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.

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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.

Aug 072018
 

Hi, I’m back with the shocking conclusion of my previous post, Being Tourists In Pittsburgh. WOW, HOLD ON TIGHT. Just kidding, feel free to flail around.

After we left the Heinz History Center, we walked Jessi back to the hotel so she could get started with her pre-Rocky Horror performance process. We didn’t want to be the ones responsible for jinxing her by pulling her away from that, so released her to the Omni William Penn and then continued walking to Millie’s because Bill said he was down for ice cream but I think he knew he didn’t really have a choice because I was like, “Millie’s is the best; we’re going.”

Look, Pittsburgh has got a lot of great ice cream options but Millie’s is the one that always wins a spot on my itinerary when I have out-of-town guests visiting. (So like, twice so far, lol.) They just make really delicious, fresh ice cream and sorbet made with local ingredients and they’re always getting involved with the community—you know the types! Just all-around great people and Henry loves it because you can buy little packages of waffle cone pieces which I think is genius because what else are you going to do when you’re making homemade waffle cones and one breaks? YOU DON’T THROW THAT SHIT AWAY.

Also, they plug the butts of the waffle cones with a marshmallow so you don’t get melted ice cream tracks running down your shirt and arms like I generally do everywhere else we get ice cream cones.

The main reason I wanted to go to Millie’s (I mean, other than to treat my awesome friends to some great ice cream!) was because they updated their Instagram that morning with a new flavor: BLUEBERRY PANCAKES.

The description is what really sold me though: fresh blueberry compote, homemade syrup from some dude name Paul, and, this is what sealed the deal for me: real pancakes from Square Cafe in Regent Square. I love Square Cafe and I love pancakes so I wanted to eat this on that day, it was imperative.

It also did NOT DISAPPOINT.

They actually ladle the syrup right on top of the scoop!

Chooch got his standard scoop o’ chocolate, which inspired Bill to do the same. Peer pressure, Bill’s got it. I always mock Chooch for having such a basic palate but Millie’s chocolate actually is indescribably perfect.

I forget what Henry got. One of the sorbets, I think. Who cares.

We went back to the Omni after that and Bill was dumb and invited us into their room without even bothering to squirt us with holy water first to make sure we’re not vampires. Jessi was still getting ready (she was being the Criminologist for that night’s show so she had a lot of costuming to do!) so we decided that we were going to investigate this so-called fifth floor that most of the elevators skipped over. Bill said he noticed that there was one particular set of elevators that actually had a button for the fifth floor, so we sought out that one and then held our breath while it descended.

However, when the doors opened, we were immediately disappointed. I guess I was expecting something out of Nightmare on the 13th Floor*, hallway all blood-red with fancy tapestries and gaslight sconces, Victrola music humming from behind someone’s locked door.

*(HAVEN’T YOU EVER SEEN THAT MOVIE?! It was a 1990 made-for-TV movie that USA frequently played and it scared the shit out of me. Look that up.)

But no, we could tell right away that it was just a floor full of offices.

Such a let down.

Then we went to the room where the convention was happening because there was a raffle drawing about to take place and Bill and Jessi had some stake in it.

“They haven’t checked anyone’s badge the entire time we’ve been here, so I don’t think it’ll matter if you guys come with me,” Bill assured us, and Chooch and Henry were like, “That’s cool” and never thought about it again, while I was being my typical “DEER IN HEADLIGHTS-TOTALLY SUSPICIOUS-LOOK AT THE SPOTLIGHT ON ME-I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE” self.

Henry said that there were some girls asking me about my purse when we walked in but I completely ignored them because I couldn’t hear them over the metallic ringing in my ears BECAUSE OMG ARE WE GOING TO GET BUSTED.

I felt like everyone knew we weren’t actually convention-goers and I was doing everything in my power to burrow myself into Henry’s armpit. I have many layers and one of them is that I HATE STEALING and I felt, in a way, that we were being thieves by waltzing into this convention without purchasing a badge. Granted, we only sat there long enough to watch some broad named MONTANA clean up on all the winnings.

Bill was irate.

We hated Montana after that! Plus, she wasn’t even present to collect her bounty! They should have tossed aside her tickets and drawn again! Don’t get me started on Montana.

Afterward, we went back to Bill and Jessi’s room. Jessi was nearly finished getting into her role by then, but Henry had just enough time to fall asleep in an arm chair.

His favorite thing! Sleeping in other people’s hotel room!

Then we piled into our car and drove back to the Hollywood Theater which is literally about a 5 minute walk from my house. The Hollywood is famous for being in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s also where the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the shadowcast has played for like, decades. Tonight’s show was special because it was going to feature an all-star shadowcast from different cities. Jessi had submitted an audition tape a while back for this and was accepted so when Bill asked us if we wanted to come out and watch her, how the fuck could I turn that down?

Henry and I had a brief parental powwow about whether or not we should take Chooch with us to this but then I reasoned that I was his age when I first watched RHPS. BLOG READERS, WALK WITH ME:

It was Easter of 6th grade (whatever year that was) and my BFF Christy (see also: Crystal Lite and Crystal McGoo-Goo) was sleeping over which meant we were in the market for some horror movie rentals. My aunt Sharon took us to Blockbuster (miss you, baby) and recommended RHPS to us. I mean, if one were to judge a VHS by it’s box, it did look like it had horror movie potential.

However, after watching it that night, we were immediately disappointed. It had it’s grotesque moments but it wasn’t the eye-covering 70s slasher film we were in the mood for. We grumbled about it for a bit and then went to sleep.

When we woke up the next day, however, I looked at Christy and whispered, “Do you want to watch that again?” and she was like “YES” and then WE DID and by the end of the second-viewing, we knew the Time Warp front and back, left to right, and I was writing diary entries entitled WHERE HAS TIM CURRY BEEN ALL MY LIFE. We were shook and hooked, you guys.

There was this one time when my mom hid the video camera inside the fireplace and recorded us doing the Time Warp. I texted her last week and asked her if she remembered this and instead of saying, “No, you must have dreamt that” which is her typical response when she doesn’t want to fess up, she said, “Lol, yes. Hilarious.” I’m sure that’s still floating around somewhere, along with footage of me dancing to Queen’s Radio Gaga with rollers in my hair.

We were so obsessed that we used to sing parts of RHPS songs as roller coasters at Kennywood would be carrying us up the first hill.

“I bet she doesn’t remember that,” Henry scoffed, knowing that none of my friends ever remember the things from our childhood that seemed like BIG MOMENTS to me.

But then I texted her and this happened, so fuck off Henry:

So, all of this is to say that I was pretty excited to be experiencing this all over again but with Chooch this time.

We arrived at the Hollywood before tickets went on sale, since we were basically the Criminologist’s entourage so Chooch, Bill and I sat on a couch in the lobby, where Chooch got his first taste at RHPS as all of the Columbias and Franks sauntered around before him.

He just kept shaking his head.

“You have no idea what you’re in for!” I laughed.

Pre-show selfie! I was so stoked for her, but also experienced sympathy butterflies.

Here’s a picture from the basement bathroom of the Hollywood which I have actually never been in, after literal decades of seeing movies there. I think it’s probably haunted. Anyway, I took this picture because my popcorn purse was getting mad love from all the RHPS convention attendees that day which made me glad that I splurged on this at Everland in Korea. I didn’t want the popcorn (although it ended up being delicious and banana-flavored, because Korea) but when I saw people walking around with it that day in the park I had mad visions of using it as a purse. I mean, it’s pretty clunky and only fits like, lipgloss and some change, maybe a tampon (I’ll have to try) but this bag is everything.

After sitting around for nearly an hour waiting to buy tickets (they weren’t being sold through the theater), Bill finally had enough and said, “THAT’S IT, WE’RE JUST GOING IN.” ANyone with a badge had free admission, so Jessi gave me hers since she was performing, but I still felt like, again, A FUCKING THIEF.

Bill reasoned that he and Jessi had given the convention people enough of their money and us not buying $15 tickets wasn’t going to hurt them, but I still felt so guilty and paranoid walking to the seats that Jessi saved for us. IN THE SECOND ROW. WE WERE PRACTICALLY SITTING DUCKS FOR THE CONVENTION PEOPLE TO SPOT. Chooch was oblivious and just sat there eating popcorn, checking out all the fishnets and corsets, but I was gnawing my fingers to the bone over this.

“WHAT IF THEY WALK AROUND AND ASK FOR OUR TICKETS?!” I hissed to Henry.

“Would you calm down?! They’re not going to do that.”

They didn’t do that.

It was fine.

We assimilated and no one gave us a second glance.

Bill bought Chooch and me prop bags, not considering the repercussions this would have on Henry, who ended up soaking wet and covered in covered by the end of the night. Also, as soon as Chooch was explained the concept of the prop bags, his attention was piqued and he was in it to win it.

Before the show started, they played the audition tapes of all the out-of-town shadowcast participants and we screamed our faces off when Jessi’s was on the screen.

Anyway, the show was fantastic and Jessi killed her part! Second to that, I had so much fun seeing this movie again through Chooch’s eyes. In the beginning, when all the RHPS virgins had to go up to the front and fake orgasms, Chooch was like SRSLY MOM WTF and Henry was just like FROWN FROWN FROWN GOOD JOB BRINGING OUR PRE-TEEN HERE, but then Chooch was so into the audience participation elements that he forgot he was witnessing age-inappropriate shenanigans with his parents and snapped his rubber glove with wanton abandon.

What a fucking awesome night with Bill and Jessi. I mean, all of our hangouts are totally memorable and hilarious, but this night is definitely up at the top. And I can’t think of anyone better to expose Chooch to RHPS than the people who played Cards Against Humanity with him when he was like 8 (and he won). And Henry only slept through some parts of the show, not all!

We went to Tom’s Diner afterward and Chooch had so many questions. So. Many. Questions.

He is in SO DEEP now that by the next morning, he had YouTubed all of the song-scenes, learned a bunch of call-backs, and is ready to go to Michigan to watch Jessi perform there with her cast.

I laughed a little bit to myself at work the other night because my boss was talking to me about Chooch and how many cool experiences he’s had in his short life because of Henry and me. “You guys are great parents! Taking him to all kinds of places that most kids his age don’t get to go!” and in my head, I was like, “Yes, like Rocky Horror Picture Show.” He is certainly well-versed in a myriad of pop culture categories!

***

A few days ago, he came home from the library and said that he was singing “Sweet Transvestite” and Liam and Markie were like, “What is a transvestite” so he explained it to them, and that’s my son, broadening horizons and opening minds.

***

P.S. Bill & Jessi ended up meeting Montana the next day and he said she was actually very nice so we felt for motherfucking her and all her raffle wins. OR DID WE.

Jun 282018
 

Let’s catch up with Chooch! I asked him some questions and then made him do all the typing because I typed all day at work and I AM DONE TYPING FOR THE DAY.

Latest Injury: Well, my latest injury happened on the 26th of June. A little backstory, I was with my friends, lets call them Kyle and Joe, when we decided to ride our bikes and scooters up to the boulevard. After riding up there, we hung out at the Cannon. I noticed my other friend, Bob with his two other brothers, wearing their helmets and dressed all nice, riding their bikes past the cannon. I called for them and they said they were heading for the park to go for a hike. We all tagged along, we started from a group of 3, then doubling to 6. Upon getting to the trail entrance, we split ourselves up into two troops. I was in Troop 1, with Kyle and Bob. We set our rides on the outside of the trail then continued forward. After hiking for a while, we made it to a clearing filled with weeds and tall grasses. We followed a path up a steep hill and we, Troop 1 was far ahead. So, we decided to hide from the opposing troop. I hid behind a tree, as the others did, but I felt like I wasn’t hidden as well. I jumped down deeper into the woods, then felt a pain in my foot. I fell to the ground and called out in pain. Everyone doubted at first, but they soon came to understand that I wasn’t lying. Troop 2 caught up and noticed me holding in the tears. I showed them all the bottom of my shoe, and they all saw it, too. The bottom of a glass shard pierced through. After unlacing my shoe we all saw the glass poking out. I took my sock off, and the oldest kid there said to tie it around the wound to put pressure. As they tried to get the glass out of my shoe, one of my friends called their dad to see if they could come get us, but we were in the middle of the woods, not really knowing where to go. His dad refused, so we just put my shoe back on, then tried to find our way out. I was in a Summer Program before, and we took this trail to get to the local park. We took it often and I kind of remember some of the areas we walked through. We made our way out to the park, and luckily the park had a Rec Center. So I made my way there, stumbling on every 10 steps. I opened the door and told the lady working there. She gave me a band-aid and had me apply some antibiotics on the cut. I threw away my sock and put my shoe back on. I grabbed my scooter from Kyle, then noticed that my other friend, Joe ditched us and went home. Kyle and I started to head home, too. We said goodbye to Bob and his brothers, then rode off into the busy Boulevard streets.

Current Favorite Song: My current favorite song is Empty by Boyinaband & Jaiden.

Current Favorite KPOP Song: My current favorite Kpop song is Energetic by Wanna One.

Favorite Memory From KCON Weekend: My favorite memory from Kcon Weekend is when I peed all over the Hotel Hallway floor! XD

What If Henry Was Into Fishing, Would You Go With Him, Ew Gross: Ha Ha! No! Maybe. Depends on if I like him at that time, and if we put the fish back.

Most-Missed Part of 6th Grade: Nothing. Maybe, my Math teacher I won’t have next year.

Least-Missed Part of 6th Grade: Ms. ~OH I’M SORRY! DR. Smith.

Favorite Thing You Ate In Korea: Tteokbokki! I loved the spiciness that was in there. It was just so tasty in my mouth! Especially the twig-um and the Tteok Kkochi (Tteokbokki on a skewer)!

If You Could Be Any Character On How I Met Your Mother, Who Would It Be and Why? I would be Barney because I love his sense of humor and personality. He is just my favorite character in general. I also liked how he would just stop listening in the middle of a conversation! Just like me!

Closing Thoughts, Advice To The Readers, Freeform: Audience, have a nice day, or night, and do something cool! Like walk around your block and pet some dogs! Adios!

Jun 132018
 

Hey, Chooch here! The last day of Korea went by with many tears and broken heart fragments left behind. The morning was the same as any morning in Korea, with my feet still sore from the pain and agony of the hills and miles we walked the night before. Although, we never know what we are going to do next during the day. I’m pretty sure this day was actually planned; we were going to Itaewon. We took the saddening subway, not because it was gross and disgusting in there, GOD NO! It was pretty much our last time hearing the beautiful subway jingle. I heard the *bloop* as my tear hit the floor. We made it to Itaewon, it was still early so nothing was open, except for the convenience stores that are open 24 hours; like every convenience store. We walked around and noticed that the streets were not cleaned yet after all of the clubbing and drunks the night before.

[Ed.Note: Chooch makes it sound like Itaewon was some unsavory area but it’s just a neighborhood that’s a popular hangout and go-to for bars and clubs. Seoul in general was pretty squeaky clean as far as litter goes which is a mystery considering how challenging it was to find garbage cans!]

As I wept inside my mind just thinking of leaving, I noticed the Line Friends flagship, the main one we were looking for the whole 10 days we were there. The reason we could not find it was because it just wasn’t listed on any website. The main thing that made this particular store so special was because this one sold BTS’ line of animals; BT21. Sadly, they were not for sale the day we went, otherwise we definitely would have got one or two. Other than that, I was promised something from this store because of the agony I went through during our journey through complex Gangnam, you know the city we almost died in because Henry got us lost and said, “Oh. There is no subway we can take to get there faster.” Although, we went back to our hotel through the subway down the street from where we went.

These are the BT21 animals that weren’t on sale. I found it hilarious how the horse/unicorn character is on his head. You know what? It probably isn’t a unicorn. If it was his horn would be snapped either completely or in half.

In the Line Friends store, there were many rooms, being used by the mascots for the company. The one I am in is Brown’s room. He was the most popular.. I should say the main mascot for Line. I should say what Line Friends is. DUH. Line Friends is owned by Line, a messaging company as like Kakao. Koreans use Line, or Kakao instead of the actual texting apps on their phones, I guess because it’s more aesthetic?

Staircase with the BT21 characters on the individual steps. My favorite character is the little cookie! He comes in a group and is just flat down cute.

Sally was my favorite character. No, Sally is not the rabbit on the ceiling of the yellow room, that is it’s own room. Sally is the chick you can see painting through the red, round window. I actually got a stuffed Sally. She is dressed up as a chicken, a grown up version of herself. I don’t love her as much as Peachy Boi “Apeach” from Kakao, though. Peachy Boi is definitely the best of all of Kakao and Line Friends, but Line Friends does have those BT21 character, so I’ll give em’ that.

View this post on Instagram

Turkish ice cream in Itaewon 🍦

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

This guy was really cool! I ordered Turkish ice cream an I guess to show that the ice cream is sticky and sturdy, the man was taunting me by flipping the cone upside down and around, trying to make me grab it, but quickly pulled it back. He then proceeds to tap my nose with THE ICE CREAM. I don’t think he realized, and I really don’t care, but, “DARN YOU, MAN!”

As a conclusion to this post, here are 5 things to know before you travel to Korea.

Number 5: You should know some Korean, if not all. Entering stores, Koreans may not always say hello. They might say Annyeonghaseyo, or 안녕하세요, which is Korean for “Hello!” You would also need to know some Hangul, the Korean alphabet, because you may have to read menus/signs.

Number 4: Be aware of the ajummas, or the old women. They may seem like they hate you, but really, they stare at and push everyone. Don’t feel special.

Number 3: Learn how the currency works. If you don’t understand, obviously, you will not know how to trade in the U.S Dollar for Korean Won. $1 is equal to about ₩1.

Number 2: Know that Northeastern Asia is very mountainous and steep. Many interesting cultural villages are located on a mountain or hill. A VERY STEEP HILL. On the other hand, the pleasant hand, the trek is worth it. The view is also very delightful, from the top and from the bottom.

Number 1: Finally, know how to read a map. It is NOT very hard, especially if you were in the service for a long period of time. You need to know how to read a map because you may want to go  somewhere on the subway and you might not know how to get there, so you need to read a map. If you don’t know how, you will probably get your family and yourself lost.

In conclusion, those are some things you need to know before traveling to South Korea.

Jun 082018
 

Well, today was Chooch’s last day of school thank god. For a minute though Henry and I were convinced that maybe it was actually next week and for some reason I felt panicked about this because I had already posted the above photo on Instagram, GOD FORBID don’t wanna get caught in a lie on zee social meeds.

I’m grateful that we had a relatively drama-free year right up until last week when I made Chooch check his grades and then let’s just say LETTER WRITIN’ ERIN emerged and a terse email was sent to the art teacher but that story turned out to have several layers to it and I worked late shift today and am too tired to regale my three readers (plus the 100s that have come here today because someone posted an old blog entry of mine about a county fair on Facebook and I’m not on there anymore so I can’t see where it was posted but I do expect to be getting some nasty comments at some point because I talked shit on ALL WALKS OF LIFE in that post).

Um anyway, farewell 6th grade, the grade that teaches kids the meaning of being “stressed out.” Trust me, some of the assignments Chooch had to do in his Communications class had him in such a harried state you’d have thought he was writing a college dissertation.

Apr 252018
 

(See also: That Time I Forgot How To Spell ‘Twelfth’ And Had To Look It Up)

Well, it’s here. Another birthday. The one thing that has always stuck with me from when I was pregnant was someone telling me, “Time moves so much faster when you become a parent.” I thought this was a fucking joke because those nine months of being pregnant moved like sludge. But shit, it really does feel true, maybe because I’m so hyper-aware that he becomes less of a kid as every day passes and I just want to go around curb-stomping clocks and burning calendars.

And now he’s 12.

Just like that.

He was 3, just about to turn 4, when I started working at the Law Firm. It feels like yesterday.

My friend Christina was like, “Wait until next year when you have to start adding a ‘teen’ to his age” and that scares me too, but honestly when I  think about, he’s been acting like a teen for the last 10 years at least, so at least I’m sort of prepared.

Maybe?

He was about 3 months old in the above photo. Maybe 4? I’m a shitty mom, lol.

We had a small little celebration last night at Breakout, the escape room down the street. Chooch is obsessed with escape rooms and he and my mom have gone to three or four of them at this point but have never won because it’s always just the two of them, ha! So this time, we wrangled up a group of 7 (Chooch, his bff Sharyn, me, my mom, Janna, Blake and Haley) and we managed to escape with 4 minutes left! I’m so glad my mom joined us. She is hilarious, especially when we had to be handcuffed and she cried about how whoever found the key had to unlock her cuffs first and then I found the key first and made Haley unlock me and then we unlocked Blake while my mom was like, “HELLO” but then Blake was the hero and unlocked her cuffs since I’m an awful daughter, ha!

I didn’t care if we actually escaped so much as I just wanted to do better than Janna. I think she was low-key afraid to go with us because I hit her once playing Scattergories so she was probably thinking, “God only knows what she’ll do to me in an escape room…”

Afterward, we came back to our house and Henry and Calvin joined us for strawberry cake from the Priory, which was really good thank god because I’m a cake snob and it’s technically my birthday too so people should be glad that I was pleased.

It was nice to not have a full-blown party this year, especially since Korea was so close to his birthday, but I suspect that we’ll be doing something festive next year when he turns 13 because that’s a pretty decent milestone. Sigh. Maybe a recreation of his 1-year monster-themed party!?

For as much as we butt heads, this kid is honestly my best friend in the whole world. Who else would put up with my antics, let me slather make up on them and dress them in my clothes for lame photoshoots, cry actual tears with me when we watch videos of the Seoul subway announcement music, die laughing at random people’s birthday party videos on YouTube, learn all the names of 9-member Kpop groups with me, go on roadtrips for concerts, act as my wingman when we walk past my Mexican taco cart boyfriend, and just be the ultimate partner-in-graying-Henry’s-hair? Chooch is the best kid I ever could have asked for. He is so independent and smart, hilarious and sassy, and compassionate and empathetic. He’s wise beyond his years and can hold his own in conversations with adults (don’t get him started on his thoughts about Trump!). My friends are just as much to credit for him growing into such a cool guy. Henry and I are so lucky to have so many great people in our lives who love our kid, so thank you!

And now I will leave you with the last photoshoot of 11-year-old Chooch, taken last weekend. The theme was “stressed businessman” because he had slept over his neighbor friend’s house the night before which meant he didn’t sleep at all and had huge bags under his eyes in addition to being mad that I was keeping him from playing Fortnight.

 

 

Mar 192018
 

Here’s a story about shoes because I am just that boring these days. Last weekend I was at the mall because I wanted new shoes for vacation. First I went to Journeys because I wanted Adidas, but for some reason I ended up gravitating to this one pair of Vans. The kid who brought out my size would not stop hovering and it was so awkward because each shoe was 100% unlaced so I had to struggle with that while under a spotlight and it was just too much for meek ol’ Erin. Like, can a girl lace up her shoes in private, please?  I barely tried them on. I got one on my left foot, wiggled my toes around, declared it A Fit, and then checked out. As the kid was sliding the box into the bag, the Journeys guy at the register next to him looked over and said, “Ooh, Vans platforms! Nice!”

I laughed nervously and as we walked out of the store, I whispered to Henry, “What did he mean by that?” and Henry was just like, “I only pay attention when people are talking about plain New Balances, so I don’t know.”

I quickly looked up the shoes on my phone and they were definitely platforms, like an entire inch and a half. I hate platforms! I’m 5’4″ and like being on the shorter side! So now these shoes just looked like fucking pee Wee Herman shoes to me. “Well, I can’t wear these. We have to take them back.”

Henry wanted to do it right then but I was like, “THAT IS EMBARRASSING. You can return them tomorrow.” Lol.

So he did, he went to a different mall the next day and returned them for me. Then I went to a third mall on a mission to just buy the fucking Adidas I had my eyes on in the first place, and even though Henry tried to veer me in the right direction, I was like, “No. I want to try this place first.”

And that is how I ended up in a store called Jimmy Jazz, purchasing a pair of soft pink Pumas from the juniors section. I loved them for half a day until I wore them to work the next day and realized after the fourth time I tripped on the walk to the trolley that they were just too big. How did I not realize this at the store!? The fact that they’re a 6.5 and my other kids’ shoes are a 5 should have probably been a good indication, but I hate shopping and just want to get the hell out of the mall and all I cared about was that they felt cozy.

Of course they felt cozy! They’re nearly two sizes too big! My fucking feet could have a banquet in there! They were flopping around like it was the 1990s and slam-dancing was still a thing!

I don’t know what that means!

Let’s just say that the shoes were too big and I looked like an idiot shuffling around downtown in clown shoes.

Even aside from wearing them, Henry had already thrown away the receipt so I couldn’t exchange them for a smaller size. So I gifted them to Chooch who doesn’t want them because OMG they’re pink and hello they’re not even really PINK, thank you, but more of a CORAL!! in the key of Rick Grimes.

Maybe even you could say salmon.

He won’t wear them to school but he did wear them out around the neighborhood yesterday (and almost immediately stepped in a pile of HUGE dog shit logs). I MEAN IF THE SHOE FITS, AMIRITE?

Anway, here are some pictures of him in the shoes because if I can’t get my $45 back, at least let me use them as a goddamn prop.

I also forgot to mention that I bought a really cute pair of Iron Fist shoes to wear on Valentines Day and they too were too big and have sitting in a box in the backseat of the car for over a month because Henry and I keep putting off sending them back.

I don’t know you guys, I think they’re cool as hell and Chooch can honestly pull it off, pink or not. We did have to turn around and run into an alley at one point though because he saw jerks from his school and didn’t want to be seen, but I’m not sure if it was the shoes or his MOM he was more ashamed of.

Well, that’s my story about how somehow after 38 years I have turned into the goddamned Goldilocks of shoes. I’m 0 for 3. Bye now.

Feb 262018
 

*(I asked Chooch what he wanted to call this set and he said, “Furry. No. Wizard Fox. No! You’re a Wizard, Harry, but spelled h-a-i-r-y, get it?” Ugh.)

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I shoved pictures of my kid in your face. But my mom got him a Spirit Hood for Christmas and I promised her pictures, so blame her and the fact that I finally upgrade my old Canon Rebel after 10 years of abuse and mostly loyal service so I need to get used to this new one over the next month else I lose my temper in Korea and punt the bastard into the East Sea.

(The camera, not Henry.)

So far, it hasn’t angered me!

His shirt says “It’s all about the journey” and when we were walking to CVS later, some broad commented that she liked it and he gloated so hard because people usually are usually saying they like my purse or phone case or rings or tattoos OR ALL OF THE ABOVE because if it that were my shirt, it would have said, “It’s all about the accessories.”

The lady down the street who we don’t know but almost drove him to summer camp one day two summers ago (IT’S A LONG STORY) told him he has nice kicks and it was everything I had in me not to scream, “YEAH WELL I PICKED THEM OUT.”

(Chooch will be in his 50s and still bringing up that time I almost let him get into a stranger’s car. SHE TOLD US HER NAME AND SHE HAS A CUTE DOG, I’M SURE YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE, CHOOCH.)

We were out there for a full 7 minutes and didn’t fight! Well, except for the fight we had right away when I yelled at him for having food on his face as usual.

Thank you for eye-balling these photographs. Carry on now.

Dec 292017
 

Ugh, it was so cold on Christmas and while I would have preferred to stay inside, keeping warm with non-stop kpop workouts, I dragged Henry and Chooch to the cemetery because even though we cut out the hassle of the Christmas picnic this year (which sucks because how magical would cemetery kimbap be!?), I still wanted to get some photos of Chooch — you know, TRADITION, etc etc.

But it was extremely ill-planned and painfully cold, like “Call CPS, these idiots are forcing their kid into a frostbitten state” cold. So we wrapped it up after about 15 minutes and decided to just wait for a day when it’s warmer than in the teens. Plus, Chooch’s pants had cat hair all over them, so….

Hope it’s warmer where you are, friends.

Dec 052017
 

Hi guys it’s me Chooch and I’m going to tell you about how my dumb cat ruined my puzzle and I cried A LOT and then ran to my room and cried A LOT MORE.

No I didn’t cry. You’re right.

I SOBBED.

I WEPT.

Drew is the dumbest cat ever. I take back everything I said about my mom’s cat Penelope. Penelope is like a freakin’ dream compared to that dumbass cat Drew.

She’s not my best friend anymore!!!!

Also, I think Taemin is a really great dancer & performer.

***

Just kidding, it’s me, Erin. Chooch is still crying too hard to relive the trauma through writing. But that doesn’t make all of the above any less true! This puzzle is destroying our lives. First of all, Chooch is constantly nagging me to help him with it because he hasn’t learned yet that you have to let me do things on my own terms or I will freak the fuck out, so then he tells me I’m a horrible mom who doesn’t want to spend time with her son and I’m like, “IT’S BECAUSE YOUR ELBOW KEEPS BUMPING ME AND THEN YOU TRY TO GRAB THE SAME PIECE AS ME AND THEN, THE WORST PART OF IT ALL, YOU TRY TO TAKE CREDIT FOR PARTS I ALREADY DID!!!”

I was crying about this at work today and Glenn was like, “So, two 10-year-olds are trying to put together this puzzle.”

Why didn’t Henry try harder to stop this puzzle from entering our house?!

#BLAMEHENRY

And then it’s making Henry resent us because the puzzle is taking up his serial killer Christmas card work station, right smack in the middle of our busy season, so he’s been using the kid-size desk in Chooch’s room to fulfill orders.

(Speaking of Henry, he just came home with supplies from the craft store and sadly said, “See you guys later,” as he trudged upstairs to his makeshift greeting card sweat shop. I’m dying.)

What I’m trying to say is, even without the feline factor, this puzzle is TEARING MY FAMILY APART.

It all came to a head last night though. Chooch and I went for our nightly walk and he was excitedly telling me about how he’s about to make a big connection between two large chunks of the puzzle that we were working on over the weekend. He was so amped about this and I of course was just like, “Whatever, I did most of it.”

I’m competitive even with puzzles, OK.

Then we came home and it happened. Chooch went to pick up stupid Drew off the puzzle when it backfired. She went limp and then grabbed an entire corner of the puzzle, the part that Chooch, I mean, I was making so much progress on, and FLIPPED IT OVER.

Chooch processed the severity of the situation. Earth-shattering chaos ensued. And then he yelled at Drew! He’s never yelled at her before! But in between yelling, he was cooing, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. BUT YOU RUINED MY PUZZLE! I didn’t mean to yell at you. BUT YOU’RE FUCKING GROUNDED!!!”

I was on the phone with Henry while this was happening, because he was — where else — at the store*. So I relayed the situation to Henry, who was probably heel-clicking in the middle of the sad dad aisle because he wants us to give up on the puzzle so he can take back his table.

*(It’s a running joke in our house that “the store” is where Henry goes to get away from it all by mindlessly pushing around a squeaky cart while getting lost in the dulcet tones of grocery store soft rock. You do you, Papa H.)

With his hands against his head, Chooch yelled, “JUST TELL DADDY TO THROW THE WHOLE THING AWAY! I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!” He stormed off to his room in tears. I told Henry that Chooch was in his room, so Henry, who is able to control Chooch’s Echo with his phone, made Alexa play Dashboard Confessional’s “This Ruined Puzzle.”

That went over real well. Chooch came storming back downstairs which only resulted in him having to look at the puzzle again and then the fury returned. He was still sulking over it, trying to piece it back together, when Henry came home from the store.

More pandemonium ensued because Henry brought home ice cream BUT IT WASN’T THE KIND THAT CHOOCH WANTED SO YOU KNOW WHAT, HE JUST DIDN’T WANT ANY ICE CREAM AT ALL, GOODNIGHT.

It was only 8:30 but he was “putting himself to bed.” A classic page right out of Erin’s bi-polar playbook. As soon as he shut his door, Henry made Alexa play Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” Shit hit the fan at that point and Chooch started shouting for us to grow up and leave him alone and I was laughing about it but secretly was scared that maybe he might burn down the house.

He came barreling down the stairs and yelled, “YOU KNOW WHAT?!?!?” like he was about to verbally assault us, but then he stopped and broke down into psychotic laughter/tears and begged me to help him fix the puzzle, so I did because I was afraid of the fall-out.

[SIDE NOTE: Everyone thinks I’m the dastardly parent—I mean, I’m the reason we had CPS called on us once, right?—but Henry is like the sleeper hit of pranks around here. For instance, Chooch lately has been playing ambient sounds on his Echo at night to help him fall asleep; Henry waited until he was sleeping Saturday night before changing it to some horror soundtrack, with some creepy girl saying, “I’M GOING TO GET YOU” over and over. These are the best parts of parenting, my friends.]

“THEY’RE CIRCLING ME LIKE SHARKS!” Chooch cried that night in one of many attempts to perform puzzle surgery, while the cats prowled around under the table, waiting for their chance to pounce on more pieces. This is our life now. Anyone want to come over and finish this fucking puzzle for us? I lost interest in it the night we started it.

Nov 252017
 

After our visit to the Mattress Factory last Saturday, we walked up the street to hang out at Randyland. If you live in Pittsburgh, you probably for sure know about Randyland because it’s the happiest place around. The owner, Randy (obviduh) bought some dilapidated property in the 90s and slowly turned it into a a giant outsider art masterpiece. We were there on a dreary November day, but even then it was bright and magical. I WILL JUST LET THE PHOTOS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

환영합니다!

Guys. I’m not trying to get your hopes up, but Janna wrote something about needing a new job on her worry card, and she got a new job literally four days later. Chooch and I both wrote TRUMP on ours so maybe Trump will be impeached? LOL BUT SRSLY PLZ.

Basically what the inside of my head looks like, but please add more gold glitter and kpop idols .

Now if you’ll excuse me, Chooch and I bought a 2000 piece puzzle at Target last night and he’s yelling at me because I’m taking too long of a break but hunching over a fucking puzzle hurts my back! Ugh. Have you ever really SEEN Chooch and I working together on anything? It’s not pretty. Not even a little.

Nov 242017
 

Hey boy hey I’m back with more Mattress Factory photos. Everything you see here will be from the main Mattress Factory building.

I was so entranced by the funhouse-mirror effect that the weird foil stuff on the walls had that I never actually bothered to read anything about this exhibit. I don’t even know what it was called, but maybe I should move my dying plants there because the set-up seems way better than what I have at home.

(Also Janna is going to kill me for posting this picture because that is obviously not what she looks like at all.)

Plant room selfie.

The next room was an Allan Wexler experience in levels and architecture. It was not my favorite but Chooch was really drawn to it, probably because it appealed to his nerdy, analytical mind.

I did, however, enjoy the intravenous coffee table.

Here’s a random picture from the fire escape:

If you don’t take gratuitous selfies in the permanent Yayoi Kusama room, then have you really Mattress Factory’d? This is always the crowd pleaser whenever I bring new people to this joint, and it’s not surprising that this is the only thing that Chooch remembers from his past visits.

I read recently that Russell Wilson shut down the Seattle Art Museum to take Ciara to see the Kusama retrospective for their anniversary. LUCKY.

There’s a permanent Greer Lankton exhibit on one of the floors, but it was recently expanded to include a temporary display of old works that her family lent to the museum, and we were shook. I already liked her a lot, but these drawings and paintings give a deeper look into her life.

Funny enough, we entered this room in reverse order and apparently missed the sign that warned of sexually explicit content, so I had no idea what we were getting into until Chooch wandered off, then came back and said, “UM PLEASE COME HERE” and pointed out a super porn-y drawing which made me crack up. I sent a picture to Henry who was like GOOD JOB ERIN but really he was like NICE THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE ART.

Honestly though, most of it was really sad, emotionally disturbing, and worked as raw and visceral diary excerpts.

None of these are the one that disturbed Chooch, but on the way out, he pointed out another one called, “Cunt on a Stick” and mumbled, “Nice. Real nice.”

And then on the way home, it was all “THAT GREER LANKTON ROOM WAS PRETTY GOOD, DON’T YOU THINK?”

This is the permanent Lankton exhibit, called, “It’s All About Me, Not you.” I highly recommend exploring her work. She was fucking fascinating.

“What, hold on…” Chooch said, before tossing a brooding stare over his shoulder. “OK, now take my picture.” The Mattress Factory triggered his inner model, you guys. He was like this the whole afternoon and it was starting to creep me out a little.

These remind me of serial killer prison art and I would gladly hang them all in my bedroom.

Chooch got a B in stupid art this semester because when he leaves the school to go to the Gifted Center, he misses art class sometimes and therefore is unable to finish projects and I think this is fucking bullshit because:

  • it sometimes feels like the regular school punishes the gifted students in stupid ways like this;
  • art shouldn’t be graded

I feel like having experiences like we had last Saturday afternoon at the Mattress Factory is worth more than whatever bullshit busy work an elementary school art teacher is doling out. (Not knocking art teachers at all but the one at his school has been a pain in the ass since the beginning.) I suggested he write a review of his day looking at real art and turn it in to her, but then I’m afraid he’s just going to be like, “I SAW LOTS OF DICKS DRAWN WITH CRAYONS AT THE MATTRESS FACTORY.”