Sep 042013
 

SATURDAY!
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Dear Blog,

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

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

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

person asks <x> question.

you answer <x> question.

you ask person <y> question.

person answers <y> question.

repeat until some type of conversational flow is established.

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

person asks <x> question.

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

attempt at wit falls flat. crickets.

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

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

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

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

SUNDAY!

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

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

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

YOU DON’T SAY!!!

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

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

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

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

Ha-ha, “we.”

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

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

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

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

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

LABOR DAY:

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

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

But that’s another blog entry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Apr 172013
 

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One of the things I love most about spring is that it means the flea markets will be in full effect. Some of them are still open during the winter months, but nothing beats rifling through piles of bootlegged DVDs and bongs next to some old overweight skank in Steelers booty shorts.

I was relatively hung over from a wine party the night before (more on that at a later date), and stupidly left the house without making any coffee under the pretense of stopping at Starbucks first, but then Starbucks was OMGSUPERPACKED (it was Sunday morning, duh) and Henry got all angry about that and then we fought and he turned around THREE TIMES to go back home but then I finally got my fucking skinny cinnamon dulce latte and all was right again. I tried to laugh about it later but Henry gave me the “TOO SOON” snarl and shrugged away from me.

(This literally delayed us 45 minutes. Chooch will probably be referencing it at a therapy session somewhere down the road.)

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These are the sorts of things that bring Henry out to the yard on Sunday mornings: rusty tools…..and…..you know, I actually don’t really know what Henry looks at. Vegetables, sometimes. One time he bought incense off some ex-Dead Head.

Maybe I should start paying more attention to Henry.

I do know that he uses the bathroom there a lot.

OMG he’s totally fucking some old Yinzer skank next to a goddamn shit-clogged commode!!

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The Korean “proprietors” of this fine piece of flea market real estate were on  the news last year, having all of their inventory hauled out of their shady house by the police.

But don’t worry, Chooch! They’re back and ready to take your dollars!

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Chooch has to touch EVERY LAST STUFFED ANIMAL he passes. And we’re all, “No stuffed animals!!!”

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Got stuck behind the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants n’at and wanted to chop them up and stuff them in their stupid wheeled luggage.  I still can’t understand why people don’t clear a path when they see me coming,w hcih makes me seriously consider wearing that skin-mask I scored at Ed Gein’s white elephant last Christmas.

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My boo, Wobbling Eye Mole Guy! I think he must know me by now (most likely as “that sucker who will pay way too much for religious shit”) because he said hello to me in an extremely friendly manner and I wasn’t wearing a low-cut shirt, so it wasn’t that.

Unforch, WEMG didn’t have any Christ-like gems tucked away behind vintage Steelers bullshit and stuffed raccoons.

I wonder if he ever had his “operation.”

Anyway, during one of Henry’s “bathroom runs,” Chooch and I stumbled across a pretty cool clown picture and struck up a conversation with the old man selling it. I have a super soft spot for old man flea market sellers. I will almost always give them my money. And this guy was awesome, squeezing my arm and patting Chooch’s head.

Or completely creepy, depending on your sleaze threshhold.

“I gotta get at least $15 for that,” he said and then explained why but I wasn’t listening.

“I’ll be back with my Money Man,” I said with faux importance. He laughed knowingly and molested my arm again.

A few minutes later, Chooch and I ran into a recently-urinated Henry who cut us off by saying, “Yeah, I know. I can already guess what it is you’re talking about. I saw it.” And he really did know! He reluctantly gave me money for another clown picture to add to the clown room in my invisible never-house!

And then he had to carry it around with him for the rest of the morning.

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Hoarder Lady! No visit to Trader Jack’s is complete without strolling past Hoarder Lady’s hoard-carnival.  Chooch insists on touching everything and you have no idea what kind of precariously-stacked mound of clutter this is. It’s a life-sized game of Junk Jenga. I have watched Hoarder Lady swoop down on a Happy Meal toy that some asshole shopper left dangling like a participle and stuff it back into the mountain, corking the inevitable avalanche.

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This is where Steven Spielberg got the props for the inside of the Goonies pirate ship. True story.

(But don’t quote me. I’m shy.)

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“No stuffed animals. No stuffed animals! NO STUFFED ANIMALS! Ugh, fine.” How can I resist a stuffed cat that looks like a Marcy/Don hybrid?

I mean…that face. How can I resist that precious face of my child?

Of course, we had to wait for Henry to return from the bathroom again (“It’s all that iced tea!” he stuttered) and he made the “Oh for fuck’s sake” face before shoving his hand into his money bag. Meanwhile, Chooch struck up a conversation with Hoarder Lady about cats, so now she doesn’t look at him as a human wrecking ball anymore, but someone on her own cat-collecting level.

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Henry always acts all bent out of shape when Chooch and I leave the flea market with bounty, but he has nothing. I mean, what did you want, Henry? If you want a rusty hoe so bad, maybe see if your ex-wife will take you back, I don’t really know what else to tell you. But you’re not spending my flea market allowance on yourself.

I mean, at least we let him stop at the pretzel place on the way home. I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason he goes to the flea market anyway.

Chooch and I always let him stop at the pretzel place on the way home though. Go on, big guy. Treat yourself.

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Jun 242012
 

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Honestly, I had no intentions of buying anything at the flea market this morning; it was just an excuse to collect some leisure-steps on my pedometer. But then I saw this little Nativity set, and then the guy selling it saw me seeing it and shouted “$2!” How could I say no when I have literally always wanted a Lilliputian nativity set for my desk?

(Might not be entirely based on truth.)

I wish I was fast enough to snap a picture of Henry frowning as he begrudgingly slapped a five in my palm.

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The broad in the yellow shirt almost speared my eyeball on the sharp pitchfork she was carrying, dispelling my theory that no one actually goes to the flea market to purchase rusty farm equipment.

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Immediately after I took this, my son Mouth yelled, “MOMMY DID YOU JUST TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT MAN’S BUTTCRACK?!” which of course prompted the plunging crack offender to whirl around and glare at us. My solution was to look all around and hum while rapidly (and stiffly) waking to the next table. He kept yelling, “Hey!” but my completely innocent whistling rendered it impossible for me to hear him, you see.

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Look, it’s the guy (and his wobbling eye mole) who educated me about Saint Rita and sold me the majestic Last Rites box! Walking past him, something clicked and I realized that he’s also the same guy from whom I (and by that I mean Henry) bought an old portrait of a child, which I immediately named Uncle Otis and wrote a nonsensical biography.

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I can’t wait until I’m this old and stylin’. Mixed animal prints: 100% acceptable past the age of 80. (The heads of fashion bloggers are now capped by mushroom clouds at the very thought of this ever being OK. But high-waisted shorts and rompers? Wear with dignity!)

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Chooch is REALLY into flea market shopping and takes it very seriously. This is him impatiently waving wrestler figurines in the air, trying to get the vendor’s attention. The problem is that later when we’re at Target, he doesn’t understand why all the toys aren’t $1, arguments ensue, we come to blows, you know how it is.

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Since I wasn’t looking for anything, I of course found the most amazing clown artifact for the collection I’m going to put in the house in my head. It’s a 1982 Shriner’s relic and if you pull up on the yellow knob and push it back down, the clown spins in a top-like fashion. I was enamored instantly, but Henry was not particularly in love with the price. But by the time we were ready to leave, Henry sighed and handed me cash, at which point I walked in my usual walking challenge pace (“I hope no one bought it already!” I cried to Henry, who mumbled, “No one bought it, believe me.”), slaloming around asshole kids riding bikes down the pathways (seriously? You can’t just walk, you little menaces?), caterwauling toddlers in strollers, and sun-ravaged biker broads boasting faded rose tattoos on their wrecked bosoms, until I made it back to the men with the prized tin clown.

It was a no nonsense, “here’s the cash, gimme the fucking clown” transaction. I even made real life, unscripted small talk with a tall man passing by, who told me he used to be a clown for parties; we agreed that clowns are so misunderstood when all they want to do is bring joy (and possibly stuff a body or 24 under their floorboards).

Good day at the flea market!

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May 292012
 

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I think Henry has been afraid to visit Rossi’s Pop-Up Market ever since I posted the essay I wrote about it for a writing class at Pitt, but every once in awhile he gets a hankering to peruse a blighted pastiche of some hick’s grandma’s soiled doilies and the contents of Leatherface’s tool shed splayed out on a card table for $1 a (rusty) pop all while enjoying the warbling notes of doo wop classics crackling out of a retro sound system.

Or maybe it was the fact that he had money burning in his pocket after THREE KITTEN SELLERS pulled out from under him, but I am not allowed to write about it because “it didn’t happen to you!! It happened to me!! You don’t know!! If anyone is going to tell the story it’s me!!”

OK, Mr. Leave My Life Outta Your Blog.

Anyway, I was happy to tag along because I have found some great religious bullshit at that place in the past (all of which is in my bathroom), and also the best 50¢ picture frame of all time.

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Gary Puckett serenaded us with his cautionary & subtly-statutory love song “Young Girl” as we regarded a cesspool of 1980s board games and framed autographed photos of old Steelers inside one of the rooms of the abandoned multiplex-cum-bargain basement; I wished Henry had crooned that to me eleven years ago. Maybe I would  have heeded the warning.

BETTER RUN GIRL. YOU’RE MUCH TOO YOUNG GIRL = why didn’t anyone say that to me back then?! OH WAIT. Pretty much every single person did except for HENRY who was practically prematurely ejaculating at the thought of my cradle.

We had made it to the parking lot portion of Rossi’s just as my 11-years-too-late musical warning was ending. Chooch and I made the mistake of lingering a bit too long at a table of still-packaged singing stuffed animals.

“TWO BUCKS FOR THAT RIGHT THERE” a Marlboro-ravaged voice rasped threateningly from a few feet back. I dropped the stuffed toy down on the table and mumbled a few non-committal syllables while shoving Chooch away from the threatening Rasper. Making eye contact AND conversation with a junk vendor is pretty much the kiss of death at flea markets.

I took a few casual steps and then ran away, using my jazz hands to accelerate.

This shit never happens to Henry.

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Chooch: I want a rainbow snocone.

Henry: Okayyyyy….what flavor is that?

A duet of Chooch & Erin: Rainbow.

Henry: So….what? Like, lemon….lime….[lifts his glasses up to see the picture on the side of the truck better.]

Me, annoyed / Chooch, still slightly forgiving: RAINBOW.

Henry: Yeah, OK. I know that, but what flavors?

Me, losing it: RAINBOW. RAINBOW RAINBOW RAINBOW. READ THE MOTHERFUCKING SIGN — RAINBOW.

Henry, squinting at the flavor menu: Oh. I didn’t know rainbow was a flavor.

Probably because it was invented while he was in the SERVICE; that’s his excuse for everything he doesn’t know about: snocone flavors, birth control, grammar and the pilot episode of Miami Vice.

Meanwhile, Chooch had to pee and the line wasn’t moving, so Henry tiredly asked me to take Chooch inside to pee. Me! Of all people!

“Uh, do you even know what you’re doing?” Chooch asked in the tone of a sixteen-year-old watching his mom fumble with a bong as I steered him in between ain’t-slinging barterers and garbage cans full of empty Skoal tins and last night’s vomit until I finally made it to the entrance of Rossi’s interior without getting redneck juice wiped on me.

Funny how Chooch’s need-to-pee was suddenly silenced when he came upon a table full of Hot Wheels.

“Keep moving,” I said, steering him toward the restrooms. Nothing very interesting happened while I waited, which is surprising. Chooch came out on the heels of several older men and loudly announced, “OH MY GOD, IT REALLY STINKS IN THERE.” Well, there’s something you might not have known: a flea market restroom STINKS. Thank you Chooch, astute as always.

He almost knocked over a mannequin on the way back out. That would have been amazing, and I would have been Some Stranger helping him find his mommy and daddy.

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“I don’t even want this now.”

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“Henry can I—”

“No.”

He did however actually let me buy a blinged-out elephant bracelet. (When I say he “let” me, please note that yes, I have a job, but Henry is the one with the foresight to take money out of the ATM before we go to the flea market, while all I have on me is plastic. Which means I have to play the But I’ve Been So Good! game. Infuriating.) It was expensive for a flea market buy (a whopping $12!), but I had to have it. Chooch was with me when the transaction went down and conned a dollar from me, which he carried at his side with a PURPOSE.

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Rossi’s employs their own MC, who sits outside on a stage and periodically announces things like, “Jimmy Maplebitch finally scrubbed out the feces in the corner of his stall and wants ya’ll to go and check out his shitty baseball card collection! That’s Jimmy Maplebitch’s stall inside, next to the colored girl’s wig stand.” I don’t know what he was saying that made Chooch stop dead in his tracks, but when I tried to get him to keep walking, he held up one hand, shushed me and irritably barked, “I’m tryna listen to him.”

Oooh-kay.

During one of his spiels, he got unreasonably patriotic (the MC, not my son) and excitedly suggested that all the Vets and SERVICE people (what are they called?) go up on the stage with him, at which point I basically turned into a tug boat in my effort to drag Henry to the stage.  He just shrugged me off with one swift motion and stalked off into a sunset of broken weed wackers and Jane Fonda work-out videos on VHS. This makes me think he went AWOL while he was in the SERVICE.

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Chooch finally found a track set for his cars. He was satiated (for a whole 20 minutes).

As we were about to go back inside the old theater, that goddamn MC got all serious and exclaimed, “LOOK! DO YOU SEE THAT!?”

“What?!” I yelled to no one, just the sky and the ghost of the ringworm that I had in 2002. (Lionel. That was his name, and he is always with me.)

“IT’S A STEALTH BOMBER!” he hollered, and I was spinning around on my heels now, looking like a fat man playing a ballerina, except that I am a girl but just as clunky and oafish.

“Where?! I don’t see it!” I whined, just as that fucker laughed into his stupid microphone and said, “You can’t see it because it’s so STEALTHY!”

Henry rolled his eyes at me for falling for it and kept ten paces ahead of me after that.

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We ended our flea market experience with cupcakes that some broad was selling, and since I saw stacks of pretty pink boxes behind her counter, I took that to mean she was legit and not baking her cakes in a moldy Easy Bake oven purchased right there at Rossi’s yesterday. The one with the jelly splooge was mine: there’s always time for cupcakes, especially when it’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time.

It was good enough to bring me back out to Rossi’s more than just twice a year, that’s for sure. I’d probably still eat it even if it was prepared in an Easy Bake oven.

Right before we left, Henry stopped to buy some cookies off an impatient grandma. Some guy let Henry go ahead of him, which apparently frazzled him, so Henry ordered one chocolate chip cookie and that was it. On the way to the car, he moped about wanting to also order a banana split cookie, which sounds utterly disgusting to me.

“So, why didn’t you?” I asked impatiently.

“Because that guy let me go ahead of him and I felt rushed!” he whined.

And he talks about me.

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Apr 052012
 

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The public access channel on Saturday nights never fails to entertain. Henry and I usually watch belligerent Bible shows with our jaws slack, but on this night we were entranced by Moyé’s Hair Talk Show, which didn’t actually feature much talking but did have a wonderful Anita Baker-esque soundtrack going on.

The girl getting her hairs did was talking about how she is going to be in a fashion show even though she is actually quite shy, and that she is looking forward to walking down the catwalk in front of all of the rich people.

Henry was hyper-critical about the show’s name, as if that was the biggest thing wrong with it.

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The next morning, I ditched Henry and Chooch in favor of a Blue Flame breakfast with Tommy and Jessy, where we had the best waitress ever who talked to me about my tattoo and Chiodos and Jessy was all, “God, just friend each other on Facebook already.” Then we went to the Perry Flea Market, where I didn’t really see anything too cool aside from a bin of vintage noisemakers going for NINETY DOLLARS and a buffet of multi-flavored whoopie pies, of which I bought two to share with Jessy, so now she can never say I haven’t done anything for her when I spent A BUCK FITTY on her, you guys.

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I said we didn’t see anyTHING cool, not anyONE. This man had the most majestically out-of-place moustache in all of the east coast. I was frantic to capture his facial coif to treasure for all of eternity, but one of his daughters quickly caught on to what I was doing and saw right through my “I’m just taking pictures of my friend’s shoulder” charade. Considering this happened right when we got there, I decided to quit while I was ahead.

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I let Tommy explain to me what was so special about this fishing bait bullshit because that’s what a sweet person I am, except that my intentions were stewed in sarcasm and irony. Jessy walked away immediately so she wouldn’t be bored to death, then we giggled about it later behind Tommy’s back.

When Tommy surreptitiously veered the truck onto a back country road upon leaving the flea market, I thought to myself, “Oh how nice, we get to enjoy the beautiful sunshine by looking at the countryside” which is completely out of character for me to think; approximately .0005 seconds later, my new thought was, “Wait — I think he might be driving us to our freshly-dug graves.”

Instead, he pulled into a junk yard (I LOVE JUNK YARDS!) to see if he could find a new handle for my car, because now we can’t open the drivers side door from the outside. Everything Henry and I touch breaks. When I go somewhere alone, I have to get in on the passenger side and pretend like I’m looking for something in the glove compartment while attempting to lean over and inconspicuously pushing open the drivers side door.

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Our last stop was Marcell’s Pottery, which is this really iconic building that I’ve passed a million times in my life but have never stopped in because, well, it’s a pottery shop. However, as soon as I walked through the door, I was met with an icy glare. It took a few seconds for it to register, but I realized it was the Moustache’s Daughter.

I ran over and tugged on Jessy’s arm, hissing at her in a hyper-giddy squeal.

“What are the odds?” she laughed. I mean, the pottery is literally right down the road from the flea market, but we spent all that time, what seemed like an hour, driving around aimlessly, looking at country houses and cars propped up on cinder blocks.

Fought to get a good shot of the ‘stache, to no avail. His daughter was watching me like I was a hooded teenaged boy with Skittles on my person.

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This place had the motherlode of religious shit though, so I was glad we stopped there.

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And pupil-less Dutch kids!

The end.

 

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Mar 202012
 

Last December, I found the most majestic religious artifact this side of the Vatican: a Last Rites shadow box with a statue of Saint Rita inside. (Coincidentally, this is how my Saint Rita obsession started.) Of course when Henry heard the asking price, he kept walking. Erin and her stupid collector’s quirks, right Henry? You asshole.

Sunday morning was warm and gorgeous, so we decided to kill some time at the flea market before the 12:30 Pens game (no comment on that).  Everything was fine, Henry and I acted cordially to each other, even allowing our hands to graze at one point. Even Chooch was obedient and seemed content with the pack of Pokemon cards and 25¢ Happy Meal toy we let him buy (I would totally not have been content with that at age 5, for the record. – Silver Spoon Girl.)

And then it happened: several rotted-teeth Steeler fans parted at just the right moment to allow a sliver of the most wondrous wood-encased sight to peek through. Henry was the one who saw it first; I almost kept right on walking but he stopped me and pointed to it.

It wasn’t the Saint Rita, but a Pieta; still,  its level of divine beauty paralleled it, for sure. And it was the same man with the dancing eye-mole who was selling it.

“$75,” he told Henry, who then walked away. But not me. I stayed there, lightly running my fingertips down the side, drooling just the tiniest bit and feeling a sense of longing I haven’t felt since I was Scott Dambaugh’s 8th grade science partner.

The man noticed that I was still standing there and he came back over to tell me its history, how it was over 90 years old and belonged to his grandmother who had it built into her wall; he opened it up and showed me the spoon that was used to pour holy water over the foreheads of the sick and dying.

Meanwhile, some man began encroaching on us and I felt myself moving closer to the box, shielding him from its availability, readying my foot for the impending crotch-kick it was about to perform.

Turns out he was only looking at some stupid baseball memorabilia on the table behind it. KEEP IT MOVIN’, BUDDY.

The seller left me alone with my painful materialistic yearning to snatch money off some dummy buying something lame.

Determined, I gave it one lingering caress with the promise that I’d return, then I did my Phoebe-run down the walkway to Henry, who was several tables away by this point, looking at rusty tools and vegetables, which is all he cares about.

“I only have $50!” he yelled when I careened to a halt in front of him, pouty-lip and sad-eyes at the ready. I was really starting to lay it on thick (he still owed me for making me miss the Sleeping With Sirens show at the beginning of the month! I don’t forget this shit) so he sighed and said, “See if he’ll take $50.”

“You!” I wailed.

“This is all you! I don’t want that thing, you do!”

OH REALLY THEN WHY DID HE POINT IT OUT TO ME. I would have probably walked right past it! He just likes seeing me hurt, that’s why.

I snatched the money from him and stalked back over to the guy’s table, stood sentinel next to the Last Rites box and waited for him to finish a much-lesser transaction.

When I proposed the new price of $50, he shook his head, dragged his hand over his eye-mole, and said, “No, I couldn’t. I gotta get at least $65 for this because it’s my sister’s in North Carolina and I gotta send her some of the money. These things are worth a lot of money,” he went on. “Just shipped a really rare Saint Rita one to Philly for $125.” (MOTHERFUCK!!!!!)

And then my lip went out and the tears fell down. I was kicking myself for getting him to spend $2 on cookies moments earlier. Then I’d have $52! $52 might sound more enticing to Dancing Eye Mole than $50. “Oh sure, you can have it for $52! That is so much more lucrative for me than $50!” he’d surely not say.

But when he saw my newly distressed state, all the tears and such, he sighed, looked up at the sky and said, “Get him to give you 10 more dollars and it’s yours.”

“OH THANK YOU!” I said in my best Shirley Temple voice, swiped away the tears and galloped over to Henry.

“No,” he said immediately.

“IT’S JUST TEN MORE DOLLARS!” I screamed. “I have a $20 at home that you can have!” (Of course I had no intention of actually giving him that though.)

“No,” he said, holding firm. “I have other things that need paid that are more important than that.”

“But you OWE me!” I hissed.

He just kept walking though, so I fell back and walked alone with my arms crossed.

“Do you want to get some incense?” Henry suggested.

“…..”

“Do you want to look at the stuff inside?”

“…..”

“Do you want me to throw away your coffee cup?”

“…..”

“Oh come on, don’t do this,” he pleaded.

“…..”

He could have asked me to marry him at that moment and my reply would have been a resounding, “…..”

I made Chooch walk real fast with me back to the car. My plan was to leave without Henry until I realized he had the car keys. By the time he had left the parking lot, I had totally wore him down with my pouting and he angrily drove to the closest ATM and got out $10.

It had started raining by the time we made it back, and as I raced over to the man’s table, he was just starting to pack everything up.

“WAIT! I’M BACK! HERE I AM!” I shouted, huffing and clutching my chest.

As he was removing the candle holders and putting them inside the box with all the last rites accoutrements, he reiterated that it would have been mine for $50 if it was his and not his sister’s. Yeah yeah, just give me my fucking treasure!

He placed it carefully into my arms like a baby, and I whispered to him, “I will give it a good home.” And then I tiptoed back to the car, mouthing the words, “Don’t drop it” over and over.

As we left the lot, the shadow box resting handsome-awkwardly on my thighs, Henry mumbled sadly, “Now I don’t have any money to get pretzels.”

(Don’t worry, he dug up change.)

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This is just so aesthetically pleasing to me. I seriously couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day. I have always been so smitten with religious art, relics, Jesus depictions, even as a little kid, and sometimes it will move me to tears. (I have cried every time I’ve visited the Vatican.)  I can’t wait for the day when I have my own house and I can fill a deep-blue room with my collection. I just can’t wait. (This room will be separate from my blood-red doll-head room, of course.)

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Words cannot describe how happy I am with this flea market find. Henry is totally off the hook! For at least a week!

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Dec 232011
 

Came into work today to find a large box beside my desk, all wrapped in a candy cane print. It was from Barb and she told me to open it immediately; within seconds, a small crowd of people privy to the box’s contents had gathered at my desk

I opened it and immediately almost pissed my pants. A few weeks ago, I was at the flea market with Tommy and Jessy and took a picture of this creep-factory of a doll. Of course, by the time I got home that day, I was kicking myself for not buying it. I even checked when I was there two weeks ago with Andrea, but didn’t see it and felt extreme sadness and regret.

Barb knew that I was coveting it and went back and bought it for me for Christmas and I can’t even believe it I am dying of happiness right now punctuation what!?

Of course, everyone was like, “That is so creepy! Why do you want that?!” and then it was fun to watch as they realized they had already answered their question.
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Sean came over and caught me cradling my new (old) doll. He shook his head and said, “Hey, if you’re happy, I’m happy.”

Bridget was like, “OMG THAT’S SO DIRTY HOW CAN YOU PUT THAT SO CLOSE TO YOUR FACE!” or something equally as chastising and oh look she just came back and said, “I wouldn’t touch that if you paid me and I sincerely suggest that you anti-bac your hands.”

Nina and Wendy cried a little bit when they saw it. Mitch and Lee seemed to approve. Chris, who was here when I opened it and looked thoroughly flabbergasted, just walks by now and gives me leery motive-questioning looks.

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He fits in so well with all my creepy shit and Jesus pen!

 

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He’s coming home with me this weekend for our annual Christmas picnic in the cemetery, but I think after that, he’ll reside here in The Law Firm. I like the reactions he’s provoked.

This just solidifies what I already knew: Barb is the best co-worker ever and most attentive friend. (Plus, she reads my blog like a good girl.)

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • I just learned that Barb bought this the same day I was at the flea market with Andrea looking for it.
  • I have been carrying it around the department with me and it occured to me that I am holding it with more natural panache than I have ever held a live baby. 
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Dec 042011
 

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The day started with breakfast at Andrea’s beloved Eat n Park, where Henry went on some weird breakfast buffet hate spree and some other man there had the SAME LAUGH AS HIS.  I could not wrap my head around this, which is weird considering how pliable it is.

Andrea was feeling a little run down* but was all, “Bitch, don’t think I’m missing out on a trip to the motherfucking flea market.” I mean, all flea markets are basically the same, with their dirty ass rag dolls and rusted hacksaws, but at least you get different clientele based on the region. And nowhere but a Pittsburgh flea market are you going to see some asshole wearing head-to-toe Steelers logos. Jesus, go fuck yourself with your football.

(*I even brought her a Jonagold and she was like, “Holy shit, I can’t believe you’re giving me an entire one of your apples.” I know, I could hardly believe it either.)

The very first thing Andrea and I saw was this resplendent shadow box shrine to Saint Rita of Cascia. She had a fucking bullet hole in her forehead, you guys. A BULLET HOLE.

“That’s $75,” said an old man with a hugely distracting mole under his right eye. “Sixty-five years of selling at flea markets and I ain’t never seen nothing like it. One of a kind.”

FUCK.

I did my Phoebe-run all the way down to Henry, who tends to make himself scarce in these situations and it’s only a matter of time before he just leaves me there altogether.

“Do you have $75?” I panted. I tried to pull taut my best “YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIRE THIS IS” pained visage.

“What? No!” Henry spat, after doing that thing where he briefly stares at me in disgust to alert all the decayed-teeth, teased-haired Yinzer women in the vicinity that he’s free for the takin’. And then, curiosity getting the best of him (maybe it was a pony play starter kit I had spied, he might have thought), he finally asked me why.

“There’s some saint bullshit—-” I started but then he turned around and continued to browse bins of medicated hemorrhoid wipes.

Some guy there was totally eating an apple and I almost died.

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Meanwhile, these assholes were strutting around like they owned the goddamn place. I kept trying to take their picture, but they weren’t actually stopping anywhere to peruse other people’s roughly-used merchandise, so I would have to literally run ahead of them, stop a few tables down, spin around and blatantly point my phone at them.

“Do you think people ever notice me acting weird at the flea market?” I asked Henry later.

He mulled this over for a bit before saying that everyone else there is just as weird as me, so probably not. I was momentarily relieved, but only until I became offended.

Almost every vendor has Steelers shit for sale. And even if they had no Steelers merchandise, they were all yukking it up with customers about today’s game.

I could scrawl the word “Steelers” on a Post-It note, have Ben Rapelisberger wipe his ass with it, and some jackass Yinzer would buy it.

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Autographed picture of the Jersey Shore cast, anyone? Someone else was selling this for $400. That’s fucking criminal.

One of the sellers inside was blaring some super sad Jesus music, which totally engaged my stigmata. It almost inspired Andrea to buy a rosary from the Flava Flav collection. (I think that’s the second time I referenced him this week, for no good reason. I guess Snooki’s out, irreverent VH1 reality stars are back in.)

Inside the flea market, Andrea bought something off this lady who I am utterly obsessed with. She has permanent residence there, tables and tables that are absolutely dumped upon with chintzy pearls and ancient Happy Meal toys. If someone picks something up, she rushes over as soon as they walk away to make sure it was put back in the right spot. I want to go there someday and fuck with her so bad, just start pulling shit out from the bottom and watching with glee as she’s buried under an avalanche of 40 years of hoarding.

But, she’s nice to me sometimes so then I feel guilty for having such thoughts. I will say it’s a blessed miracle that Chooch hasn’t given her a stroke yet.

Andrea has decided that Marc-Andre Fleury is her favorite Penguins (and of course our back-up goalie was the one playing in last night’s game; she was so disappointed), so she was rifling through boxes of trading cards in hopes of finding one of his to keep in her wallet, finally replacing that one of Scott Baio that’s currently in there. When she wasn’t looking, I bought a set of the commemorative holographic tumblers that Pizza Hut was selling two years ago and gave her the Fleury one.

“Holy shit, you’re breaking up the set for me?!” she said in awe.

I know, it’s out of character. But I wanted her to have a goddamn Fleury something-or-other.

Right as we were leaving, the man with the saint Rita thing was packing all his shit up.

“Ask him if he’ll take $25,” Andrea suggested. I tried to make Henry do it, did a whole bunch of whining and even tried dragging him over there, but he was like “Fuck  you, no.”

“Will you do it?” I asked Andrea, and she locked eyes with my super-sad, pitiful puppy-eyes and she said, “Goddammit, fine.”

But as expected, he wouldn’t budge. We had to stand there and listen to his sob story (he’s going in for a heart catherization you guys!!) which basically climaxed with him saying that this was probably his last weekend there.

“Do you even know the story about Saint Rita?” he asked us, his mole bobbing buoyantly as he squinted at us skeptically.

We tried to say we did, and he goes, “About how she had twins and lost them?” He gave us this tired “You girls don’t know shit” sigh and filled us in on her story, which I completely forget but I can tell you this: it was DEEP.

I am so fucking pissed that Henry didn’t buy it for me. Even more pissed that I literally only have $23 in my account right now or I’d have bought it for myself as a pity present.

“You bought Chooch a puzzle!” I whined all accusatively, like how dare he buy our child something and not me.

“It was TWO DOLLARS! Besides, he knocked all that shit over so I felt obligated to buy something after that. I guarantee that guy will be back,” Henry said in his dad tone, but I was too busy serving up red velvet cake on Bakery Story to give a shit about anything he said at that point.

Anyway, if anyone has one of those Saint Rita things,  I will buy it off you. Or trade you Chooch for it.

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We dropped Andrea off at her hotel so she could “rest” (code for: have a little peace and quiet; I’m the type you want to have in small doses) and then Henry took me to Soergel’s so I could PICK MY OWN APPLES THIS TIME, OMG HELLO APPLELAND!

I was absolutely giddy, touching all of them and asking, “Will I like these kinds?” but then moving on to the next one before Henry had a chance to answer.

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They even had little things telling me what each apple tasted like! (I am new to shopping for things like this.)

But within a minute, I had come full circle around the apple display. “Is this all they have?” I shouted in disappointment. “I’ve already tried half of these!”

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“It’s not apple season!” Henry yelled in extreme annoyance. This picture was taken at the pinnacle of the aforementioned extreme annoyance. Bitch, I’m learning. Try having some patience.

But then beets caught my attention, at which point Chooch and I simultaneously mock-vomited, causing Henry to say “I hate you” and shoulder his way past us.

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“Ew, this meat comes from the WEENER?” Chooch exclaimed in front of a yuppie mom and her son, who were trying to enjoy their scoops of yuppie ice cream.

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“Buying two of each apple, huh?” the young cashier said amicably as he rang us up.

I was just about to give him my “I’M NEW TO APPLES” story, but I figured I’d spare Henry this one time. But someday I’m going to go back and ask to touch their apple trees. And I do mean hump their apple trees.

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Nov 212011
 

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Or: Because I’m Too Tired To Write Anything Coherently

It’s been a long time since we hung out with Tommy and Jessy, so we had breakfast with them yesterday and then hit up the flea market for old time’s sake. There was a lot of miscommunication in the past and we are hoping to work through that. In any case, it was almost like no time had passed at all. Tommy was still a bully to Chooch and me and Jessy and Henry still spilled stuff all over their shirts at breakfast. Ah, sweet familiarity!

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I was in religious jewelry heaven this time around at the flea market. The last few times we went had been complete busts, but yesterday had me salivating over so many cases of creep crucifixes and saint medallions. And inside the flea market, I was buying incense off some dude who complimented me on my gargantuan rings (I like really big rings). “Your jewelry looks great on you,” he enthused, and I didn’t really know what to say to that. My fingers say “thanks”? Anyway, from behind his booth his pulled out a tray of some custom sterling rings he had made for someone. In particular, he wanted me to see the Aphrodite one. It was pretty fucking regal, I can’t lie. I started throwing out some ideas to him and he’s now in the process of fashioning me a custom Ganesh ring and I’m pretty excited about that. Tommy was all repulsed and said he was just using his incense and jewelry-crafting skills as a means to hit on me, but I guess I’m just too dumb to see it.

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Henry was being super nice to me all weekend, which makes me believe he’s either cheating on me or finally making some bank from the private school kids he’s selling pills to. I found this bracelet that some jewelry dealer was selling at the flea market and when Henry found out he took credit cards, he bought it for me without me having to whine and stomp my feet and I almost died. Henry does a lot of things for me, but spontaneously buying me gifts is not one of them and I’m (usually) OK with that. The trade-off is worth it to me, but there are times when the Old Erin (read: the spoiled brat who had a pappap who took her to Europe every year from the age of 10) whispers to the New Erin that she should just dump this Faygo-slinger for a sickeningly rich widower. One more happy hour at Bossa Nova and I could probably find one; just sayin’, Henry.

Anyway, this same jeweler was also selling this long wooden box with holes in it. Jessy was intrigued and asked what it was.

“It’s an old-fashioned suppository maker,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Oh. Ok, thanks,” she said and quickly walked away.

I should have bought that, too.

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Henry got his boyfriend back, which is probably the real reason why he was being super nice to me.

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If I had known Henry was going to be pulling out the ol’ wallet, I’d have made more of a scene about wanting this nightmare-maker.

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Later that night, we went to Mike and Laura’s for taco night (THERE WERE BURRITOS THERE TOO, THEY LIED). This was Chooch’s first time over their place and he was getting into everything and making my blood pressure rise. Laura mentioned that she had dominoes and I was like, “Good lord, give it to him!” That actually kept him quiet for awhile, until he started whaling a ball against the wall and spilled a can of Mountain Dew on their carpet and I wanted to throttle him.

Laura said she doesn’t mind him because he makes her laugh, which makes me think she must have had an anvil dropped on her head recently.

Mike mentioned that the throw rug in their living room was from Afghanistan and cost something like $2,000 and I quickly said, “Hey, let’s roll this bitch up and move it far away from my son.” The phrase “bull in a china shop,” tends to conjure up images of the bull having the face of Chooch.

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Laura made me drink like 8 pomegranate martinis and then had me play Uno, which was a true exercise in minding my temper. Henry and I can’t play games together without me wanting to vivisect him with the rusty contents of a junk yard. (He has a fear of falling from the sky into the middle of a junk yard. I like to ridicule him about this and then make sure he’s clear that my phobias are legit and non-mockable.)

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I’ve never prepared my own tacos before. I’m usually known to pay someone to do that for me, like someone in a restaurant, Henry, or the Mexican drug mule I keep chained to the basement rafters. But on this night, I spread my wings and did it all by myself, but not without asking everyone things like, “Will rice go OK with what I already have on here?” and “Do I like this stuff?” and “Will this be too hot for me?” Laura pointed out that there was cilantro in something, and Henry was quick to smugly point out that, “Oh, Erin won’t eat that then. She hates cilantro” and Mike said, “Oh, well there’s cilantro in the rice too” knowing that I was already enjoying a burrito with said rice stuffed in it.

“I think it’s the lime and cilantro combination that you don’t like,” Henry theorized, but then Mike said there was also lime in the rice.

“Or maybe it’s just your cooking I don’t like,” I retorted to Henry with my own smugness and he acted all ass-raped.

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And then Henry finished off the night with a hearty protein shot. It was a wonderful way to close out the weekend, but we will for sure get a babysitter if Mike and Laura ever decide to have us back.

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Sep 232011
 

It was kismet that we ended up having to go out to Tarentum, PA that Saturday.

“This place looks familiar. Have I been here before?” I innocently asked Henry.

When he said yes, it was all angry-sounding. I thought it was just because he was annoyed to be driving us out there, but then I later realized that it was a town where some dude who tried to steal me from Henry lived. No wonder Henry was so put-out.

After spending some time in Blackburn’s Pharmacy taking pictures of the cabinet full of old fashioned apothecary relics and getting asked constantly if we wanted to tour the showroom full of toilet seat raisers and walkers, we found Henry and Chooch emerging from some mysterious, dusty store with no name.

“What’s in there?” I asked.

“Stuff you’ll hate,” Henry murmured, tugging at his blue-collar while struggling to think of a word to play on Words With Friends.

Wanting to be my own judge, I shouldered past him and entered this horrible variety store that stank of hoarder’s perspiration, moldy newspapers and a flea market in a thunderstorm on a humid July morning.

“Told you,” Henry sighed behind me.  But Chooch and Andrea had already been engulfed by the store’s innards, so I inhaled deeply (and immediately regretted it) and followed them into the bowels of the store, snagging myself on the old, rusty store shelves and praying that I didn’t wind up with tetanus. (I never realized that “anus” is in “tetanus.” I will now be thinking of that all day. And possibly drawing pictures.)

And then Andrea found a table of horribly tacky shoes in nauseating shades of orange and yellow, manufactured specifically for women to wear when visiting their men in the Joliet slammer.

I thought for sure Andrea would gravitate toward these jaundiced disco stripper boots, but she surprised me by snatching up a pair of Pee Wee shoes for nurses.

“You’re not really buying those, are you?” I asked, full of disapproval.

“Um, yeah!” she said. “They’re only $10!”

I don’t know, you guys; I feel like she got ripped off. They’re so stupid! Still, I was so worried she was going to forget to take them back to California with her. One less dumb pair of shoes in Pennsylvania!

I’m sad I didn’t see anyone wearing this when I was in Tennessee. I had “Baby, Baby” stuck in my head for at least an hour after touching this.

Chooch and Andrea went off on their own and god only knows where Henry was — looking through bins of 1968 cookbooks and garden tools, probably — and that’s when it happened. I was walking down a cluttered aisle, half expecting that junk lady-troll from Labyrinth to come popping out with a handful of marbles and empty Spam tins for sale, when an image struck me in my periphery.

“Oh how cute,” I thought to myself. “A picture frame company that’s actually using intentionally funny stock photos!” I snatched one out of the cardboard box they were stashed in all haphazardly, and that’s when I realized that it was not actually a man dressed as a young girl on the day of her dance recital, but actually a young girl dressed as herself on the day of her dance recital.

Almost immediately, I found myself futilely fending off pee drops. I ran around the store, kicking up 85 year old dust and the stench of mothballs in my wake, until I found Chooch and Andrea.

“LOOK AT THIS,” I panted. “I’m getting it.”

And because they’re assholes like me, they both immediately laughed and gave my sweet find a giant thumbs up.

I ran back to look at the price and was shocked to find that it was only $1 (ONE DOLLAR).

For this gem? A buck? What a steal!

I ran past the giant collection of machetes and found Henry near the register, ready to buy a bottle of Mountain Dew.

“Here, you need to buy this, too,” I said all breathlessly, thrusting the boxed frame into Henry’s belly.

He looked at it and smirked. “You’re not serious,” he said in his Father Tone.

Of course he wouldn’t think it was funny. He doesn’t “get” things like this.

It was only supposed to be $1, remember, but the cashier charged him $2. He got all crotchety about this but I hissed, “Pay the broad, it’s worth it!”

***

I couldn’t wait to display it with pride on my desk that Monday, right in front of my kid’s picture and beautifully flanking my fangirl photo of Jonny Craig. I laughed every time someone would tentatively ask, “So…who’s that in the picture?” clearly wondering what side of my family bears Hispanic Amy Winehouse doppelgangers.

Most of my co-workers jumped on my wagon and a mutual appreciation for the awkward dancer was born. Of course there were a few people who said, “I don’t get it…” They can just go sit on a curb somewhere with Henry, drinking Mountain Dew and being boring and humorless.

Every time I feel sad or stressed at work, I look over my shoulder and laugh all over again. I’m so glad Andrea was here to experience this wonder with me. Andrea and her stupid shoes.

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Jun 022011
 

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At the flea market on Sunday, someone was selling a huge box of Pogs. Remember Pogs? They were big in the 90s, probably around the same time as those dumb Tamagochis. And in this case, “dumb” of course means TOTALLY FUCKING RAD.

There were kiosks at the mall that sold Pogs. My friend Keri and I would dump out bins of them on the floor and sit there Indian-style, sifting through the cardboard disks emblazoned with pictures of the Simpsons and Looney Toons characters until we found ones that interested us.

One day, I hit the motherlode—the OJ Simpson trial series. Are you fucking kidding me, I thought as I slapped my mom’s money on the counter before anyone else could snatch them away from me. I even invested in the slammer (slammers were thicker, harder Pogs; there was a point to Pogs but I never played, just collected) which was something like brass and had OJ’s face embossed on it, flanked by the word INNOCENT. It was the king of all slammers and quickly became my prized possession.

I was kind of obnoxious about OJ Simpson, which even got me booed out of a classroom during the trial. I’m sorry, but I can’t turn my back on someone who had a cameo in Back to the Beach.

People knew about my slammer. Word travels fast about an asshole who believes in OJ’s innocence. This could be because I was very boastful about it, flashing it to classmates whenever possible. I remember receiving a particularly incensed reaction from a group of people in my homeroom (the same group who wouldn’t teach me how to play Magic!). And then, the slammer went missing.

I never did get it back, but I promise you I know who took it. (Same person who convinced me to stick a foil gum wrapper into an electrical outlet!)

Favorite 90s craze? Go!

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Oct 272010
 

A $2.49 cup of coffee nearly ruined it all.

One sip was all I needed to know that whatever was inside that cup was less a pumpkin spice latte, more something that could be used in lieu of Ipecac. Shame on me for getting a specialty drink at a gas station in the first place.

“I paid for that!” Henry bitched as I tossed it into the garbage can outside of Sheetz. Thus began a heated argument over the only thing we ever fight about – money. Yay, money! The finale found me contemptuously exiting the car and stalking off down the highway on foot until Chooch convinced Henry to turn around and fetch me from the side of the road (I was stubbornly attempting to walk to my mom’s house), well-rehearsed apology at the ready.

If he hadn’t apologized, we would likely have missed out on a really great day with Jessy and Tommy, who we were en route to meet at the Perryopolis flea market when the pitched latte presented a road block. (And Chooch would likely be without a father right now.)

I’m so glad we made it to the flea market, else I might have missed out on the most riveting conversation of all time: Tommy and Henry discussing the merits of some motorized tool-thing called a Roto-Hoe, and pontificating the origin of its name. “Why wouldn’t they just call it a Roto-Shredder?” Tommy asked Henry, clearly not yet figuring out that Henry doesn’t really know anything.

“Maybe something else already had that name,” I heard Henry muse.

My sole purpose of going to the flea market was to sniff around for the woman who sold me the ring of all flea market rings last August, but she was nowhere to be found. And no other table provided finger-candy nearly as gaudy or with half the brass-knuckle power as her rings. I was saddened by this, but Chooch sure made out. Jessy tried to teach him how to barter, but he was like, “Why? Mommy’s going to buy this for me no matter what.”

I was watching Chooch as he stood near a table while some gnarly shit-schiller bark prices to him like he was a 35-year-old man and not a wallet-less 4-year-old. He looked so amused by it all and had this sort of laughing ‘WTF’ expression on his face. I saw that same look a few minutes later as he was petting a dog at a booth set up to give a carpet cleaning demonstration and it made me realize that as ridiculous as flea markets are to me, they must be really fantastical from Chooch’s point-of-view.

Sundays with Jessy and Tommy have quickly become something I look forward to (even though Chooch groans and says, “Great. Tommy’s gonna beat me up!”). Something about them makes Henry be super nice to me. Sometimes he’ll even hold my hand. Probably because Tommy asks him questions about THE SERVICE and re-masculates him a bit with testosterone-y discourse (for instance, on Sunday they discussed the cost of fishing licenses). That must put Henry in a good mood or something, even though he peed in the flea market bathroom while all the stalls were occupied with pooping bargain hunters;  Henry wouldn’t stop speaking of the horror for a good hour.

Wouldn’t be my preferred nap-location, but hey – I’m sure selling rusty tools and yellow-paged romance novels is really grueling.

Some haggard tart had a boxful of white studded wristbands (supposedly) from Hot Topic. It was the only thing I saw, besides a gigantically horrific $40 painting of some asshole who founded Washington County, that made me inch toward my iCarly pocketbook.

“How much?” Jessy asked the leather-faced broad, who was busy organizing another bin of stolen goods a few feet away.

“$4,” she hollered back in a not-so-nice tone. “They’re $8 at Hot Topic.”

“How much for two?” Jessy bartered.

“THEY’RE $4 A PIECE!” this fucking landfill souvenir barked. “THEY’RE $8 AT HOT TOPIC, THAT IS HALF OFF.” Oh no she didn’t. This shit-stained remnant of Kool’s packaging from 1974 did not just patronize us.

“Gee, thanks for assuming I can’t do math,” I sneered, exploding with self-righteousness. (This is what I do best in life. Explode with self-righteousness. Ask Henry about the furious letter I wrote in an attempt to get out of a parking ticket.) “Dumb bitch,” I added, as I dropped the bracelet down with exaggerated flourish.

Henry, who was standing a bit away, looked at me expectantly when I approached him with a wrist decidedly not dressed for next year’s Warped Tour. “I didn’t like her attitude,” I explained. “So no sale for that whore.”

Over lunch, we made plans to take a group trip to Lancaster next month. We ended the day with an arousing game of Depends keep-away at Target, which had me (ironically) nearly pissing myself in the toy aisle. I’ve never laughed so hard in Target.

And to think, a $2.49 cup of coffee almost prevented all of that from happening.

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Aug 082010
 

It’s really getting bad over here.  I’m so far into this alternate reality that half the time I forget that I’m not deaf. Or Mexican.

My hearing-impaired alter ego Manuel has really been having a tough time of it. First, he gets stabbed in his apartment by some crazy lady with a knife. Then his life-partner Henry forgets to pick him up from the hospital! That’s low. It’s a good thing they reconciled over season 2 of Queer As Folk the next night.

Then there was the whole affair with the realtor from Michigan and the peanut butter-coated hearing aid left on the commode.

This weekend, Manuel had to make a last minute trip to his hometown in Maryland (the relay operator pronounced it Mary-land) because Mother and Aunt Shirley got in a fight over cat food again and this time it was pretty bad. Aunt Shirley is very serious about her cat food!

Henry is trying furiously to block my personal relay phone number.

***

I woke up at 6:30 this morning to meet Jessy and Tommy at one of the flea markets in Perryopolis, PA. (Tommy calls is Perryhopeless and I’d have a hard time finding anything more apropos.) That’s how you know I love you, when I set my alarm on a goddamn weekend.  Prior to our arrival, Jessy tried to warn me of the utter trashiness of this particular flea market, of the foul stench that could be sniffed throughout the indoor portion, of the fact that she and I would look like hotel heiresses in comparison.

Just driving through the lot, I quickly learned that this flea market was like an outdoor People Of Wal-Mart festival.

And it was awesome.

Femullets abound!

Tazmanian Devil tattoos every which way! On shoulder blades and saggy, sun-damaged bosoms!

Wrecked livers and nicotine-tarnished teeth as far as the eye could see!

Troughs of worthless tools! (In a move reminiscent of Henry, Tommy felt inclined to explain the purpose of these worthless tools and no one cared!)

Piles of novelty t-shirts and creepy stuffed clown dolls!

Then we happened upon a certain expanse of tables and if my life was a TV show, this is where the record scratch would have been inserted. I had happened upon the motherland of cheap flea market rings. I almost never find cool rings at the two flea markets Henry normally drags me to. I couldn’t breathe for a second or two as I ran my fingers gently over the display cases.

I bought three. I didn’t even feel guilty. The lady behind the table kept trying to show me these neon bands that glow in the dark (“They ain’t even gonna turn your fingers green,” she emphasized as many times as Dubya reminded Kerry not to forget Poland – political flashback, holla!) and I kept pointedly ignoring her. She’s lucky her other rings were too fabulous to make her lose a sale. Like this one that’s giant enough to provide back-up next time I try to break Henry’s nose:

And then I really had to pee. Normally I’d hold it, or go behind a teepee and peepee in Henry’s cupped hand. But I wasn’t going to be near “safe” restrooms any time soon, and there were no teepees or cupped hands ready to be participant. I was forced to go inside and make a visit to the “ladies lounge.”

They could have called it The Queen Mother’s Diamond-Encrusted Porcelain Ballroom and it wouldn’t have done much to priss up the piss puddles atop an uneven floor the color of boogers and staph infections, Gretel’s toilet paper trail, or the lingering bouquet of old lady flatulence.

There were three stalls: one had a flooded floor, pubes dipped in menstruation droplets dotting the seat like ornamental garnish at the sewage plant, and a ripped toilet seat cover waving in surrender.  One was occupied by a human emitting low groans. One had a broken lock.

I chose the one with the groaning human. Straddled it’s liver-spotted lap and urinated right between its legs.

But really, I hate when bathroom stalls don’t shut! It’s hard work peeing with one foot slammed against the door.

The groaning human didn’t wash its hands.

I did. Wash my hands that is, not groaned. I lathered those phalanges up REAL GOOD with steaming hot water. Then I rejoined Jessy who bought me a red velvet whoopie pie filled with a hearty splooge of sexual cream cheese. It was enough to eradicate the horror of the bathroom. I’m convinced that baked goods is what makes it all OK. There are times I consider having another child while eating a particularly high class cupcake; makes me momentarily forget the pain and trauma of that whole “creating life” process.

“I totally get what you mean about that delicious aroma,” I said to Jessy. It was like a hearty stew of body odor, Nascar fandom, cigarettes and Looney Tunes t-shirts unwashed after weeks of marinating in Pabst spills, gasoline splashes, and juice squeezed fresh from domestic violence.

Delish.

Meanwhile, we couldn’t find Tommy.

“I left my phone in the truck or I’d call him,” Jessy said.

I didn’t even have to ponder what to do next. I’m always waiting for these opportunities.

“I’ll call him,” I said deviously. “What’s his number?” And as Jessy recited the digits, I typed them hungrily into my IP Relay iPhone app.

AND HE ANSWERED.

Manuel: Thomas. I am looking for you. Jessy fell into the commode. We are cleaning her off and will join you shortly. Thanks. Adios.

Tommy, to the operator: Ok. I know where she’s at. That’s my wife. Thank you. I’m gonna hang up, I’m gonna go where she’s at.

The operator, in parenthesis, informed Manuel that Thomas was speaking too fast. But the bigger picture here is, OMG how nice of Manuel to come all the way back from Mary-land to assist in Operation: Plunge Jessy from the Commode.

While this was going on, Jessy was talking to two jewelry vendors. I was hunkering off to the side, away from the flow of foot traffic, squatting to hold in my laughing-pee. I kept trying to tug on her arm, laughing so hard my speech was on par with that of a slurring retard with a Cockney accent and a fat wang in his mouth.

Jessy ignored me and continued her adult conversation.

By this point, I could barely breathe. I was laughing so hard that it was coming out in squeals. Jessy finally bought something and said goodbye to her new grown-up friends.

“You’re an asshole. I was trying so hard to talk to those people while you were over there laughing like an idiot!”

Then we found Tommy and he still looked confused from his phone call from Manuel. I explained to him and he was like, “You’re a fucking retard.” But I know deep down he was impressed.  Probably even honored to have received a call from the great Manuel.

Before we left, some guy approached us and said, “Do you have any plans for the winter?” He was trying to hook us into learning more about some home renovation thing he was selling.

“I thought he was going to ask us if we had any plans tonight,” I laughed to Jessy as we walked away.

So she turned back and yelled to him, “Hey she wants to know if you have any plans tonight!”

He blushed (I’m taking Jessy’s word for it since I had all but vaulted over vendor tables to avoid the awkwardness that was bound to ensue) and said, “Oh, that’s my girlfriend over there.”

How dare she! Turning me from Ridiculer to the Ridiculed!

Then we went to brunch at the Beach House, where I got to meet Jessy’s mom and her husband for the first time. Both were very lovely and I had a delicious frittata.

“Erin must love her food because she’s not talking,” Jessy said to the rest of the table.

“Thank God,” Tommy muttered.

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Jul 252009
 

Last Sunday, we went to Rossi’s Pop-Up Market (and Alisha wants everyone to know that the essay I wrote about it for my creative non-fiction class was no exaggeration, thank you). Now, the last few times I hit up any flea market, I’ve struck out and spent most of the day pouting about it. Not even any Christopher Pike books? REALLY?

But this time, I made out. It’s a good thing I have very low standards. First, I got a Virgin Mary bracelet which I probably paid about $3 too much for and realized that I have one almost identical to it at home, but whatever. I used Henry’s money.

THEN. Then I found this piece of hot ass shit:

rainbowframe3

WHAT? They just don’t make picture frames like that anymore.

After I scrounged fifty cents out of my pocket, it was mine. ALL MINE. I grabbed that sonofabitch so fast and held it close to my face. To the lady behind the table, I said, “And I’m totally keeping these pictures in it, too!”

Then a piece fell off of it.

rainbowframe2

I have a hat like that! I should wear it today in honor of what I’m doing. Wait – what am I doing again? Oh yeah, sitting and typing.

rainbowframe

I want to look like that when I’m on the phone!@!

It’s hanging above my microwave right now, you guys! Can you stand it!!

mary

And then some old hag wanted FOUR DOLLARS for this but Henry was like, “Tell her you only have $2″ and I have to say that I felt guilty lying to someone’s great-grandmother, but she was like, “FINE TAKE IT” and then went back to chugging her Metamucil. (Alisha tried telling me that was spelled wrong, but I emerged victorious.)

It’s hung up real nice above my commode, a nice companion for my Last Supper (the epitome of religious eye sores) and this other Mary thing I have:

maryscrabble

Then Chooch pissed his pants and we had to leave.

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