Apr 252022
 

Well, guys, it happened. The day has come where MY LITTLE BABY, MY LITTLE PRECIOUS LAMBY, MOMMY’S LITTLE SWEET BOY CHEEKS—ok ugh sorry I was even making myself sick—has turned 16. I’m kind of numb, not gonna lie. I haven’t cried yet at least. But I did drive him to school  this morning (usually he takes the bus) and he was actually a delight. We made fun of the dreadful radio DJs together, mocked the bitch who got picked to play Escalation, and he even said THANK YOU when he got out of the car. I did almost cry a little then.

Henry and I got lucky with this one. I mean, we’re not perfect parents, but we don’t suck either. We’ve always put him first and done everything possible to make sure he has everything he needs and I am not being jokey or sarcastic at all for once when I say that it has been so cool, fun, and rewarding being his parent for the last 16 years and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like as an adult!

OK I lied! I can definitely wait. Let’s put the brakes on time for a bit, please. Sheesh.

I know I’m always like, “OMG CHOOCH’S ATTITUDE. CHOOCH KNOWS EVERYTHING. CHOOCH IS ANNOYING. UGH CHOOH NEEDS TO CLEAN HIS ROOM” but in all honesty, all that shit is normal teenager baggage and I don’t really give him as much credit as he deserves. Because the kid is just amazing, really. Consistently maintains a 4.0 with no nagging needed. Got a job at McDonald’s in October and not only does he never call off (he schedules time off though, but doesn’t dick them over), but he asks for more hours. He’s always getting involved in stuff too, like various hikes and excursions at the teen center, a ceramics class he signed up for on Thursdays, etc.

And now he’ll be learning how to drive. Ugh.

Anyway! We had a small cake-eating celebration for him Saturday night. He didn’t want a party, so it was just us, Janna, Corey, my mom, and two of Chooch’s friends. Even that was too much for him! Believe me, if he had left it up to me, and if big celebrations were safe, I’d have had a big blowout in the park like old days or rented out the roller rink for old time’s sake. IT’S HOW I SHOW MY LOVE, OK.

(Those old parties in the park were so legit though! I think the cat one was my fave.)

Well, at least I was allowed to do the whole cake thing which is the part of party-planning that I love the most! HOW CAN I MAKE HIM IRRITATED? That’s usually my first thought in the brainstorming process and then I go from there. Since we were still hot on the heels of our roller coaster road trip, I wanted to use that as the theme for this year’s bitchin’ Bethel Bakery cake.

I love you, Bethel Bakery.

Also, this picture is the first one that came to mind – it’s from Fun Spot Kissimmee (maybe one day I will finish recapping the trip), and Chooch rode this coaster – literally called KIDDIE COASTER – with a bored look on his face the whole time. Way to steal the front row from a little kid who would have appreciated it more!

And then Bethel Bakery had Spanish happy birthday candles! Had to scoop those up as an homage to his upcoming Yucatan study abroad sesh.

Henry: U WILL NOT GET THEM CANDLES TO FIT ON THAT THAR CAKE.

Me: Oh yes I will.

Henry: NO. THERE IS NOT ENUF ROOM. U WILL HAVE TO NOT  USE ALL THEM. JUST SOME.

Me: WTF do you want it to say, Feliz Cum??

Henry: *grumbles*

Me: Bitch move and let me do my thang.

C’mon now, Henry. I will make that shit work.

And then we all sang bizarrely as usual.

Not as bad as the time we sounded like a fucking funeral dirge / Gregorian choir at his laser tag birthday party! I really wish I had video of that, ugh. MOM FAIL.

We let Chooch do the first cut now that he’s 16 (that’s not really a thing, is it? I think Henry just made it up!??!) and it was chaos. I didn’t get a good picture the first time so I wanted him to cut it again but then Henry was all, “HO HO HO HO!” trying to snatch the knife from him because he didn’t like the way Chooch was about to make the second slice so he made Chooch RE-CUT the same area and it was so sus. Like, how much stake does Henry have in cake-cutting, I don’t get it. He was a few seconds away from hollering, “IT’S MY WAY OR NO WAY!”

Close up!

After Chooch’s friends left on Saturday, he actually hung out with me and Janna! However, all we did was shout about roller coaster manufacturers over Janna’s head and I think she was probably like, “Oh my god, if it’s not kpop, it’s coasters. This is so boring.”

As usual, now that he’s not in the one-digits, I had no idea what to get him. (Yeah, NOT a car, lol.) So we’re taking him and his friend Zakk to Cedar Point in a few weeks for the whole weekend which should be not only a fun gift but also a reprieve for Chooch who always has to ride coasters with his MOM.

I also got him some cool Steel City brand Kennywood shirts, an Iron Gwazi blueprint art, and a Coaster Crew membership so now he can be a real coaster dork and attend actual events and scream ONE TRAIN OPS and have the B&M vs Intamin giga debate.

I freaking love this kid even though we act like we’re frenemies most of the time. I can’t imagine how dull my life would be if I never had him.

Speaking of, when I was telling him yesterday that I wanted him to pose for these pictures, he got all bent out of shape about it and retreated upstairs, so I called after him, “You owe me!”

“For what?!” he called back.

“FOR THE SCAR YOU GAVE ME AND FOR RUINING MY STOMACH!” I screeched.

“OK, here we go,” he mumbled.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHOOCHIE CABRERA!! (Shout out to the old-timers who remember when I made a LiveJournal for him when he was a baby and that was the name, lol, OMG I was so lame.)

Apr 052022
 

I mentioned several times in passing that Chooch has been attending some “Mentors in the Making” program at the Carnegie Science Center’s “Fab Lab” since October.  I had no idea really what it was but he came home with a sign-up thingie from school and expressed interest because all students who stuck around until the end of the program got to keep the laptop they were each assigned, which came loaded with various programs they were going to be using during the…thingie.

I will be honest – I only half-understood what was going on, but I know they made small projects using a vinyl and laser cutter and lots of shit using a 3D printer, which is how we came to be a 3D printing household. Mostly I had no idea what he was doing for two hours on these Tuesday evenings.

What I also didn’t know was that in addition to these small projects, each student also had to develop, research, and complete a capstone project, which they then worked on with their assigned mentor.

Anyway, two weeks ago, I got an email from someone at the someone at the Fab Lab informing me that I was invited to some such “we are done with the program” ceremony thing at the science center. When we dropped Chooch off for his last class, I reminded him to ask if there would be refreshments & he became very annoyed because I allegedly asked him this twice in two days & also the word “refreshments” is annoying in & of itself apparently. These are the things I learn, just from mom’ing a 15-year-old.

The EVENT was last Thursday evening and GUESS WHAT?

REFRESHMENTS.

The cookies were very good. They also had pizza, and the lady in charge of the Mentor program thingie kept trying to push more and more slices on everyone and I was like, “I ALREADY ATE DINNER I JUST WANT SUGAR THANKS.”

So, the one thing I wasn’t aware of was that the refreshments were essentially a RUSE to get us to sit quietly and endure nearly two hours of the kids presenting their capstone projects. YES, CHOOCH WAS GOING TO BE DOING A PRESENTATION.

“Did you know this?” I whispered to him, and he just casually shrugged because literally nothing fazes this child.

Because he’s Chooch and has my great fortune, he was the first one called up to present. Of course, my heart was racing because WHAT WILL HE SAY?? He is so unpredictable!

First, he introduced himself, his mentor (I already forget his name but he was slated to get his Doctorate the very next day, that I do remember) and his project – A SQUIRREL FEEDER. He explained to everyone in the room that he came up with the concept because, and this is a loose quote though pretty damn accurate because this moment is seared in my mind: “when the pandemic started, my mom had nothing else to do so she became obsessed with the neighborhood squirrels.”

So everyone in the room started to laugh and look over at me which you all know I hate being under the spotlight, so I was sitting there with my face in my hands and a wad of half-chewed cooki in my mouth. Henry loved every second of it, of course. Chooch maybe could have mentioned at least that I was also working from home, instead of painting me as a shut-in, sitting by the window with squirrels climbing all over me.  Meanwhile, the other kids made projects like a distance sensor for the visually-impaired and an anxiety puzzle for people with ADHD & depression.

My kid: SQUIRREL FEEDER for his crazy mom. But…I fucking love it.

And another mentor (the guy in the picture up there) helped Chooch make a very dramatic commercial for the product on Blender:

 

And he got an award thing!

There was one extremely obnoxious teen girl there but I am trying to turn over a new leaf (for the billionth time) by not publicly dragging children and parents on the Internet but OOOF, it’s hard. I might have to take to my old trusty paper journal to get this one off my chest. I will say that while she was presenting, I lost my cool and texted Chooch a puking emoji because I am just that mature.

I haven’t tried this bad boy out yet because Chooch made the opening too small and peanuts won’t fit in there so now I have to get sunflowers or something.

But yeah, what a cool thing that the Carnegie is doing! The fact that such a fascinating array of brilliant minds took time out of their busy science-y lives to help a bunch of high school kids learn and become more interested in basically engineering is just really heart-warming for normal people who have hearts and I guess I must because I’m getting all SOFT-LIKE just thinking about the impact they made. Ugh. But on the other hand, I can’t imagine being  that kind of person who would choose to work with kids unless it was like, court-appointed or a work requirement. So I guess I still got some charred sections of the ol’ pumper.

And because he completed this program, he is now eligible for internships and other mentor programs (like, he can be the mentor for a younger kid) that they have. Of course, the first thing that was offered to him he had to decline because he will be studying in Merida during that time. I love that he has these options now though! And that this isn’t something we had to force him to do.

Mar 282022
 

In more “Chooch bought a 3D printer” news, he printed me a topography map of South Korea and it is so beautiful, so perfect, so meaningful. I  knew as soon as he handed it to me that I wanted to make it into an art piece because it’s just too special to lay around on a desk or in a drawer. Or on the floor once a cat discovers it on some surface and desperately needs it to drop to the floor. (Actually, in the above picture, Drew just couldn’t resist slowly touching it with her paw when she thought I wasn’t looking. Cats, amirite.)

We had several oval frames laying around because we always always always buy frames from Goodwill whether we’re in the market for them at the moment or not because you never know, bro. Henry painted it pastel pink and I found this gift wrap that I saved from a traditional Korean jewelry box store the first time we visited (which, at the time of this writing, was exactly 4 years ago; HOW). To be super exact, the box I bought for Barb was wrapped in this paper and after she opened the gift, she asked me if I wanted to keep the paper and I snatched it off her, like, “I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK.” It’s been chilling in a box in my closet all this time, patiently waiting for its time to shine.

Well, gift wrap, that time be now.

I just love it so much. It brings actual tears to my eyes. I still can’t believe how much of an impact this country and its culture has had on me over the last 6 years. I’m sure it’s very annoying and strange to some, but when I think back to 2016 and how miserable, low, depressed, traumatized, angry, and just honestly even in bad physical shape I was, I am ever so grateful to that fateful Christmas Eve in 2015 when I accidentally stumbled upon KpopX Fitness, even though it took a full year for it to give me that hard push down the rabbit hole to what ended up being an entirely new lifestyle. It literally started with me searching “hiphop cardio dance” on YouTube.

(Shocking, but no I didn’t “discover Korea” because of BTS.)

I made the right choice that night. So maybe some people might think this is a weird obsession or find it hard to understand, but I see it as the catalyst to me making big changes that may have potentially saved my life. When I say 2016 was bad for me personally (obviously also politically), I am not exaggerating. I didn’t think I could ever bounce back from the trauma I went through that year, but Kpop and learning about Korea gave me something to be excited about. So, you’ll understand when I want to surround myself with mementos and art from Korea; it’s very symbolic to me and when I’m having a bad day, I clutch my experiences and memories that I made on those two visits like an emotional support stuffed animal.

It’s like those people who love the beach so much, they hang flip flop art around their house. I just took a step further and hung a giant light-up map of the Seoul subway lines on my wall. You know, for example.

I also like that the paper is gently wrinkled just like my face.

I think it really adds something different to this wall! Plus, we hung up the Old Crafty Man’s bunny!

Underrated corner, to be honest.

While I was at it, I framed this old photo of my grandparents from the 90s in a frame that I finally brought home from work. It used to have fake blood sprayed on the glass, with a picture of Sweeney Todd’s wife and kid inside, which I used for Todd’s Halloween motif the first year I ambushed my coworkers with covert Halloween decorations based on their names. And of course Todd got the Sweeney Todd theme and had no fucking idea what was going on. I even made disgusting meat pie things!

So many things around my house have fun stories but I never get to tell them because I’d need to have visitors for that HAHAHAHA ugh.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this because if we’re being honest here, today was the day of NCT Dream’s comeback and I need to get back to sitting here with my mouth open while watching YouTubers reacts to the video. I don’t pretend to have a glamorous life, you guys. Fair warning, I will probably spam the fuck out of this space with NCT Dream fan-swooning tomorrow.

Anyway, I miss interacting with people so if anyone happens to read this, tell me about an item in your house that is special to you, and why. I love reading about things like that!

Mar 112022
 

Don’t we always celebrate that jerk tho.

Anyway, Chooch maintained his 4.0 on his most recent report card and we were like, “cool I guess we will feed you at some point” and literally like a full month later, we finally made plans to take him to dinner to “celebrate.”

We had Houlihan’s stuck in our heads because he mentioned it once in passing that he wanted to go there because he had never been, and I got super nostalgic because that was my PLACE when I was in my late teens. I guess because it was like the next step up from Denny’s and my friends and I thought we were SO SOPHIS eating there and honestly we probably mostly only went for dessert. I sincerely can’t remember any actual food I would have eaten there aside from whatever their fried mozzarella app was – maybe the triangles? Or was Dingbats the ones with the triangles?!

The Houlihan’s I used to go was replaced by a WALGREENS ugh many years ago and at some point moved down the street to the Galleria, but I hadn’t been to the new location. Now that I think about it, the last time I was at Houlihan’s may have been in 2001/2002 when I was going through a heavy “meeting people on the Internet” phase by placing personal ads FOR FRIENDS (lololol) and had a FRIEND INTERVIEW with some dude there right around the time Henry and I started dating and you can imagine how well that went over. Don’t worry, I talked about my cats the whole time and never heard whatever that dude’s name was ever again.

We also invited Janna!

Sunday afternoon, while Chooch was still at work, Henry made CHOOCH PINS for us to wear that night.

This is the one Janna wore! I don’t have a picture of Henry’s and he almost blew the whole charade anyway by not having it on at first and then Chooch caught me mouthing “WHERE IS YOUR PIN” across the table; Chooch caught me and immediately asked, “WHAT” in a panicked tone but I said NOTHING and he moved on quickly because he only has so much interest in adults.

So then Henry to excuse himself to go to the bathroom and put the damn thing on; meanwhile, Chooch came down from Teenage La La Land long enough to actually SEE Janna at the table with us. He did a slow doubletake and asked, “Why are you wearing a pin of my face?” which was rather hurtful because I had mine on the whole entire time we were walking around the Galleria before Janna got there and he never noticed because I AM INVISIBLE TO HIM.

I pointed at my denim vest and yelled, “I HAVE ONE ON TOO” right when Henry came back and now Chooch was legit surrounded by people wearing pins of his face. It was like a TEAM CHOOCH huddle.

Chooch, after he realized what was happening.

We had a really stiff middle-aged (ugh probably like my age) waiter who looked like he was late for a Drive-By Truckers show at a craft whiskey festival in Williamsburg, NYC. He made me SO FUCKING UNCOMFY. He was for sure sneering at us and was also visibly anxious and annoyed when Chooch didn’t know what he wanted to drink right away. My favorite was when he asked Henry a question and then walked away before Henry had a chance to answer and Henry said something like, “How am I supposed to answer when he’s already halfway down the road?” and the fact that he said “road ” had me and Chooch dying.

Also, he was wearing a VERY FITTED short-sleeved flannel to show off his SUPER COOL tattoos.

Also, I chose Janna’s meal for her. Fish tacos. You’re welcome, Janna.

Chooch and I both got a veggie burger and it was fine, but also kind of unsatisfying. And they served it to us on these gigantic, oblong plates just to really illustrate how little food we were given. I made some comment about how we should have went somewhere better and Chooch said, “Yeah why did we come here, anyway?”

“Because you wanted to come here!” I snapped.

“Yeah, with my friends,” he snapped back.

OH DANG SON. Wow, just wow!

We didn’t get dessert (ironically, considering that was why I used to go there back in the day!) because the Galleria has a CUPCAKE vending  machine! I already knew what I wanted, and then I told Henry which one to get, and Chooch picked his pretty quickly too, but then JANNA hemmed and hawed like it was A Big Life Purchase, and she kept trying to choose ones that weren’t available!

Meanwhile, there was a young couple waiting behind us and I felt so bad because we were taking so long (well, I wasn’t, I made my selection right away because I’m a pre-planner and thought about which one I was choosing all during dinner to the point where I was nervous none of them would be available). Janna finally chose a vanilla blueberry one or something – it was the very last one and she chose it after the girl behind us told her boyfriend that’s the one she wanted! Chooch and I were trying not to crack up.

Then the vending machine deployed its slowest snail to gather up our selected ‘cakes and I honestly had to walk away after mine was deposited because it was so awkward standing there with those people behind us.

But holy shit, these bitches were worth the hassle and the wait! Mine was matcha and strawberry, and Henry’s was white chocolate pistachio. Chooch’s – not pictured because he absconded to his bedroom with it as soon as we got home – was lemon. The Galleria is only like 15 minutes from my house and I’m seriously considering going back there as soon as I post this for ROUND TWO.

The end Congrats Chooch, on your big brain. Next time we’ll go somewhere you don’t want to go with your friends, I guess.

Feb 152022
 

Some of you may be asking, “Erin, do you still have a child?”

“What’s going on with Chooch?”

“Did CPS finally succeed in taking your kid away?”

I’m happy to report that I still do have a child, actually. And now I will give you some updates on his life which will be hard considering that he is At That Age where it would be nice if someone could also give me some updates on his life, you know.

  • He’s been on a solid 4.0 streak in high school! Glad he still loves school
  • However! He is still consistently proving that his school smarts don’t transfer very far into real life. For example!! He gets out of school on Wednesdays and that’s also one of his regular days off of work so I never expect him to come straight home. Sometimes he’ll take the T to the mall with his friends, or they’ll hang around Oakland after school because Oakland is also the home to Pitt’s campus so there is a ton of shit to do there. However, this one recent Wednesday, I hadn’t heard from him since around 3:30 and it was now nearly dinner time (lol like we have traditional “dinner time” at our house or something) and he still wasn’t home, nor was he answering me. I started to get mildly anxious about this after awhile which was actually good because it meant that I really do have some sort of maternal stuffs in my blood or whatever. But then Henry got pinged when Chooch used his credit card (which Henry has parental control over, not me, lol) at Boyce Park. Ok so you’re probably thinking, “OK he went to a park, big deal” except that this park isn’t nearby and the reason he went there was to go snowboarding AND YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT HE HAS NEVER SNOWBOARDED BEFORE. EITHER HAVE THE TWO KIDS HE WENT WITH. Oh and also, none of them had the proper WINTER SPORTS costume!! They were all dressed in tennis shoes, jeans, and hoodies. No gloves! No boots! No hats! Snowboarding for the first time without any of their Mommys there to scream and wince every time one of them so much as tripped over their own foot. Of course Chooch’s phone had died shortly after leaving school, but he didn’t think this was a problem since he allegedly told (“told” is the operative word here, not “asked”) us the day before that this was the plan and he must have whispered this into the cat’s ear and relied on her to pass on the secret, which I’M SORRY BUT THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Anyway, I was so mad! And then, the richest part, is that he had the audacity to call Henry from one of his buddies’ phones at 8pm to ask for a ride home (for all of them!) when they MISSED THE BUS because they were ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD. Henry said all three of them were sopping wet messes and his friends happily described in detail the part of the adventure where Chooch fell and did a 360 flip going down a hill and I am so fucking glad I wasn’t there to see that because y’all know I’d have had jello legs and probably would have barfed too.
  • He continues to be the Most Frustrating Person To Text:

  • We play Wordle every day and it’s really killing our relationship. He is convinced that I cheat and I DO NOT CHEAT. He just sucks at knowing words.
  • Can you guess what the weirdo wanted as a reward for getting a 4.0? A stuffed Bambi that he saw at the Kohl’s checkout. He was going to buy it for himself because Henry had just finished paying but then at the last second, Henry grabbed it off of him and bought it himself, lol. Chooch did a dumb victory dance and I was like, “Wow, so this is 15.” And then I thought back to myself at 15 and nodded. Yep, that’s 15!
  • I bet he’s lost every single one of those pencils I bought him last week.

This sucks. I barely see him anymore because of his dumb McDonald’s job so this isn’t much of an update. But I will say he brought home a meatless Big Mac a few weeks ago (literally everything but the meat). I thought it was dumb and made fun of him but then I said, “OK LET ME HAVE A BITE” and it was actually good, lol.  McDonald’s is still the worst though (his manager is a dumb cunt I swear to god, I want to fight her) and I hope he gets a better job once he turns 16.

Oh here he is, just coming home from his weekly thingy at the Carnegie Science Center (it’s like a mentor program thing where they learn how to use 3D printers and stuff like that I dunno I only half-read the thing and still made him sign up for it because I thought it would look nice on college applications yes no maybe dot dot dot…) so I said, “Oh good, you’re home – THINK FAST tell me something you’re into lately” and he said, “I dunno – puzzles I guess. I’ve been doing Sudoku” and I screamed, “Oh I like Sudoku too!” and then we just fought over who has been doing Sudoku longer (me) and who is better (me) so good job, Blog, you made us fight.

(It doesn’t take much haha.)

Dec 302021
 

I never knew who Rae Dunn was until several years ago when a then-friend (now MAGA-person, incidentally) started posting incessantly on Facebook about various coffee cups and other bland ceramic pieces that she wanted – nay, needed. She was constantly asking her friends to “be on the lookout” for shit with cringe-y seasonal slogans on them, sending her “hubs” out to homeware stores to scour the shelves, and getting into ACTUAL fights with soccer moms in places like Marshall’s over the last BUT FIRST COFFEE cup. (This last one is exaggerated only in that I can’t remember what the exact piece was she literally got injured over so I made that part up, but the fact that some lady slammed her shopping cart into her is ALLEGEDLY true.)

What am I missing? The style isn’t that cool? I literally use that same font on some of my serial killer greeting cards, for god’s sake lol.

Suffice to say, we have been a very anti-Dunn household through all of this mania. So when Chooch texted me from the work the other night,  telling me that some McDonald’s regular came through the drive-thru and gifted him with a Rae Dunn Christmas tumbler/mocha set, I was howling.

I mean, first of all, what a nice gesture. Not gonna lie. Apparently, this guy is a teacher and was going to give it to one of his students, but gave it to Chooch instead. Because clearly Welcome To McDonald’s Chooch is nicer than At Home Chooch. I’m sure he has a cult following at his McD’s already. Ugh.

Second of all, it’s hilarious to me that Chooch of all people now owns a Rae Dunn piece. Because, well, Chooch.

Of course, he has taken this and run with it. The next morning, he came downstairs and in a very smarmy and instigating tone, declared, “I’m going to have some HOT CHOCOLATE in my Rae Dunn cup now.”

Little jerk, lol. (Also, that’s water from the sink on his pants, but I should have let you think it was piss because that’s what he deserves.)

“This is actually a really nice tumbler,” Henry murmured, turning it around in his gloved hands.

One innocent hot chocolate set today, sending Henry out to various homeware stores in search of rare seasonal collections tomorrow. This is the gateway to the Basic Broad Club. He’ll be joining a Rae Dunn discord group any day now.

Dec 172021
 

I was so excited when I went to bed Sunday night because I knew that it was MY LAST SLEEP BEFORE THE GENESIS SHOW! I was also nervous because it was the first concert I’d be attending since 2019 and the thought of being around so many people, even in a mask/vaxxed/boostered, made me feel icky.

But then Monday morning happened. Something you should know about my mornings lately is that they are like walking on the hot coals of Hell because Chooch is SUCH A JERK these days and Morning Chooch and Morning MOMMY do not get along. Literally at all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how much interaction do you even have with him now that you don’t have to drive him to school anymore? Well, funny you should bring that up, IMAGINARY BLOG READER IN MY HEAD, because on that day, I did end up driving him to school.

AND HERE’S WHY:

His alarm never fucking wakes him up, so I have to set my alarm for 5:50am to make sure his ass gets out of bed. This in and of itself is fucking ridiculous and makes me so angry especially on days that I’m off, OF WHICH MONDAY WAS ONE! Then I have to set a BACK-UP alarm for 6:10 to make sure that he hasn’t fallen asleep on the couch before leaving. Because that’s a thing that happens.

Anyway! Back to this particular morning. I woke him up and went back to bed. I wasn’t sleeping, just laying there with my BFF Drew who likes to hop into my bed in the early AM hours and attack me. I could hear Chooch getting all of his stuff together in his room and I called out from my room, “Are you wearing the new hoodie I got you?”

Because this is the universal uniform of 15 year old boys. Hoodies. I never see them in anything else and it really annoys me because Chooch has a closetful of nice, long-sleeved shirts and flannels but he won’t wear them BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE HOODS. So I keep buying him new hoodies to try and deter him from wearing the SAME TWO over and over.

My query was met with a SNIP-SNAPPY, “WHAT HOODIE?” You know that tone, too, if you’ve ever been a teenager…? That degrading way they literally SPIT their retorts from their mouths with a flick of their forked tongues. Ugh, monsters, all of them.

So I had to calmly remind him that I had recently purchased him THREE hoodies from Pac Sun, two of which he had already worn the previous week. And the only one he hadn’t worn yet was the purple one.

“PURPLE???” he hissed, like this was some fake ass color I made up on the spot because I’m just your basic delulu mother.

So now I was pissed. I have no patience for this shit and his tone lights a flame inside my bloodstream.

Ignore him, I could hear Henry saying clear from the Faygo Factory. I attempted to take Papa H’s stupid advice and tried to go back to sleep but my whole body was buzzing with FURY VIBRATO. I couldn’t let it go. I needed to have the last word. He was already on his way to the T, but I texted him something about how I’m so happy that I spend all this money on his clothes when he doesn’t wear them and he was like “OMG.”

And then: “GREAT I DON’T HAVE MY MASK AND I MISSED THE T.”

Except, imagine it more like this:

Groiup;

Freayt

Great 

Now i 

dont hav m

mas\k

You have to be familiar with Chooch’s brand of “hurried teenager with fat fingers” texting to translate this so allow me to help:

Great now I don’t have my mask

Oh actually here’s a great example hot off the press:

Because he apparently did in fact change into the PURPLE hoodie and by doing so, he left his face mask in the pocket of his original hoodie from that morning. And now he couldn’t get on the T because you’re still required to wear masks and I just lost it. I don’t know why I got so mad because ACTUALLY THIS WAS MY FAULT but I will NEVER SAY THAT OUT LOUD so instead I went psycho in my replies to him and told him to just start walking back to the house and I would DRIVE HIM even though our car is in the shop because of um, HENRY’S ACCIDENT, and I had to drive our OTHER CAR which is FINE but not GREAT and also I haven’t driven it in so long that I forgot where things were and then I was doubly mad because I PASSED CHOOCH on my way to where he was walking from, thinking he would take my psychic cues and wait for me at the gas station at the end of our street, but instead he kept walking and I didn’t see him and he didn’t see him so when I went to call him I accidentally called Henry and immediately disconnected so I could call Chooch, but then Henry kept beeping in and I was screaming FUCK OFF!!!! while sitting in my idling car in the gas station parking lot at 6:30 wearing glasses and no make up and no bra.

PAUSING FOR A BREATH.

So now, here I am, back at our house sitting in the driveway with CHOOCH THE OFFENDER while swearing because Tourette’s was slowly and I mean slow-slow-slowly, like the actual slowest, walking down the sidewalk behind our car. And waiting for him to pass meant that A BIG DUMB TRUCK got in front of us and I was like I AM NOT DRIVING BEHIND THIS FUCKER so I veered to the left at the light and went a different way, after Chooch was like, “Just take me to 7-11, I’ll ride to school with Zakk” and I was like, “OH NO HUNNY I AM IN THE CAR NOW, AND WE ARE SEEING THIS THRU TO THE MOTHERFUCKING ENDDDDDDDD.”

And then, “HOW DO YOU GET THIS FUCKING RADIO OFF OF AM?!?!?!?!”

Chooch fixed the radio for me and then we drove in silence, except for the 87 times I slammed the steering wheel over every littlest traffic infraction from my fellow drivers, and screamed, “OH THIS IS JUST GREAT.”

And then as Chooch was getting out of the car, I yelled after him: AND THANKS FOR RUINING MY GENESIS DAY!!!!

Then stupid Henry was calling again so I directed all of my hatred onto him and of course he knew what was going on because Chooch the Betrayer texted him.

Back at home, my perfect cats who I love more than ANYONE ELSE IN MY HOUSE calmed me down and then we fed the squirrels together and you know, everything was fine after that really and I eventually texted Chooch an apology for “getting mad” but not for being the ROOT CAUSE OF THE MASK-FORGETTING that morning, lololol.

Nov 192021
 

Hi bros and scarecrows, today’s story is about how I thought that SCHOOL PICTURE DAY was ruined.

Let’s back-up to October.

I was relaxin’ and maxxin’ all cool, as one do, when it occurred to me that it was pretty late into the month and shouldn’t school picture day be happening here soon?

In Modern Times, students aren’t sent home with important information anymore. Everything is emailed. And I don’t know about other schools, but Chooch’s school uses an independent local photography and not some SCHOOL PHOTO conglomerate, so we don’t get order forms. You basically just pay for the photo release and then you can do whatever the hell you want with the picture. Which is fine by me because we usually only ever want copy to frame but we’re always forced into purchasing a package.

Anyway, that being said, I am kind of sucky at reading those emails. But since it was at the forefront of my mind, I went into my email and searched “school picture day” and thank you, technology, the school email popped right up….and told me that I missed school picture day.

I WAS IRATE. Yes, this my fault, mostly, but the fact that HE DID NOT EVEN MENTION IT TO ME really had my blood sizzling.

So then this angry text was sent:

^*^)*&)*&)*$$@#$#^$()!!!!! The audacity!

But yeah, Responsible Parent Henry chimed in and was like THERE IS A MAKE-UP DAY. HE CAN GET IT REDONE. DON’T KILL EACH OTHER.

Oh that’s cool, he even went through with getting his picture taken on the actual photo day and then didn’t even feel the need to tell me about it all, wow. Like, “How was school?” “Oh, it was chill. I wore a tattered hoodie in my school picture. Oh yeah, it was school picture day.”

I was a nervous wreck the day of MAKEUP PICTURES because what if it was only for kids who didn’t already get their picture taken on the regular day? I was prepared to drive to the school if I had to. Or take my own photo and force them to use it in the yearbook.  I still sent him to school in a nice shirt, over which he pulled down a hoodie immediately.

Anyway, long story barely shortened, he told me that he had fully intended to NOT get a retake but then he happened to be walking down the hall as retakes were happening, walked right on past the photo area, stopped and sighed, and then turned around and asked if he could get one.

I WIN! ANOTHER ROUND FOR QUEEN MOTHER!

I was able to avoid the dreaded Hoodie School Pic, but we still gotta do something about his swoopy hair, OMG.

But yeah, this is the story of the 10th grade photo that was almost ruined but then wasn’t because I’m a spoiled parent who always gets her way.

Nov 152021
 

Maybe he can treat himself to a haircut lol. Sike, I’d GLADLY PAY FOR THAT SWOOP TO GET SHEARED. 

I was split 50/50 when Chooch ended up getting a job last month. Part of me thought he’s last a few days and then realize that labor is not for him. The other part of me thought the money-motivated side of his personality would kick in and he’d be researching McD franchise opportunities.

Well, I think it’s safe to say at this point that he is obsessed with making money and takes his job seriously. Especially after he got his first paycheck (pictured)! But that ignited a lengthy Extreme Paint Drying-style conversation between him and Henry, because bro had QUESTIONS.

Don’t we all!

His main concern was the fact that he worked three weeks at that point but only received a check for two weeks. We tried a hundred different ways to explain this to him. Henry was about ready to bust out the whiteboard while I was hovering above my body, willing myself to float away into the ether.

I thought henry had him all squared away but the next day, he took the T to McDonald’s after school, on his day off, to “confront” the managers about ripping him off.

Oh my god.

Anyway, I think he understands it now.

I hope.

It’s hilarious because before he got a job, his well-laid plans consisted of taking $20 from each paycheck and putting the rest into savings. Thennnnnn he got his first paycheck, lol. To be fair though, we got him some parental-controlled credit card so we can limit how much he’s spending, and also Henry has it set up so that all of his purchases are rounded up and the difference goes into savings. He hasn’t figured out yet that this is happening, lol.

In last week’s episode of “My 15-year-old Has a Job,” (my new favorite show!) a Chipotle burrito is suddenly OMG so expensive now that he’s using his own money. But…then he went to Rite Aid and bought two bags of balloons just because he could. So…

Whenever he’s working the drive-thru, he likes to text me and tell me, “I’m on drive thru. Come. Now.” And like, no. For so many reasons, no! None of us eat anything at McDonald’s for once, so anytime we go visit him, Henry usually gets stuck ordering an iced coffee (I can’t even do that because THEY HAVE NO DAIRY ALTERNATIVES, get with the times MCD’S!!!). And also, he wants us to jump and run over there the moment he texts! But then when we do, he’s acts all annoyed that we’re there! I mean, it couldn’t have anything to do with the act that the last time, I leaned across Henry and screamed, “IS THE MCRIB BACK!?!?!?!?!?!” into the speaker because they have like a million signs up for it. Chooch sighed with the pent up exasperation of 100 Bob Belchers.

After he came home that night, I excitedly asked him, “WASN’T THAT FUNNY WHEN I ASKED YOU ABOUT THE MCRIB??” He didn’t answer me, so I yelled, “WAIT DID YOU EVEN HEAR ME ASK THAT??” and he muttered, “Yes. EVERYONE heard you ask that because WE ALL WEARING HEADSETS.”

Yesss! And apparently one of the supervisors asked, “Do you know them or something?” because of the way Chooch turned from Working Chooch to Awkward FML Chooch.

THEN DON’T TELL US TO STOP BY, BRO!

The other day, he came home and said, “I’m thinking about working on Thanksgiving. It’s time and a half!”

And then he asked sincerely, “What is time and a half?”

He reminds me of someone and I can’t place it—-OH THAT’S RIGHT, ME. Lol! I am such a dunce with work stuff. Like, the other day I said to Carrie, “You know, exempt or non-exempt. Whichever one we are. I can never remember” and she very patiently told me. (OMG I forgot it again though. I’ll ask Henry when he comes home from The Store.)

 

Oct 242021
 

I just feel like doing a good ol’ fashioned free-form post today to clear my mind so that’s, that’s just what we’re going to do. Because I said so.

Chooch didn’t have school last Monday, and I was CONVENIENTLY off work (he was like, “YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE” – who? me?) so I woke his ass up early-ish because I wanted to go out for breakfast. We didn’t have a single BREAKFAST CLUB MEETING all summer because I didn’t feel like fighting to wake him up early and also because…apathy.

But I had been wanting to go to Mediterra Cafe in Mt, Lebanon for quite some time and Monday seemed like JUST THE DAY FOR IT. I already knew that I wanted the 4-Grain Porridge because I love feeling like a fairy tale bitch eating a hot bowl of sludge on a toadstool in the forest. And this shit always fills me up more than more decadent offerings.

Idiot Chooch was like, “I DUNNO, I GUESS THE BREAKFAST SANDWICH” because he is 15 and is unable to do more than just glance at a menu and pick the first meatless thing he sees. I’m surprised he was able to lift his face up from his stupid Discord chat long enough to get his eyes to focus on off-screen words.

Can we talk about this pumpkin spice latte, though? It cost the big bougie bucks and I initially blanched at that because I’m not the biggest PSL (ugh) fan, and I think that Starbucks’ is especially overrated. But this? HOLY. FUCKING. COW. (Literally have never said that in my life, btw, but this latte brings out the potty-mouthed farmgirl side of me I guess.) This was so rich and smooth, none of that synthetic syrup flavoring, with actual SPICES in it. I love a cafe that makes their own pumpkin spice lattes!

I literally have not been able to stop thinking about this cup of hot pumpkin-patched heaven since Monday. I gotta get back there. I’m off all this week so if anyone wants to meet me out there at any point, holler at me, she said into the void.

The only downside to this is that my company left much to be desired. 15-year-olds, man. You just never know what you’re going to get. Some days he can be so talkative and willing to share details of his life, like how some of his friends are having this really stupid feud, or he’ll show me the website he’s been designing for his coding class without me having to ask. Other days, you can’t even ask him a simple question, like, “Are you hungry?” without having your head lopped off with his scythe-tongued retorts. Woo hoo, these years are awesome! My mom was like, “This is payback” but joke’s on her because he’s not even a tiny bit as terrible and gruesome and volatile I was at that age, so.

I mean, I think 15 was the age my mom called the cops on me and tried to have me committed, and I haven’t had to do that to Chooch yet so I think I’m winning this game.

In other Chooch news though, he has been a work-horse for McDonald’s! Part of me can’t believe he’s so into this, but then I remember how money-motivated he is and all the years he spent playing games like Diner Dash and whatever, which has clearly prepared him for the real thing. Lol. He asked to work the max amount of hours allowed for a minor but you can bet your apple-bottomed ass that I am keeping a close eye on this and the second it starts to affect his schoolwork, Mommy’s stepping in.

Anyway, he was on Drive-Thru yesterday and asked us to stop by.

Why is he like this!??! Henry was like, “Doesn’t he know there are cameras everywhere? Idiot.” Lol. Anyway, he reminds me so much of how my brother Ryan was at that age, it’s almost uncanny at times, although I don’t remember Ryan having such a shitty attitude, lol.

Oh and for all that “independent son” talk I have been spitting lately, he lost his work visor (“I left it on my floor so I would know where it was!” he screamed, and like—oh well?) and that thing Henry handed him in the video is a one-time trolley ticket thingie because DUMB ASS lost his student ID which he also needs to ride public transportation for free, so that’s actually the whole reason we were visiting him because I said, “Look bud, MOMMY AND DADDY are going to a haunted house tonight so don’t be calling us to cart your ass home.” Parenting is a fun time.

In NATURE NEWS: We have been terrorized by a family of BLUE JAYS and now Henry is having to buy twice as much peanuts because it’s like fucking hunger games out there between these Blue Jay assholes and my beloved squirrels. Henry was like, “Maybe we should see what blue jays like to eat so they’ll leave the peanuts alone” and I was like OK LET ME RESEARCH THAT SHIT, HEY GOOGLE… and of course what I discovered was:

PEANUTS ABOVE ALL ELSE ARE IRRESISTABLE TO THE LITTLE FUCKERS.

I mean at first it was cool. Like, woo hoo there is a blue jay, wow, oooh. But now they come in trios and they scream bloody murder out there. Like good Lord, take the fucking peanut and leave, you greedy bastards.

So now we’re trying to devise an anti-blue jay feeder for the squirrels, literally the reverse of what people are usually trying to accomplish lol. I just love my squirrels so much! They have been a big bright spot in my life during pandemic times.

And the cats are just like FUCK OUR LIVES.

What else. I finished Season 3 of In The Dark. WHAT A RIDE. That show is so ridiculous and implausible but the cast keeps me coming back. And I just found out it was renewed for a fourth season!! I also started Season 3 of You yesterday so I’ll be dipping into that some more while I’m off for my annual HALLOCATION this week. I dunno what else I’m going to do with myself because the weather is supposed to be dreary and rainy so my plan to go on a million walks has a huge hole in it now. Maybe…mall walks? Lol OMG I’m such an Elder.

Really loving CL’s new music! Here is a great one for you to enjoy on this lovely October Sunday:

She is the fucking queen, legitimately.

My life lately just consists of work, squirrels, and haunted houses. My hand has been straight cramped this month from all the actual writing I’ve been doing in my haunted house journal. It feels so good to be doing this again after taking the 2020 season off because of Covid/not being vaccinated. It’s also been fun going to some with just Henry this season too because it makes me feel like Erin & Henry: The Early Years. We actually first started dating exclusively in the fall of 2001 and I wonder if he was just like, “OK cool, we will go to 2 or 3 haunted houses, I guess” when I was like, “Just an FYI, I am OBSESSED with haunted houses.” And then BAM, I’m presenting him with a list of haunted houses, prices, and dates found in my annual Internet haunt research, while I’m dusting off my haunted house journal.

Like no, dude. I don’t just “like” things. I FUCKING LIVE/EAT/BREATHE things or hate things. There is no in-between.

Well, on that note, I have some stuff to do around the house, things to recap in said haunted house journal, rainy walks to take, books to read, and a haunted house to go to tonight. So ciao for now!

Sep 232021
 

Now that Chooch is back to school IRL, F2F, old school, however you want to say it, he’s been having to commute like a real life office worker. It’s the dumbest thing – his school is part of the Pittsburgh public school system but because of school bus driver shortages (this predates the pandemic BTW because we were already having to prepare for this for when he started high school in 2020), students at his school are required to take PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Chooch has mastered some pretty major subway systems in his short 15 years, so that wasn’t the concern for me, it was mostly the fact that getting to school requires one transfer no matter what, and he’s have to leave the house before 6AM to ensure he wasn’t late, which is ludicrous for a high school kid. Plus, I worried that he’d fall asleep and miss his stop/transfer/whatever.

Getting home is a piece of cake because he can basically get on any bus outside of his school that is going downtown, and he has numerous places where he can get off downtown and take the T home (way more convenient than buses). And he can take his time too, and oh, believe me, he has been. He and his new gang of friends have been cavorting around Oakland, trying to blend in with all the Pitt students, going to cafes, going to the main branch of the Carnegie library, eating at food trucks. He’s living the teenage dream, you guys, truly.

It’s only a 15 minute drive to Oakland from our house, so I’ve mom’d up (after years and years and years of him only having to walk two blocks to his old school, this is so hard for meeeeeee and me and me and me and only meeeeeee) and have been driving him to school every morning. It really isn’t that bad because I am a total morning person anyway and actually enjoy having a reason to get up an hour earlier. However, Chooch is NOT a morning person so nearly every car ride is peppered with vitriol and teenage angst (from both parties). He mostly just sits there texting his friends whom he will see in a short 20 minutes while responding to all my conversation starters with grunts and snotty quips.

Basically, he so very effortlessly makes me feel like the biggest loser while slumped in his seat like a sack of 15-year-old hormones spritzed with Axe Body Spray and superiority syndrome – it’s great!

Usually, I have Spotify playing BUT one day two weeks ago, I stupidly started driving with the radio on. Henry was the last one in the car and had left it on 100.7 which is just super annoying Top 40 but somehow more geared to soccer moms. I absolutely hate every song that comes on. That one song about date night at Applebee’s?!!? The first time I heard it, I was screaming and called Henry after Chooch got out of the car so I could bitch about it.

“Oh, I knew exactly what song it was going to be before you even told me,” he laughed.

That song is a disgrace to the act of hearing, like a total FUCK YOU to the collective cochlea worldwide.

And then there is some god-awful duet with Miley Cyrus and some dude? OMG kill me. That song is an abomination! You know I hate Miley Cyrus to begin with, but this song makes me want to donkey kick her in the throat. Both of these people sound like they have a skin of phlegm that desperately needs trucker-belched into the nearest spittoon.

All it took was one commute with this station on the dial to get Chooch’s attention though, because they play this stupid trivia game every morning called Escalation. And by “they” I mean the MOST ANNOYING LOCAL DJ THAT HAS BEEN POISONING PITTSBURGH AIRWAVES SINCE EVEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, BUBBA, and his basic bitch cohort Melanie. These people, oh brother. They pass Pittsburghese back and forth between themselves with wanton abandon like it’s some type of Yinzer Covid and they’re anti-maskers. I fucking can’t stand the Pittsburgh accent and I especially hate it when it feels like people are going out of their way to use it or exaggerate it. Like when people ironically say “yinz,” I want to fucking set a pile of Steeler jerseys alight.

Look, I have hometown pride, but my hometown embarrassment sometimes overshadows that. And Bubba is a fucking embarrassment fo’ sho’

OK so back to Escalation. Chooch LOVES games and the only thing he probably loves more than games is being right. So trivia is like a goddamn drug for him. This game is so dumb. You can win up to $100 but the questions start out at like, $5, $10, etc. And you have the option of taking the money or going-or-nothing. The worst part is the amount of times Bubba says “dollars” during this part of his pathetic radio show. I wish he would just start saying “bucks” instead so I wouldn’t have to hear him practically swallowing his tongue while chocking on his forced ‘burgh dialect.

Chooch INSISTS that we keep this station on every fucking morning now so he can make fun of the people who get the answers wrong and lose all  their money. Last week was “Special” because in addition to having the chance at winning $100, each morning’s Escalation player AUTOMATICALLY received Dan & Shay tickets. I do not who these “Dan & Shay” people are but I am willing to wager ALL OF THE ESCALATION WINNINGS that I will hate their music if I heard it.

I am actually in such a bad mood by the time I punt him out of my car every morning that my body shakes. THE WORST PART is that before Bubba (ugh) asks the final question, they cut to a song and it is always something that manages to enhance the tension in my jaw previously caused by Bubba’s grating bray.

But then it got worse. Because after a few days of this, Chooch decided that he was going to try and get on  the air for Escalation. I tried to tell him that I thought this was a terrible idea but yesterday morning, he took the leap and called in. His bluetooth kicked the call onto the car’s stereo, so the car was filled with the pulse-pumping notes of a busy signal. He started screaming at me for “talking over them” when they were saying the phone number so it was probably wrong, and I was like, “OK first of all, STFU I can talk whenever I want in MY CAR. And second of all, the fact that you got a busy signal means it’s probably the right number.”

So he just sat there, letting the busy signal continue to plow through the small space between us.

“Um, hang up,” I said.

“No, they might answer,” he shot back in his FUCKING TEENAGE TONE. UGH.

“That’s….not how that works,” I said slowly, trying to choose my words carefully as we were teetering on the precipice of the Early Morning Quarrel Quarry. “You have to hang up and call back. They can’t just ‘answer’ when you already have a busy signal.”

So then he got all huffy, ended the call and slammed his phone down into his lap.

A few moments later,  I tentatively asked, “Aren’t you going to call back?”

“YOU NEVER TOLD ME TO! YOU SAID IT WAS THE WRONG NUMBER!”

“NO, I FUCKING SAID IT WAS A BUSY SIGNAL AND YOU HAVE TO HANG UP AND CALL BACK!” I shouted right back at him, because oh OK, we’re doing this.

“THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU SAID!” he screamed. “I SAID I WAS WAITING TO SEE IF THEY WOULD PICK UP AND YOU SAID IT WAS THE WRONG NUMBER!”

“I SAID IT WAS A BUSY SIGNAL!!! IF YOU GET A BUSY SIGNAL, YOU HAVE TO HANG THE FUCK UP AND TRY AGAIN!!” My heart was now pounding. This kid can never be wrong and it is infuriating. Then I said, because I’m a tremendous parent and probably echoed a sentiment that TRUMP has spat out more than once to his children over the years, great Erin, just great, “You know, for someone so fucking smart, you’re a real a moron sometimes. You don’t even have basic life skills!”

“Oh, this,” he motioned furiously between his phone and the radio, “is a life skill???”

“KNOWING HOW TO MAKE A FUCKING PHONE CALL? YES!!!!!” I screamed.

We drove in silence after that. The dumb bitch who made it onto Escalation lost because she’s a fucking stoop, too.  By the end of Escalation, we had reached his school. He got out wordlessly and I seethed the whole way home.

***

Later that day, after he had been home from school for a few hours, he came downstairs and sat down on the wheelchair next to me. (Lol, that sounds so normal to me.)

“Traffic was really bad on the way home and I’m in a bad mood,” he growled, loosening his imaginary neck tie. “Also, I’m still mad about this morning.” And then we were maniacally arguing with each other again but this time we were laughing too and Henry was like YOU ARE BOTH THE SAME OMG KILL ME.

P.S. The broad who called in for Escalation today won but she TOTALLY WAS GOOGLING THE ANSWERS IT WAS SO FUCKING OBVI.

Jun 082021
 

I pulled Chooch away from his stupid “whatever it is he does on the computer with headphones on” for an entire 5 minutes BECAUSE I AM THE WORSTEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD. Literally he acted like I asked so much of him and honestly these teenage years are killing me dead, you guys. Killing me fucking deadzo. All I wanted was one good picture of us jumping across the street at the church for something I’m working on, not actually making him GO INSIDE THE CHURCH for MASS.

ALTHOUGH MAYBE THIS IS WHAT NEEDS TO START HAPPENING.

I mean, look at that face! The Pet Shop Boys could have used it for the cover of the What Have I Done To Deserve This single.

What else fun Erin&Chooch stories do I have to share…oh! Here’s one. We were walking down the street the other day and his friend’s little brother was outside. I think he’s like 3 or 4 or who cares. Anyway, he called out, “It’s Riley and the Blond Girl!” and this cracked me up because I think only HNC and his wife know my name out of everyone who lives on this street and I have lived here almost the longest, so that’s cool, being this popular. But also, the Blond Girl and not Riley’s Mom? Kills me.

Oh here’s a weird one. Last Friday, the radio in my bedroom was playing “Electric Avenue” and I almost knocked on Chooch’s bedroom door to tell him that the song he likes was on the radio but then I stopped at the last minute and thought, “No. It’s not this song. It’s that other song” and I couldn’t even remember how it went in my head, except that the word “stride” was in it and I was like, “OH WELL, IT WILL COME TO ME LATER PROBABLY” and I went back downstairs. A few minutes later, LITERALLY JUST A FEW MINUTES LATER, LIKE TWO SONGS LATER PROBABLY, I had to run back up to my room for something AND THE SONG I COULDN’T REMEMBER WAS ON! It’s that “Nothing’s Gonna Break My Stride” song from the 80s, so this time I *did* knock on Chooch’s door and I told him the whole story and then finished it with, “And now that song is on!!!”

Chooch just looked at me, sneered, and said, “Well, I do actually like Electric Avenue too so nice try.”

SEE THIS IS WHAT I DEAL WITH and as I type this, it occurs to me that he only talks to me this way because he has spent his formative years listening to me talk to Henry that way, so….good job, Blond Girl.

Then over the weekend, the same radio station played both songs again, just in reverse order, three songs apart from each other AND I FUCKING FLIPPED OUT. Also, this same station plays American Pie (one of my most hated songs) nearly every day and for what purpose?!!? I don’t understand how a radio station that’s supposed to be playing a mixed bag of oldies and current hits continuously plays the same old songs when there are like millions to choose from – you’re a fucking variety station! Does someone need to give them the definition of variety?! I only keep the radio on because it comforts me to hear wafting away up there in the distance while I’m working (Henry always marvels at how you can barely hear it downstairs but the moment one of my jams comes on – like “In The Air Tonight” – I will stop everything and holler, “STFU MY JAM’S ON!”

I guess it’s time to go back to playing Spotify at night, though because fuck that station, also the DJ in the morning is a real asshole IN MY OPINION.

Anyway, do you like our shirts!?! I made Chooch wear that one to coordinate with me. Mine is from Noo Works and his is from some alley boutique in Harajuku OMG wow we are cool people.

This was the “Winner” of all the pictures. It’s annoying because we can never jump in tandem.

Well, that’s all I got. I started watching “Feel Good” on Netflix and now I would rather drink my iced coffee (Henry bought himself an iced coffee maker for his birthday which is great because now he can use his birthday present to make me iced coffee, I love when I win other people’s birthdays) and watch that before passing out because it’s 875457 degrees in my house and I just exercised.

ETA: several hours I came up to go to bed and that fucking Break My Stride song was on again!!! Was it even played that much in the 80s?? WHY NOW?

 

Apr 292021
 

Wow wow wow wow the first “big time activity” we’ve done in over a year! And we chose YOU, Columbus Zoo! Congrats! Henry and I at the time of this both had the first Pfizer shot (now we have both!!) and I know, I know, you’re not “fully” Covid-immune until two weeks after the second shot, but I still felt better about going here than I would have with no doses.

Man, let me tell you though – the social distancing was NOT happening up in this bitch. Thank god most of it was outdoors or I would have legit flipped out. I will say that mask-wearing seemed like it was definitely being enforced, and in some of the indoor exhibits, there was zoo staff on hand reminding (sometimes in vain) everyone to stay 6 feet apart.

I took advantage of pretty much every sanitation station we walked by, much to the chagrin of my Target-wounded hand.

OWIE.

Chooch is a big animal lover and we thought a little day trip to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio would be a nice way to celebrate his birthday: a little bit of travel-lite, some cute animal peepin’, A SMIDGE OF FAMILY TOGETHERNESS. What 15-year-old doesn’t crave more time with MOMMY AND DADDY. Lol. To be fair, Chooch is only mildly ambivalent when we’re all out together in public. I have no basis of comparison because by the time I was 15, I don’t think I was EVER out in public with my whole family.

It looks un-crowded in these pictures but don’t get it twisted. I have no idea what the point was in buying tickets in advance and reserving a time because the ticket booth was open and while it wasn’t PACKED, it definitely was crowded. Well, at least in the beginning of the day. But the crowds seemed to disperse by the afternoon and we were able to enjoy ourselves a bit more (when we were in the reptile house, it was pretty bad and people were NOT following instructions and while there was a CLEAR LINE that most people were standing in, there were still Those Dumb Fucks completely oblivious to what the rest of us were doing who just strolled on past and wedged themselves in between people.

Also, WOW it was White Trashville there on that Sunday. I think I mentioned it in my liveblog that day but it was like every other mom had just been released from prison. Pretty rough broads swarming the zoo paths. Luckily, we didn’t have any super seriously bad run-ins with any of them but there was this one particular family that definitely had us side-eyeing each other and picking up the pace. I also saw a guy spit his chew over a fence into an exhibit while holding his baby, so that was AN IMAGE.

But mostly, I was content with taking in the beauty of the zoo because it was NICE AS FUCK. Way better than the Pittsburgh Zoo!!

They had a carousel! Of course it was an upcharge but we had to do it.

This was actually an annoying experience because some jack ass kid kept SHRIEKING in line and I have to listen to children SHRIEKING all the livelong day next door to us so I was not pleased.

“KIDS FUCKING RUIN EVERYTHING,” I cried to Henry, who would generally take this moment to don his bascinet and kick his steed before saying, “OH KIDS ARE NOT THAT BAD” but instead, he surprised me by agreeing.

“I know. The zoo should have Adult Day.”

WHOA.

It was Henry’s job to take a carouselfie but he took like 87 horrible ones.

This is literally the best one. That’s what happens when you give someone who doesn’t use an iPhone the task of taking a carouselfie. It literally looks like he used my old Blackberry from 2008 to take this.

The theming of this zoo is off the…chain? Do we still say that? They even have a small amusement park section which doesn’t open until May and it was really torturous to be able to see A WOODEN COASTER THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO RIDE AND NOT ONLY THAT BUT THEY WERE TESTING IT TOO! SO WE HAD TO SEE IT RUNNING!!! Ughhh. So close to that coaster cred…

Oh shit, Chooch and I did something really nice at one point. Well, I did. So, we decided that we weren’t going to eat lunch there because we wanted to get take out from a nearby vegan place afterward, but we needed a snack. Henry was in line to get us soft pretzels, so Chooch and I found a table out of the way and plopped our asses down. Meanwhile! A group of 4 people with BLESSEDLY NO CHILDREN sat down on a nearby bench with food from a Mexican food truck. They had huge burritos and other shit in containers that required them to hunch over and eat from their laps so I murmured to Chooch, “Oh I feel bad, they’re trying to eat actual food on that bench while we’re hogging this table, we should give them our table” and of course Chooch was engrossed in his dumb group chat probably NOT telling them about how he was spending the day with his super chill ‘rents.

So he was like WHAT IS HAPPENING when I got up and approached the bench-group, and offered up our table to them.

“I mean, you need it more than us – we’re just waiting for pretzels!” I laughed and they were like OMG THAT IS SO NICE WE APPRECIATE IT THANK YOU and I felt so smug in my good-deediness and absolutely could NOT WAIT for Henry to come back with the pretzels so I could tell him but when I started to tell him, he interrupted me and said, “Yeah I saw.”

UGH.

LITTLE RED FLYING FOX BATS!

Oh man, I love bats.

And this weird bird thing in the Australia section!

Every time I wanted to take a picture of Chooch on one of these animal statues, there were ALWAYS DUMB CHILDREN SWARMING AROUND. Seriously. Kids ruin everything. Oh! There was one nice kid that I had an interaction with in one of the first exhibits because I couldn’t find what I was supposed to be looking for and she pointed it out for me (it was some kind of rat and it was cute so I was like THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME, I COULD NOT SEE IT and then I had to go cleanse myself of the INNOCENSE by walking through hellfire.

A ladybug, just passing through.

Oh! I want to give a shout out to the Columbus Zoo for the super organized and socially-distanced set-up of the stingray exhibit, where each group got their own mat to stand on and the line moved super expeditiously and it was just an all-around non-stressful and pleasant experience unlike the reptile house which I considered ducking through an emergency exit to escape the COVID-ignorant crowds.

Just us and the Hanna Fam.

Overall, I would have enjoyed this zoo so much more in non-pandemic times I’m sure, but it was still a really great day and my criteria for that is pretty simple: did all three of us get along? Yes, yes, we actually did. Therefore, it was a great day.

I want to go back and ride that fucking coaster though!!!

Apr 262021
 

Please allow me to gush a little about my WITTLE BABY-WABY, MOMMY’S #1 SON, MY PRECIOUS ANGEL. Lol, ugh. But yes, our boy turned fifteen yesterday and we celebrated all weekend as best and as big as we could in these fucked up times.  Sometimes I wonder if, from the other side, it looks like we spoil Chooch. But honestly, aside from snippy teenage attitude (what teenager DOESN’T have it??), he deserves so much more than we’re able to give him. Kids have been hit so hard during the pandemic, and I am so thankful that Chooch was able to adapt to not only starting high school at a brand new school, but doing so by maneuvering through all the awkward hiccups of virtual learning. Not only has he made a group of new friends, he has been a hit with his teachers while tackling advanced classes and maintaining a 4.0. He is the coolest nerd I know. Honestly.

Plus, he’s my favorite roller coaster riding companion, Henry hassling partner (we call him “Him Man” almost exclusively now, in case you were wondering if I ever refer to Henry as “dad” when I’m talking about him to Chooch; nope, I use the term that our cats use for him), stay at home buddy, begrudged photoshoot subject, neighborhood walker. Don’t get me wrong – he’s at an age where he’d prefer to hole up in his cave and play his dumb computer games (he got  promoted to a “helper” on some server and got to have someone banned for saying the n-word, so I approve of this job!), or chill at the Teen Center with his friends, but he’s not opposed to joining us for family outings. Not to mention the fact that his little niece and nephew look at him like he’s a magical being.

I am also not ashamed to say that I’m pretty positive most of my friends like him more than they like me, and I can’t really blame them! He’s got personality dripping off him in iridescent waves.

So yeah, I always want to do big things for him on his birthday! I want him to have awesome memories of his childhood birthdays, just like I do.

Of course I was hoping that the state of things would be better this year and we could have a party for him, but that still wasn’t the case. So we decided to at least get him a small strawberry cake from Sumi’s and have Blake and Haley come over (I was nervous about this – no one has been here in over a year!) Saturday night. It was a super last minute thing, because we had already planned to take him to the Columbus Zoo on his actual birthday, so it was kind of a surprise non-party in a way? Of course it went from “just cake” to “we should go to Party City and at least get some decorations” to “WE SHOULD DO A JOJO SIWA THEME!” Of course Henry the Skeptic was like, “Yeah, if they even have any Jojo Siwa stuff there” like, OK Father Time, you don’t know anything because not only did they have an entire Jojo section (it was super picked-over though, but most of the empty racks seemed to hold hair accessory party favors and I don’t really think we needed bows, lol), they even had a singing Jojo balloon which I could tell by the fearful glint in Henry’s eyes that he was hoping I wouldn’t think it was necessary but I was like “PLOP THAT SHIT IN THE BASKET, BROTHER.”

But then, we had to listen to go off in the backseat on the entire drive home:

My Instagram caption is true: Never had I heard a Jojo Siwa song until that day.

Luckily, Chooch rarely leaves his room so I was able to decorate without him knowing anything was going on, lol.

I accidentally broke the tall candles because I’m a brute, but Haley said later that night that she thought they were meant to look crooked, so all’s well! Also, had to go with Peppa Pig candles because there weren’t any Jojo Siwa ones :(

Drew was 100% not a fan of the balloons. Henry had to stash them in the attic before we left for our day trip yesterday so she wouldn’t go into shock – she gets so stressed out over everything. :(

Henry didn’t understand why the tablecloth says “Bows make everything better” because he’s a 55-year-old man.

Then Blake ended up being late (I know, I know – but they live next door, how long could it possibly take them to come over; except that there were coming here straight from somewhere else) and we could only stall Chooch for so long. Of course, he ended up coming downstairs before Blake was able to get here so he saw his non-party spread and was like, “WHAT IS ALL THIS.”

“THIS IS ABUSE.”

He secretly loved it though! And besides, he’s always complaining about not having a damn cup to use, so now he has his very own Jojo’s Juice vessel.

This just in: when Chooch and I were on our afternoon walk a little while ago, he got his “Evaluation” from that server thingie he’s doing and they said “We have no critique because everything you’re doing is awesome.”

OMG I hate him but also, now I know how Glenn feels whenever I get showered with over-the-top kudos at work.

I forgot to get a picture of Chooch blowing out his candles so I made him redo it and also Henry wasn’t even in the room because he was too busy holding his newest  grandbaby and doing weird Him Man cooing. G-to-the-ross.

Mm, that Sumi’s cake though!

Anyway, it was a very rapid-fire cake-eating sesh because the kids were in that weird limbo right before bedtime where they were super slaphappy with drunk-eyes but could easily lose their shit at any minute and I never realized just how NON-CHILDPROOF our house actually is until two toddlers were let loose and trying to grab everything while their parents yelled at them and the  baby was wailing and it was an actual hellscape. Like, I felt absolutely exhausted after they left and I didn’t even have to do anything but stand there and watch. I feel for Blake and Haley, bigtime. Three kids under the age of 4 is super ambitious and insane but one day when the kids are older, it’s going to be pretty cool.

Oh yeah, I had to make Blake cut the cake since Henry was holding the baby and I certainly wasn’t about to break my decades-long cake-cutting boycott.

But poor Chooch! He just wanted to eat his fucking cake in peace, haha. I think he still had a nice evening though. I wish we could have safely given him a bigger celebration and I did consider trying to arrange something outdoors but honestly, I thought better of it, what with so many of us THIS close to being fully vaccinated, why not just wait.

I swear to god though, if things are safe next year, you better believe he’s getting a sixteenth birthday blowout!

Apr 232021
 

Actually, this is just really an excuse to post the rest of the pictures I took that day, haha.

After we left Palmer Park, we drove back into Monongahela and grabbed some sandwich action at Sheetz, which we took to the Monongahela Cemetery and devoured in front of the chapel. How have I never been to this cemetery before?!!? It’s gorgeous! When I lived in Jefferson Hills in my first apartment, I used to go joy-driving in this area all the time (because gas was like 95 cents a gallon) and I somehow NEVER NOTICED the entrance to this cem!!

Well, you better believe we will be having future Family Times up in this boneyard.

Chooch found THREE geocaches in this location. Only one was the good kind with a prize though. I can’t even remember what it was that he took, but he replaced it with this religious finger puppet that I bought years and years ago when I held my own unsanctioned Easter event at work.

There was a rogue turkey gobbling around this part of the cemetery and we had fun gobbling back at it. I think we were just delirious after the encounter with Pantera Guy.

 

The other geocaches with fake pine cones tied to two different trees! It was really hard to get the capsule thing out of the one pine cone and I broke a pen trying and then I couldn’t put the pen back together because I’m bad at pretty much everything that requires even the tiniest effort so Chooch snatched all the pieces off me and proceeded to reassemble the pen in .000002 seconds and then he shamed me, which was rightfully deserved I guess.

WE ARE BOTH GETTING SO OLD UGHHHHH.

Then I made him take pictures of me pretending the tree was my prom date.

He’d say things like, “You’re making a weird face in this one. You look fake in this one. You won’t like this one” which I appreciate because HENRY DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS. Like, he will let me smile real big for a closeup while I have spinach in my teeth and then act like he didn’t know and maybe that’s true because HENRY THINKS I’M HIDEOUS AND NEVER LOOKS AT  ME.

I made him take another one without my mask around my neck, lol.

Honestly, isn’t this tree so handsome?!!?

Even though geocaching was involved, it was still a really beautiful day. LOOK AT THIS UNFILTERED SKY, BOIIIIII. I was in such a swell mood (lol) that I even told Chooch we could stop for one last geocache on our way out of Monongahela, and this one was supposed to be by the river right past the Sheetz we stopped at.

I mean, the river is super gross no matter how you look at it, but the area was pretty cool. There were like bleacher-type steps you could sit on and …. what? Watch people fish? Gaze at the barges passing by? I dunno, but now that I know it’s there, maybe I will eat my Sheetz lunch there next time I’m in the area!

ANYWAY. Would you believe that the clue led us to another one of those stupid dog poop things?!?! But there was nothing there! According to the info for this one, the owner of the geocache recently had to re-hide it but said the clues were the same?! And people left comments about how when they tried to put it back it got “lost in the abyss”??? I was like, “Bro, I’m not sticking my hand in the actual waste basket part of this thing, if that’s what that clue means” and even Chooch was like, “I know right” but I think we were both silently thinking that if Henry was with us, we’d make him do it.

Chooch left this super professional, detailed comment about how he was unable to find it and I was like, “Wow, you definitely have a little bit of Henry in you” because I’d have been like “The FUCK kind of clues are these? There wasn’t SHIT there! Awful geocache! REPORTED!!!”

Then we drove home and I realized that I am A LOT like Henry’s mom all of a sudden because I narrated the whole drive with, “That used to be a movie theater. That bar used to serve me when I was 19. I got pulled over here when I was 20 by the state police for doing double the speed limit in a construction zone and they searched my car and I had to go to court but the hearing was delayed because the one cop got shot and then my mom knew the chief of police and arranged for me to get off with a warning but I got super mouthy and indignant with the magistrate and my mom was kicking me under the table and the cop was silently doing the Dave Coulier CUT IT OUT hand motions at me and then the magistrate was like HAVE FUN PAYING THIS FINE, HON.”

To summarize: WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Chooch found five geocaches! I found none!