Jan 232019
 

Henry had to work because I guess Faygo doesn’t recognize the importance of Martin Luther King Jr., but Chooch and I had the day off. We had lunch plans with Janna but first Chooch got all involved in some pirated version of Heathers he found on YouTube and I was like “Oh ok so I’m watching Heathers with my kid” but then I quickly was like, “Wait should I be watching Heathers with my kid?” It’s funny how you don’t realize how inappropriate/crude/parentally alarming things are until you watch it with your pre-teen.

Chooch’s main takeaway was that Christian Slater isn’t all that great.

WELL OK BUT YOU WERE BORN IN 2006 SO…

Janna came and picked us up around 12:30 (she originally thought I wanted her to pick us up at 12:03 and thought I was being oddly specific when really she’s a number-dummy) and we headed off to Lawrenceville via some weird scenic route. Originally, our plan was to go to B52, which is a vegan place that Henry refuses to go to not because he’s some big burly bacon-eater, but because he just knows that the clientele within those walls is going to be pretentious AF.

And deep down, I know this too.

So we arrived around 1:00 and there was a 30 minute wait because every yuppie vegan in the area who had the day off had the same idea as us. We gave the hostess our name, figuring we were there so we might as well just deal with the wait. Some weird bitch came in and started asking us all these questions about the wait and where to leave her name and there were two other people standing closer to her so I don’t understand why she couldn’t just ask them—oh yeah, because they looked like stuck-up douches and we looked like regular people without a list of French films about incest shoved up our asses.

Eventually, the hostess with the weird bob, 1980s Babysitters Club glasses and super red lipstick came over and said that some space opened up at the counter if we wanted to sit there instead of continuing to wait for a table, and we stupidly said yes, which was such a mistake because it was awkward at the counter and I couldn’t get comfortable long enough to even concentrate on the menu. I kept hoarsely whispering to Janna, “I hate this. I hate it here. I’m so uncomfortable. They don’t even have what I wanted* on the menu today. Let’s just leave OMG should we just leave Janna can we leave?” and Janna really picked up handsomely on my hints and said, “Yes, we can just leave” so we did and I was like DEUCES MALORIE (that’s what I imagine the hostess’s name was).

*(Vegan mousakka! Do you know how rare that is?! Real mousakka used to be one of my favorite foods after I had it in Greece when my aunt Sharon was like YOU WILL NOT LIKE THAT but bam bitch, I did.)

Anyway, we left and Janna was like, “Thank god, I hated sitting there too” and so many more people had lined up after us that we figured we had probably lost our spot for a table by then anyway, so fuck off B52. I don’t get why vegan eateries have to be soooooo uppity and uncomfortable. The only place I’ve been to that wasn’t like that, that didn’t make me feel like I needed to have pixie bangs or a neck tattoo or a Schwinn with a wicker basket as my primary means of transportation, is Zenith. Long live Zenith!!

We went down the street a bit and hit up our backup plan, Ki Ramen. I mean, after driving around for an eternity because Lawrenceville needs to trade in some hipsters for parking spaces, for real. It’s a huge reason why we don’t frequent that area more often.

Anyway, Ki Ramen was OK. It was weird because we walked in and stood there for a while before some waiter came over and asked, “You guys eatin’?”

Um, yes, that was the plan.

Apparently, we were in the wrong dining area? I was so confused! There were people eating in the room we were standing in, but the waiter took us down into a glorified garage (seriously, there were big wires coming out of the concrete walls) and at first I thought he was seating us AT ANOTHER COUNTER but at the last minute, he slid the menus down on the last empty table in that room. Thank god.

We started off with cauliflower wings – they were delicious!

Janna and I both got curry ramen. It wasn’t the best ramen I’ve ever had, that’s for sure. I mean, not to be a spoiled brat, but I’ve had ramen in actual Asia, so…

LOL, I cringed so hard when I typed that. Keeping it!

You think I’m bad, Chooch is like the biggest ramen snob ever and was definitely not impressed with his ramen.

But, the service was pretty quick which was nice because we were fucking starving.

Chooch-Eating-Ramen is my favorite Chooch, I think. He has such chopsticks-wielding pizzazz.

Chooch said this looked like our cat Penelope. :(

When the waitress brought our checks, the one she gave me was waaaaay cheaper than what it should have been. It was like half of what ours should have really been and there was that split second when I wanted to be an asshole and not say anything but this blog ain’t called OH HONESTLY ERIN for nothin’, OK?! I am stupid-honest! So I waved the waitress over and told her she brought me the wrong check, thinking that at the very least, maybe it would bring me some good old-fashioned Karma, but so far all it brought me was two shitty days in a row at work and $40 out of my bank account.

I was bitching about this to Henry who said, “Yeah, but even if you had kept the wrong check, you paid by credit card so they would have just charged the difference to the account later when they realized what happened,” and oh I’m sorry, I forgot that Henry teaches a class on Restaurant Check Fraud at the community college.

See also: STFU Henry.

Apparently, this was Chooch’s “take it easy” pose.

The post-lunch plan was to go to a cafe and get caffeine and dessert. We decided on Black Forge because Janna had never been there and I don’t go there as much as I should, but first Janna had to get stuck in a one-way street cesspool downtown, causing Chooch and I to have a million laughing fits until she tried to back out of a parking lot into oncoming traffic and then we weren’t laughing anymore.

But, she did eventually get us to Allentown in one piece, and then tried to park in a lot designated for the police at the local police station, lol. Fucking popo and their own private, convenient parking lots. Pfft.

Allentown has murals, you guys. We live for murals.

I have one pose, and this is it.

At Black Forge, Janna and I attended Chooch’s lecture on gender equality, inspired by the fact that Black Forge’s bathrooms are designated for “Wizards” and “Witches” but both genders can be either of those things, and also included a reference to “old men holding their dingalings in the bathroom.”

It was a great learning experience. I felt so enlightened.

The last time I was at Black Forge, their punch cards featured Trump and various members of his shitty administration, but now that most of those people have been ousted, their current cards just feature a bunch of Trump’s degenerate visages. I really fucking hate that man so goddamn much, that Black Forge could sell gas station swill and I would still happily support them.

But as it turns out, their coffee and other beverages are fantastic and they sell pastries made at the nearby vegan restaurant Onion Maiden, which is actually another vegan place that doesn’t make me like an outcast. But it’s also very small inside and gets crowded fast so you have to be strategic when planning a meal there.

Totally worth it though and now I’m kicking myself for not just suggesting we have lunch there that day!

In case you were wondering, which you weren’t I know, I got the My Dying Chai which may have been the best chai latte I’ve ever had, Janna got something mocha-y, and Chooch had to be difficult and inquire if the hot chocolate came in different flavors because he is spoiled rotten by the baristas at Muddy Cup who will make any fucking kind of fancy-ass hot chocolate your imagination can concoct as long as they have the syrup there (and they have the most extensive syrup collection I’ve ever seen), so the barista at Black Forge was like, “………flavors?” and then realized what he was asking so she was like, “Yeah go for it, bro” and he went with strawberry because I think he felt panicked since he didn’t have a list to reference, but he said the final product was “really fucking good” and I was like, “I will take your word for it” because I don’t play that backwash game.

Wow, that was a good way to spend the day off. It was only like 10 degrees and the perfect day to stay inside, but I’m really glad we went out and braved the bitter winter.

***

Later that evening, I made fun of Henry which caused Chooch to laugh so hard that he vomited and then I made the mistake of looking at it, so I started dry-heaving really bad and then Henry was like CLEAN THAT UP to Chooch, so then Chooch was dry-heaving while he was mopping up his puke, and this made me dry-heave even HARDER to the point where I was for certain that I was going to throw up, so I had to push Henry out of the way and run to the bathroom, where I could still hear Chooch dry-heaving from downstairs so then we were like gang-gagging back and forth, this terrible volley of vomit-coughs, and my eyes were watering so bad and eventually I FELL TO MY KNEES and screamed, “STOP MAKING THAT NOISE, CHOOCH, PLEASE!!!” because his hoarking was contagious. This went on for a solid five-minutes, passing puke-scares back and forth and Henry calmly muttered, “You two are fucking idiots” while the cats were like, “DO YA’LL HAVE HAIRBALLS TOO?!”

My abs were actually sore the next day from my fake bulimia bout.

Anyway, that’s just a little glimpse of what it’s like to be in this hell house.

Jan 212019
 

I know, it’s been nearly a week since I dropped a Valentine advertisement up in this bitch so you were probably feeling relieved but I am here to strip you of that relief because I have some Kpop valentine sets to pimp. So please indulge me for a few minutes while I gush and show off my new additions. I’m trying to be more pushy active with promoting my wares.

In addition to the two multi-fandom sets and the BTS set I made last year, I have a brand new set for 2019! 16 new designs! Woo!

  • 4Minute
  • Key (from SHINee)
  • NCT127
  • Winner
  • Got7
  • TOP (BIGBANG)
  • Taemin (SHINee)
  • Crush
  • BIGBANG

  • Ten (NCT)
  • E’Dawn
  • Dean
  • Pentagon
  • (G)Idle
  • Momoland

These babes join the two original sets from 2018!

Set #2:

KPOP Mini Valentine Set #2 comes with 16 unique designs!

  • 2NE1
  • Jin (BTS)
  • Bae Suzy
  • BIGBANG
  • Winner
  • Taeyang
  • Blackpink
  • SNSD
  • BTS
  • Kard
  • GOT7
  • F(x)
  • Mamamoo
  • T-ARA
  • U-Kiss
  • Red Velvet

I really enjoy making cards because I get to let my cringe-iness run loose & piss on some fire hydrants and postal carriers, you know?

Each set of 16 comes packaged in a little Valentine bag.

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

Set #1:

This set contains 16 different designs: Sistar, Wanna One, Hyuna, two different Taemins because I love me some Lee Taemin, G-Dragon, Wonder Girls, IU, BIGBANG, Vixx, Twice, Got7, Gfriend, BTS, Apink, and EXO.

Those VIXX and Twice cards have been redesigned, FYI!

One of my past customers told me she hid the serial killer version of these mini cards all around the house for her husband to randomly come across throughout the year and I thought that was such a fun idea!

Set # includes:

  • BIGBANG
  • G-Dragon <3
  • Taemin x2
  • Gfriend
  • Hyuna
  • Got7
  • BTS
  • EXO
  • IU
  • Wanna One
  • VIXX
  • Twice
  • Wonder Girls
  • Sistar
  • Apink

ALL OF THESE FOR ONLY 8 BUCKS! (Plus shipping. I’d walk them to your house free of charge if I could.)

They come packaged in an adorable little V-Day treat bag:

I’m obsessed. As a Kpop fan, I would be so damn stoked if I came across these and would (and will) give them to all of my work friends who will 100% not understand.

(Chooch  gave these card sets his stamp of approval, btw.)

These also look great all smeared out across a G-Dragon table. I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, amirite.

Any mini-card you see in this blog post can be made into a full-sized card (some are even listed that way already in my shop) so if there’s anything you see here that you want just one full-sized version of, just ask!

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

Hey, any ARMYs out there? Well, I got you covered with a full-BTS set, as well!

BTS set:

When I was designing the other Kpop mini Valentine sets, I kept thinking of all these different BTS ones I wanted to make, but the whole point of those sets was to have a variety of different Kpop groups representin’, you know? So then I thought, well, why not just make a series of all BTS designs?! You can never have too much BTS.

So I activated my Cringe Mode and got to work on 16 new designs! (Technically, 15 new designs – 1 of the 16 is available in one of the variety packs). Then I waited until my nail polish was sufficiently chipped before taking pictures of the result.

Chooch was so full of groans and disappointed head-shakes over the corniness of this particular set, which means I succeeded!

This J-Hope one, though.

Anyway, this set includes one design of each member alone (Jin and RM have two, though because I accidentally played favorites I guess), one of Cypher, and then a ton of the whole group.

I’m so excited about these collections! I love Valentines Day even though Henry is the worst when it comes at being romantic, and the thought of passing out little Valentines a la elementary school days is just so appealing to me! I might pass these out at work and force everyone to listen to a BTS song or 17.

(I’m hoping to make an entire BIGBANG set as well, because they are my ults.)

Interested? This set, the three other kpop variety sets, full-sized cards for all occasions, and Kpop Idol Pendants can all be purchased over at my Kpop card store on Etsy: Hello Hanguk!

Again, each set is $8 plus shipping (about $2.60 domestic, but I do ship worldwide). Daebak!

Thanks for your (Valen)time!

Jan 012019
 

On Sunday, we went to the Cathedral of Learning in Oakland because I’ve been on this “must see the Christmas decorations” kick and figured that would be the last chance. I like to visit the Cathedral every so often because it brings me great peace which is funny considering that whenever I was an actual student there I felt sick to myself every single time I walked in that place. Lol.

(Afterward we went to Sumi’s for some Korean 빵 and boba tea. The girl working was listening to Wanna One and Henry kept trying to get me to talk to her but I wouldn’t because I am the epitome of awkward shut-in when it comes to spontaneous social interactions.)

Anyway, these are the last pictures I took in 2018 because I worked dumb late shift from home on New Years Eve and instead of going to any parties I opted to stay in and watch rollercoaster and Winner videos because you know what, THAT IS WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY which leads me to my 2019 resolution which is CONTINUING MAKING MYSELF HAPPY.

A few years ago I realized that the key to (my) happiness was being selfish. Yeah, I’m a selfish person when I need to be, I say no way more now than I used to, and I don’t feel guilty for opting to make more time for myself. It makes me less stressed which in turn makes me more bearable to be around (mostly, right Henry? Lol).

2018 was a real rollercoaster (lol) but this was the first time in years that I made it through a year without it giving me the proverbial bad taste in my mouth. Yes, politically and socially shit is more fucked than ever. But on a personal front, 2018 didn’t do me too dirty.

Of course I had my lows. How can you highs without the lows? I basically don’t want to remember the month of June at all but at least I can say that I made it, I moved on, I grew (a little bit?).

But man, the highs were so high that they made the lows seems like super distant memories. We went to goddamn Korea, the trip of my dreams, and my life was changed.

We went to NYC twice, and a bunch of awesome amusement parks beyond Kennywood like Everland, Holidayworld, Knoebel’s, and Dollywood.

Overall, when I think of 2018, one word comes to mind and it is F-U-N.

So why fix something that’s not broken? I want to fill 2019 with even more fun! More amusement parks, more trips, more Kpop concerts (we’ve already got two coming up!).

Another thing that will continue into 2019 is my obsession with overall wellness. It was New Year’s Day 2013 (OMG that feels so long ago) when I was tipping the scale at 200 pounds and FINALLY got the wake-up call to make changes. My journey has been extremely slow and my methods have changed over the years, but the bottom line is that my main focus is always on my health/fitness, and I’m happy to say that even though it has taken me since last spring to get myself into the “healthy BMI zone” whatever the fuck that even means, the mindset and routines are cemented into my brain now. Sometimes I’m SOOOOO near-sighted when it comes to this part of my life and I get all stressed out over gaining a pound or two when the bigger picture is that I have lost over 50 pounds and am way more physically active than I have ever been!

I don’t give myself enough credit for that. So this is me, I don’t know, giving myself credit. As cringe-y as this makes me feel!

But the whole reason I brought this up is because Chooch has willingly, on his own, decided that he’s ready to make lifestyle changes too! I’m so excited about this! We started working out together (he’s now a huge fan of Jillian Michaels lol) and I’ve been helping him make healthy food choices. He’s even agreed to eat the same things I eat for dinner now which makes Henry happy because he used to have to make us separate meals since Chooch is so picky and I’m so Korean (lol). In just a week, Chooch has already noticed a difference in himself and has begun to look forward to our workouts! It’s a really great feeling to know that I’m contributing to what hopefully become lifelong healthy habits for him and not looking for the easy way out, fast fixes, and crash diets like I used to do because I didn’t have anyone in my life who was like, “Lose the Slim-Fast and try actually eating healthy meals.”

(LOL @ Henry sleeping in the back of the class)

During one of our Leslie Sansone walking workouts (you guys, they’re so dumb and we make up back-stories for everyone in her walking crew, like this one broad who we have pegged as a chronic adultress), I suggested to Chooch that we start our own YouTube workouts and he was like “big fat NO to that.”

Now that Chooch is a nutritionist, he’s been criticizing Henry’s poor choices. Henry snapped one day and yelled, “OH, AND YOU’RE JUST THE PICTURE OF HEALTH!” Henry is so supportive, basically the manager of our fan cafe.

Chooch made a food-shaming video of Henry eating an ice cream in the car on the way home from the grocery store last weekend and it is EVERYTHING. Chooch’s laugh in this video makes me nearly pee my pants:

The more I reflect back on 2018, the happier I am with how it turned out. There is always room for improvement though so I’m not going to be a slacker during 2019 by any means! I definitely don’t like how easily I succumb to negativity so that’s on the list of shit to work on. Baby steps! My power of persuasion can only get me so far. It’s not actually a super power!

I just asked Henry if he has anything he wants to say about 2019 and he said, “Yeah, 2019 you’re on your own” because that’s his “resolution” that he has been threatening Chooch and me with for the last few days, something about how he’s not going to do anything for us anymore and we’ll have to feed ourselves, blah blah blah.

LOL ok Henry.

Well, here’s to another year of riding roller coasters, staying off Facebook (honestly the best decision!), laugh-puking with Chooch, and maybe Korea again!? And on that note, I’m going to rest for a bit because I have my annual New Year’s fever – it’s the weirdest thing. I almost always start the new year with a fever WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

SHINee Taemin sexiest dance moves

Dec 302018
 

Before I start spraying misspelled words down on this page like a n00b with a machine gun, I just want to say that I hope everyone who may be reading this (even hate-reading this) had a wonderful December 25th, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. It’s such a rough time for so many people to get through and that was definitely heavy on my mind all day.

That being said, our Christmas was very lowkey and minimalistic. We do that wasteful thing every year where we feel like OMG THE BOTTOM OF THE TREE NEEDS TO BE STUFFED so we end up buying a bunch of crap that Chooch doesn’t want or need, just to beef it up, and what’s the point of that? It’s useless. So this year, we only got him several small things like t-shirts, a set of vintage Bambi glasses that I found on Ebay because he’s still obsessed with Bambi, a gaming mouse…things that we knew he would actually wear/use. Plus, he’s 12 now and that’s a really weird age. He’s not into “toys” anymore and aside from a gaming PC (big fat nope) there was nothing that he was specifically begging for. I thought it would be fun to give him “adventure presents,” such as a trip to the Science Center the day after Xmas, because Henry kept promising him for years and never actually took him so I got to be the hero which is my whole purpose as a parent. And also, we tacked on an extra day for our “Erin Bought Winner Tickets So I Guess We’re Going to Toronto Now” trip next month so that Chooch can actually see some sights and we’re going to swing by Niagara Falls too, which he’s never been to. Things like this are far more special than a new video game or whatever, and I think he’s finally starting to appreciate that and he understands that the less money we spend on materialistic junk, the more opportunities we’ll have to travel.

(Henry’s reading this and thinking, “But when will ERIN understand that…?” Lol.)

“Patiently” waiting for Henry to get his ass downstairs so he could start opening shit.

The kid is still really into Bambi, like I said, so he didn’t even care that this was:

  • not actally Bambi;
  • from the women’s section of Target

This fucking ornament came just in time on Christmas Eve, fucking Miles Kimball and their slow-ass shipping. I had to get in it unpersonalized because each hat could only have 8 letters, so I just did it myself. They didn’t have an ornament with two kids on a roller coaster while the dad sat on a bench in the background, so this one will have to do. Chooch loved it and immediately hung it on Trudy’s boob, I mean, bough.

We both love the movie The Lost Boys so when Blvck Cat did another limited run of these shirts, I couldn’t pass it up. Funny story though, I apparently pre-ordered it last September/October and proceeded to forget about it until a week before Christmas when I got an email notification saying that it shipped. What a happy surprise!

We also printed and framed this picture of Henry that Chooch took in Busan – this damn picture made us publicly crack up to the point of tears and you better believe that Henry was not OK with this. I love giving memories as gifts and thought it would be something that could make Chooch laugh on bad days. I made the gift tag say it was from the Ahjussis on the Subway – Chooch said his favorite part of Christmas is looking at what I write on the gift tags, so that made me super happy because it’s such a simple little thing but it somehow became “tradition” along the way. For instance, his ornament was from Dolly Parton’s Big Gigantic Boobs, since Dollywood was the last park we visited.

Chooch’s one big gift this year was Hamilton tickets because it’s in Pittsburgh for the month of January and Chooch LOVES it. I won’t even go into the trauma and stress I experienced trying to get tickets to this fucking thing, but I will say that it was funny listening to my co-workers stress out over it too and I was just like, “Yo, try getting tickets to a KPOP concert, though…”

Anyway, I had a mild nervous breakdown because tickets, even the shitty ones that I managed to snag, were so expensive, but my work friend Lori validated it by reminding me that this is like the Shakespeare of our time and that it’s a major cultural experience for Chooch, so it’s worth it. Then Henry was like, “Um, you paid more for BTS tickets so I don’t know why you’re acting so sick over this?”

Yeah, but it’s different when it’s something for me!

#SelfishErinIsSelfish

“How can we package this so that a really great present starts out as something traumatic?” I wondered aloud, and Henry and I decided that we needed to make a fake minigolf envelope to put the tickets in, so that Chooch would first think he was getting a gift certificate for minigolf which he would HATE after we went to that one minigolf place in Tennessee and he declared that he hates minigolf and never wants to play it again, got mad at us for laughing, and then almost set the place up in flames with the power of his pissed-off mind alone.

So I made this fake minigolf logo which Henry glued to the front of the envelopes that the tickets came in, but I still didn’t feel like this was good enough….

…so then we stuck the envelope in Doll’s hand and wrapped her up in a box for his last present.

When he opened it, he was like, “REALLY” because he fucking hates Doll, but then he saw what was in her hand and his face started to get super red, like, “WE WERE HAVING A GOOD DAY, YOU GUYS, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE ASSHOLE PARENTS” but then when he saw what was inside in the envelope, he was like, “OMG.”

Full disclosure, while Chooch and Henry had a fine day, I still let my dumb emotions and ill-feelings toward the holiday get the best of me and so I stormed out of the house mid-morning, snarling over my shoulder that I JUST WANTED TO BE ALONE so I went for a dumb walk and as I was halfway down Brookline Boulevard, I started to pass the man on foot in front of me and realized THAT IT WAS MY EX-NEIGHBOR BOOTS.

So for half a second, I was WALKING WITH BOOTS.

Wow, that was enough to bring me back down to earth. I went home after that and I was fucking fine for the rest of the day, that’s for damn sure.

Later that afternoon, we decided to go to the cemetery for a walk. Usually, Henry would prepare something small to eat and we would have a quick (and usually, freezing) picnic in the cemetery but we skipped it last year and to be honest, I didn’t even think about doing it this year. THINGS CHANGE, YOU GUYS. It’s OK to eschew “traditions” sometime.

However, on the way to the cemetery, we noticed that Pink Box, a delicious Asian bakery, was open! So Henry squealed the car to a halt and we stocked up on some delicious Asian breads.

This ended up being way better than having our usual picnic because we didn’t have to sit down on the cold December sod to eat, we could take it to go. So, new/revised tradition, maybe!?

Chooch was definitely on board with it!

Freakin’ egg tarts too, son.

It was a really beautiful day, and not too terribly cold either. Plus, we didn’t have a photoshoot like usual so that meant – NO FIGHTING!

Henry took this weird picture of Chooch and me standing in front of the weird maintenance house thing that I’m positive is a hideout for a serial killer.

That night, I was being a spoiled brat and Henry was like WHAT IS WRONG and finally I blurted out YOU DIDN’T GET ME ANYTHING (so, I guess we could consider this a Xmas tradition?) even though he spent all afternoon getting my Mouse Attack light to finally light up:

…and I apparently said to him that if he took us to Dollywood for Thanksgiving, that would be my Christmas present which I don’t recall saying but it DOES sound like something I would say in a moment of sheer desperation. Look, I’m not going to lie and make you guys think that I’m an actual adult because I’m not – I’m a big fat bitch-baby who thrives on GIFTS AND THINGS AND STUFF.

So Henry was like, “Oh for God’s sake” and then three days later, Taemin’s Japanese solo album arrived for me:

Yay, thanks Henry oppa!

Also, no Oh Honestly Family Xmas card for 2018, sadly. We were too busy making cards for other people!

So, that wraps up Xmas 2018. Overall, it was a good one and it was extremely pleasing to see that, unlike his mother, Chooch was satisfied with everything he was given, even the really small things. I guess he has a little bit of Henry’s genes in him after all, lol.

Dec 282018
 

For the first time maybe ever, both Henry and I had the day before Christmas off of work! We definitely wanted to take advantage of that so we left the house late that morning and hit up our favorite Asian market because even though we went to like 4 different stores over the weekend, we only bought party food and ended up not having any actual groceries so that was cool once I realized how much money we spent on novelty food items.

Ugh, I hate grocery shopping.

But I loooove the Asian market! And they had cherimoya which is one of my favorite fruits so it was like a Christmas present for me except that I didn’t know Henry bought one until the day after Christmas because I pay attention to nothing.

Also, pro tip for my fellow meatfree friends in Pittsburgh: the Asian market we go to in the Strip (WFH Oriental) has a great selection of soy-meat products that’s a nice reprieve from the Boca stuff or whatever that you find in most freezer sections.

#NotSponsored

After grocery shopping, we went to Korean Garden in Oakland for lunch, but first, we drove past the Busnegie Museum which totally made me crack up and also means nothing to you if you don’t live in Pittsburgh but it’s a play on the nearby Carnegie Museum, and this just tickles the bitterness right out of my body, I’ll tell you what.

I love stuff like this and the world needs more of it, that’s for sure.

When we’re at Korean restaurants, I do not have time to arrange the table for an aesthetically-pleasing picture. Although, it probably would behoove me to actually groom the background so that my food will have some time to cool off – I can’t remember a single time I ate at a Korean restaurant and didn’t singe off layers of my mouth.

WORTH IT.

Anyway, I got soon dubu jjigae, Chooch wussed out and got stir-fried vegetables, and I don’t know what Henry got because who cares. The owner’s daughter was working and she was playing Kpop which enhanced the dining experience, of course. “Fiance” by Mino came on and I wanted to ask her if she was going to see Winner but I wussed out, so I guess that was my stir-fried vegetable moment.

Sigh.

After lunch, we were going to check out the Christmas decorations at the Cathedral of Learning because that place always gets me amped for the birth of Christ or whatever, but it was closed! For some reason, it never occurred to me that the Cathedral would ever close, lol. I thought it was like a gas station.

I was starting to get whiny about this because I didn’t want to spend the day at home but I also didn’t want to spend a bunch of money since I accidentally bought those aforementioned Winner tickets with the regular account instead of PayPal Credit like I thought I had selected and that, um, really changed the narrative for Christmas, let me tell you. (Sorry, Henry!)

But then Henry, who usually has nothing to offer, suggested that we GO TO THE ZOO because admission has been free for the holidays! It’s  been a minute since I was last at the zoo, and the weather wasn’t too unbearable (don’t worry, I still complained constantly about being cold), so we went for it and it was the best decision! Barely anyone was there and it ended up being the best time I’ve had at the zoo in years and years.

We even got along with each other the whole entire time! Even though Henry told me that the animals probably looked at me like I was prey because of my coat, because the fact that I’m a walking meatsuit wasn’t already enough to make me prey-esque.

Don’t worry, I’m not the type of person to take a picture of every single animal and then post it on the Internet like National Geographic amateur hour, but this little bebe was too cute to pass up!

This was definitely the best Christmas Eve I have had in YEARS. It was really nice getting to spend quality time with the fam, free of obligations, doing fun outdoors shit! The rest of the evening was super mellow and lowkey, which is just what I needed.

Dec 242018
 

Ever since my tooth saga was resolved, I feel like I have been living my best life. (#dramatic) So this past weekend was full of just straight-up relaxing and enjoying company, so basically what the season is actually supposed to be about!

Saturday night, we hosted a small work reunion. It worked out perfectly because Wendy had been asking me if I was going to have a Christmas party this year and I just didn’t feel like it, in true Scrooge-form. But then I was texting with our friend Sean who left the firm several years ago and we talked about getting together with Wendy, so I offered to host a small soirée at my place. We got BARB to come too and it was a nice evening full of cheese and alcohol and LAW FIRM MEMRIEZ.

I was really worried that other friends would get upset that they weren’t invited, but it really wasn’t a “party,” but more of a casual mini-reunion of sorts, and then I realized that this wouldn’t be an issue anyway since I’m not on Facebook anymore and Facebook is the devil when it comes to making people feel left out!

Even just hosting this little gathering made me miss having parties though so maybe sometime later this winter I’ll think of some random/strange theme and have a proper party because I really don’t see my friends enough.

I was in the middle of taking totally predictable pictures of my snack spread when Wendy and her clan showed up and then I didn’t take a single picture the rest of the night because sometimes you just gotta BE IN THE MOMENT – isn’t that what all the Instafamous bloggers are preaching to their followers in an effort to pretend like they actually have non-curated lives?

I didn’t realize it until that night but it’s been two years since I hung out with Sean, at my last Christmas party, actually, but we didn’t really get a chance to talk much then so he had no idea about my drastic lifestyle change, so that was fun filling him in about our Korean immersion. And then Barb said to me, “I’m trying to figure out who you look like me to now” but she said it in a way that sounded like it wasn’t going to be good. All the info she gave me was that she thinks it’s someone from a soap opera. She watches Days of Our Lives so maybe JENNIFER HORTON!? #IWISH

Do you know how hard it was for me to not talk endlessly all night about my new bias Jinu from Winner, though!?

See the source image

See the source image

Sigh.

The next night, Blake and his fam stopped over so we could do an informal pre-Xmas. His friend is temporarily living with them and he has a kid two weeks younger than Calvin so we had them come over too and it was kind of exciting having some younguns around. They’re both still too young to give a shit about opening gifts but it was fun for the rest of us and that’s all that matters.

Right?

Speaking of presents, Chooch all of a sudden is super into wrapping gifts.

This was the best picture I could get before Calvin was on the move again.

The only lowlight of the whole weekend was GOING TO THE EYE DOCTOR on Sunday, which is basically just like a stripmall eye doctor chain and most of the broads working there are absolutely rude and joyless. I have to find a real eye doctor….But the whole reason I went was because I wanted to finally get a pair of glasses, something I haven’t had since my beloved BIG HUMONGOUS GIANT GREEN SPECS* broke and if you have been around for a while, you might remember that I bought those from Zenni Optical and had to make up a pupil measurement or whatever that is and it was clearly wrong because they were like looking out of fish bowls but I wore them anyway and  basically trained my eyes to see out of them which I AM SURE was just fantastic and eye doctors worldwide would applaud me.

*(Wow, that was six years ago. I have lived six years without any glasses, LOL.)

I only went back to this dumb place because they have this one pair of Candies frames that are exclusive to just this dumb place (I looked online first to see if I could get them anywhere else) and I really wanted them last year because they are black and the insides are bright pink which reflects off my face and I love that and the model is actually called BLACKPINK which hello is a great kpop group.

This time, I actually had a “professional” measure my pupil distance or whatever and I’m pretty sure the term professional should be used lightly because no one in that office seemed very educated but what do I know, I’m a fucking high school dropout.

…so maybe I do know.

The whole time I was sitting in the dumb waiting room, Henry was blowing up my Kakao with pictures of Jinu with curly hair, because that’s the ONLY JINU LOOK I DON’T LIKE.

Ugh, stress.

Oh, I forgot to share this last week. Chooch had his picture taken with his little niece and nephew and Santa, but I was unable to be there because it was the night before THE TOOTH drama finally ended so I was extra-triple-high-strung and decided it would be in everyone’s best interests if I just stayed home.

Look, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that my life was like ruined last week, OK.

It’s so much better now, though!

Anyway, that’s really all I have time to share for right now. We just came home from a really fun Christmas Eve (but really afternoon) around town and I am pretty tired. I have a full night of wine and K-Dramas planned, but first I’m going to watch some theme park vids because I’m an adult and I can do what I want.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Dec 122018
 

“Wow, that’s the quote of the night,” Janna laughed, after I screamed this when Chooch drew a weener in the snow of one of the houses we were walking past Saturday night.

LET ME BACK UP.

Janna came over Saturday night for the annual Lighting of Trudy, and as usual, Henry didn’t get new lights knowing damn well that the lights from last year were probably going to be busted because they just don’t make Christmas lights like they used to!

(Or maybe they do and Henry just sucks at storing them, I don’t know.)

(In either case, we needed new lights.)

(And I made Janna and Chooch walk with me to CVS to get the lights, and then proceeded to stress over what Henry meant when he said, “Don’t get too many lights” and then there were greater-quantity-lights that cost the same as the lesser-quantity-lights and I was going to ask if it was for real but then I realized that the cashier on duty was that terrible maybe-Meth head who never knows what’s going on and Chooch pointed out recently that she has her name scratched off her name tag so maybe she’s also a fugitive!?)

(Anyway, the price was real.)

So then on the way home, Chooch desecrated THE ONE HOUSE on our street that has classy Christmas decorations (I want to leave them a note commending them on the aesthetic appeal of their choices) with a weener drawn in their snow and now I think you’re all caught up.

Penelope was READY for the Trudy-dressing….until Janna arrived and she was all, “A PEOPLE. BYE.” And then we didn’t see her or Drew the rest of the night.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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So basically Henry does all the hard stuff because in order to dress Trudy, one must remove her upper-extremities and I can’t do that.

Apparently, Henry can’t either because he dropped her arm and BROKE HER HAND!!!! Blake and Calvin had just arrived when this happened and Blake was like, “DAD I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THAT TO TRUDY” and Calvin was just like, “This house is effin’ cray, man.”

Seriously, what must it be like for a toddler visiting the Pioneer Nut House?

Meanwhile, I think the only reason Blake stops over is to get his fill of Kpop, which is not-so-secretly loves. He told us that night that he especially likes how the girl groups have like 10 members and we were like YEAH YOU DO.

I have to admit, Trudy is always out and about in our house, we don’t stow her away like a real Christmas tree (I mean, I’m sorry, Trudy! You ARE real! You’re a REAL XMAS TREE!) in the attic or whatever, but we do need to move furniture around so that she has a good spot worthy of a real Christmas tree.

Which she is.

A real Christmas tree.

This year, she is in front of the window after I moved over the beverage buffet and relocated the pink elephant table that holds the giant clown head.

That sentence tells you everything you need to know about my house, by the way.

Anyway, you can imagine how confused the cats were when they came out hours later because a few things were moved over a few inches, oh no.

Isn’t Trudy’s 2018 face beautiful? The starry barbed wire gagging her is an extra-special touch. I think it’s a real glow-up from last year’s gas mask. Janna said that we have to change her face every year and I was like, “Yeah, maybe Henry can just BEHEAD HER” ugh, Henry.

Speaking of Henry the Amputator, he glued Trudy’s hand back on nicely and is now going to fill in the cracks and then give her arm a fresh coat of metallic green. I think he genuinely feels sorry that he maimed her so horrifically.

You can see in this picture that Trudy’s right arm is actually just an empty sweater sleeve. IT’S FINE. Maybe by next Christmas she’ll be put back together. (I’m looking at you, Henry the Procrastinator.)

I used one of my G-Dragon peaceminusone clips to hold an ornament on Trude’s sweater. That’s what you call INGENUITY.

Maybe next year, I’ll just have Henry remove her legs and then we can sit her torso on one of the wheelchairs, but still have the Christmas tree skirt splayed out underneath.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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“Wow, it really looks so cozy in here now,” Janna said upon returning from the bathroom, and I have to agree that Trudy really does add some Christmas comfort to the house.

And then Chooch made us play Heads Up and then we made Janna watch roller coaster vlogs on YouTube and now my new goal is to hook her up with REECE from INTHELOOP but she thinks he’s too young like that’s a problem?

Dec 062018
 

It’s that time of year again when everyone is stressed to the max about Christmas hoohaw so why not add in some additional holiday stress at work too!? I was thinking about what my team should get Boss Amber this year and instead of just being normal and buying a card at the store and stuffing it with a giftcard or something, I decided to make her work for it.

LET ME BACK UP.

This past year, we started using Docusign in our department and my group acts as the backup for the people who usually send shit through it. Since we use it so irregularly, it’s a pain in the ass for us and we are all very vocal and crybabyish about it. It’s just one of those things, you know? Every job has one! Anyway, Boss Amber is always annoyed with it too whenever she has to use it so I thought, “WHY DON’T WE SEND HER XMAS CARD THROUGH DOCUSIGN” and my work friends were like WHY ARE YOU SUCH A JERK, BUT YES LET’S….WAIT, HOW. Don’t worry – I made it work and then I forced them pose for a totally cringey picture (my original idea was to buy a nice frame and put a giant picture of us in it for Amber’s desk but that was meant with a a barricade of frowns) which we we planned to send her today before our holiday lunch, along with a gift card, through Docusign.

Glenn’s wife Amanda took this for us! Glenn was actually on his way out for the day because he was sick but here I am, forcing the guy to tangle himself up in garland in the cold weather first. Anyway, I wasn’t satisfied with how the garland looked in this so I demanded a do-over.

Lauren was like, “Should we be….touching each other?” Amanda was like, “I mean, do you want to?” We all just looked at each other, like, “Nah” and continued standing together like strangers. Look, we have boundaries, OK.

This was the final version, a motherfuckin’ Cringemas miracle. Carrie was like, “Did you come up with that? I thought so” – lol. I photoshopped that Jethro Tull record into Glenn’s hand because one time he sent me Jethro Tull videos and said, “This is what real music is” and I have been making offhand comments about it ever since, in fact, I just made one last week and he told me that I should really consider letting it go.

Never.

My thought bubble says that because it’s what I’m always saying on Monday except not just in my head, but out loud to everyone who will listen. One time Amber was off on a Monday so our meeting was canceled and I was so happy BUT THEN SHE RESCHEDULED IT FOR THE NEXT DAY.

Now I’m questioning why I put together this Xmas gift for her!!

Anyway, I added the picture of us to a word doc and put something like “We hope you have a great Christmas __________” so that when Amber electronically signed it, it would complete the sentence with her Docusign signature.

We all signed it (via Docusign, so our signatures are all weird and formal) and then once that was complete, we all ran outside of Amber’s office and waited for her to get her notification. When I heard her say, “What the hell is this?” I knew the game had started!

So now we were all crowded around her office, laughing at our brilliant idea, and I noticed that she HADN’T SIGNED IT YET because she was too busy smiling at the picture so I had to force her to complete the process and she was just like, “WOW.”

Yes, Amber. WOW. I did that.

We also “spruced” up (OH HO HO HO) Dead-Again Bob Ross and used this as the picture for the Amazon gift e-card.

God, we’re such great minions.

Then today was our holiday lunch (which Todd didn’t know about until Amber sent an email telling us when to meet at the elevator bank, lol) and I was so excited because we went to the Yard and they have the Impossible Burger now and I have been dying to try that except  I guess not that urgently because I’ve known for a while now the various places around town that has it on the menu but am super lazy and ambivalent when it comes to food.

Clearly.

Anyway: worth it!

And after that, we went over to Santa’s House to have our now-traditional picture taken with the Big Guy! Everyone thought they were off the hook since we did this last year, but Cathy moved back to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg since then so we had to get an updated picture with her in it!

Everyone was grumbly about it but brought out their best (forced) smiles when it was time for the picture. Amber and Cathy were not thrilled about having to sit on Santa’s knees but the “photographer” was like, “I can’t fit everyone in the shot” and it’s like, “Maybe….turn the camera then?” They kept telling me to lean in and now that I’m looking at this, I don’t understand why I had to lean in.

Anyway, it’s awkward and cute and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Nov 232018
 

Look man I was just happy to have some days off work where I didn’t have to trudge to the damn trolley in premature winter temps. Plus, we’re leaving for Tennessee later today (Dollywood!) so I was content having nothing to do on actual Thanksgiving. My mom and I are both pretty meh about the holiday so I don’t mind that she doesn’t want to host anymore.

But then Chooch pulled out his vegetarian cookbook the night before and was all, “Papa*, I’m going to find some recipes for you for tomorrow” and then I was like, “Oh shit. The kid. We should probably do something for the kid.” Lol.

*(What Chooch calls Henry when he’s trying to pretend like we’re like a wholesome family.)

So then Henry was like I GUESS I AM GOING TO THE STORE THEN and set off on Thanksgiving Eve to procure the tofurkey which is usually sold out because he waits too long. I remember way back in the day when we had to drive like 45 minutes to some weird health store to get one because regular grocery stores didn’t sell stuff like that and I got made fun of for eating it but no one bats an eye. Changing times, etc etc.

The first half of the day consisted of Leslie Sansone walking workouts (lol), kdramas but no family drama, watching Henry cook & clean, looking at Kpop idols, freaking out over a mystery bruise on my thumb, and planning all our amusement park trips for 2019. It was splendid! (Not the bruise part though, I’m mildly alarmed by it.)

I was in such a good mood that I even felt inspired to decorate for Christmas:

Chooch was all excited when I told him I decorated and then said, “…oh” when he saw it.

Since there was just the three of us and we’re going away this weekend, Henry kept the spread the simple: a tofurkey for Chooch and me (he made gross chicken for himself because he doesn’t like real turkey), whatever garlicky mashed potato recipe Chooch found, and a completely revamped version of the broccoli rabe & white bean casserole recipe that Chooch also requested, because Henry couldn’t find broccoli rabe at 8pm on Thanksgiving Eve so he used regular broccoli and brussels sprouts instead and it was delicious.

(I don’t even know what broccoli rabe is and I know for damn sure Chooch doesn’t either, so this made no difference to us.)

Henry kept yelling at us from the kitchen to start eating but we were like NO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR YOUUUUUU IT’S THANKSGIVING.

But it was really because we needed him to plate our Tofurkey.

Oh Lord, we got so giddy right away and Chooch had a Code Red laughing fit which caused him to flee the table in search of a Kleenex, so you know Henry was in a great mood! That combined with the fact that the same NCT 127 song was playing repeatedly in the background really completed the mood. Look at Henry’s delirious face! I think deep down, he’s thankful for us, lunacy and all, even if he sometimes must feel like he’s living in an asylum.

Tofurky looks like a giant hotdog butt.

After dinner, Chooch and I continued our tradition of watching birthday party videos on YouTube (4th year!). We found a whole slew of new million subscriber families to hate! I called the one birthday girl and all her friends “a bunch of bitches” and Chooch was like “Aren’t they like three?!”

OK now for the Friday Five portion, which is FIVE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR:

  1. Korea (Henry and Chooch rolled their eyes when we went around the table and “gave thanks” and this was of course the first thing I said and whatever because Chooch just kept saying “Bambi” over and over and now that I think about it, I don’t think Henry said ANYTHING!?
  2. Having a job that I like – yeah, I know, I complain about it at times, who doesn’t complain about having to leave the house to go to work?! But when you’ve had jobs that have made you sick to your stomach and have panic attacks while paying you pennies, getting one where you feel comfortable and needed is really something to be thankful for.  Thanks, job!
  3. The willpower to get in shape – when I first started dieting in 2012 I was just about 200 pounds.  I did WW for a bit and got myself down to about 170 but it was a struggle. I had no energy! I was miserable! I can’t remember when I started spending my lunch break hour walking around downtown, but that helped me get my energy back and also kept my weight stable so I wasn’t gaining, but I also wasn’t really losing anything either. Since starting my own routine in 2016, being more mindful of what I eat and when I eat, and keeping up on those lunch break walks (even in the rain, even when I’m sick, even when it’s cold), I’ve managed to get myself down to 145. I never felt “unhealthy” even when I was heavier, but I do FOR SURE feel more “able.” Sure, I still have major body image issues that I need to work on, but baby steps!
  4. Eternal Youth! – I’m going to be 40 next year, I have a shit-ton of gray hairs, but my brain refuses to accept that and still spends most of its time thinking about concerts and amusement parks and Kpop idols. I was talking to Amber about this at work the other day, how I’m trying to fit in a few days in Tokyo during my birthday Korea trip next summer because I want to go to DisneySea and how Henry is like dreaming of the day when we can plan a vacation that doesn’t include an amusement park, and Amber said, “I can’t believe you’re going to be 40. You’re like, ageless, to me.” YES.  I’m thankful that I have managed to maintain that part of myself because goddamn does it make life fun! Except for when you watch so many vlogs about roller coasters and are constantly hearing people talking about the “head chopper” elements and then you go to bed and have a horribly vivid nightmare that you’re watching a movie where some girl is walking down the steps of some Victorian mansion and gets her head lopped off by her dad, completely out of nowhere, but then it turns out to be YOU, you just had YOUR head chopped off, but later in the dream, you realize that your head was put back on, but apparently your ear had also been cut off and that was put back on much more jankily than your head, so it’s all bloody and it BURNS and also it’s not aligned properly with your head and you are FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS. I mean, that’s just something that might happen.
  5. Henry & Chooch, le duh – Come on, this is a given. I have a guy who is mild-tempered and goes along with all my crazy ideas, he gets totally engrossed in every k-drama with me to the point where he’s mad when I start a new one without him (he’ll still watch it though), he sends me kpop-related texts on Kakao throughout the day (I made him download Kakao awhile back and it’s the only way we text now unless I’m mad at him then I use regular text and he’s like, “wow you must be mad”), he does whatever he can to make my life easier, and well, he’s just the best and I’m glad we’ve lasted together all these years because I can’t imagine many other people who would be like, “Yes, let me completely change the way I cook for you because now you’re on a make-believe Korean diet and sure, let’s go to Party City for new home decor so our house can continue to look like Pee Wee’s Playhouse and OK, let’s talk about going to some random town in the Netherlands so you can spend Easter 2020 at some weird amusement park.” Lol. And then Chooch! I couldn’t ask for a better kid. He is such a mini-Erin that it’s actually scary at times (or, “all times” if you’re Henry). He’s independent and self-motivated when it comes to school (he’s basically a genius but has ZERO COMMON SENSE though, oh my god, he is street-stupid), a mini-politician when it comes to the neighborhood (everyone knows him!), and he is SO ENTERTAINING. Janna was over here on Saturday for Kpop Fitness Night and afterward, he effortlessly had us cracking up just by being him, sitting there making his dumb Rainbow Loom bracelets. No, our life isn’t perfect, and we do all bicker with each other like normal TV families, but we never go to bed mad at each. (EXCEPT FOR LAST NIGHT BECAUSE WE GOT A BUNCH OF CARD ORDERS AND HENRY AND I DO NOT WORK WELL TOGETHER IN THE GREETING CARD FACTORY.)

Anyway, that’s my Thanksgiving 2018 recap and obligatory “thankful” list. I’ll end here with a video of Mini-Erin stalking his nemesis Larry:

ETA: Chooch just woke up and said, “Well, I see the dining room table is back to its old self” and I screamed “WELL, WE HAD 80 MILLION CARDS TO MAKE LAST NIGHT OK, THANKS FOR THE HELP!”

Nov 012018
 

Man, this was one of the most apathetic Halloweens ever. I was trying to keep in good spirits because historically, this has always been my favorite holiday but it felt like no one was in  the mood. I mentioned this previously, but Chooch was just like *hands in the sky* as far as costume ideas went.

(Maybe he should have been the Cure’s “Edge of the Deep Green Sea” PROPS IF YOU GET THAT REFERENCE.)

Finally the night before, he texted me when I was still at work because of course I was late shift the night before Halloween and not home jerryrigging together some elaborate costume for him because he is TWELVE NOW AND I AM SUPPOSED TO NOT BE CARING ABOUT THIS SHIT ANYMORE. So he texts me and says he’s going to be One-Punch Man and: “I need yellow pants, a yellow jacket, a bald cap, and red boots and gloves.”

“Oh and a cape.”

UM, THE FUCK YOU DO.

By the time I came home from work, it was 8PM. Still no decision. I was like, “DON’T CARE DON’T CARE DON’T CARE” because I am retired.

But ugh, I felt bad for him because he was struggling and I know that this could potentially be his last time trick-or-treating, who knows, so I sat there and secretly brainstormed about relevant things, and “Hereditary” popped into my head because we watched that last month and loved it so I showed him a picture of Peter as King Paimon and he was like, “YES. YES, THAT IS THE WINNER.”

And it was so easy! All I had to do was pull Henry out of bed and send him to Burger King for a crown (“I can’t just walk in and ask for a crown,” he mumbled, trying to get out of it. “THEN ORDER AN ICED TEA, MOTHER FUCKER” I yelled, and he was on his way.) which we then spray painted gold (always have gold spray paint on hand, have you SEEN my house?).

Right before Chooch left the house yesterday for trick-or-treating, Henry bandaged his nose and I thickened his eyebrows and gave him a mole.

THAT WAS IT. BYE NOW.

This was almost as easy as the Kevin Bacon costume, and definitely cheaper! Plus, Chooch’s friend Trevor said it was an amazing idea for a costume, and this may have been the first time ever that someone Chooch’s actual age knew what he was supposed to be. So that was another win.

(Although I still think the one Top 40 song title idea I had for this year would have been good but BLAKE made me question it. MAYBE ANOTHER TIME.)

Since Chooch is way beyond the age where it’s acceptable for MOMMY to  tag along, this was my first year staying home and passing out candy since he was born, you guys. (I stayed home last year too but I didn’t pass out candy because I got drunk off soju instead and pouted.)

(And the only reason I still went with him two years ago was because he was Bullet with Butterfly Wings and could barely see where he was going, so he needed parental helpers with him.)

Sorry, I get distracted by thoughts.

Earlier that day, I had walked to CVS to get candy. There were signs that said some of the candy was Buy 1 Get 1 (in Korea, they call that 1+1 so that’s what I say in my head when I see dumb American BOGO signs) but the date said 10/27 so I decided not to chance it and only grabbed one, plus a bag of some other not-on-sale assortment. When I got in line, I noticed that there were more displays of the 1+1 candy, so I decided I would inquire about the validity once I got to the register.

And then I saw it was the weird, probable Meth-head lady who started several months ago and she has ZERO personality, like even less than me, so negative personality I guess, and she just makes me feel extremely uncomfortable.

(Or, as Chooch’s neighbor friend would say, “uncomfy.”)

And she’s kind of dumb too. There, I said it.

But still, I pressed my luck and asked, “Is that buy one get one candy sale still good for today even though the date on it says 10/27?”

She looked at me like I was the one on the Meth.

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I reiterated my question, this time making large gestures and using smaller words.

She seemed to understand now.

“Oh, no. That’s…..no, that’s not,” she slurred.

OK then.

So she started ringing up my candy.

“Oh, this one is buy one get one, so you can go get another if you want,” she said to me, in a tone that did not imply at ALL that we had previously discussed this.

I just looked at her and then slowly said, “Yeah, that’s what I was asking you.”

“Oh, I didn’t know what you were asking,” she said, staring at me blankly.

?!??!?! Isn’t this like Basic Cashier 101?!

There was a line behind me now so I quickly ducked out of line and grabbed another bag of candy from the big 1+1 display.

“Oh, it has to be the same kind,” she said BUT DOES IT THO?! It was the same price, from the same display, part of the same sale!?

Again, there was a line so I just sighed and grabbed a second bag of glow-in-the-dark-wrapper Kit Kats as quickly as possible because fuck it all, man. I hate shopping.

There is no big ending to this story, I was just thinking about it and how annoyed I was when some choosy girl picked one of the Kit Kits out of the bowl last night and I swear to god DISGUSTEDLY asked me what kind it was and I wanted to be like HEMLOCK but I just sweetly told her that it was regular with a special CHILDBLOCKING wrapper SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT, HONEY.

Because when that happened, it made me start thinking about my annoying time in CVS all over again and it’s just a vicious cycle!

Anyway, I was excited for like a second to hand out candy last night since it’s been so long since I last did this. I got my first customer before it was even 5:30, like slow down little ma’am, you know? But then she turned out to be Asian so I was like “HERE HAVE 5 SNICKERS AND AN INVITATION TO BE MY LITTLE SISTER.”

Sorry, that was creepy.

I quickly remembered that I’m not a huge fan of kids though so this was a good acting challenge for me. I thought I was doing SUPER good but Henry, who was being a couch spectator, sneered at me and said I sounded fake as hell, especially when some dumb kid fell on my porch and I asked him, apparently in Robot Staccato, if he was OK.

OK, I admit that portion of the night was pretty fucking awkward.

And I never once asked anyone who they were supposed to be because I didn’t care, not even a little.

The kids were few and far in between, but I performed a spirited variation of the Running Man while waiting.

“This is my ‘waiting for trick or treaters’ dance,” I said to Henry.

“Then you’re going to be doing that a lot,” Henry mumbled, because our street hardly ever gets trick-or-treaters.

I diligently paused my K-Drama every time I saw someone approaching – I had the front door open because it was warm last night. This was mostly fine except for this one time when I saw someone coming so I jumped up and grabbed the bowl just as the person had reached my porch and was straight peering into my house.

I opened the door and thrust the bowl at him, but he waved me off and said, “Oh I’m sorry, I have the wrong house. I’m looking for my aunt” and as he turned to leave, Henry said to me, “Why would you think that was a trick-or-treater? He was an adult. HE HAD A BEARD.”

I’M SORRY, MY EYES ARE BAD AND MY HOPES ARE HIGH.

I told some little bitch to take two and she took like 6 and I was starting to get angry when I realized two things:

  1. I was STILL going to have like 90 pieces of candy left over;
  2. She probably was below counting-age.

My last customers had very deep voices. I don’t know what they were dressed as, but they definitely had costumes on and they were very polite to me. I dumped fistfuls into their reusable Trader Joe’s shopping bags and as I came back in the house, Henry incredulously asked, “Were those guys your age?!”

I just shrugged. Who cares. They were in costume and said trick or treat, so they broke no HalloLaw in my book. YOU KNOW!?

Meanwhile, Henry was like where is our son, because it was past 7:30.

I joked and said he was probably at the Teen Center because that’s always the best guess. A few minutes later, Chooch came stumbling through the door around 8, like someone’s dad coming home from the war. It was super dramatic. He flung his sugar-swollen pillowcase over his shoulder and onto the chair and started jawing off about this house and that house, and taking a different route, and losing the neighbor kid on purpose because he didn’t want to get stuck with the kid’s weird stepdad, and now he had no one to hold him back, and then he went to the Teen Center—

“KNEW IT!” I cried.

“Well, my bandaids were coming off and I went there to get new ones!” he yelled in defense.

As usual, mostly no one knew who he was supposed to be, and he said a lot of people were concerned that his nose-injury was real.  He was proud of that.

He also went to Coco’s house! Remember the dog we helped catch over the summer and it was a super big deal even though Henry doesn’t believe that it was because he was too busy at home, sleeping? Well the owners of Coco recognized Chooch and in addition to his candy, they gave him a pencil and a ruler which I think they just randomly grabbed from a junk drawer so that Chooch would feel rewarded.

Well, it worked, because he was so excited to show us.

Who knew King Paimon was such a dork.

And then Chooch and I watched the finale of last season’s The Walking Dead (#omg) so all in all, not the worst Halloween.

Still, I hope Chooch marries someone who won’t get in my way when it comes to being a Halloween Costume Grandma, because I STILL HAVE IDEAS.

 

Oct 232018
 

It’s been a minute since we were last at Knoebels (like, 4 year’s worth of minutes!) so I started hounding Henry about going there again, probably while we were on our way from Holiday World in August, ha! Look, I really like amusement parks, OK? Especially the small, quirky ones and Knoebels for sure fits that bill.

The last time we were there was for their Hallofun event thingie, similar to what so many other parks do anymore: make the park spooky and continue to grab that cash into autumn. But what I like about Knoebels is that they don’t go for the high tech animatronic tricks or the low-brow gore – they are old school, like the way your church decorated for Halloween in the 70s and 80s and as you’re strolling about the park’s perfectly-foliaged paths on a clear autumn day, you sort of feel like Laurie Strode walking home from school, except that Michael Myers isn’t watching from behind a hedge.

And you’re probably wearing normal jeans, too.

I’m doing that thing again, aren’t I. That thing where I ramble and make no sense because I’m so excited to share pictures of another fucking amusement park. Le sigh.

What I’m trying to say is that stepping into Knoebels is like stepping back in time. I mean, my phone barely works there so it’s REALLY taking it back to some other decade.

Another reason why I love this place is, obviously, THE RIDES. Two outstanding wooden coasters, one small steel coaster, one wooden bobsled coaster, two dark rides, one of the biggest carousel’s in the world, and a handful of carnival midway stomach-churners.

But back to those wooden coasters…The Phoenix in particular is what made me want to go back so badly, especially after visiting Holiday World and getting bit by that coaster bug. Because for as great as those coasters were, I just kept thinking about how much I missed the Phoenix. I could barely even remember what it was like to ride it, other than that it gave me the extreme giggles. And really, isn’t that all you need to remember?

So I made Henry leave the house around 7:30 Saturday morning, even though he argued that it only takes 3 and a half hours to get there and the park doesn’t open until 12. But I guess he forgot that he has to stop to piss every 30 minutes, and then took a wrong turn, so yeah, it was a little after noon when we rolled up in Elysburg, PA. My work friends kept asking me, “Where is Knoebels?” and I was like, “Um, that way” and probably pointed the wrong way. But then I looked at  map finally because I had this great idea that we should also go to Philly the next day before coming home, because it’s “right by Philly and I want to go to Big Gay Ice Cream again” was my compelling argument, and Henry said, “KNOEBELS IS NOT ‘RIGHT NEAR’ PHILLY” and I was like, “Yes, it is, are you dum—-*looks at map*—-oh, it’s really not that close to Philly.”

I always forget that Pennsylvania has a northern part too.

Knoebels is one of the last free parks in America, which means any fucking Joe can waltz right on in and perhaps he only wants to take a whirl on the Paratroopers, he can just go up to one of the many ticket booths and buy whatever amount of tickets he needs. Rides range from like $1 to $3.50, I think? So if you know you’re not going to ride a lot, then skip the wristband and just get a book of tickets.

Henry LOVES this concept because it means he’s not a big fat waste of money like he normally is at amusement parks.

Another perk? DOGS ARE WELCOME. There were more dogs there on Saturday than babies probably and it was so goddamn precious, especially when they were in costume! Chooch wished he had more hands so he could pet more than 2 dogs at a time.

Chooch and I got wristbanded by an old man who asked me if my knuckle tattoos were prison tattoos and then looked at Chooch and said, “Did your mom kill a man?” What an early highlight!

Now that we had our wristbands, I ran straight to the Phoenix except that I couldn’t remember where it was because I hadn’t been there in five years, so a lot of zig-zagging was involved.

They turned the Phoenix’s tunnel into a jack o’ lantern! Chooch and I were endlessly excited about this!

We made it to the Phoenix before too much of a line had formed.Henry had us convinced that it was going to be SO CROWDED THERE and guess what? Well, it was, but not very many people were actually riding anything other than the train and antique cars so we never stood in line for more than 10 minutes except for the Flying Turns which was about 30 minutes because that’s still fairly new and a novelty.

Oh shit, you guys. Chooch and I grabbed the backseat for our inaugural ride and as we cruised through that tunnel, I was instantly reminded why I love this ride. It is fucking CHARMING and somehow extremely entertaining in spite of its simplicity – there’s nothing fancy about this track but there are so many humps that deliver major giggle-inducing airtime. Plus, it’s a lot smoother than I remember!

And it won the Golden Ticket Award for the world’s best wooden coaster of 2018!

I wanted to get all the coasters ridden ASAP in case Henry’s baseless prediction of it “getting so crowded” came true. Flying Turns was supposedly a 45 minute wait but I wanted to just get it done since we were right there and who knows, the line could get even longer! However, they had all three cars running, so the line moved steadily and we ended up only waiting about 30 minutes, as previously spoiled. And miraculously, no one in line with us was annoying.

They have the area around the line all decorated creepy-cutely so that kept us entertained.

My genius son didn’t get this one:

So, because this ride relies on gravity, all riders need to get weighed prior to boarding because each seat can’t exceed 400 pounds. You and your riding partner stand on a big metal square and get weighed with little fanfare — no one can see the results but the ride operators so it’s not a big deal, but I remember 4 years ago, standing in that line and PANICKING because I didn’t want to get weighed. I was telling Chooch about that because he didn’t remember riding it and I mentioned that I was around 40 pounds heavier then, and he was like, “REALLY?!” and I stopped for a second to let that sink in, but yeah, I’m 35-40 pounds lighter now than I was in 2014 and that’s really hard for me to wrap my head around because in my mind, I’m forever-fat.

Anyway, this is the world’s ONLY wooden bobsled coaster and it’s ridiculously fun! Also, a little precarious and I imagine all those anti-science people out there will think it’s God’s Will that keeps the cars from flipping over and nothing that has anything to do with physics, but OK. The rest of us know what’s up.

Here’s a quick video from some theme park Youtuber to give you an idea of what a cool ride this is:

I highly recommend the trip to Knoebels if you’re a coaster aficionado or desperate to feel like a Winter Olympian without putting forth any effort whatsoever.

Next up was Twister! Which we got lost trying to find! Knoebels is not the easiest to navigate, but I kind of like that because it makes it feel like something new every time, like a labyrinth with moving walls.

Anyway, look at that burly beast back there. He is a beaut, that one. I love the walk up the ramp where dead bodies hang from the rafters – it reminds me so much of the way my mom used to decorate our front yard when I was a kid.

I mean, for Halloween.

Not for some witchy sacrificial offering. OR WAS IT.

(She did just text me about the Mon City Witch Festival, so….)

Look at the skeletons!

In theory, Twister should whip Phoenix’s ass because it’s so much bigger, but this is a classic example of how bigger ain’t always better, baby. Don’t get me wrong, this coaster is fucking faster and, you know, twisty, but it lacks the personality and flair that the smaller Phoenix has in spades. We actually only rode this twice that day, which is kind of bonkers when I think about it now, but we were so preoccupied on riding the Phoenix until our eyes popped out.

Waiting for last seat on Twister.

The ride operators kept screaming FORTNITE and that was annoying but Chooch felt like they were sending him a signal.

Yeah, for a Dork Club meeting.

The last coaster we had to scratch off the list was Impulse, which is the newish steel coaster that wasn’t there yet during our last trip. It’s similar to Kennywood’s Sky Rocket except it doesn’t have the powered launch.

Here, you can see part of it:

(And dogs!)

The ride operator there at that time was dressed like a mad scientist and he was so funny in a dad-joke way. I always appreciate a good, entertaining ride operator. Papa H took pictures of us being adorable on it:

Overall, I’d give it a 4/10. I’m just not that into steel coasters anymore and this one was only thrilling for that first drop, and then the rest was just upside-down bullshit, but the real slow kinds of corkscrews and rolls, you know? I don’t like that. So, we only went on this one once, but again, the wait time was only about 5 minutes.

I’ll be back with more Knoebels photos because they are a’plenty!

(PS I lied – there is also a kiddie coaster but it’s not amazing like the Wacky Worm so I easily forgot about it. #kiddiecoastersnob)

Oct 132018
 

I woke up sick this morning which is par for the course since it’s the start of my annual October vacation week so instead of trying to write an actual blog post like I used to years and years and years ago, here is another Halloween Costume Memory. This one is from 2013 and even five years later, it still makes me twitch and cringe just thinking about how murderous it made us. Like, if there had been one more mishap or misstep, there could have been a horror movie based on our family. Brooklineville Horror. Can’t you just picture Henry losing his mind and grabbing an ax and then all the neighbors would go on record saying that he was “such a nice guy, we’re so surprised” but all of you guys would be like, “CALLED IT.”

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This may have been the most stressful Halloween yet. I almost said it was the worst Halloween, but that’s not true, because Chooch had fun and even though I AM THE MOST SELFISH MOM EVER, even I am able to acknowledge that that’s all that really matters. Right? Right.

You know how I always said I would never put my child in a box, after spending most of my childhood Halloweens being chafed by cardboard thanks to my overambitious mother? (Just nod.) Well, it took seven years, but it happened. We put Chooch in a box.

But first let me say that I repeatedly asked him, “Are you SURE? Do you REALLY want to be this for Halloween?” and he kept saying yes, so I’m not really the bad guy, right? I don’t ever want him to look back on these years and say, “My mom MADE me be this and I hated it.” Not that I know anything about that.

Anyway, I know the Claw Machine thing isn’t exactly original, but I thought it would be fun to make it a little more post-apocalyptic. Have all of the stuffed animals be ripped open and bloody, etc etc.

Oh and also? This didn’t happen until last Friday night. Just the birth of the idea itself, I mean. And we were barely home at all during the weekend, which meant that Henry had three work nights to try and get this done. I’d nervously text him for updates while I was at work and he would give me vague responses, like, “It’s coming along” and “This is Henry’s girlfriend…who’s this?” and “I want a divor—-oh, wait. Haha!”

By Wednesday night though, he swore he was “like, 95% finished.” So then I was feeling kind of OK until I read the Halloween rules that Chooch’s school sent home which included the most restrictive costume guidelines ever, so why even bother celebrating Halloween!? No fake weapons (OK, I can understand that one!), no makeup, no masks, it has to fit into a bag, and no parents permitted in the classroom to help with the costumes.

Well, fuck. There was no way we were fitting a huge box into a bag and also no way he was getting this on by himself. In fact, I couldn’t even do it. Only Henry could, because only he could understand his own stupid design. Oh and also? Everything else we have laying around the house involves makeup and masks–animal masks, clown masks, gas masks. I couldn’t even resort to the old vintage ghost-sheet standby because god forbid, HIS FACE WOULD BE COVERED IN COTTON. And there was no way I was going to the stupid Halloween store….

….so it was decided that for the school party and parade, he’d wear his old ice cream cone costume.

Oh! And did I mention that no baked goods can be sent along for the class party? Everything has to be storebought and individually-packaged. No creepy cupcakes or cookies, no rice krispie treats or cakepop eyeballs. (I’m pretty sure Henry was actually relieved about this rule, though. One less thing for him to labor over!)

I know it’s not the school’s fault, and I know that these stringent rules have been implemented in schools all over the country, not just Chooch’s. But it just makes me so sad that this generation will never know Halloween like we knew Halloween. All those “Creepy Vintage Halloween” articles have been circulating on Facebook, but you know what? I would even take 1980s Halloween over what it’s become now, thanks to religious zealots and all of those motherfuckers who just can’t help themselves from shooting up schools. You assholes with nut allergies probably fucked this up somehow, too. (Kidding. Save the hate mail for next week’s blog post about Satanic abortions.)

It’s goddamn depressing. So I ranted and cried about this for a long while Wednesday night. I think Chooch genuinely felt bad for me (I do play a pretty fantastic sadsack), and he agreed to take his ice cream cone costume to school the next day.

And then I conveniently got a call from the school nurse that afternoon, telling me that Chooch puked and wanted to come home. I was 100% convinced that he puked his way out of the parade, but he insisted that he got sick off of a taco at lunch. By the time we got home, he swore that he was feeling better and wanted to go back to school for the parade and party. I asked him if he was sure at least 87 times before signing him back into school. (He’s lucky we live close enough that it’s less than a 10 minute walk.) When I was standing in the hallway talking to his teacher, some other mom was there picking up her kid and she overheard the teacher say that Chooch threw up after eating a taco for lunch.

“My son pukes EVERY TIME IT’S TACO DAY!” the mom bystander shared, so maybe he wasn’t actually Tracy Gold’ing it to get out of the parade after all.

45 minutes later, I was walking to school for the 4th time that day to watch the parade, which was scary because Henry couldn’t leave work in time so I had to GO BY MYSELF. Obviously I didn’t know anyone there because I’m so parentally antisocial, and pretty much everyone else was buddied up with other parents. So I stood next to the only other person there who appeared to have gone stag—some mom with a septum piercing.

Luckily, the parade was short…..and very anti-climatic. Tons of kids didn’t even dress up at all! And then there was Chooch, who was doing his best to smile in spite of the fact that he was probably daydreaming of killing me in my sleep.

“Everyone was laughing at me!” he told me afterward (and no, he wasn’t CRYING ABOUT IT).

“Because it’s funny! It’s SUPPOSED to be funny!” I cried. Yeah, I’m definitely going to bite it in my sleep one of these nights. You guys were all right.

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Meanwhile, the school’s stupid costume policies allowed Henry more time to finish the real costume that was supposed to be 95% done but somehow took another three hours to complete. So while Henry did things that required the use of a ruler and math, I figured I could use that time to maim and mangle the stuffed animals. I asked Henry for the fake blood, which he SWORE WE HAD IN THE GARAGE, and it turns out we definitely did NOT have any fake blood. (I know, it’s hard to believe that people like us actually forget to restock our fake blood.)

So I threw a huge fit and Henry was all, “OH YES LET ME JUST STOP WORKING ON THIS AND GIVE A SHIT ABOUT FAKE BLOOD!” He suggested I walk to CVS and just buy some, but hey, FYI: CVS replaces all of the Halloween stuff with Christmas stuff on HALLOWEEN. I even asked one of the cashiers, thinking maybe they could just snag a tube for me out of the back, but she crinkled her nose and repeated, “Fake BLOOD?” like I was asking for a Englebert Humperdinck 8-track.

Actually, that’s a horrible reference because that cashier was like 70 so she would have been happy about that.

I ran back home after that. Me! Running! In the rain! In the rain I ran!

Did I mention it was raining? Of course it was raining—it’s Halloween in Pittsburgh. All fucking day, it was drier than a nun’s kooka* until an hour before trick-or-treating was set to start.

*(Unless it was one of the nun’s in the Italian porn we may have recently watched. And by we I mean Henry by himself because I am too classy for that, obviously.)

With no fake blood to transform the bag of stuffed animals, I focused on doing Chooch’s makeup. This part was pretty stress-free because Chooch suddenly enjoys being made-up and even dug around my makeup box for the shade he wanted around his eyes. (All makeup used was My Pretty Zombie, of course.)

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The final step for Chooch’s makeup was to adhere some stuffing to his cheek, to give it that “ripped open stuffed animal” feel. Unfortunately, in order to get the stuffing, I had to cut open one of the stuffed animals, which was the whole point in buying them from Goodwill anyway. We were going to decapitate some, amputate some, etc etc. Chooch beat me to the bag and furiously dug through it, desperately yelling, “Wait! Not the dog! Not the kitty! No, not the dragon, either!!” and before I knew it, he had almost the entire bag of stuffed animals in his arms, frantically hugging them into his body.

Finally, I found a frog and tried to be all dismissive about it. “Eh, it’s just a frog,” I said with a wave. “It’s not even all that cute.” But son-of-a-bitch, when I raised those scissors up to its chest, I was overcome with a wave of anthropomorphic guilt.

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

But…I had to do it, you guys. I had to slice open this poor fucking frog that already had the misfortune of being orphaned at a thrift shop. What dumb luck. As the sound of those dull blades slashing through fabric rang through the air, Chooch burst into tears. Like, REALLY BIG TEARS rolling down his poor wolf-cheeks, taking strips of makeup along for the ride.

“Oh for Christ’s sake!” Henry muttered as Chooch sobbed and I apologized profusely, more to the frog than Chooch, if we’re being honest.

Then when Chooch wasn’t looking, I smeared the frog with red paint.

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Chooch, post-cry. I had to reapply his makeup afterward. At least he got to wear his Never Shout Never-inspired wolf hat!

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So, that pretty much killed the stuffed animal idea. Luckily, we had enough pre-bloodied plush options, like the Batman that our friend Bonecrusher zombified for Chooch’s 5th birthday, one of Andrea’s zombie Barbies, Ju-On, a Jason Voorhees plush, the stuffed rabbit I bloodied for my Fatal Attraction costume last year and Chooch has still not forgiven me. All the while, I kept mouthing off to Henry about every last thing, all the way down to his audacity for even having been born. I have medals in this sport, you guys. My endurance for berating Henry is porn star-caliber.

Janna arrived right around this time, and she should really write a guest post about how comfortable and mellow it is to sit on the couch and listen to my mouth flap like your basic Roseanne Barr and Henry quietly simmers in a broth of domestic abuse and emasculation. I think my salutation as she walked through the front door was, “THIS IS THE WORST FUCKING DAY EV-HER-HER-HER-HER-ERRRRRR.”

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He insisted on putting a non-maimed dog in the front with him, but he was telling everyone its name was Murder Victim.

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I know, Chooch looks miserable in the video. But he was trying to look like a sad wolf, OK?! I’M NOT REALLY THAT BAD OF A MOM.

Finally, Chooch was situated in his box and we set off in the rain. We tagged along with our neighbor and two of her kids. Her son Josh is in Chooch’s class and they’ve known each other basically since they were born, since they’re only 2 weeks apart in age. Sometimes they don’t play very well together, but they made a good trick-or-treating duo. I was really glad for that, because this day did not need any more stress! Plus, Josh was really enthused about Chooch’s costume, which made him get even more into it.

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Too bad the rain forced him to take it off after the first block. Totally broke my heart, which I communicated by being a complete asshole and stamping my feet and threatening that I was JUST GOING TO GO HOME. Because you know, it’s all about me and my feelings. Meanwhile, Chooch was like, “Erin, Imma let you finish, but not having to wear a box in the rain is one of the best Halloween costumes of all time.” And frankly, he looked adorable as that stuffed wolf, so I got over it pretty quickly. (Not without verbally raping Henry a few more times though. Because the rain was ALL HIS FAULT! Why didn’t he smear himself with his own feces and crump to What Does the Fox Say beneath the Harvest Moon like a REAL FATHER?!)

I really don’t handle this shit well. I act like every little tiny event is my wedding/funeral. And it always ends up being fine! And we have fun! And we laugh! But there is always that hour where I am such a raging control freak bitchnugget asshole that I have no idea why I still have any friends. Or, you know, a Henry and a Chooch.

So I will summarize the rest (thank god, right) by saying that:

  • it rained like it motherfucker
  • Henry tried to go home
  • some lady in a Blazer almost ran us over and then put her window down to tell Chooch he had the cutest costume, and I said, “Thanks…FOR ALMOST RUNNING US OVER”
  • Henry and I broke up over an umbrella
  • I pointed out all of the things Henry forgot to put on the claw machine and he growled, “THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS I WOULD HAVE DONE IF I HAD MORE TIME.” God, quit your job then, asshole.
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Chooch had to take off the box before we made it off the first block and went the rest of the night as a “sad stuffed wolf”
  • Henry tried to go home
  • Janna had a cold
  • I called Henry a motherfucker (x 87)
  • Henry got to go home

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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I don’t even think they noticed it was raining. (Josh had a really cute pirate costume, and it sucked that he had to wear a windbreaker over it. I hate Pittsburgh weather.)

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We probably only saw 15-20 other trick-or-treaters in the 60+ minutes we were out there. And most houses just left out a bowl on the honest

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Tourette’s was trick-or-treating, too!!

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Cast of Claw Characters

“What did you use for the blood?” Henry frowned, rubbing his wet, red fingers together.

“Paint. It was either that or Ketchup,” I said with a shrug, and then when he gave me The Disappointed Father look, I screamed, “OH DON’T EVEN START WITH ME ABOUT THE FAKE BLOOD, YOU SON OF A BITCH.” I mean, good fucking god. Sorry that paint takes so long to dry!

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Afterward, Henry, Chooch, Janna and I went to Eat n Park for dinner, and miraculously Henry and I quit hating each other long enough to (BRIEFLY) hold hands at the booth. And now Chooch is apparently really into eyeliner. I came home from work last night and he had it on one eye. Henry gave me the “thanks for THAT, Erin” smirk.

All in all, it ended up being fine and we had fun in spite of the rain. I mean, if I had nothing to bitch about, how would I ever remember this night?!

Did your Halloween go off without a hitch? If so, fuck you.

Oct 082018
 

Today’s costume flashback is brought to you by the victory I received over the weekend when Henry caved and said, “FINE WE CAN  GO TO KNOEBELS FOR THEIR STUPID HALLOWEEN THING.” It’s from 2014, which was probably the most stress-free Halloween that Henry and I had ever since bringing Chooch onto the scene.

Here you go!

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Standing in line for Flying Turns at Knoebel’s two weeks ago, Chooch spotted a kid at the front of the line, wearing a bacon costume.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if his name was Kevin?” Chooch asked, laughing. “And he’s wearing a BACON costume?” He was beside himself with laughter at this point. “GET IT, MOMMY? KEVIN…BACON!?”

YES I GET IT! GOD.

He watched Footloose once last year so obviously Mr. Bacon has been on Chooch’s radar ever since. I mean, it’s Kevin-fucking-Bacon.

In fact, earlier that same day, as Henry was driving around the town of Danville, PA in circles, Chooch piped up from the backseat, “Don’t Kevin Bacon your way around.” It makes less and less sense the more you think about it, but goddamn did we laugh at the time!

And then, after seeing the bacon kid at Knoebel’s, Chooch said that’s what he wanted to be for Halloween: a bacon suit with a Hello My Name Is: Kevin name tag. You guys. Finally. A simple goddamn Halloween costume. With two weeks to go! No makeup needed! No DIY crossbows or cardboard boxes to turn to mush in the rain! No ONELASTTHING that has one of us running to CVS 15 minutes before trick-or-treating begins.

Last weekend, we went to the Halloween store and bought the bacon costume. I had no problem spending $30 on it because even though it seems like we’re being so economical with all of our DIY costumes of Halloween-past, all the bits and pieces that we have to collect from Goodwill and eBay add up, not to mention the stress of putting it all together. But the best part was the Chooch was so excited and proud of this costume! I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he’s not the first person to do this. But he might be the first 8-year-old to come up with the idea on his own!

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Halloween was a wet mess. It started raining late-morning and basically never let up, so the parade at Chooch’s school was moved to the gym. At first I was really pissed off about the parade in general because Henry kept saying he would probably be able to make it but of course at the last minute, his mistress showed up a truck driver showed up at work, so he couldn’t leave in time to make the parade. But then when I got to the school, I quickly forgot about being mad because THE GYM TEACHER WAS THERE AND I AM SO HOT FOR THAT GUY! So instead of sending Henry death-threats via text, I occupied myself with taking stealth-shots of my gym teacher crush while Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” played on a loop in my slutty head.

Don’t worry! There was still room for me to judge 3/4 of the parents in the room.

The parade only lasted about 15 minutes. Once the adults realized Chooch’s entire costume, there was a ton of snickering and he seemed pleased. I figured most people assumed this was a costume that his bossy parents forced on him.

“None of your friends are going to get it,” I told him the other day.

“No…but the teachers will,” he shrugged. Because that’s all he cares about: impressing grown-ups.

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kevin3

It was still raining by the time trick-or-treating started and I was completely upset about it. Chooch didn’t give a fuck, but I was all, “HALLOWEEN IS RUINED! AGAIN! WAHHHH!” But really it was because I was mad that I had half-assed a baby doll costume (I was wearing a donuts-in-space baby doll dress, even) and then had to cover everything up with a rainjacket, ugh. I hate everything!

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Anyway. We wound up going around the neighborhood with our neighbor Sam and her son, Markie. Markie is kind of like the little brother that Chooch always says he wants until he spends too much time with Markie and then he turns into a little jerk-bully and it is so infuriating. I hate kids with superiority complexes and Chooch definitely has one that rears its head every now and then. I spent most of the time saying things like, “CAN’T YOU JUST BE NICE?! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT TO MARKIE? STOP BEING A JERK.”

Ugh.

Stop making me be a MOM on HALLOWEEN.

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Henry was absolutely no help whatsoever.

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Markie’s mom has trick-or-treating on LOCK. She would quickly point out if they missed a house or if they only took one when the sign said TAKE TWO and she was on top of things when it came to crossing the street. Have you seen me cross the street? Thank god for Markie’s mom.

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A few Halloweens ago, Chooch completely bit it down a set of stairs not unlike these ones. And this year, he was practically making the trek in a DRESS. He did fall once, not down any steps at least, and Markie’s mom was on top of it. That’s just one of the reasons why everyone assumed she was my kid’s mom that night.

Sigh.

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AFTER THIS HOUSE GO TO THAT HOUSE. DON’T WALK THROUGH THEIR YARD! YOU MISSED THAT HOUSE! THE LIGHT IS OFF BUT THERE IS A BOWL ON THE PORCH!!!!

Ah, the sounds of hyper-bossy trick-or-treating parents. They should have their own show on TLC.

And I thought Henry was a candy-fetching militant.

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Seriously, Chooch’s costume. It’s like a breakfast gown. I had the ingenious foresight to pin it up, but that brilliant mom-idea came the day before, so by Halloween, I had forgotten to do it. But still, people freaked out over his costume. One lady even asked to take his picture. I was happy to stand in the background and not take any credit. This was all Chooch and I let him have it all. (There were times when people would laugh and say to each other, “Oh, he’s bacon, how cute” and, after fisting their candy bowl, he would snap, “I’m KEVIN Bacon” and then sauntered away while they let that sink in.

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Toward the end of the night, we parted ways with the neighbors, and if there was a house Chooch felt like skipping, we let him skip the everloving FUCK out of it. It was cold and wet and we wanted to go home and eat candy, you know? Leave us alone.

Oct 022018
 

Yo yo yo, I thought it would be fun to repost some of Chooch’s old Halloween costumes on here this month, since he’s past the age where it’s cool for MOMMY AND DADDY to make his costumes and now he just wants to go trick-or-treating as A Kid in a Mask.

I’ll always be proud that his costumes of yore were mostly a full-family collaboration and he had a big part in choosing the concept. I think my favorite and crowning glory was the year he decided to go as “Death By Stereo,” literally a scene from The Lost Boys (the best vampire movie of all time, fight me).

Anyway, here it is, from 2015!

You Missed, Sucker: Halloween 2015

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Kind of random, but The Lost Boys was one of the first movies that Chooch became obsessed with when he was real little. It happened kind of as a joke: I had just brought the DVD home after lending it to Bob from my old job and I asked Chooch if he wanted to watch it. I mean, he was 2 so he basically just responded with a Maggie-esque suck of his pacifier. Then Henry came home and saw that we were sitting on the couch, all up to our necks in glorious 1987 vamp action, and he was just like, “Why are you letting him watch this? What is wrong with you?!”

Chooch has always been down with horror movies. There have only been two times in his 9 years where he was legit upset:

  • once when he was about 4 and watching The Eye (the real version, not the crappy American remake),
  • once when he was about 7 and watching Children of the Corn and made me turn it off after the dog dies at the gas station (spoiler but not?)

And The Lost Boys was his freaking JAM when he was a toddler! I can’t tell you how amazing it was to watch a vampire movie 99 times a week instead of some Disney bullshit. So then I bought him the Michael and David figurines, and he would make David say, “Maggots, Michael!” in his cute little baby voice full of impediments.

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And then he had a Lost Boys cake at his third birthday party.

The older Chooch gets, the more of the movie he gets, as well. Like, the milk carton close-up. The grandfather’s famous last line of the movie. HOW AMAZING COREY HAIM IS. He was really excited a few weeks ago when he slept over his cousin Zac’s house and The Lost Boys was on TV, so he got to watch it with everyone there. We were talking about it the next night, standing in line for a haunted house of course, when he started acting out the Death By Stereo scene. And then it was, “That’s what I should be for Halloween.”

***

That said, I had officially retired from any and all involvement of Halloween costume planning and prepping. I felt like last year’s Kevin Bacon costume was a solid way to go out, you know? It was a strong costume, and also extremely easy to pull off. The best.

But man, I loved his idea. It was a CHALLENGE. Plus, how could I say no when it involved one of my all-time favorite movies, ever? So I turned to Henry and said, “Well, Chooch finally decided on a costume.  Good luck!”

I mean, I at least sketched it out for him so he had an idea of what to do, OK? But every last person who knew about this plan was like, “How in the hell….?” I was only 45% confident that we were going to pull it off, and 100% confident that barely no one would get it. But, it’s what Chooch wanted and I thought it was really fucking awesome. This was definitely a costume I could get behind and I was on Henry’s back about it. Which is unusual for me, that whole nagging thing.

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The sparks were the hardest things to visualize, but I liked Henry’s interpretation.

The Lost Boys

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This was the first year that we had our shit together in enough time to participate in the neighborhood’s Halloween parade. Seriously, after nine years! Usually we’re still slathering makeup on his face or stuffing him in a box right as the first batch of trick-or-treaters are clambering up our front steps. We were only a block away from our house when Chooch tripped on absolutely nothing, fell, and chipped one corner of his styrofoam speaker. Luckily, we had  to walk right past a CVS on our way to the boulevard, so Henry ran in and bought some duct tape for a quick repair.

On the walk down to the parade’s start line, Chooch got lots of compliments, but you could tell that no one was really getting it. But then, during the parade, I overheard a man with a burlap sack on his head say to his friend, “The Lost Boys! Ha!” and I did a quick fist pump at my side. Later, a lady turned around and asked, “Is he from the Lost Boys?” YES YES YES HE IS. THANKS!

Meanwhile, some broads were walking around during the parade and handing out papers to some of the kids. One walked over to me and said, “Write his name on the back on this and then have him come over to the stage after the parade and turn it in.” Then she looked at Chooch and started cracking up. I looked at the paper and it said “Funniest Costume.” I wanted to argue her on this, because he wasn’t FUNNY, but I just shrugged, wrote his name, and handed her the pencil back.

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We went light on the blood because he was going trick-or-treating with his cousin Zac and I didn’t want him getting that shit in my car. Also, we forgot to buy fangs because it would be weird if we actually had everything right. But then I had a rare moment of brilliance and started stuffing my fists into the pockets of all of my jackets before I was finally rewarded with an unopened package of fangs from Castle Blood. THANK YOU, CASTLE BLOOD! How poetic!

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During the parade, Chooch saw some of his friends from school who were just like, “WHAT THE HECK?!” and “I thought you were cotton candy?!”

No matter where we stood in the parade, my nemesis Candy Cane kept appearing right in front of me. She is just the worst. At one point, she was walking toward me with such purpose, I actually considered the possibility that she limp-storming over to slap me in the face, but then she changed directions right before walking into me and crossed the street. Henry saw this happen and thought it was hilarious but it put me in a bad mood, and really, I don’t need much help being put into a bad mood.

The whole parade was kind of pointless and I kept getting stuck behind broads pulling wagons stuffed with children behind them and I was just not built for walking at a parade pace. Luckily, it didn’t last very long and then it was award time. Funniest category was first, thank the lord! My threshold for rubbing elbows with neighbors is pretty non-existent and my head was starting to hurt from clenching my jaw.

Chooch was up against two kids that didn’t have shit on him, and a baby. Henry and I looked at other and cringed because we fucking hate each other, and also because we knew that the baby was going to win.

Because it’s a baby. Babies beat everyone.

So yeah, the baby dressed as a turnip won, but Chooch came in second! The idiot announcing the winners said, “And coming in second place, for $40,000….” and Chooch whipped his head toward us and mouthed, “OMG!” We were like, “No. No! Not $40,000. It was a JOKE.” Ugh.

But man, we’re still hearing about how he was defeated by a BABY.

“And how is a TURNIP funny?!” he cried the next day. I mean, I know. I get it.  People like us never win, my friend.

Maybe he should save this and wear it to the next horror convention. I don’t know.

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De-wigged, winnings in hand.

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Sucks that this part was covered by Chooch, but Henry even had lights in the stereo so it looked real. TGFH*.

*(Thank God For Henry. Maybe that will be my next series of Henry pins!)

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Chooch couldn’t even tie his shoes on his own with the stereo strapped to his back.  But between his cousin whacking at it with a machete and Chooch’s own natural clumsiness, one of the speakers broke again so he decided to just take it off after about an hour of trick-or-treating.  And then Henry tied Chooch’s wig back because it kept falling into his face, so at that point, he just looked like a vampire Michael Jackson.  But he had fun, and just enough people knew what he was to make it worth it.  And now I’m going back into retirement.

I’m so glad that I don’t have to put this in the “epic fail” category.

Jul 302018
 

Today is the one-year-anniversary since I breathed the same air as G-Dragon at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, but it’s also my birthday! I turned 39 today and I know that the countdown to is very real to a lot of people, but I gotta tell you: I’m not scared ’bout it! My 20s were largely terrible (bad job, even…badder friends, less control over my mental health), but my 30s turned out to be pretty fucking great for the most part. I don’t fuck around with toxic people anymore; at age 30 I finally found a job that I actually value and do my best at; my relationship with Henry has improved over time (oh god please don’t say it’s aged like a fine wine, that’s so dumb!); being a mom to Chooch has been so much fun; and I just feel like I know myself better through this last almost-decade of my life. So I say, bring on the 40s! I’m ready for it.

This was a great birthday too. Henry pulled through and bought me the whole SHINee Story of Light collection because he’s the best Kpop boyfriend ever. It actually was delivered on Saturday and I was like CAN I JUST HAVE IT NOW?!?! because the box had a Choice Music sticker on it and hello that’s only the best Kpop shop in the US everyone knows that.

Then yesterday my friend Katrina sent me a picture of a roller skate purse she saw in the kids section at Target so I said to Henry, “Go buy me that” and he did.

Shit, I’m spoiled!

I took the day off work for my birthday and Chooch and I had grand plans to be a power riding team at Kennywood (more on that later this week!) but first Chooch was all COUGH COUGH AHEM COUGH until I realized that he had arranged the Hangul magnets on the fridge to spell out happy birthday AND HE GOT ME A CARD! That’s like a huge deal for kids, especially once they hit middle school because OMG other people have birthdays besides them?!

I started cracking up because while Chooch is legit gifted and brilliant in many ways, but is consistently stumped when it comes to addressing envelopes. “I googled it and everything but still didn’t know whose name to put!” he cried. How about THE PERSON YOU ARE GIVING THE CARD TO!? 🙄 Still, it was the best card—I love my at-times-remedial son!

So Chooch hangs out with this kid sometimes and is like enamored with his mom because she cooks and bakes and is basically the antithesis of me (she put one of her kids on blast for calling her a Crabby Patty, can you imagine if she was a fly on our wall?!) and I’m always like, “Wah, you like Wesley’s mom more than me!” because once she made him a grilled cheese and he was just excited to witness real housewife/stay at home mom antics I guess. So the inside of his card made me nearly burst into tears (um, and not teats like I originally typed, or twats which is what came out when I tried to type teats on purpose, writing is hard you guys). I guess the best part of my thirties was watching Chooch grow into such a cool, thoughtful, caring dude.

And going to Korea, duh.

I’m typing this now right before bed, exhausted and delirious from a day full of cracking up and riding my favorite rides at Kennywood. And Henry wasn’t a jerk all day! What more can I ask for?

(I mean, a lot of things obviously but I’m trying to pretend like I’m a mature 39-year-old broad here ok lol.)