Jul 262014
 

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This is what’s happening right now. I’m locked out of the house with Janna and Chooch because dumb Henry took the house key off the car keychain and conveniently failed to mention this during our last house meeting. (Lol, house meetings, yeah right.)

Chooch used to be able to fit through the window but we just learned that he has outgrown that so basically he’s of no use to me anymore. We tried to get Marcy to bring us the keys but she’s like “Y’all can go fuck yourselves, seriously.” Meanwhile, people were walking past watching what they probably thought that was a poor YouTube remake of the Three Stooges trying to burgle a house.

Now Henry’s sister Kelly is here with her kids Samantha, Brian and Zac so our Lock Out Party is expanding. A group of teenagers drove by and screamed at us because this is Brookline and they are teenagers.

It’s been an hour and Marcy is still sitting at the window laughing at us.

OK we’re back in the house! Henry came home, stinking the stench of manual labor (he was helping out at Castle Blood all day) and wearing a backward-facing camouflage hat like he just climbed out of a West Virginia holler, muttered some lies about me being irresponsible and then unlocked the dumb door for us. But not before taking his good old time getting out of his van and crossing the street.

Now he’s taking a shower, like he’s had some tough day or something. If Henry’s mom was here, she’d be outside building a monument in his honor because he’s such a goddamn hero.

It started pouring down rain about 5 minutes after we got back in the house. CLOSE CALL.

“I can’t believe you don’t care that we were locked out for two hours!” I cried to Henry.

“It was an hour, if that,” Henry calmly corrected.

“It was totally 2 hours,” Janna chimed in because she’s always Team Erin. That’s because she knows Team Erin brings home the win every time.

Anyway. Yeah, the trials and tribulations of being locked out. This happens way too often.

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Jul 252014
 

This was originally posted in 2008 and now it’s back and revised. Because I said so. And also, because I was bored.

“It’s just a little farther, I promise.” My neighbor Christina wears stained clothes and her ratty blond hair hangs in tangled clumps, like twisted tassels sprouting from her scalp. One limp arm swings back, revealing a cigarette clamped between two fingers.

My neighbor Christina is ten years old. I don’t know why I agreed to follow her, but I guess on that spring day in 1998, I didn’t have much else going on. Christina’s mother had a protruding jaw line and once enjoyed a wine cooler that she purchased from me with a handful of pennies and nickels. I told her to just take it, she was embarrassing herself. She only knew her daughter’s whereabouts when there were no soap operas to watch and no crack to smoke. That’s being generous, too.

Behind a row of townhouses in the complex we live in, there is a large field. On the right side of it sits the back of the office. That’s where the mailboxes are. None of this seems worthy of being dragged away from the Game Show Network. (Dude, it’s  late 90s: the advent of digital cable. I don’t think I left my apartment for 6 months.)

I look around. I see trees. I see the apartment manager through her office window. I see a guy kicking a soccer ball on the field.

“What am I looking at?” I impatiently ask Christina, as she summons the boy on the field with one hand. He has red hair. He’s wearing Umbros and a hoodie. He’s running up the small crest to the edge of the parking lot where we’re waiting.

“This is the girl I was telling you about, Chad!” Christina proudly announces. I quickly understand where this is going.

He says he’s seen me around. I say I’ve never seen him once. He says he’s just graduated from Penn State and is living here in a furnished town home. “It’s one of the perks of the job I just got,” he explains.

I tell him I’m eighteen and a telemarketer. I tell him I live in a town home furnished by my mother. “Because I’m spoiled,” I explain. We laugh.

He asks me for my number. I tell him I don’t usually like red heads. But I give him my number. He calls me the next day and invites me over for dinner. I say yes, then feel overwhelmed by guilt.

I call my boss at Olan Mills. Gladys. She doubles as the mother hen of us telemarketers.

“It’s not cheating when your boyfriend is a crazy ass who treats you like crap,” Gladys yells into the phone. Someone takes the phone from her and shouts, “Go have dinner with him!”

No one likes my boyfriend Mike. I don’t like my boyfriend Mike. He leaves a very lasting first impression, like the taste that infiltrates your senses when your tongue accidentally drops down during a cavity fill. That bitter, tangy nightmare that makes your uvula curl up into itself and your eyes water. No one knows Chad yet but he’s got a flag-waving, confetti-sprinkling, horn-honking congregation in his corner. And he doesn’t even know it.

I’m not especially dressed up when I cross the parking lot that night. I’m not especially impressed by his corporate-furnished living space; it looks like remnants from the set of Golden Girls; vaguely comforting except for the fact that I don’t know the guy sitting across from me on a couch printed with giant pink water lilies. I’m not even especially impressed by the pasta with the watery sauce that makes a quiet squirt when he drops a heap of it in front of me, or the obligatory salad that accompanies it.

The conversation must not have been very savory either, over top plates of sub-par spaghetti, because all I remember is that he went to school for architecture. He tells me he sees me getting my mail every day and I guess this is  my cue to bat my lashes and blush because, d’awwww — that boy has been paying me some attention, ya’ll. But I just kind of snort instead. His corporate-supplied dining room table is a plain wooden square with matching chairs. The backs of the chairs are made from that annoying basket-like netting, the stuff that’s so thin and flimsy, like those stupid slats of holy willow the churches give out like candy on Palm Sunday, that any regular person could probably punch their fist through it, the stuff that snags your good sweaters and you keep saying you’re going to get new chairs but you end up getting new sweaters instead.

I’m bored by him but not so much that I’d decline his offer of an after-dinner joint. We sit on the Blanche Deveroux-style couch, boxy and stiff, passing a joint between us. “Can I see your iguana?” he asks breathlessly. My marginal buzz convinces me he said “vagina,” and I can’t stop laughing.

My townhouse is full of cushiony furniture, a blue couch with bright pillows and a dining room table with loudly vibrant vinyl diner-style chairs. I’ve not once sat at that table and ate. My townhouse has fluorescent Slinkies dripping off the ceiling. They glow in the dark. My townhouse would make his Golden Girls cower and shade their eyes. I lead him up to the bedroom of my townhouse, a Crayola box regurgitated by Sid and Marty Kroft.

Templeton, my choleric iguana, looks irritable in his tank. “He doesn’t do much,” I say as we sit on the edge of my bed and watch. My bed is made with cherry-hued jersey sheets. I can remember that, but not Chad’s last name. The only thing I remember about Chad is the red hair and phony toothpaste commercial smile.

Chad asks if I want a massage. I say no, but he still tries kneading me between the shoulder blades with his knuckles.

I shrug him off.

Chad asks if he can kiss me. I say no, I think he should leave.

So he leaves and I contently spend the rest of the night watching sitcoms.

With only a parking lot separating us, Chad and I have a few inevitable run-ins. We’re polite. Sometimes we nod to each other from afar and then walk in opposite directions. Eventually, we just never see each other again.

I think about that night sometimes, and many other one-sided encounters, late-night hitchhiker pick-ups, placing personal ads “just for kicks“, and I feel grateful that I’m still alive. Because, god forbid you say no.

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Jul 172014
 

One of the things I picked up from my Pappap was a love for coffee. Or, if we’re being honest, an addiction to it. I spent so much time going to restaurants with him and watching him drink cup after cup of what looked like steaming tar, that I eventually forced myself to like it at a young age just so I could be more like him. And it’s a good thing too, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to spend 75% of my high school years sitting in a booth at Denny’s, nursing a bottomless cup until 3am. But I never turned into a coffee snob. Sure, not all coffee tastes great to me, but I’ll probably still drink it. Out of a boot if I have to. BECAUSE I NEED IT. From a gas station? I don’t give a fuck. Made in a Red Roof Inn hotel room? Bring it. Sitting in a cup for so long it needs microwaved for the 5th time? Waste not, want not, or whatever the fuck.

I just have a standard Keurig at home. It gets the job done. I don’t really prefer one brand of K-cups over another (although it gets tricky with some of the flavored coffee; not a fan of mocha), but whenever I get coffee at Starbucks or any other coffee house, it’s almost always iced coffee. And since my stomach wasn’t feeling too proper yesterday morning, I kept trying to get Henry to go out and get me iced coffee because he had the day off (post-Warped Tour recuperation), which basically means he was home to do my bidding. Henry was being incredibly resistent and kept saying things like, “You can just make iced coffee at home!” to which I would scream, “NO I CAN’T BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW HOW.”

I ended up drinking a cup of regular coffee because suddenly Henry has a backbone and I didn’t puke like I thought I was going to. BUT STILL.

Last night, Henry was doing stuff in the kitchen and I was like, “What is he doing? I didn’t tell him to do anything, so he must be doing something that’s not for me.” I mean, how dare he, right? Turns out, he had bought a bag of regular, non-K-cup coffee and was doing that cold press thingie so that I could have iced coffee at home! I wonder if he learned that from A Beautiful Mess.

He was trying to explain to me what to do, but I lost interest pretty quickly. Informational words. Gross.

This morning, I was really excited to have iced coffee before work! I went into the kitchen and spotted a pitcher-thing full of murky coffee-esque substance, so I dumped some into a glass. I vaguely recalled Henry saying to just use a little bit and then fill the rest of the glass with milk, but the stuff came out like quick-moving sludge and filled the glass nearly 3/4 of the way. Something about it seemed off, but I smelled it and it was definitely coffee and not like, I don’t know, mulch.

I topped it off with some almond milk and sweetner and did my best to stir it around the ice cubes, but it was real thick and the clumps just wouldn’t go away. I ended up having to drink it with a straw, but even then so many coffee grounds were getting through that I was actually chewing on them like goddamn java-flavored bubblegum.

Um, this just didn’t seem right to me, so I texted Henry to tell him that he’s a fuck up and I hate him.

“I told you last night that it was steeping and it won’t be ready until I strain it,” he replied.

“Oh. I missed that part,” I said. Maybe if he would make his know-it-all soliloquys more interesting, I would pay attention!

By then, I didn’t have time to make a cup of regular, non-gritty coffee, so I just kept drinking my fucked up iced coffee. I had to floss the grounds out of my teeth before I left for work, which actually probably took as long as brewing a real cup of coffee would have. HINDSIGHT.

There was no real point to this, other than my stomach hurts now and the jitters are eating me from the inside out. I KIND OF WANT TO DRINK/EAT SOME MORE.

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May 212014
 

I’m a stickler for being on time. I think I get it from my dad. No, not because he was some wonderful role model in punctuality, but exactly the opposite. He was always late to everything (probably still is) and I was so tired of walking into darkened movie theaters, fumbling for seats while everyone else was already enjoying the movie that had already started, that I vowed to never live that way as an adult.

I have stayed true to that vow too, almost to OCD-levels of clock-watching.

I leave the house every day at exactly 12:30. The trolley I take typically arrives around 12:46, and it takes me a little less than 10 minutes to walk to the trolley stop. I have never missed the trolley, nor have I ever “just made it,” either. I get to the platform and proceed to stand there, staring down the tracks, waiting, checking my phone, cowering from strangers, finding people to hate.

Every single day.

But today, I was ONE MINUTE LATE. I looked at the time on the computer and when I saw the 12:31, I fucking flew into a tizzy. I was in such a rush to grab my purse, that I almost didn’t even say goodbye to Marcy! I was that worried about being late.

It got worse.

Part of the road was being worked on and was closed down a block away the from my house, so I had to cross to the other side. A very nice police officer assisted me with this daunting task of crossing without a cross walk, and then I found myself behind an old woman with a huge dog who were taking their good old time. I started to get nervous, but then the lady moved off the sidewalk a bit so her dog could piss, and I happily stepped around them….only to land myself right behind some strange being wearing a dirty gray sweatsuit with the hood pulled up over their head. At first I was pissed because they were walking comically slow, but then I noticed that they were also doing a limp/drag routine with their right leg.

I started to wonder if I was walking behind a legitimate zombie, but then she (it was a girl!) turned her head slightly and I was able to deduce that it was a living person, and the more I studied her labored gait, the more I realized that this was a person with a prosthetic leg and it was clear to me that she needs to maybe practice around the house a little more before bringing that show on the road. The worst part was that I honestly could not find a way to pass her, mostly because I had spent so much time worrying that she was a zombie and I didn’t want to get too close, and now I just didn’t want to be RUDE.

We had made it past the construction that was happening on the road, and a young female cop was directing traffic on that side. The limping girl turned and abruptly crossed the street, causing the cop to yell out for her to watch the cars behind her. She just kept walking, cutting across the street at a diagonal, dragging her right leg as she went. I needed to cross the street also. My new goal was to perform this task fast enough to cut her off before she made it to the other side so that we could avoid more awkward goof troop parade bullshit.

The cop and I made eye contact and I made it clear that I was ready to cross the street. At least, I thought I did when I pointed to the other side of the street and then back to myself. Traffic on my right was already being stalled by her, and then she held up her other hand to halt traffic on my left. She looked at me again and I took this as my cue to cross, so I stepped out onto the street just as she began waving for the cars on my right to go! WHAT THE FUCK!

And then a torpedo of stupidity shot from my mouth.

“Dumb bitch!” I cried out to her, while—-and I am not exaggerating—I threw my arms up in a huff and then when I brought them back down, I slapped my right thigh really hard to punctuate how fucking annoyed this made me. The strike was audible. A total tantrum on the side of Pioneer Avenue. I don’t know what came over me. The combination of racing the clock and now this zombie broad, too had me thoroughly stressed out and this stupid glorified crossing guard was fingering my panic button.

“Hey,” she said to me in a warning tone. And then that made me even more mad. Hey? That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say? Not even a more incredulous “Hey!“? No exclamation point needed, really?! WHERE’S YOUR FUCKING TAZER?

Meanwhile, the old bitch and her dog had caught up to me and I wasn’t trying to share the sidewalk again, so I ran like a brat to the end of the road, muttering obscenities out loud (congratulations, Erin, you’re a real Brookliner now!) and crossed down there, on the WRONG SIDE which really threw me off because I hate change.

Then I called Henry.

“Who do I call if I want to complain about a cop?” I spat.

“I don’t know. Another cop?” And then he must’ve replayed my question in his head and made the connection that I either had done or was about to do something stupid. “Why?” he asked wearily.

“Because some dumb bitch cop wouldn’t let me cross the street and a car almost ran over my foot!” (<–Perhaps that last part isn’t 100% accurate.)

“I have to go. I’m working,” he sighed, so I hung up on that motherfucker.

OH I WAS SO ANGRY! And all of this had usurped so much of my time, that when I got to the trolley platform, I only had to stand there for two minutes as opposed to five before the trolley got there, and then some old bitch in a gingham blouse cut in front of me! TODAY WAS SO TERRIBLE!! MY HEART WAS RACING!

But then when I arrived at the Law Firm, some old man on the elevator told me he liked my shoes (skull TOMS).

“Thanks,” I said, looking down and studying them. And with mild sarcasm, I added, “I figured these are work appropriate.” It wasn’t actually funny at all, more of me just trying to keep filling the awkward silence that he had already broken, but he laughed really hard and I felt like maybe I had made one of those human connection things.

And then even after all that, I was still fifteen minutes early for work.

As usual.

***

“Can you believe I actually have a bruise on my thigh from where I slapped myself?” I said to Henry on the way home tonight.

“Who’s the dumb bitch now?” he asked.

Touché, motherfucker.

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May 152014
 

It’s pretty rare that I get to pick Chooch up from school because of my work schedule, but since I was off on Friday, I got to stand awkwardly in front of the school with all the parents who like to stare at me because I must have some blinding aura emanating from my body, alerting them to my motherfucker ways. I mostly just ignore it and pretend like something really interesting is happening on my phone. Make them think I’m important!

Chooch was really excited for two reasons: he didn’t have to go to the after school program (which he actually likes but who wants to hang around school any longer than they have to?) and he knew that Bill, Jessi and Tammy were en route from Detroit(-ish area).

He gave me a hug (for show, trust me), and then immediately started with the inquiries and whininess.

“ARE THEY HERE YET? WHEN? ARE THEY BRINGING ME PRESENTS!?”

“Don’t be rude!” I snapped, because while Chooch is surprisingly pretty good at not being a total spoiled brat, he does sometimes focus too much on “presents” and “things” and “money” which I know is probably normal for an 8-year-old but motherfuck, that shit is grating.

We were still on school property when this conversation began to escalate, and just as we rounded the corner by the crossing guard, he stopped dead in his tracks, puckered up his face, and burst into tears.

“Oh my fucking god,” I hissed. “Don’t you even start!” thinking that he was being a crybaby because I wouldn’t tell him if he was getting presents or not. I mean, his birthday party was the next day, and the last time I checked, presents are given at those things, so STFU.

But then I noticed that these weren’t crocodile tears. He was slightly slumped over, hugging himself like he had just been punched in the gut. What did I miss?! We were walking and everything was fine until it inexplicably was no longer fine. I had no idea what was happening, but I made sure to raise my hands up in an “I didn’t do it!” motion because there were parents and teachers EVERYWHERE. I’m slightly afflicted by something that I like to call the Stonick Syndrome, which was ingrained into me after an entire childhood of hearing my grandma cry, “What will the neighbors think?!” over any tiny thing that might chip her porcelain perfection (babies out of wedlock, a fat granddaughter, weeds in the garden, a car more than three years old, etc.). No matter how hard I try to stay chill and maintain a “who gives a fuck” veneer, I can’t always fight the Stonick in me and my synapses are secretly firing “HEADS UP: PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT YOU” warnings into every lobe of my dumb brain. To be honest, I don’t really think that very many people were rubber-necking. I mean, Chooch was doing a good job of not getting full-on Erin Rachelle Kelly with the histrionics, so aside from his tears and beet-red face, he wasn’t exactly drawing a crowd of gawking bystanders. Except that in front of us was this mom who reminds Chooch of Antoine Dodson, the Bedroom Intruder guy, so every time he sees her, he starts quietly singing, “He’s climbing in yo’ window, snatching your people up….”

She was definitely looking.

I had no idea what was going on. I kept asking Chooch but he just stared back at me with this awful look of anguish twisted upon his face. Then I saw him pull his shirt away from his chest and swat at something which whizzed away in response.

A bee. OK, he was stung by a bee and not assaulted by something that the Winchester’s are hunting. But then I remembered that he had never been stung by a bee before.

So instead of taking my child into my arms and soothing him with my maternal embrace, I froze. He’s standing there in so much pain that he can barely talk, and I’m like, “Fuck, I wasn’t prepared for this.” And then flashes of My Girl go through my mind and I’m like, “Fuck2, please don’t be allergic!”

(Which is kind of funny because Anna Chlumsky had a small role in “Hannibal”, which I was catching up on last week and thought to myself, “I totally forgot that My Girl broad existed.” Touché, UNIVERSE.)

I tried not to panic in front of him and kept robotically saying things like “It.is.OK.child.” and “You.are.not.going.to.die.” and “Beep.beep.Mom.Powers.Activate.” while frantically dialing and redialing Henry’s stupid number because I CAN’T HANDLE THIS OMG IS MY KID GOING TO DIE!? Honestly, I was freaked out. If I was smart, I would have just pushed him right back inside the school and made the damn nurse deal with it, but instead, I forced my Jello-legs to walk and gave him flat pep talks for the three blocks back to our house. Meanwhile, Henry finally answered and calmly asked me questions that I couldn’t answer because my brain was swelling inside my head and pouring out of my ears because if any one is allergic to anything, it’s me and parental responsibility. Oh, the horror of having to actually put on my mom jeans and save my kid with whatever that shit was in the bathroom closet that Henry told me to spray on the bee sting. So now, in the eyes of the pitch-forked parents that are always holographed in my imagination, it appears like I’m walking down the sidewalk while my son is very visibly suffering from some sort of trauma that I definitely inflicted with my own hand and don’t mind me, I’m just over here ignoring him while casually talking to my girlfriend on the phone about our stories. “OMG and then Hope found out Bo is actually her brother who is actually a little person living inside of an animatronic body cavity….”

Because that’s totally how it looked. NOTHING TO SEE HERE, CARS DOING 10 MPH PAST US IN THE SCHOOL ZONE.

Somehow we made it home without falling into the jaws of a shark or being twerked on by Miley Cyrus, but not before walking past our neighbor and getting the hairy eyeball from her because yes, I pushed my kid into a bee hive. I can’t help it! It’s what I do.

See? Stonick Syndrome. It’s always waiting to surface. WHAT WILL THE NEIGHBORS THINK.

“Did you get the stinger out?” Henry asked in a follow-up phone conversation because I had hung up on him after I got the initial info I needed. There is no need for exit salutations. It’s “end call” for me and that’s it. You want a “goodbye I love you”? Go get it from your mama, Henry.

“The what now?” I asked dimly. And he explained to me that it was important to get the stinger out but I didn’t see anything jutting out of Chooch’s flesh so one less thing for my fake-Mom persona to do, I guess.

Please don’t think Chooch had quieted down during his visit with Half-Assed Nurse Erin. No, he was wailing “WHYYYYYY?!” over and over as I spritzed him with whatever that shit* was that Henry made me dig around the bathroom closet for. OK, Nancy Kerrigan! A little louder in case the neighbors didn’t hear.

*(It started with a b….bleach? No, that’s not it.)

By the time Bill, Jessi and Tammy got there that evening, the bee sting had swelled to the size of Jonny Craig’s left hand tattoo. Oh my god, you guys are so stupid, JUST FORGET IT. It had swelled to the size of A SAUCER, ok? Is that better?! Should I sketch it out for you? I would post a picture but I’m not trying to get child services sicced on me again, and also, I didn’t take a picture.

In addition to being the size of Jonny Cra—-a saucer, the wound was deep maroon with raised edges. It looked totally deadly and I was like, “Are we sure he’s not allergic?” while waiting for a legion of baby spiders to burst out of the center. Henry, who had apparently asked Google, assured me that we would have found out immediately if he was allergic.

We talked about stingers some more and Tammy told us that you can use a potato slice to draw the stinger out and for some reason, this home remedy tip irritated Bill, who apparently only believes in the miracle of modern medicine and not Granny’s pantry, so now I hope he gets stung by a bee and the only one there to save him is Tammy and a good ol’ Idaho tater.

It was even bigger the next day (I don’t know, salad plate-sized) and Chooch said it was actually painful to be too active, so I was worried about his birthday party. But he still ran around like a feral dog and took great pleasure in showing his battle wound to all of his friends. And then he spent the rest of the weekend obsessing about bees and bee stings and Googling other insects that sting and watching YouTube videos of people getting stung by things and basically becoming hyper-aware of every single thing around him. We went to the cemetery on Mother’s Day and he straight up whimpered when he saw something flap past his face. It was a fly.

He’s even reached a point where he’s psycho-analyzing the situation, wondering why the bee chose to sting him. Why didn’t the bee like him? What did he ever do to the bee? I told him that I used to save bees from drowning in my Pappap’s pool when I was a kid so they never sting me and he was like “Oh, aren’t you a peach. Shut up.”

It seems like it’s always Chooch and me versus something, isn’t it? Anyway, I would be remiss not to chronicle this totally dramatic tale here, because it’s a first and isn’t that what parents do? Keep a log of their kids’ firsts? First bee sting: Friday, May 9, 2014. Boom. Done.

 

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May 052014
 

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It all started out innocently enough. Henry, Chooch and I walked to the Boulevard on Sunday afternoon for some ice cream. Typical.

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I got birthday cake and red velvet. I spent the morning barfing (not pregnant, don’t even!) so I earned two scoops.

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Usually, there are Young People scooping out ice cream with a moderate dose of disdain, but on this day, it was an old lady who used to make occasional appearances back when Scoops was known as (the beloved) Boulevard Ice Cream. She asked me if I wanted the kids size or regular, and I was like, “REGULAR. I’M A GROWING GIRL, DUH” but my regular scoops looked suspiciously on par with Chooch’s kids sized scoops so I don’t know if I should feel offended, ripped off, or both.

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And then Henry ordered the octogenarian delight of Spumoni.

“We’re out of spumoni,” Elder Scooper spat with not even a fleck of remorse.

“OK, um…” Henry stalled, squinting at the chalkboard list of flavors behind her.

“Don’t look at that list!” she scolded. “Look at the cases.”

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Chooch and I lost our fucking minds over this. It was the funniest thing ever, Henry being deprived of the one flavor he really wanted.

I don’t even know what he ended up getting. Chocolate almond or something, who even cares.

We sat on a bench outside, enjoying our ice cream, while Chooch openly criticized a man for delivering ice cream cones to his caravan (I’m not joking, he rolled up in minivan that was stuffed to the gills with children) as each cone was made, instead of bringing them out all at once.

“Do you even know how hard that would be to carry them all at once?” Henry yelled, probably thanking his stars that he only has two needy children to serve and not a whole van like Mr. Avuncular Abductor over here at Scoops. “Not to mention, all the ones that were first made would start melting!” But Chooch didn’t want to hear it and continued to run his mouth every time the man walked RIGHT PAST US. Not awkward at all. Finally, we had the bright idea to get up and start walking before a scene was caused.

We crossed the street and Chooch said, “Hey Mommy, I’ll race you to that ATM sign.”

I looked up ahead at the sign and considered it. “No, I don’t want to race. I don’t feel well today.” Then I waited until Chooch wasn’t paying attention and took off. That’s my M.O. and it’s not cheating! It’s being a smart competitor.

So Chooch is all, “Hey wait up!” and I can hear his dumb feet slapping the pavement behind me and then all of a sudden: extreme pain in the back of my right arm and stars in my eyes.

I’VE BEEN SHOT! I heard myself say in that slow-motion, underwater voice I’ve been hoarding explicitly for when I get shot. I knew it was just a matter of time. A list of suspects blew before my eyes: Purple Pants. Cheerleader Girl. Tourette’s. Happy Post Office Worker. Any number of Catholic School parents. And in that same instance, a bottle of Gatorade ricocheted off my arm, coating the sidewalk with a small blue tidal wave as it exploded against the pavement.

I stopped. I assessed the scene. I hadn’t been shot after all. Someone’s asshole son had hurled a bottle of blue drank at me in a vicious attempt to slow my pace. Oh wait—-MY ASSHOLE SON.

“Why would you do that!?” I cried in that scary high-pitched almost-dog-whistle tone that mom’s get when they’re torn between red levels of hostility and wanting to cry fat tears of self-pity. I hesitantly touched my searing, throbbing wound to check for blood or a protruding bone.

“Because he’s crazy,” mumbled an old man who had just happened to be walking over the scene of the crime to get to his apartment. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

Chooch shrugged. “I just wanted you to slow down.” He had that nervous trill to his voice, like he wasn’t sure if I was going to extract my witch’s broom from my asshole and start beating him with it in public.

Oh, speaking of “in public”: We were in public. There were enough people milling about that I was trying to keep it classy, but I couldn’t help it. I am sensitive! Physically and mentally! He hurt the tender part of my arm right above my elbow and more importantly: he hurt my feelings and my ego, you guys!

With the tender moment we shared when Henry was denied spumoni fading away faster by the second, I hissed, “I hate you! How could you do that to me!?” to him like he had literally stabbed me in the back. I started to storm off before he could answer, while Henry was all, “You shouldn’t say that to him” in a bored “I’m reading this from the book I wrote about all the things you do wrong as a parent” cadence.

I spun around on my heels and glared at him. “HE HURT ME ON PURPOSE!”

“No he didn’t,” Henry sighed in tandem with Chooch’s maniacally defensive squeal, “NO I DIDN’T!”

“YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY IS CANCELED!” I empty-threatened.

I started to storm off again. We walked past all of the happy people happily eating their happy tacos on the sidewalk at Las Palmas and I hated them and all of their stupid un-Gatorade-injured happy bodies. Then we approached Pitaland and Henry hesitated at the entrance.

“I thought we were going in to get dates?” he asked.

“GO FUCK YOURSELF,” I cried as more people leisurely strolled by. If I could have climbed out of my body at that moment, I think the sight of my deranged woman-on-edge self would have made me die of embarrassment. But basically, it was a good day for fitting in in Brookline!

“What did I do?” Henry asked.

“YOU JUST STOOD THERE AND DIDN’T CARE THAT YOUR SON TRIED TO MURDER ME WITH GATORADE!”

I mean, what if that big, dangerous bottle had hit my head and I got a concussion, or worse: KNOCKED OUT A TOOTH? I couldn’t believe how lightly Henry was taking this terrible situation. Who knows who will be next on Chooch’s list! Hide yo kids, hide yo Gatorade, guys.

“I told him to apologize. He didn’t mean to do it. What else do you want me to do in the middle of Brookline Boulevard!?” So then Henry did that thing that he does where he gets mad at me for being mad at him, and then I get more mad because I was mad first and now he’s trying to encroach on my bubble of madness, so then we were all mad and Chooch was like, “This is stupid, guys; let’s move on” but I hadn’t been able to fully perform my tantrum yet, so I sped up real fast and walked home a full block ahead of those motherfuckers, with my arms crossed and lips in full-fledged pout-position. I might have been crying too, but you’ll never know.

(Unless you were driving on Pioneer Avenue around 3:00 on Sunday.)

I eventually calmed down, maybe it was the sweet Mormon missionaries and their impeccable timing at handing me a prayer card on my walk home. I kept trying to keep up my mean-muggin’, but then I would start to laugh because I can’t stay made at those assholes for long, even after one of them assaults me with sports beverage. But I wouldn’t let those two forget about what they did to me.

“Oh excuse me, but why was it OK for you and Chooch to fall to the ground in laughter after he kicked me in the crotch last week?” Henry cried after my 87th reminder that he failed me as a fake-spouse/parental-partner today.

“Well, that’s different,” I shrugged. “That’s basically part of your life now and it’s not my fault you haven’t accepted it.”

And then he looked at my arm and sighed, “Oh my god, there is nothing even THERE.”

Yeah...yet.

I mean, aside from that and the aforementioned puking session, it was a great fucking day. And most importantly: I won the race. Cheaters always win, y’all.

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

“And somewhere, on someone else’s blog…” was Barb’s response when I was recounting the whole gritty story to her today.

(My arm is BRUISED and it HURTS today, in case anyone not named Henry cares.)

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[ed.note: before anyone criticizes my mothering, let me just say that having objects chucked at my person by my child is not standard practice in our house. This was just one of those things, you guys, and he sincerely apologized to me numerous times before I finally accepted, ha ha. OMG bad days happen! Parenting isn't perfect! Who knew?!]

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Apr 212014
 

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I was all set to write about Easter weekend, how Henry hates dyeing eggs and the amazing tofu I had (srsly, that’s a sentence that was just purposely typed), but then I realized what today’s date is. Just the other day, I was texting with Andrea and it dawned on me that the 10 year anniversary of they day I walked out of the most dysfunctional and damaging job I’ve ever had was coming up. No wonder it has been popping up in my mind so much lately.

Well, that day is today. It’s funny how a simple date can give me such stomach aches. But it has also given me a lot to think about. If you were my friend during the 4 years I worked at this place, you know all about how it was the most depressed I’ve ever been in my life, and you know about how the experience took my big lionesque personality and suppressed it into that of a timid lamb.

I don’t really talk about those days very much and I definitely don’t write about the worst of it because I was told not to. But I will tell you that the day I stood up to the owner of the company and walked out was the most empowered I have ever felt as a woman, and it was also one of the most reckless decisions I made. It took me YEARS to be able to mentally and emotionally start working again, because, well, four years of emotional abuse, inappropriate touching, verbal bullying, and the aftermath of walking away from it resulted in some trauma. I would go to interviews and have to breathe in paper bags in my car because I would be so scared and panicked. I developed a stutter. I became shy and socially crippled. I let this happen and I fucking can’t stand it. But, I am a lot better now. I’m also a lot different now.

This place had it all: death, suicide, theft, affairs, racism, sexism, harrasment, drugs. It was like working in an office full of sleazy uncles. Let’s just say that the climax was an argument between me and my boss about someone who ended up dying tragically three days later.

Perhaps after ten years, I should be “over it,” and perhaps I need to go back to therapy, but it was something that defined me. Whether I like it or not. That place redirected the course of my life, and while I love where I am now, it was a long and rocky road full of unemployment, shut-off and eviction notices, panic attacks and extreme self-doubt. I hate that I let it happen. I hate that I thought it was “normal” to be treated like that. I hate that Human Resources didn’t exist there. So much of what is “wrong” with me today can be directly attributed to the years 2000-2004. (Everything else can be blamed on my family, haha.)

So today, I feel sick to my stomach and flooded with memories while nasty words ricochet in my mind. I am equal parts sad, angry, bitter, infuriated, guilty and FUCKED OVER. It’s your basic Sybil City over here. But, all of this reminds me that my current job is a fucking wet dream compared to that nightmare. So that is one silver lining.

The biggest silver lining is Henry (gross, but I had to be honest!). Everything happens for a reason, right? I’m not sure I would have met him anywhere else if we hadn’t both endured that hell together.

We’ll go back to having fun on here tomorrow, I promise.

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROBERT SMITH!!!

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Jan 272014
 

Henry wouldn’t take us anywhere yesterday because oh no, snow. The big difference between Henry and me, aside from that one us doesn’t have a weener (I know, that could be either of us), is that Henry is fine doing NOTHING all the livelong day. Not me. I need action. I suffer enough throughout the week to feel pretty damn entitled when the weekend rolls around. And I was really looking forward to this particular one! I had a breakfast date with Wendy and Jeannie, Chooch’s piano lesson, Kristy was going to come over Saturday night to teach me how to drink beer without looking like I had just let someone ejaculate in my mouth for the first time, and then we were going to go to a different skating rink on Sunday. BUT THEN: SNOW.

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I could only take so much before I went to Chooch’s room, threw together a random outfit, and said, “PUT THIS ON, WE’RE GOING OUTSIDE FOR A PHOTO SHOOT” and he was all, “NO I HATE YOU” but then I bribed/threatened him and of course I got my way in the end.

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See? He’s fine! Totally content!

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I asked him not to smile for this so please don’t call Child Services on me, thanks. (You know who you are.)

I know I probably shouldn’t say this about my own kid, but he reminds me so much of a young Jeffrey Dahmer in this photo, I can’t stand it. But then my friend Brandy called him “Darling Valentine” on Instagram, so let’s just go with that.

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OK, he may have been shivering here. But we were only outside for < 10 minutes. I’m not that mean.

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Henry was in the basement sanding a jewelry cabinet for me, so he actually had no idea this was going on. I guess what I’m saying is: we were unsupervised and no one got frostbite or cannibalized the other. In my world, we call that success.

Aside from that, this weekend was pretty worthless. Oh well, at least Katy Perry didn’t win a Grammy last night.

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Nov 022013
 

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!

****

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.

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Sep 242013
 

Hey, Blog. Remember how two weekends ago I wrote on your skin about how I was going to do a pie pop-baking practice run? And you didn’t tell me I was being ridiculous? Well, fuck you.

In my head, it seemed like such a great idea! So smart and sensible. Henry will take on the regular-sized pies for the upcoming pie party, and I will undertake the legion of tiny pies on sticks that, also in my head, seemed like they would be so darling to bake. I even looked at a lot of pictures on various food blogs and every single one of them screamed ERIN PROOF! One blogger even said, “Hi, my 8-year-old niece made these, they are THAT EASY.”

And that’s what I needed to know. That idiot children could accomplish this feat and wind up with an edible disc on a tiny pie-rod. So two weekends ago, I mentally prepared myself for lots of flour inhalation and…other baking stuff.

But first, I needed to go to the asian market to see if they had persimmon, because I have been deadset on Henry baking me the most sumptuous pie out of that shit for months now. Persimmon is my jam. I’m sorry to all of the apples out there, but I have to say that persimmon is my favorite fruit of all time. Too bad it’s so elusive.

If anyplace would have it, it would be the asian market though. And of course, they didn’t. (They did have the best goddamn kiwis I’ve ever masticated this side of Fruit Mastication Street, though. I think they were Golden Kiwi? What a joy for my tongue.

I decided when we were checking out that Henry and I should inquire about persimmons, which turned out to be a huge mistake because the young Asian girl in her lens-less black frames and Abercrombie hoodie started laughing. I mean, this bitch had her head thrown back in laughter. This was legit laughter. This was the laughter reserved for stupid crackers, that’s exactly what kind of fucking laughter this was.

“Oh no, hahaha, no no no! There no persimmon in September! Hahahaha! That winter fruit! Hahahahaha!” And other shoppers were craning their necks to see what was going on up at check out (I’m sure they figured it involved a fat caucasion fruit-retard) and I pretty much wanted to fork my fingers and spear her eyeballs Labryinth-style through her stupid hipster glasses that she doesn’t even need!

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Friends, don’t make the same mistake I made. There are no persimmon in September. Don’t even bother asking, unless you enjoy being laughed out of the Alamo, OK?

So, I guess no persimmon pie at the pie party, my persimmony pie party peeps.

Totally defeated, we went and got ice cream, I got totally sick from spray paint fumes, and then finally I decided I better try that baking thing before the weekend was officially over. Except that there was a Penguins pre-season game on that evening.

“I’ll just do it during intermission,” I said to Henry. “Get everything ready for me.”

Henry had already gone to the regular people grocery store earlier that evening and bought all of the pie supplies, plus cookie cutters and lollipop sticks. Henry then cleared off the dining room table, rolled out the flour, washed the cookie cutters, prepared various pie fillings in some bowls, and made the egg wash. Then it was the first intermission and I had to actually do foody things which turned out to be so terrible, I can’t even find the words, it’s like my brain is literally sending death threats to my fingers to prevent them from typing out the brutal memory of last Sunday evening.

“Are you kidding me?” Henry sighed during one of his supervisional trips to the dining room table.

“This is so hard!” I wailed. “And booooring!”

“Did you actually read the recipe, or did you just look at the pictures?” And when I didn’t answer right away, he spat, “That’s what I thought.”

And then I tried to get all fancy, which is not something a baking invalid like myself should EVER TRY TO DO, by doing one of those crisscross crust thingies that disgusting grandmas do to their cherry pies so hobos will want to stick their dicks inside once they see how moist and pus-like the innards are. A little bit of a sultry, seductive pie peepshow never killed anyone. (Just maybe stained some already dirty weeners.)

Give me Sculptey and I will crosshatch the shit out of it. Construction paper? Sure, I got this. I was even pretty diligent back in the day at making potholders by criss-crossing stretchy things on a small metal loom.

But give me pie crust and I am all thumbs. And not just normal people thumbs, but medical malady thumbs. Maybe even some monkey thumbs are up in there, too, and everything I try to hold just collapses into me. I also apparently forget what “criss-cross” looks like and this is what happens:

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And then something happened, a lightbulb went off, a burning pie pop sent smoke signals to my brain, something happened: I realized that I just really, truly, absolutely dislike baking. Like with my entire being. I hate it. It makes me feel tired, angry and pretty much like my whole world is ending. So why keep trying? Discovering I’m actually a baking phenom is pretty likely never to happen. I just honestly do not enjoy it! It’s actual mental pain for me and I get bored immediately after I start. And it wasn’t very fun (or tasty) eating uncooked pie crust, but I kept doing it just because Henry kept telling me to stop. It was just a real bad time, you guys, like taking a tour of Snooki’s gynecological history. Like being trapped in a car with someone you can’t stand, except the car is a table and the person you can’t stand is Henry amidst a pile of crappy ingredients.

(Looks like Henry’s To Do list for the pie party has just grown exponentially!)

Finally, after hearing enough of my bitching and moaning and general dramatics (so out of character), Henry released me from the confines of baking and things went back to normal: me leaning forward on the couch screaming at the TV while Henry calls out from the kitchen for the score of the hockey game.

Ah, normalcy.

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Sep 042013
 

SATURDAY!
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Dear Blog,

I will start with Saturday, because that is typically what one does when recounting their weekend. On Saturday, Henry and I went to a co-ed baby shower for my friend Lisa and her husband Matt. They’re expecting their first baby and I’m so stoked for them! Way more stoked than Henry was to be there! I was really hoping he would decorate a onesie, but he totally pussed out.

I drew a mustache on mine and wrote “I [mustache] you to change me.” A total cop-out I thought, given the popularity of the “I Mustache You a Question” phrase these days, but no one seemed to get it, as it hung there shamefully on a clothesline in the kitchen, so then I was just pretty embarrassed. But, that’s what I am 75% of the time, so it was OK. I ate some damn good cookies and moved on.

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I’m always thoroughly awkward at these things, especially because it’s mostly Lisa’s friends from college and church, and I know her from high school. I for real cannot make small talk with a person to save my life. I know that there’s a formula, and it goes something like this:

person asks <x> question.

you answer <x> question.

you ask person <y> question.

person answers <y> question.

repeat until some type of conversational flow is established.

But when I’m involved, it goes like this:

person asks <x> question.

I stutter a lot before attempting to say something witty in a monotone slur which may or not satisfy <x> question.

attempt at wit falls flat. crickets.

but one thing’s for certain: she has the best damn food at her get-togethers. I mean, I’m sure I maxed out my Weight Watchers anytime points for the week on the potato salad alone!

Lisa and Matt’s friends Carrie and Wes were there, and it was nice to see familiar faces. Henry and I met them last year at the Rib Fest (I was only there to see .38 Special, obvi) and then again a few weeks later at Matt’s surprise graduation party. I was super happy the next day when Carrie sent me a friend request on Facebook because that means she doesn’t think I’m 100% boring like I always feel that I am at social events!

Anyway, Lisa looks absolutely radiant for a pregnant lady and I’m a little jealous about that. I allowed one photo of myself to be taken during my baby shower and I looked haggard and beached. I did not have that “glow” that all the women speak of.

Now I’m just rambling. I’m on my 4th cup of coffee.

SUNDAY!

Sunday, as previously mentioned on this blog, was a day full of DIY bullshit. It started first thing in the morning with a trip to the flea market. We’re making pie stands for the pie party so we were on the lookout for things that could be suitably fastened together to form somewhat of an aesthetic Atlas for pies. Dude you guys, this pie party is going to be the best one yet, I promise! The pies might taste like rotten ass, but boy is the décor going to be pleasant to look at. I’m excited to show a little bit of my pretty side for once, which actually does exist. (i.e. no bloody fingers or clown heads on the table.)

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“Mommy, look!” Chooch cried. “Lizzie Borden’s hatchet!” This was met with some winning gawks.

We walked past the right table at the right time and got to witness an angry old man who had recently found out that the GOLD COINS he bought from WEIRD OLD PEOPLE at a FLEA MARKET were COUNTERFEIT. (Please see: last part of the above video.)

YOU DON’T SAY!!!

While he was angrily pacing back and forth, shouting at them, the old man coin swindler never stopped playing his harmonica and his old lady cohort just kept laughing and waving it off.

“WHAT’S THE NUMBER ON THIS!?” the coin chump barked, examining the number painted on the ground beneath the table so he knew officially who to narc on once he GOT TO THE FLEA MARKET OFFICE!! Because that’s where he was headed! I know this because we followed him from a parallel aisle. I wanted to REALLY follow him, but Henry was all, “This might get dangerous” so I never got to see if anyone was taken down by the flea market popo.

And then Henry kept purposely walking real fast by any table that might have held something he thought I would like, so I got all bitch-pouty and stormed back to the car.

But at least we worked on the coffee table when we got home.

Ha-ha, “we.”

Later that night, we drove all over the South Hills until I settled on a suitable establishment for ice cream. I just didn’t like the first two Henry picked and then the third place was closed and Henry was seriously wishing he had purchased that $5 hatchet at the flea market.

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But we settled on Tasty-Crème and I was happy with it, except that ice cream places always give me ordering anxiety because they all look like this at the window:

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Too many choices! And of course after I ordered my vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles, Henry noted that they had TOASTED COCONUT TOPPING, WTF. I totally would have gotten that instead.

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This was some really good soft serve. When I mentioned that out loud, Henry gave me a weird look but I’m sorry — not all soft serve tastes the same, jackass. Try refining your palate.

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There was some vacant-eyed pod family sitting at the picnic table, so we opted to just loiter near our car, lest they suck off some of our life force with their milkshake straws.

LABOR DAY:

Man, did I have some big plans for Labor Day. I wanted to get up early and go have breakfast, which is one meal we rarely go out for together anymore. That doesn’t seem so lofty of a want, until you get to the part where I add, “And also, let’s drive for an hour to accomplish this.”  All weekend, Henry hemmed and hawed, until finally I modified plans so that we could leave later, after working on the furniture refinishing project some more, which, by the way, is taking FOREVER. It was so humid all weekend, and apparently paint doesn’t respond well to that? I don’t know. So everything is taking way longer than I had thought it would, and then I had a can of gold glitter spray paint in my hand for five seconds and completely fucked up a drawer, so now Henry will have to sand it down and start over. Ugh, this is why I hate “projects”!!! I want to be able to come up with ideas and then, wow, look at that, it’s done.

For some reason, that never happens. God, being a muggle sucks.

But that’s another blog entry.

We ended up leaving the house around 10:30 and set off toward Uniontown, which is…south of Pittsburgh? I don’t know. But we hadn’t been in that area since last summer when we went to Laurel Caverns, so I thought it would be fun to eat at some towny diner and then go into the wilderness.

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Henry overshot Uniontown and continued on up into the Laurel Highlands, which was OK but not WHAT I WANTED. So then it was all, “Where do you want to eat?” and I’m like, “One of the many places we past miles ago, duh” but he just kept driving and driving until we ended up Lone Star which was a real shit hole.

Chooch was in a really bad mood for god only knows why. I’m guessing it was because I wouldn’t let him play on my phone when we got there. So he “punished” us by not ordering food. His excuse was that he wanted pancakes but the shitty Lone Star only serves breakfast until 11AM because they SUCK AS A RESTAURANT.

And then he started crying about something Minecraft-related and I just sat there thinking about how my good intentions for a Labor Day spent with my dumb family was totally RUINED.

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Apparently, we arrived at the Lone Star right on the heels of a hunting party, so it took us an hour to get our stupid lunch. I ordered a grilled cheese, you guys. A grilled cheese. It ranked in the Top 5 Worst Grilled Cheeses I’ve ever eaten (and two of those were made by me) and I actually passed it over to Chooch, but he wouldn’t eat it either, so hooray for Henry ending up with two lunches! That doesn’t necessarily mean that he won at lunch, though. Trust me.

The grilled cheese tasted like it had been boiled in water and then microwaved and then possibly smashed with a hot iron long enough to burn one side. And it possibly only had a half slice of cheese in between the wrecked bread. I didn’t even have the will to complain. It was so disappointing and I just wanted to get out of that grimy establishment before any parasites had a chance to crawl into me. I had to pee so bad but the bathroom door was being blocked by some mountain hick in a messy bun so I decided to be stubborn and just hold it. I SURE SHOWED THEM!

Afterward, Henry drove us toward nature things and then turned around because I guess he felt that looking at trees and signs for Ohio Pyle and the Deer Lakes from the car window was what I meant when I said, “And then I want to go and do nature things.”

Obviously I was a huge bitch baby after that. Henry kept trying to hold my hand from across the console and I would shrug my arm away from him and shift my position so I was practically curling up against the car door.

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But at least Henry was wise enough to make up for Lone Star (it was his fault!!) by taking us to Gene and Boots for ice cream, which ended up being my lunch since I refused to eat that gnarly grilled cheese.

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Um, I don’t really know when photographing raised ice cream cones became my “thing,” but I suppose it’s better than some other things I could be photographing. (Depending on who you ask.)

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At the very least, I could now probably put together one really tasty summer montage.

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Seriously, Chooch needs to stop making such a disgusting mess with ice cream cones or he’s going to have to start getting his scoops in a goddamn bowl. Ugh! I can’t even look at him when he’s cone-in-hand.

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How does someone manage to look so angry while eating ice cream? I know this picture wants you to think I’m a liar, but Henry was actually the only one of us who was in a good mood all day.

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Aug 282013
 

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There have been two times in my life when I was so scared I thought I could die, really honestly fucking die:

  • In 1998 when I caused an FBI to flip his car over on the highway. I can still feel blood draining from my face when I think of that day.
  • In 2006 when I arrived at the hospital for my C-section.

But then on Saturday, August 17, 2013, I went to the Lawrence County Fair and accumulated one more for that list.

Everything was great for the first hour. It was a fair we had never before been to so it was nice to see some new things, like the Grand Wheel, which was beautiful. (From the ground. From the top, not so much.)

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I mean, what DOES make Henry smile these days? WHO THE HELL KNOWS.

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I was terrified the entire time we were stuck on the Grand Wheel; it just seemed like it went faster than normal ferris wheels, I don’t know. And no, this was not what made it to #3 on my SHIT THE PANTS list.

 

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I approved of the interesting carousel animals.

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And then disaster struck. OK, luckily for me it stopped just shy of being a legitimate disaster, but it was still enough to inflict some hardcore emotional damage.

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I saw the Vortex before we even pulled into the parking lot of the fairground and got pretty excited because these don’t pop up at the fairs we typically visit every summer. But it was a different midway company supplying the attractions for the Lawrence County Fair, which was one of the reasons I wanted to go. Because I’m a midway dork, OK!? I found this out one night at work when Gayle told me she was going to be selling her jewelry there and I googled, “WHAT MIDWAY COMPANY PROVIDES THE RIDES FOR LAWRENCE COUNTY FAIR?!” because this is what any normal person would do. When I saw that it was the MIDWAY RIDES OF UTICA, I texted Henry and said, “IT IS A MIDWAY COMPANY THAT WE’VE NEVER ENCOUNTERED SO WE HAVE TO GO.”

Anyway, the Vortex was a big pull for me. I hadn’t seen one of those sons of bitches in years and I was pretty excited to ride it. Chooch was 2 inches too short, but he didn’t really give a fuck because there was some stupid bounce-house nearby and he’s still a three-year-old when it comes to that shit. So he and Henry walked away while I stomped up the steps to ride alone.

I should have trusted my gut, you guys. But then again, my gut is usually telling me to eat 5,000 grilled cheeses. The carnies at this fair did not seem interested in their jobs at all. Oh I know, that whole carny stereotype! But actually, even though I poke fun, the fairs we typically go to employ carnies who pay attention to what’s happening on the rides. Their teeth might be falling into your lap when they speak to you, but at least they’re dilligent with safety harnesses, seatbelts, latches.

I sat in my seat and buckled the seatbelt—which was attached to the botton of the shoulder harness—into the thingie on the seat between my legs (NOT MY VAGINA, YOU GUYS, GOD), then pulled the harness down. It sprang right back up, so I thought that probably it just wasn’t time for that yet. The gate to the ride was still open, and kids were slowly trickling in and filling up the rest of the seats. No one ended up sitting in the seat next to me and eventually one of the non-English-speaking carnies came over and pulled down the gate, trapping us into a veritable metal cage. I motioned for the carny to look at my shoulder harness.

“It’s not locking!” I shouted, pushing it away from my body to demonstrate.

The carny gave me the thumbs up sign and laughed. THEN THE RIDE STARTED AND MY HARNESS WAS STILL NOT LOCKED WHAT THE FALALALALALALALALA-UCK!!!!!!!!!

I was like, “YO! WAIT UP HOMIE! DON’T START THE—–”

Boom. Too late. That first revolution around, I honest to god thought to myself, “This is it. This is how I die. OMFG IS THIS REALLY HOW I DIE!?” I went upside down, the harness dropped away from my chest and my body was 100% off the seat. The only thing keeping me from being thrown around inside a cage like a scene kid rag doll was the fact that the seat belt was still fastened, at least. But there was so much slack on it that every time we went around, my head was literally about a centimeter away from slamming into the top of the ride. I kept trying to bear-hug the harness into me, and had my legs spread out with my knees locked in an effort to keep myself as still as possible, but it was futile: every fucking time we went around, the harness dropped and I followed.

After the 14th time, I finally reasoned with myself that I was not going to die, probably. Even if the seat belt were to snap (and I know I’m Chubs City, but somehow I think that seatbelts are built to withstand weight even greater than my own), I wasn’t going to fall out.

Probably.

But then I started to maniacally storyboard all of the different ways I could lose a limb, get concussed, LOSE MY MEMORY, GET SCALPED.

I caught the attention of the kid in front of me. Through the grated partition I called out to him, “SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT, LOOOOOOK!!!” and I showed him how the harness was essentially just flapping in the breeze and that kid’s eyes got all bulgey. Even a kid knew that I was going to perish, maybe!

My heart was beating at a methodical FRIGHTENED RABBIT pace. Then I lost my voice for awhile. I would open my mouth to scream and…nothing. Just a hoarse cry. Like I had lost the will! And what would it matter? Those fucking carnies were probably down there mapping out their rape spots for the night, and definitely not paying attention to the HORROR ABOVE THEM.

And then, oh-ho-ho and then it changed directions and this time, going backward, it was even worse somehow. By this time I was flowing through some fucking mean yoga poses, something that maybe Takasha Shimizu would choreograph if he suddenly decided to leave the horror movie industry and become a Yogi.

Long story ridiculously-lengthed, the ride stopped and my body was freezing cold. And damp with perspiration. When the one carny came over to lift the gate, I shouted at him, “THIS WASN’T LOCKED THE ENTIRE TIME!!!” and angrily threw the shoulder harness up into the air.

HE LAUGHED AT ME.

“No. No, this isn’t FUNNY. That was not a GOOD TIME!” I cried, pointing up into the air at what was now a really sick memory that I get to replay over and over whenever I need to decide whether or not I want to become housebound for the rest of my years.

*****

When I found Henry, I was still yards away and he knew something was wrong. He said he’s never seen me look so white, and I was trembling really bad. I could barely even feel my lips and had some pretty fucking cold sweats going on. I told him what happened and you know it’s a Situation when Passive Henry gets involved. He set off to find a supervisor.

Speaking of carny supervisors, KIRK NEVER WOULD HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN TO ME!

And then I just kind of stood there in the middle of the field, while the rest of the fair swirled around me. I wished I could have went back to ten minutes ago and decided not to go on the Vortex when we realized Chooch was too short. I wished I had trusted my gut, but I didn’t, because my gut is usually always dreadfully wrong. (Because it is lined with paranoia.)

Henry returned with this short fucking troll-lady who made me go back over to the Vortex with her while she shouted indecipherable grunts into a walkie talkie. I did not want to go back over to this ride, but I had no choice. I didn’t want to see someone else get hurt, no matter how much I rant about hating people. She made me point out which seat I was sitting in and then she climbed up onto the ride platform and started yelling at the carnies in Spanish while giving the harness a basic physical.

When she returned to me, she had a laundry list of excuses for me, such as:

  • “Well, you must have made the safety latch release by pushing in and out too many times.” (UM, IT WAS NEVER LOCKED TO BEGIN WITH AND IF THAT’S HOW THOSE THINGS ARE DESIGNED, THERE IS ONE REALLY FUCKING RETARDED ENGINEER OUT THERE IN THE WORLD.)
  • “You weren’t going to like, fall out or anything.”
  • “We actually just had a meeting with the guys this morning about how they need to make sure they check everyone before starting the ride.” (SO IN OTHER WORDS: NOT HER FAULT.)

And then she tried to indulge me by reaching out to give me a half-hug.

I pulled away and said, “Don’t touch me.”

“I know, you were so scared! But honestly, you were safe up there. There are like 4 different brakes that will come on before anything could happen to you.”

And then she said that this happens all the time and then LAUGHED ABOUT IT!

OK, but the main issue here was negligence and I was super pissed with the way it was handled. I was in a major state of shock so at first I said I didn’t want to leave. We walked around for a little bit, me feeling like a ghost, Chooch scolding me for not listening to him when he said I shouldn’t ride the Vortex, Henry hoping to emerge from the fair without hemmorhaging money.

Then Henry pointed out a sign that said “Cowlick Milkshakes, the Best at the Fair” or some other superlative, and I don’t know why, but at that moment I had to have a fucking Cowlick Milkshake. I wasn’t even sure what it was because my brain was still trying to piece itself back together, but I knew that if anything was going to help me heal, it was a Cowlick Milkshake.

Turns out a Cowlick Milkshake is just a regular milkshake in your standard milkshake flavors of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry.

“I thought it was going to be a cowlick flavor,” I said in a pouty tone when we walked away with two chocolate shakes.

“Ew, why would you think that? How could ‘cowlick’ even sound like a good flavor?” Henry asked with a disgusted look wrapped around his moustache.

BECAUSE I WAS NOT THINKING RATIONALLY OK. Maybe I was confusing it with a Cowtail candy thingie. Cowtails are good. I imagine a Cowtail milkshake would be as well. But probably not a Cowlick Milkshake; you’re right, Henry.

About two hours after we left the fair, the shock wore off and I started to cry. I was in total Final Destination mode for the rest of the weekend after that.

Gayle texted me later that night and said that they had stopped running that side of the Vortex, which tells me that this probably happened again to some other dumb asshole!

****

The next morning, I woke up feeling like I had been bench-pressing a car. I had some fucked up Indian brushburn under my left arm, my right shin was screaming, and I had a piercing pain in my right shoulderblade anytime I leaned against something.

I told Henry that I’m done. I’ll never go to another fair or amusement park again. And I HATE that I feel that way. I hate that I’m practically a bubblewrap burrito now, because these were things that were fun for me, and now this one shitty experience could ruin it all for me. What will summers be like without riding shit like this until I get sick? Without getting excited because the Big Butler Fair has a new ride? Without at least one spin on the Zipper?!

I hate this. But I think I might be done riding things, for real. At the very least, I’m DEFINITELY never going anywhere near a carnival or county fair hosted by MIDWAY RIDES OF UTICA. They can suck a fucking dick. MIDWAY RIDES OF UTICA SUCKS, PASS IT ON.

(Um, I might still go on this ride though, if I ever come across it again.)

****

I will now address some FAQs that I have been getting ever since this happened:

Do you actually expect to go to county fairs and be safe??

While I try not to “expect” anything in life, yes, I do go to the fair with some sense of being safe. This is what state laws and regulations are for. This is why rides are required to be inspected. This is why you don’t hear news reports of thousands of people dying at the county fair every summer. Freak accidents can and will happen, but most of this shit can be prevented by the diligence of trained ride operators, which is what I hope to find at these places.

Don’t you know you shouldn’t ride the rides at the fair?! Only amusement park rides are safe!

We aren’t “safe” anywhere. In one weekend this past summer, seven people were injured at Cedar Point when the log flume tipped over while it was ascending a hill and at a Six Flags in Texas, a woman was flung to her death from a roller coaster. Dude, a toddler died after contracting e.coli from a PETTING ZOO at one of the fairs. Last year, some guy was shot OUTSIDE of a county fair. It’s not just the rides. A bitch can get killed pretty much anywhere.

Don’t you think you’re being dramatic?

Look, I was pretty certain after a few seconds that I probably wasn’t going to die, but if you honestly think I’m blowing it out of proportion, well, just pray that something like this doesn’t happen to you someday.

How were you able to squeeze your fat ass into a ride like that to begin with?

An ass-corset made of strategically-placed industrial strength Ace bandages, Spanx and a wreath of tiny elven butt-huggers.

****

On the brightside, before we left the fair, Henry bought me a pretty necklace that some Ugandan broad made out of paper. I wanted two of them, but I guess my near-death experience wasn’t worth $30 to Henry. Oh well, it will be a nice accent for my new bubblewrap suit.

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Aug 012013
 

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We weren’t even on the boat yet, and this is what Henry looked like.

The fact that I was so dead set on taking a boat tour of Cleveland is kind of weird for a number of reasons:  I hate river water. Lake Erie scares me. (HOW CAN A LAKE LOOK SO MUCH LIKE THE OCEAN!?) Being on a boat makes my mind reel with impending cataclysm. ASSHOLES take boat tours. But the biggest weird reason is: what is there even to see on a Cleveland boat tour?!

But for some reason I had fond memories of taking this same tour on the Goodtimes III in 2004 with Henry, which is odd in and of itself because how many fond memories of Henry do I really have from back then?

So you might be able to understand Henry’s confusion when I was like, “WE CANNOT LEAVE CLEVELAND WITHOUT BOATING IT UP.” I just vaguely remembered that there were cool bridges along the Cuyahoga, some of which swung out to allow boats to pass, others of which raised in a drawbridge-esque fashion. Even though bridges also terrify me, I though that perhaps Chooch would enjoy this.

I even bought tickets for the last tour of the day from my phone because I was so afraid it was going to sell out before we arrived. WHO AM I?!

Anyway, after Henry nearly killed us by turning the wrong way down a one-way street in the middle of downtown Cleveland, we finally made it to the boat area place and Chooch and I were practically throwing elbows at people trying to get to the will call window to claim our tickets. Somewhere along the way, we lost Henry. But Henry or no Henry, Chooch and I were still going on this fucking boat. It was my dying wish.

Henry found us sitting on a bench, watching the people from the earlier tour stream off the Goodtimes III, which had just docked. I asked Henry where the hell he went and it turns out he was helping some delivery driver back up his truck. Of course he was.

“And then I had to pee,” he continued over top of Chooch’s and my raucous laughter. He helped some guy back up his truck?! Why does he even tell us these things!? And then he mumbled something about how “assholes” like me and Chooch kept walking behind the poor guy’s truck while he was trying to back up and he couldn’t see. Go be a Good (Driver) Samaritan somewhere else, Henry. You’re stinking up my air with all your do-goodery.

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“I helped some guy back up his truck. What’s so funny about that?!”

Finally, it was time to board so some nautical person barked into a megaphone that wasn’t very mega for everyone to form a single file line. Chooch and I raced to get into line, going out of our way to cut people off, while Henry just walked casually, like a person who doesn’t feel the urgency of boarding a boat.

When we finally crossed the plank-thing, Chooch and I ran for the upper deck. And it’s a good thing too, because there were approximately…..four other people up there. But gradually, more people made their way up to our deck and I quickly began to rack up entire families to hate.

The worst of which were the Ralph Laurens—my polite pet name for the Von Moneyfucks taking up two rows at the front. The patriarch came complete with a sandy toupee and a white sweater tied around his shoulders. At one point, they had a crew member take a group photo of them and their yuppie spawn so they could retreat to Chateau le Douche and show their staff that they slummed it up with their blue-collared people.

“Muffy dear, I couldn’t find the pâté de foie gras, but I procured us some of this bourgeois delicacy that the commoners enjoy at the ball game. I think this might be quails egg yolk on top.” This is what I imagined he was saying in his pompously bombastic tones as he returned from the snack bar with a plastic tray of nachos. CHORTLE CHORTLE, MOTHERFUCKER.

I guess their yacht was in the shop.

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Separating the Von Moneyfucks from us were two couples who weren’t too annoying at first. The one couple was older, the wife was maybe in her early 40s and the husband looked like he was in his 50s and praying for a quick death. They had what I can only imagine was an adopted toddler boy thing. The other couple were in their early 30s and the guy took pictures of EVERY FUCKING THING WE PASSED with his wannabe professional camera while the wife sat there making the older lady feel like shit for being a disheveled mother.

The only real highlight of the tour was when we cruised past an area where a shit ton of murders happened and Eliot Ness couldn’t solve them. Of course the area was some sketchy lot strewn with giant ant hills of garbage and old tires. (To be honest, I actually missed this entire part and only started paying attention when I heard “Eliot Ness” so then Henry had to tell me.)

At one point early on, the mom turned into Speedy Gonzalez and starting making loud ay yi yi arriba arriba noises at her toddler who looked extremely horrified by this and proceeded to sleep for the next three hours probably just to put his mom out of her misery.

NOTICE I SAID THREE HOURS. This was only supposed to be a 2-hour tour, but after an hour into the tour, we were very nearly Gilligan’d.

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So, remember those aforementioned bridges? Well first of all, Chooch didn’t give a FUCK about them because he was too busy obsessing over the snack bar and all of its contents which Henry refused to purchase. Second of all, some dude behind us was deviating from the recorded narrator to tell his kids all the insider info about them, which was ANNOYING AS SHIT at first until I realized that he works for a bridge-building company and then my ears started to perk up because maybe that means he has some money to spend on me. Third of all, the very last drawbridge-esque one we cruised beneath turned out to be quite the motherfucker.

Right after the last bridge, the boat had reached the turnaround spot, and I rejoiced because the last half hour had been total bullshit, all this industrial spanse that no one cared about. “Here is where the city gets their rocks.” NO ONE CARES. So of course, it would be on the most desolate part of the river where something would go awry.

We were headed back to that last bridge, which had JUST WORKED 5 minutes ago, but now the bridge wouldn’t raise. The captain had to brake (?) the boat while the moron bridge operator tried to get the goddamn thing to go up and it just wouldn’t budge. So we had to sit there and watch as all these lucky bastard cars got to cross the bridge while laughing at the sadsack tourists who were now stuck in muddy-brown river water, buoying methodically with nothing to look at but GAS TANKS on the left and I don’t know, piles of dirt on the right. Somewhere nearby, someone was probably getting stabbed over a drug deal gone south. It was that kind of area and I was hoping that I wouldn’t get caught witnessing any wrongdoings by a Mexican drug cartel.

The captain came on and explained that there was a “situation that only happens once in a blue moon, probably just a blown fuse” and that the electrician had been called, so here, just enjoy some crackly AM classics* and please try not to kill one another. We’re just going to keep floating here for another 20 minutes and then everything will be fine, you’ll see.

*(I guess this is the back-up for when the boat reaches the end of the river and there is nothing left for the ancient cassette tape to narrate. At one point in the BEGINNING OF THE TOUR, the tape got all fucked up and you could hear someone frantically rewinding and then fast-forwarding, trying to get it to match up to our location. This trip was doomed from the start.)

Oh at first it was funny. Watching the rich people cuddle to “How Deep Is Your Love”; Henry getting all nostalgic over “Muskrat Love”; laughing alone at “Afternoon Delight.” But then 20 minutes had turned into 45. The captain interrupted “Night Fever” to let us know that the electrician had arrived and you know, it should hopefully be any day now.

Ironically, “Blue Moon” came on and that poor toddler woke up just in time to witness his haggard mother dancing to it. “I wish she’d put her hat back on,” Henry mumbled, because her stupid baseball cap covered half her face and it was nice then. The less we had to see, the better. Then the younger of the two couples started drinking beer and apparently thought they were being HILARIOUS drunks. Mmm…maybe to fans of Dane Cook? Tyler Perry?

Chooch started to stress-cry at one point. I jokingly said, “Gee, Chooch. You just HAD to take a boat tour!” and I half-expected him to pick me up with his rage-muscles and punt me off the side of the boat.

He was, um, pretty pissed that I said that.

Mysteriously, the bridge-worker who was once behind me had disappeared. I wondered if he was on a lower deck, poring over blueprints.

Or getting fired.

Meanwhile, we kept catching glimpses of a hard-hatted man pacing along the top of the bridge like Bob the Fucking Bridgefixer. Unfortunately, it took him quite a while to fix it so the assholes in front of us started searching the boat for a deck of cards. Blue Moon Dancer came back and said that there was apparently one deck on the entire boat and someone beat them to it. Finally, a small victory for me. I don’t think I could have handled watching them play cards, but I also didn’t want to move from my seat because I was certain I would get ill. OH AND MY PHONE HAD DIED. I had to sit on this fucking boat with a dead phone. Motherfucker. (Henry’s was dead too and Chooch’s was in the car, waaaaaaah.)

After a while, I started having some pretty dark thoughts. I watched an airplane fly above us and began to imagine it crashing into the river, so now not only will we be stuck on a fucking boat, but now we’re stuck on a boat floating among plane crash carnage. I started imagining a storm coming in from Lake Erie (there actually were storms on the horizon, it looked so scary) and tipping the boat over. I started imagining that the Von Moneyfucks up there had mob ties and their fortune was primarily drug-money, probably some blood diamonds too, and now we’re about to get shot at from a rival Don who wants Sandy Toupee out of the game and THAT IS HOW I KNOW THE BRIDGE BROKE ON PURPOSE OMG.

I snapped out of my nightmare hypothesis mode when the captain came back on to tell us that the bridge had been successfully repaired, but it was temporarily operating on something that would only allow the bridge to literally creep up. Which meant we still had a good 25 minutes to continue to sit there, watching it raise like Huge Hefner’s penis.

Of course, I didn’t get to capture the entire boat exploding with cheers and applause when we were finally able to pass beneath the bridge and make our way back to the dock—which was another hour out of the day. Nearly 4 hours total, I was so pissed, and also slightly delirious.

“They could at least give us our fucking money back,” I cried angrily to Henry.

“Why? It wasn’t the boat’s fault,” was Henry’s rational response.

“I’M GOING TO WRITE A LETTER!” I bitched.

“To who*? The bridge?!” he asked sarcastically.

YES, MAYBE.

*(Henry doesn’t like saying “whom.” It makes his blue collar itch.)

It was after 7PM when we got off that fucking hostage boat, and nearly 10:30 by the time we got back to Pittsburgh. I can’t wait to add this to the evergrowing list of things Chooch likes to throw back in my face whenever we have an audience. “Remember that time that MOMMY made us take a BOAT TOUR and then the BRIDGE BROKE AND WE WERE STUCK FOR WEEKS WITH NO FOOD?! Oh how I hate her.”

Probably the last boat tour any of us will be taking in quite some time. Maybe even forever. Take THAT, boat tour industry.

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Jul 152013
 

Earlier tonight at work, I checked my email on my phone and was shocked when I saw some angry rant about gerbils and assholes, a la Richard Gere. I couldn’t imagine what I had done, and then I realized, “Oh, this must be spam.”

marcus

But after I read all of it and Googled the company in the email signature, I’m pretty sure it’s real and that Marcus has the wrong Erin Kelly. Amber2 and I were all giggly about it, and then I received another email.

marcus2

WTF Marcus, you’re fucked!!

Nate got involved after email #2 came in and decided that he was going to call Marcus and fuck with him, but then he saw the part about “emergency stress leave” and decided that he didn’t want to contribute to any more stress, so instead we googled some of the main players and found Scott, whose asshole is screaming out for a fresh, large gerbil on LinkedIn. Same company and title, so that part is legit. And he looks like he needs some ass-stuffing, that’s for sure. Pompous prick!

We also found Lisette, but sadly–no photo.

There’s a Marcus from Hamilton County, Ohio who has a mugshot on the Internet, and another one from West Virginia who’s some type of felon, so I can only guess that our Bakersfield, CA Marcus is also a jailbird.

I’ve been sitting around here all night waiting for more emails. Will Marcus get himself out of this hole!? Did Leo think Lisette was cute or not? Will Marcus learn the hard way not to threaten his boss’s asshole over work email? WHAT IS RICARDO BEING INVESTIGATED FOR? I CAN’T STAND IT.

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Jul 052013
 

So, after a weekend spent studying Alyson’s imitation of the Boston accent, this is what Chooch came up with. I was pleased that he made it about hockey but I kept telling him that it didn’t make sense because Ovechkin isn’t a Boston Bruin. But Chooch didn’t care; I think he just likes saying “Ovechkin.”

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