Sep 302019
 

Today I was thinking about how I would like to decorate for Halloween at work, like the olden days, but I just don’t think I will have the time and that KILLS ME. I’ve only had the chance to do this 5x out of the 9 years I’ve been there, and I think my favorite was 2014: the year of the Funeral Parlor Desk. This one was fun because it enabled me to purchase items on eBay that some people might coin “morbid” or “gross” but for me, it was stuff that I wanted to have anyway, like vintage embalming fluid bottles, so it was a lucrative theme for me! Anyway, I’m sharing here the blog recap of the decoration process and the interactive portion of the desk too. It was fun but I remember being extremely frustrated when SOME PEOPLE wouldn’t play along. Like, you don’t want to win a prize? ARE YOU DUMB?!

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My theme this year is Funeral Parlor. I have several post-mortem photos that I keep on my desk year-round and I figured I would just build my Halloween theme around those this year. I’m still in the beginning stages, but so far, it’s really all up in Glenn’s face so that’s good!

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Candy urn. I burnt paper to make ashes and luckily I didn’t burn the house down since I was home alone while playing with fire. You should have seen the disapproving look Marcy was giving me!

It’s been surprisingly difficult to get co-workers to take some candy maggots out of the urn.

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Some light reading.

Today while Glenn was at lunch, I added some cobwebs to his desk too. “Wow. I was gone longer than I thought,” he dead-panned, and then I got all offended when he took it down.

“I had to! You taped it over my keyboard and mouse!” he said defensively. God, chill out, Glenn.

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Ugh, that paper in the background is  going to be the death of me. It’s just scrapbook paper but I’m three pieces short of covering the whole cubicle wall and I’ve already been to three Pat Catan’s (craft store) in search of more. It’s perfect though because it has a velvet-texture. That bottle is one of several empty embalming fluid bottles.

“Oh….you’re decorating again,” my boss said last Friday, after doing a double-take. I couldn’t tell if she was excited or scared, or a mixture of both.

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The next several stages are going to be really fun! I’m building up to the point where it will be interactive like the carnival desk of 2012. Glenn is just totally on the edge of his seat!

Today, I came up with an incredible idea that made me lose it at my desk. I confided in Mean Amber who said, “Wow. You’re a genius.”

“I know,” I said, but that came out all wrong.

What I meant to say was, “duh.”

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Things are heating up over at my desk/funeral parlor this week! (OK. Not really. I still have to lure people over by convincing them that I have Really Great Prizes under my desk.) The first week+ was more of just an exhibit of funeral shit. I was just getting my feet wet. My co-worker Colleen one day was like, “I mean, is this it?” and then apologized when my face fell and said, “No, it’s just that we all expect more!” And I understood. I gotcha.

So I came up with a way to make it interactive. Because who doesn’t like getting free shit? Even if it’s just dumb shit like candy and Glenn activity books. Basically, gross Glenn is robbing graves again and hiding severed fingers around the department. There are clues on the back of department-specific prayer cards (RIP Natalie’s Pizza Rolls that were stolen from the freezer) and anyone who finds a finger and returns it to Erin’s Funeral Parlor gets the aforementioned prizes! OMG!

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Printer 39 had to have major surgery yesterday. :( It was real touch-and-go but he’s back and only jammed for me once today….although, I think I only printed to it once.

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I know. It’s kind of dumb. But I just like making people happy!

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Glenn actually laughed real laughter when he read about his latest dastardly deeds, and he has been excitedly telling people, “You have to get a prayer card to get a clue! Did you read the newspaper article? IT TIES EVERYTHING TOGETHER!”

OK, he only actually told one person this. But still! He seemed excited!

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One of the prizes is The Great Glenn Activity Book. I was sitting here at work last Thursday when it hit me: GLENN COLORING BOOK. But then I was like, “No we need activities, too!” And then Mean Amber (new nickname in the works) said that a Where’s Glenn would make her really happy. ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE:

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“It’s nice to know that my favorite band is Village People,” Glenn mumbled last week when he found the extra crossword puzzle I accidentally left on the printer.

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The next phase was to bake funeral biscuits. Obviously here you will read between the lines and know that this means Henry baked the funeral biscuits. It was a Victorian tradition to give these gingersnap-esque cookies away at funerals. So basically what I’m saying here is that my Halloween theme is educational, OK?

They’re made with molasses and I’ve had to listen to Henry bitch for two days about how disgusting molasses is after he presumably chugged it straight from the bottle.

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(Yes, I used food coloring markers, thank you for your concern!)

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Some prizes!

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Henry and I watched reruns of Dexter while packaging the cookies last night. Each one is individually-wrapped in a paper pouch, sealed with wax and wrapped with a black ribbon. Funeral biscuits don’t just get plopped naked on a tray! Respect.

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My work-friends seemed pretty skeptical at first, but once they found out that Henry baked them, they were like, “Fine. We will eat one of your dumb cookies.” Everyone is still alive, you guys!

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Of course The Shiny One got a skull and then made me take a picture of her before she went around gloating to people. Sandy got a skull-less cookie and immediately blamed Henry.

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THAT WAX SEAL, THO.

Henry has been a pretty good sport about all of this. Even when we had to go out of our way on Sunday to get the dumb wax seal stamp. (My choices were a fleur de lis or wedding bells.) He’s been on the ball with the Great Glenn Activity Book one-man printing press.

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 “How much time did you spend on all of this?” Jeannie asked me in her typical “you need help” tone.

“I mean…let’s just say I haven’t been cleaning or washing the dishes lately,” I answered. I always joke that I have too much time on my hands, but the reality is that I don’t have enough. Not nearly! And I get so caught up in ridiculous ideas and projects that other things suffer.

“She hasn’t fed her kid in a week,” Glenn joked when someone was commenting on all of the details I’ve put in around my desk.

He’s not entirely wrong…

 

Apr 112019
 

After Halloween, Easter is my favorite holiday. I guess it’s just because I have spring fever, definitely not because I’m a Religioso, plus also it’s another holiday that revolves heavily around candy and chocolate.

Anyway, this old post from the Easter season of 2015 popped up in my blog stats, and I got all kinds of nostalgic! This was one of the best Easter-esque memories of all time and I have to share it again as a Throwback Thursday because I’ll seize any opportunity to mention Janna’s Robitussin abuse!

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I Kind of Threw a Fit: The Story About a Girl & Her Robitussin
April 2015

A few weeks ago, Janna sent this devastating message to my cellular phone. Naturally, I sent it to Corey and then also posted it on Instagram with the hashtags #JannaWhite #Heisenjanna #JannaMakesMeth and Corey immediately piggybacked with #JannasDoubleLife #JannaPaystheToll and #LockYourMedicineCabinets

I was laughing so hard about this that I started to see sparks in my vision. Henry of course was scowling because he just doesn’t understand. It’s the generation gap, I think. Probably.

A couple nights later, Janna and Corey came over because we were going to attend a Tenebrae service at my old friend Brian’s church. Brian is actually the music director at the church; he doesn’t own it. I haven’t seen him in years (he lived in Nebraska for awhile) and I’ve always wanted to attend a Tenebrae service, so this seemed perfect. Janna agreed to go even though she was sick, and she showed up at my house with an entire box of Kleenex in tow. And then Corey said he wanted to go too, because Church on a Saturday night?!?! Yes, please!

I tweeted something about this and Barb immediately said something along the lines of how we better behave, which made me crack up, because what a horrible idea, Corey and I going to church together.

On the way to the church, Janna told us the Robitussin story. In a nutshell, she tried to go through the self check-out line and it wouldn’t work so a clerk had to come over type in codes and then that still didn’t work, so then they made her go to a regular checkout line, at which point she was asked for her ID and she didn’t have it on her.

“I kind of threw a fit and just slammed the bottle down into the candy bars and left,” she said, and Corey and I were crying over this image of Janna hulking out over needing ID to buy cough syrup. Then apparently she went to the bathroom and when she came out of the stall, the manager was waiting and accused her of stealing the Robitussin and taking it into the bathroom to slurp it in privacy, so then she had to take the manager over to the checkout line and prove that she left it there.

The whole point here is that Janna was sick as fuck and had a coughing fit during the Tenebrae service and had to excuse herself, which made Corey and I start cracking up in God’s House. It was even worse when she left, because she had been separating us, so now we were able to see each other laughing, and that just made it worse and oh god, my kidneys. I had to turn to the side and cover my face with my hair so that I wouldn’t see Corey in my periphery and that hopefully none of the somber church-goers would notice that I was red-faced and crying in the back pew. (Yes, we were smart enough to sit in the back pew.)

Meanwhile, some old man in front of me had pulled out his phone and was blatantly recording the service and kept slowly panning from left to right, so I was like, “Well, if this dildo is going to be so obvious, then I’m at the very least going to grab a quick Instavid.”

So I did, but then it started PLAYING BACK AT FULL VOLUME. I was like “Abort! Abort!” and ended up accidentally deleting the video in the end, but at least no one seemed to notice what was happening because the real life singing was so loud.

Janna eventually came back and Corey and I were bracing ourselves for another laughing fit, which started as soon as we heard rummaging in her pocket for a cough drop, followed by the rustling of the wrapper as she opened it.

Maybe I should quickly inform you what a Tenebrae service is. It’s like a Roman Catholic church thing that happens around Easter. It’s supposed to start out with all these candles lit, right? And then as the service goes on, the candles are extinguished one by one until the church is all dark by the end, and then there is supposed to be a loud bang, signifying the earthquake that followed Jesus’s death, and then everyone is supposed to leave in silence.

These things did not happen. Some candles were snuffed out, that part is true. But the overhead lights stayed on the whole time and there was no apocalyptic bang at the end! I was pretty bummed about that, because in my mind, this thing was billed as a Scary Church Event.

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Actually, now that I’m looking at the poster, it says nothing at all about Tenebrae. I KNOW THAT THE FACEBOOK EVENT DID THOUGH.

Luckily, the music and the singing were actually really sad and beautiful (Song of the Shadows, y’all), which obviously is my favorite kind. One of the soloists is an attorney-by-day, and Corey and I were obsessed with her. She was also in the Miss America pageant once! Maybe I’m making that up! I can’t remember! Where’s my program when I need it?!

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I paid real money to light a candle! I didn’t cheat the church! #newleaf #Ijustlikefire

We were going to just leave after the bang-less ending, especially since Janna was feenin’ for her ‘tussin, but then Brian grabbed the mic to thank everyone for something and urged everyone to stick around for the reception. And then he said the magic words:

Sugary treats.

Corey and I exchanged looks of exaggerated merriment. “Sugary treats!” we mouthed to each other around Janna, who was looking like she might pass out at this point.

We followed those “in the know” out of the church and across the street into an adjacent building, where tables of sugary treats were set up in a small room. Right before we entered the room, Janna had a truncated coughing fit and some old man amiably commented that “uh oh, someone sounds sick!” I almost died. Janna was drawing attention from The Olds. Maybe they could have a cough drop exchange in the parking lot.

We were among the first to forage for sugary treats, THANK GOD.

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It was difficult to be so close to the parishioners because I was giddy. The Laughter was threatening to eject from my mouth at any given moment, so I made sure to not make eye contact with anyone. I filled my plate with the critically acclaimed sugary treats and hightailed it to the back of the room, where Corey and Janna joined me and we proceeded to stand in a suspicious circle, looking totally out of place, and giggling nervously. The unfortunate part of our location was that it was near the garbage can, so a steady stream of church-goers kept interrupting our heretic huddle in order to pitch their empty punch cups.

Finally, Janna had enough of this and brusquely picked up the trash can and then slammed it down a few feet away from us, so it was just chilling alone in the middle of the floor. Corey and I were like, “HOLY SHIT, JANNA IS SO VIOLENT WHEN SHE’S SICK!” She had this “Nothing is funny right now” look on her face, which just made us laugh even harder, and there is a thing that you should know about my brother: he has a REALLY LOUD LAUGH. The kind that ricochets off walls and bald heads and causes all eyes to fixate on us. It is simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing.

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I think this picture was taken before Janna slammed the garbage can down.

Some old lady came over and asked, “IS THIS ON?!” because there was a coffee maker on the counter next to us. I was like, “Bitch who knows?” She pushed a button and cold water squirted out, so she was like, “I guess not” and then walked away. Even this was hysterical to us. And then another old lady attempted to get water out of a water cooler but it was empty, so she shouted, “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME THERE’S NO WATER” and then Janna pointed out that there were bottles of water on the counter, so the lady was like, “I’M TAKING ONE” and then stormed away. I think Corey wanted her to be his spirit animal. He was pretty entranced. Everything just seemed like a blatant parody that night, like all of these people were walking caricatures put in this room just to test our resistance to cracking up. Newsflash: our threshold is ridiculously low.

I wanted another peanut butter thing, but I was afraid to go back to the table because the room was way more crowded and everyone knew each other, which meant they knew that I didn’t belong. IT WAS SCARY.

After awhile, I decided that we looked too suspicious, so we went out into the hallway to wait for Brian, and this is where I honestly came very close to peeing my pants, so I cried out, “DON’T MAKE ME PEE I’M WEARING A SKIRT!” and possibly people heard this, but everything was So Funny!

“I feel like we’re a sleeper cell,” I blurted out, and Corey was like, WTF is that so I explained it to him and he was like, “WHY WOULD YOU THINK THAT!?” I don’t know, actually. It seemed to make sense at the time because we moved in a tight huddle everywhere we went, like we didn’t want religion to penetrate us.

Corey kept hashtagging everything that was happening (there was even a #tenebraeslut!) and Janna was like “#canwegonow” but I wanted to say hello to Brian since he invited me there, after all. We ended up having to go back to the church to see him, because he had slipped out of the Sugary Treats Room to go back to his office. On the way there, Janna reminded us for the 87th time that she was really sick, so I told her she could just wait in the car as long as she didn’t spill her syrup everywhere. But she just sighed and trudged along after us.

Brian gave really bad directions to me via Facebook messenger so we ended up in parts of the church that we probably shouldn’t have been. (Corey started to walk into a room right behind the altar and came backing out in a hurry, waving his arms in an “abort! abort!” motion. He said there were two men back there, reading the Bible.*)

*(Literally reading the Bible, you guys. This isn’t some weird Altar Boy euphemism.)

We eventually found him, and it turns out the problem is that I just didn’t understand “front of the church” versus “back of the church.” So we had a quick reunion with Brian, who pelted Janna with a handful of cough drops for the road, and then we left before the whole Church thing started to make us soft, like we’d start picturing Jesus frowning at us every time we started to laugh at Janna’s pratfalls. The whole night was almost funnier than the “Janna Stole Her Mom’s Car” incident.

Almost.

Janna was like, “I NEED TO GO HOME AND DIE” — which obviously is drug addict speak for “I need to go sit on the bathroom floor and drink my Sizzurp” — so she left as soon as we got back to my house. But Corey stayed for awhile and we giddily filled Henry in on the evening’s events, and he laughed at exactly zero parts. Then Corey drew a picture of Janna drinking Robitussin and we were both crying while Henry shook his head disapprovingly and Chooch drank in the bad influence filling the air around him.

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Apr 062019
 

[I love how this sounds like a Christopher Pike book. (LOL, I just Googled it and it’s actually an R.L. Stine book!)]

Back in 10th grade, so let’s say 1994 (I honestly googled “what year was I in 10th grade” – that didn’t help), my friend Christy was sleeping over. It was pretty late and we were just getting ready to go to bed when my phone rang. I had my own phone line in high school, to go along with my purple not-because-of-drugs pager, and LOVED to talk on the phone, so getting calls late at night was not unusual.

I have to side-bar here for a minute because I am hilariously the opposite as an adult and rarely ever answer my phone. In fact just the other day, I got a local call and figured it was a robocall or a bill collector tricking me by using my own area code, so I ignored it. Less than 30 seconds later, Chooch texted me and said, “Call back that number, it’s the school nurse.”

MOM OF THE YEAR.

But, on that night in 1994, I actually did answer the phone, because it could have been JUSTIN, my on-again-off-again sometimes-boyfriend who I was fucking obsessed with. It was a guy, not like a creepy dad-age man, it sounded like an older teen, and he was asking for Celeste. I remember without a doubt that it was Celeste, because there was a Celeste in my class and it was just wasn’t a name I heard that often outside of that.

I told him he had the wrong number because, you know, I’m not Celeste.

“Wrong number,” I said to Christy, and then she rolled over and went back to sleep.

But then! A minute later, my phone again.

It was the same guy, but this time, he was calling to talk to ME.  Look, I was 15 at the time, and it was the 90s, the term “Catfish” was a whole decade away from being coined, so yeah, I’m going to tell this stranger my name when he asks.

“Is that that same guy?” Christy asked. “HANG UP!”

But of course, I stayed up and talked to him for probably an hour that night, because I never listened to my friends. Case in point, several years later when Christy told me not to  date this dude she knew from her school because he was crazy and literally set his best friend’s house on fire over a borrowed video game and that my friends is how I ended up in the most emotionally and physically abuse relationship of my life with Psycho Mike! So yeah, preach, Christy!

But back to the wrong number. I learned that night that this guy’s name was Kevin Wilson, he was from a nearby neighborhood called Brentwood, I think he said he was 19 or 20–he was definitely not in high school anymore. So right away, you’re thinking that this is going down some rocky statutory street, right? Well, here’s the weird thing: we became solid phone friends and he never once crossed that line. It always remained platonic, no, “What are you wearing?”s or even any sweetly-veiled manipulations to meet in an empty parking garage at midnight. And this was pre-cell phone, pre-email, pre-text age so he wasn’t sending me dick pics or trying to get me to cyber with him.

I was the one who was always trying to hang out in person. You know, like, let’s go to the mall or Denny’s! I’d get all whiny about it too, probably. But he always had excuses or reasons why he couldn’t and I just went with it because I was dumb. He did throw me a bone once though by dropping pictures of himself off in my mailbox one day, and I was so mad that he did it while I was at school! But oh my god, you guys, he was so cute! Like, classic young American boy who probably played football in high school and can drink three chocolate milkshakes a day and not get fat. I can remember taking the pictures to school and showing everyone at my table during lunch and girls were PISSED that this guy was calling ME. I mean, I wasn’t the worst-looking girl, but I had braces and was going through a pretty heavy Yo-Girl phase where I lined my lips with brown liner and practically swam in my clothes, so….

He was almost like a big brother to me, giving me advice, checking up on me, making sure I was doing OK. I don’t think we talked every day, but probably weekly. And it was really good for me  too, because that aforementioned sometimes-boyfriend Justin was always giving me the run-around and was hardly available, so having someone else to talk to really filled a void. Plus, he would say brotherly things like, “DO I NEED TO KICK THIS GUY’S ASS” and “YOU ARE TOO GOOD FOR THIS JUSTIN KID” and even though I didn’t believe it at the time, he was so right but of course I didn’t listen to him and I’d go right back to writing ERIN <3’Z JUSTIN all over my Composition books.

So, I know what you’re thinking: Wow, Erin, you’re 15, talking to some older stranger on the phone who KNOWS WHERE YOU LIVE and COMES TO YOUR HOUSE WHEN YOU’RE NOT HOME, do your parents even know the shit you do!? How did you live to see your 30s?!

Well, let me tell you something: my mom not only knew I was talking to this boy-guy, but SHE MET HIM! I had left him pictures of me in our mailbox and when he came to get them, she happened to be coming home or leaving at the same time, and they got to meet! I was so devastated that my mom met him first!

BUT IT GETS WORSE! She freaking gave him a job at our family’s drywall company! So now she got to see him everyday! She’d come home from work and tell me things, like, “Kevin is so cute! Kevin is such a boy!” and I would just be like, “GOD WHY DON’T YOU JUST DATE HIM THEN.”

I don’t remember how long we were in contact, maybe around a year, but then he ended up moving away to Virginia Beach, I think. And we lost touch after that, having never met in real life, not once.

Something made me think of this last Friday and after spending the last week racking my brain and texting friends for more information, but no one remembers this. Janna said she doesn’t remember, and Christy said she vaguely remembers but that I was always friends and penpals with “so many prisoners, etc. so they all blur together” and then went on  to ask me if I remember my pen pal Alisha who was obsessed with the movie “Newsies” and I was like, “Of course I remember her, she was my best penpal friend!” but when I found her on Facebook a few years ago, she DID NOT ACCEPT MY FRIEND REQUEST.

Janna was like, “Can’t you just check your old journals?” Look, 10th grade was a very traumatic year for me and I’m not trying to revisit that by reading my own emotionally-damaged words, thanks Janna.

The one person who would probably remember is some broad who I haven’t talked to since Chooch was born because she chose free beer over our friendship. (LONG STORY.)

Then I texted my mom and asked her if she remembered him and her immediate response was “LOL are you serious!?!?!?”

Now, knowing  my mom like I know my mom, I read this in the most paranoid way as possible and my suspicions immediately peaked. To me, that meant, “All these years later and you still haven’t figured it out?” So my conclusions catapulted straight to, “HOLY SHIT MY MOM HAD ME CATFISHED.”

She hasn’t admitted to anything and probably never will BUT THIS IS MY THEORY:

She hated Justin SO BAD that she had this guy “accidentally” call me and then become phone-friends with me as a DISTRACTION. Probably he was already someone who worked for her, maybe!? And those pictures that he “dropped off” could have been of ANYONE. I mean, my mom often threatened to send me to an all-school because of the serious problems Justin was causing me, and I wasn’t even allowed to get my driver’s license until I was 18 and living on my own because she didn’t want me to driving to see him when I was still in high school which is hilarious because by then I was dating an even worse guy. (See: Psycho Mike.)

But then, the more I thought about it that night, and the more Henry had to sit there and listen to my delusional rantings, I came up with a second possibility that’s EVEN WEIRDER but still HIGHLY PROBABLE.

OK, bear with me.

When I was 19, my mom dropped the HALF-SIBLING bomb on me. She told me that my birth dad had a kid with the lady he was with prior to my mom, and that I have an older half-brother. Apparently, my mom and his mom stayed amicable after my dad died when I was super young, and my brother knew I existed but I had no idea about any of this. I agreed to meet him and was a little shocked to know that he had basically kept up with me my whole life through my mom. She would tell his mom things like when I would be at Spinning Wheels, so then his mom would take him there so he could see me. So yes, my mom basically let my half-brother stalk me in the 80s. Seems weird now that I see it in print!

And he would sometimes visit my mom at her office. But my mom was so afraid to bring him into my life because she thought I’d flip out, which is actually a legitimate concern because I was highly unstable back then.

(Lol, “back then.”)

But my brother wanted to have contact with me so what if that was my mom’s solution!? WHAT IF HE WAS THE ONE I WAS TALKING TO. It would explain why the calls were so sterile and textbook platonic, why he could never hang out, why my mom didn’t flip her shit when she found out that I was talking to some older guy on the phone who was also coming to my house and leaving photos in the mailbox.

IS THIS CRAZY? AM I BEING NUTS HERE?!

It feels so plausible in my head! This feels like Classic Val!

I was telling this whole thing to Glenn yesterday at work and he was like, “Or….it really was some old man…”

OMG WHAT IF IT WAS HENRY!? Maybe that was his release back then – he’d sneak away from his kids, hide in the garage with a case of beer and start cold-calling girls. Ew, he would have been 30 then! Our age difference is so much creepier when we take it back to the way-past.

I just asked him right now, while he’s washing dishes, if it was him. “What year was it?” he asked. “Nope, wasn’t me,” he mumbled over the clinking of soapy silverware. But he had to ask, though!

That’s my story about the supposed Kevin Wilson. Maybe someday I will have a solid conclusion to this. Next time I see my mom, I’m going to start talking about it again and gauge her facial tics.

 

Mar 292019
 

Today’s Friday Five is going to be MEMORIES. Ooh-wee, more insight into my past! Thank god I have such a steel trap up there in my head.

DIRTY JOKES

So this morning, out of nowhere, I had a flashback to my, shit, 7th? 8th birthday? I guess my memory isn’t that great. I didn’t have a party that year because we had just moved into our new house, maybe? And my mom was probably stressed from the move? I know it was that year because our yard didn’t have grass yet and remnants of the construction were still laying around. God, this is so interesting already. OK, I think Christy was probably there, but I remember Spring and Audra for FOR SURE were there because Audra got me some kind of kids soap set or something and MY DAD snickered, “HONEY DID  YOU TELL HER THAT YOU DON’T USE SOAP?” thinking he was SO FUNNY but I was fucking  mortified! I was like, “I DO SO USE SOAP!?” And you know the worst part? THERE IS A VIDEO OF THIS! It’s on a VHS tape somewhere and every so often over the years, it’d get plucked from the pile of HOME VIDEOS and shoved in the VCR to see what was on it, and every single time that scene cued up, my face burned all over again because it was so excruciating to watch, both the shitty Dad Joke and my subsequent reaction. JUST TYPING THIS has me feeling some type of way, and it’s the good.

Maybe Christy wasn’t there after all because I feel like this would be something she’d reference occasionally.

The only good thing about that incident is that I also got a WATCHIMAL and those things were so cool. DID YOU HAVE ONE?

Anyway, I do use soap.

(But I’m really picky and it can only be Dove, Olay, or Caress. Any scent is fine though. I hate soap like Irish Spring and Dial or any other basic soap that Henry buys for himself and Chooch because it makes my skin feel squeaky and I’m sorry, but I’m fine with being quietly clean, I don’t need to be squeaky clean. UGH I JUST GOT CHILLS.)

Scenic Precincts

This one time, for summer vacation, my grandparents and Aunt Sharon took me to Italy and Sicily which was really fun except that we were in Palermo during the time that some mob thing was happening where CARS WERE BEING BLOWN UP BY PIPE BOMBS and like, judges and cops were being targeted? All I know is that I was like 10 and had no fucking idea what any of this meant but everyone on our tour was talking about it and my Pappap made some joke about how we would be fine as long as we didn’t go near any precincts. I asked him what a precinct was and for some reason, when he explained it to me, I still didn’t understand but pretended that I did and then forgot about it until years later when I was watching something and someone mentioned going back to the precinct and it suddenly clicked and then, like 8 years later, my Pappa’s joke made sense to me.

WHY DIDN’T I UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANT, THOUGH?? I swear, I was a smart kid. But I guess smart kids can be dense too, I type as I look at my kid over my shoulder.

This memory brings up a related memory of the time I lived in South Park and was watching Pee Wee’s Big Adventure in my living room with the aforementioned Christy and when Micky said whatever he said about just enjoying the scenery, I asked Christy what scenery meant and I’m sure she explained it to super well because she was (is) a genius, but shit that was too abstract of a term for me to understand, I guess.

(I know what it means now though, don’t worry.)

Oh wait, here: I remembered that I could use that Google thing and I found the Palermo bombing stuff! It happened in July 1992 so I was 12, I guess.

The Sun Roof Incident

#3 is a throwback to one of my favorite memories that I already wrote about once a long time ago but am resharing the link because I have been thinking about my Pappap more than usual lately – no I don’t miss my Pappap, YOU miss my Pappap! *sniff*

So yeah: The Sun Roof Incident

Accidental Greaser

One morning in second grade, I was getting ready for school when I noticed that I had dry patch on my chest, like a mild rash or something, who even knows, if that happened today I would probably have 97 tabs open on my computer, each one highlighting a different terminal disease. In all of my quick-thinking glory, I scooped a glopping heap of Vaseline from the jar and transported it my hand-hook petroleum jelly vehicle straight to my chest. Satisfied I’m sure that I handled this on my own, I then proceeded to take a shower, not knowing that my hand-hook petroleum jelly vehicle was now commuting that greasy paste straight atop my pate.

Oh don’t worry, I figured it out as soon as I started to blowdry my hair and then I screamed for my mom and she was like WHAT DID YOU DO OMGGGG and at this point I was having what might have actually been my first panic attack and even then, in like 1986 or whatever, I was so worried about going to school and getting made fun of for having greasy hair, so my mom let me stay home.

I guess it was ok the next day?!

Strange Maybe-Candies 

A few weeks ago, I was wearing blue pastel pants and a pink blouse. Carrie said I looked very spring-like, and then HOURS later, Wendy came over and said the same thing and Carrie and I were like, “Nice try, Wendy, but you’re a little late.” (This has nothing to do with the story but I can’t even pass up an opportunity to drag Wendy.) Then I was eating Reese’s easter eggs and realized that even the candy matched my outfit so I took a picture because we live in the age of Everything’s a Photo-Op.

But then this whole pastel passage conjured another old AF memory! WANNA HEAR IT, OK!

The year was probably 1985 but if this post has taught us anything it’s that I don’t know dates.

My brother Ryan had just recently been brought into the world to ruin my life, so I was just a little ball of raging fury in those days.

One particular afternoon, Ryan was being showered with an exceptional amount of attention. I couldn’t take it any longer so I stormed off to my bedroom. When you’re young and pissed off, what’s the first thing you turn to (before you discover drugs or hardcore gangsta rap)? For me, it was destruction. But if I wasn’t feeling in the mood to desecrate Ryan’s nursery, I would choose the next best thing – defiance.

We had a guest room that was really just a holding cell for family heirlooms and other assorted antiques that my mom had acquired when her aunt had died. I was never actually told not to go in there, but it was more or less implied; the air of the room screamed Do Not Disturb. Not to mention it scared the shit out of me and reeked of old person.

Knowing that I shouldn’t have been in that room was the one thing that was drawing me to it. At first, I sat on the immaculate white knit bedspread. Quickly becoming bored with putting butt prints in the smooth covers, I moved on to explore the dresser and desk drawers. It was in the desk where I unearthed peculiar pink and green wads of foreign substance. Each drawer contained various pieces of it and the shapes were random and inconsistent. Some were rolled into little logs, while others were mashed into the wood.

I pulled a chunk off from the bottom of the drawer and detected a taffy-like texture. Looked like candy, felt like candy, probably didn’t smell like candy but never mind — MUST BE CANDY!

And so I ate it. It didn’t taste like much, but I figured that was because it was really old, expensive antique candy. Clearly, I was having my own Lewis Carroll experience. I went to bed that night gloating and feeling smugly indulgent. Can’t remember dates, but I remember THAT.

From that day on, whenever I would get shafted by the parents, I’d run to my magic candy. It was something that was all mine and Ryan could never have it (I mean, he really couldn’t have it – he was barely crawling at this point). This went on for a few months, maybe a year, until I moved on to bigger and better things. Like pyromancy and staging my own kidnapping.

I remembered this out of the blue one time, about 20 years later. Surely it would be an OK time to tell my mom. I was hoping she would be really hurt. “Oh honestly! That candy had been in the family for trillions of years and it was so special to me and now I’m crying.”

But what really happened was this:

After telling her the sordid tale, I smugly spat, “Yep, that was me. Eating your cherished heirloom candy that Aunt Cill brought back from the motherland.”
Mom: “That wasn’t candy, you asshole. That was sticky tack.”

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

Guys, while I was blowing fuses in my brain thinking of old shit to write in here tonight, I actually thought of another memory that has since evolved into WHAT MIGHT BE A TALE OF DECEPTION AND BETRAYAL so I will save that for its own post sometime this weekend because now I’m really freaked out. But also probably jumping to conclusions like I do.

Mar 232019
 

Exactly one year ago, we were in Korea! It still feels like it didn’t really happen, and I look at the pictures on my phone every day to remind myself that it was true. I’m not exactly sure what I thought was going to happen by going, but being there made things even worse for me, if possible, because I went from crying every day about how badly I wanted to go to Korea to crying every day about how badly I want to go back! This is definitely more than an obsession, I think. It’s a passion. I have never been this interested in anything else in my life, and this is coming from someone who has A LOT of interests and hobbies. I still watch travel vlogs on YouTube while eating my Korean dinners after work. I’m still (slowly) learning the language. I’m still knee-deep in kpop and kdramas. but to be perfectly frank, one of the main reasons I watch the dramas is because it teaches me a lot about the culture and social interactions.

I guess I just finally found The Big Passion of my life? (Sorry, Henry, it’s not you, lol.) I can’t think of anything else that I have devoted this much of my time (and heart real estate) to. Anyway, when I saw today’s date, I got super nostalgic. It’s only been a year, but I can already promise that those memories we made in Korea will wind up being some of the best memories of my life (hopefully Chooch’s too).

(I don’t think Henry cares about memories.)

The countdown to our return is in full effect. I mean, I have to go back for my heart, after all!

 

Feb 052019
 

“No Ordinary Love” by Sade came on when I was perusing the Pop Sugar clothing collection at Kohl’s on Sunday and I did that thing that I do when I am struck by warm, trickling nostalgia: gasp audibly and clutch my heart, theatrically mouth the words. Then I realized Henry wasn’t standing near me anymore so I was That Person and it was fine. I care about so little these days.

I know so many people disagree with me on A LOT of things but I’d be willing to wager that if you are reading this right now, you may have thought to yourself, “Hell yes blogbitch, that is the mutherfuckin’ SLOWJAM of our generation, preach.” Anytime I hear it, whether it’s because I have on the actual record (you know, back when I had a record player that worked and then suddenly it didn’t and Henry was all, “I WILL FIX IT WITH MY FIXER MAN HANDS” but then he fell asleep for 40 days instead) or because I’m tagging along at the grocery store and Sade’s sultry-husk comes pouring out of the speakers while I’m dramatically gagging at in the meat department, I am instantly taken back to 7th grade, sitting on my bed and watching the video on BET, scribbling in my Composition book-slash-diary (probably the one that said ERIN LUVZ JOSH all over it in pink highlighter) about how I couldn’t wait to grow up and have a NO ORDINARY LOVE of my own.

And then I grew up and…well…lol.

(Who else was like mindblown when they learned how to pronounce Sade and then spent the rest of their life as a pronunciation crusader, correcting every dummy that called her SAYYYYD? Where all my know-it-alls at?)

On our way home from Kohl’s, I put on “Play Me” by Taemin and that is when it hit me: Taemin is my NO ORDINARY LOVE YOU GUYS.

No but really, the way Taemin’s music makes me feel is the same way Sade’s music made me feel back then (and still to this day): like I’m flushed from making eye contact with a crush.

His voice is so warm, with a tinge of huskiness, and it makes me FEEL SOME THINGS.

All of this is to say that we are one week away from his comeback and I can barely stand it. It feels so good to be excited about something and it is getting me through the long, dark work days, that is for-fucking-sure.

The other day, a teaser was released and I am convinced that Lee Taemin is out to murder us. I can’t even imagine what he has in store for us, but if this teaser is any indication, it is one smoking hot horror flick and I am all about it.

I hear all these male singers on Top 40 radio stations and they got nothin’ on Taemin. Regardless of language, Taemin is an artist that should be in everyone’s playlist.

Now accepting applications for an eulogy writer if he announces a North American tour this year.

Jan 012019
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOL ok Henry.

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

SHINee Taemin sexiest dance moves

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.

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

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.

30654836341_0789fa96d1_c

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.


30742948835_c2a507fffe_c 30742942065_b1aa471ecc_c

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.

30742939955_8a1e2f8767_c

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.

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

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:

img_8972

*(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.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy, don’t!” Chooch whimpered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fuck you and your purple umbrella, asshole.

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Sopping wet chaperones.

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

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

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

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Cast of Claw Characters

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

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

****

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

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

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

Oct 082018
 

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

Here you go!

**********

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

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

YES I GET IT! GOD.

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

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

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

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

**********

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

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

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

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

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

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***********

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

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

Ugh.

Stop making me be a MOM on HALLOWEEN.

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Henry was absolutely no help whatsoever.

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

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

Sigh.

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

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

And I thought Henry was a candy-fetching militant.

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

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

Oct 022018
 

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

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

Anyway, here it is, from 2015!

You Missed, Sucker: Halloween 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

The Lost Boys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because it’s a baby. Babies beat everyone.

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

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

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

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

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De-wigged, winnings in hand.

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

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

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

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

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.