Jul 102015
 

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

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

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

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

GOD WHERE DOES HE GET THIS!?

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

Traffic on a rural road.

Gridlocked traffic on a rural road WITH NO CELL SERVICE.

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

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

I started to fucking cry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was doing it, too.

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Haunted jewels and lipstick.

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

I think we were clear on this one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bitch, more swag for me then!

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Oreo is basically tamed now.

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

And he did.

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

“What cat?” he asked, puzzled.

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

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

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

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

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

Henry pretty much shut down after that.

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

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

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

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

Not mad enough to not wear it, though.

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

NINE MORE.

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

The tl;dr version of this post is:

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

Chooch’s version is:

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

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May 312015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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May 252015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 032015
 

Me, looking around at all of the groups of friends who were stoked to be seeing Circa Survive together: Don’t you wish we had a crew?

Henry: Nope. I wish you did.

*********

Tuesday, April 28th marked my 4th time seeing Circa Survive in the span of one year. (The 6th time seeing Anthony Green in general, though, if you count the Sound of Animals Fighting and Saosin.) And it’s  too early in the morning for me to attempt and count how many times since 2005. Suffice to say, I really love this band and I was giddy as fuck all day at work because I was going to see them that night.

We went straight to Millvale after Henry picked me up from work and ate at the Grant Bar & Lounge. How have I been going to shows at Mr. Small’s for more than a decade and never eaten here?! And to think we were originally going to eat at the Subway across the street.

This place was everything I love in a dive: First, you have to walk through the bar to get to the dining room so you can take a quick tour of the town’s underbelly. And the walls are faux-stone! It was so Bavarian! I LOVE BAVARIAN.

Old school waitress buzzer!

I can’t really explain why else I liked this joint so much, other than you could tell it hadn’t been renovated since before I was born. I love dark, cave-like restaurants.

Henry had a burger and I had a grilled portabello sandwich with homemade onion rings. The food was fine (my Yelp nemesis gave them a thirty paragraph review all to say that his experience was “fair, a three-star experience, the Thesaurus taught me 92 new words as I was writing this review.” Fuck, I hate that man so badly. Of course, he gave 5 stars to the place in Millvale I originally wanted to try, so now I’m glad we didn’t go there), but it was really the ambiance that made it special for me. (Until the bitch-baby in the booth across from us started acting like an asshole and of course no one cared because she was the granddaughter of one of the waitresses and every single person eating there was a townie and used to it.)

We were about to pay the check when I overheard the old broads in the booth behind us inquire about the desserts, and our waitress started bragging about the coconut cream pie. THAT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PIES. But it’s really easy to get a shitty piece. They ended up ordering it and when I saw that the topping was whipped cream and not meringue (a thousands fist-shakes in the face of meringue), I had to order a piece ASAP.

And I shouldn’t have, because my stomach was already emitting a series of beeps and shocks to remind me that it was over capacity.

But, pie.

COCONUT CREAM pie.

It was the best damn coconut cream pie I have ever had, and I felt so strongly about this that I wrote a “Dear Grant’s Bar” love letter on the back on the check. (Henry was just happy that it was a positive ode for once, and not one of my infamous THIS PLACE SUCKS I HOPE YOU DIE death threats that I may have been known to scrawl from time to time before dashing out the door.)

However, those last forkfuls of food (what would my Yelp nemesis have used here? Vittles? Sustenance? Something Arabic?) really sent my digestive system into overdrive. I thought I would feel better once we walked to Mr. Small’s afterward, because walking off a meal typically helps me, but no. I spent the rest of the night in deep regret. And by regret I mean that I reached a point where I couldn’t even stand up straight. And of course it was a sold out show, and the balcony area was VIP-only that night.

We ended up all of the way in the front row, but over the side, so I could lean against the stage all night. And lean I did. At some points, I was also sagged and half-collapsed across it, too. The pain was real and just kept getting worse.

The opening band was CHON. I knew that Henry wouldn’t like them. I whispered, “FYI, they don’t sing” when we were waiting for them to come out. Henry HATES that. But I have been following them on Facebook for a few years and was excited to finally see them. I heard a girl nearby ask the guy next to her if they were the same style as Circa Survive. The guy and I both laughed at the same time, and he said, “Uh, no. Not at all.”

I’m sorry, Henry, but they were pretty sick to watch and I felt like they were channeling Chuck Mangione at times. I don’t listen to this style of music very often, but it served as a nice reminder that vocals aren’t always necessary to feel something, and I am definitely guilty of focusing too much on the singing sometimes.

Balance and Composure was next and I have to be honest here: seeing that they were on this tour made me even more excited about it because I have liked them for years yet have somehow never seen them live!

I have also never really paid attention to what they look like, so I was in for a shock when they took the stage because Jon, the singer, looked so much like my co-worker A-ron that I started to wig out a little bit. I kept taking pictures to send to all of my work friends, and the next day 98% of them were like, “Holy shit, are we sure it’s not really A-ron?!” except for TODD who said that it only kind of looked like him, and JEANNIE who frowned and said “not at all” and that it just looked like “an average guy with brown hair.”

“If everyone else said it didn’t look like him, you would say it did,” I said to Jeannie in a huff, which just made her laugh BECAUSE IT’S TRUE! She enjoys being the voice of dissent. But whatever, because when I saw A-ron that day, I said to him, “I’m surprised you’re here today after your big show last night” and then I showed him the picture and A-RON HIMSELF WAS LIKE OMG. But showing him turned out to be a mistake because it totally went to his head and then he kept making air-guitar motions and that was just weird.

Anyway, seeing Balance and Composure was worth the wait. I loved it, even though my stomach was like, “NOW can we go home??”

“Remember that coconut cream pie?” I dreamily said to Henry after CHON, punctuating it with a tiny burp.

“It wasn’t that great,” he mumbled.

Somewhere in between CHON and B&C, the super normal, inoffensive and unassuming girl who was next to me moved to a different spot and before I had the chance to move over into her vacated space, the grossest couple usurped it from me. The girl was about 5 feet tall and had SCENE HAIR. I haven’t seen SCENE HAIR since 2009. It was big and teased and so close to my face that I fixated on ripping out the bobby pins all night. And she stunk, you guys. Like Love’s Baby Soft and filth.

Now I’m picturing her trying to visit someone in jail with all of those bobby pins in her gross hair.

Her boyfriend was this big fucking Jersey Shore gorilla juice head who was wearing a TIGHT DRESS SHIRT.

You know how sometimes you just can’t help it, but you hate someone on sight? These were two people who did not have to give you any more of a reason to hate them other than just existing. AND THEY KEPT LOVINGLY GIVING EACH OTHER PECKS ON THE LIPS as if I wasn’t already having a hard time holding back my bile. I was having vivid hallucinations of yanking the rat’s nest off her head, I just couldn’t stand her. And during B&C, she spotted Anthony Green and squealed to her boyfriend and then jumped up and down and clapped her tiny little scene-fairy hands and I was like OH HOW FUCKING SWEET. YES I’M SURE YOU HAVE A SHOT WITH ANTHONY GREEN.

Then Gorilla Juice Head left her to stand ALL ALONE while he went and purchased practically one of everything from the merch booth for her, which she then kept in a pile on the side-stage area in front of her, and I swear to god she kept looking at me over her shoulder and then sliding her t-shirts closer to her, like yeah bitch, I’m going to steal your XS shirts. I just hated the way she kept looking at me, like I didn’t belong there, and I know it’s awful and I shouldn’t care, but it made me feel really uncomfortable (like I wasn’t already thanks to Grant’s Bar) and I started to feel like everyone was staring at me and that maybe I really didn’t belong there, and I haven’t had such low self-esteem issues like that at a show in a REALLY LONG TIME.

I would have just moved somewhere else, but I really needed to stay where I was because leaning against that stage was like a literal crutch for me, that’s how bad my stomach hurt. It was a sold-out show, and there was quite honestly no better place for me to go, other than home. And I wasn’t leaving without seeing Circa Survive.

Then this happened: 

WOW JUST WOW HENRY.  
Also, I felt disoriented because I swear every time we go to Mr. Small’s, something in there has changed. They’re constantly working on additions, which is great, but it’s made it seem very unfamiliar to me. I felt like a stranger in a place that used to be home.

And this is why this ended up being the worst Circa Survive show I’ve ever gone to. And it’s nothing against the band at all, because they were such amaze much wow as usual. I just could barely enjoy it.

They played all of my faves from Juturna. That album never gets old.

 

I felt like I was floating out of my body at one point. The pain, so real. Call an ambulance. And Henry kept getting pushed into me and every time I felt his belly pressing into my back I wanted to fucking murder him. I kept turning around to glare at him and he hissed, “What do you want me to do? Do you SEE all of the people in here?!” Ugh, I just didn’t want to be touched! It was terrible! Anthony’s antics were only making it slightly more tolerable, but I admittedly kept praying, “Please let this be the last song” 20 minutes into their set. It was hard enough standing there in physical pain, but the vibe from the crowd exacerbated my discomfort. Even Henry was like, “There were a lot of assholes there that night.” And Henry’s threshold for assholes is much greater than mine.

 

I was really looking forward to this show. I woke up with that excited thrill in my belly and spent all day at work bouncing in my seat, counting down the minutes. But, I guess they can’t all be wins, right? This show ranks at the bottom, with the 2005 Grog Shop show and last December’s Philly show with Terri tying for first place. That December hometown show was just so right on so many levels.

It took more than  two days for my stomach to make up with me. I don’t know what the hell Grant’s did to me, other than my stomach just being overly sensitive to greasy food these days. That’s one way to keep the weight off!

***

Today, while following Chooch around on a bike trail, I asked Henry some questions about his billionth Circa Survive experience. Here are his scintillating* answers:

*(I did not consult a Thesaurus on that, thx.)

What did you think of CHON?

*gives me a ‘don’t be stupid’ look*

Did you like Balance and Composure?

Ehhhhhhhh. Not really.

If you could use your beard to smuggle anything into a concert, what would it be?

I don’t know. I wouldn’t. Why do I need to smuggle anything in? I just want to get out. 

Do you like old or new Circa Survive songs best?

I don’t know the difference. *mumbles: I can’t believe I’m answering these*

What was the highlight for you? You’re sleeping!!

I’m not sleeping, I’m thinking! I don’t know. Two girls fighting at the end. 

Off the top of your head, name three bands that you dislike seeing even more than Circa Survive.

Whatever that first band was. Crone? Cron? 

Slaves. 

If Anthony Green started a line of barbeque sauces, how tempted would you be to try them?

That’s a weird question. I would try them, but only because it’s barbecue sauce.  

I would pour some on my Anthony Greenbeans and dip my Circa Surfries in it. How does it make you feel when Anthony spreads his mouth open with his hands?

Weird. 

Does it bring back prepubescent memories of sexual confusion?

*sleeping for real*

HENRY!!!

No. 

(I don’t think he understood the question.)

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Apr 222015
 

A few weeks ago, Janna sent this devastating message to my cellular phone. Naturally, I sent it to Corey and then also posted it on Instagram with the hashtags #JannaWhite #Heisenjanna #JannaMakesMeth and Corey immediately piggybacked with #JannasDoubleLife #JannaPaystheToll and #LockYourMedicineCabinets

I was laughing so hard about this that I started to see sparks in my vision. Henry of course was scowling because he just doesn’t understand. It’s the generation gap, I think. Probably.

A couple nights later, Janna and Corey came over because we were going to attend a Tenebrae service at my old friend Brian’s church. Brian is actually the music director at the church. I haven’t seen him in years (he lived in Nebraska for awhile) and I’ve always wanted to attend a Tenebrae service, so this seemed perfect. Janna agreed to go even though she was sick, and she showed up at my house with an entire box of Kleenex in tow. And then Corey said he wanted to go too, because Church on a Saturday night?!?! Yes, please!

I tweeted something about this and Barb immediately said something along the lines of how we better behave, which made me crack up, because what a horrible idea, Corey and I going to church together.

On the way to the church, Janna told us the Robitussin story. In a nutshell, she tried to go through the self check-out line and it wouldn’t work so a clerk had to come over type in codes and then that still didn’t work, so then they made her go to a regular checkout line, at which point she was asked for her ID and she didn’t have it on her.

“I kind of threw a fit and just slammed the bottle down into the candy bars and left,” she said, and Corey and I were crying over this image of Janna hulking out over needing ID to buy cough syrup. Then apparently she went to the bathroom and when she came out of the stall, the manager was waiting for and accused her of stealing the Robitussin and taking it into the bathroom to slurp it in privacy, so then she had to take the manager over to the checkout line and prove that she left it there.

The whole point here is that Janna was sick as fuck and had a coughing fit during the Tenebrae service and had to excuse herself, which made Corey and I start cracking up in God’s House. It was even worse when she left, because she had been separating us, so now we were able to see each other laughing, and that just made it worse and oh god, my kidneys. I had to turn to the side and cover my face with my hair so that I wouldn’t see Corey in my periphery and that hopefully none of the somber church-goers would notice that I was red-faced and crying in the back pew. (Yes, we were smart enough to sit in the back pew.)

Meanwhile, some old man in front of me had pulled out his phone and was blatantly recording the service and kept slowly panning from left to right, so I was like, “Well, if this dildo is going to be so obvious, then I’m at the very least going to grab a quick Instavid.”

So I did, but then it started PLAYING BACK AT FULL VOLUME. I was like “Abort! Abort!” and ended up accidentally deleting the video in the end, but at least no one seemed to notice what was happening because the singing was so loud.

Janna eventually came back and Corey and I were bracing ourselves for another laughing fit, which started as soon as we heard rummaging in her pocket for a cough drop, followed by the rustling of the wrapper as she opened it.

Maybe I should quickly inform you what a tenebrae service is. It’s like a Roman Catholic church thing that happens around Easter. It’s supposed to start out with all these candles lit, right? And then as the service goes on, the candles are extinguished one by one until the church is all dark by the end, and then there is supposed to be a loud bang, signifying the earthquake that followed Jesus’s death, and then everyone is supposed to leave in silence.

These things did not happen. Some candles were snuffed out, that part is true. But the overhead lights stayed on the whole time and there was no apocalyptic bang at the end! I was pretty bummed about that, because in my mind, this thing was billed as a Scary Church Event.

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Actually, now that I’m looking at the poster, it says nothing at all about tenebrae. I KNOW THAT THE FACEBOOK EVENT DID THOUGH.

Luckily, the music and the singing were actually really sad and beautiful (Song of the Shadows, y’all), which obviously is my favorite kind. One of the soloists is an attorney-by-day, and Corey and I were obsessed with her. She was also in the Miss America pageant once! Maybe I’m making that up! I can’t remember! Where’s my program when I need it?!

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I paid real money to light a candle! I didn’t cheat the church! #newleaf #Ijustlikefire

We were going to just leave after the bang-less ending, especially since Janna was feenin’ for her ‘tussin, but then Brian grabbed the mic to thank everyone for something and urged everyone to stick around for the reception. And then he said the magic words:

Sugary treats.

Corey and I exchanged looks of exaggerated merriment. “Sugary treats!” we mouthed to each other around Janna, who was looking like she might pass out at this point.

We followed those “in the know” out of the church and across the street into an adjacent building, where tables of sugary treats were set up in a small room. Right before we entered the room, Janna had a truncated coughing fit and some old man amiably commented that “uh oh, someone sounds sick!” I almost died. Janna was drawing attention from The Olds. Maybe they could have a cough drop exchange in the parking lot.

We were among the first to forage for sugary treats, THANK GOD.

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It was difficult to be so close to the parishioners because I was giddy. The Laughter was threatening to eject from my mouth at any given moment, so I made sure to not make eye contact with anyone. I filled my places with the critically acclaimed sugary treats and hightailed it to the back of the room, where Corey and Janna joined me and we proceeded to stand in a suspicious circle, looking totally out of place, and giggling nervously. The unfortunate part of our location was that it was near the garbage can, so a steady stream of church-goers kept interrupting our heretic huddle in order to pitch their empty punch cups.

Finally, Janna had enough of this and brusquely picked up the trash can and then slammed it down a few feet away from us, so it was just chilling alone in the middle of the floor. Corey and I were like, “HOLY SHIT, JANNA IS SO VIOLENT WHEN SHE’S SICK!” She had this “Nothing is funny right now” look on her face, which just made us laugh even harder, and there is a thing that you should know about my brother: he has a REALLY LOUD LAUGH. The kind that ricochets off walls and bald heads and causes all eyes to fixate on us. It is simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing.

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I think this was before Janna slammed the garbage can down.

Some old lady came over and asked, “IS THIS ON?!” because there was a coffee maker on the counter next to us. I was like, “Bitch who knows?” so she pushed a button and cold water squirted out, so she was like, “I guess not” and then walked away. Even this was hysterical to us. And then another old lady attempted to get water out of a water cooler but it was empty, so she shouted, “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME THERE’S NO WATER” and then Janna pointed out that there were bottles of water on the counter, so the lady was like, “I’M TAKING ONE” and then stormed away. I think Corey wanted her to be his spirit animal. He was pretty entranced. Everything just seemed like a blatant parody that night, like all of these people were walking caricatures put in this room just to test our resistance to cracking up. Newsflash: our threshold is ridiculously low.

I wanted another peanut butter thing, but I was afraid to go back to the table because the room was way more crowded and everyone knew each other, which meant they knew that I didn’t belong. IT WAS SCARY.

After awhile, I decided that we looked too suspicious, so we went out into the hallway to wait for Brian, and this is where I honestly came very close to peeing my pants, so I cried out, “DON’T MAKE ME PEE I’M WEARING A SKIRT!” and possibly people heard this, but everything was So Funny!

“I feel like we’re a sleeper cell,” I blurted out, and Corey was like, WTF is that so I explained it to him and he was like, “WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT!?” I don’t know, actually. It seemed to make sense at the time because we moved in a tight huddle everywhere we went, like we didn’t want religion to penetrate us.

Corey kept hashtagging everything that was happening (there was even a #tenebraeslut!) and Janna was like “#canwegonow” but I wanted to say hello to Brian since he invited me there, after all. We ended up having to go back to the church to see him, because he had slipped out of the Sugary Treats Room to go back to his office. On the way there, Janna reminded us for the 87th time that she was really sick, so I told her she could just wait in the car as long as she didn’t spill her syrup everywhere. But she just sighed and trudged along after us. 

Brian gave really bad directions to me via Facebook messenger so we ended up in parts of the church that we probably shouldn’t have been. (Corey started to walk into a room right behind the altar and came backing out in a hurry, waving his arms in an “abort! abort!” motion. He said there were two men back there, reading the Bible.*)

*(Literally reading the Bible, you guys. This isn’t some weird Altar Boy euphemism.)

We eventually found him, and it turns out the problem is that I just didn’t understand “front of the church” versus “back of the church.” So we had a quick reunion with Brian, who pelted Janna with a handful of cough drops for the road, and then we left before the whole Church thing started to make us soft, like we’d start picturing Jesus frowning at us every time we started to laugh at Janna’s pratfalls. The whole night was almost funnier than the “Janna Stole Her Mom’s Car” incident.

Almost.

Janna was like, “I NEED TO GO HOME AND DIE” — which obviously is drug addict speak for “I need to go sit on the bathroom floor and drink my Sizzurp” — so she left as soon as we got back to my house. But Corey stayed for awhile and we giddily filled Henry in on the evening’s events, and he laughed at exactly zero parts. Then Corey drew a picture of Janna drinking Robitussin and we were both crying while Henry shook his head disapprovingly and Chooch drank in the bad influence filling the air around him.

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Apr 182015
 

 

I was trying to call my dad, Henry on a payphone but I didn’t have change. Some girl behind us laughed and It was weird. Oh, and I was singing Payphone by: Maroon 5. Mommy said I was a mess and dirty so mommy kept yelling at me. Also before we went on the T a bee flew past my face and I got scared it was going to sting me like another dickhead bee did when I was walking home from school with my mom. And I went to Sunoco with Mark and his mom. Sunoco never had a Shake and Smoothie machine so I got a smoothie. It was a really good Strawberry Banana Smoothie. It was $3.05 and Daddy only gave me $2.21 for Sunoco. So Mark’s mom had to pay for the rest. When I got home, I told mommy that I didn’t have enough money for the smoothie so Mark’s mom had to pay the rest. Mommy gave me $2.00 to give to Mark’s mom. Because she didn’t want her to thing we are mooches. And on the T there was a little girl who couldn’t wait to sit next to me she was looking at my phone, too.

 

It was the Anime Convention in Pittsburgh, PA and Daddy probably had a CRUSHY on this girl in a PRETTY dress, O.O!  I was sort of bored and my legs were tired I felt like I  was going to collapse. When ever I walk for a long time my legs start to wobble.

 

Daddy is a misbehaved, and idiotic Dad. He goes to Ice Cream places and beer stores because he likes beer. I really don’t know what else to say about him  that’s really it.

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Oct 172014
 

Last night was Parent/Teacher Conferences, f/k/a Open House, at Chooch’s school. Chooch kept mouthing off last week about how it was actually on Monday and I was like, “Yeah right, shut up, kid. What do you know?” Because, really. Who listens to an 8-year-old, amirite? Kid has gotten his seat moved like 18 times since the beginning of the school year, so I figured he was trying to thwart any chance of a Parent/Teacher powwow.

Henry and I got to the school a few minutes early. Like any other time we’ve gone to these things, the door to the school was wide open and the hallways were lit. A giant WELCOME PARENTS banner hung in the hallway.

Which was empty.

Typically, there’s a bake sale table set up right inside the doors and parents milling about. But that night, it was eerily quiet.

However, the door to Chooch’s classroom was open and the lights were on, but no one was there.

“Maybe she went to get dinner,” Henry suggested. So we continued to walk up and down the hallway, looking at all the artwork (in my case, making fun of it because I’m a dick), until I noticed that it was now 5 minutes after we were scheduled to meet with the teacher.

“Are you sure it was tonight?” Henry asked me for the 87th time; I was very indignant and sure of myself the first 58 times he asked me, but I have to admit that I was now beginning to doubt myself.

“I mean, that’s what I chose!” I cried defensively. A paper was sent home and I circled “Thursday” and “6:30.” I WAS SO SURE OF IT UP UNTIL NOW.

Just then, a lady burst through the doors and ran up to us.

“Where is the library?” she wheezed from her heroic jog.

We shrugged, so she asked the janitor who told her to follow the signs. I noticed those signs but didn’t think anything of them, but when we asked the janitor if there were conferences going on that night, she told us, “Yes, in the library. Follow the signs.”

That’s weird that the signs wouldn’t blatantly say that, I thought to myself. They said something else that related to parents, Parent Nation or something, so I guess good old Open House was going through its third name change. Good to know. I guess the library was like the meeting place? We’d meet the teacher and she’d escort us back to her classroom? Seemed stupid. But then again, all school things seem stupid to me.

We walk into the incredibly small library just as the school principal is in the middle of talking about the best methods of approaching other parents. Everyone looked up and gave us a warm welcome, and one lady stood up and made a huge commotion over rearranging seats at the table to give us room to sit.

This must be Chooch’s teacher, I thought. She seemed so happy to see us!

There were 8 other people there, sitting at this table, and they all seemed pretty enrapt in the discussion. Some people were even frantically scribbling notes (and not just doodling; I checked).

I figured it was a mix of other teachers and parents, that this was some kind of program we’d have to sit in for a little while before conferences began.

Chooch’s teacher happily slid some handouts to us from across the table. Those, in conjunction with another woman complaining about how hard it was to get the principal at her school to respond to complaints, made me eyes start to glaze over.

And then—wait, why was this lady speaking about another school?

Chooch’s teacher seemed to be doing most of the talking and all I heard was “INVOLVEMENT! COMMUNITY! CHILDREN!” Basically three things that I’m not about.

They started talking about a food drive at one point. And a Latino Parents Group.

After about 20 minutes of this, Henry spoke up and asked, “Excuse me, but is this the parent teacher conference?”

Everyone turned and stared at us.

The principal repeated the question back to Henry and said, “No….those were Monday.” And then he said what this thing was but I can’t remember now because I didn’t care enough.

“You’re welcome to stay!” Chooch’s Teacher who clearly is not actually his teacher because his actual teacher was probably home watching the HOCKEY GAME WHICH IS WHAT I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING, said warmly. “And please stay!”

“Yes, stay!” everyone said collectively like it was a fucking cult. A cult of parents! The worst kind!

“Well, we’re here now, so why not!” Henry said with a laugh, at the same time I was beginning to stand up to leave. So I sank back down in my uncomfortable chair and side-eyed him menacingly.

We got more handouts.

Then people got to ask questions.

“Boy, there are so many issues to comment on, it’s so hard to pick!” laughed the Asian dad next to me and I was like STFU this is dumb. This is around the time I began to notice the broad ethnic spectrum in the room. I guess it was some urban parents’ group, I don’t know, but there was a lot of concern about crime and violence within the schools. Apparently, this was some kind of monthly round table and this month it just happened to be hosted by Chooch’s school.

I thought this meant we were nearing the end of the thing, and I was getting especially eager to leave. My face was still flushed with the horror of having eyes on me and I felt like my scarf was slowly choking me. Also, it was really hot in that room and I wanted food. But not their food. It looked weird and meaty.

Then some dumb lady with a baby started firing off questions about how Chooch’s principal handles bullying in the school, and that part of the night was actually supremely interesting to me. I also liked hearing how much the principal enjoys interacting with the kids there. For Christ’s sake, he knew we were Chooch’s parents as soon as we asked him about the conference.

Since we were on the topic of bullying, one of the ladies who had been studiously scribbling notes piped up about the program they’re doing at her school for bullying. “We’re doing these skids,” she kept Skids? Like skidmarks? That’s all I could think about, and I was trying not to laugh but everyone was just nodding earnestly. “Parents are going to get on stage and be bullied in these skids,” she said.

OH. SKITS.

“OK, we’ve only got about 30 minutes left, so I’m going to hand it over [some other lady] for the trivia portion of the night,” Not Chooch’s Teacher announced. She started passing out sheets of fluorescent paper and I was like, “No, I’m not doing this. Peace out, bitches.” So I kicked Henry under the table and we politely excused ourselves.

“Well, it was nice meeting you all, but we’re going to have to leave now. Only got the babysitter for an hour!” Henry said jovially. OK MR. PERSONALITY.

The principal walked us out to the hallway and we had a nice conversation with him about Chooch and how he’s doing but then Not Chooch’s Teacher came running out with a clipboard and said, “I know you guys were here accidentally, but we would love it if you gave us your name and number so we can contact you about future events!”

And because I just can’t say no, I signed the dumb thing and didn’t even put down Planned Parenthood’s phone number instead of mine.

Then Chooch’s principal (whose name I’ve apparently been mispronouncing for the last year) promised to tell Chooch’s teacher that we were there and would still like to talk to her.

“Yeah, I just don’t want her to think that we, you know, blew her off,” I said matter-of-factly and the principal laughed nervously like saying we blew someone off is suddenly edgy and provocative.

***

When we got home and told Henry’s mom what had happened, Chooch stood up and cried, “I TOLD YOU CONFERENCES WERE ON MONDAY!!!!” He was one smug little fucker.

 

 

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Sep 252014
 

I started to feel pretty run down on Monday, but I took some vitamin C and crossed my fingers, which surprisingly does the trick more often than not. But by the end of the work day, my throat was feeling weird, I was making stupid mistakes, and I definitely did not have pep in my step, although I’m not sure I ever do on a good day, either. And then HENRY made me take the TROLLEY home, which ended up being stalled for over 20 minutes because a drunk person was on the tracks so that was 20 extra minutes I had to sit there and breathe in what everyone around me was breathing out.

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#blamehenry #vintageiOS #great #ohgreat #reallyfuckinggreat

The next morning, I woke up at 5:33am with Marcy on my chest and my throat hosting the Devil’s bonfire. I probably shouldn’t have went to work at all, because I spent all day under two layers and a huge blanket and was still shivering. Then Henry texted me and said Chooch called him from school and said he was having a hard time breathing (also, he told the school he has asthma, which he totally doesn’t), so he got to go home early and all I could think was I WANT TO GO HOME TOO! And then my supervisor was all, “Yo, you made these two really bad mistakes” which I don’t even remember doing, so can we blame my sickness and pretend that I’m not actually stupid? I just wasn’t myself.

But stupidly, I was still going to go to work the next day! Until I texted Henry to see if he could take me because I felt too weak to walk to the trolley and he was like, “OMG STAY THE FUCK HOME THEN.” And then it turned out I had a little bit of a fever, and Chooch was still sick, so for only the second time in 4.5 years, I called off work.

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That time Dr. Henry advised me what to do when Chooch & I were “wick.”

Our day went like this:

Morning: We quietly rested. For about an hour. Then we were bored. Even though I should have been laying down. I sat in front of the computer, wrapped in a blanket and shivering, and attempted to finish writing a blog post while Chooch played some dumb video game while seemingly coughing up an entire rib cage. Then my friend shared a Cure-bashing article with me on Facebook, so I spent a good hour blowing my nose and plotting that “author’s” demise. Surprisingly, I only called Henry once, but when he told me he couldn’t just stop working and come home, I hung up on which is what I do when I don’t like his answer. Obviously, this happens a lot. So then he decided to suck up:

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Fuck you and your Maple Waze pumpkin secons, Henry.

Afternoon: Around noon, Chooch decided he was going to go lay down in his room and watch his stupid videos on his phone, so I was like “YAY TV” until I remembered that I get bored instantly with watching TV. I put on Netflix and for some reason “Heavenly Creatures” was the first thing that was suggested and I haven’t seen that movie since it came out in the nineties so I decided to watch it and remembered that it is mostly pretty boring, but it also made me realize that this is basically if me and Christina had met when we were 14. I drifted in and out during it and at one point, I was lost in a world where all I could hear was Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and that made me realize that I’ve heard that song THREE TIMES in ONE WEEK which seems like a joke, but somehow, it’s very real. I know what you’re thinking: where is she going that she keeps hearing this song? An aerobics class in 1982? No, just my bedroom. Some variety radio station which is right now at this moment playing the current Top 40 hit “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz, apparently is being blackmailed by Laura Branigan. Luckily I came back to reality in time to SPOILER ALERT watch the one mom (“mum”–this was New Zealand) get her head bashed in by two brick-swinging teenagers. Good plan, guys. I called Henry during this shit show and he was like, “IT’S ONLY 1 O’CLOCK I CAN’T COME HOME YET” and it’s times like this I miss having a land-line with an old-school phone I can slam back into the cradle.

Then I started watching “The Innkeepers” and Chooch came down during this and was like FINE I WILL WATCH IT EVEN THOUGH FOR SOME REASON I DON’T LIKE HORROR MOVIES ANYMORE. What a boring, actionless movie. I vaguely remember seeing the previews and wanting to see it, but now I’m like, “OMG how was this even in the theaters?” There was only about a half hour left and still nothing had happened, so Chooch was like, “How much longer do we have to deal with this?” And then I was trying to explain to him how I knew certain things were going to happen because of context clues and he kept asking more and more questions so finally I was like, “Fuck it, I’m too sick to explain this. It’s because I’m psychic. I know all this shit because I’m fucking psychic.”

Earlier in the day, Chooch had pointed out that his heart was beating really fast. Like a good mom, I decided it would be a wise idea to follow up on this, so I asked him if it was still beating fast. He placed his hand on his chest, and with a shrug, he said, “No….now it’s not beating at all.” OMG WHY DOES HENRY LEAVE US ALONE TOGETHER. (Real time aside: Chooch and I are arguing over who has been sick longer. Oh wow, so he’s got half a day on me, but who had more of a fever? ME. That’s who.)

I decided to watch Hemlock Grove, because it was on my Netflix list, and what else did I have to do but half-lay on the couch, whimpering with my arm slung across my forehead? It pretty much immediately started with SEX AND BOOBS so I was like GO AWAY CHOOCH! and he was like I WANTED TO GO ON THE COMPUTER ANYWAY, BYE! So he watched his dumb YouTube videos on the computer with his headphones on and I tried to stay focused on the TV but it’s just not my thing. I thought at one point that maybe it would be nice to get dressed and go sit in the sun, but every time I stood up, my body was like NOPE.

I don’t do “sick” well. A few weeks ago, some of my co-workers were talking nearby about how babyish and helpless their husbands become when they’re sick and all I could think was, “Ha-ha, Henry doesn’t get that way at all. But that sounds familiar….OMG that’s ME when I’M sick! They’re describing ME!”

Then one of the characters on Hemlock Grove SPOILER ALERT turned into a werewolf and I cried to Chooch: WHY CAN’T YOU BE A WEREWOLF?! God, he’ll never be good enough. And then I became super giddy when I realized that one of the guys looked familiar to be because HE WAS ON DEGRASSI. So then I was going to see if Degrassi was on Netflix but I got distracted by my constant need to moan and essentially go down the list of onomatopoeia for “common cold.”

I’m pretty good at sound effects. Little known fact about me that my blog doesn’t convey.

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EVENING: Man of the Year FINALLY waltzed through the door sometime after SIX O’CLOCK. That’s just madness. And because he was carrying a bag of Maple Waze pumpkin secons (which turned out to be maple glazed pumpkin cookies) and a box of cupcakes from Vanilla Pastry Studio, all is supposed to be forgiven? Kind of like when a husband cheats on his wife after work with a tranny and then brings home some chocolate FOR NO REASON. I mean…it helps. Don’t get it twisted.

So we accosted him before he had a chance to even make it to the dining room. “Ugh, you both have those whiny eyes” he groaned as we started fighting over each other to tell him in high-pitched voices how sick we were. There was a lot of HELP US WE’RE DYING!!! exclamations going on and instead of taking our temperatures, that asshole looked at the TV and said, “Oh, you’re watching Hemlock Grove without me? That’s nice.” I WAIT FOR NO ONE.

“Did you give him any cough medicine?” Henry asked me.

“No,” I casually answered. “He said he didn’t want any.”

“OMG,” Henry sighed. “It doesn’t matter what he WANTS. You give it to him anyway!”

Sorry, I thought this was a Pro-Choice household.

“Did we get anything in the mail?” Henry casually asked, as if I wasn’t languishing on a bed of disease right before his eyes.

“I DON’T KNOW! YES! I CAN’T REMEMBER! GO FUCK YOURSELF!” I screamed. UGH stop making me have to THINK!

Then Marcy made her first appearance since breakfast, cautiously coming down the steps and peering into the dining room. “I know Marcy. I’d hide under the bed from the sick kids, too, if I could.”

Fuck you, Henry.

He didn’t even don his frilly apron and make us faux-chicken noodle soup. We gave him the easy way out and told him he could just order dinner from Giovanni’s which normally would have great but I couldn’t taste anything, so that made me even bitchier.

And then that sonofabitch went to bed at EIGHT THIRTY because he was SO TIRED. Are you fucking kidding? You come home and half-assedly tend to us for two hours and then oh my god, you’re suddenly SO TIRED now?

“I can’t wait until YOU get sick!” I shouted to him, which resulted in my head feeling like it was being curb-stomped. “We’re not going to give a shit!”

“You never do,” Henry shrugged. “And besides, I’m able to take care of myself.”

UGH I HATE HIM. SMUG MOTHERFUCKER!

****

Today I’m on late shift, so I got to have time this morning to get my bearings. I feel much better than I did the last couple of days, but still a little off. I don’t get sick very often, so when I do, please forgive me but THE WORLD IS ENDING. Chooch conveniently doesn’t have school today, so he’ll get an extra day to recuperate. He gets this awful cough several times during the school year and it usually results in him needing breathing treatments. Henry mentioned this last night and Chooch’s reaction was to pump his fist and cry, “Yes!”

And now I will end this with a sincere “You’re welcome” to everyone who did not have to deal with us yesterday.

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Sep 112014
 

THE SET-UP

A few weeks ago, back when CHRIS STILL WORKED HERE, the firm announced its upcoming Global Day of Service. CHRIS decided that Lauren and I should join her in signing up for some organization that has to do with trees.

“It’ll be great!” she said. “We can hug trees!” she said. And Lauren and I blindly followed. And then you know what happened? CHRIS LEFT BEFORE GLOBAL DAY OF SERVICE EVEN HAPPENED!

Last week, Lauren and the rest of the people in our group received an email saying that we would be mulching in the business district of Bloomfield (a Pittsburgh neighborhood right outside of downtown). That seemed OK to me. I imagined us sprinkling mulch upon tiny saplings, blowing a kiss at it, and then moving on to the next one.

On my way to work yesterday, I was on the phone with Henry and he asked what it is exactly that I was going to be doing that day.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, even though he wasn’t there to see it. “MULCHING, whatever MULCHING is.”

“Oh my god,” Henry laughed. “Please tell me where you’re going to be so I can come watch.”

Later that morning, I found out that another co-worker volunteered on Monday for the same organization and was so sore, she had to work from home. I laughed about it, because please. I couldn’t imagine any charitable organization expecting law firm slugs to do any heavy-lifting. I mean, when Lauren and I volunteered at the Food Bank last year, we basically just looked at cans of food for three hours and talked about how great Nutella is.

(Seriously, how great is Nutella?)

Clearly this co-worker was exaggerating. I mean, obviously. And she apparently was pulling vines out of a hillside and not mulching, like we would be doing. You know, drizzling down pocketfuls of mulch onto trees like sprinkles on an ice cream cone. Because that’s what I was going to be doing all day, twirling all around beneath the beaming sun, singing Emarosa songs in my head.

But then I started to panic.

“Why am I starting to think this is actually some sort of chain gang?” I cried to Mean Amber, who wants me to write an entire blog post explaining how she’s not actually mean at all, and do you see how bossy she is?!

Lauren was likewise freaking out and we collectively rued the day that we signed our souls away for a fucking ice cream sandwich.

(Albeit, a damn fine ice cream sandwich. Mine was blueberry ice cream inside a snickerdoodle! It was delightful, snickerish, and doodley.)

AND THEN I found out at 11:45 that we were leaving at 12:05 and not 1:00 like I thought (because instead of reading emails, I like to play a game called Guess & Assume), so I didn’t have time to eat lunch! I figured I would be ok though. I’d just eat when we got back at 4, that’s all. I forget to eat a lot of days so it wouldn’t be anything new.

THE BUS RIDE

Lauren and I were the first ones on the shuttle bus and I was starting to feel giddy, like we were going on a field day and oh, what sorts of adventures were we about to have? It doesn’t take much to excite me.

The bus loaded up fairly quickly. It was mostly all people from other departments. There were only 4 of us reppin’ the 10th floor, and one of the 4 was missing: Patrick. Finally, I spotted him strolling casually toward the bus, eating a peach like a goddamn farmer.

I lost it, just totally interrupted Lauren with my chuckle-vomit. Patrick was the last one to get on the bus, and he ever so calmly strode to an empty seat adjacent from me, and went right back to eating his peach.

“What?” he asked, catching me laughing.

“Nothing,” I wheezed. “Just the way you’re eating that peach!”

“What’s wrong with how I’m eating my peach?” he asked seriously.

“I mean, nothing. It’s just funny because you’re so casual about it,” I tried to explain, wiping away crumbs of cachinnation from my mouth.

“How should I eat my peach?” he pressed, and I was like OMG JUST FORGET IT.

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Patrick and the Peach.

Meanwhile, the shuttle driver was forcing people to get out their phones and put his number in it, because he wasn’t going to be sitting around waiting for our philanthropic assed, ok? Lauren and I just sat there and made no effort to take down his number, but Patrick was ALL OVER IT.

The driver, whose name was either Dale or Gale or Nail, told us that the group of volunteers he picked up for the morning session was too large and they and to get a bigger truck.

So then I started picturing a dump truck hauling all of the law firm volunteers to the site on a bed of mulch. Meanwhile, Patrick was trying to get us to buy his house. He actually lives in the same neighborhood as me, so we spoke briefly of Purple Pants because he knows her too.

Then Dale/Nail/Gale pulled over because he thought he got a flat tire and someone in the front said, “That was just that lady,” and I started cracking up because riding on buses reminds me of going on tours and I get super slaphappy.

THE LOTION

Our valiant driver booted us out onto some corner of Bloomfield. At our feet was a mountain of bagged mulch, wheelbarrows, enticing tools, and four people in fluorescent yellow t-shirts.

“There’s a guy in a ponytail,” Lauren said off-handedly. “He’s probably going to be cool.”

And also, a woman.

“Oh my god, who’s THAT GUY?” I sighed dreamily as my eyes fell upon the most beautiful blue collar of them all. “I claim him!” His name tag said Jake.

The leader of Trees gave us a brief rundown of the organization while we all passed around sunblock. I showcased my competency right off the bat by inadvertently squirting too much into my hands. I still proceeded to smear all of this into my skin, looking like I was getting ready to go to a costume party as Powder.

“Oh my god,” Lauren laughed, spooning some lotion off my arm with her fingers. Some stranger from another department followed suit and I felt so violated. Then, in a moment of HOW AM I GOING TO RID MYSELF OF THIS LOTION, I slapped some onto Patrick’s arm. Lucas, rounding out our 10th floor quadrant, gave me the universal “I’m good!” motion as I turned my splooge-hands toward him.

I had nowhere else to rub my hands so I just shoved them into my orange work gloves, suntan-splooge and all.

WHEN IT WASN’T SO BAD

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Jake took the reins from whatever the non-hot guy’s name was and gave us a short demonstration of what we were going to do which, newsflash, seemed more like aggressive weeding and less like “mulching.” said since there were 20 of us, he was going to put us into groups of 5. I yelped audibly enough for Jake to hear and pressed myself closer into my 10th floor group. Jake laughed. “OK, some of you have friends here, so you can make your own groups if you want.”

We needed one extra person so a girl named Amy was brave and came over to join us.

“And I guess I’ll just stick with your group,” Jake said, to which Lauren and I exchanged looks of “FUCK YES.” Also, we got to wear neon yellow vests, and I was obnoxiously happy about that. I LOVE NEON.

MULCHING

Aside from feeling self-conscious because passers-by were ogling us, mulching started out OK. In fact, I couldn’t believe how easy it was! We worked our way down one side of the street, picking out trash from tree beds, pulling out the small assortment of weeds poking through the old mulch, and then putting down a new layer of mulch. Sometimes we didn’t have to put down new mulch at all! I was having a lot of fun using my mulching weapon too, which I had silently named Walden. (After Bradley Scott Walden, duh. Google that shit.) I quickly discovered that hacking away murderously at unsightly weeds was almost as satisfying as hacking away at the faces of fake Mexicans from Ohio. Therapeutic. Cathartic. EXHILARATING. If I wasn’t wearing my murder gloves, I would have texted Henry and told him that I was quitting my job to become a landscaper.

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While working on one tree bed in particular, we observed that the number of cigarette butts had increased exponentially and then someone pointed out that we were in front of a bar. A nice, light-hearted moment before things went downhill.

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Then this guy ^^^ stood around and observed, like what we were doing was any of his business! GOD.

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This was before Lauren savagely whacked Amy in the head with the wooden handle of a rake.

After we had worked our way through our designated area, Jake exclaimed, “Wow! You guys are working so fast. Let’s move across the street and help that group over there.” So we were feeling really heroic at that point. I was, anyway. Like a landscaping bad ass. Where’s my fucking cape?

During this time, I made the rookie mistake of wrongly identifying a rose hip bush as a plant full of under-developed persimmons, but don’t worry: Patrick made sure I knew I was an idiot for thinking that. Then Lauren pricked herself on one of the rose hip thorns like this is some goddamn fairy tale and then we had to hear about it for the rest of all time!

I think was after some random lady stopped and asked what we had done to get ourselves put on a chain gang, ugh. WE’RE NOT A CHAIN GANG! WE’RE VOLUNTEERS!

It didn’t take long to finish primping the trees on the next block, so Jake decided that we were going to walk back to home base, load up our wheelbarrows with some mulch, and then continue on down the street to meet up with another group. This sounded great, like maybe we were nearing the end of our service. Then I made the mistake of looking at my phone and seeing that it was only 2:00pm. We still had two more hours?! How could that be possible.

Somehow, I got strapped with one of the wheelbarrows and it was just a disaster, so Lauren traded her armful of rakes with me and I was glad that she hadn’t fallen into an eternal sleep after getting pricked by the rose thorn.

Once we made it back to the Mt. Everest of mulch bags, Jake realized that the other group was too far away for us to transport the mulch via wheelbarrows, so he demanded that we pick up the bags and load them onto the back of his truck and then he would just drive everything down. Physically, I was fine up until this point. I mean, it was hot out so I was sweating a little bit, but it wasn’t like, “OMG I’M GOING TO DIE.” Until I started lifting bags of mulch. Now, I have moderate back problems and I have known this ever since I had to quit playing tennis because of it when I was 16. So I should have been like, “Hey guy, I’m going to excuse myself from this portion of the day’s activities.”

But no. I’m stubborn and lifted like 8 of them in succession because why? For what? Was there a prize? A medal? NO. JUST 48 HOURS OF CRIPPLING BACK PAIN. The day went from leisurely weeding to recreating the goddamn work site scene in The Ten Commandments.

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The pain was so immediate that once I lifted the first bag, I knew there was no way I was getting it up into the bed of that damn truck, so I had to pass them off to Lucas.

Thank you Lucas.

THE LUCAS INTERLUDE

In the 4.5 years that I’ve been at The Law Firm, I have had very minimal interaction with Lucas, so I was excited to be tree tenders together. I learned a lot about him, too. Such as: he has a tree in his front yard.

And…he has a tree in his front yard.

MULCHING GETS REAL

One of the other Trees people gave us very sketchy directions which had us crossing over a major intersection and getting trapped on a cement island for an indefinite amount of time. Thankfully, Patrick was there to lead us to safety.

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“Don’t cross yet. Wait for the walk sign.”

Once we made it to the other side of the street, it was pretty clear that we were no longer in the quaint business district of Bloomfield anymore, but more so The Shady Garage borough. We somehow accumulated a lady from one of the other groups, and also three rough men in street clothes who were apparently being paid to do what we were naively doing for free and made some comment to Patrick and Lucas about how lucky they were to get to have women on their team and I was like “We’re going to get raped. In our fucking neon vests. That’s the only way this day could get any worse.”

It was a concrete jungle down on this end: the tree beds were triple the size of the ones we had grown accustomed to and the weeds grew tall and dense and had super thick stems and deep roots. I hadn’t recovered from lifting mulch, so when I knelt down, I started slapping the ground with my mulching weapon in a petulant manner. My energy was gone, my back crunched every time I moved, and I HADN’T EATEN LUNCH AND WAS FEELING FAINT.

But I kept going on because I didn’t want to be That Person.

I know, since when, right?

Jake pulled up in his stupid truck and spouted off some obligatory praises, like, “Yeah. You guys are doing great. Woo. Dig those weeds. Spead that mulch. Go team, go.” You guys. I watched Patrick drop his mulching weapon and begin to shut down at one point.

Patrick has been IN AFGHANISTAN, you guys. Patrick has been IN THE WAR.

PATRICK HAS SHRAPNEL ON HIS DESK AND EVEN HE WAS LIKE FUCK THIS SHIT.

“Remember when we had to pick up all those cigarette butts?” I quietly asked Lauren. “Those were the days.”

I don’t even want to think about how many dogs and drunks have pissed on the trees we were tending to.

After about an hour of hacking down the set of Little Shop of Horrors, Jake came back and said we could cross the street and join the other three groups on that side, which is when we discovered that not only were their tree beds way more suburban, they weren’t even weeding the whole thing! Just narrow strips along the tree trunk! It was APPALLING and we were vocal about our irritation, too.

Oh, and those bastards also had the cooler full of water with them the whole time, too. So, three hours into it, I finally got to have a fucking drink. THANKS FOR THE HOSPITALITY, TREES.

“Hey Lauren, remember last year when we volunteered at the Food Bank and they were practically begging us to eat their snacks and drink their coffee?”

I think Lauren’s response to this was a handful of tears.

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Fake smiles.

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Lucas is thinking about cutting down that tree in his front yard.

Finally, it was almost 4:00 and I have never been so happy to see Dale/Nail/Gale, and the Law Firm, and my non-laborious desk work.

I wish I could go back in time and punch myself in the vag at the exact moment I felt excited when Jake picked my group.

********

Later that night, when I complained for the 548678th time about how exhausted I was, Chooch rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah we know. Because you had to ‘do mulch’ all day. We get it.”

 

 

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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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