Jul 202016
 

After another night of shitty news, I decided that the only way to end things on a good note would be to go and deep throat an ice cream cone.

We ended up stopping at Sugar & Spice since it was on our way home and our first choice was too crowded. (I WAS NOT IN THE MOOD TO STAND IN LINE WITH PEASANTS.)

Look, listen, do whatever it is you do to pay attention: I have no beef with this establishment. I definitely wouldn’t put it in my top local faves list but it’s not like, disgusting there or anything.  However, on this night, some RUDE FUCKING BROAD was at the window and, after already being annoyed with the people in front of us (the one girl had on cam sweatpants with flip flops and it just rubbed me the wrong way), she set me off before I even opened my mouth to order.

I’m sorry, but you have over 30 flavors of soft serve which I could not peruse until I got up to the window, so don’t fucking rush me  I hate being rushed. Go wipe down a counter or something and I’ll call you back when I’m ready, maybe?!

She was scowling and I didn’t want to stand there any longer than I had to so I blurted out “Cinnamon” but immediately had remorse and then Broad asked in a rude tone what kind of tone and I started to say sugar because I always confuse the cone-types and she cut me off to spit, “WE CANT PUT IT IN A SUGAR CONE. THE SOFTSERVE IS TOO HEAVY” and I totally looked like some sort of soft serve n00b to the guy who was still standing there waiting for his milkshake.

But the way she cut me off, I can’t even. My tolerance was already down real low, like the lowest rung of limbo, and this bitch and her highfalutin’ soft serve superiority was about to knock the pole right onto the rink IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN and I hope you do because my rollerskating analogies are a little bit rusty.

You guys, I then had the AUDACITY to ask her for sprinkles.  Whaaaaat was I thinking! I’m an alien sent to earth for my first ice cream and I fucking blew it, apologies to the Mother Ship.

“YOU CANT PUT SPRINKLES ON THIS, ITS TOO SOFT.” Wow, really, you have to straight scold me about this? You’re the one dishing out limp soft serve, you dumb ice cream cooze.

I literally snatched the cone from her hands and, as she was muttering in her bitch-voice about “putting the sprinkles on the side” I cut her off and in a PURPOSELY FAKE UPBEAT VOICE THAT WASNT TOO SOFT TO SPRINKLE WITH SARCASM, I sniped, “OK GREAT NO THANKS BYE” and stomped off through the parking lot while making loud, passive aggressive declarations to my 10-year-old son and the man who was waiting for his milkshake that I would NEVER come back to this place again.

PUT THE SPRINKLES ON THE SIDE. Oh for fuck’s sake. If I want to make a mess with my ice cream cone that I’m paying for, that’s 100% within my right as an American! IF I WANT SPRINKLES, DUMP THAT SHIT ON MY ICE CREAM AND TELL ME TO HAVE A NICE NIGHT AND I WILL SAY THANKS, YOU DO THE SAME

THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD HAVE PLAYED OUT. I have read from this script plenty of times

Henry tried to play devils advocate which is basically the only character he knows how to play because he’s so one-dimensional and I interrupted his empty words to shriek, “I’VE HAD THIS SAME SOFT SERVE AT OTHER PLACES AND GOT SPRINKLES ON IT!” And it is definitely the same soft serve because all those places use the same OMG 30+ FLAVORS sign and it’s the same machine!! Sugar & Spice isn’t unique! This isn’t their own creation! They use the same mix that every other place uses and I know this because I eat a lot of fucking ice cream.

I know my fucking soft serve.

Henry was stuck there at the window because he still had to pay, but I had already marched off to the car. I considered viciously pitching my cone in the garbage can on the way there but let’s be real: I’m too much of a tightwad to waste money like that so I leaned against the car and angrily lapped at my stupid too-melty-for-sprinkles ice cream while shuddering with rage.

What a dumb, surly bitch. I continued to spout off vague threats as we drove past her on our way out, like how I wanted to chuck my cone against her stupid window. “I don’t think she can hear you,” Henry mumbled.

“Oh I’m going to leave a really nasty review,” I growled against a background of mirthless laughter, cutting down my melty ice cream cone with my razor-edged tongue. And as soon as I opened the Yelp app to destroy this establishment with my hateful prose (“Not only do your employees have no chill, but either does your ice cream!”), the first thing I saw was a review from my MORTAL YELP ENEMY.

A FUCKING 5-STAR REVIEW.

So of course I had to clear my throat and read it out loud to Henry in my best Robin Leach voice.

“A den of sug’ry iniquity hidden in a seemingly innocuous suburb and building” — get the fuck over yourself.

ALSO HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO REVIEW THIS PLACE.

One time he sent me a message and was like “you should add some pictures of yourself to your profile” and I was like “That sentence was too simple. Needs 87 more adjectives.” I hate him so much. (Projecting? Or naw?)

I should probably just go to bed.

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Mar 152016
 

 Alternately titled: Another Dumb Idea!
Last week when I was meandering about town during my lunch break, I kept pausing to either tweet or text Henry about all the perils in my path. You know, like Planned Parenthood protestors, city school kids, an errant paper bag skipping across the pavement. (I COULD TRIP!)

And it made me think about how much more fun it would be to SEND A POSTCARD instead of these electronic means of communication. Like my lunch break is a vacation and oh motherfucker, do I wish you were here. 

Perks: 

-snail mail is never a bad thing and gives the mailman something to read other than Pennysavers and campaign mailings. 

-I love handwriting things and it will give me something other than my name to scribble over and over again at my desk. And let’s be real, I don’t have the time/attention span to write full blown letters. 

-I’ll have something to give Last Mail!

-WHAT A PERSONAL WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH!

If I have your address, don’t be surprised if you get some weird sketch of the Stalker of the Day (I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING MEEEE) or a poem about the trash in the river. 

And if I don’t have your address and you want to get a random post card, email me! Butgavincantdance@gmail.com

I’ll probably also send them to random addresses as well because that’s not creepy it’s sweet. 

I’d like to send one a day and I’ll start as soon as Henrh buys me stamps, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. #HenryProblems

And if you wanna send one back from your own lunch break, PLEASE DO! Postcard frenzy!!

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Feb 052016
 

You already know that I’m a horrible mom. I mean, psychologically horrible. I can’t help it! I live and breathe to punk people and no one is easier and more fulfilling to punk than my own kid. And believe me, he gives it back to me! It’s like our thing. We love to fuck with each other.

Off and on over the years, I’ve made loose comments about the man who lives in the attic. The steps to the attic can only be accessed from Chooch’s room, so it’s my way of nudging him down Night Terrors Alley. He’s always just like, “YEAH OK MOMMY” and then we all laugh and go about our day. But lately, it’s been heating up. My response to almost everything has been “manintheattic” and Henry gives me a disappointed look. Like when Chooch had a fever last week and woke up in the middle of night and dressed himself. He was horrified when he woke up because he never goes to bed with a shirt on.

“And now I have on TWO t-shirts?!” he cried, like call up Scully and Mulder, quick.

“Manintheattic,” I half-coughed. “Sometimes he dresses you during the night. You’re like his living baby doll.”

“YEAH RIGHT!” Chooch scoffed, but I could see that there was a tiny glimmer of doubt in his eyes.

The next night, as we all in our respective bedrooms for the night, Chooch made a fake phone number using one of those free text apps and started prank-calling me. I stupidly fell for it too, and I got so nervous when I saw a call coming in from someone with our area code BECAUSE WHO COULD IT BE, WHAT DID I DO NOW!? Then I realized it was the idiot in the next room over. So I made one too and said, “Be quiet down there, I’m trying to sleep.” And then “Good night.”

“You’re a dick,” Henry mumbled into his pillow when I giddily showed him my work.

The other day at work, I decided to create an Instagram account for The Man In the Attic.

Because these are things normal moms do.

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Step 1: Find a good snap of Gary Busey’s mug to use as my user pic.

Step 2: Follow Chooch.

Step 3: Comment on Chooch’s most recent video of the kittens.

“You need to put them in the basement while you’re at school. They’re very disruptive during the day.”

Step 4: Post pictures.

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I was crying at my desk over this while several of my co-workers clucked their tongues and made various remarks about Chooch’s future therapy bill.

“He does it to me, too!” I yelled in defense.

Glenn just shook his head at me and Todd struggled to wrap his head around how anyone thought it would be a good idea to have a child with me.

“My mom used to do this shit to me all the time when I was kid,” I explained during one of our daily “Dissecting Erin’s Childhood” conversations at work.

“Oh,” Todd said, attempting to understand how this was normal.

“I don’t talk  to her anymore, though,” I added as an after thought, and then we all started to laugh, because: family.

“I’m going to pay someone to hide in the attic one night,” I said, and everyone groaned.

***

After work, Henry dropped Chooch off downtown because he and I were going to the Pens game. First, we went to get dinner. Over pizza, Chooch learned of the Man In the Attic’s Instagram account.

At first he was like, “Wait. What. How.” But then his brain kicked on and he said, “Yeah OK, I know this is you.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me see that. Oh my god, this is so creepy!” I exclaimed, scrolling through Instagram on Chooch’s phone.

“Whatever, I know it’s you.”

I kept denying it over and over, and then we went to the game, where me made jokes about how Henry was home alone with the Man In the Attic. I thought everything was good. He knew I made the Instagram account and was able to find some humor in it, life goes on, Pens win, etc etc.

But later that night, after we came home from the game and Henry retired to bed after a long night of staying home doing nothing while Chooch and I screamed our faces off at Consol, Chooch brought up the Instagram account.

“Honestly, this is you, right?”

I couldn’t believe this was coming up again because I was certain he knew it was me. I mean, Chooch is a pretty bright kid!

But the sinister side of me saw this as an opportunity to continue the fun, so I denied it. Over and over and over.

“Chooch, like I have time to do shit like that at work, really!” I said with faux-annoyance.

(LOL, this was the biggest lie I’ve ever told.)

Suddenly, we had a replay of the Doll Episode. He was pissed, and he was also tired: A deadly combination.

He got so angry because I wouldn’t admit to it, that he started sobbing. Like, hands covering his face, body-convulsing sobs.

Since he’s my son, I initially couldn’t tell if he was faking it or not.

Turns out, nope. Thems some real optic-wets right there.

So of course I dropped the gag and hugged him, swearing it was me and apologizing profusely, but he shrugged away from me and shut himself in the kitchen.

When he came out, he spat, “DELETE IT. DELETE THE ACCOUNT.”

I promised I would, and then he retreated up the steps to his bedroom, sniffling and wiping tears with the back of his hand.

I felt like a complete asshole.

“Good for you!” Henry spat with disappointment when I went up to bed later and filled him in. “I’m glad we spent all that money on his new bed, because you’re the one who’s going to be sleeping in it!”

***

The next morning, Chooch was still bitter, but by the time I came home from a day of being scolded for being a terrible mom by my co-workers, Chooch had cooled down. I honestly think that the biggest issue here is that he hates it when I prank him better than he pranks me. But I’m happy to report that Chooch has now accept The Man In the Attic as a part of this household and has even added my newly-created phone number to his contacts as Manin Theattic. One day, we will laugh heartily about this over Christmas picnic in the cemetery with his children. I just can’t help it—I was born with a very dominant Prankster gene. (Or as some might argue—a Bully gene.)

The funniest part about all of this is that I’m the one who’s actually terrified of the attic.

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Jan 212016
 

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I was joking the other day at work about how trouble follows me everywhere I go in that department, and why when I am clearly such a sweet, innocent, demure human being!? And it got me thinking about other jobs I had, where I was a holy terror on purpose and gave no fucks about it, because what was the worst that was going to happen? I was going to quit after three days and my mom would still pay my rent.

Rinse and repeat.

But if I had to pick a place that got the best version of Asshole Erin, it was definitely Echostar.

PICTURE IT: The year was 1998. I had recently lost the only steady job I ever had, as a telemarketer for Olan Mills Portrait Studio—which, coincidentally, is how I met the guy who got me to take the only bus ride of my life, which I mentioned last week. Joey was one of my cold calls (as opposed to those on the coveted and golden PAST CUSTOMER LIST) and after letting me pant my way through the whole portrait package spiel, he laughed and said, “Well, that sounds really great, except I don’t need it because I’m a photographer.” Turns out, he was in Pittsburgh going to the Art Institute for photography, and we REALLY HIT IT OFF over the phone. Like, instant connection. This is how people used to hook up back in the day! Over the phone, on sales calls. Anyway, my supervisor was starting to catch wind that I was no longer trying to make a sale, or at least, not the kind of sale I was being paid to make, so I quickly gave him my number and then we proceeded to stay up all night on the phone when I got home that evening and before I knew it, we were making wedding plans, moving to Montana, and buying a sheepdog. I mean, until I actually met him and then it was “……” But I still got on a bus with him and went to his place on the Southside, because I’m fucking smart.

OK OK, so our Olan Mills telemarketing branch got shut down (thanks, Internet) and my mom was started to put pressure on me to find something else. There was another telemarketing job after that, where I sold a credit card terminal to a tattoo shop and then got a free (and shitty) tattoo out of it, because back then I had A Personality and it was impossible for me to not make friends over the phone. Now I won’t even ANSWER the phone. So by this point, I had myself pigeon-holed to the telemarketing industry. It was apparently the only skill I had attained somehow. That’s a little known fact about dropping out of high school: you’re spilled out into this holding cell while everyone else is running off to college like normal, functioning humans, and you’re given two options: drugs or telemarketing. I had a mild interest in drugs back then, but then my friend Brian got me a job at Olan Mills and totally ruined that plan.

After quitting the credit card terminal place, I applied at Echostar (Dish Network), which had just opened a huge call center in McKeesport and it was like A Really Big Deal for us people who weren’t qualified to do anything much greater than bag groceries. It was so new that the call center wasn’t even finished, so the training classes were being held in this really old joint called the Peoples Building, and it was such a shady area that we had to have security guards escort us from the building to the parking garage every night. (Evening classes, ya’ll.)

What I will always remember the most about this job is that I started on the Monday directly after returning from Philly, where I had attended the Dracula’s Ball with my friend Cinn. I almost didn’t show up for my first class at all because my eyebrow piercing had become so infected from all the glitter I was wearing that evening, plus the fact that the new hoop was shoved in forcefully by some guy who looked like the guy Happy Gilmore shot with a nail gun to the point where I PASSED OUT IN HIS SHOP and woke up on a couch with him standing above me, holding a paper towel saturated with my blood, saying, “Wow, look how much you bled!” So all of these factors led to an eventual infection which caused my eyelid to swell up and I had to walk into this class room with my hair covering one side of my face, looking like I was trying to hide a black eye. But then I was like “Fuck it” and just started flaunting it and that was how I made a bunch of friends in that class on my very first day, by being the youngest person in the class who had a gross piercing story to share as an introduction.

(I ended up going to the emergency room right after class that night, where a doctor had to cut the ring out of my face while a nurse watched on and said, “This is exactly why I told my daughter she’s never getting pierced.”)

At the start of this first class, our trainer Mike had us go around the room and say our name with a descriptive adjective that started with the same letter. I fucking love these things because I’m a nerd, so when it was my turn, I shot out of my seat and cried, “EFFERVESCENT ERIN!” Everyone in the class laughed at  my enthusiasm, and that was basically the start of Mike’s infinite disdain for me.

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There were lots of tests and POP QUIZZES.

The class was a month long. We had to learn all about the company, customer service, operating the company’s computer system, and all of the various cable packages they offered. It was kind of like telemarketing and support combined: we had to help customers with issues they might be experiencing with their service while trying to upsale them at the same time. I was kind of torn, because I used TCI for my digital cable and I was obsessed with it. (This was pre-Comcast.) I loved TCI so much that I turned down a pretty nice apartment when I found out that the cable used in that area was ADELPHIA.

P-U.

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I sincerely wish I had stayed in touch with these people. They were fucking nuts.

So my heart was never really in this job from the get-go. (I mean, how much of a heart could one really put into this sort of job, anyway?) Class quickly became less of learning and more of an opportunity to hide behind computer terminals while passing notes and giggling with my new friends, Bobbie (a girl), Roniece, and Letecia.

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These girls though. They were the only reason I kept coming back to that class, night after night. One time, I arrived in tears because my pet frog Hubert had died that day. They helped me eulogize him on our break, and it was the sweetest thing that I will never forget. THEY WERE MY RIDE OR DIES, obviously, except that no one said that in 1998.

We were totally the bad kids, and very quickly we became A Class Divided: there was us and a handful of the other younger people plus some of the soccer moms (surprisingly) and then there were the Others, made up of the older women and the people who were surprisingly actually there to learn. They would get so fucking irate every time Mike would have to stop class to chastise one of us. It got really bad too, and if us Bad Kids wound up in the same place as some of the Others during our dinner break, they would get so ruffled and tight-lipped, like we had just sleazily oozed over the threshold, flicking our switchblades open and closed, popping our gum, and making cunnilingus Vs with our fingers.

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It was like being in college after all! Lol, j/k.

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One of the girls in our group got bitched at by Mike because he found out that she was sneaking out onto the fire escape to smoke. So then he had to have the building manager come up and lock the door to the fire escape, which made us scream dramatically about, “BUT WHAT IF THERE IS A FIIIIIIIRRRREEEEE?!” while cracking up behind his back.

There is one moment that stands out the most for me though, and that was the day we were learning how to add notes to customers’ accounts. The company was smart enough to make sure we were on a training server, so all of the customers were Jane and John Does. Trainer Mike was having each one of us take turns going into the fake accounts and adding notes based on the scenarios he read to us, so after the note was “published,” it would show up on everyone’s computer. I quickly realized that if I skipped ahead, I could add fake notes and then everyone else would see them by the time we made it to that particular account.

I quickly alerted my homegirls about this and we all giddily forged ahead and began adding childish notes, the only one I for sure remember was “Our trainer sucks ass.” NOT SAYING THAT WAS MINE.

But it was mine.

Needless to say, when the rest of the class, and Mike, stumbled upon these, there was a major uproar. The people on our side laughed and appreciated the effort of our antics, while the nerdy ones were appalled at our juvenile behavior and began clucking and whatever else old bitches do when they’re mad at the Youth of Today.

Mike was furious. I mean, this was his breaking point. You could practically see his pupils turning into boiling point thermostats, the veins popping out of his forehead like someone REALLY WAIST DEEP in some late night viewing of The Erotic Network, the LARGE FONT letters queuing up in his brain before exploding out into a “I DON’T GET PAID ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH THIS MOTHERFUCKING BULLSHIT” rant.

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When Mike eventually regained his composure—kind of—he pounded his fist against his desk and demanded that whomever did this, speak up.

Of course none of us did. And he definitely could narrow down the suspect pool to three. But Bobbie, Roniece and I just hunkered down lower, our faces red from stifled laughter.

Then he started threatening us.

“If no one comes forward, then the whole class will suffer!” he roared, and this made the Other Half of the class pivot in their seats, thrusting their fingers at the three of us, screaming about life’s injustices and their inability to get a good Echostar education thanks to our disruptive behavior and basic tomfoolery. Still, we wouldn’t take the blame.

(This morning, I was actually telling Henry this story, and through tears of laughter I said, “Can you believe those bitches were so upset over that? What losers.”

“Yeah, imagine being concerned about your job,” Henry dryly replied.)

Mike then told us that the CEO of the company, Charlie Something-Or-Other, was coming to town to deal with this, that the fucking CEO OF THE COMPANY was flying in from COLORADO just to YELL AT OUR WHOLE CLASS.

Like, OK sure, Mike. We all knew he was coming in because the grand opening of the Pittsburgh location was that weekend. But still we were sure surprised the next night when fucking Charlie himself made a guest appearance in our dumb classroom, and proceeded to lecture us about respecting Mike, how he puts a great deal of effort into employing the BEST TRAINERS to provide the rest of us with the knowledge we need to succeed within the company. Mike stood to his right, hands clasped behind his back, looking smugger than a motherfucker grading Echostar tests.

It was fucking surreal. I loved/hated every moment of it. I think we were simultaneously proud that our actions warranted such a dramatic response, but also stunned that we didn’t get fired when we probably should have.

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Hilariously, that one lady back there in the pink turtleneck was the wife of some dude who worked at my family’s drywall company, so she would go home and tell him about all the shit-stirring I did, and he in turn would go to work and tell my mom. The phone calls I got from my mom was fantastic. “What are you doing over there?!” she would cry. “Please don’t embarrass me!” But that dude’s wife was actually cool as shit; she was on our side and thought the whole situation was hysterical. When the “Goody-Goodies” started to rally against us, she gave me a big pep talk outside on the sidewalk and told me that they were just angry old women who had no joy in their lives and to not let them get me down. I mean, these broads went full-throttle Mean Girls on us, which was stupid because we weren’t directing any of our antics against them. We were just a bunch of goofy idiots who were bored at studying the various remote controls that came with the satellite dishes. I was nineteen — of course I didn’t take this job seriously!

But you know, looking back on it — wow I was a fucking douche bag.

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This was my life for a whole month.

Somehow, we all managed to make it to the end of the month-long training course, but the real victory is that we all PASSED THE TEST. It was time for us to move to the newly-built call center and begin our live training, head-sets and all. But first, we decided amongst ourselves that we should celebrate during our last class.

Even Trainer Mike was on board with having a party, but he was definitely partying for much different reasons.

I volunteered to get a cake, which was no skin off my back because all I had to do was call Mommy and tell her to deal with it.

“What do you want it to say?” she asked.

“I don’t know….;this class sucks’,” I joked. Then we went on to talk about other things, probably me whining about all the things I wanted her to buy me.

The next day, and I remember this vividly because it was a bad day, I had to leave my apartment to go to the mall and pick up the cookie cake. But first, I realized that I forgot my car keys, and how I realized this was that I was unable to open my car door with the CORDLESS PHONE that I left the house with instead of my key chains. And then I couldn’t open the apartment door because my apartment key was on the keychain so I had to call my mom (on the cordless!) to come and open my door with the spare key she had. Even back then, I was a spaz about being late. I have ALWAYS been a spaz about being late.

(Hey 1998 Erin, never change.)

By the time I had my keychain, I was in pedal-to-the-metal mode and floored it to the mall, where I said, “Nah!” when the Original Cookie people asked if I wanted to see the cookie cake before they put it in the bag. Then, several feet away from the stupid Peoples Building, I merged into the right lane and didn’t see that there was a car in my blind spot so then I had to pull over and deal with THAT nonsense.

And so I was late. And in a really shitty mood. Which didn’t get much better when Bobbie lifted the lid of the cookie cake to reveal that it boasted a delicious declaration of This Class Sucks.

“Fucccccck,” I whispered. “I thought my mom knew I was joking!” And then I played back our conversation and realized I never told her what I actually wanted the stupid fucking cake to say.

I was nearly about to cry because everything kept happening! But then I was like, “Fuck it, I’m probably going to quit this job anyway, so who cares.” And it turns out, Mike definitely didn’t care! He came over, swiped off the “cl” with one swift motion of his finger, and then started cracking up.

I guess we kind of made up that day, over pizza and unfortunate cake sentiments. But honestly, I think he was just really fucking giddy about never having to deal with us hooligans again.

I mean, look at how innocent I was! This was also when I was going through a heavy goth phase, in that I spent most of my free time in a goth chatroom, listened to goth music, and had goth Internet friends. I never went full-fledged goth, but LOOK AT HOW PALE I WAS. So I would go to my training class every night and teach all of my new, normal friends things about Dracula’s Ball, Sisters of Mercy, and Darkchat. Their response was always, “Giiiiiiirl.….” paired with the raised eyebrow of skepticism.

I did end up quitting right after we “graduated.” It just wasn’t for me. I saw Bobbie once afterward, when we met at Nigro’s, a lounge down the street from Echostar. And the next summer, I hung out with Roniece and it will forever be known as The Night I Died On The Street In Front of a Strip Club In Braddock; but earlier that evening, Roniece’s grandma saved my friend Keri from possibly dying from a bee sting, so the day was clearly full of second chances. I kept in touch with Leticia the longest out of all of them, and dragged her to the Denis Theater twice to see “white people movies” which she bitched about on the way there and then gushed over the way home. (“Shakespeare In Love” and “American Beauty” lol.) I even visited her a few years later when she had a baby. But eventually, I lost touch with her too. I wish I could remember their last names so I could Facebook-stalk them.

Anyway, the moral to this story is that I am not even close to being a troublemaker at my current job, even though Todd thinks I’m a “bully.” So there.

(I think I actually am kind of a bully though.)

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Jan 172016
 

Chooch and I went geocaching last weekend and we are now, together, co-blogging about it. I’m not writing this with my hyperbolic plume either. This experience was particularly blood-boiling, and I have an extremely low boiling point to begin with.

Short-fused. 

Tightly-wound.

Hot-headed.

I’m all of these things. 

Hey its yo boy Chooch, I’m gonna tell you a little things about Geocaching. K, First things first, I learned about Geocaching in school in a book. Geocaching is basically a High-Tech Treasure Hunt Game where you get the app or go on a computer and look for a Gray, Blue, Orange, Light Green, or Dark Green dot and you click on it. It will tell you what the coords are and you just go look for it.

Erin here: I thought he learned about it from YouTube, so I am currently pleasantly surprised.

So I thought there wasn’t much to do, I thought me and mommy could go Geocaching. Daddy didn’t think it would go well, but I did. He said we would kill each other cause’ we’re so competitive. So we went on a Saturday and went to South Park. Because usually there is a lot of Geocaches in the park. As soon as we got there mommy flipped out. Two minutes in she just wanted to go home. I was in the wrong area the whole time.

Erin here: Geocaching with Chooch is terrible because he thinks he knows but HE DOES NOT KNOW. He took us to some area that had an older man like, DIGGING something or someone in the woods and we had to walk near him. That was incredibly unpleasant. Chooch was putzing around with the app and I kept screaming, “AREN’T THERE COORDINATES?! HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK?!?!” and we were literally just standing there, walking in tiny circles, staring at the ground and toeing rocks. Chooch isn’t wrong — two minutes in, I completely flipped my lid and screamed (and I mean BELLOWED), “This is fucking ridiculous! I am going THE FUCK HOME!” Volaries of birds burst out of a nearby tree. The man with the shovel was like “…the fuck is that lady’s problem?” and according to Chooch, everybody hated me when this happened.

“Everybody.”

We were in the fucking park in January! There were not many people around!

Except for a biker who said hello to me RIGHT AFTER MY OUTBURST and because I’m a fucking psychopath, I switched on Sweet Erin and jovially bid him a fine afternoon in the fakest fucking baby voice I could muster.

OH, SUCH DEMURE.

Back to Unicorn Chooch: After looking for like… 7 mins or so I was just looking through rocks, and I saw some weird looking rock. I felt the bottom and it was flat. I turned it over and it was a sliding rock cache. I found the cache. We put some inappropriate mommy cards* in there. I mean like the cards she makes. I was so happy. But… I forgot to bring a pen to sign it. So I made mummy go check the car for a pen. No luck.

Me again: When I went to the car, some dumb elderly couple cheerfully said hello to me, as they were getting their idiot bikes out of their minivan. I said, “HI-YEEEEE!” in return and they kind of stepped back a little because I guess I sounded like I was being an asshole. BECAUSE I WAS.

*And he’s talking about my Totally Awesome Blog Cards, thanks!

I just put a card in and went on the app and said I found it. I wrote “Took forever I thought me and my mom would kill each other! My god”

So then mommy wanted to go home but I told her there’s one 0.3 miles away. We walked down a muddy trail next to a golf course. There was a tree tipped over so it was like a tunnel. I wasn’t going off trail I was totes on trail. We got to some torn down outhouse because I thought it was right there but nope. Farther down by a log. I was getting stabbed in the leg by tons of thorns almost dying. Then I tried to climb over a log but fell. I could’ve died. Mummy couldn’t see because she was in some crack. Lol sounds weird.

Me, with anguish: Hello, it was a GORGE and I was trapped in it, OK?

Erin’s turn: Chooch had us going totally off-trail and it was getting late in the afternoon. I felt like I was on some Blair Witch expedition and bitch, I wasn’t dying for no fucking Tupperware container in the woods. And then we get to these decrepit outhouse ruins and I thought for sure we were going to perish. I kept having future visions of tumbling into that hole and getting dragged down into Hell. Because that would be my luck.

So Henry and I used to occasionally go letterboxing back in the day, which was like the pioneer version of geocaching in that it didn’t give you GPS coordinates and you had to rely on good old-fashioned directions to find your booty. Like, turn right by the crushed Michelobe Lite can. The problem with this though is that most of the time, that fucking beer can wasn’t there anymore, you know? However, with this particular cache we were looking for, it said that it was near “an old source of water.” For some reason, Chooch felt that this meant “look for an ancient outhouse and try not to get murdered.”

Spoiler alert: it was not anywhere near the outhouse. Chooch fucking left me there and started scaling some mountain to get back to the trail that we had long-since abandoned and here’s something to add to the Erin Fact Book: I tend to get crippled with fear anytime I’m faced with walking down a steep hill. So it took a good five minutes of me standing millions of yards away from Chooch, screaming, “I CAN’T DO IT! I’M SCARED! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME!?” before I finally ran at full speed down the hill and then let momentum carry me up the other side of the “crack” as Chooch effectively called it.

I was rewarded by finding the stupid cache literally as soon as I joined Chooch on the other side. I stubbornly spat, “The clue said that it’s by an old source of water and I don’t see AN OLD SOURCE OF WATER” and then a split second later, I said, “Oh, right there” and pointed to a rusty water pump a few feet away.

And let me tell you, all of my homicidal rage completely evaporated and I was suddenly a completely different broad, jumping up and down and screaming, “Yay geocaching!”

So Chooch, back from playing GTA-V: We opened up the cache and put a card in. I took tw bouncy balls and a picture of a cat. I replaced it with the card.

We saw there was a bridge on the way back to the car we completely missed. I walked up really easily but on the way back down mommy cried for help and I was so disappointed in her. I thought she could do it until I told just to jump and she whined even more. Eventually like 24hours later she jumped.

Erin, Terrified of Heights: I WAS HIGH UP THERE, OK!? And I didn’t jump down. I cautiously and slowly scooted down. Anyway, it’s amazing how much my attitude changed after winning at geocaching. I practically skipped the whole way back to the car with a crown of blue birds swirling around my dome. Also, I was completely shocked at how calm and patient Chooch was during our trying times. He never gave up! So there’s one quality he didn’t get from me: the endurance of a champion quitter.

Bootiful horse ass! So cute with the tail and riders! I was like neigh and they were like moo! Then I just started singing The Killers.

That was a fun day maybe we can do it again!

Me: Probably not. Except for right now, since this was how I got Chooch to write on here. Fuck.

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Jan 142016
 

Michele ruined my life today. She emailed several of us at work an article about how the TROLLEY IS SHUTTING DOWN FOR 6 MTHS.

SIX MOTHERFUCKING MONTHS. 

THAT IS A LOT OF MONTHS. 

In case you didn’t already know, here are some important facts:

  • The trolley is how I get to work basically every single day now that Henry’s job sucks and he hasn’t been able to drive me.
  • It’s way more stressful now that I don’t work late shift every day and have to deal with the morning rush hour crowds. 
  • It took me like 3 years to come to terms with commuting to work.
  • I have major anxiety when my routine is changed. 
  • Horrible things happen to me a lot just on my walk to the trolley alone, such as ISSUES WITH CROSSING THE STREET and strangers wanting to talk, and then my day is ruined. You can ask Henry because sometimes he’s on the phone with me and witnesses the horrors! (Don’t let him tell you I embellish.) Sometimes I get splashed with water! One time I fell into a hole!
  • I’m a little bit neurotic. 

My first reaction was, “I have to quit my job.”

But then Todd verbalized some nonsense about TAKING THE BUS.

I whipped around in my chair and co-opted Henry’s method of laughing without mirth. 

“Todd,” I said firmly once I stopped stuttering from all The Shock of the news. “I can NOT take a bus.” And then I had to tell him the now-legendary* tale of when I was 18 and met some boy at the mall (actually we met over the phone when I was a telemarketer for Olan Mills, lol) who then invited me back to his apartment on the Southside but we had to take the bus, he said, and I was all agreeable with adventure in my eyes.

Until it was 3am and I didn’t know how to get home so my mom had to come and pick me up. 

*(Not legendary.)

I never took a bus again. I don’t understand the numbers and the letters and the routes. With the trolley, I have two choices: red or blue. And it’s a straight shot to where I need to go. No transfers or any such nonsense. 

My only other brush with the bus was when I was a sophomore in high school and decided I wanted to join a gang, because that’s what all rich white girls do to act out: engage in back alley knife fights and terrorize the neighborhood shop owners. (But probably mostly just serve as a penis coozy for the “real” gang members.)

I had a friend named Jeremiah who lived in The City and he said he could get me into a gang, but I would have to TAKE A BUS from my comfortable suburban sprawl because none of my friends were interested in driving me to the hood to get gang-initiated. 

“And that’s how I almost joined a gang,” I somberly wrapped up my deeply personal story. 

“Wow,” Todd said with faux-amazement. “Your life could have been so different.”

“I know right?! I’d probably have a face tattoo by now, at least,” I mused, picturing all the battle scars etched into my body like a gritty street war constellation. 

“Just make a bus friend,” Todd offered as a flimsy solution. 

Todd, I don’t MAKE FRIENDS. I break them. (….?)

I’m glad that I have two months to fucking LOSE MY MIND over this before it actually happens. I don’t know what I’ll do. I’m still leaning heavily toward quitting my job. 

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Jan 132016
 

It’s Wednesday. There was a 2-hour delay because I guess it’s very cold out or something. (Yesterday was very cold too but when I checked the weather before leaving the house, 20 degrees somehow seemed like it would be “warm” so I wore a lightweight jacket and no gloves. I’m killing this adult game.)

I spent all morning designing new Valentines for non compos with intermittent KpopX mental health breaks. It is literally the only thing keeping me stable, thank you KpopX. My current favorite song/routine is 2Eye’s “Pippi” and did you know that if my birth dad hadn’t died and my mom hadn’t remarried, my last name would be Pippi? Seriously, shoot me. I would have said yes to one of those other pre-Henry dudes who actually asked me to marry them. (What were they thinking?)

Here is Chooch’s expression from when I made him watch the Pippi video this morning:

I’d like to add that a few minutes later, I was upstairs putting MY FACE ON, when I heard him in the living room absentmindedly humming 2eye’s masterpiece. Yeah, that’s what’s up.

I made Henry watch an acoustic rendition of “PIPPI” last night and his expression was pretty similar, except his eyes were more glazed.

(Don’t worry, everything else I listen to is depressing as fuck so I’m no less emo.)

***

Last week, Glenn happily sent me an article about “South Korea resuming propaganda broadcasts hated by North” because it mentions Kpop, but not only that, it gives a shout-out to one of my favorite KpopX routine songs!!

kpop

So, between KpopX and making new Valentine cards, I’m keeping busy. Gayle tried to force me to borrow a book from her and I was like, “NICE TRY GAYLE BUT I AM IN NO PLACE TO READ A BOOK RIGHT NOW.”

Also, I feel like I’m getting sick. I AM SLOWLY BREAKING, HELP. EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE. #SOS #911 #187

 

 

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Dec 242015
 

At the last minute Monday morning, I bought a ticket to see Polyphia that night at the Smiling Moose. I saw them last year when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance and my heart immediately opened for them. I was never a big fan of prog, but I guess people change. People usually tell me I’m way off base when I make musical comparisons, but maybe my mind is just DIFFERENT ok? So if you asked me, I would tell you that Polyphia reminds me of the grandchildren of Chuck Mangione and Eric Johnson. Do with that what you will.

I’m still picky with this genre though. For instance, we saw Chon—another instrumental band in the same vein and they are actually taking Polyphia on tour with them next year—and while they were audibly pleasant, I was kind of bored.

Polyphia, however, did not bore me when I saw them last year.

Henry likes neither Chon not Polyphia, so this was another solo show for your girl ERK.

When I got to the Smiling Moose after work that night, there were strange vibes from the get-go. I wasn’t drinking that night because I really don’t want to rely on alcohol to help me get past my social anxiety, so that made it even worse because instead of killing time at the bar, I went right on upstairs where Save Us From the Archon were setting up and several small clusters of people were hanging out. Everyone always stops and stares at the girl who walks in alone.

Every time.

And it will never stop being incredibly uncomfortable for me. But…it’s either deal with it or miss a lot of great bands.

It got easier once more people arrived. Like this super tall guy who definitely commanded everyone’s attention so that I could go back to being a wallflower.

I thought he was going to stand in front of me the whole time, but was pleasantly surprised that he had enough concert couth to reposition himself in this one wall pocket near the side of the stage. Hats off to you, guy.

Once SUFTA started playing, my nerves were effectively shushed. This was my third time seeing them, and since they’re a local band, they typically inspire a lot of enthusiasm from the audience. I was really into it until halfway through when these two motherfuckers arrived and stood right in front of me. Look, I get it — these things are bound to happen, but they stood so close in front of me that my breath was making the fuzz sway on the back on the one guy’s peacoat.

And there were plenty of other open areas they could have stood.

AND THEN THEY TALKED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING.

They moved all the way up to the front after SUFTA. They were apparently friends with them and probably thought they were so badass coming to a show straight from their accounting jobs. Fuck those guys.

Whatever, SUFTA was insane as always and made my brain move around like a Rubik’s cube so I can’t be too mad.

In between sets, more people showed up and the front of the stage began to get more crowded. I watched as two docile, unassuming types took stage and got behind their respective drums and guitar.

“Hi guys,” said the guitarist in a fumbly kind of tone. “Our singer couldn’t make it tonight so um, we’re just going to an instrumental set for you.”

To myself, I’m thinking that this makes sense, given SUFTA and Polyphia are both instrumental. So the two guys start playing and it’s admittedly pretty heavy. I mean, my face wasn’t being melted off, but it was definitely more metal than the other bands.

Things were progressing nicely, people were moving around a bit, and then the breakdowns started.

This “oh shit” feeling come over me as the air in the room became pregnant with palpable doom. Amid the rustling in the crowd, I watched as a guy at the front of the stage turned around and charged right at me. “Fuck,” I sighed, bracing myself. But right before impact, he switched directions as though ricocheting off something invisible, and slammed into some guy who was big enough to absorb it without breaking a bone. And thus, the hardcore dancing started.

Moshing doesn’t bother me, but hardcore dancing is fucking obnoxious and dangerous. The Smiling Moose is extremely small, capacity is maybe 150? I’m no capacity expert, so that’s probably way off, but it is approximately the size of my downstairs. The room is as wide as the stage, which isn’t very wide at all. I always stand in the same spot at these shows — right near the front and against a wall. There was a line of us against this wall with no body-buffer on the other side of us. It was the wall, us, and then a bit of an empty space which is where all of the violent dance-spasms were performed.

This is all to say that I had nowhere to go and no one to shield me from the flailing limbs and flying fists.

“I DON’T WANT TO DIE LIKE THIS!” I cried to myself, determined not to let them smell my fear. For the most part, these bros were doing an OK job of not body-slamming me, but there were quite a few sweaty backs I had to forcefully push back into the crowd, a couple of which knocked me off balance but  my friend Wall caught me every time. The kid behind me, bless his heart, protectively placed his hands on my arm a few time, like that was going to do anything to help. I probably would have been better off if Chooch had been behind me!

This went on in spurts. I watched as one of them grabbed the small, young guy in front of me and tossed him onto the floor and that poor guy had a very strong “ANTI-BRUTALITY” aura about him so I felt pretty bad for him. No actual fights broke out at least, even though there were some tense moments when I wasn’t sure. But it would always end with jovial back-slaps and smiles and I just don’t get it, guys.

To each their own, but trying to not break a bone is not my idea of enjoying myself at a show.

For the last song, they called up “Dave” who was going to “help out” on vocals for the set-closer. Dave hadn’t even grabbed the mic yet and I was already gulping. If I had done my due diligence, I would have known that this was a local hardcore metal band called Delusions of Grandeur and I would have known to get in the back, maybe even all the way back to the bathroom, in a stall, crouched down with my head covered.

As soon as Dave emitted his first caterwaul, the meatheads got all riled up again and my “protector” declared that he was about to go fullblown windmill on this one.

And so he did.

And I had nowhere to go.

So I stood my ground, dodging fists and shoving bodies off of me, and then I got punched pretty hard in the arm and thought, “DO NOT CRY! DO NOT CRY! DON’T YOU DARE CRY!” So then I turned my fear into anger and stood my ground, prepared to throw down (I HAVE A TEMPER AND HIDDEN MUSCLES, OK?) while thinking, “I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS!” just as some bald-headed aging hardcore kid came rushing toward the stage from the back and added his own brand of nosebleed-waiting-to-happen dance moved. And this guy was easily Henry’s age.

But I did it! I endured their set without getting slaughtered and no one pulled my hair, which probably actually would have made me cry.

I hate having my hair pulled.

Just don’t touch my hair ever.

I briefly exchanged words with the drummer afterward as he was trying to push all of their gear into one of the wall pockets and I just couldn’t get over how this fucking nerdy little guy was in a band that incited such terror and aggression.

And then, for whatever reason, Polyphia ended up playing next, swapping spots with the fourth band in the line up and I had no problem with this, because my night was essentially done after being pummeled by flying flesh bags.

But Polyphia’s set was peaceful, beautiful, and worth the danger. I was glad that I fought to keep my spot because they are majestic to watch.

This guy especially:

I can’t remember the last time I saw such a perfect human being in person, but his face literally took my breath my away and I AM NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL. He was like some kind of angel and I had to keep rolling my tongue back into my mouth.

Peril aside, I left there loving Polyphia even more. There set was really short, adding to the weird vibes theme of the night. Everything about this night was off! But there was peace for Polyphia’s set and my adrenaline had finally reached A Normal Day levels by the time I left The Smiling Moose. And by “left,” I mean “pushed people out of my way, tried not to fall down the steps, and then burst through the door to reach that place where I was no longer surrounded by assholes.”

“There goes one of my assailants,” I texted Henry while waiting on a side street for him to pick me up. When I got in the car, smudged mascara and hair askew, Henry and Chooch just rolled their eyes at me. I felt like a new person.

A person who had just been picked up FROM PRISON.

***

The next day, I was telling my work friends about the night’s events which had turned into “I had to push some people off me and I got punched” to “I ALMOST DIED YOU GUYS!” Then we all watched this video together and Amber2 delightfully read out loud a sampling of the lyrics.

“Maybe it’s time for you to hang it up,” Glenn mumbled.

“YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” I cried.

At first, I was like, “I like heavy shit but this just isn’t for me.” But the more I watch this video, the more I actually like it. Just next time, I’ll stand far away. Or outside. Someone can Periscope that shit for me.

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Dec 172015
 

Gayle forgot my birthday. Because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, I basically turned this into a huge scandal at work and made sure everyone* knew that Gayle was horrible and generally the worst.

*(OK, like 4 people. I’m pretty sure most everyone else tunes me out. I know I would if I could.)

Gayle’s self-appointed penance was to gift me with an unbirthday present on the 30th of every month, starting last August.  Wendy and Henry were absolutely appalled that I would let Gayle lavish me with gifts for no reason.

NO REASON?! Oh there’s reason.  Each gift is a ring on the ladder back up to my good graces.

Don’t worry, everyone on Team Erin Is Spoiled – Gayle is only spending a buck or two on each unbirthday gift; but I gotta tell you—she’s been doing a great job. I’ve loved all of my unbirthday gifts, but there has been one so far that really caused a commotion at work due to the fact that it’s CREEPY AND JARRING AS FUCK:

Gayle found this doll at a flea market and promptly deaded it up. A lot of my co-workers were alarmed by this, but I knew that it was going to get along just fine in my house. Because before I even brought it home, I knew that it was going to help me harass the fuck out of my kid.

I mean, it’s not that Chooch is a crybaby, per se, but does get scared pretty easily. So that night, I waited for Chooch to fall asleep and then I placed Doll on his pillow so that when he woke up, GOOD MORNING HERE’S DOLL, STRAIGHT OUTTA THE COAL MINE.

He wasn’t pleased with me at all, and promptly delivered Doll back to my room. And that’s how the game started. We just keep hiding it in each others’ room, and sometimes Henry even gets involved and hides Doll in places I can’t reach, and then Chooch gets all angry and starts screaming me when he wakes up and sees Doll staring down at him from the corner of his ceiling and I’m just like, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS THINK IT’S ME!? DADDY DOES SHIT TOO” and then Chooch just scoffs and says, “Yeah, like Daddy knows how to have fun.”

I hid Doll halfway under his bed one day when he was downstairs and then posted this picture on Chooch’s Instagram:

I love my BaByDoLl!!!!

A photo posted by Riley (@butt_jam) on

He was SO ANGRY. Fuck, it feels good to be a parent sometimes.

One night last week, Chooch found Doll in his room but left her on his dresser. Before he had a chance to hide her in my room, I snatched her and stuffed her inside his backpack. Later that night, he went upstairs and noticed that Doll was gone. First, he was pissed because it was his turn to hide Doll, but then that was quickly replaced with Fear when he couldn’t find Doll as quickly as he had previously.

We were sitting together on the couch that night; he was making me watch Christmas with the Cranks on Netflix and it was starting to get pretty late. As in: Bedtime late. Every couple of minutes, he would say, “No seriously, tell me where you put Doll.” And I would just ignore him because I was too busy CRYING because that idiotic movie had some supposedly “feel good” moments and I kept yelling, “THIS IS WHY I HATE XMAS MOVIES, IDIOT!”

So then because I was crying, Chooch started to cry. That’s how we are, we feed off each others’ tears. I’m almost positive that he was faking it at first. He is so fucking good at fake-crying and I have no idea where he gets that because it’s certainly not from his mom whose family always told her that she should get a role on Days of Our Lives because she could turn on the tears with all the best sociopaths. So I’m crying because of Christmas movies, and he’s crying for fun, but then suddenly he’s CLUTCHING MY ARM and earnestly begging me to tell him where Doll is. There was panic in his eyes. I momentarily felt sorry for him and considered telling him, but no. This was fun.

A little psychological torture never hurt anyone.

(That’s probably inaccurate.)

I guess it was because it was almost time for him to go to bed and the thought that Doll was out there somewhere was seriously making him crack.

He stormed off up the steps and I could hear him slamming drawers and gurgling on his tears. And then, as he came tearing back down the steps, I jumped out and scared him. Internet, if there had been a sharp object within arms reach of him, I probably wouldn’t be typing this right now, as I lay in a hole, surrounded by that fresh new-coffin scent.

Which, you know, I wouldn’t able to smell on account of BEING DEAD.

My original end-game for Doll In Backpack was that he would get to school and find her when he was putting shit in his locker, and then he would even more shocked and startled because school would be the last place he’s expect Doll to pop up. But after watching him have what appeared to be some type of emotional breakdown, I was afraid that this would totally push him over the edge and then I would be getting a phone call from the school and CPS.

And I really loathe phone calls.

So instead,  I waited until morning and coaxed him into opening his backpack before he left the house. He was looking for his pencil case anyway, and I kept saying, “HMMM MAYBE CHECK YOUR BACKPACK” and he was like, “No, I checked  yesterday and it wasn’t there.”

“Well, check again. I think Daddy put the pencil case in there,” I said in the strained tone of a person hiding a thing.

So Chooch unzipped one of the front pouches.

“No. Like, look in the main part,” I stressed again.

“I know it’s not in there because I already checked last night!” he said stubbornly and I was about to just rip the fucking thing open myself, but then he finally opened it himself and was SO FUCKING PISSED when his fingers closed around Doll’s burnt locks. I actually have a video of his discovery but god forbid I post it here since he SWEARS and my child is supposed to be PERFECT since I’m a mom who blogs.

Doll has been laying low for the last week because I have several plans for her on the horizon, and you know what fortune cookies and people who are into idioms say: Out of sight, out of mind.

This is more fun than when he was three and I had an app that would put ghosts in pictures, so he was convinced that a little Victorian ghost girl was haunting him because he just happened to be IN EVERY PICTURE I took of him, and only him.

Thank you, Gayle! This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

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Nov 302015
 

This morning on the way to the trolley, I was waiting to cross the street. An older woman sidled up next to me, and I knew, I just knew, that she was going to talk.

She had “Generation Small Talk” written all over her.

“One day, we’re not wearing coats; the next day, we are!” she mused.

I yep’d in agreement.

“Thanksgiving was so warm!”

“It was nice,” I agreed again, my fingers nervously dancing with pennies and lint inside my coat pockets.

“I wouldn’t mind if it was like this all the time,” she continued, and I nodded. “Well, maybe a little warmer.”

“Yep.” WHERE IS THAT PIANO FROM THE SKY WHEN I NEED IT.

“There’s not much traffic this morning,” she pointed out after a whopping three seconds of blessed silence.

“Nope.”

“I bet some of the schools are closed today because of huntin’,” she answered her own unspoken question.

“Yep,” I mumbled, and then panicked because did Chooch not have school today?! (He did, don’t worry!)

Then the walk sign came on and I more or less sprinted to the other side while calling out, “Have a nice day!” over my shoulder. Hey, I said  I don’t like small talk, not MANNERS.

I really need to start memorizing passages from Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible so I can have something other than “Yeps” and “I know, right”s to blurt out in lethargic slurs.

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Nov 202015
 

“I think I need therapy,” I said in lieu of normal morning salutations.

“Well…yeah,” Glenn said, implying that this was the most obvious statement.

“No seriously, I’m so paranoid anymore that I feel like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Take this morning on the trolley, for instance…” and then I told him the story of the guy in front of me, this white thug-looking dude with a neck tattoo and all dressed up in a gray sweatsuit, who had two metal stick things that I went back and forth between thinking was either a part of a gun or a fishing rod. One of the sticks had rings on it, so who knows.

But he was doing stuff with them, prepping them, I don’t know. And at one point he was doing something with … Thread? String?

I’ve been like this, moderately-so, for probably the last 10 years, but lately the DANGER WILL ROBINSON portion of my brain seems to be usurping whatever dying area of rationality is left up in that dusty cavern and I’m controlled by wild flights of fancy and panic-inducing paranoia. My senses are particularly heightened while I’m downtown, and at least once a week I’m convinced that the person walking beside me has a bomb detonator in his hand, or the man with the casual stride behind me is a serial killer, or the tired man on the trolley is going to stab me and ruin my favorite sweater. (OK, that last one was a valid concern, you have to admit!)

This happens at home too. Let’s never forget the time I freaked out when an old man was knocking on my door because I thought he was a zombie.

There have been times I’ve come back to work from my lunch break early because things just didn’t feel right out there, like two days ago when I was on the phone with Henry and started to walk past this one building but a well-dressed man, standing alone near the entrance, sternly said  to me, “Ma’am, you can’t walk over here” and sent me packing to the other side of the street. I described the scene to Henry, who remained calm and unflappable.

“Maybe he just doesn’t like you,” Henry reasoned, but he did the same thing to the man in front of me!

Once I crossed the street, I pretty much ran as fast as I could because I was convinced that there was A Situation unfolding inside the building and that the man who yelled at me was SECRET SERVICE. He was dressed like he could have been, OK!? And he was staring up at the building like he was waiting for something to happen, and that’s when I noticed that one of the windows WAS OPEN!? I was actually on my way to the Point when this happened, and after that, I changed my mind because if something was going down in this building, I didn’t want to be trapped with the RIVER on three sides of me.

IMG_8998

I went back to work, out of breath, and relayed my latest precarious situation to Todd and Glenn, who each answered with various versions of “You make this shit up.” And after I told them what building it was, I admitted that I only knew that because I sent Henry a picture of it so he could tell me.

“That’s the only believable part of the story,” Glenn said in his Yelp review of the most recent visit to Erin’s Delusion Theater.

Anyway, back to yesterday.

I texted Henry about the morning’s scene and he was like, “OK?” And then “You watch too much Homeland.” I wasn’t satisfied with his response, so I called him later that day on my break so that I could try to better paint the picture for him.

“COULD THAT HAVE BEEN A FISHING ROD MAYBE?!” I asked him, near-hysterics, praying that he would say yes and that I hadn’t been sitting in such close proximity to military-grade weaponry. “THE ONE METAL STICK THING HAD HOOP-THINGS ON IT!” It looked like it could have been that thing that stick down the barrel of shotguns. WHATEVER THAT THING IS. He had two of them!!

Henry considered this. “I guess it’s possible….” he said with little conviction, and then started asking me questions, like what color it was, and if it could have been fiberglass, etc.

“I DON’T KNOW! I’VE ONLY EVER SEEN CARTOON FISHING RODS!” I cried, and then Henry was pretty much done with the conversation by then, plus I was standing near all of the smokers and they were starting to notice my conversation at this point, so I figured it was time to say goodbye.

The most alarming part to me is that no one else on the trolley seemed to care that this guy looked shady as fuck and was taking up TWO SEATS with his backpack and SUSPICIOUS RODS. Never trust a motherfucker who needs TWO SEATS on public transportation.

I went back to work and tried to resurrect this topic because, like I said, I think I need therapy and spreading my conspiracy theories around the department is the closest thing I’ve got to that right now.

“Well, I haven’t heard anything about a mass fishing rod murder, so you’re probably safe,” Glenn sighed, and it was clear that he was done talking about it, too.

***

This blog post is brought to you by Google searches of “fishing rods” and “metal things that stick inside guns.”

ETA: My friend Regina has informed me that I was correct to assume that dangerous things were happening at that building because WINDOWS ARE FALLING OUT. She assured me that I wasn’t just being delusional. I told Todd and he was like, “Wow! I was really sure that you were just over-dramatizing the situation, but it actually is dangerous!”

SEE!?

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Oct 302015
 

I’m sure if you have children, you share my pain and frustration when it comes to Halloween. I’m thankful that Chooch goes to a school that at least acknowledges that Halloween exists, but then they go and take all the fun out of it because there are so many rules and restrictions when it comes to what they’re allowed to wear and bring in for snacks. 

Anyway, Chooch’s main costume for trick or treating breaks the “NO WEAPONS” rule because it involves half a homemade arrow god forbid. So at the last minute, I decided that we might as well make use of his pink hair and build a cheap l, bare bones costume around it because  the school’s sad excuse for a Halloween party is not worth much more effort than this. 

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Stupid cotton candy. 

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Henry came home from work early enough to walk to the school and watch the parade with me, so he was there to witness the moment when Chooch broke my HEART by waking out with the cotton all unfluffed AND NO SIGN. 

“He looks like a half-assed clown going to a birthday party! This is STUPID. I HATE TODAY,” I cried to Henry who gave me his canned response of “Take it easy.”

And that little jerk knew he fucked up because he gave me that shit-eating grin/shrug combo and I mouthed “YOU ARE DEAD TO ME” at which point he turned back to his dumb friends and giggled his way on down the parade route while my feelings hung out to dry on a clothesline fashioned from my fragile ego. 

I stormed off with Henry casually following me like this wasn’t the worst thing in the world and he wasn’t bothered by it AT ALL. 

I’ll spare you the details, but there was also a complete tantrum thrown in the middle of an alley on the way to Cannon Coffee and then I was like IM JUST GOING HOME and got even more mad when Henry didn’t try to stop me but then we ended up going to Cannon Coffee anyway because I knew there was no coffee at home and I NEEDED IT. 

I was mostly ok after that. Although Henry just now begged me to please try to calm down for the rest of the day because apparently I’m being a bitch.

I hate Halloween. 

J/K! I still love Halloween. 

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Jul 102015
 

When Henry suggested going to Rogers flea market last Friday, I felt inexplicably hyped about it and answered with an emphatic FUCK TO THE YES. Subconsciously, I feel like I love flea markets and I’ll tell you why: because of the few (very few) instances where I have gone to a flea market and found something incredible. But the reality is that this happens fairly infrequently, so then I just get bored and frustrated because I’m not the kind of person who can stand around and patiently sift through people’s unwanted shit.

I know, you’re really shocked that I have no patience.

So  this particular flea market is about 45-60 minutes away in Ohio and it’s really large. Like, everyone I know who is into flea marketing loves this place. I have been there once before, in 2009, but for some reason, I barely remember anything about it other than buying an old Coke crate, which Henry and I fought about because he didn’t want to have to carry it around with him all day.

We made a pit stop to a mall that was on the way because Henry needed to buy new shoes and then while we were there, we stopped at Hot Topic and Chooch actually got mad and threw a fit because we bought him stuff and he didn’t want anything, which translates into: we bought him stuff but not the stuff he actually wanted.

GOD WHERE DOES HE GET THIS!?

So that was fun. The good thing about Chooch though is that he can be easily brought back around with some mild cajoling and teasing. But just when we thought the day was going to be a fun family affair after all, we hit traffic about 5 miles out from the flea market.

Traffic on a rural road.

Gridlocked traffic on a rural road WITH NO CELL SERVICE.

We honestly just sat there on this shitty road for nearly 2 hours, outside of houses that looked like Leatherface was going to bolt through the front doors at any given moment (see below). (OK fine, that would probably be pretty exciting, but still—sitting in an unmoving car! Just so many ughs to be had!)

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I couldn’t text (and I was desperately trying to text Monica a Days of Our Lives ISA reference), I couldn’t play Spotify from my phone, XM service cut out, and when Henry turned on the regular radio, THE FIRST SONG THAT PLAYED WAS NICKELBACK.

I started to fucking cry.

Henry was like, “Oh my god, seriously?” and changed the station like a normal, functioning adult.

The most exciting part was when a young Amish girl bicycled past us along the side of the road. Everyone in traffic was like “yay.” And then a young couple had the right idea by walking to the flea market (I know this because we saw them later on, at the flea market) and the boy part of the couple said, “Nice hair!” to Chooch as they strode past our static car. The boy was pretty scene, so Chooch was like, “I’ll take it.”

It was after 2 by the time we got to the fucking place, which is so large that it requires PARKING ATTENDANTS, most of whom were wearing overalls and/or plaid shirts. Once we parked, Henry was mad because I told him he had double-parked so then he had to start the car, oh noes, and fix his fucked-up parking job. Then he was mad again because Chooch and I had to put on sunscreen when we supposedly “could have done that while we were sitting in traffic for two hours.” Hello, I’m not getting that shit in my car!

Let me summarize this flea market up for you real good and nice: it is just like putting one hundred of any ordinary flea markets next to each other in one giant lot, and adding food vendors that you’d see at not the really good county fairs, but the small ones that have uninspected carnival rides.

Here is a list of all of the things that Henry did (or didn’t do) that ruined my whole entire day:

  • rent a flatbed truck in case we found all of the antique wheelchairs to add to my collection.
  • when I said, “Aw this is cute” in response to a cat purse I picked up from a table, his reaction was not to fling a wad of bills at the seller.
    • Instead, he nodded and kept walking.
    • I CLEARLY WANTED THAT PURSE.
  • Henry bought us ice cream and the maple-flavored soft serve I got didn’t taste very maple-y.
    • Henry then proceeded to buy a bottle of water for himself but did not ask me if I wanted water, as well.
      • Yes, I wanted water.
  • I also wanted coffee but Henry didn’t seem like he was in a hurry to procure this for me. This added another Henry-log to the Hate Fire.
  • Chooch had to go to the bathroom and Henry was too busy standing in line for Chooch’s crappy food, so I had to help him find a bathroom all by myself!!!!!
  • THERE WERE CONFEDERATE FLAGS AND STUPID PEOPLE EVERYWHERE AND THIS ALSO WAS HENRY’S FAULT.
  • Some lady offered Henry a chair at a table that Chooch was eating his food at, BUT NOT ME. BECAUSE PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT HENRY.

Needless to say, we left as soon as Chooch finished his food. It was a burger or a hot dog, who the fuck knows. We were there for probably a grand total of 45 minutes, and that’s being generous with my flimsy time estimations. This explains why I can’t remember much about the last time we came here: my rage blackouts wiped out my memory.

As soon as we started to pull out of the lot, I got all bi-polar-y and demanded that Henry re-park the car because I didn’t want to sit in the car again after being in the car for so long and he was just like, “Sincerely go and fuck yourself” and I was like “CHOOCH I WILL FIND YOU A NEW DADDY, JUST YOU WAIT” and Chooch was like, “Can I have a new mom, also?” and it was just REAL FUN TIMES in my car that’s not Henry’s car but I let him drive it.

As soon as we got back on that awful rural road, THERE WAS NO TRAFFIC going toward the flea market. None. Zip. Zilch. (I have never used the word “zilch” before, I don’t think.)

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Henry broke the silence a few minutes into our vitriolic return trip by spitting, “Do you still want water?” to which I replied, “Yeah, I wanted water an hour ago when you only bought it for yourself.” He really liked this answer, as evidenced by the way he yanked the steering wheel at the last minute and squealed into the parking lot of Gorby’s gas station.

I refused to go in with him, and when he came back out, he threw a bag at me and said, “Here, asshole.” In the bag was some kind of cherry fry pie, some country thing I guess, and I was like, “UGH THANKS!” because I wanted cherry pie the previous week and stupid Eat n Park didn’t have any.

Then Henry and I tried not to smile at each other.

About a mile down the street, Henry nearly didn’t stop when we came upon some antique land mine that I had commented on when we initially drove past it TWO HOURS AGO.

“Oh, I guess we’re not stopping there,” I said in that adorable sneer I use when I’m really trying to remind Henry that I was born spoiled and cannot be changed.

So he did that angry jerk of the steering wheel again, kicking up dust on the broken country asphalt.

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It was called the Company Store and it was full of a LOT of shit. The walkways inside the house were precariously narrow, tunneling through stacks of breakables, and there were just enough people there to make it uncomfortable and awkward. Lots of faux-friendly “excuse me”s and sheepish smiles after accidentally rubbing up on someone while trying to exit a room full of books about Nixon. I kept having to squeeze past the same lady in every room and I just know that after 14th curt smile, she was turning around and mouthing “fucking bitch.” It’s OK.

I was doing it, too.

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Haunted jewels and lipstick.

Henry, conveniently, was always one room ahead of me to avoid my incessant begging and whining. But there was a swag lamp in the back room and I really wanted it so I found that moustacioed tight wad and decided to be assertive this go-around, no mind games, so I said, “I want that fucking swag lamp. You go and find someone who works here, ask how much it is, and then fucking buy it for me or I’ll goddamn kill you.”

I think we were clear on this one.

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So while he set off, with slumped shoulders, to find someone in charge, Chooch and I roamed the property and managed to not fall onto any rusty spikes or have any run-ins with the box car children living on that parked train down on the nearby railroad tracks.

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Still mad that we bought him a cat shirt and Manic Panic at Hot Topic.

THEN SUDDENLY, around the side of the house, we saw a flash of fur, but if Chooch was writing this post, he would be sure to stress the fact that he saw it first.

“IT’S A CAT!” Chooch cried in ecstasy, and fell to his knees to peer into the hole beneath the house into which the cat disappeared.

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I was in no hurry to go back inside that hoarder’s paradise, so I sat down in the grass and joined Chooch in calling the cat. Chooch will tell you that he is the one who lured the cat out from beneath the house, but I am really quiet masterful at saying “here kitty kitty kitty” really fast, just the way they like it.

(All of my cats fell for that, except for Marcy. She would glare at me so hard.)

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Chooch is terrible at naming things and so he named the cat Oreo. Henry found us a few minutes later and did that thing where he makes an exasperated face and throws his arms up in the air. But then he told me that he found someone and that it was $30 and I was like, “So why isn’t it in your hands right now?”

Henry stormed off to re-find the lady who worked there (there was another junk-filled house down the street and the three older people running the joint primarily loafed (shout out to my dad) in that one, probably because it was slightly less disgusting.

I left Chooch with Oreo (ugh) and got to witness one of the old ladies nearly breaking every hanging lamp in the backroom and administering concussions to the handful of people that were milling about as she struggled to carry a ladder over to where Henry was waiting beneath my swag lamp. (I had a stupid Instavid of this scene, but my phone ate it.) Then she knocked $5 off the cost of the lamp since Henry climbed the ladder and removed it from the ceiling himself.

As we slowly made our way out of the house, Henry walked past some older woman who was coming out of a side room.

“Wow, whatcha got there?” she asked him.  He was like, “A lamp…?”

As Henry walked away, her husband popped out of another room right in front of me, and the lady said to him, “I thought that was you and I was thinking, ‘What the hell is he doing with that lamp?'” and then she laughed in relief.

Bitch, more swag for me then!

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Oreo is basically tamed now.

Before leaving, we stopped in the other house to use the bathroom, and Henry was already prepared to buy Chooch a pillow with cats all over it, because we knew once he saw it, he was going to ask for it.

And he did.

While Henry was paying the man, I asked him what the cat’s name was.

“What cat?” he asked, puzzled.

“I don’t know, there’s a black and white cat out there,” I shrugged.

“I didn’t know we had a cat out there, but I’ll sell him to ya!” he laughed.

Chooch’s face lit up and just as he was about to say, “CAN WE!?” Henry and I simultaneously said no and pushed him out the door.

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By the time we went to Pit Stop for dinner, Henry was mad at us again. WE WERE BEING FUCKING ANGELS THOUGH.

My Yelp nemesis gave this place 5 stars and I was hoping for a reason to be contrary, but my grilled cheese actually came on good, thick bread (nothing worse than when a restaurant puts that shit on basic Wonder Bread and charges $6) and the fries were The Kinds That I Like a/k/a The Good Kinds. (14 years with me and Henry still can’t figure out my criteria.) Then Henry said something about going somewhere, and I just love to harass Henry for  the way he says “going” so then Chooch and I sat there yelling “GOYNG! GOYNG!” because that’s how Henry says it.

Henry pretty much shut down after that.

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Some old man at another table was losing his shit over that whole “Adding peas to guacamole” Internet fiasco that has thankfully seemed to have died down.

“YA JUST DON’T PUT PEAS IN IT!” he barked.

I’m going to write my own recipe that calls for adding cabbage to it.

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We went and looked at the gross river afterward. Somewhere along the way, Chooch put on the cat shirt that he said he liked but then got mad when we bought it.

Not mad enough to not wear it, though.

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After we returned home, I allowed Henry to rest for an hour and then we went to Home Depot where I bought more succulents.

NINE MORE.

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

The tl;dr version of this post is:

Chooch and I are spoiled and Henry can’t read minds.

Chooch’s version is:

So boring and long.
[P.S. I don’t have a photo of the swag lamp yet because Henry had to take it apart to clean it; it apparently came from a house where numerous people smoked several packs of Pall Malls a day.]

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May 312015
 

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The local Memorial Day parade goes right past my house every year. It’s not anything major with cool floats and lip-synching pseudo pop stars, but it still brings us out of the house every year. Henry enjoys it because THE SERVICE, Chooch likes it for the candy, and I relish it for the pure mockery factor. Actually, I kind of regret not live-blogging it, but in all honesty, nothing fantastic really happened, so here are the highlights, if that’s what you want to call them:

  • Chooch got to see his current girlfriend Cassie do a handspring-type thing when she strolled past with her dance troupe.
  • I refused to wave back to any of the cops who crept past in their bullymobiles and Henry was SO MAD at me for that, but I DON’T KNOW WHICH ONES ARE THE GOOD ONES, OK?
    • I waved to the firemen though. They can stay.
  • One of the dads from Chooch’s old school was canvassing the area, passing out Jesus literature probably. He stopped and handed his leaflet to the neighbors, but when he got to the end of our sidewalk, there was a brief flicker of recognition, and he kept walking. “Nope. Nope nope nope.”
    • I actually had to talk to him a few days later at Chooch’s spring concert because ironically, his kids go to Chooch’s current school now too (OMG PUBLIC SCHOOL) and Chooch and his kid are kind of friends I guess, I don’t know. I was really proud of myself for being civil to him and brought it up later to Henry. Like, “Didn’t you see me being nice to that guy? Will you buy me something?” Because every nice thing I do should be rewarded.
  • THE SHRINERS! I always think of one of my old work friends from the dreaded meat factory, because years and years ago he was downtown for one of the parades and his daughter, who was sitting on the curb, had her LEG RAN OVER BY ONE OF THE SHRINERS! I brought that up on Monday, as they did wheelies* in front of our house and Henry pointed out that she probably got pretty well taken care of since the Shriners have their own hospital, so then I started imagining them carting her off in the back of a minikin ambulance to a backyard playhouse version of a hospital.
    • *I screamed YESSSS!!! in a manly roar for one of the wheelies and Henry gave me that “I hate when you do that” look.

  • My favorite part, other than “the end,” was when a group of kids came past with some church and Henry was like, “Look, it’s the Troubled Youth of Brookline” and one of them was like a half-scene kid so I was like, “THESE ARE MY PEOPLE.” They looked sullen and angsty and one of them straight whaled a handful of candy straight into the faces of the adults sitting on the sidewalk, and that actually made Henry laugh and HENRY DOESN’T LAUGH AT PARADES THAT HONOR THIS COUNTRY, FOLKS. So it was a big deal.

  • My work friend Elaina was in the parade! She was walking with her niece’s dance school, and I think that’s actually the same group that Chooch’s g-friend was with. So that was the first time in the history of my parade-spectating that I gave someone a genuine wave in lieu of my typical sarcastic hand swipes!
  • We missed the parade last year because we were in Allentown for that stupid Jonny Craig/Slaves show. If we weren’t there, DID IT STILL HAPPEN!?
  • This was the first year since moving to Brookline in 1999 that there were no cats in my house tripping over themselves on their way to cower in the basement. They HATED the parade. My first Memorial Day in this place, I had no fucking idea what was going on other than HOLY SHIT THE WORLD IS ENDING TAKE COVER!
  • FUN FACT: I missed the parade in 2012 because I had to WORK, and Henry texted me to say that some dumb bitch from one of the high school bands threw her empty water bottle in our yard and you best believe I went straight to that high school’s website and emailed the band director and the principal because Brookline is filthy enough without some neighboring town band dork tossing her trash in it!
  • All of the neighbor kids were being pouty brats, Chooch included. People are literally chucking candy at you, what is there not to like about that!?
    • Speaking of the neighbors, they all had chairs set up on the sidewalk, but Henry and I were like, “That’s OK. We’re good back here on the porch.”
  • You might recognize that telephone pole in the pictures from when that DRUNK GUY PASSED OUT AND WE HAD TO CALL 9/11! WE SAVED A LIFE, YOU GUYS.
    • Second FUN FACT of this post: This is actually a new telephone pole because two years ago, some broad crashed into when we were at Kennywood and Hot Naybor Chris texted Henry to tell him  not to panic, but our yard was covered in Caution tape. It took them (“them”) nearly a full year to finally replace the jerry-rigged temporary pole with a new one. We were afraid to walk past the temporary one!

Then we went to Living Treasures with Janna! I will be back later with that totally exciting write-up.

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May 252015
 

I had a horrible day while we were going to Sarris Candy’s.
We were having a normal day until mommy was hungry and wanted to go somewhere so she asked Chris and Monica. Monica said Serena’s so she started this horrible day. First of all daddy and mommy were fighting about that he didn’t want to go to Serena’s even though he did and mommy said that I don’t even like Mexican food even though I said it was alright. This is what its like being in the backseat while they fight: It is dreadful, unhappy, ugly, not funny, annoying, stupid, and not surprising.

So we went back and forth from home to Canonsburg and then Serena’s (It was closed) then back to Sarris and I fell asleep so I don’t know what else happened. When I woke up we were at Mad Mex (By our house. We drove 90mins to somewhere to eat that’s 10mins away.). I had a Kiddo Burrito. It was huge!

I didn’t eat it all but I had half. It was freezing in there so I complained that it was freezing. Then at the end I wanted a Sopapilla but I got a Brownie Sundae basically because it was a brownie with ice cream and chocolate fudge. Thanks a lot MONICA! Oh and after that on the way home mommy said she needed to exercise. I said “No you don’t, Mommy.” She thought I was being nice because she wasn’t fat. But the reason why I said that was because she was DRUNK!

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ERIN’S VERSION: This all happened because Henry is insensitive to my needs and made some asinine rule where 90% of non-chain restaurants are closed on Sundays. (Even Yelp was like, “Yeah, good luck with that.”) And then he gets snippy with me when I can’t find addresses fast enough and then accuses me of lying about a diner we passed but IT WAS A DINER AND IT WAS OPEN. He was all, “EVEN IF IT EXISTED, YOU WOULD FIND SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT SO I AM NOT TURNING AROUND.” And then CHOOCH is on some fucked up frat boy feeding schedule where he only wants to eat ramen and bowls of cereal at 10PM so he was in the backseat wailing about why did we even HAVE to go to dinner because he wasn’t hungry and just wanted to go shopping for Skylanders and we’re horrible parents for attempting to put basic nourishment over frivolous video game accessories. So don’t think he didn’t contribute to the verbal slayings! Also, he named this blog post on his own and I think it’s JUST A BIT HYPERBOLIC, but what do I know about that.

The funniest part of this whole thing is that I wasn’t even really hungry. I WAS JUST IN A BAD MOOD LIKE ALL DAY.

IDIOT HENRY’S VERSION: No comment. [He’s still pissed that we ended up not going to Sarris, because “they have the best rum raisin.” Well, I’m sorry but we were all in a sour mood by then and I’m not walking into a magical candy factory under our black, vitriolic cloak like some gang of madcap cartoon villains!]

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