Oct 192018
 

I had a different post in mind for today but then my cat Drew and I just spent the last hour being terrorized by a thousand-legger / whatever those quick-moving basement bugs are called, and I am honestly afraid to take my eyes off the floor for very long because WE LOST SIGHT OF IT AND IF IT CRAWLS ON ME I WILL HAVE TO SET MYSELF ALIGHT. It ran across Drew’s back leg at one point she nearly jumped through the ceiling while I screamed like I was in the ultimate haunted house, and Penelope slept through it all.

OMFG WHY DID I JUST GOOGLE-IMAGE THOUSAND LEGGER NOW I’M CONVINCED I HAVE 78 OF THEM CRAWLING ON ME, POINT ME TO THE NEAREST GASOLINE CAN, I’M TOAST.

I mean, what I came here to say is: here is another Halloween costume memory. This one is from 2016 when Chooch had the brilliant-to-him idea of being a bullet with butterfly wings, a la Smashing Pumpkins, and pretty much no one got it, just like the year before.

Enjoyyyyyy! I’ll just be over here holding a blow torch and flipping over furniture until I find that fucker, otherwise I will never be able to sit down on my couch again, OMG CHILLS.

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I can’t remember the exact moment that Chooch’s costume lightbulb went on above his brainy head, but it was definitely fairly soon after Halloween 2015. He was going through a Smashing Pumpkins phase, and casually decided that he was going to be a bullet with butterfly wings for Halloween.

At first, I laughed really hard and gave it my Great Costume stamp of approval. Also, what a novel concept – knowing what he was going to be with ample time to construct the costume. Had this ever happened before?!

NO.

But then reality set in and I remembered that perhaps not many people would understand it, you know, since it’s not 1995/1996. So Henry and I tried to subtly change his mind, and really—how shitty of us. I’m glad that Chooch was committed to his idea and didn’t let us sway him.

Flash forward 8 months. It’s a week before Halloween and Henry still hasn’t started working on the bullet. I kept saying things like, “This isn’t going to be finished in time, is it?” to which his response was supposed to be, “OF COURSE IT WILL BE, ERIN!” and not, “I don’t know. Maybe not.”

Spoiler alert: Henry worked a miracle and got it done! At the last minute though, he scrapped the paper mache bullet tip he made because it looked too dildo-esque, and instead opted for a large balloon (the punching kind) which he spray-painted silver. It looked much better!

We waited until the day before to get the wings. We try to be as DIY as possible when it comes to costumes, but I was willing to splurge on the wings because I just wanted this to be done. So we went to Party City after Chooch’s piano lesson on Sunday.

SIDE STORY, unrelated to Halloween:

For as long as I can remember, I do this thing where I walk into a store or restaurant ahead of Henry and pull the door shut on him. It’s like my thing, and it pisses him off so much.

And our visit to Party City was no different. I walked in ahead of him and, without so much as a glance behind my shoulder, I shoved the door shut behind me. I mean full-force, as aggressively as possible, I gave that fucking door a Hulk slam.

I heard Henry say, “Erin!” but it sounded further away than it should have. So I slowly turned around and realized that there was a small woman behind me, looking totally stunned from having a GLASS DOOR SLAMMED SHUT ON HER. Fucking Henry had let her go ahead of him and then stood back to see how it would play out, what a motherfucker!

So then I was put in this terrible social situation where I had to profusely apologize to a stranger while trying to explain to her why that happened, how it’s just what I do, until I heard the words I was saying and realized I was making it so much worse.

SO MUCH WORSE.

Oh, Henry loved every moment of it.

I mean, it was bound to happen eventually.

Anyway, Chooch got his wings but not the pair I wanted him to get but whatever, DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.

****

This year was Chooch’s last Halloween parade at school. I was kind of sad about it, but it isn’t how it was when I was a kid. The classroom parties aren’t shit because there are so many restrictions, and so many costumes are against school policy. So basically the parents gather around outside the school just to watch a 15 minute parade, where only some of the students are in costume because HALLOWEEN IS DYING, ISN’T IT?? Oh I just can’t stand it.

But, speaking of school policy, Chooch could 100% not dress up as a bullet at school. I mean, I didn’t need the rules and regulations paper that was sent home last week to remind me of that. So in my effort to find him an alternative costume that still involved his wings (they were $20 and I intended on getting as much use out of them as possible!), I found this lame social butterfly get-up, which I’m sure has been done to death at hipster Halloween parties, but it was a hit with the elementary set.

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So easy! And I can say that because I threw a huge temper tantrum Sunday night and went to bed at 8:30 on purpose so that Henry had to print all of the social media icons out, LOL I win.

Chooch loved it! Especially when he got to rip the musically icon off his shirt afterward and give it to his crush. Ugh.

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Meanwhile, this just served as yet another reminder that I will never fit in with other parents.

Oh! AND I GOT TO SEE HOT GYM TEACHER. Totally worth rubbing elbows with basic moms.

****

Later that evening, Henry came home from work and finally finished the damn bullet costume. I’m not exaggerating – it was 5 minutes to trick or treat o’clock and Henry was hot gluing one last thing to it.  Fucking amazing.

Originally, Chooch and Dimajio were going to go together but then Dimajio had to go over his cousin’s or something, I don’t know. I don’t keep track of kids. It was just as well, because Henry and I had to tag along with Chooch anyway because he can never Chooch a costume that doesn’t require handlers. We had to tie his shoes, make sure he didn’t fall down steps, get candy for him if it was in a bowl on the ground which required him to bend, fluff his wings, make sure he didn’t bust the balloon-top of the bullet….

It’s a tiring, thankless job.

It always puts us in the SMALL TALK crosshairs with other adults! That’s my least favorite part!

After a quick photo with the neighbor kid, we tentatively made our way down the street. I kept hissing things like, “This was a terrible idea” and “We should just go back to the house and he can wear the pig mask instead, we’ll think of something.” I was just so worried that he would get made fun of or just be completely disappointed that no one understood his costume.

But Henry assured me it would be fine and to stop whining before I gave Chooch a complex.

And it was fine! Papa H Knows Best, everyone! He didn’t get made fun of at all, and there were actually A LOT of adults who were like, “OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.”

It helped that he was also wearing a Smashing Pumpkins shirt and was carrying a portable speaker that was playing the song on a loop.

Even one of my mom nemeses started cracking up and said, “I get it. I love it.”

So he was pretty damn proud of himself.


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One guy was like, “Let me guess….Iron Butterfly?”

“Close! It’s a music reference but you got the wrong band,” Henry laughed.

This was actually a fun game! We were like a traveling quiz show.

“He’s a bullet….but I don’t know what the wings are for!” one old lady grunted to another old lady after Chooch left their porch, and I just started cracking up.

People were actually excited for him to finally get to their house so they could try to guess what he was supposed to be! “These are the best kinds of costumes,” one lady said in between sips of beer. “We want to have to figure it out!”

At one house, I told the people that we had tried to talk him out of this costume idea but he was insistent.

“Well, good for you!” the one mom said to Chooch. And she’s right—good for him! I never would have had the confidence to pull something like that off when I was his age, no matter how badly I wanted it. Chooch is my fucking role model.

He got a few people who said “this is the best costume I’ve seen tonight” and one guy gave him a knowing nod and declared Chooch the winner of Halloween.

I’m pretty proud of him for coming up with this and sticking with it. Even though we had to constantly adjust his wings and do damage control. Perhaps Henry could have SPENT MORE TIME working on the LOGISTICS of the damn bullet.

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A photo of Henry making sure Chooch doesn’t perish inside his bullet. 

But….next year, I’m handing him scissors and a sheet and telling him to go to fucking town.

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We walked down the street to Eat n Park afterward for dinner*. “I Missed Again” by Phil Collins was playing, so of course I had to loudly announce this, as is my forever-custom when I walk into an establishment that’s full of the sweet note-blossoms that churns forth from Sir Collins candied-throat.

“Oooh! I should go as a Phil Collins song next year! ‘In the Air Tonight’ maybe?!” Chooch shouted excitedly, to which Henry and I were like:

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*(And yes, I pulled the door shut on Henry when we walked in. “You’ll never learn your lesson,” he sighed.)

Oct 132018
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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

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

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

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Cast of Claw Characters

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

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

****

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

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

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

Oct 082018
 

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

Here you go!

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

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

YES I GET IT! GOD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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***********

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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.

Sep 242018
 

I used to ride my bike past Franklin’s Bar every day on my way home from school. Sometimes we’d drive past it in mom’s car if we were going to the grocery store in the next town over, where no one would see Mom purchase large quantities of laxatives. My best friend Stacy and I would sit on the stoop across from it in the summer, drinking slushies from the convenience store down the street and watching angry wives stomp inside and pull out their hammered husbands by cinched skin.

Franklin dated Dad’s cousin for a while, so sometimes we’d have birthday parties in the bar’s back room and I would dream of the day I could walk in, sit at the bar, and have fat men buy me drinks. No, not really. I hated that place. It was smoky and the men reeked of beef jerky and a mysterious film coated the surface of every table. Franklin was a vile pig who would shove his hand down my mom’s shirt when Dad wasn’t looking and I rejoiced the day cousin Margie dumped him and we went back to celebrating birthdays and promotions and straight As down the street at the VFW.

Back then, if you would have told me that Franklin’s was where I’d meet the man I was going to rape, I’d have laughed at you. Then kicked your ass.

But something made me go in there that night last week. Something made me pop open more buttons than usual and something made me wink at that traveling salesman sitting in a corner booth with a briefcase and lonely eyes. His breath was malodorous, like a fecal sausage wrapped in garlicky cabbage, and his effeminate hands were marred with paper cuts and hangnails. His once-white clothes now had the dirty yellow hue of coffee-stained enamel and a slight stench of a foreign fishing village wafted from his pits.

But still, something made me want to try out my new vagina.

The salesman was now idly snapping a rubber band wrapped around the handle of his briefcase.

In fourth grade, Stacy and I eavesdropped on her older brother and his friends, embroiled in a heated debate. One of the boys had his index finger extended; it was red and swollen under the pressure of a rubber band. Stacy’s brother pulled the slack taut and made to wrap it around once more.

“If you wrap it too tight, it’ll fall off!” his friend wailed, snatching back his hand.

I took the salesman back to his motel room, under the pretense of wanting to see the sea shell clocks he was peddling. He gave off the distinct impression that he was not well versed in the song of sex, averting his eyes any time my cleavage got too close, and emitting a sickly wheeze from his nostrils any time I’d touch him. I think, through his thick Slavic accent, that he was trying to say no, but I stuffed a broken sea shell into his flapping mouth.

I left him laying there naked on the bed when I had finished. Rummaging through my purse, I found the perfect way to cap off the evening.

I wrapped the rubberband tightly around his penis, laughing as he howled.

“They say if you wrap it too tight, it’ll fall off,” I whispered, pulling it back for one last snap. I didn’t stay to find out because I was about to be late for my soup-ladling gig at the shelter.

He never got to find out either, before I shot him in the head.

***

(This is a repost of an old story I wrote back when I used to write old stories.)

(Chooch just read this and said he didn’t like it AT ALL and that it ruined his childhood, lol.)

Sep 062018
 

While in the process of recapping my last trip to Kennywood, I started thinking about this one time when my friend Laura was there with us, and then she texted me out of the blue last night and I was like REMEMBER THE PHANTOM INCIDENT and she was like “Oh god, I just remembered that I don’t miss you at all.” (She moved clear across the country, you see.) So then I was reading about the aforementioned Phantom incident last night and was wheezing because it is STILL SO FUNNY TO ME so I’m reposting it because this is my blog and I make the rules.

This is also a really great illustration of what it’s like to go to Kennywood with me. Janna can attest.

***

The Giggle Picture

June 2014

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Above is a photo of Laura loving life as she rode the Turtles at Kennywood, which is evidently her most favorite ride ever. There was probably a Carpenters track playing in her head,  even. Too bad her life was about to change FOREVER a little bit later when she became involuntarily AMPUTATED on the PHANTOM’S REVENGE.

Shit, now I’m getting my parables mixed up.

Anyway, what happened was Laura, Chooch and I were walking toward the Exterminator (Henry was there somewhere) when Laura (this was all LAURA’S idea), threw a wrench into our well thought-out plan by saying, “Or we could just go on this…since we’re here…” and did a lazy Vanna White with her hands toward the entrance of the Phantom’s Revenge.

We had already went on this twice earlier in the day. The first time, we absolutely, postively walked right onto the platform and right the fuck onto the ride, that is how empty Kennywood was that day. Even on not-too-crowded days, there is still usually some sort of a line for this ride, because it’s the Big Shot Steel Coaster up in that piece, and everyone wants to take their turn on it, like the roofied guy at the sorority party. Oh wait. I’m sorry. I’m confusing genders.

The second time was actually a continuation of the first time, because when the coaster came back to the station, there was no one in line still, so the Kennywood peeps were all, “Hey, you guys can stay on if you want” so we did and it turns out that’s not so fun afterward, riding it with no break in between, when you’re in your thirties and not a seven-year-old like Chooch who was like, “THAT WAS AWESOME LET’S STAY ON THIS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY OMFG!!” as he pushed his eyeball back into its socket.

You should have seen Henry afterward, all clammy and green around the gills, wherever the hell his gills are, like he had just suffered through a particularly traumatizing Ludovico Technique featuring footage of all nine years of his loveless past marriage. (Past marriage.  Like there’s a present marriage. Hmph!)

So after Laura suggested riding it for the third time, Henry obviously was like, “Thank you sir, but I will NOT have another,” and proceeded to walk toward the exit of the Phantom’s Revenge, where he waited like an obedient puppy with his master’s purse. The rest of us ridiculed him for being a pussy and ran through the empty queue to the platform, where we saw there was a small line. We chose the seats that had the fewest number of people waiting and made sure that it was lined up evenly so that the three of us could get on at the same time.

Meanwhile, there was some sort of seat belt malfunction going on. The coaster was sitting there idly, full of passengers, but the ride attendants couldn’t send it off because of whatever was going on.

“We need someone to sit in this seat!” one of the teenaged boys in a Kennywood polo shouted. “There’s nothing wrong, but we can’t send this on with this car empty! It’s not a mechanical problem, just this one seatbelt!” And he was holding the seatbelt, too, as if that was going to reassure people.

And who wouldn’t be OK with putting their safety into the hands of a college kid on summer break?

Everyone started murmuring to each other about not wanting to ride in a car with a broken seat belt, even though it was only one of the seats in the car– the other one was apparently functioning properly, so only one person could sit in that seat. Some dumbass single rider was all, “Whatever, yeah, I’ll do it,” sparking a collective outcry regarding his stupidity. Some older woman in the line next to us was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT about this and her kids (her KIDS) were trying to calm her down. “They’re not going to let people ride it still if it’s actually broken, Mom!” one of the kids cried in frustration.

“But they’re using A REAL PERSON as a dummy!” she countered.

They sent the coaster up the hill, and we all turned and watched as it raced down the hill a minute later.

“No, he’s still on it. I saw him,” Laura assured me and Chooch. I wanted everyone to clap when the coaster returned to the platform with the idiot Single Rider still fastened into his seat, but everyone seemed to have lost interest by then.

However, that became the temporary designated single rider seat for the time being while the attendants waited for the maintenance guys to arrive with a new seatbelt. “Shit, they’re going to make me sit there!” Laura cried when it dawned on her what was going on. Chooch and I, of course, nearly gave up our asshole ghosts from laughing so hard at her future misfortune.

Just then, I looked ahead and noticed that the girl who was in front of us had moved over to the Broken Seat Belt Line, which meant that Chooch and I were next. We kind of half-heartedly tried to find someone to go ahead of us so that we could ride at the same time as Laura, but everyone behind us was perfectly lined up with their respective groups as well and didn’t want to give up their spots. So we shrugged a disgenuine “sorry” in Laura’s general direction, and then climbed into the car, leaving her alone on the platform. The guy behind her was laughing at our mock-sorrow, which made the whole situation even funnier to me.

When we came back to the station, we gave her a quick wave and then ran away to find Henry, who looked confused that we were short one person. So Chooch and I hysterically recounted the broken seatbelt situation (“I know, I saw the maintenance men go over there so I figured something was wrong,” Henry interrupted, fulfilling his inherent need to speak of any sort of man in uniform) and then started laughing even harder when we got to the part about ditching Laura.

“AND NOW SHE HAS TO SIT IN THE BROKEN SEAT!” we cried, doubling over in laughter.

“You two are both assholes,” Henry yelled at us, but that was the same time we realized that the coaster was ascending the inaugural hill, so Chooch and I ran closer to take a picture of what we were lovingly referring to as “Laura’s Last Ride.”

(Time out. I am going to pause here for a second so I can walk off this ridiculous laughter before I start alarming people at work again.)

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ENJOY YOUR LAST RIDE, LAURA!

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We ran back to Henry, who was scowling and trying to shrug away from his hyena-brood. At this point, I was on the pee-precipice and it wasn’t looking too good. Passers-by were starting to flash Chooch and I the “I wonder what they’re on” looks, which yes, I DO get a lot, now that you mention it.

And then finally, Laura came padding down the exit trail, looking disheveled and not very pleased.

We immediately started laughing harder. Oh, schadenfreude! My old friend!

“That was the most awkward ride ever!” Laura cried. Apparently, the maintence crew had fixed the seatbelt situation after Chooch and I got off the ride, so Laura wasn’t relegated to sitting in the Single Rider Death Seat. However, when she stepped across the seat to put her purse in one of the cubby holes, she turned around to discover that people behind her had taken her seat. So she had to walk around, looking for a car with an empty seat, and that is how she ended up sitting with some single dad. At this point in the story, Chooch and I raced over to look at the picture on the screen and then promptly lost our shit all the fuck over again. Even Henry mosied on over to take a gander at the photographical evidence of Laura’s misfortune.

The kid running the photo booth was kind of fake-laughing along with us, but it was clear he wasn’t sure what was so funny. Also unclear to him was whether or not he was going to make a sale on this one.

“Henry, PLEASE give me money to buy this!” I begged in my signature mouthful of laughs / Bobcat Goldthwaite voice. It’s Henry’s favorite part about me. Especially when it happens during sex.

“No!” he yelled. “I’m not paying $15 for that! That’s outrageous.”

“BUT IT’S WORTH IT TO ME!” I cried harder. I have got to stop leaving my wallet in the car when we go to amusement parks. This is bullshit.

And then something incredible happened! LAURA BOUGHT IT FOR ME! She didn’t seem too pleased about spending money on such an uncomfortable memory, but she did it anyway because she is a GOOD FRIEND. (Apparently, the OPPOSITE of what I am, according to Henry.)

The guy behind the photo counter was partially bemused, but mostly puzzled at this point, as Laura handed over her credit card with a sigh while Chooch and I flanked her in hysterical laughter. It’s like we’re drunk all of the time without actually consuming any alcohol. This is normal public behavior for us. Laughing so hard we need to lean on walls and people for support. Sometimes I lean on people I don’t even know because I can’t help myself, the laughter makes me walk on a slant, you guys.

When Laura handed me the photo, I blurted out, “You don’t have to get me a birthday present now!”

“I already did,” she sighed, with just a tinge of bitterness and regret.

Henry pointed out that Laura’s Temporary Husband also purchased one of the photos, which wound me up all over again. I wonder if it’s as funny to him?!!?

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HAHAHAHAHA BUT THIS PICTURE, THOUGH! Baby Mama Laura! Oh shit, I have to pee — BRB.

I have been actually crying about it at work, it is THAT funny to me, but everyone here is like, “It is not that funny, if at all” and “You’re so mean to your friends.”  And Henry is like, “No really, it’s not that funny” and “I can’t figure out how you have any friends at all.”   But Chooch and me? WE HAVE FIGURATIVELY BURIED OURSELVES IN A GRAVE OF IDIOCY from all of the laughing we’ve been doing. Team Dickhead FTW!

These past two days at work, Barb has basically been searching her desk for her imaginary OUT TO LUNCH sign every time she sees me approaching  because she knows I’m going to just stand there and have uncontrollable giggles usurp my ability to speak like a regular human being. However, at least she can appreciate the fact that it’s more of the backstory surrounding the photo that has legitimately cracked my sanity. Everyone else is just looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.

Just today, I was walking to the trolley and I started laughing all over again, and I mean LAUGHING. So I called Henry and said, “You have to stay on the phone with me because I’m walking down the street and laughing uncontrollably.” (Which actually isn’t anything out of the ordinary in my neighborhood.)

“What are you laughing about—-” Henry started. And then, “Oh. Never mind.”

But it was too late. My laughter upchucked out of my mouth like a galloping horse and I had to pause in a doorway of a store because I almost peed my pants in the middle of the sidewalk. I AM OUT OF CONTROL. This is what happens to me at amusement parks! I turn into a hyper dickhead and then suffer from residual giddiness for days afterward and you know who suffers? Henry! My co-workers! YOU! THE INTERNET!

And then that motherfucker Henry waited until I was on the trolley to text me the picture, which caught me off guard and I had to cover my face with my hair and laugh at my reflection in the stupid trolley window and then I started crying and people were looking and some asshole probably wrote a blog post about ME, can you imagine.

Sep 022018
 

Earlier tonight, Henry and I walked out of the house for our nightly walk and I made eye contact with a kid just as he littered a plastic cup near my sidewalk and he quickly went back and picked it up, YEAH THAT’S RIGHT. I was prepared to say some shit about it too so he’s lucky. We walked behind him and his posse for a bit and I was happy to watch him throw his trash in a garbage can.

Still, this really set me off and poor Henry had to endure a 30 minute rant on littering and how I just don’t understand how some people are able to just toss their refuse onto the ground and walk away like it’s no big thing. If their parents never actually told them this is wrong, then that tells me they probably learned to litter by watching their trashy parents litter.

I have been known to go off on a litterer a time or two in my life.

Once was when I engaged in verbal fisticuffs with a teen who chucked her empty pack of cigarettes in front of my house while I was sitting on the porch and I told her to pick it up and she actually gave me push-back and I scanned her face intently trying to figure out if she was at least 18 in case I needed to yank her head back by her hair. I remember this so vividly because it was 2000 and I was waiting for my friend to pick me up for the Tool concert and when he found out that I had an actual argument with some probably-15-year-old, he was like, “YOU DIDN’T HIT HER DID YOU?! YOU COULD GO TO JAIL FOR THAT, DUMBASS.”

(No, I didn’t hit her. But I did win the City Girl Swear volley and she ended up picking that shit up.)

And don’t just think Americans litter, you guys. In 1992, we hosted a French foreign exchange student named Laurent and he annoyed me for a myriad of reasons but one was when he purposely let a McDonald’s straw wrapper fly out the car window on the way to the zoo. I was in the backseat behind his French ass and I leaned in real close to yell, “HEY I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DO IN YOUR COUNTRY, BUT IN MINE, WE DON’T LITTER” as if America isn’t full of pigs. Oh man, my mom was so mad at me because there goes Erin, making the French kid cry again.

(He cried so much that summer.)

But I think my crowning glory was when I ratted on an actual cop for littering, wanna hear it, here it goes:

It was the middle of a lazy May afternoon in Hamilton, Ohio, 2007. Christina and I were lounging around her room and I was making her cry by talking about how I hate God. I suppose I should have been penciling in a time for church in my day planner since “He” evidently spared our lives the night before when we got caught in the midst of a hail storm on our way from Pittsburgh to Ohio. It was probably the single most terrifying moment of my life and it took place right after I had been talking about Hell.

Over top of Christina’s mighty exaltation for her love of all things Christ, I heard the squelch of a siren from behind her house. We ran over to the window and discovered that there were two police officers on the street behind her house and they had pulled over a man in a truck. It seemed like it was just a traffic violation and I was quickly becoming bored. Luckily, I hung around long enough to witness the most appalling act of crime I have ever seen with these hazel eyes.

The officers were beginning to wrap things up and as the one cop made to get into the passenger side of the patrol car, he poured out the remainders of a can of what appeared to be Pepsi and then deliberately tossed the empty can into Christina’s back yard.

“Oh no he didn’t!” I exclaimed to Christina, right before shaping a makeshift megaphone with my hands and shouting “LITTERER!” and then ducking, leaving Christina framed alone in the window looking like the sole perpetrator.

Stomping over to her bed, I grabbed my shoes and sat down hard.

“What are you doing?” Christina asked nervously.

“I’m going out there.” I walked out of the bedroom and bounded down the steps, leaving her pleas in a cloud of my dust. She caught up with me before I made it to the back door and grabbed my arms.

“Look, I really don’t think going out there is a good idea. The cops around here are dicks.” She had thrown herself between me and the door so I knew she meant business. I walked dejectedly back into her kitchen as she explained to me that her neighborhood is kind of bad and that the cops are always looking for a reason to, well, be cops and that she really didn’t want to have to make that call to Henry.

“Henry!” I exclaimed in remembrance of my boy-toy in Pittsburgh. “Let’s call him for legal counsel.” And of course he wasn’t home. I left a message and that dickshitter never called back because he figured it was “something stupid” I was calling about, as I would later learn.

The cops had left by then, leaving me alone with a heightened sense of extreme community failure. I didn’t want it be over yet so I continued pacing and spouting vulgarities until I finagled Christina into calling the police station. “We have their patrol car number! Do it, Christina, for all of us civilians. And the environment. It’s God’s will.” I knew that would clinch it.

Christina finally relented, only because she didn’t want me making the call because supposedly I’m too “hot-headed.” But I would have used words like ‘reprehensible’ and ‘detestable’ to convey to the sergeant how appalled I truly was. And I would have thrown in the words ‘law’ and ‘suit’ somewhere in between mention of dying babies and that our earth is God’s playground (HAHA).

But Christina still wouldn’t hand over the phone; she was eventually dispatched through to Sgt. Ebbing (a man I will never forget, bless his heart). Explaining the complaint, she actually said, “Sir, I know this may seem trivial.”

Excuse me, trivial? Are you kidding? That prick littered in her back yard. He did something that people like us would get fined for. Oh, I was livid. She was being too nice and congenial during the phone call and my body was burning. I started to envision what would have happened if I had managed to get out of her house while the cops were still there. They don’t scare me.

This was when I decided that I really, truly, and legitimately hated that littering officer. My ears were roaring with the sound of large, wavering sheets of metal and my heart was pounding like I had just run ten yards after ingesting fourteen fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and an eight ball. I imagined scratching his face (out of malice, not passion) and striking his nose with the heel of my palm in an upward motion, just like Mr. Miyagi taught me. Then I would retrieve his discarded aluminum can and crush it against his jock.

Oh heaven, I have finally reached you through my fantasies.

Christina ended the call and jolted me out of my daydream. She explained to me that Sgt. Ebbing was going to call her back once he reprimanded the officers and that he also informed her that she could go to the courthouse and file for a citation, to which she said would not be necessary (I would have done it – fuck the police). I felt a tiny bit reassured and calmer but Christina was a little leery that Sgt. Ebbing had asked for her full name and address. “I’m a pot head! What if they’re going to be watching me now?”

“What do I care? I live in Pittsburgh.” And then I laughed. And if you know me, you know that laugh, and are probably wanting to bitch-slap me just at the mere thought of it.

In the meantime, we called Henry to fill him in. “You didn’t go out there, did you?” was the first utterance from his fat mouth. I began to feel a complex developing and asked, “No, I didn’t go out there but would it really have been so bad if I had?”

“Uh, yeah!” he answered. “With your temper? I don’t need to be bailing you out of jail.” I have to say I’m a little insulted that I’m not trusted to handle situations such as this one on my own. But Christina was happy because Henry shared in her apprehension.

Sgt. Ebbing called back about two hours later (presumably because he was banging broads in the drunk tank), at which time Christina’s sister Cynthia answered the phone and yelled to Christina, “I don’t fucking know who it is!” The sergeant (I don’t trust him, by the way; I think he’s a cocksucker to be honest with you) relayed the disciplinary action that was sanctioned, and might I add it only entailed asking the officers if it was true and then telling them to come back and pick up the can.

But he lied to us and I know it. Sgt. Ebbing, you’re a lying cocksucker. He told Christina that the officer admitted to tossing the can, which was purportedly an “illegal can of beer” which was confiscated from the man who had been pulled over. In the midst of the confusion while they were making an arrest, it must have slipped the officer’s mind that he had littered.

Except that I didn’t see them make an arrest. I saw the man get back in his truck and leave. What did they say, “Just meet us at the station”? Oh, I don’t think so.

In other words, the sergeant wanted us to think that it was admirable of the officer to be honest about the littering, but at the same time he tried to make us feel guilty or ashamed that these men were in the throes of serving justice and that they should be excused of such a trivial act.

“I’m going out there to wait for them to come pick up the can,” I announced as I ran for the door. Christina came with me and we discovered that the can was no longer there. That asshole sergeant waited for them to come pick it up before calling back because he knew that I was about to get all Firestarter on their asses. I just know it!

I don’t feel like justice was served. And I didn’t get to swear at anybody.

But then Christina plied me with pie and the day quickly turned into “Sgt. Ebbing who now?”

MORAL: Don’t fucking let me catch you littering, better yet – JUST KEEP YOUR TRASH TO YOURSELF UNTIL YOU FIND A GARBAGE CAN. ASSHOLES.

Aug 152018
 

I was talking to Henry about this girl I used to play tennis with back in high school and how she went on to be the second runner-up on one season of Survivor, and this turned into us talking about our high school days because in case you didn’t know, Henry and I went to the same high school, only like FOURTEEN YEARS apart, lol.

So we got on the topic of which teacher was what coach and he mentioned Mr. Meehleib being the golf coach or something, and Meehleib is not a very common name so I screamed, “MR. MEEHLEIB?! DID HE ALSO TEACH  MATH?!” and Henry was like, “I don’t know, I guess. He had glasses and really—”

“—CURLY HAIR!” I yelled excitedly. So I guess Mr. Meeleib was a high school teacher back in Henry’s days, but when I knew him, he was my third grade math teacher and also the only male teacher at Gill Hall Elementary back then, aside from the principal and the gym teacher, dumbass Mr. Schantz who insisted on making us climb ropes and I was always one of the only kids who couldn’t do it, even before I got fat!

Another reason why Mr. Meehleib is significant to my life is because I got my first ever E in his class! (Do you remember when the grading scale used to actually go from A-E? No? WELL THEN MAYBE I’M JUST REALLY FUCKING OLD.) I don’t know what happened to me that year, because I was actually very smart leading up to this (tested for the gifted program and everything!) but then we reached the chapter in the math book on COUNTING CHANGE and my friends, I don’t know what it was about the way my brain is wired, but I just couldn’t do it. Mr. Meehleib even had a toy register and we had to line up and take turns pretending like we were cashiers and counting change, and every time it was my turn, I would be on the verge of tears because I just wasn’t getting it. I would freeze up and he would get pretty pissed at me, if I remember correctly, so then I REALLY couldn’t do it.

Mr. Meehleib, being the only male teacher, paddled Rick F. and Mike S. one time so I was like WILL I GET PADDLED FOR SHORTING HIM A NICKEL?!

(They got paddled because they were disruptive d-bags not because they couldn’t accommodate an imaginary customer trying to break a $5, BUT STILL.)

My friend Lauren struggled with it too and now  that I think about it, Lauren also couldn’t climb the ropes in gym so WAS LAUREN DRAGGING ME DOWN OR WAS I DRAGGING LAUREN DOWN?!

Anyway, welcome to my first big fat E! I will never forget it! I cried about it for days and no one in my family even cared because they were like, “It’s one E. You’ll bounce back” but all I could think about was how I clearly had NO FUTURE because how would I ever get a job in a grocery store?!

I was telling Henry all of this last night, like totally pouring my heart out, and I realized that shit, this must have been a BIG DEAL to me back then because I have been clearly been holding it in all these years so now I’m telling you too, Blog, in an effort to be more transparent about my secret dumbness.

“You know that story about the time my dad walked in on me in the garage teaching a Praying Mantis how to count change when I was in 4th grade?” I asked Henry.

“Um, no?!” he responded, as if I haven’t brought this up at least 3 dozen times during the course of our loving relationship.

“Well anyway, that’s why I was teaching the Praying Mantis how to count change, because I was practicing” and Henry was just like, “ohmygod.”

Wow, I feel so much better now. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest, Blog!

FUN FACT: I only had one job where I needed to use a cash register and it was at Everything’s $1 at Century III Mall when I was in high school. On my first day, I went on my break and never came back. And no, it wasn’t because I couldn’t handle counting change, it was because I hate people.

Aug 072018
 

Hi, I’m back with the shocking conclusion of my previous post, Being Tourists In Pittsburgh. WOW, HOLD ON TIGHT. Just kidding, feel free to flail around.

After we left the Heinz History Center, we walked Jessi back to the hotel so she could get started with her pre-Rocky Horror performance process. We didn’t want to be the ones responsible for jinxing her by pulling her away from that, so released her to the Omni William Penn and then continued walking to Millie’s because Bill said he was down for ice cream but I think he knew he didn’t really have a choice because I was like, “Millie’s is the best; we’re going.”

Look, Pittsburgh has got a lot of great ice cream options but Millie’s is the one that always wins a spot on my itinerary when I have out-of-town guests visiting. (So like, twice so far, lol.) They just make really delicious, fresh ice cream and sorbet made with local ingredients and they’re always getting involved with the community—you know the types! Just all-around great people and Henry loves it because you can buy little packages of waffle cone pieces which I think is genius because what else are you going to do when you’re making homemade waffle cones and one breaks? YOU DON’T THROW THAT SHIT AWAY.

Also, they plug the butts of the waffle cones with a marshmallow so you don’t get melted ice cream tracks running down your shirt and arms like I generally do everywhere else we get ice cream cones.

The main reason I wanted to go to Millie’s (I mean, other than to treat my awesome friends to some great ice cream!) was because they updated their Instagram that morning with a new flavor: BLUEBERRY PANCAKES.

The description is what really sold me though: fresh blueberry compote, homemade syrup from some dude name Paul, and, this is what sealed the deal for me: real pancakes from Square Cafe in Regent Square. I love Square Cafe and I love pancakes so I wanted to eat this on that day, it was imperative.

It also did NOT DISAPPOINT.

They actually ladle the syrup right on top of the scoop!

Chooch got his standard scoop o’ chocolate, which inspired Bill to do the same. Peer pressure, Bill’s got it. I always mock Chooch for having such a basic palate but Millie’s chocolate actually is indescribably perfect.

I forget what Henry got. One of the sorbets, I think. Who cares.

We went back to the Omni after that and Bill was dumb and invited us into their room without even bothering to squirt us with holy water first to make sure we’re not vampires. Jessi was still getting ready (she was being the Criminologist for that night’s show so she had a lot of costuming to do!) so we decided that we were going to investigate this so-called fifth floor that most of the elevators skipped over. Bill said he noticed that there was one particular set of elevators that actually had a button for the fifth floor, so we sought out that one and then held our breath while it descended.

However, when the doors opened, we were immediately disappointed. I guess I was expecting something out of Nightmare on the 13th Floor*, hallway all blood-red with fancy tapestries and gaslight sconces, Victrola music humming from behind someone’s locked door.

*(HAVEN’T YOU EVER SEEN THAT MOVIE?! It was a 1990 made-for-TV movie that USA frequently played and it scared the shit out of me. Look that up.)

But no, we could tell right away that it was just a floor full of offices.

Such a let down.

Then we went to the room where the convention was happening because there was a raffle drawing about to take place and Bill and Jessi had some stake in it.

“They haven’t checked anyone’s badge the entire time we’ve been here, so I don’t think it’ll matter if you guys come with me,” Bill assured us, and Chooch and Henry were like, “That’s cool” and never thought about it again, while I was being my typical “DEER IN HEADLIGHTS-TOTALLY SUSPICIOUS-LOOK AT THE SPOTLIGHT ON ME-I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE” self.

Henry said that there were some girls asking me about my purse when we walked in but I completely ignored them because I couldn’t hear them over the metallic ringing in my ears BECAUSE OMG ARE WE GOING TO GET BUSTED.

I felt like everyone knew we weren’t actually convention-goers and I was doing everything in my power to burrow myself into Henry’s armpit. I have many layers and one of them is that I HATE STEALING and I felt, in a way, that we were being thieves by waltzing into this convention without purchasing a badge. Granted, we only sat there long enough to watch some broad named MONTANA clean up on all the winnings.

Bill was irate.

We hated Montana after that! Plus, she wasn’t even present to collect her bounty! They should have tossed aside her tickets and drawn again! Don’t get me started on Montana.

Afterward, we went back to Bill and Jessi’s room. Jessi was nearly finished getting into her role by then, but Henry had just enough time to fall asleep in an arm chair.

His favorite thing! Sleeping in other people’s hotel room!

Then we piled into our car and drove back to the Hollywood Theater which is literally about a 5 minute walk from my house. The Hollywood is famous for being in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s also where the Rocky Horror Picture Show and the shadowcast has played for like, decades. Tonight’s show was special because it was going to feature an all-star shadowcast from different cities. Jessi had submitted an audition tape a while back for this and was accepted so when Bill asked us if we wanted to come out and watch her, how the fuck could I turn that down?

Henry and I had a brief parental powwow about whether or not we should take Chooch with us to this but then I reasoned that I was his age when I first watched RHPS. BLOG READERS, WALK WITH ME:

It was Easter of 6th grade (whatever year that was) and my BFF Christy (see also: Crystal Lite and Crystal McGoo-Goo) was sleeping over which meant we were in the market for some horror movie rentals. My aunt Sharon took us to Blockbuster (miss you, baby) and recommended RHPS to us. I mean, if one were to judge a VHS by it’s box, it did look like it had horror movie potential.

However, after watching it that night, we were immediately disappointed. It had it’s grotesque moments but it wasn’t the eye-covering 70s slasher film we were in the mood for. We grumbled about it for a bit and then went to sleep.

When we woke up the next day, however, I looked at Christy and whispered, “Do you want to watch that again?” and she was like “YES” and then WE DID and by the end of the second-viewing, we knew the Time Warp front and back, left to right, and I was writing diary entries entitled WHERE HAS TIM CURRY BEEN ALL MY LIFE. We were shook and hooked, you guys.

There was this one time when my mom hid the video camera inside the fireplace and recorded us doing the Time Warp. I texted her last week and asked her if she remembered this and instead of saying, “No, you must have dreamt that” which is her typical response when she doesn’t want to fess up, she said, “Lol, yes. Hilarious.” I’m sure that’s still floating around somewhere, along with footage of me dancing to Queen’s Radio Gaga with rollers in my hair.

We were so obsessed that we used to sing parts of RHPS songs as roller coasters at Kennywood would be carrying us up the first hill.

“I bet she doesn’t remember that,” Henry scoffed, knowing that none of my friends ever remember the things from our childhood that seemed like BIG MOMENTS to me.

But then I texted her and this happened, so fuck off Henry:

So, all of this is to say that I was pretty excited to be experiencing this all over again but with Chooch this time.

We arrived at the Hollywood before tickets went on sale, since we were basically the Criminologist’s entourage so Chooch, Bill and I sat on a couch in the lobby, where Chooch got his first taste at RHPS as all of the Columbias and Franks sauntered around before him.

He just kept shaking his head.

“You have no idea what you’re in for!” I laughed.

Pre-show selfie! I was so stoked for her, but also experienced sympathy butterflies.

Here’s a picture from the basement bathroom of the Hollywood which I have actually never been in, after literal decades of seeing movies there. I think it’s probably haunted. Anyway, I took this picture because my popcorn purse was getting mad love from all the RHPS convention attendees that day which made me glad that I splurged on this at Everland in Korea. I didn’t want the popcorn (although it ended up being delicious and banana-flavored, because Korea) but when I saw people walking around with it that day in the park I had mad visions of using it as a purse. I mean, it’s pretty clunky and only fits like, lipgloss and some change, maybe a tampon (I’ll have to try) but this bag is everything.

After sitting around for nearly an hour waiting to buy tickets (they weren’t being sold through the theater), Bill finally had enough and said, “THAT’S IT, WE’RE JUST GOING IN.” ANyone with a badge had free admission, so Jessi gave me hers since she was performing, but I still felt like, again, A FUCKING THIEF.

Bill reasoned that he and Jessi had given the convention people enough of their money and us not buying $15 tickets wasn’t going to hurt them, but I still felt so guilty and paranoid walking to the seats that Jessi saved for us. IN THE SECOND ROW. WE WERE PRACTICALLY SITTING DUCKS FOR THE CONVENTION PEOPLE TO SPOT. Chooch was oblivious and just sat there eating popcorn, checking out all the fishnets and corsets, but I was gnawing my fingers to the bone over this.

“WHAT IF THEY WALK AROUND AND ASK FOR OUR TICKETS?!” I hissed to Henry.

“Would you calm down?! They’re not going to do that.”

They didn’t do that.

It was fine.

We assimilated and no one gave us a second glance.

Bill bought Chooch and me prop bags, not considering the repercussions this would have on Henry, who ended up soaking wet and covered in covered by the end of the night. Also, as soon as Chooch was explained the concept of the prop bags, his attention was piqued and he was in it to win it.

Before the show started, they played the audition tapes of all the out-of-town shadowcast participants and we screamed our faces off when Jessi’s was on the screen.

Anyway, the show was fantastic and Jessi killed her part! Second to that, I had so much fun seeing this movie again through Chooch’s eyes. In the beginning, when all the RHPS virgins had to go up to the front and fake orgasms, Chooch was like SRSLY MOM WTF and Henry was just like FROWN FROWN FROWN GOOD JOB BRINGING OUR PRE-TEEN HERE, but then Chooch was so into the audience participation elements that he forgot he was witnessing age-inappropriate shenanigans with his parents and snapped his rubber glove with wanton abandon.

What a fucking awesome night with Bill and Jessi. I mean, all of our hangouts are totally memorable and hilarious, but this night is definitely up at the top. And I can’t think of anyone better to expose Chooch to RHPS than the people who played Cards Against Humanity with him when he was like 8 (and he won). And Henry only slept through some parts of the show, not all!

We went to Tom’s Diner afterward and Chooch had so many questions. So. Many. Questions.

He is in SO DEEP now that by the next morning, he had YouTubed all of the song-scenes, learned a bunch of call-backs, and is ready to go to Michigan to watch Jessi perform there with her cast.

I laughed a little bit to myself at work the other night because my boss was talking to me about Chooch and how many cool experiences he’s had in his short life because of Henry and me. “You guys are great parents! Taking him to all kinds of places that most kids his age don’t get to go!” and in my head, I was like, “Yes, like Rocky Horror Picture Show.” He is certainly well-versed in a myriad of pop culture categories!

***

A few days ago, he came home from the library and said that he was singing “Sweet Transvestite” and Liam and Markie were like, “What is a transvestite” so he explained it to them, and that’s my son, broadening horizons and opening minds.

***

P.S. Bill & Jessi ended up meeting Montana the next day and he said she was actually very nice so we felt for motherfucking her and all her raffle wins. OR DID WE.

Jul 292018
 

I keep putting off recapping Warped Tour for a couple reasons: it was the last one ever and I needed to let the feels marinate for a bit before spooning it into the thought pot, I’m really blog-ambivalent these days, but mostly because there just isn’t really that much to say this time.

This sounds like we had a horrible time and I can assure you it wasn’t that. In fact, aside from early morning sniping, it was actually the first Warped Tour since Chooch started going with us that we got through the whole entire day without even the TINIEST quarrel. Give us a fucking ribbon at the Family Behavioral Fair, motherfuckers.

It just very much felt like we were going through the motions. For instance, the gate we normally enter through didn’t appear to be open this year so we had to get in a much-longer line for the main gate and I didn’t even feel the tiniest bit anxious about this because it didn’t matter to me when we got in. WHY, YOU ASK? GOOD QUESTION. Because there wasn’t one single band in the lineup that I was super-stoked to see.

!!!!

Granted I know that I have been out of the loop for a year or two but even the old bands on the list were like Zzzzzzzz for me.

SO WHY DID YOU BUY A TICKET, DUMMYTURKEY?! Great question! Because I still love the atmosphere and the vibes and I wanted to see it through to the end. GOD DONT YOU READ MY BLOG I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT THAT.

One thing I want to want to mention before I move on to other things is that for as huge of a festival that Warped Tour is, we have never really had a bad “waiting in line” experience. The credit probably goes to the venue, but they do such a stand-up job getting everyone inside the gates at a speedy, safe pace. (KCON/PRUDENTIAL CENTER SHOULD STUDY THIS PROCESS!)

The whole time we were in line though, I kept checking the Warped Tour socials for the “magic word” to get the first 200 people free shit at the Vans tent but I never saw one! So that was kind of a let-down. I had notifications turned on for the Warped Tour app and never received a single alert all day long which was strange…this was one of the reasons why it just didn’t feel right this year.

Chooch got to play games so he was happy. That was all he was looking forward to since the lineup was so “meh” this year.

This was us sitting in the pavilion (all these girls at Warped Tour with their perfectly matte faces while I’m over here looking like I could moisten a whole loaf of week-old bread with my face), waiting 35 minutes for the Maine to come on which never happened because I didn’t make the connection that for the first time ever, there was only one stage under the pavilion?! Usually, it’s the Journeys Left Foot and Journeys Right Foot, but this time they were separated so only one of the “foots” was under the pavilion and guess what guys it wasn’t the one that the Maine was playing on so my tradition of going to Warped Tour every year and never seeing the Maine continued. It’s good to end things with a perfect streak sometimes, you know?

Also, there was a fifteen minute delay on every stage but I thought it was only on three of the stages because I didn’t read the inflatable schedule correctly and basically, if I had any vested interest in seeing any particular band, I would have probably been met with disappointment.

It was just weird how this day started off with CHANGES and that just led to a strong feeling of disorientation for the rest of the day.

If you know what I mean.

Do you know what I mean?

I’m the type of person who totally loses her mind when there is even a tiny sprinkle of aberration in a schedule.

But can I just say again how weird it was to not be literally sprinting from stage to stage in an effort to see all of my scene-faves? A Warped Tour without Emarosa is bad enough but there really wasn’t any post-hardcore for my soul that day.

We did accidentally see a hardcore band called Sharptooth though and I was immediately sucked in because the screamer was a girl and she was fierce as fuck. After the first song, she plowed right into a fiery speech about #MeToo and the crowd was backing her so hard with energetic cheers, and all I could think was, “Can we claw-drop all of the Ronnie Radkes on this tour into the front row and make them listen to this hard truth?” What irony, you know? This band promoting safe spaces, speaking out against domestic/sex abuse, rape, the mental illness stigma, while so many shitty bands full of shitty motherfucking abusers were running rampant on in the same venue because Kevin Lyman doesn’t want to lose money by banning their asses from Warped Tour. This strong, outspoken female could have eaten Jonny Craig alive and made Ronnie Radke shit his pants.

CAN YOU SEE WHY THIS WAS HARD FOR ME!? On one had, Warped Tour is supposed to be this safe haven for all walks of life, socially conscious with tons of really great (and I mean super fantastic) organizations there every summer spreading awareness for depression, suicide, LGBTQ, breast cancer. They have food drives at every city and a tent where you can get swabbed to be a bone marrow donor. (I almost wrote donater.)

But then it’s also a huge parking lot full of band dude debauchery, statutory transgressions and other things that go in on those tour buses that I don’t want to even think about because ew.

On that note though, I noticed a HUGE influx of families in attendance. This was usually not the case, so maybe it was all those grown-up punks wanting to revisit the scene for Warped’s swan song, but goddamn there were A LOT of children there. The first year we brought Chooch, it was 2013 and he was quite literally one of maybe three under-15 kids there, to the point where he was getting a lot of attention and double-takes (and a lot of free swag!). I remember getting a lot of shit from people who thought it was a bad idea for us to take him at that age (he was 7) but you have to consider the fact that Henry and I were already extremely experienced at this and Chooch was literally raised on this kind of music. I mean, he tell you the names of the singers of probably 15 bands that were there that year.

So this was another thing that made our last Warped Tour feel….sterile? Is that the word I want? Yes. Let’s go with sterile.

Also, Chooch is barely even a kid anymore! It’s weird that he won’t ever get to experience Warped Tour with his friends. We used to joke that once he was in high school and his friends finally started getting into this stuff, he would have already been to like 10 Warped Tours! But now I guess we’ll have to see what kind of thing makes a move on Warped’s demographic.

LOL, Henry put so much effort into his Warped Tour outfit.

He was so funny on the way there that morning. Traffic was super backed up as we got closer to the exit for Key Bank Pavilion (will always be StarLake to me) and he was like, “Oh hell no” so he morphed into Professional Driver Henry and cut in front of every car sitting in mile-long Warped Tour traffic, drove over DO NOT CROSS lines, and slid right into a small opening in the front of the line and then said “I literally do not give a fuck.” He just wanted this day to be over, guys. It was actually super impressive.

Full disclosure, I had never heard of the band Lighterburns before but when I saw this sign, I screamed, “YES, I DO AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT” and promptly whipped out my credit card and by that I mean I had to chase after Henry who was pretending not to hear me and then shake him down for money because like why would I bring my own stuff lol.

Yeah, you do.

Anyway, after that I felt I would be remiss to not check out their set so I went back to the small stage that the lesser-known bands are relegated to, and I really liked them! I wish they had been able to accumulate a bigger crowd, but Warped Tour is a crapshoot like that sometimes. Anyway, here is one of their videos, go support them because they’re fighting the good fight.

Hahahahahahaha, probably my favorite picture from that day!

Chooch is too cool for the big slip-n-slide now I guess, even though he practically got pruned skin from the amount of time he spent in it at his first Warped Tour!

Seasoned veteran at age 12.

Since there were no must-see bands for me, I was able to meander about leisurely and just soak up the vibes, which actually was the best way for me to have closure. It was nice to just listen to all the screaming, get in some prime people-watching, and check out all the merch, like Choonimals! We of course bought their special edition Warped Tour design and said a sad goodbye to Chad, who takes Choonimals on the road with Warped Tour every year.

“This sucks, I feel like this part of the Warped Tour tradition for us, buying a Choonimals shirt,” I said to Chad and he admitted that he has no idea what he’s going to do with his summers now, but assured us that Warped Tour would still be around in some capacity. It sounds like it just not going to be a cross-country tour anymore, but that they will still have events. Maybe something like a west coast and east coast festival? I probably wouldn’t road trip for it, because I can’t imagine any bands in the scene right now inspiring me to travel, so this probably was my last Warped Tour.

Chad gave us all high-fives and thanked us for supporting the brand all these years. I’m not going to lie, I AM TEARING UP RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS. Go check out Choonimals, their shirts are top-notch and the designs are just really great. I guess I’ll be buying all my future Choonimals online from now on, sigh.

Truth is always making people stop and play their dumb games which is right up Chooch’s alley. He always gets free shit from them every year and this time he played some stupid ninja game and chose yellow sunglasses as his prize because they reminded him of the $230 pair of Gentle Monsters that we wouldn’t buy him in Korea, lol, keep dreaming, kid.

Gonna miss sitting on this hill. Gonna miss these tents. Gonna miss the sunburn and the how amazing it feels to take a shower after enduring the heat all day. Apparently, it was so hot that day that the local EMS was calling it a “mass casualty incident” and it was all over the news. I had no idea about any of this, but it explains why three different people at work the next day were like, “I was so worried about you, there was a mass casualty incident!” and I was like, “Wow, how weird that all of these people are using the same word for it.

Then I found out that the singer of Waterparks, Awsten Knight, saw the news crew and ran over to give a statement, but he said he was Kyle Fletchers from December’s Tragedy and this is so fucking hilarious to me to think of people watching this and wondering if their kids like that band. Henry thought it was stupid but NO HENRY, YOU ARE STUPID.

Warped Tour apparently made him a new tour badge after that, hahaha. Oh, Awsten. We fucking missed Waterparks because of how the schedule was jacked all day and they were honestly one of only 4 bands I had any desire to see that day.

We stuck around long enough to 3Oh!3’s first three songs, because it felt symbolic since they were at the first Warped Tour that Henry and I attended together in 2008 (10 years ago! in case you can’t do math). They were largely unknown at the time and I remember thinking at first, “These guys are stupid” but half a song in, I was trying to get them to play at my imaginary prom. I remember exactly what stage they played on that year too, it was one of the ones under the pavilion, where the smaller bands performed back then. Katy Perry performed on that stage that year too and they both exploded into the mainstream right after that. It was nuts.

So even though we were all super fucking hot, tired, and hungry, we stuck around long enough to see some of their songs (“Oh, I know who they are now!” Chooch cried almost immediately after he kept insisting that he didn’t) and then we all decided to throw in the towel by 7pm. I mean, I certainly didn’t want to stick around for shitty Falling In Reverse and I gave no shits about any other band playing after that anyway.

I thought I would be OK, but I still found myself stalling, knowing that once we exited those gates, that was it. The Book of Warped Tour was closed. I know it probably sounds like we had a not-great time, but the fact is that it was just right. I didn’t have high expectations going in so I wasn’t let down. I knew the line-up and wasn’t shocked that there wasn’t anyone I was dying to see. I bought all the merch I needed. None of us fought. Chooch spun wheels and won things, Henry fell asleep.

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Nap time. #kingofsleepingatWarpedToursince2008

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It was enough for me. And it made me appreciate my new lifestyle even more, because I just connect with the Warped Tour stuff anymore and that’s OK. Maybe if they would have recreated the 2008 lineup, or the 2012 one, I would have been more stoked. There was a post-hardcore void, and it’s obvious that the kids are moving away from that genre, so it was another reason for me to make peace with the end of an era.

But I will tell you one thing, later that night, I lost all control of myself and started sobbing into Henry’s chest because it finally hit me. I know that this wasn’t something I did in my childhood, but it still had that feeling to it! Like it was some weird delayed coming-of-age moment for me, lol, I don’t know. Warped Tour was a big part of my life for many years and I will cherish those memories forever. But now I can fully embrace this new season of life I’m getting into, without having one foot stubbornly stuck in the old one.

Warped Tour, you will forever have a place in my heart. <3

Jul 152018
 

Dear e-diary,

Remember how I wanted to walk to the new-ish paleteria in Beechview on Friday to get some refreshing paletas, but then I ended up puking all day instead? Well, you’ll be happy to know that my own person doctor, Henry, diagnosed me with a 24-hour stomach bug and I felt A-OK when I woke up on Saturday! Which meant a Mexican popsicle celebration, naturally.

Here is a short review.

It was something like 90 degrees on Saturday and humid as the air between Trump’s ears, but I insisted that Henry and Chooch walk, not drive, to Alquisiras, where we would then be rewarded with an array of delightful Mexican flavors in frozen form. Chooch brought his scooter and I hate that thing so much but whatever.

It’s only about a 20 minute walk to Beechview, but if you take the longer way it’s all level. Henry argued with me about this and I was like, “Look motherfucker, if you want to be walking up steep ass motherfucking Pittsburgh hills*, be my guest, but I’ll take the nice leisurely route and get there 5 minutes after you.” He can’t bear to be without me, and Chooch was like OH, I’M NOT LUGGING THIS SCOOTER UP A HILL, so it was MY WAY OR NO WAY.

*(Hey, San Fran, I’ll see you out there with your steep-ass fucking streets but Pittsburgh has the country’s** steepest street of all time, so stop hogging our limelight.)

**(Some people claim it’s the steepest in the world, but I think I read there is street in New Zealand that actually holds that record.)

There were so many paletas to choose from and it was a legit struggle. I kept going back and forth between walnut, chili mango, and red currant, but I eventually asked Walnut to mouth-prom because I love nuts, man. It was SO GOOD too but now I’ll just have to go back and try all the other flavors and I can’t really be mad about that.

Chooch got strawberries and cream and was clearly so ready for this picture.

Henry was like, “I’ll just stick with ice cream because I’m square.” He chose pistachio (always a good choice) but then whined later that he wished he had gotten a paleta instead so I guess we have to bring him back with us next weekend, ugh.

Prince of posing in front of murals.

Other things happened on Saturday too, but the one thing that stands out the most is that Henry proved that HE DOESN’T REALLY KNOW ME AT ALL. We were getting ready for bed that night, totally exhausted from a really good Kpop Kardio hour and lots of subtitle-reading (we started watching Roommate because a new episode of Are You Human Too hadn’t yet been released and we needed our Seo Kang Joon fix and by “we” and “our” you know I mean “Henry” and “his.”). We had the a/c on in our room but it was still kind of muggy in there and I was complaining about how I was too hot.

“Well, you’re under the covers. Take the covers off,” he suggested like I hadn’t already considered this!?

“Yeah, I can do that a little bit but you know I how I have to have my feet covered at all times,” I said.

“……no?” Henry answered with hesitation in his voice.

“Yes you do!” I cried. “Like, everyone knows that about me.” And when Henry didn’t answer, probably because he was flipping through the Rolodex of Erin’s Issues in his head, I tried to help him by dropping clues. “You know, because I don’t want to get my feet lopped off…”

“WHAT?!” he yelled. “By who!?”

“The man with the sickle!” I yelled back, like how was this news to him?! I’m sure I even mentioned this on LiveJournal before and I KNOW I have discussed this with some of my work friends too.

“Oh my god,” Henry sighed. “I don’t even want to know.”

I was so offended that this wasn’t one of those super important facts that he seared into his brain, but I still gave him the run-down about how ever since I was in second grade and we moved into our new house on Gillcrest, I was always terrified to look out of my bedroom window at night because it faced the backyard which was surrounded by woods and our neighbors’ tennis court that was always illuminated just enough at night to make the shadows come to life in ones mind, and I would sneak peeks out the window and swear that someone would be out there, creeping around in the backyard, waiting for me to fall asleep with my feet outside of the blanket so he could lop them off with his sickle and run away with them in a sack slung over his shoulder.

“It’s the same reason why I would always stand at my door, run and leap into my bed at night, so I wouldn’t be standing close enough for the man under my bed to grab my ankles,” I told Henry.

I think he was sleeping by then though.

But yeah, nearly 39 years old and I will never succumb to the man with the sickle! YOU’LL NEVER GET MY FEET, MOTHERFUCKER. Take Henry’s.

Jul 112018
 

Even though my feelings toward the scene are less than favorable these days, the sadness of this being the last Warped Tour has finally started to set in and I started to cry about it last night, haha. Seriously, to just get through one day without being so stupidly sentimental!

It’s weird to think of a Warped-less summer when it’s been such a big part of my life for over 10 years. The first one I went to was in 2000 and it was pretty terrible, to be honest. It was in a much smaller venue and I only really cared about seeing AFI, and to be fair, it was actually legitimate punk bands that played back then.

And hilariously, I have never really been into punk.

Then I was supposed to meet Christina at the Columbus, OH date in 2005 but we had a fight or I was suicidal or just having a non-life-threatening mood swing, who knows – 2005 was a disastrous year for me. So I didn’t go and she took her sister instead, I think. The next year, I went with her to the one in her hometown of Cincinnati and it was OK. I was still blogging on LiveJournal back then but all I wrote about was how the engine blew in my fucking car on the way home, so that tells you a lot about how I feel about that particular Warped Tour, lol.

It wasn’t until the next year, 2008, when it started to really feel like Christmas in July for me. I think Christina was supposed to come here for that one but we had a fight or god only knows, so Henry ended up going with me at the last minute and you guys, we had SO MUCH FUN TOGETHER. OK, I’ll rephrase that: I HAD SO MUCH FUN WATCHING HENRY SCOWL AT SCENE KIDS. And ever since that day there was a decree that we would go to every Warped Tour together and you bet your pretty god-given ass that he tries to get out of it every year.

Especially since Chooch started going with us. Then it became, “Why do I still have to go to this? Why can’t I just you guys off at the kids drop-off zone? This is so dumb.” But it’s a FAMILY TRADITION, you guys. And next Monday will be the very last one.

Even though it’s changed so much over the years (hate me all you want, but I miss the neon years of 2007-2011, where the scene queens’ cat-eyes melted down their sweaty faces and their cotton candy hair sizzled and frizzled under the sun. I miss only being able to see one eye on every scene kid with side-swooped fringe bangs. But most of all, I miss the glory days of Pierce the Veil, Chiodos, Emarosa, and Armor for Sleep.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Warped Tour photos here. I OWN THIS SPACE SO WHY NOT. I mean, I hope that’s OK! Let’s look at them together. We’ll start with 2008 because in my heart, that’s when the magic of Warped Tour truly started for me. *tear*

First let’s start with my collection of commemorative holographic tickets! Henry hates that I pay extra for this every year lol. I don’t have one for 2007 or 2008 which makes me feel like they probably hadn’t started doing that yet, and curiously 2013 doesn’t have one either. I thought maybe I lost it but then I obsessively googled (me, obsessively doing something on the Internet? lol) and I don’t think there was one that year.

And see that one round? FUNNY NOT FUNNG STORY I bought the special Xmas presale bundle for that year’s Warped. It came with socks (haha) and an ornament, which ended up being that round thing up there. The collectors ticket was supposed to be mailed later on, closer to summer. Except when my ticket came IT WAS A NORMAL ONE. I flipped out and started sending emails at which point I was told they had “run out” of the special tickets but anyone who didn’t get one could just bring that ornament (which actually was flat and the same thickness as the tickets are) to use as the “skip the line” but I was like THAT IS NOT WHY I PAY EXTRA FOR THESE TICKETS IT IS LITERALLY BECAUSE I LIKE HAVING THE TICKET so they were like “stop crying child and contact us after Warped Tour. We will see if we have any extras for you” and I was like “DONT THINK I WILL FORGET.”

I didn’t forget. I emailed as soon as Warped Tour was done and was like WHERE IS MY EXTRA TICKET and no one ever responded. WOW.

So of course every time I look at these tickets, that’s the first thing I think about and I feel SICK because I probably have OCD ok. Send one of the Pretty Little Liars to steal my medical records, why don’t you.

2008 Snaps, taken with my Blackberry Curve, I think lol:

My first time seeing Pierce the Veil <3

Blake came to Warped Tour with us that year and it was a bucketload of fun. I’m talking an entire gin-filled bathtub of fun.

2009 Pics:

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RIP Scene Queens. :(

2010 Pho-Toes:

I think was when I started bringing my DSLR but I was still posting super small pictures back then so what did it even matter, lol.

I have this picture of Vic Fuentes framed on my wall <3

PAHAHAHAHA Jonny Shitbag Craig.

2011 Picalicktures:

Henry’s brethren. I interviewed Henry about Warped Tour that year and you can read that here if you want, lol. 

Austin Carlile, formerly of Of Mice & Men. Their sets always gave me life.

2012 Photographs:

Lol.

This was the year Henry wrote his own Warped Tour blog post!

2013 Visual Relics:

The year Chooch started going with us!

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2014 Still Life:

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Chooch got sick on this day, unrelated to Warped Tour. He ended up having an ear infection (I think? I CAN’T KEEP TRACK OF ALL OF HIS AILMENTS) and about two hours in, the fever set in. He didn’t want to leave until he got to see his favorite band, The Summer Set, so we had to stay until around 5:00 or 6:00.

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They took copious breaks.

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Chooch with The Summer Set, delirious but smiling!

2015 Mementos:

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Hands Like Houses <3

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Chooch and Lynn Gunn from PVRIS! Chooch had recently fallen off his bike or something, again I DON’T KEEP AN ACCIDENT AND AILMENT LOG just haunted house journals and this piece of shit diary, and went to Warped Tour looking totally hardcore with his scraped chin.

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Wardrobe change.

One of my favorite Warped Tour moments of all time, I’ll never get over this.

2016 Images:

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Man, I’m going to miss that ol’ granddaddy Inflatable. It was tradition to run straight for it as soon as we made it through the gates, even though you could buy the schedule for like $1 or two. Henry always did that while I Gumped my way to the inflatable to scan it for all my favorite bands in a panic because so much heartbreak happened here! This is you would be faced with DECISIONS when there were inevitable overlaps with the bands you wanted to see. WHO WOULD GET SACRIFICED?!

Ugh, my stomach hurts just thinking about all the hard choices I had to make while standing in front of that damn thing.

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Chooch always does a wardrobe change at Warped Tour. God forbid we buy him a shirt there and he waits until the next day to wear it. Here he is with Bradley, who was once again responsible for making this the best day ever. 

2017 Frozen Visions:

Chooch is in love with Jule Vera.

Henry giving directions, his favorite pasttime!

One of Chooch’s teachers was so excited that he met Gwar. I can’t imagine any of the teachers at his old Catholic school being excited about that unless we met “excited” in the sense that they were excited to help him purge his sins.

***

I could go on and on but no one has time for that so I will end it here and try not to think too much about how this coming Monday will be my last chance to make Warped memories. I thought I was OK with this but MAYBE I’M NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE!?

 

Jun 052018
 

I’m going to make this short and sweet because I have a headache and I think I was poisoned.

—-THE PHONE CALL—-

Henry received a phone call from a friend on Saturday and for some reason, Chooch and I found this to be HI-larious.

“For some reason,” lol.

Immediately, Chooch and I activated our PEST SWITCH and clung to Henry with our ears pressed against his phone. He kept shrugging us off and eventually was able to get up from the couch (hello it was his fault for starting a phone conversation in the same room as us to begin with) and slowly moved onto the back porch.

I say “slowly” because we were hanging off of him. Finally, he turned around and snapped at us, getting busted by his friend on the other end who thought Henry was yelling at him. The last thing we heard before the porch door slammed in our faces was, “No not you. I’m talking to these two nebby* kids.”

*(Nebby means nosy if you live in Pittsburgh. YAY FOR LEARNING.)

“I bet he’s talking to the manager of Blush,” Chooch said, because we love to speculate that Henry is a regular at this stripclub downtown.

Then I had the brilliant idea to go outside and try to hear the conversation from below the open porch windows, but our fucking mechanic neighbor was drilling in his garage and some broad in a house behind us was screaming at her dogs. RUDE.

We tried to go back inside and act like we were just hanging out in the kitchen near the porch door for no reason, what, I’m just over here super naturally sweeping the kitchen floor like I always do why is this strange, but Henry caught us and started flashing us “I WILL KILL YOU” and “YOU FUCKERS CAN STARVE TONIGHT” glares with his eyes and then flipped us off too, wow, such class.

Chooch puked from laughing so hard.

BUT THEN I HAD THE BEST IDEA EVER.

“Chooch, go ask Blake if we can come in and try to hear through his side of the porch!” I hoarsely whispered. I hung back inside our front door because Blake is kind of an adult now and I wasn’t sure if he would be like, “Grow up, guys” but then dumb Chooch kept tossing glances at me from Blake’s front porch while he was asking, and then Blake poked his head out and looked over and saw me half-hiding, so he was just like, “Oh for god’s sake, come on in.”

Eavesdropping from Blake’s side of the house! We couldn’t really hear anything but baritone muffles. :(

By this point, we had lost interest and then Henry was off the phone and we were like, “What, you were on the phone?”

I don’t know, but something about this gave me Sunday Lock Out Vibes and I couldn’t stop laughing about it when I tried to tell people at work on Monday and they were just like, “Why are you like this.”

—-THE WHITE PIZZA INQUIRY—-

On Sunday, the three of us went to Anthony’s Coal-Fire Pizza to surprise my dad with a birthday lunch. Since we arrived first, we were perusing the menu trying to find a happy-medium for a large pizza the three of us could share. AW, A FAMILY PIZZA.

“Do you like white pizza?” I asked Chooch, a gentle inquiry if you ask me, yet this innocent question made him unhinged, you guys. He just snapped the fuck out on me.

“SERIOUSLY?! NO! NO, I DO NOT LIKE WHITE PIZZA! OH MY GOD, HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GOING TO ASK ME THAT?!” he screeched, and I was honestly stunned for a second, but don’t worry, Bitch Mommy came sprinting out on the heels of my initial stunned reaction.

So then the two of us were full-fledged quarreling in the middle of a restaurant and Henry was mouthing pleas at us. I DON’T READ LIPS, BITCH. Somehow though, the subject changed to Henry’s alleged conversation with the manager of Blush the previous day so then we remembered that we were wasting our energy fighting each other when we should have been using it to make fun of Henry. I think Henry was just happy that we weren’t starting kinetic ire-fires anymore because he actually told us that he was kicked out of a strip club in Florida too, not just Texas!

“That one wasn’t my fault though. It was the guys I was with,” he said, while ALMOST-KIND-OF SMILING.

WHOA.

Then my dad and Ryan arrived and luckily Chooch was able to restrain his shitty preteen attitude and we had a very lovely birthday lunch with my dad who I don’t see often enough and that’s totally my fault. Meanwhile, the waitress who brought over our pizza exclaimed out of nowhere how adorable Chooch is (??) and he sat there with this smug “I know” look on his face and Henry was like, “He’s only cute when he’s quiet” and THAT IS THE TRUTH. Then our waiter was all, “WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING?” because Chooch had his DS with him after a year of not caring about it (kids, amirite) and then they bonded over Pokemon and all I could think was, “BUT WHAT ABOUT ME?! I’M HERE TOO!”

But I got to tell my dad and Ryan about our trip to Korea so that made up for it not getting any attention from the waitstaff.

Anyway the whole point of this is that I was obsessing over the whole white pizza fiasco thing because if there is one thing you should know about me, it’s that I will latch on to the dumbest thing you tell me, whether it’s something you hate (don’t tell me you hate clowns, let’s put it that way) or some embarrassing moment you had that I witnessed — I will hold these things close to my chest and you’ll never know when I’ll throw it back in your face in the form of a greeting card or a homemade t-shirt.

Or a painting, like this one that I made for Barb which features her least favorite actor, Bill Paxton.

Naturally, I started trolling Chooch as soon as we got home. The first thing I did was run into his room and leave him a white pizza message on his whiteboard. (And please, don’t call CPS on me for the other message. I don’t even own a belt.)

And then it happened, my giddy obsession grew strong enough to push me out of painting retirement long enough to make him this wooden plaque, which he is less than pleased about but I think he secretly is craving white pizza now.

I think his next birthday cake should be a white pizza.

Anyway, I haven’t felt this inspired since HAM SANDWICH AF, when I made a commemorative painting:

OK, now I have to go lay down. I’ve had a headache all day and then it turns out Henry does too and we’ve since determined that it’s possibly from when I sprayed Chooch’s white pizza plaque with varnish in a non-ventilated area. It was nice knowing you, Internet friends.

Apr 272018
 

Isn’t it crazy when you can not see someone for years and years yet somehow fall right back into a comfortable groove when you do? That’s how it is with my friend Alisha, who I saw for the first time last summer since 2010, and again last Friday when she was in town visiting from Arkansas.

I was so glad that she carved out some time for me on this latest visit, especially when I texted her a picture of a Julian Baker concert flyer and her immediate response was, “YES LET’S GO TO THAT” and within minutes she bought tickets. I forgot what it felt like to have a friend who wants to go to shows!

But first, food. Alisha picked me up from work and we skipped all the frou-frou salutations and went right into our routine of her being annoyed and exasperated and me being totally giddy – ugh, I missed our dysfunctionally perfect yin and yang!

Alisha’s British-voiced GPS led us to Apteka, an Eastern Europe-Yinzer-Vegan joint across from the Allegheny Cemetery that my friend Sarah recommended to me over a year ago and I never made it there because kimchi or GTFO. However, Alisha is vegan so I thought this would be a grand time to check it out and I was happy that it wasn’t crowded yet and the staff wasn’t off-putting as they sometimes can be in a niche vegan eatery, leaving me feeling not inked-up enough and half-assed in my veg-ways. (Which brings us back to kimchi, which I know is made with anchovy paste but I still eat it because I never signed a contract, OK? Korea has changed me!)

Apteka is cafe-style which is kind of annoying when you walk into a place for the first time and they’re like BAM HERE IS THE MENU STAND HERE AT THE COUNTER AND I WILL STARE AT YOU WHILE YOU TRY TO FIGURE OUT OUR WEIRDO MENU GOOD LUCK WITH THE POLISH.

Alisha had a million questions and the Apteka girl very patiently answered her. She asked what the waitress recommended and she blew through the menu so fast I felt like I just been lead through a polka.

Alisha ordered the thing I was going to get so then I had to stand there and stammer, and of course I was unable to pronounce anything on the menu (is it nuts that I was trying to imagine what it would look like in Hangeul to help me sound it out?!) so I just pointed and said, “Lima bean.”

Because the thing I got had a lima bean purée and it was shockingly not phrased more dumb or pretentious than that because you know how nauseating menu descriptions can be in these types of places.  Let me see if I can find a menu…

Kluski Slaskie

baby lima bean + winter bitter leaves + potato dumplings + fried buckwheat + marjoram (GF)

I didn’t even notice that my meal had marjoram on it and I guess it doesn’t matter because I didn’t even notice it while I was eating it to even wonder what even is it. That was a weird sentence.

(GUYS, I LOOKED IT UP. IT’S MINT.)

Alisha also ordered a pot of some kind of tea for us to share. It tasted like ground. Maybe it would have been better with sugar but do vegans eat sugar? I didn’t see any.

Alisha also ordered the Kanapki which was three pieces of small toast, each with a different spread on it. One was for sure carrot and that was the only one I liked.

Guys, that’s my plate at the bottom there and it was so fucking good – those potato dumpling dickheads were so fucking divine and I wanted so much more, and the fried buckwheat was WHAT THE HELL WHY HASN’T HENRY BEEN CRACKLIN’ BUCKWHEAT FOR ME ALL THIS TIME levels of tasty. And that lima bean puree? I didn’t have time to grab my bathing suit before diving into that bitchin’ legume lagoon.

That’s Alisha’s crap at the top.

Somehow, my dinner was considered a “large plate” and hers was “small” and cheaper yet seemed so much bigger and she was still working on it a good twenty minutes after I had licked the last lima smear from my plate.

To cap off our meal, I ordered dessert for us to split, and again, I could have eaten 5 plates of these.

My Apteka verdict is that the food was bomb and inventive, and even had a level of comfort to it that vegan joints sometimes lack. But, for the price I paid and the amount of food I ate, I was a little unsatisfied. I was ready for second dinner less than an hour later. Even still, I’ll probably go back again because I liked the atmosphere, the staff was great, and I want to try the other things on the menu — I’ll just be prepared to eat my arm later on.

Afterward, we went to the Carnegie Library lecture hall to see one of my favorite female vocalists, Julien Baker. Ugh, I have been dying to see her live for years now but something always comes up when she’s here. I thought I was going to end up going to see her alone because I don’t know anyone else who likes her and Henry was a hard nope, but it ended up coinciding perfectly with Alisha’s visit. She was my concert buddy when she lived in Pittsburgh back in the day and I was so excited to have another good music night with her!

Alisha was all frenzied because she wasn’t sure if we were allowed to park in the lot she chose, and then she was mad because we walked some totally long-ass way to get to the lecture hall when we could have taken a much shorter route, but I was selfishly happy about this because I needed the steps since it was week one of the Law Firm Walking Challenge (OH, I HAVE AN UPDATE ABOUT THIS TOO, CHECK BACK LATER) and I was kicking myself for planning an evening of DINNER and a SEATED CONCERT. Alisha was miserable because she had a bad cold and here I was, walking her around Oakland on a super chilly April night.

When we arrived, she was immediately annoyed because the young girls checking tickets at the door were all googly-eyed over my knack for accessorizing and then we stood in the bathroom waiting for the two occupied stalls to open up and then the bathroom door slowly started to open on its own and we were like WTF SCOOBY, GHOSTS!? but here it turned out Alisha had leaned on the handicap door opening button.

And then a few minutes later, we realized that only one of the stalls had been occupied that whole time, so that was cool.

“I should have known it was going to be a night full of stupid things,” Alisha sighed, insinuating that my presence draws this stuff out!?

Whatever!

Anyway, we found some good seats nice and close (BUT NOT TOO CLOSE) in the first row off the floor. Alisha was whining about why it hadn’t started yet and I was like, “Because it’s only 7. We have another hour.”

LOL Alisha thought it started at 7 that whole time and was so angry that now we had to sit in this growing-more-stifling-by-the-minute room. She amused herself by spying on a man who apparently looked at me twice after I said “bless you” to Alisha so she was convinced he was obsessed with me but clearly I think she was obsessed with him! He kept pretending like he was waiting for someone but then no one ever came…

Then people attempted to speak to Alisha and I thought she was going to will herself to incinerate into a pile of Arkansas ash.

“Why does this always happen? I was doing so good all these years and then I’m with you for like a minute…”

“And the awkward social situations come back?” I laughed, and she emphatically agreed.

It really was an interesting mesh of people there that night though. Lots of punk rock college lesbians, little girls, and old guys.

And us.

Tancred was the opener and I really don’t have much to say about them because I have tried so hard over the years to like them, especially when I got more into that Bledfest-type of scene, but I just can’t. The singer is fine but her voice doesn’t evoke a single emotion from me and the lyrics are kind of middle school diary.

But Julien though….

She performed mostly alone until closer to the end of her set, when her friend came out to accompany her on violin. I didn’t take any video and this picture is actually Alisha’s, because I kind of felt paralyzed with regurgitating grief and realized at one point that I was barely breathing.

Julien has this poignant and measured way of singing the most delicate, whispered notes and then, before you have time to prepare yourself, she is lurching her head back and full-blown power-vocals are roaring out of her small frame and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. She will leave you fucking breathless.

So, there’s this thing about me that you should know, and it’s that, as much as I love words, the lyrics of songs usually come secondary for me. It’s the music itself that heals me first and foremost, it’s what gets my heart started, the tears flowing. And then it’s the tone of the voice singing against that music. I have to laugh a little bit because when I was super into the post-hardcore and screamo scene, people would ask me how could I tell what they were saying? And I would say, “I can’t, and it doesn’t matter, because it’s still touching me.” And now, I get the same question because 99.9% of what I listen to is in Korean. And again, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t matter to me what they’re saying, because the music, and the sound of their voices singing in that perfect language, fills my heart with joy that I haven’t felt in such a long time.

But yet, Julien is the rare exception for me. Because I AM listening to her words. And they are slicing through my wrists like a rusty razor. To write the songs she writes…and to sing them with such brittle sincerity and honesty…you have to have a lot of pain in your life. I can’t imagine standing there on a stage in front of so many adoring fans, stripping down to your bare, aching soul, letting us all watch you relive whatever you were going through when these songs came to fruition. She gave us a gift that night, and I will forever cherish it!

This is one of my favorite songs. Careful, she might break your heart.

And then we thought we were going to have to live in the parking lot because one of the parking ticket machines wasn’t working right and traffic was all backed up and we blamed Henry for not driving us.

“You never asked?” he replied to my text. WELL, HE SHOULD HAVE JUST KNOWN TO DO IT!

And don’t you worry – I came home at 11pm and still managed to eke out 20,000 steps.

Mar 142018
 

When of the reviews I got in my non compos cards shop was that they loved my cards a lot but wish there was more variety/types of cards. I get it, and I got you. I have several future plans in my head (especially for more Valentines, which are my favorites to make) but to start, I’m focusing on notecard sets. I’ve already posted the serial killer set (I’m working on set #2!), and a BTS set (next up is a Kpop assortment!), and last weekend I finished this divine Golden Girls set!

It features 8 cards, 2 for each G-Girl, featuring trademark sayings or funny one-liners from the series.

I wanted the backgrounds to be as Miami as possible, and I think these give off a good Golden Girls’ lanai vibe. Yay or nay?

That Sophia one up there says “May you put your dentures in upside down & chew your head off” and I can’t wait for the day I can say that to Henry!

I’d use glittery cardstock for all of our cards but Henry is like, “Not on my watch.”

 

These are great all-occasion cards! Perfect for when you want to tell your sister that she’s being a slut puppy or when you want to cheer up a co-worker through interoffice mail.

This one is my favorite.

Also the background reminds me of my grandparents’ bedroom. Hey speaking of my grandparents! Here’s a picture I found from probably 1987. I can look at this picture and tell you that for sure it was either a Friday or Saturday night because my sleepover routine was to take a shower, put on probably one of my aunt’s old classy beer t-shirts, then my aunt Sharon would wrap my hair in a towel and my grandma would scratch my back while we watched either Hunter if it was Friday or Golden Girls & Empty Nest if it was Saturday.

(Was MacGyver on Saturdays, too?)

Shit, I would give anything to go back to 1987 and sleep over my grandparents’ house one more time.

But yeah, all of this is just to say that like so many of you out there, I freaking cherish the Golden Girls. Making these cards was pretty therapeutic!

PERHAPS WRITING IN THEM WILL BE THERAPEUTIC FOR YOU! Here’s the link to buy a set!