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 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!!

Dec 252017
 

Have a zutter* holiday!

*That means “dope” – now you know a Korean word. Merry Xmas! 

We almost didn’t get any Christmas cards out this year because our card business was booming this season! I can’t complain about that at all (Henry is though,  because Chooch’s puzzle is still hogging the dining room table and making his card assemblage process really hard). #HUMBLEBRAG #LOL

But honestly, all of us here wish everyone a wonderful day with loved ones and good food. I hope no one is alone today. I love you all! <3

Dec 192017
 

Yesterday was our little group’s Christmas lunch at work. It’s hard to believe that last December there were eight of us, and now there are just five. So much has changed in one year!

I was looking forward to getting out of the office. I’m going to be honest here – learning of the death of SHINee’s Jonghyun earlier that morning really fucked me up and I was low-key crying at my desk off and on all day at work. I wish I wasn’t this emotional, but…I’m a bi-polar Leo, you guys.

But, I had this lunch to distract me and I really like my work group so it didn’t feel like a drag like it has in the past when I worked for a different group within the department. PLUS, Amber promised that we could get our picture taken with Santa afterward, because our lunch was at The Yard in Market Square, right across from SANTA’S WORKSHOP! I have wanted this to happen so direly for many years, a group picture with Santa, and I have only ever been able to get two people to go with me on two separate occasions (once with Chris when she still worked with us, and once with Amber).

Lunch was good, but I was SO BORED for like the first 25 minutes because everyone was talking about the Steelers game from the night before and some catch that wasn’t a catch and I was like, “Cool but can we talk about me, now?” God!

I was too sad on the down low to finish my salad, and when the waiter brought me a box, I just kind of stared at it and mumbled something about wishing Henry was there.

“Do you want me to help you?” Amber asked, and when I said yes, she sweetened the pot by asking, “Do you want me to just do it for you?”

“YES!” I cried in relief, and Todd was like, “Oh for God’s sake” and Glenn was like, “STOP ENABLING HER, AMBER” and Lauren was just like, “Erin, you are the sweetest person I have ever known.” Or something like that.

This literally happened about 10 minutes after I had finished telling everyone that I was panicking over the weekend about the thought of Henry dying and how will Chooch and I survive, so I asked Henry if he can teach us to be self-sufficient, to which he responded with, “I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO!” Anyway, first we were going to start with me relearning laundry because he’s been doing it since we got together and I honestly would be fucked if someone dropped me off at a laundromat right now…..

….but then we were sitting on the couch, me crying for the 87th time over the weekend (it’s been rough for me lately), when I noticed the front door in my periphery and wailed, “No, first you need to teach me how to open the fronnnnnnnnnnnnt dooooooooooor…..” followed by major ugly tears.

So yeah, that was our Christmas lunch.

On the way out, we started to walk toward the whole Christmas Market thing but then turned and started to go back in the direction of work. I hung my head in a silent pout, not wanting to say anything because I was in such a bitch-baby mood that I chose instead to fester in disappointment so that later I would have something more to complain about because this is who I am sometimes, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

We were about halfway back to work (which is really only about a five minute walk) when Lauren said, “Oh no, we didn’t get our picture with Santa!” and I sadly shrugged and said, “I know. It’s OK.” And then sighed heavily for emphasis.

Glenn and Todd were like, “TOO BAD SO SAD” and kept walking, but Amber said to me, “Oh, why didn’t you say something when we left?” So then we tried to figure out another day to go back and get it done, because we had already been out of the office for longer than intended, but there wasn’t another day left this week where all of us are in the office.

So then Amber sighed and said, “OK, let’s do this now, but when we get back there you better get to work, Erin!” and I was like, “YES BOSS!!” as I happily jaywalked across the street and you all know how anti-jaywalking I am.

When we arrived at Santa’s Workshop, there was just one family in front of us, and two that were inside the workshop. The lady made us stay outside to prevent the workshop from crowding, and that’s when we all noticed that some dude from KDKA had rolled up with a cameraman.

Everyone but me freaked out. Lauren was trying to bury her face in her leftovers while shouting, “ARE YOU KIDDING, I DO NOT WANT TO BE ON THE NEWS,” Amber was like, “Goddammit, Erin,” Todd looked like he would FOR SURE rather be reliving the not-catch moment of the Sunday night Steelers game, Glenn was reading the Farmer’s Almanac he carries in his pocket (I don’t know, but that seems like something he would do while waiting in line) and I was on the verge of peeing my pants from laughing.

My first real laugh of the day and it was so needed! Sorry it was at everyone’s expense. LOL j/k I’m noy sorry!

I don’t know if we ended up being on the news or not but the fact that my work friends were acting like they were on the lam was good enough for me!

Anyway, the whole rigamarole only took about 10 or 15 minutes, which I thought was pretty good. Santa really wanted me to sit on his lap and kept pressuring me but I was like, “CAN I JUST SIT ON THE ARM OF THE CHAIR INSTEAD, YOU CREEP?!” Just kidding, he was a cool Santa. He asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I really wanted to say G-Dragon but didn’t feel like getting into some awkward explanation so instead I just mumbled, “Music” at which point Glenn smugly said, “SHE LIKES KPOP” and I was like, “YEAH, AND WHAT OF IT, GLENN?!!?!?” UGH!

I look like a fat-faced mess, but this picture is everything to me right now! I felt like it was a great team-building exercise. Also, Lauren needs to teach me how to pose so effortlessly casual! She and Amber both look great in every picture while I’m trying frantically to smile in such a way that it won’t look like my chin is having babies.

Anyway…sorry if this is all over the place but welcome to my brain—we have postcards and magnets for sale at the front desk. And merry Christmas from us guys at the Law Firm! That little excursion really helped lift my mood for a bit. Sometimes going to work is, strangely, just what I need.

Dec 152017
 

I’m off work today and yet here I am, writing about work. Here are a few Reporting From Work moments that I want to remember, because these things always help remind me that at the end of the day, office life is alright. Except for…

The Great, Horrible G-Dragon Kidnapping

Late Wednesday afternoon, Wendy and Sue were talking to me at my desk, probably about how fantastic I am, or maybe that’s what was talking about, when Sue noticed my BIGBANG coffee cup. Wendy said, “Yeah, show Sue that other G-Dragon thing you have on your desk,” referring to the vinyl thingie that I bought at H-Mart and once adorned the G-Dragon Countdown calendar that Lori made:

I used to have him taped to the side of my computer monitor, but then he kept falling so now I just leave him to the left of my keyboard. I instinctively reached for him to show Sue, but my hand GRASPED NOTHING BUT EMPTY DESK-TOP. That was weird, I thought. I never move him from that spot. So I started shuffling things around, yanking drawers open, moving bottles of fake blood out of the way, tossing fake fingers over my shoulder…I even checked in my Fiji Mermaid’s fishbowl.

I immediately accused Wendy of this because she thinks G-Dragon is dumb and was it just a coincidence that she brought up that G-Dragon keepsake? I THINK NOT.

Sue backed away slowly, clearly not wanting to implicate herself in whatever Great American Crime Story I was writing up in my head. Wendy profusely swore that it wasn’t her, and by now word was spreading that G-Dragon was missing mostly because my voice was getting louder and more hysterical by the minute. Todd walked past to go to the refrigerator and I cried, “TODD DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY G-DRAGON IS!?” and he was all, “What G-Dragon?” because now people were conveniently playing dumb and acting like they had NO IDEA what G-Dragon relic I was talking about.

“IT’S THAT VINYL THINGIE OF HIM! FROM WHEN HE WAS AT THE CHANEL FASHION SHOW LAST YEAR!” I kept using this as the clue that was really going to drive it home, jog that person’s memory. Like someone was going to exclaim, “Oh yes! The one of him in that confusing not-quite-beret!” But every single person I said that to just looked at me like I was a crazy person.

Naturally, my next guess was Glenn. I didn’t see it on his desk and I didn’t want to go through his stuff EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE APPARENTLY HAVE NO PROBLEM GOING THROUGH MINE so I started searching in shared areas, like the supply closet, expecting to see GD’s beautiful, shining face peering down at me but NOTHING.

This continued on when I got back to work yesterday. I immediately confronted Glenn and he was actually scared a little, I think. I think he knows better than to ever, EVER, move any G-Dragon artifact from my desk. He swore profusely that it wasn’t him and the fear in his eyes made me believe him. Lauren suggested that maybe it was Aaron, and I started to consider this and then without any evidence at all, I had him pegged as the perp. When I came back from getting water in the kitchen, I noticed that the supply cabinet door was left ajar – a notorious indicator that Aaron had been creeping around. He never shuts that door all the way! So I flung it open and started digging through things again, thinking that maybe I had actually overlooked GD when I was searching that cabinet the day before, and Aaron had come over to see if his work was still in play.

I still didn’t see anything, but I did find some soft Cars-themed balls on the bottom shelf, and Lauren excitedly asked me to throw her one. I thought we were going to have an impromptu game of Monkey in the Middle since this happened near Glenn’s desk, but then she never threw it back to me. I think she wanted it for her dog.

ANYWAY. I went back to my desk and moments later, I could feel Aaron’s presence nearby, so I spun around and hysterically asked, “AARON DID YOU TAKE SOMETHING OF MINE.” He seemed shocked at first but then coyly said, “Maybe…” but he was just playing along and actually had no idea what I was talking about so then I had to describe the missing GD and once again the Chanel fashion show did nothing to help.

“What did it look like again?” Lauren asked me a few minutes later, and I cried, “WHY ARE YOU GOING TO SEND OUT AN EMAIL!?” and she was like, “Um, no, I was just going to ask anyone who walks by….”

Anyway, I never did find him and I’m honestly beginning to think that I probably accidentally moved him somewhere, threw him out (Lord help me) or maybe he was stuck to my purse or something one day when I was leaving and I dropped him outside I AM THE WORST KEEPER OF G-DRAGON. But! At least I can just easily get another one (all the Kpop shops sell those things) and I’m thankful that it wasn’t the GD doll my mom got me, or the GD keychain Maya made me! Those ones are not replaceable.

“Erin’s Not Going to Know.”

Wednesday, while I was running around with my hands in my hair, interrogating people about the whereabouts of G-Dragon, I overheard Wendy say to Jeannie, “Maybe Erin Kelly knows” and Jeannie responded with, “Erin is NOT going to know!” This stopped me in my tracks. Challenge accepted! I called out, “Wait — I might know!” and immediately prayed it wasn’t something work-related that was going to illuminate my dumbness.

So Wendy started with, “Do you know that toy with the ring that goes around your ankle—-”

“SKIP IT!” I cried.

“Yeah! That’s what it is!” Wendy laughed, and I guess Jeannie was looking for one for her niece for Xmas but couldn’t remember what it was called, so then Jeannie and I looked at all of the options on Amazon and I was feeling so sad because I loved my Skip-It unconditionally, and even had one in my early-20s, but it wasn’t as good as the original one from the 80s.

“If it’s something an 11-year-old girl would like, of course Erin would know what it is,” Wendy said and then everyone within earshot got a great laugh out of that WOW SO SOON AFTER G-DRAGON WENT MISSING, EVEN.

Anyway, I kept going on and on about how much I loved Skip-It and how great I was at it, and finally Jeannie was like, “Oh my god, do you want me to buy you one, too?!” and I immediately said yes so I hope she wasn’t joking because I’m going to be waiting for this to appear on my desk every day from now until Christmas.

Secret Santa Reveal

We did our Secret Santa Reveal event yesterday and I am now safe to scream from the hilltops that I was Amber’s Secret Santa! And Wendy was mine! What a perfect scenario!

Of course as luck would have it, neither Amber nor Wendy were in the office yesterday, so Carrie gave me my gift from Wendy and then someone Facetimed Amber and made me open her gift while she watched through the phone and it was pretty awkward like being on a stage except we were standing in an empty hallway.

Amber had coffee/tea, Qdoba, and plants written on her idea list, and I decided to go the tea route because my childhood friend Chris (not of Chronica fame) is a beekeeper and I have been meaning to buy some of his sweet honey (literally!) for some time now. So one of the gifts I put together was tea-themed, with some type of loose-leaf tea blend from India because she likes Indian things, a tall tea cup thing and these little cuties:

Honestly, we got to do a honey sampling and I was like, “Can I move in here? I’ll help you bottle this stuff all day long.”

And then for the last gift, I wanted to combine all three things on her list into one, at which point Chooch suggested getting a tortilla and filling it with dead plant parts and tea bags. I went with my own idea though, sorry Chooch. Maybe if I was BARB’S Secret Santa, I would have used his idea, though.

I topped it off with some of the TOPSHELF, $8.99 a pound mystery candy from the weird international market by my house.

Eastern European Candy PSA

Speaking of weird mystery candy, I also filled up a bag from the $4.99 shelf for the rest of my co-workers to “enjoy” out of the Plastic Pumpkin of International Horrors. I got several that were large and had some generic Disney prince and princess on the wrapper. For some reason, I want to believe that the bigger the better, not sure where I could possibly be getting that from, so I had high expectations for these ones. I treated myself to one yesterday afternoon and immediately turned to Glenn, making the HAVE I BEEN POISONED??? face.

“This might be the WORST candy out of the whole bunch!” I cried. And Lauren just brought back durian toffee from Thailand, so this is a huge statement on my part. Let me try to describe it:

The base looks like a peppermint patty. Just a chocolate circle thing. The top has four small mounds of what I later learned was “cookie biscuit” when Lori read the wrapper out loud. An interesting structure that I was excited to bite into! But inside the chocolate, which by the way was one of the worst attempts at chocolate I’ve ever had, was that awful firm jelly shit that masochistic confectioners like to slip inside candy sometimes. I don’t even know what flavor the jelly was supposed to be. Raspberry perfume? But when shit really got deep was when the notes of the “cookie biscuit” swam to the forefront of my palate. I couldn’t imagine what I was tasting, but it was familiar. And not a flavor you want in your mouth when you’re eating something sweet. I was standing up at this point, unsure if I should spit it out, google the Poison Control number, write a letter to the President of the Ukraine and demand that the inventor of this candy be incarcerated.

And that’s when I realized that the taste in my mouth WAS BLEU CHEESE.

Chocolate candy with a bleu cheese aftertaste!!! NO, UKRAINE. GO FUCK YOURSELF.

***

Well, that was going to be the end of my work update, but then I was getting ready to leave the house to walk to the post office, I put my hand in my coat pocket and wondered what the strangely-shaped object was that my hand had grazed, and this is what I pulled out:

BUT HOW!? Either I did this by accident (but I honestly don’t remember and there was nothing else in that pocket that could have potentially been next to it on my desk that I would have intentionally grabbed while accidentally grabbing G-Dragon at the same time) or SOMEONE IS SABOTAGING MY SANITY. I’m off work today but you can believe that this investigation is far from over.

(Also thank god he turned up because I couldn’t remember what these figures are called when I was trying to find one online to buy.)

Dec 042017
 

The third annual lighting of Trudy took place Saturday night and oh it was a grand event. A real holiday hoedown. A real fucking festive fright.

Ok it was just a normal Saturday night except with mannequin-dressing. So…still not that far out of the norm for us.

Janna came over too and brought some cranberry cider and then Henry had to go and buy lights at 8:30 at night because I told him we needed new ones that morning but he chose to argue with me about it instead AND LOOK WHERE THAT GOT HIM: going to Lowe’s at 8:30 on a Saturday night.

He came home with a bag of peppermint marshmallows and was so smug about it for some reason. No one wants your dumb marshmallows!

Above, please find a video of Henry struggling to untangle lights that I was in charge of putting away last year OOPS.

This year, Trudy expressed interest in wearing a gas mask as a political statement and luckily we had laying on the floor because we’re just that kind of house, but I tried to soften her look with my treasured G-Dragon light-up crown.

(DID I EVER TELL YOU THAT I SAW G-DRAGON LAST JULY ON MY BIRTHDAY!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?)

At one point, Chooch disappeared. I called out for him to tell me what he was doing and he screamed back to me from upstairs: “You’ll see!” I had chills, you guys.

Apparently, he was assembling what he felt was a great “Pregnant Appalachian” assemble and then treated us to some bizarre skit about hating his baby and the baby daddy and needing smokes….?! And then he “gave birth” which was really scary and I started questioning my lucidity.

I was actually kind of terrified of his performance. Especially after he put on a zombie mask and tried to murder his baby with an ax.

Janna puts up with a lot when she comes over. At one point she said she was having flashbacks to hanging out at my house in high school which was PANDEMONIUM, ALWAYS. Someone was usually running around with a knife while the dogs were barking and my mom was yelling, “PLEASE STOP BEFORE SOMEONE DIES” and my little brothers were swearing worse than mobsters and I was playing with fire….it’s basically the same thing here except I’m 20 years older and don’t have a dog and instead of two little brothers I have one crazy son and it’s not my mom yelling, it’s Henry.

And instead of making Janna watch a VHS compilation of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony videos and VMA performances, I put on YouTube and made her watch MAMA 2017 award show performances and a compilation of Taemin eating.

This is apparently a fetish of mine, watching pretty Korean boys eating. I’ll admit it. At this stage of the game, Henry is just like, “Whatever it takes.”

Me, raging while scrolling through YouTube: How are you going to make a “Taemin cute faces” compilation and then only have it be 58 seconds long??

Henry & Janna, telepathically to each other probably: Are we in Hell?

Some things don’t change, you guys. I’m basically still 15.

***

The next day, Calvin came over and got to meet Trudy for the first time! He was not impressed.

Nov 282017
 

Thanksgiving used to be a day that gave me so much stress. Where will we go!? Who will invite us over?! How can we be normal Americans?! But once you realize that other peoples’ traditions don’t have to be your traditions, things get a lot easier. Henry and I were just happy to be home from work, and Chooch was stoked to be home from school because the workload of sixth grade has been kicking his ass. We relaxed. Chooch hung out with his friends. (“Where did Chooch go with the gas mask on?” Henry asked when he saw Chooch leave the house, face obstructed by the bulky black mask. Apparently he was playing baseball in Marky’s backyard.) I watched kpop videos (OK MOSTLY TAEMIN VIDEOS). Henry cooked a casual dinner of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, some kind of fake ham roast (HE DIDN’T BUY THE TOFURKY IN TIME, YOU GUYS), and a wonderful homemade sweet potato pie.

It was a great dinner but I was mad because I had these lofty dreams of eating dinner inside a pillow fort but Henry wouldn’t help us build one and I got frustrated and tore the whole thing down and yelled at Henry for not buying a play tent the other night like I asked him to!!!! THIS COULD HAVE BEEN OUR NEW TRADISHUNNNNNNN.

While we ate, we watched birthday party videos on YouTube, which is what we started doing by accident two years ago on T-Day. In fact, the day before at work, my co-worker Marlene asked me what I was going to do for Thanksgiving. After I told her about the birthday party videos, she looked at me intently and them asked, “…but, you’re going to eat something too, right?”

At the end of our convo, she walked away and said, “Um, Happy…YouTubing.”

I mean, she asked!

Anyway, immediately after queueing up the first video, I felt full of rage. All of these famous-for-nothing YouTubers live in the same type of house: an under-furnished white/beige McMansion with literally no personal effects. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. We watched one with these two young sisters, and the one was having a surprise half-birthday party for the other, and it was so scripted and fake and BORING AS FUCK, AND THEY HAVE 8 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS.

Life is so unfair.

Henry, about one of these lame YouTube families: “THEY HAVE THEIR OWN GOOGLE APP.” He usually doesn’t get involved in our bday party YouTubing & he was instantly filled with regret.

We watched another where this basic ass white family had a birthday party at the roller rink for their bitchy teenage daughter and all of her Mean Girl friends. A few minutes in, I yelled, “WAIT WAIT WAIT….did they rent the whole rink out for this bitch’s birthday party?!” and as I said that I remembered that I too rented out a rink….twice.

BUT I DON’T HAVE 4 MILLION YOUTUBE SUBSCRIBERS.

After about an hour of this, I was tapped out and had to go back to kpop videos.

The next day, Thanksgiving Day #2, Henry had to work so Chooch and I hung out with Janna.

We had lunch at Spice Island and Chooch actually ate. He made this huge production of tasting each vegetable—normal ones, like cauliflower and green beans—like he was an alien visiting earth for the first time. He also had a pot of jasmine green tea and was so fucking dramatic about drinking it that I started to beg him to start a food vlog so that he can get a million followers and then we too can live in an echo-y McMansion which I will quickly turn into a virtual funhouse.

Afterward, we were going to walk around Schenley Park but since we were so close to CMU, we decided to explore the campus because Chooch is obsessed with one day going to college there. He has it all planned out.

Chooch was so afraid that we were going to get in trouble for being in there yet he gives no shits about trampling around the Pitt campus.

The last time I was at CMU was in 11th grade for my friend Evan’s art show. I remember him accidentally taking a door handle off one of the doors in whatever building we were in and giving it to me. I was SO EXCITED because I had a huge crush on Evan and here he was giving me a doorknob.

I’m not sure if I still have that doorknob, but I definitely have a video of this scene because I used to take my camcorder with me everywhere back then.

(As I’m writing this, Chooch came back in the house with the gas mask in his hand. “I just like wearing it,” he said.)

Chooch and his new dad. This was right before he ran across the grass because he wanted to pet some dog but then the dog’s owner crossed the street before Chooch could get there in time. It was a beautiful failure and Janna and I had a grand time mocking him.

Honestly, all Chooch cares about these days is petting dogs. It puts me in precarious situations because then I feel obligated to also talk to the dog owner and I just hate it so much. I hate talking to people, ugh.

We took a short break from competing/arguing/swearing at each other to take some selfies. I asked Janna if she ever feels like she’s our chaperone and she slowly said no but SHE HESITATED.

This is some famous CMU paint-thing. There were paint cans and brushes laying about so Chooch and I took that as our invitation to add our own flair.

And then Janna had enough of us and took us home, where we became Henry’s problem.