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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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

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

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

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Cast of Claw Characters

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

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

****

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

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

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

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!

**********

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!

**********

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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***********

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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.)

Jul 182018
 

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Today is our precious maknae Taemin’s birthday and I would be remiss if I didn’t take some time out of my dumb day to honor him because he has brought a great surplus of joy into my life. (Just watching video compilations of him laughing has been known to greatly improve my mood!) Technically, his birthday is over, but it’s still July 18 here in America so let the celebration continue, I say!

Today, I wore my Taemin socks to work! Carrie thought they were cute. Glenn said I need help.

In case you didn’t know, Taemin is my #2 bias (he’s been doing a great job at filling the void in my heart while G-Dragon is in the military) and he’s in my second favorite Kpop group, SHINee. He was just a baby when they debuted in 2008!

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But he somehow grew up to be so dreamy! (That’s literally what Amber called him when I made my group watch a Taemin solo video in honor of his special day, lol, I think she may have been being sarcastic though…..)

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I was in a great mood all day! Then I came home and saw that Henry actually went to the store and bought ingredients to bake the Korean cream cake I sent him a recipe for, begging for him to bake it for Taemin’s birthday.

“JUST WHAT I WANT TO DO, WORK ALL DAY, COME HOME AND MAKE YOU DINNER, THEN BAKE A CAKE!” Henry yelled.

So I made my own dinner to help him out! (Cereal and peanut butter toast lol.)

Look at him! Isn’t he the greatest Kpop ahjussi or what!? Oh, the fun we have.

I can’t believe he actually did this for me, I mean, for Taemin. He didn’t even get too surly about it—did I finally break him!?

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#happybirthdayTaemin 6v6

A post shared by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

“Now what?” Henry asked after I blew out the candles. Um, obviously we’re gonna eat the damn thing! It turned out really good, too! Henry is the best housewife, you guys. I mean, what CAN’T he do.

(I’ll answer so you don’t have to: PROPOSE.)

Henry took some pieces over for Blake and Haley. “Did you tell him it’s for Taemin’s birthday?” I asked hungrily.

“Yes, Erin,” he sighed.

“Yeah but, did you specifically say Taemin, or just ‘some Korean guy’?” I pressed on.

“I said Taemin,” Henry said through the web of slumber over his face.

“Well did Blake even wish him a happy birthday?!” I cried, and Henry was like, “*no comment*”

6v6 is the emoticon that represents Taemin; all the members of SHINee have one.

Idol worship is so weird, I know, but it sure does make life fun. It’s nice to have things to celebrate. What a fun Wednesday night!

Jul 052018
 

Do people still say “crunk”? I hope not. But if they do (and it’s probably soccer moms from Boise who just discovered Lil Jon and are trying to be ‘hip’), I’ll have them tell you that my July 4th was not crunk.

It wasn’t bunk, either, though.

It was…middle of the road.

Mild.

Perfectly alright.

It’s hard to get all patriotic when the current administration is making me embarrassed to be American, but that’s a writing I will save for my political thesis that I’m writing for one of my classes in the secret socialist college I’m attending in the basement of the Smiling Moose.

I HAVE ALREADY SAID TOO MUCH.

We didn’t have any plans for the day, a combination of being still broke from our KCON weekend and it being 98 degrees outside. If there wasn’t the promise of a swimming pool involved, I wasn’t going, I’ll tell you that much. But then Chooch ended up going to Kennywood with his second family: Blake, Haley, and Calvin. Henry and I opted out because, again, THAT HEAT, THO.  Chooch and I have season passes. He’s gone twice already, which made the price of a season pass for him worth it, but I still haven’t gone AT ALL so I’m kind of panicked about that, like maybe I should just go tonight for an hour after work!? WHAT TO DO…..!

This meant that Henry and I had to spend the day together alone which was gross, j/k, it was OK. I was crabby in the morning because sometimes I get off on starting fights over the breakfast that didn’t make me because I purposely only asked him to make it in my head and then I get so outraged when HE DIDN’T READ MY MIND WHY ARE MEN THE WORST.

Henry: You have anger issues.

Me: I KNOW. ITS CALLED EXPLOSIVE ANGER DISORDER. I WAS DIAGNOSED.

Like how does he forget these things

But Henry was like, “No, this day isn’t going down like this” so he took extra measures to placate me, like by sitting with me and watching Korean dramas and then taking me for an ICE CREAM LUNCH.

When you’re adults, you can do that shit.

We went to Page Diary Mart which is a local softserve hot spot. Lately, all I ever really want is soft serve, so I appreciate when a place offers more than just  the vanilla and chocolate staples. And Page’s is super well-known for their blueberry softserve which has real blueberries in it and doesn’t have that artificial taste to it, either, like those places that are like TRY OUR 50 DIFFERENT FLAVORS OF SOFTSERVE! but then they’re just adding some kind of weird syrup to it and it usually tastes synthetic.

Because it is.

I asked for rainbow sprinkles and it wasn’t until hours later when I really started to dwell on this.

“They gave me patriotic sprinkles when I asked for rainbow and I think that’s pretty brazen to assume I celebrate the 4th of July!” I shouted, to which Henry calmly replied, “Maybe that’s all the sprinkles they had.”

STOP WHITE-KNIGHTING EVERYONE, HENRY!!

Regardless, that cone was just what I needed on that grossly hot day, even though I had to eat it almost too fast to enjoy it.

Henry got the raspberry almond torte sundae and don’t you worry, I sure did help him eat this. Also, it looks like he’s smelling a fart in this picture.

JUST LIKE JOEY TRIBBIANI.

After our ice cream date (lol), I convinced Henry to park somewhere on the Southside, no not so we could have car sex and get murdered by a serial killer, but because I have this app called Job Spotter and it’s so dumb but basically you take pictures of hiring signs and the storefronts of the businesses looking for help and submit it to this app and you get points based on the quality of the picture, how many times it’s already been submitted, etc. Each point equals one cent which goes into your “wallet” and can be redeemed for an Amazon gift card at any time. I started using it sometime in May because it gives me something to do when I’m walking around and I’ve slowly accumulated $41 in my “wallet,” lol. The most points I ever got for one of my submissions was 109, and most are between 40-70 so you really have to submit a lot.

Anyway, I was like, “LET’S DO SOME JOB SPOTTER’ING” and Henry was like, “Oh great” because he’s embarrassed to be seen with me when I’m looking like a tourist taking the most boring pictures. It’s fun for me because people usually wait until I’m done and then look around to see what I was taking pictures of.

Anyway, I got a bunch of points on Carson Street and Henry was, “Was this really worth getting heat stroke, though?”

Um, yes. Dumb question.

Later, Henry and I walked to Eat n Park because it was TOO HOT TO BE IN THE KITCHEN according to Henry.

While we were there, The Sundays “Here’s Where the Story Ends” came on and some older woman at the booth behind us started singing along and I just had the biggest rush of FEELINGS because I can’t remember the last time I heard that song but it was definitely ages ago and ITS THAT LITTLE SOUVENIR, BLAH BLAH BLAH LA LA LA.

“You always hear songs here that bring back memories for you,” Henry said, and I couldn’t tell if he was just making an obvious observation or if he was like, “I AM SAYING THIS BECAUSE IT’S ANNOYING AND ALWAYS COMES WITH A STORY.”

Seriously though that Eat n Park plays the best music, which is great because their food is mediocre and their service is inconsistent, so it’s good that they have one thing going for them.

Rainbow on the way home!

And then I found this old Pocket Rocker tape on top of my refrigerator which seemed random at first but I think several years ago, OK probably 10, I went on this kick where I was yearning for a Pocket Rocker because it was one of my favorite childhood toys and I found one on eBay because of course eBay would have it and so I bought it without hesitating and it came with this sweet-ass Tiffany tape and also the Jets too if I remember correctly.

Henry thinks that the Pocket Rocker is “around somewhere” but he made no moves to find it so instead I made him watch an hour long block of Tiffany and Debbie Gibson videos. SHOULDA LOOKED FOR THAT FUCKING POCKET ROCKER WHEN I ASKED, HANK.

Me: Who did you like better, Tiffany or Debbie?

Henry: I don’t know.

He didn’t even THINK about it, though.

I was excited to hear “Could’ve Been for the first time since probably back when it was popular, back when girls sang with their own natural voices instead of forcing themselves to sound “different,” *cough cough HALSEY cough cough*. Oh, try-hards.

I personally liked Tiffany better because she seemed edgier, like a girl who was more likely to run away at 16 and date an older man. But then Debbie’s Electric Youth video came on and I was overcome with nostalgia because that shit was the jam. Remember when I was in 5th grade and played Zsa Zsa Gabor for an interview in Mrs. Madden’s class? Well, one of the other groups was my friend Amy who was Debbie Gibson and Brandy was the reporter interviewing her about her new Electric Youth perfume. Man, I wanted that perfume so bad and for a girl who pretty much had everything growing up, it was always the little shit like that my mom was always like, “Lol no” when I asked for it. AND THOSE ARE THE THINGS I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER.

Also, Elisabeth H. had a birthday party sleepover in 5th grade and I remember this vividly because I was laying underneath a pool table with, I BELIEVE JAIME McC., and I admitted that I had a crush on Scott S.* and she was like, “Ew why” and now I too am like, “Ew why.” Anyway, Elisabeth gave away cassingles (!!!!) as party favors and one of them was Electric Youth and that’s the one I wanted but instead I got Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion.”

Ugh.

You better believe I paused the Debbie Gibson video marathon to tell Henry this story and he said, “I like how all of your stories start with something about you having a crush” and I think this is a bit hyperbolic, Henry, because it’s probably only every other one.

*(Fun fact: the last time I used the full name of one of my crushes on this blog, someone who used to work with him stumbled upon it 8 years later and left a comment that had subtle threatening vibes by saying he was going to send the link to him to see what he thought of it and by the time I realized what was going on, my stats had SPIKED hardcore and it was all traffic for that one blog post so I panicked and made it private and if you’re wondering if I’m still shook about it, the answer it this just happened last month so yes, lol.)

Somehow, someway, I was reminded of the Rainbow Brite movie through all of this (lol I know exactly why, it was because one of the Debbie Gibson videos, for a split second, sounded like the way Rainbow Brite sang the word ‘rainbow’ in the song THERE’S A RAINBOW INSIDE OF YOU) so god bless YouTube, we spent another 30 minutes listening to Rainbow Brite songs and Chooch at one point came in the room, shook his head and left.

“Don’t you remember this!?” I cried to Henry, who was like, “NO!!!” because this was probably the year he was in the Service, getting a Vicks VapoRub hand job by some Taiwanese prostitute at a back table in a bar in Japan and he will tell you fervently that this never happened THEN WHY DID HE TELL ME ABOUT IT ONCE 15 YEARS AGO DID HE THINK I WOULD FORGET?!

But really though, what a great day! Exhausting day overall though, because of the heatwave. At one point I said, “I think I have…sun disease. Heat burn…what’s it called?”

One of those things! We all looked like Drew by the end of the night:

ETA: Great, I let that Tiffany video play again when I went to get the link to put it in on here, and now Madonna’s “Live To Tell” is on and I’m sobbing out of nowhere?! 1980s Madonna was the Best Madonna.

Now I need to listen to This Used to Be My Playground because that shit to make me cry so hard as a kid like I suddenly had adult feelings and hadn’t just finished playing RBI with my brother Ryan on our basement Nintendo. (I used to always choose a Canadian team so both National Anthems would play and he would get so angry lol.)

Jun 072018
 

My co-worker Missy was selling fundraiser pepperoni rolls a few weeks ago and normally I’d walk away because what does a vegetarian want with a pepperoni roll, but then I saw that the delivery day was June 6, which is Henry’s birthday, and Henry likes pepperoni rolls.

I know what you’re thinking: WOW ERIN DID SOMETHING SELFLESS FOR ONCE AND BOUGHT HENRY PEPPERONI ROLLS!

And you’d be half-right. I bought Henry 5 pepperoni rolls but it was mostly selfish because it was an easy out and now I would be able to say once again that I did something for his dumb birthday when he does nothing for mine.

I mean, it’s not like I’m keeping score or anything…

Before any celebratory pepperoni roll action took place, though, Henry had to come into Instagram like a wrecking ball. Our friend Alyson was sweet and remembered his birthday, so she posted an old photo of the two of them from one of the times she visited us after Chooch was born. She tagged him in it and I commented that it was going to make his day. The next thing I knew, he was replying to my comment with a bunch of jibberish and I was like, “OMG ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?!” and then after that he left another 20+ comments in quick succession and then texted me, “I just got temporarily banned from Instagram for posting to [sic] fast?” because he didn’t realize he had been butt-commenting, and for some reason, this just seemed so apropos: When Quinquagenarians Are Let Loose on Instagram!

After dinner, I came out with this flaming roll and Henry was all, “OH COME ON” because he “wasn’t hungry” but I was like “WE HAVE TO DO IT FOR THE BOOMERANG.”

All jokes aside though, life has been coming at us hard over the last few weeks so I knew all he would want was a normal, relaxing non-event. And brother, that’s just what he got. Chooch and I were moderately nice to him, he made us an easy dinner, and we started watching a new K-drama that we’ve both been really anticipating, him for the storyline, me for the SEO KANG-JOON:

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I MISSED HIS FACE BIG TIME.

I mean, Henry’s face. I missed it big time while I was at work.

He turned 53 this year and that isn’t really a milestone. Maybe next year Chooch and I will make another list of things we like about him since it will be an even number that we can split, and maybe when he turns 57 we can have a ketchup-themed party. WHO WANTS TO ACCEPT THE KETCHUP CAKE CHALLENGE?!

I think Henry was perfectly content. And like Nate pointed out at work today, I mean I did let him go to Korea with me, so…

Anyway, if you like some more Henry posts, I did a small round-up for one of his past birthdays here, and also here is the list Chooch and I made when he turned the big 5-0, lol.

May 302018
 

Thursday and Friday of last week were so stressful because our system was down at work and caused major havok and then Friday was that dreaded trolley detour that I told you I was dreading and for good reason too, it turned out, because it was a clusterfuck and I have never been around so many people freaking out about something at the same time as I was on Friday when the driver shut the door and stopped letting people off because it was taking too long and he was trying to explain over the intercom that staying on and doing it his way and not the was the Port Authority told us would be easier and faster but we were IN NO POSITION to believe this guy so we were all like, “OPEN THE DOORS! LET US OUT!” and it was a little bit like Train to Busan except that there were no zombies and we weren’t in beautiful Korea and everyone was speaking Yinzer English so no, actually, nothing like Train to Busan really.

Some passenger very calmly explained to some of us what was going on and eventually calmed us down and we all went and found seats, and it turns out that the driver really did know what he was doing and everything turned out fine and I wasn’t even late for work! And he even got back on the intercom once we got downtown and thanked everyone for their patience and told us to have a great weekend and hello, that never happens! Those drivers are usually like GET IN AND SHUT UP.

Prior to this, though, the fucking trolley stopped for a ridiculous amount of time so that THE LOCAL NEWS COULD FILM US BEING MISERABLE. I looked up and saw this giant camera pointed at me and texted Henry, “WHY THE FUCK IS A KDKA CAMERMAN FILMING ME RIGHT NOW I’LL SUE.” Anyway, my dumb face made it on the news and I was less than happy about it but at least my hair looked OK and they didn’t use the shots of me making eye contact with the camera and covering my face with my hair.

Yesterday, the mail room guy rounded the corner and his salutation to me was a jolly, “THERE SHE IS, THE CELEBRITY! CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH?!” and I was like, “Oh. So I see you saw the news.”
I’m grateful that I wasn’t one of the people running to catch the T in the clips that aired. I would have been so mad!! Also, I never run to catch the T because I’m so goddamn early every morning.

Saturday morning started off great! Blake and Haley moved in next door (!!!!) and while that was happening, I drove out to Cranberry to meet my buddy Jessy at First Watch for some breakfast action. I don’t get to see Jessy very often but we always seem to pick right up where we left off and it’s just a delight. I have known her since high school – she used to live on my street!

I was really excited to go to First Watch because they have MATCHA LATTE PANCAKES on their seasonal menu and helloooooo matcha. But first we had to sit inside for an endless amount of time, waiting to be seated, and eventually Jessy pointed out that everyone who was there before us had been seated and they were now seating people who came in after us and if there is one thing I hate in life, it’s being forgotten. I felt so worthless! So Jessy flagged down a hostess and asked if we could just sit at an empty table outside and the hostess was such a little cunt about it too, and was all, “You’ll have to wait until I seat these people” but then she did eventually come back and seat us outside and it was so fucking annoying. Every last girl in that place was a fucking rude asshole to us, except for our waitress, who was sweet and delightful and we had a great rapport with her until the very end when she dropped off our check and then promptly forgot about us and Jessy needed a take-out box.

So Jessy was like, “Fuck this noise” and called them from her phone to tell them that we had been forgotten and could someone please her a take-out box, and I was practically sliding under the table with laugher. Jessy doesn’t fucking play, you guys.

“I’m sorry, but we shouldn’t have to wait this long for everything!” Jessy said, and trust me, there was no need for her to justify it to me, I was just as forgotten as she was! First Watch might have good food and interesting options (especially for those of the vegetarian species) but the staff they had working that day was just the worst. The manager might have been the bitchiest of them all, actually. I wasn’t impressed.

MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE A LETTER.

The rest of the day was pretty chill. Henry worked on some projects like a good boy while I jumped around the house while wondering what Blake and Haley’s noise ordinance threshold is. They claim that they can’t hear anything from our side of the house, so hopefully I can keep beating Henry with privacy while hysterically screaming the answers to “GUESS THE KPOP SONG IN 5 SECONDS” videos on YouTube.

Our house, man. Our house.

We went to Home Depot (*puke puke vomit*) that afternoon so Henry could get wood for the picture of Seoul he’s making. This project has been in the works since last September but he had to “think about how he wants to do it” and I guess that took 8 months? It will hopefully be magical and twinkling (it will light up!) when it’s done. If it’s ever done. It will also be super hard to miss because I think it’s like 6 feet wide or something which is actually smaller than I wanted but Henry started spewing out logistics and measurements and I walked away.

But yeah, I went to Home Depot with him because I wanted to get plants because I’m dumb and going to try and cultivate a plant family again. But then I got angry at the way mulch smells, and Henry had to listen to me rant about that.

Henry and I took a walk later in the evening though and stopped in the international market down the street so I could stock up on some new strange delights for the International Pumpkin of Horrors.

Sunday was kind of bad because I woke up in A Mood and it never really dissipated. I think I genuinely have food phobia/eating disorder/body dysmorphia — SOMETHING. Or I’m just flat out insane but that hasn’t been news since like, middle school. But yeah, even though I’m losing weight, I’m apparently still miserable so, there you have it. Sunday sucked.

Although it did get a little better in the evening. Henry was watching Kpop reaction videos and said, “Pfft, I could do that too” so now I’m trying desperately to get him to start his own channel: Truck-Driver Dad Warehouse Guy Reacts. He can react to unboxing videos because he’s so judgmental on how YouTubers handle box-cutters. “THAT’S A GOOD WAY TO HURT YOURSELF” is his catchphrase.

Chooch was out and about during Saturday and Sunday because he’s popular and has shit to do.

Memorial Day was OK, but SUPER HUMID. We spectated the parade and then basically tried to not dehydrate the rest of the day. It was OK.

We wanted to get ice cream at Millie’s Monday evening, but they were closed, and then Remember When was closed, so we ended up at some soft serve snack shack by Henry’s work and I made the poor choice of getting a s’mores sundae, forgetting that I ordered this once before and they use that tangy chocolate sauce that I hate! Ugh, talk about shitting all over a sundae.

And Chooch ordered “Sticks and Stones” which is such a dumb name for ice cream because what flavor could that possibly be, playground dirt!? So of course he felt obliged to get it since he had to ask the stone-faced window-broad what it was (chocolate-covered pretzel sticks and cookie dough). I mean, why not just put the description under the name when you fucking know you’re going to get asked 87 times a day what the fuck it is.

I’m not mad about it though.

I was also gypped on the marshmallow sauce! That was the main reason I ordered it! I FELT LIKE MY DAY NEEDED SOME MARSHMALLOW TO BE COMPLETE.

Oh, Henry got his standard order of “twist with crunchies.”

But let’s back up. While in line for our ice cream, we witnessed a mild altercation between two women. Woman A walked in front of Woman B because Woman A’s grandson was waiting at the window to order and she was joining him. Woman B said “Excuse me, yeah I said excuse me for you since you pushed me and didn’t say anything” and Woman A was all, “I didn’t push you” and Woman B went on a tangent about how rude she was for pushing her and not saying excuse me so Woman A just turned around and ignored her and then I asked Henry if Woman A really did push Woman B and he mumbled, “Nope. She didn’t even touch her.” OH AMERICA. Can’t even go get ice cream without becoming irrationally angry and trying to provoke a stranger to fight you.

(It’s different when you go to an ice cream place and become RATIONALLY ANGRY though.)

Don’t you sometimes wish you could use Instagram filters to make people’s words prettier? Same, fam. Same.

But hey, Americans literally died so that we can run our mouths at strangers for absolutely no reason. What a country.

Apr 252018
 

(See also: That Time I Forgot How To Spell ‘Twelfth’ And Had To Look It Up)

Well, it’s here. Another birthday. The one thing that has always stuck with me from when I was pregnant was someone telling me, “Time moves so much faster when you become a parent.” I thought this was a fucking joke because those nine months of being pregnant moved like sludge. But shit, it really does feel true, maybe because I’m so hyper-aware that he becomes less of a kid as every day passes and I just want to go around curb-stomping clocks and burning calendars.

And now he’s 12.

Just like that.

He was 3, just about to turn 4, when I started working at the Law Firm. It feels like yesterday.

My friend Christina was like, “Wait until next year when you have to start adding a ‘teen’ to his age” and that scares me too, but honestly when I  think about, he’s been acting like a teen for the last 10 years at least, so at least I’m sort of prepared.

Maybe?

He was about 3 months old in the above photo. Maybe 4? I’m a shitty mom, lol.

We had a small little celebration last night at Breakout, the escape room down the street. Chooch is obsessed with escape rooms and he and my mom have gone to three or four of them at this point but have never won because it’s always just the two of them, ha! So this time, we wrangled up a group of 7 (Chooch, his bff Sharyn, me, my mom, Janna, Blake and Haley) and we managed to escape with 4 minutes left! I’m so glad my mom joined us. She is hilarious, especially when we had to be handcuffed and she cried about how whoever found the key had to unlock her cuffs first and then I found the key first and made Haley unlock me and then we unlocked Blake while my mom was like, “HELLO” but then Blake was the hero and unlocked her cuffs since I’m an awful daughter, ha!

I didn’t care if we actually escaped so much as I just wanted to do better than Janna. I think she was low-key afraid to go with us because I hit her once playing Scattergories so she was probably thinking, “God only knows what she’ll do to me in an escape room…”

Afterward, we came back to our house and Henry and Calvin joined us for strawberry cake from the Priory, which was really good thank god because I’m a cake snob and it’s technically my birthday too so people should be glad that I was pleased.

It was nice to not have a full-blown party this year, especially since Korea was so close to his birthday, but I suspect that we’ll be doing something festive next year when he turns 13 because that’s a pretty decent milestone. Sigh. Maybe a recreation of his 1-year monster-themed party!?

For as much as we butt heads, this kid is honestly my best friend in the whole world. Who else would put up with my antics, let me slather make up on them and dress them in my clothes for lame photoshoots, cry actual tears with me when we watch videos of the Seoul subway announcement music, die laughing at random people’s birthday party videos on YouTube, learn all the names of 9-member Kpop groups with me, go on roadtrips for concerts, act as my wingman when we walk past my Mexican taco cart boyfriend, and just be the ultimate partner-in-graying-Henry’s-hair? Chooch is the best kid I ever could have asked for. He is so independent and smart, hilarious and sassy, and compassionate and empathetic. He’s wise beyond his years and can hold his own in conversations with adults (don’t get him started on his thoughts about Trump!). My friends are just as much to credit for him growing into such a cool guy. Henry and I are so lucky to have so many great people in our lives who love our kid, so thank you!

And now I will leave you with the last photoshoot of 11-year-old Chooch, taken last weekend. The theme was “stressed businessman” because he had slept over his neighbor friend’s house the night before which meant he didn’t sleep at all and had huge bags under his eyes in addition to being mad that I was keeping him from playing Fortnight.

 

 

Mar 172018
 

I know this will be surprising, but St. Patrick’s Day is pretty much the only holiday that I don’t get even a little excited about. The only reason I even knew it was St. Patrick’s Day is because I live in Pittsburgh and they love that shit here. So all week during my lunch break walks, I had it rubbed in my face by street vendors shilling shamrock Steelers shirts, stores dressing up their windows with leprechauns and pots o’ gold, and cafes inseminating their lattes with hearty squirts of mint and naming it something lucky. I think that they should offer sweet potato lattes like they have in Korea, a nice little hat-tip to the potato famine. IT DOESN’T ONLY HAVE TO BE ABOUT MINT, PEOPLE.

Except for Kelly’s Bar — that shamrock sign has been there since the beginning of time…clearly.

Even stinky Wholey’s got into the spirit by dressing up their stuffed bear mascot, which by the way, I always catch in my periphery and think that it’s a real person and start to say hello. Something similar happened the other day, farther down the street, when I thought some bitch was staring at me. I was on the phone with Henry and as I walked closer to her, I was hissing to Henry about how I was going to punch this broad who couldn’t take her eyes off me for some reason, and then once she was about three feet away I realized it was a mannequin.

I have really got to do something about my eyes, you guys.

We had a shamrock-y pot luck at work yesterday but I was working from home so Henry got a reprieve from having to make something for me to take in. I was kind of glad to not have to be there because I am so low-key pouty on St. Patrick’s Day for some reason, and I don’t really think it’s all just because of the Fork Foul of 1992. Maybe it’s because I spent most of my childhood enduring Erin Go BRAAAAAAA jokes or perhaps it’s because I just generally dislike the idea of yet another excuse for drunk people to run rampant and piss everywhere. Whatever the reason, I just don’t really care much for this day but I’m trying to not be too bitter about it.

I do really like Shamrock Shakes though, so thank you, McDonald’s for making this holiday slightly more bearable for me!

Oh, and don’t let my name fool you — I’m 0% Irish.

Jan 032018
 

Feels like I’m obliged to, anyway.

For me personally, this last year was actually really great aside from uncontrollable emotional breakdowns. I hate to use this word, but the #metoo movement has me so triggered. I’m not saying I’m mad that this is a dialogue we’re finally having, and that abusers are being called out, but it has really stirred some things in me that I keep thinking are in the past but apparently are a part of me forever. I’m working through that while being continuously fired-up and wanting to scratch the faces off of every vile predator out there, our “president” being at the top of the list.

Add that to the pot with everything else that was/is going on: the internal conflicts within our country, the shootings, the deaths, the racism and Neo-Nazi resurgence, the uncertainty of nuclear war—these things have me, like so many of my fellow sane Americans, so stressed out that it’s sometimes hard to remember that I had a lot of fun adventures with Henry and Chooch, explored new cities, spent time with a lot of friends, and worked hard at making some huge personal and physical changes. For instance, I went to buy new pants for work yesterday and tried on several size 6s, just on a whim, and was shocked to find that they slid right up, no sucking-it-in needed! I try to keep my weight loss journey on the down low because it is something that I’m kind of modest about, if that makes sense (and I’m certainly not posting a thousand full-body mirror selfies of myself on the Internet because no one needs to see that before & after other than me) but for god’s sake I worked so hard for this so I’m just gonna drop myself some praise on here, OK?! This didn’t happen for no reason and I’m more than happy to talk about it with anyone who is looking for something new to try.

I still dream of being a KpopX instructor! Too bad I hate being around people so much. Especially IN FRONT of them!

I think it’s kind of funny how we put so much stock in calendar years, like just because one year full of terrible things is coming to an end, the new year coming up will allow us a fresh start as if we’re not going into 2018 with the same president, etc., but I am definitely on the GTFO 2017 bandwagon and am anxious to try my best to do my part in making 2018 better than the last. That was a really long sentence.

Sorry if this is harsh or whatever but my only resolution for this new year is to stay alive.

Here are a few highlights of the last year, off the top o’ my head:

  • My mom! While the catalyst that brought us back together was devastating and traumatic, it has been nice having her in my life again and my favorite part is that she’s made such a huge effort to have a relationship with Chooch and he LOVES hanging out with her. They’ve done two escape rooms together in less than a month, ha!
  • Henry became a grandfather to three cute baby boys! ‘Nuff said!
  • MEETING MAYA!! A definite highlight, after e-knowing each other for so many years thanks to Etsy’s Dark Side!
  • Leaving Facebook: Henry & I both deactivated our accounts last June. I was motivated to do so because I was so sick & tired of people starting arguments with “Well so-and-so said that you posted this on Facebook…” Like, how has our real life come to this? People used to make fun of me over a decade ago when I would say, “Ugh didn’t you read my blog?!” But these are the same people who are saying, “Didn’t you see my FB post?!” NO! BECAUSE I DONT SPEND ALL FUCKING DAY SCROLLING THROUGH MEMES, BUZZFEED QUIZZES, AND VAGUEPOSTS. Not knocking anyone who uses FB but I miss it waaaaay less than I thought I would and guess what, I still talk to the same people I have always talked to, maybe even more because now we have things to say to each other that we haven’t already seen in a status update! Yes, I’m still on Twitter. Yes, I’m still on Instagram. But I spend way less time on both of those platforms combined than I did on FB alone. I never thought I would be such an old person about this but man I miss the olden days when I sent emails to my friends because it cost to text and Henry was always on data patrol. I could go on and on about this, you guys.
  • The neighbor from hell was arrested! BYEBYE, BOOTS.
  • OMG Chooch & that damn church carnival! Seems like not something that should make a 2017 highlight reel but fuck, this whole situation cracked me up so bad. Chooch is such a freaking character.
  • Traveling: While we didn’t take a full-fledged vacation in 2017, we did manage to sneak in quite a few road trips: twice to Cleveland (always a great time seeing our pal Jason!), Newark, Toronto, Chicago, and Detroit-ish. Each one of these trips, even the ones that were only day-trips, were big, shining gems on the 2017 calendar.
  • Getting to see my old BFF Alisha after 7 years! She was visiting from Arkansas so we soaked up some quality hangs while eating vegan fare.
  • My New K-Life: I write about this constantly, I know. I supposedly have over 700* subscribers but I can only imagine how many of them have my blog notifications going straight to spam at this point! But honestly, I can’t stress how much of an impact South Korea has had on my life. For the first time ever, I have actually wanted to learn a new language (and not forced myself to do it because Latin would look great on college applications, pahahaha). I have found myself almost effortlessly living a healthy lifestyle because it doesn’t feel like I’m on a diet or dragging myself out of bed to exercise – I want to be eating this food and I want to be doing Kpop dance workouts because it brings me so much fucking joy. No calorie counting, no gyms, no diet pills. And while all of that was happening, I have learned more about the Korean culture than I know about my own damn country, and have fallen hardcore in love with it. Sorry, Henry. You always said that I’m not capable of loving more than one thing at a time.
    • G-Dragon: He was my first major love in the Kpop world. I watched so many videos of him and would cry, “What I wouldn’t give to be under the same roof as him!” Well, I got my wish ON MY BIRTHDAY! Seeing G-Dragon perform at the Air Canada Centre was everything, and 100% the main, golden highlight of my whole motherfucking year. I randomly look over at Henry, put my hand firmly on his arm, and ask, “CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW CLOSE WE WERE TO G-DRAGON?!” and he just calmly says, “No.”
    • KCON: I still can’t believe I got Henry on board with this–an entire weekend at a kpop convention in Newark. NEWARK. But good lord, did Chooch and I have so much fun.
    • Taeyang: In September, I got to see another member of BIGBANG perform solo – Taeyang! Henry was so happy because I decided to not go to Riot Fest in Chicago, which was going to save us so much money, but then Taeyang announced a tour and woo hoo, guess we’re going to Chicago after all! I went to the concert by myself though because kpop is expensive, you guys. I wish I was still a kid with rich parents because footing these bills on my own really sucks. BUT IT’S WORTH IT!
      • *700 subscribers?! Who are you!? Say hello sometime!

My year in music, not shocking to anyone:

And I will leave you with an end of the year performance of my most-listened-to song of 2017, Vixx’s “Shangri-La.” (Honestly I’m very surprised it wasn’t BIGBANG’s “Cafe” or Taemin’s “Press Your Number.”)

[ETA: So weird story. While I was watching this video before work, I said to Chooch that I was surprised they were even asked to perform at any of these big year-end music festivals because their comeback last…May?…really seemed to sputter and go nowhere, which I thought was a shame because I LOVED THIS SONG (Spotify’s like, “We know.”) Anyway, later on in the day I was reading my Kpop sites, lol, and I saw that apparently the video of Vixx’s performance was on Naver’s mainpage and ended up going viral, and now they’re going to get a second chance at a comeback stage on Music Core!! This is really cool. Good for Vixx!]

Dec 292017
 

Ugh, it was so cold on Christmas and while I would have preferred to stay inside, keeping warm with non-stop kpop workouts, I dragged Henry and Chooch to the cemetery because even though we cut out the hassle of the Christmas picnic this year (which sucks because how magical would cemetery kimbap be!?), I still wanted to get some photos of Chooch — you know, TRADITION, etc etc.

But it was extremely ill-planned and painfully cold, like “Call CPS, these idiots are forcing their kid into a frostbitten state” cold. So we wrapped it up after about 15 minutes and decided to just wait for a day when it’s warmer than in the teens. Plus, Chooch’s pants had cat hair all over them, so….

Hope it’s warmer where you are, friends.

Dec 272017
 

I only had one goal for Christmas 2017 and that was to not ruin the day for anyone. I THINK I did OK. Chooch seemed very thankful and content with what was under the Trudytree, the cats immediately fought over their toys, and Henry diligently made sure we were all safe and nourished. I have nothing to complain about and even though I still wasn’t my “normal” “vibrant” self (lol all the way down the chimney), I ran down my Happy List over and over all day long and made sure there was no room for negative thoughts.

Sometimes it’s really all about mind control and conscious effort. It sucks when you just want to lay in bed and let the misery consume you, because that’s easier and let’s face it, if I was alone that is probably exactly what I would have done, because the Christmas cycle is strong. I can’t tell you how many times as a teenager my depression would win over and I would flip out at my grandparent’s house on Christmas, run home in tears, and eat a TV dinner while watching Star Wars. (OK, like twice, but it was enough that it’s ingrained in my crispy heart!)

Instead, I got up, exercised, worked on some crafty things for our K-dinner party that we’re having this weekend, and treated the day like any other day. It was fine.

It also helps that Chooch is just so fucking joyful, like where does he even get that from, certainly not me! He was just so excited about everything, even though the poor guy woke up under the weather.

We actually decided to not have our traditional cemetery picnic, for the first time in 12 years! It was just way too cold and I didn’t want to force something just in the name of “tradition” because then it’s not fun and just an annoying obligation. We still went to the cemetery though just to get some quick pictures of Chooch, but for Christ’s sake it was so goddamn cold.

Later that evening, we went to Wendy’s house and it was so nice and just completely chill hanging out with her and her family. Her 2-year-old daughter Summer is hilariously obsessed with Alex Trebek so we made her this card to go along with her Christmas presents:

And Shawn gave Chooch an old welding mask, which Chooch was ridiculously excited about:

Here he is wearing his unicorn onesie which he spilled hot chocolate on approximately 1 minute after putting it on.

And here he is today wearing the Spirit Hood that my mom got him:

I have no beef with this year’s Christmas but the best thing about it being over is that it means 2017 is almost over too which means 2018 is almost here which means South Korea is even closer than ever!!