own to contribute. Um, like this one.

We actually kind of got along during our scenic stroll through the bear-laden woods. (I was so afraid of getting attacked! Are they hibernating yet? I’M NOT SURE!) I felt like we were, I don’t know, making family memories or something. Like some day, Chooch will fondly recount this day to his future kids and they’ll be like, “What’s a mountain? What’s a tree?”

OMG WHY DID I TYPE THAT NOW I’M SO DEPRESSED.

Mood.

Here’s some more that I took with my phone-y-phone-la-la-la.

My favorite part was when Chooch and I were practicing exaggerated walking moves from Leslie Sansone walking workouts and didn’t realize that there was a family having some type of celebratory picnic nearby, watching our every move. THEY WERE SO JEALOUS OF OUR CREATIVE WALKING. I think this was the point where Henry ran back to the car ahead of us and tried to lock us out.

It’s nothing short of a miracle that he didn’t:

  • faceplant on a rock
  • fall into the water and get swept away into the jaws of a bear

How many murders have happened in these woods.

In Korean, the word for mountain is SAN (산) which you would know IF YOU READ MY KOREA TRAVEL BLOG POSTS.

God, you guys. The things you could learn from this stupid blog! IT IS A TREASURE TROVE OF TRIVIA.

We kept making Henry pull over at overlooks and he was getting so pissed because people weren’t parking to his liking.

We came here last time too!

Man, for only being in Tennessee for two days, I have so much to tell you! So, check back or whatever.

Nov 232018
 

Look man I was just happy to have some days off work where I didn’t have to trudge to the damn trolley in premature winter temps. Plus, we’re leaving for Tennessee later today (Dollywood!) so I was content having nothing to do on actual Thanksgiving. My mom and I are both pretty meh about the holiday so I don’t mind that she doesn’t want to host anymore.

But then Chooch pulled out his vegetarian cookbook the night before and was all, “Papa*, I’m going to find some recipes for you for tomorrow” and then I was like, “Oh shit. The kid. We should probably do something for the kid.” Lol.

*(What Chooch calls Henry when he’s trying to pretend like we’re like a wholesome family.)

So then Henry was like I GUESS I AM GOING TO THE STORE THEN and set off on Thanksgiving Eve to procure the tofurkey which is usually sold out because he waits too long. I remember way back in the day when we had to drive like 45 minutes to some weird health store to get one because regular grocery stores didn’t sell stuff like that and I got made fun of for eating it but no one bats an eye. Changing times, etc etc.

The first half of the day consisted of Leslie Sansone walking workouts (lol), kdramas but no family drama, watching Henry cook & clean, looking at Kpop idols, freaking out over a mystery bruise on my thumb, and planning all our amusement park trips for 2019. It was splendid! (Not the bruise part though, I’m mildly alarmed by it.)

I was in such a good mood that I even felt inspired to decorate for Christmas:

Chooch was all excited when I told him I decorated and then said, “…oh” when he saw it.

Since there was just the three of us and we’re going away this weekend, Henry kept the spread the simple: a tofurkey for Chooch and me (he made gross chicken for himself because he doesn’t like real turkey), whatever garlicky mashed potato recipe Chooch found, and a completely revamped version of the broccoli rabe & white bean casserole recipe that Chooch also requested, because Henry couldn’t find broccoli rabe at 8pm on Thanksgiving Eve so he used regular broccoli and brussels sprouts instead and it was delicious.

(I don’t even know what broccoli rabe is and I know for damn sure Chooch doesn’t either, so this made no difference to us.)

Henry kept yelling at us from the kitchen to start eating but we were like NO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR YOUUUUUU IT’S THANKSGIVING.

But it was really because we needed him to plate our Tofurkey.

Oh Lord, we got so giddy right away and Chooch had a Code Red laughing fit which caused him to flee the table in search of a Kleenex, so you know Henry was in a great mood! That combined with the fact that the same NCT 127 song was playing repeatedly in the background really completed the mood. Look at Henry’s delirious face! I think deep down, he’s thankful for us, lunacy and all, even if he sometimes must feel like he’s living in an asylum.

Tofurky looks like a giant hotdog butt.

After dinner, Chooch and I continued our tradition of watching birthday party videos on YouTube (4th year!). We found a whole slew of new million subscriber families to hate! I called the one birthday girl and all her friends “a bunch of bitches” and Chooch was like “Aren’t they like three?!”

OK now for the Friday Five portion, which is FIVE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Korea (Henry and Chooch rolled their eyes when we went around the table and “gave thanks” and this was of course the first thing I said and whatever because Chooch just kept saying “Bambi” over and over and now that I think about it, I don’t think Henry said ANYTHING!?
  2. Having a job that I like – yeah, I know, I complain about it at times, who doesn’t complain about having to leave the house to go to work?! But when you’ve had jobs that have made you sick to your stomach and have panic attacks while paying you pennies, getting one where you feel comfortable and needed is really something to be thankful for.  Thanks, job!
  3. The willpower to get in shape – when I first started dieting in 2012 I was just about 200 pounds.  I did WW for a bit and got myself down to about 170 but it was a struggle. I had no energy! I was miserable! I can’t remember when I started spending my lunch break hour walking around downtown, but that helped me get my energy back and also kept my weight stable so I wasn’t gaining, but I also wasn’t really losing anything either. Since starting my own routine in 2016, being more mindful of what I eat and when I eat, and keeping up on those lunch break walks (even in the rain, even when I’m sick, even when it’s cold), I’ve managed to get myself down to 145. I never felt “unhealthy” even when I was heavier, but I do FOR SURE feel more “able.” Sure, I still have major body image issues that I need to work on, but baby steps!
  4. Eternal Youth! – I’m going to be 40 next year, I have a shit-ton of gray hairs, but my brain refuses to accept that and still spends most of its time thinking about concerts and amusement parks and Kpop idols. I was talking to Amber about this at work the other day, how I’m trying to fit in a few days in Tokyo during my birthday Korea trip next summer because I want to go to DisneySea and how Henry is like dreaming of the day when we can plan a vacation that doesn’t include an amusement park, and Amber said, “I can’t believe you’re going to be 40. You’re like, ageless, to me.” YES.  I’m thankful that I have managed to maintain that part of myself because goddamn does it make life fun! Except for when you watch so many vlogs about roller coasters and are constantly hearing people talking about the “head chopper” elements and then you go to bed and have a horribly vivid nightmare that you’re watching a movie where some girl is walking down the steps of some Victorian mansion and gets her head lopped off by her dad, completely out of nowhere, but then it turns out to be YOU, you just had YOUR head chopped off, but later in the dream, you realize that your head was put back on, but apparently your ear had also been cut off and that was put back on much more jankily than your head, so it’s all bloody and it BURNS and also it’s not aligned properly with your head and you are FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS. I mean, that’s just something that might happen.
  5. Henry & Chooch, le duh – Come on, this is a given. I have a guy who is mild-tempered and goes along with all my crazy ideas, he gets totally engrossed in every k-drama with me to the point where he’s mad when I start a new one without him (he’ll still watch it though), he sends me kpop-related texts on Kakao throughout the day (I made him download Kakao awhile back and it’s the only way we text now unless I’m mad at him then I use regular text and he’s like, “wow you must be mad”), he does whatever he can to make my life easier, and well, he’s just the best and I’m glad we’ve lasted together all these years because I can’t imagine many other people who would be like, “Yes, let me completely change the way I cook for you because now you’re on a make-believe Korean diet and sure, let’s go to Party City for new home decor so our house can continue to look like Pee Wee’s Playhouse and OK, let’s talk about going to some random town in the Netherlands so you can spend Easter 2020 at some weird amusement park.” Lol. And then Chooch! I couldn’t ask for a better kid. He is such a mini-Erin that it’s actually scary at times (or, “all times” if you’re Henry). He’s independent and self-motivated when it comes to school (he’s basically a genius but has ZERO COMMON SENSE though, oh my god, he is street-stupid), a mini-politician when it comes to the neighborhood (everyone knows him!), and he is SO ENTERTAINING. Janna was over here on Saturday for Kpop Fitness Night and afterward, he effortlessly had us cracking up just by being him, sitting there making his dumb Rainbow Loom bracelets. No, our life isn’t perfect, and we do all bicker with each other like normal TV families, but we never go to bed mad at each. (EXCEPT FOR LAST NIGHT BECAUSE WE GOT A BUNCH OF CARD ORDERS AND HENRY AND I DO NOT WORK WELL TOGETHER IN THE GREETING CARD FACTORY.)

Anyway, that’s my Thanksgiving 2018 recap and obligatory “thankful” list. I’ll end here with a video of Mini-Erin stalking his nemesis Larry:

ETA: Chooch just woke up and said, “Well, I see the dining room table is back to its old self” and I screamed “WELL, WE HAD 80 MILLION CARDS TO MAKE LAST NIGHT OK, THANKS FOR THE HELP!”

Nov 132018
 

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.

Nov 042018
 

    Dark View’s theme this year was carnival, although every other year was a creepy house. We were the first ones here on this cold day, and by first ones I mean the first people to actually get in line. We got popcorn while we waited for a good time to get in line. I sat by the fire trying to warm up which helped a lot. We walked in line, making us the first in line. Not long after, the line started to fill up and more people came. We were placed in a group with a guy named Eddie and mum and him talked about horror movies and Conneaut, it was awkward. Eddie had 2 girls with him, they looked like they were the same age as me, 12. The old man that was there last year told us a story about how someone owned this carnival and had many freaks, but you can’t call them that anymore. He mentioned that there was a fat man, a sasquatch, and elastigirl. He said that people from all around the world came to see he because they liked to see her stretch her….then he motioned around the chest area. He then continued by saying that at least it wasn’t an elastiboy. He let us go and we went into a small shed, and sat down. Oh! I forgot, there were two other people in our group as well. When we sat down, a video started playing in front of us, it was a fat guy about to take our picture, but he was allergic to ugly people, so he had a rough time. He also kept farting and sneezing on us, so it held back the picture. He took 4 photos in total, and one of the was a jump scare behind us, and I wasn’t phased at all. 

   Then, onward we went into a showroom where some guy was doing magic. He said that he was going to make a clown doll disappear, then reappear. By disappear he meant throw over a wall, and by reappear he meant a giant clown was going to pop out from behind a wall. Then we enter the room where the animals were kept in cages. There was a sasquatch and a tiger, the sasquatch was farting and the tiger was growling. The next room was really cool because it was a closet type room with many clothes and then a giant teddy bear that turned out to be a real person. After a while, we realized that our group must be good because they went a decent speed and weren’t annoying. After the carnival, was a graveyard and the clown, Fatso, told us to call the caretaker stupid. The caretaker sighed and made us follow him through a crypt and then down a trail which had a house with an old lady sitting on the porch. When she noticed us, she started talking about how her mother made the best pumpkin pie and they had picnics in Parkview. Then she told us not to run in the forest because the trees will grab you by the ankle and trip you. Then I looked behind us and saw that there was a scarecrow walking slowly towards us. I was scared and wanted to go, then the lady told us to go and watch out for the tree people.

    I quickly realized that the tree people were men dressed in a Ghillie Suit and they were creepy. Then there was a lady who did rituals or something and she wanted to save some girl who was going to get sacrificed by a demon. The lady asked if two of us would sacrifice ourselves, so I raised my hand and another lady in our group did, too. The woman said in order to avoid getting killed, we had to walk slowly, do not run, and do not look back. If we do, he will kill us. So we went in the front of the group and walked very slow. We avoided looking back, while we heard other members in our group get caught looking back. We didn’t know when we were allowed to look back and run, so we just kept walking slowly, until we reached a cabin. The cabin was a hunting cabin and the guy who was outside of it told us to hurry in. Apparently, there was a zombie outbreak and they were trying to get in, so we stayed inside. Then all of a sudden, the lights shut off, they must have cut off the power circuit. The guy told us to run and when the lights turned back on, a zombie appeared from the shadows and ate the hunter. We ran and made it to a foggy fence maze. There was a sniper tower flashing a light down on the maze. We kept going through the maze and we saw a guy, I looked down at his hands, and he was holding a chainsaw. I held my breath and knew better than to run from when we went to Hundred Acres Manor because he would chase me. So I just kept going and he followed us while his chainsaw revved. Mum screamed and pushed me into the guy. She ran full speed ahead, but the guy didn’t chase her, so we all ran and made it to the end.

My opinion of Darkview this year is very good because I liked the part where we had to be very quiet and move slowly. 

Big Papa eating his Big Papacorn. <—ERIN WROTE THIS.

Oct 282018
 

 

Ohh Fright Farm, how I’ve missed you so. The great spooks, the amazing actors, and how could I forget? The hay ride! On a cold October night, my mum and I brought Janna with us to go to Rich’s Fright Farm. When we got in the parking lot, it was still light out and it was as cold as ever, so cold I could see my own breath. The line was very short, but of course Janna had to go to the bathroom. We got our tickets before she came back, so we decided to go wait in the line to get into the farm. She noticed us and started walking towards us, so we jumped in the bush, hoping to scare her as she walked by.  She of course spotted us, and our plan was foiled.

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What Chooch & I live for: HIDING FROM JANNA.

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On the bright side though, we were placed into group 2, so we got to enter the hay ride next! Of course we would have to wait, in the cold, cold atmosphere. The fire pits didn’t help my legs at all, my legs were the coldest part of my body. We waited for about an hour. In that hour we actually went into the gift shop, looked at an expensive Varsity jacket and sat on a bench for 50 minutes while listening to spooky music. Finally! The score board said 1! Group 1 was entering now, the group was awfully large for one group, even though a hay ride has limited space, we were still placed on. Janna, mum, and I were the only of Group 2 placed on the Group 1 ride. Despite that fact that I love hayrides, the hayride sucked. We were cramped and immobile, so we couldn’t turn around to see anything, all we could do was see what we missed as we drove away.

On the other hand, we were the first to enter the actual house! It was so fun because we had no one to catch up to and we were going too quick for anyone to catch up to us. My favorite part was when we were walking through a dark creepy room and my mom walked straight into a window! She hit her forehead really hard and then as a reflex, punched the window with her fist, making it feel even worse. Other than that though, when we were walking outside in the garden, the was a chainsaw guy and mum got so scared that she untied my shoe with her foot, pushed me into the chainsaw, then I countered and pushed her back. Janna and mum would not wait for me to tie my shoe, so I waited. They got rid of the slide which sucked, but I guess it was because people were getting hurt from it. When we walked down the stairs which replaced the slide, it led us to a carnival room. Before we entered we had to grab 3-D glasses because of the popping colors.

Lastly, we walked away from the house and into another line, but obviously the line was empty, since we were the first people! This section was called Paranoia, a blind maze. The idea of Paranoia is you wear a blindfold, while you hold onto a rope that leads you through the maze. This time though, the people were allowed to touch you, so I was getting tickled with a feather, and also horns were blowing in our ears. At points the rope would change into a fence, then into a gate, then into a pipe, so it was hard to follow. The people following us told us to duck right when Janna was about to hit her eye. She faced the same injury as mum.

Fright Farm was very good this year and the spooks were amazing! Obviously, my favorite part was when Janna and mum hit their heads!

Oct 192018
 

Crawford School of Terror

Crawford School of Terror is regarding a girl named Margaret who has a crush on her teacher, but he is dating another teacher in the building. Margaret gets jealous and kills the teacher he is dating. Now she haunts the school and targets anyone in the school.

To start, we, and by “we”, I mean my mom and me, walked down the steps into the gym which is where we get in line. Right of the bat I noticed a big black box in the relative corner of the gymnasium. We bought our tickets and walked into the line the crew members told us to enter. An older couple walked into the black box and all we heard was high-pitched screaming. We expected it to be very scary and jumpy in there, but it didn’t feel as nerve-racking as it was in line… We walked through the vast darkness of the “maze” while avoiding the sides because that is where the people jump at you and scream.

After the short maze, was an empty line in which we went through immediately. The person at the front of the line lead us into the teacher’s lounge, where we watched an overview of the Crawford School and also learned about Margaret’s doings. We were sorted into a group with the old couple who were in front of us and continued up the stairwell of many stairs. As we approached the very top of the stairwell, we were met by a creepy zombie-ish thing. This creature opened a door for us and we walked into the classrooms. For the most part, the beginning was the same as last year, there was a dark creepy room with a child sitting at a desk rocking back and forth. I expected her to jump up and scream, but she just sat there and kept rocking.

Then, we were sent to the principle’s office and he threw his book at the wall and screamed, “WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS VISITING ME!!!” He told us to leave immediately or else. He gestured towards an open cabinet that lead into a bathroom. The bathroom was very small and cramped, so I opened a stall door, and there you have it! An open stall that went into another room, a bathroom, again… This time though, a girl was staring at herself in the mirror and cried, “LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO ME!!!” There was blood writing on the mirror and the girl was all bloody as well.

Returning from prior years, was a hallway full of lockers. I remembered this part and dashed down the hall, not stopping to the loud sparks of the lights. At the same time though, we were light years away from the couple behind us, so now we were alone.

*RING* *RING*  It is lunch time!!! The lunch menu for today is human flesh and brains! But not for me! I almost got sacrificed for the food! I escaped through the freezer and entered a hole in the wall. There was someone around the corner of the hole who scared us. There was another hall, it was boring and uneventful, until we saw into the next room. Inside was a pig man chopping up meat. Human meat? Mum was scared and tried to push me, but I told her to face her fears. We stood there for about a minute and a half, until I shoved mum inside. The pig man scraped his cleaver against a metal frame, which caused sparks to fly out.

Finally, we exited the building and I could feel the change in temperature as soon as we stepped out. Crawford School of Terror was amazing and I recommend it to anyone in our near the Connellsville area. Although, the real scary part was when Henry forgot how to drive and turned right into a one-way street. Not only a street, but a HIGHWAY!

 

The Scream Factory

As soon as we pulled into the creepy, abandoned factory, I realized that this was going to be a fun and quick haunted house. My reasoning is that there was no line and the factory looked real creepy. The one staff member walked over to us and following him was a small, white dog. In the line, I saw in the distance Michael Myers! At first, I was scared, but then I realized he seemed nice. He showed us where to go to enter the haunted house and then ran ahead to go in to get ready. As soon as we walked in, it was decorated very nicely with smoke and boards that blocked up entry ways. The first person that came out was Michael when we walked through a door. I asked him, “What do you think about the new Halloween movie that is coming out?” and he said, “I love it!”

We departed and I said goodbye! My mum’s favorite room was the next one. It was a dinner table with human limbs lying on plates and in bowls. The people in the room asked if we wanted to have dinner and I replied, “No, I already ate.” Michael was waiting for us in a stairwell and he stabbed the air with his knife. We followed him again and I tried not to lose him because he could protect us. My mum and I learned that no room was left non-decorated. Even the rooms with no actors were decorated.

Eventually, we started to get sick so we had to visit the hospital. The doctor was standing like a crab on the operation table. He warned us to leave because he will try to eat us, but we were too late because he started to follow us. It was getting towards the end and we were standing in a stair well. The doctor guy was telling us that we should go, or we would die. We saw him. A chainsaw guy, trying to get the chainsaw started. We ran for our lives and everyone was following us, but the chainsaw guy. I guess he couldn’t get the thing working.

 

When we were finally out of the haunted house, Michael approached us and asked if I wanted to get a picture with him. Of course I said, “Yes!” because he was pretty much my best friend.

As a wrap, that was Scream Factory and I recommend it if you want a quick scare!

Oct 172018
 

Being off work this week, I didn’t expect to see Chooch much at all because he always has places he “needs” to be after school. However, I was graced with his presence both Monday and Tuesday, but it turns out that’s just because the stupid Teen Center where he loafs (lol, such a dad word) is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he’s on the library blacklist until Saturday.

(“All the librarians hate me! I don’t even do anything there!” he cried incredulously when explaining to me his latest banning. This time, his sentence is for two weeks and “Denice” hates him so much that she even intercepted him when he popped into the library last week to use the water fountain. “I was CHOKING, my throat was SO DRY! They wouldn’t even LET ME HAVE A DRINK!” he wailed. I don’t even want to know what goes in that library, but his latest offense couldn’t have been THAT bad because that damn library has our phone number and no one called.

And by “our” number I mean Henry’s number, lol.)

After he finished his homework on Monday, we decided to watch a horror movie. We settled on “Open House,” which is part of Netflix’s cache of shitty horror. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was home invasion and that always gets me good. Chooch and I bonded over it because it’s centered around a mom and son; the dad recently died when he went to the store to get eggs (AND HE FORGOT THE MILK THAT HIS WIFE ASKED HIM TO GET) so when Henry said he was going to the store later that night, we were like, “WE WILL GO WITH YOU. WE DON’T WANT YOU TO DIEEEEEEE.”

Of course Henry was clueless because he’s never part of our things.

So we went to Giant Eagle with Henry, which he loves because it guarantees he’ll spend 5x more money and get treated to a grand finale of Chooch dramatically reading tabloid headlines in the checkout line.

We made Henry buy some ugly squash hybrid because it looked like a corpse and he was not thrilled about it and I just looked in the kitchen and noticed that it’s gone so apparently he cooked it already and I ate it without even knowing?!!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

Chooch came home after school on Tuesday too and after he did his homework, we were bored because Henry still wasn’t home from work so I was like, “Let’s go for a walk” and Chooch was like, “OK” and then I also grabbed the camera on the way out the door and Chooch was like, “Wait—I didn’t agree to this” but then he was posing with nary a cue from me because this is his second nature, guys.

He’s a poser.

Henry drove past us on his way home from work and covered the side of his face, pretending like he doesn’t know us. OK HENRY, YOU’RE SO COOL.

We walked down Brookline Boulevard and I wonder if people in Brookline are like HERE COME THOSE WEIRDOS AGAIN like we do about people in Brookline. I mean, it’s almost always the same people carousing the boulevard and we’re part of that, when you think about it.

OMG WE’RE LOCALS.

Henry saw this picture asked, “WHERE IS THAT” like he was all paranoid that we’re hanging out at some drug shack or something.

On the way back home, we saw two of his jerky little ex-friends who we hate because they think it’s cool to use various “gay” slang in a derogatory manner, and they harassed one of Chooch’s friends and called him fat, then got all aghast and offended when Chooch stood up for the friend. I already hated the one kid and he knows it, so both of these little brats got all nervous when they saw me walking with Chooch, and Chooch and I started giggling.

Oh, the best part is that they’re only in 4th grade, hahaha. I stared them down once from the front door and Henry was like, “Wow, you’re bullying fourth graders. I’m so proud of you.” Whatever, Blake hates them too!

The best part is that they try to prank call Chooch but they call Henry’s phone, thinking it’s Chooch’s, and leave the dumbest messages like, “Hi this is the drug store. Come to the Teen Center if you want to buy weed.” Like, OK dumbass 4th graders, good job.

The Teen Center is open today so I probably won’t see Chooch right after school but he better not be TOO LATE because we’re going to Rich’s Fright Farm tonight with Jannnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

(I have a lot of pent-up energy. I love being off work but good god damn, I am not great at being alone!!!)

Oct 132018
 

I woke up sick this morning which is par for the course since it’s the start of my annual October vacation week so instead of trying to write an actual blog post like I used to years and years and years ago, here is another Halloween Costume Memory. This one is from 2013 and even five years later, it still makes me twitch and cringe just thinking about how murderous it made us. Like, if there had been one more mishap or misstep, there could have been a horror movie based on our family. Brooklineville Horror. Can’t you just picture Henry losing his mind and grabbing an ax and then all the neighbors would go on record saying that he was “such a nice guy, we’re so surprised” but all of you guys would be like, “CALLED IT.”

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This may have been the most stressful Halloween yet. I almost said it was the worst Halloween, but that’s not true, because Chooch had fun and even though I AM THE MOST SELFISH MOM EVER, even I am able to acknowledge that that’s all that really matters. Right? Right.

You know how I always said I would never put my child in a box, after spending most of my childhood Halloweens being chafed by cardboard thanks to my overambitious mother? (Just nod.) Well, it took seven years, but it happened. We put Chooch in a box.

But first let me say that I repeatedly asked him, “Are you SURE? Do you REALLY want to be this for Halloween?” and he kept saying yes, so I’m not really the bad guy, right? I don’t ever want him to look back on these years and say, “My mom MADE me be this and I hated it.” Not that I know anything about that.

Anyway, I know the Claw Machine thing isn’t exactly original, but I thought it would be fun to make it a little more post-apocalyptic. Have all of the stuffed animals be ripped open and bloody, etc etc.

Oh and also? This didn’t happen until last Friday night. Just the birth of the idea itself, I mean. And we were barely home at all during the weekend, which meant that Henry had three work nights to try and get this done. I’d nervously text him for updates while I was at work and he would give me vague responses, like, “It’s coming along” and “This is Henry’s girlfriend…who’s this?” and “I want a divor—-oh, wait. Haha!”

By Wednesday night though, he swore he was “like, 95% finished.” So then I was feeling kind of OK until I read the Halloween rules that Chooch’s school sent home which included the most restrictive costume guidelines ever, so why even bother celebrating Halloween!? No fake weapons (OK, I can understand that one!), no makeup, no masks, it has to fit into a bag, and no parents permitted in the classroom to help with the costumes.

Well, fuck. There was no way we were fitting a huge box into a bag and also no way he was getting this on by himself. In fact, I couldn’t even do it. Only Henry could, because only he could understand his own stupid design. Oh and also? Everything else we have laying around the house involves makeup and masks–animal masks, clown masks, gas masks. I couldn’t even resort to the old vintage ghost-sheet standby because god forbid, HIS FACE WOULD BE COVERED IN COTTON. And there was no way I was going to the stupid Halloween store….

….so it was decided that for the school party and parade, he’d wear his old ice cream cone costume.

Oh! And did I mention that no baked goods can be sent along for the class party? Everything has to be storebought and individually-packaged. No creepy cupcakes or cookies, no rice krispie treats or cakepop eyeballs. (I’m pretty sure Henry was actually relieved about this rule, though. One less thing for him to labor over!)

I know it’s not the school’s fault, and I know that these stringent rules have been implemented in schools all over the country, not just Chooch’s. But it just makes me so sad that this generation will never know Halloween like we knew Halloween. All those “Creepy Vintage Halloween” articles have been circulating on Facebook, but you know what? I would even take 1980s Halloween over what it’s become now, thanks to religious zealots and all of those motherfuckers who just can’t help themselves from shooting up schools. You assholes with nut allergies probably fucked this up somehow, too. (Kidding. Save the hate mail for next week’s blog post about Satanic abortions.)

It’s goddamn depressing. So I ranted and cried about this for a long while Wednesday night. I think Chooch genuinely felt bad for me (I do play a pretty fantastic sadsack), and he agreed to take his ice cream cone costume to school the next day.

And then I conveniently got a call from the school nurse that afternoon, telling me that Chooch puked and wanted to come home. I was 100% convinced that he puked his way out of the parade, but he insisted that he got sick off of a taco at lunch. By the time we got home, he swore that he was feeling better and wanted to go back to school for the parade and party. I asked him if he was sure at least 87 times before signing him back into school. (He’s lucky we live close enough that it’s less than a 10 minute walk.) When I was standing in the hallway talking to his teacher, some other mom was there picking up her kid and she overheard the teacher say that Chooch threw up after eating a taco for lunch.

“My son pukes EVERY TIME IT’S TACO DAY!” the mom bystander shared, so maybe he wasn’t actually Tracy Gold’ing it to get out of the parade after all.

45 minutes later, I was walking to school for the 4th time that day to watch the parade, which was scary because Henry couldn’t leave work in time so I had to GO BY MYSELF. Obviously I didn’t know anyone there because I’m so parentally antisocial, and pretty much everyone else was buddied up with other parents. So I stood next to the only other person there who appeared to have gone stag—some mom with a septum piercing.

Luckily, the parade was short…..and very anti-climatic. Tons of kids didn’t even dress up at all! And then there was Chooch, who was doing his best to smile in spite of the fact that he was probably daydreaming of killing me in my sleep.

“Everyone was laughing at me!” he told me afterward (and no, he wasn’t CRYING ABOUT IT).

“Because it’s funny! It’s SUPPOSED to be funny!” I cried. Yeah, I’m definitely going to bite it in my sleep one of these nights. You guys were all right.

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Meanwhile, the school’s stupid costume policies allowed Henry more time to finish the real costume that was supposed to be 95% done but somehow took another three hours to complete. So while Henry did things that required the use of a ruler and math, I figured I could use that time to maim and mangle the stuffed animals. I asked Henry for the fake blood, which he SWORE WE HAD IN THE GARAGE, and it turns out we definitely did NOT have any fake blood. (I know, it’s hard to believe that people like us actually forget to restock our fake blood.)

So I threw a huge fit and Henry was all, “OH YES LET ME JUST STOP WORKING ON THIS AND GIVE A SHIT ABOUT FAKE BLOOD!” He suggested I walk to CVS and just buy some, but hey, FYI: CVS replaces all of the Halloween stuff with Christmas stuff on HALLOWEEN. I even asked one of the cashiers, thinking maybe they could just snag a tube for me out of the back, but she crinkled her nose and repeated, “Fake BLOOD?” like I was asking for a Englebert Humperdinck 8-track.

Actually, that’s a horrible reference because that cashier was like 70 so she would have been happy about that.

I ran back home after that. Me! Running! In the rain! In the rain I ran!

Did I mention it was raining? Of course it was raining—it’s Halloween in Pittsburgh. All fucking day, it was drier than a nun’s kooka* until an hour before trick-or-treating was set to start.

*(Unless it was one of the nun’s in the Italian porn we may have recently watched. And by we I mean Henry by himself because I am too classy for that, obviously.)

With no fake blood to transform the bag of stuffed animals, I focused on doing Chooch’s makeup. This part was pretty stress-free because Chooch suddenly enjoys being made-up and even dug around my makeup box for the shade he wanted around his eyes. (All makeup used was My Pretty Zombie, of course.)

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The final step for Chooch’s makeup was to adhere some stuffing to his cheek, to give it that “ripped open stuffed animal” feel. Unfortunately, in order to get the stuffing, I had to cut open one of the stuffed animals, which was the whole point in buying them from Goodwill anyway. We were going to decapitate some, amputate some, etc etc. Chooch beat me to the bag and furiously dug through it, desperately yelling, “Wait! Not the dog! Not the kitty! No, not the dragon, either!!” and before I knew it, he had almost the entire bag of stuffed animals in his arms, frantically hugging them into his body.

Finally, I found a frog and tried to be all dismissive about it. “Eh, it’s just a frog,” I said with a wave. “It’s not even all that cute.” But son-of-a-bitch, when I raised those scissors up to its chest, I was overcome with a wave of anthropomorphic guilt.

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

But…I had to do it, you guys. I had to slice open this poor fucking frog that already had the misfortune of being orphaned at a thrift shop. What dumb luck. As the sound of those dull blades slashing through fabric rang through the air, Chooch burst into tears. Like, REALLY BIG TEARS rolling down his poor wolf-cheeks, taking strips of makeup along for the ride.

“Oh for Christ’s sake!” Henry muttered as Chooch sobbed and I apologized profusely, more to the frog than Chooch, if we’re being honest.

Then when Chooch wasn’t looking, I smeared the frog with red paint.

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Chooch, post-cry. I had to reapply his makeup afterward. At least he got to wear his Never Shout Never-inspired wolf hat!

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So, that pretty much killed the stuffed animal idea. Luckily, we had enough pre-bloodied plush options, like the Batman that our friend Bonecrusher zombified for Chooch’s 5th birthday, one of Andrea’s zombie Barbies, Ju-On, a Jason Voorhees plush, the stuffed rabbit I bloodied for my Fatal Attraction costume last year and Chooch has still not forgiven me. All the while, I kept mouthing off to Henry about every last thing, all the way down to his audacity for even having been born. I have medals in this sport, you guys. My endurance for berating Henry is porn star-caliber.

Janna arrived right around this time, and she should really write a guest post about how comfortable and mellow it is to sit on the couch and listen to my mouth flap like your basic Roseanne Barr and Henry quietly simmers in a broth of domestic abuse and emasculation. I think my salutation as she walked through the front door was, “THIS IS THE WORST FUCKING DAY EV-HER-HER-HER-HER-ERRRRRR.”

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He insisted on putting a non-maimed dog in the front with him, but he was telling everyone its name was Murder Victim.

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I know, Chooch looks miserable in the video. But he was trying to look like a sad wolf, OK?! I’M NOT REALLY THAT BAD OF A MOM.

Finally, Chooch was situated in his box and we set off in the rain. We tagged along with our neighbor and two of her kids. Her son Josh is in Chooch’s class and they’ve known each other basically since they were born, since they’re only 2 weeks apart in age. Sometimes they don’t play very well together, but they made a good trick-or-treating duo. I was really glad for that, because this day did not need any more stress! Plus, Josh was really enthused about Chooch’s costume, which made him get even more into it.

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Too bad the rain forced him to take it off after the first block. Totally broke my heart, which I communicated by being a complete asshole and stamping my feet and threatening that I was JUST GOING TO GO HOME. Because you know, it’s all about me and my feelings. Meanwhile, Chooch was like, “Erin, Imma let you finish, but not having to wear a box in the rain is one of the best Halloween costumes of all time.” And frankly, he looked adorable as that stuffed wolf, so I got over it pretty quickly. (Not without verbally raping Henry a few more times though. Because the rain was ALL HIS FAULT! Why didn’t he smear himself with his own feces and crump to What Does the Fox Say beneath the Harvest Moon like a REAL FATHER?!)

I really don’t handle this shit well. I act like every little tiny event is my wedding/funeral. And it always ends up being fine! And we have fun! And we laugh! But there is always that hour where I am such a raging control freak bitchnugget asshole that I have no idea why I still have any friends. Or, you know, a Henry and a Chooch.

So I will summarize the rest (thank god, right) by saying that:

  • it rained like it motherfucker
  • Henry tried to go home
  • some lady in a Blazer almost ran us over and then put her window down to tell Chooch he had the cutest costume, and I said, “Thanks…FOR ALMOST RUNNING US OVER”
  • Henry and I broke up over an umbrella
  • I pointed out all of the things Henry forgot to put on the claw machine and he growled, “THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I WOULD HAVE DONE IF I HAD MORE TIME.” God, quit your job then, asshole.
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Chooch had to take off the box before we made it off the first block and went the rest of the night as a “sad stuffed wolf”
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Janna had a cold
  • I called Henry a motherfucker (x 87)
  • Henry got to go home

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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I don’t even think they noticed it was raining. (Josh had a really cute pirate costume, and it sucked that he had to wear a windbreaker over it. I hate Pittsburgh weather.)

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We probably only saw 15-20 other trick-or-treaters in the 60+ minutes we were out there. And most houses just left out a bowl on the honest

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Tourette’s was trick-or-treating, too!!

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Cast of Claw Characters

“What did you use for the blood?” Henry frowned, rubbing his wet, red fingers together.

“Paint. It was either that or Ketchup,” I said with a shrug, and then when he gave me The Disappointed Father look, I screamed, “OH DON’T EVEN START WITH ME ABOUT THE FAKE BLOOD, YOU SON OF A BITCH.” I mean, good fucking god. Sorry that paint takes so long to dry!

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Afterward, Henry, Chooch, Janna and I went to Eat n Park for dinner, and miraculously Henry and I quit hating each other long enough to (BRIEFLY) hold hands at the booth. And now Chooch is apparently really into eyeliner. I came home from work last night and he had it on one eye. Henry gave me the “thanks for THAT, Erin” smirk.

All in all, it ended up being fine and we had fun in spite of the rain. I mean, if I had nothing to bitch about, how would I ever remember this night?!

Did your Halloween go off without a hitch? If so, fuck you.

Oct 082018
 

Today’s costume flashback is brought to you by the victory I received over the weekend when Henry caved and said, “FINE WE CAN  GO TO KNOEBELS FOR THEIR STUPID HALLOWEEN THING.” It’s from 2014, which was probably the most stress-free Halloween that Henry and I had ever since bringing Chooch onto the scene.

Here you go!

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Standing in line for Flying Turns at Knoebel’s two weeks ago, Chooch spotted a kid at the front of the line, wearing a bacon costume.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if his name was Kevin?” Chooch asked, laughing. “And he’s wearing a BACON costume?” He was beside himself with laughter at this point. “GET IT, MOMMY? KEVIN…BACON!?”

YES I GET IT! GOD.

He watched Footloose once last year so obviously Mr. Bacon has been on Chooch’s radar ever since. I mean, it’s Kevin-fucking-Bacon.

In fact, earlier that same day, as Henry was driving around the town of Danville, PA in circles, Chooch piped up from the backseat, “Don’t Kevin Bacon your way around.” It makes less and less sense the more you think about it, but goddamn did we laugh at the time!

And then, after seeing the bacon kid at Knoebel’s, Chooch said that’s what he wanted to be for Halloween: a bacon suit with a Hello My Name Is: Kevin name tag. You guys. Finally. A simple goddamn Halloween costume. With two weeks to go! No makeup needed! No DIY crossbows or cardboard boxes to turn to mush in the rain! No ONELASTTHING that has one of us running to CVS 15 minutes before trick-or-treating begins.

Last weekend, we went to the Halloween store and bought the bacon costume. I had no problem spending $30 on it because even though it seems like we’re being so economical with all of our DIY costumes of Halloween-past, all the bits and pieces that we have to collect from Goodwill and eBay add up, not to mention the stress of putting it all together. But the best part was the Chooch was so excited and proud of this costume! I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he’s not the first person to do this. But he might be the first 8-year-old to come up with the idea on his own!

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Halloween was a wet mess. It started raining late-morning and basically never let up, so the parade at Chooch’s school was moved to the gym. At first I was really pissed off about the parade in general because Henry kept saying he would probably be able to make it but of course at the last minute, his mistress showed up a truck driver showed up at work, so he couldn’t leave in time to make the parade. But then when I got to the school, I quickly forgot about being mad because THE GYM TEACHER WAS THERE AND I AM SO HOT FOR THAT GUY! So instead of sending Henry death-threats via text, I occupied myself with taking stealth-shots of my gym teacher crush while Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” played on a loop in my slutty head.

Don’t worry! There was still room for me to judge 3/4 of the parents in the room.

The parade only lasted about 15 minutes. Once the adults realized Chooch’s entire costume, there was a ton of snickering and he seemed pleased. I figured most people assumed this was a costume that his bossy parents forced on him.

“None of your friends are going to get it,” I told him the other day.

“No…but the teachers will,” he shrugged. Because that’s all he cares about: impressing grown-ups.

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It was still raining by the time trick-or-treating started and I was completely upset about it. Chooch didn’t give a fuck, but I was all, “HALLOWEEN IS RUINED! AGAIN! WAHHHH!” But really it was because I was mad that I had half-assed a baby doll costume (I was wearing a donuts-in-space baby doll dress, even) and then had to cover everything up with a rainjacket, ugh. I hate everything!

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Anyway. We wound up going around the neighborhood with our neighbor Sam and her son, Markie. Markie is kind of like the little brother that Chooch always says he wants until he spends too much time with Markie and then he turns into a little jerk-bully and it is so infuriating. I hate kids with superiority complexes and Chooch definitely has one that rears its head every now and then. I spent most of the time saying things like, “CAN’T YOU JUST BE NICE?! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO MARKIE? STOP BEING A JERK.”

Ugh.

Stop making me be a MOM on HALLOWEEN.

henry

Henry was absolutely no help whatsoever.

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Markie’s mom has trick-or-treating on LOCK. She would quickly point out if they missed a house or if they only took one when the sign said TAKE TWO and she was on top of things when it came to crossing the street. Have you seen me cross the street? Thank god for Markie’s mom.

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A few Halloweens ago, Chooch completely bit it down a set of stairs not unlike these ones. And this year, he was practically making the trek in a DRESS. He did fall once, not down any steps at least, and Markie’s mom was on top of it. That’s just one of the reasons why everyone assumed she was my kid’s mom that night.

Sigh.

kevin

AFTER THIS HOUSE GO TO THAT HOUSE. DON’T WALK THROUGH THEIR YARD! YOU MISSED THAT HOUSE! THE LIGHT IS OFF BUT THERE IS A BOWL ON THE PORCH!!!!

Ah, the sounds of hyper-bossy trick-or-treating parents. They should have their own show on TLC.

And I thought Henry was a candy-fetching militant.

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Seriously, Chooch’s costume. It’s like a breakfast gown. I had the ingenious foresight to pin it up, but that brilliant mom-idea came the day before, so by Halloween, I had forgotten to do it. But still, people freaked out over his costume. One lady even asked to take his picture. I was happy to stand in the background and not take any credit. This was all Chooch and I let him have it all. (There were times when people would laugh and say to each other, “Oh, he’s bacon, how cute” and, after fisting their candy bowl, he would snap, “I’m KEVIN Bacon” and then sauntered away while they let that sink in.

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Toward the end of the night, we parted ways with the neighbors, and if there was a house Chooch felt like skipping, we let him skip the everloving FUCK out of it. It was cold and wet and we wanted to go home and eat candy, you know? Leave us alone.