Jan 072018
 

Remember the other day when I posted a sob story? I know, all my stories are of the sob genre, but specifically the post about how fucking cold it’s been here in Pittsburgh. Well, Saturday was still fucking cold.

I started the day with several walking workouts on YouTube since it’s just been too much to walk around the neighborhood in this weather (my Mexican taco cart boyfriend has probably forgotten me by now, ugh). And then I watched Goblin – it has taken me nearly a year to get through this drama because IT IS SO FUCKING SAD. It makes me ugly-cry so hard, it’s repulsive. Even more than This Is Us. But it is so, so, so good.

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Henry rules.

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And then Henry made me this bubbling ramyun for lunch because HAVE I MENTIONED IT’S GODDAMN COLD OUT? Every year I swear that I won’t be that person who complains about the weather or points out the obvious but man, I will just never be OK with winter. Sorry all you winter stans.

After lunch, Henry had to go to the eye doctor and originally I was just going to stay home. But then I remembered that the eye place is very close to Century III Mall, and since Chooch and I haven’t been able to get in our nightly walks, I thought it would be fun to pose as elderly mall walkers. Because, if you’re from this area you already know — there ain’t much else to do at the near-defunct Century III Mall.

Henry dropped us off and I was shocked to see that since I was last there (less than a year ago), nearly every store had closed. I’m not being hyperbolic here, either. We walked through almost an entire wing before we finally came across something that was open — freaking Things Remembered, ugh that store is so lame.

One of my friends posted a few months ago that Italian Village Pizza, the last remaining joint in the food court, had closed. Chooch and I walked over to that side of the mall and it was actually really cold, obvious that it wasn’t even being heated anymore. And my favorite wing of the mall is now entirely off-limits: the steps and escalators are all blocked off.

I know I’m a super sentimental person, but I was shocked at how much this hurt. There was a pet store down there that my friend Rachael worked at and I would visit her there in high school. And then off to the right down there was Champ’s, where I would buy all of my Champion and Starter hoodies and coats (I was a yo-girl and dressed almost exclusively in JNCO & Karl Kani jeans and college sports sweatshirts, lol — I really liked Michigan for some reason?!). When I was in 9th grade, I befriended the cutest salesguy in that joint — Will. Ugh, he was so dreamy, and like probably in college. I remember my friends Jameelah & Erika also really liked him and would get so mad because he paid the most attention to me, and after I started dating my “first love” Justin, Will would always tell me that he wasn’t good enough for me. We used to talk on the phone sometimes too (my mom WAS NOT A FAN OF THIS) but I realized later that he probably just liked me as a little sister and truly did look out for me, which was pretty awesome now that I’m old enough to see it for what it was.

I tried to regale Chooch with some of my memories, like how the dark, cobblestoned portion of the bottom floor had a shop called the Pittsburgh Store and it’s where I would get all of my stickers. “I collected stickers and had like 87 sticker books,” I told Chooch.

“Of course you did,” he sighed.

And how there was a Dairy Queen back there too, where Keri and I would always stop for refreshments on one of our ritual Friday night mall lurks. (I would always get the tropical flavored one.) And how one time we were accused of shoplifting at the Claire’s in the now-closed wing of the mall, and of course we proved that we didn’t do it but I couldn’t get the bitch manager to apologize so Keri’s mom called the mall and flipped her shit on them.

There was actually only one time in my whole life that I shoplifted, and it was when I was like 4 or 5 years ago. My mom and I were in some kitchen store on the second floor of that mall and I walked out with two magnets made out of peanut shells, and then felt so terrible when I realized what I did that I cried all night and never did that again.

But honestly, I practically lived at that mall from 7th to 10th grade. In 8th grade, I’d get dropped off every Friday night with the hopes of seeing SCOTT DAMBAUGH, who I was desperately crushing on. Even Henry knows the Dambaugh lore.

To be honest, that mall started going downhill back in the 90s when it was first sold and renovated. It was “modernized,” which basically just means they took out all of the cool parts, like the stage area that was outside of Kaufmann’s (Richard Simmons performed there once!). And the smaller third floor area was pretty much just left to die, and that has always pained me because that’s where my favorite music shop was (Waves — I bought what feels like a million dollars-worth of cassingles from that place), where my friend Liz and I “accidentally” lost the French foreign exchange student who was staying with my family during the summer of ’92, and where the best arcade was (the mall had two back then). It was also where one of my first memories originates, it’s super unclear, but I remember my Pappap and me walking around the mall a lot when I was really young, like pre-school age. And there was a…OK bear with me because I just tried to tell Henry this story and he looked at me with question marks undulating around his furry brows. How to even start this. There was a department store on that side of the mall – I thought it was Gimbles but Henry was all THAT WAS ON THE SIDE WHERE THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT IS NOW. Maybe it was Hornes then? It doesn’t matter. All that matters was that on the wall outside of it, next to the entrance, there were buttons. I never knew what they were for, but it was like a ritual for me to push them every time. And the one was brown so I would pretend that every time I pushed it, coffee was being made.

I started to remember this when I was an older kid, and when I brought it up to my Pappap he was like, “Bitch you cray” and when I started hanging out at the mall later in life with friends, I actively tried to find those buttons and no one ever knew what the hell I was talking about.

Also, the third floor used to have this super cute It’a A Small World-esque Christmas display AND NO ONE REMEMBERS THAT EITHER. Please, dear god, if you’re from Pittsburgh and have any clue what I’m going on about, PLEASE COMMENT AND VALIDATE ME.

Oh man, I just now had a recollection of buying Billy Ocean’s greatest hits for myself at Waves, and as the cashier rang me up, I turned to my friend Christy and shouted, “SUSIE IS REALLY GOING TO LIKE THIS CD” because I didn’t want the guy to know it was for me, and it’s hilarious to me that I even once cared about what someone would think about my musical persuasions!

Or going to National Record Mart when I was in third grade because I wanted to buy the T’Pau record but all I knew was that I liked the song “Heart & Soul.” When the clerk asked me who the artist was, all I could say was, “I don’t know. She looks like Tracey Ullman.” OMG AND GOING TO KAUFMANN’S TO BUY CONCERT TICKETS!

UGH AND POGS!!!!!!

Other memories I have of the mall are, pre-vegetarianism, skulking around Hickory Farms for the free kielbasi samples; eating at Alby’s Big Boy as a kid and falling into the dark hole of penpalling thanks to the penpal section of the kids menu (I WAS EVEN FEATURED ONCE!!!!!); getting all of my film developed, with doubles!, at Ritz Camera; meeting some of the Penguins at an event there after they won their first Stanley Cup (Phil Bourque and Peter Taglianetti were definitely two of them, but I’d have to find my old pictures to remember who else was there); playing the Simpsons arcade game with my brother Ryan; GETTING THE WORST HAIR CUT OF MY LIFE AT SOME SALON THAT’S NOT THERE ANYMORE THANKS MOM; Taco Tina’s.

I’ve still been going to that mall a handful of times a year, because it still has Hot Topic and Journeys. But now Journeys is gone too! I hope that my Dance Gavin Dance friend Sam got to relocate to a different Journeys. :(

On this particular afternoon, it was pretty much just me, Chooch, some elderly people, and a kid pretending to be a zombie. Chooch wanted new shoes and that was a struggle considering 90% of the stores are closed and JC Penney is the only department store left. But we eventually found a cool pair of red ADIDAS at Champs (in a new location). And they were majorly on sale too because the mall was sold to UPMC and all the remaining stores are just waiting for their leases to run out, I guess. I mean, even Spencer’s is gone. Does a mall even exist without a Spencer’s?

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Free carousel ride ftw!

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Inexplicably, what the mall DOES have is a beautiful double-decker carousel that’s managed to last for several years now. Chooch and I naturally wanted to ride it but my credit card wasn’t swiping properly so the ride operator graciously let us ride for free!

“ARE WE GOING UPSTAIRS?!” I cried, and of course Chooch answered yes so we clobbered up the steps and picked our animals.

The ride operator waved to us every time we rotated past her, and I waved back the first few times but then just pretended like I didn’t notice after that because it was getting to be too much.

After this, we went to Penney’s, because we still hadn’t reached 10,000 steps (we got Chooch a Fitbit for Christmas and he and I are “healthy” competitors). I was about to try on some slutty jeans when Henry texted and said, “Don’t buy anything.”

Um, OK, control freak.

“Especially not stupid, overpriced red shoes.”

I showed Chooch and we both looked at each other like, “WHAT HOW WHY.” I figured he probably got a text notification that I purchased something from Champs because ever since we had our account hacked several years ago, Henry gets notified for every last purchase just in case.

“Or merry-go-round rides.”

OK, for sure I figured he probably just saw our picture on Instagram, but I wasn’t sure how he knew that we bought red shoes. Then he asked where we were and after I said “Penneys” he appeared behind us LIKE A FUCKING CREEPER. Turns out, he had been in the mall for a minute because he had to go to the Verizon store, and on his way there, he walked past us just as we were getting on the carousel. He even mimicked me saying, “ARE WE GOING UPSTAIRS?!” Lol! I was like, “OMG were you so proud to know us?!” and he said no, that he hung his head in shame and hurried past us before we saw him.

WOW, RUDE.

Henry said the first thing he noticed was that Chooch was wearing brand new bright red shoes hahaha.

So that took up pretty much the whole afternoon.

I spent some time in the evening making some new Kpop cards, and then later we had family KpopX night! THIS IS MY FAVORITE NIGHT! HENRY DOESN’T EVEN TRY!

We finished the night by watching an old Running Man episode featuring IU, so I had my tea in an IU cup. It was a good day. I mean, it was cold as fuck. But it was good.

Dec 302016
 

Picture it:

The year was 1999.

A hot July evening.

I was 19.

It had been about 6 months since I quit my job at stupid EchoStar, and my old co-worker Roniece wanted to catch up. The problem was that Roniece was over 21 and she didn’t want to go to Eat n Park for a motherfucking milkshake, you know? Her plan was to go to a strip club. Some male strip club in Braddock, one of the less savory neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

This sounded like A Great Idea to me. I mean, this was back when I used to spray paint my feet gold, so most ideas sounded like great ideas to me.

My friend Keri wanted to join us, and now it was really starting to feel like a legit party. So on this hot summer evening in 1999, Keri and I drove to Roniece’s house in McKeesport, where Keri got stung by a bee and that’s how I found out that my friend of approx. 10 years was allergic to bees. Roniece’s grandma performed some old housewives’ miracle and Keri was healed, but that’s a story for another time because I only want to talk about myself right now.

THIS STORY IS ABOUT ME.

Before we left Roniece’s, she pulled out a fat blunt and this back when I was dumb and did stupid things like pop pills full of Ephedrine and starve myself for days because So Fat, Such Chunk. So Keri was all, “JUST SO NO” but I was all, “GIMME DAT” and thus started the night out on a high note.

OH….!

Now we were ready. Roniece wanted to go to a bar beforehand and I pulled my pockets inside out, like “Hello, no fake ID.” But Roniece just laughed and promised me that Keri and I wouldn’t get carded where she was taking us….

…which was the diviest bar that ever dove on some pot-hole ridden side street in Duquesne. We had to park in an alley, and go in through a suspiciously plain door on the side of a building that had no name, no windows.

“Just be cool. Don’t draw attention to us and ya’ll will be fine,” Roniece prepped our underage asses before entering The Bar.

Motown wafted out as soon as we pulled back the door; the bar inside was small and non-descript, not even the tiniest hint of saloon aesthetic. It was all over-flowing ashtrays and varying shades of brown. The patrons were older, urban, and all-around unenthused at the prospect of sharing their sacred space with a bunch of youngins. Keri and I got a few quick side-eyes as we sat down at the bar, but everyone quickly went back to staring into their beers while we giddily shared a pitcher of Long Island iced teas with Roniece.

Thank god I can’t remember how cool we must have thought we were, sitting at some sticky bar, drinking amateur cocktails in the company of legit sad sacks hiding from their wives.

I started digging around in my purse.

“What are you doing?” Keri asked suspiciously. Homegirl had been my friend since elementary school and was well-versed in my shady ways. My every movement was a cause for concern in her eyes.

“Just looking for some change so I can request a song on the jukebox,” I answered happily, because Long Island iced teas.

Armed with quarters, I went over to the jukebox and assessed the situation. Clinked in a quarter, punched in the numbers, went back to the bar.

“What did you play,” Roniece asked, right as the SEXY SAX INTRO of “Careless Whisper” cut through the thick swirls of cigarette smoke and regret.

You know that scene in Adventures in Babysitting where the suburban kids infiltrate a blues club? And everyone immediately stops talking because disgusted glares work better in a quiet room? That’s what happened on this night, in this bar, in this dilapidated part of town.

Every last bloodshot eyeball was focused on me, the giddy white bitch who skipped-to-her-lou into their bar and polluted their nicotine-curtained air with George Michael’s oozing sex appeal.

Keri covered her face.

“What? It’s Careless Whisper,” I said.

“Yeah, I know what it is!” Keri snapped and went back to shielding her face from the scowls attacking us from every angle. 

Roniece threw her head back and let out a huge laugh. “Girl! I told you to be cool!”

And I’m like, “But this is fucking George Michael, man!” Literally I had no idea what I did wrong, because anytime I hear that song, it always felt so right.

SO VERY RIGHT.

We left after a second pitcher of Long Island iced tea, and before I had a chance to request any other tracks from the Carlton Banks Greatest Hits mixtape.

This next part has nothing to do with George Michael, but it does have to do with the moment I died.

We arrived at whatever that goddamn strip club was called in Braddock, but it wasn’t open yet. I remember standing inside the vestibule while Roniece spoke with someone inside, and suddenly I wasn’t feeling right. I stepped back outside to get some air, and the next thing I knew, I was going down, but Ke$ha wasn’t around yet to yell timber.

This next part happened while I was dead.

(Because I swear to you, I was dead. I had done DIED on that sidewalk outside of Sleazy Braddock Stripperie.)

It was Christmas and I was little again! My Pappap was there. We were on the big porch, which is where most of the Christmases were celebrated throughout my childhood. I remember being overcome by extreme happiness and warmth (and most importantly – toys). I was engulfed in one of my greatest childhood memories!

SO THIS WAS HEAVEN.

And then I heard my aunt Sharon calling my name.

Erin Erin Erin.

Over and over.

And then I saw A BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT.

It doesn’t get any more textbook than that.

I was dead.

But the sound of my aunt’s voice brought me back.

Granted, it was Keri and Roniece who were screaming my name into my face, and the bright white light was the streetlight above me. BUT STILL.

Friend has near-death experience on street in a dangerous part town: that’s a pretty big party foul. Keri grabbed my car keys and dropped Roniece off at home. Then we stopped at a gas station in McKeesport where she bought a loaf of bread through a bullet-proof window, the bread was to soak up the poison in my stomach. And then she took me home where three more of our friends came over and babysat me in shifts.

And this is one of the reasons why Keri’s mom absolutely hated me. I was “too much drama” apparently. Like, who? Me!? No, not me.

A few days later, Roniece called to check in on me, and she admitted that maybe, perhaps, possibly there was a slight chance that the blunt she gave me was laced. That in addition to my so chic eating disorder, diet pill addiction and Long Island iced tea dinner was probably enough to stop my fucking heart. But what do I know!? I turned into a walking billboard for Just Say No after that.

Every time we go to Kennywood, I love to point out the little turn-around on the side of a road in West Mifflin where Keri had to swerve the car so I could puke up all my regrets on the way home.

***

“And so that’s what I think of whenever I hear George Michael,” I said in conclusion to this very personal tale at work on the Tuesday after George Michael’s death.

“What, your poor judgment?” Glenn mumbled.

WHATEVER GLENN, I LOVE THIS STORY.

Jun 272016
 

The Phil Collins vibes are strong AF at Gillcrest. Every time I turn on the kitchen stereo, there he is. And twice on Sunday!

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He's an easy brusher.

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It’s all at once comforting and haunting. Absolutely impossible for me to hear any Genesis or Phil jam and not think of my childhood in that house.

I guess that’s why when I couldn’t fall asleep Friday night, I found myself painting a picture of Phil.

When Chooch saw it the next day, he happily said, “Oh, Phil Collins! I was just thinking about him, too…” Can’t imagine why.

Speaking of my fake stustudio, I finally got this bad boy up on the wall. It was originally hanging in my grandma’s clown room and she always said I could have it. And now I have it, so…

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This post is brought to you by late night iced coffee, kettlebell fatigue, and MTV’s Are You the One*. Coming up later this week: an emotionally disjointed recap of last week’s Cure show, maybe another music video no one will watch, an essay on my political stance (lol no), HOPEFULLY HENRY’S WARPED TOUR VIDEO, and probably some furry love because Anthrocon is this week and I have a date with a walrus!

*(I tried so hard to resist, but it finally sucked me in. I’M WEAK, OK??!!)

(Also, I wonder if Henry and I would be a match if we were on Are You The One. Omg lol that’s a hilarious thought. I just woke him up to tell him that and his response was muffled on account of his dumb face being buried in his pillow.)

May 172016
 

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I come home from work, eat dinner, and go over my Pappap’s house. This is my current normal and I’m not complaining.

My mom was polishing one of the porch light, this wrought iron lantern thing, and I said, “Wow, I never noticed that there’s a dragon on this.”

“There’s lots of things about this house I’ve never noticed before,” my mom said. It’s crazy, all the time spent in that house, how many tiny details slipped away unnoticed. Like the above face on the frame of the dining room mirror!

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Never-ending Story vibes.

“I never realized what gothic tastes they had,” my mom said the other day about my Pappap and Grandma. Their interior design aesthetic was definitely niche, that’s for sure.

But again, I grew up around it and it never seemed unusual. So much time has passed since the days when I used to visit regularly that it’s like seeing the house with brand new eyes.

Like a tourist.

Like it’s not a home anymore and I’m just visiting.

Not sure how that makes me feel.

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We focused on the various game rooms on Sunday, and I stumbled across this owl in the bathroom that I completely forgot about but the sight of it was so familiar and entirely welcomed. My mom told me to take it but I didn’t.

You never know.

Henry fiddled with one of the jukeboxes and thinks it should be an easy fix….for a professional. Yes, Henry actually admitted that he couldn’t fix something himself!

My mom attempted to teach Chooch how to play pool. Better her than me. I gave up after 6 seconds of him thinking that he knew it all.

He gets that from Henry.

The relics at the bar are so much fun to look at. It brings back memories of sneaking in during high school and drinking root beer Schnapps. Corey told me that he used to do the same thing, but he would break in through one of the game room windows. I was like “Why wouldn’t you just use the hidden key above the garage door and break in like a civilized burglar?”

So many steins up in this house.

HOTTER THAN HELL.

There are so many lessons that I’ve been taking away from this sitch, like learning that it’s OK to ask for help and some people will definitely not be there when you need it and that’s OK because there are plenty of dicks in this world for them to go suck. It’s also made me appreciate Henry even more for sticking by me, helping with all the dirty work, and having my back constantly. (Except when he’s playing Devil’s Advocate, which is like THE WORST and hello STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR PEOPLE, you know? Tell him that.)

I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve skipped out on, but the progress we’ve been making has been completely worth it. TEAM WORK.

One more thing: where all my plumber/super fucking rich investor friends at? LOL.

May 072016
 

The last time I was at Disney World, I was 10 years old and barely remember anything other than being a permed dork who hounded characters for their autographs while my dad spent the entire time singing “Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me” thanks to one spin on Pirates of the Caribbean.

What I learned is that 26 years later, Pirates of the Caribbean is way more awesome than it was in 1990 and dorky kids are still chasing characters for autographs except that now you need to get a fucking Fast Pass for that shit unless you want to spend half your day waiting in inexplicably long queues for some kid in a costume to forge the signature of an animated character.

And my kid was one of those dorks.


He only wanted to meet Chip and Dale though because he saw a picture of me meeting them in 1984 and he is like obsessed with being just like me because I’m fucking fantastic.


The line was really short because who even cares about Chip & Dale anymore I guess now that all these horribly animated, newfangled characters are on the scene, but there were two high school graduates a few people in front of us who totally monopolized C&D’s time and had them signing like 69 different things including their idiotic graduation caps and then had unlimited photos taken and then danced with them and finally C&D’s handler was like “OK the Stars have to take their break now” so the girls got to SKIP OFF INTO THE SUNSET with them while the rest of us normal people in line with their age-appropriate CHILDREN stood there in disbelief and then the grandma in front of us was screaming at her granddaughter who appeared to be 12 or 13 for having teh audacity to WANDER OFF after she was told to SIT ON THE BENCH OVER THERE and the granddaughter was all, “I WAS SITTING ON THE BENCH” and the mom very quietly said, “OK guys, drop it” but grandma just kept railing on granddaughter and then granddaugter was ugly crying.

I wanted to leave but Chooch was like ITS MY DYING WISH and Henry was like STOP RUINING HIS BIRTHDAY so we continued to wait.

When it was the people’s turn in front of us, I was impressed by granddaughter’s ability to turn off the tears in time to jump in with Chip, Dale, her mom and little brother while smiling brightly for the photographer. What a nice big FUCK YOU to grandma. That old hag ain’t gon’ ruin no granddaughter’s day.

Meanwhile, Chooch whined about not having an autograph book so I dug out a receipt for him to have them sign, hahahaha.  #DisneyN00bs

But when it was his turn, their handler was like “the fuck is this?” and gave Chip and Dale two pieces of actual paper to sign for Chooch. It was pretty embarrassing but I was like “The answer is still no” when Chooch asked again for an autograph book.

There was no way we were wasting anymore time standing in line for this shit.

I probably would have made a concession for Pluto though. Does anyone still even care about Pluto? He was always my favorite. The first time I went to Disney, I was 4 and my DAD wouldn’t let me bring my favorite stuffed animal in the entire world with me, so my Pappap was all, “Haha we’ll show him” and proceeded to buy me any Disney plush I wanted  while we were there because he was the best man to ever exist. Anyway, the Pluto one was my favorite.

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I started to tell Henry this story and he sighed, “You’ve told me this story so many times” with an eye roll. Rude!!

My Pappap gave me the greatest childhood ever and if I can give Chooch even a tiny glimmer of that, I’ll feel like I made my Pappap proud.

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It’s a Small World is one of the few rides there that I have any sliver of memory of. Funnily, I remember more from my first trip there than the last trip when I was 10; this is likely due to the rage black outs since my brother Ryan was around by then and I was still extremely butt-hurt over the fact that I wasn’t an only child anymore.

OH THE PERILS OF BEING ERIN RACHELLE KELLY.

I really felt that this ride held up. It made me giddy.

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Even Henry was choking back a smile or two. Hard to imagine, I know.

The ride that didn’t hold up in my mind was Big Thunder Mountain. I was just OK.

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All three of us agreed that Space Mountain was the best though! It wasn’t anything like I remembered.

Mid-afternoon, we were strolling about, probably with linked arms because you know how we stroll, when someone started shouting “Riley! Riley!” In case you didn’t know, that’s Chooch’s actual name that he goes by pretty much just in school and nowhere else, lol. Turns out, it was his friend from school! He was there with his grandma, and they had lost his parents, so the grandma asked Henry if he would please call her daughter so they could be reunited.

So Henry did that and I can’t believe that lady even answered because I NEVER ANSWER MY PHONE IF I DON’T RECOGNIZE THE NUMBER and it’s weird to me that people actually will answer EVEN IF IT’S A 1-800 NUMBER!!! Anyway, Henry explained the sitch and said, “You know what’s funny is that my son actually goes to school with your son” and then it turned out that she was standing not too far away from us….

…IN FRONT OF IT’S A SMALL WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She said to Henry, “Wow, it really is a small world after all.”

And that was our super-touching Disney moment.

I think the lowest point of the day was when this family of fuckers blatantly cut in front of us in line for Pirates of the Caribbean and I couldn’t even believe the audacity. Not only did they cut in front of us, but also a lady who was with her HANDICAPPED MOTHER. I was so outraged by this and Henry was like, “Please don’t.” So instead, I just stared at them non-stop and made loud, passive-aggressive statements about people being rude motherfuckers and Henry just sighed deeply as a new wrinkle etched itself under his right eye.

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Here’s a picture I took of them afterward in order to SHAME THEM on the Internet. (The guy with the stroller and blue balls balloons was not a part of their rude family so he can remain shame-free in this matter.

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Other things to note:

  • Haunted Mansion was way better than I ever remembered
    • So was Splash Mountain
      • My favorite part of this ride was when some dickhead served as a placeholder in line and then suddenly, his entire family came barreling through the line to join him, we’re talking a good 12 additional people! I was so livid about this because HELLO THAT IS NOT THE PROPER WAY TO STAND IN LINE, but then as we were nearing the front of the line, it was nearly those assholes’ turn to ride, when one of the Disney broads called out, “Is there a party of two?” and as luck would have it, Henry was too scared to ride this one so YES, MA’AM THERE IS A PARTY OF TWO! Chooch and I got to jump ahead of those pushy assholes. WHO’S LAUGHING NOW!?
        • My least favorite part of this was standing in line sandwiched between two families of tiny Elsas, UGH to the max. I am so glad my child isn’t into that shit.
  • Even in April, it looks like every single person in the country has descended upon Lake Buena Vista, but the lines for the actual rides were extremely reasonable, except for:
    • The 7 Dwarfs Mine Ride, which we got tricked into waiting for a good 90 minutes even though the sign said THIRTY-FIVE MINUTES. And friends, it was not worth it.
      • However, what was worth it was that Henry had to ride with some dad, who said something to him immediately after sitting next to him, and that something made Henry laugh very hard, but he very conveniently “couldn’t remember what it was” when Chooch and I interrogated him afterward.
    • Peter Pan’s Flight, which was always over 75 minutes every time I checked, but then we waited until the parade was happening and literally walked right on.
  • Decent vegetarian options, especially at Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn — their veggie rice bowl was a motherfucking dream come true for this meatless mouth.
  • The stupid Little Mermaid ride made my heart melt a little bit. I forgot how much I used to love that dumb movie. I even bought the soundtrack (ON CASSETTE) from the Scholastic book order in 4th or 5th grade, doesn’t really matter, I was a fucking dork in both grades. Listening to all of the completely off-base names Chooch was coming up when when he was trying to remember “Ursula” may have been my favorite part of the day. One of them had approximately 8 syllables and the only thing he had right was that it started with a U.
    • Pretty sure Henry slept on this ride.
    • There was absolutely no line.
  • We almost accidentally got in line for some story time with Belle attraction which turns out is literally having Belle read you a story. Nope.
  • I fucking hate strollers. There were soooooo many strollers. EVERY WHERE. STROLLERS HERE AND THERE. Boooooooooo, babies!
  • We had a Dole Whip and I guess I don’t really get the mania over those because I know I have soft serve here in Pittsburgh that tastes pretty much exactly the same…what am I missing!? I actually didn’t even finish mine, but gave it to Henry who had given his to Chooch who had spilled him approximately .0005 seconds after Henry handed it to him. The circle of Dole Whip.
  • The monorail is decidedly NOT as fun as I remembered it to be.
    • We took it back to the parking lot that night, and it was mayhem. We didn’t get to sit with Henry, and Chooch said, “I feel bad for daddy. He’s sitting next to some Duck Dynasty guy.” I didn’t get to see though because there were people standing in between us. I told Henry about it later and he said, “I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about. I was sitting next to a lady.”

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When Henry wouldn’t ride the Barnstormer with us. :( ALSO, HE’S TOTALLY LOOKING AT THAT BROAD.

Overall, I’m glad we went when we did because it turned out to be far less stressful and intimidating than I had imagined it to be. No one got lost (although Chooch and I did leave Henry once by the carousel and then “forgot” to come back) and we didn’t even really spend as much money there as I thought we would. I’m trying to remember if we fought at all and I think that we probably did at some point, but clearly it wasn’t major enough for me to immediately blog about right after unfriending Henry on Facebook.

Henry’s thoughts: I liked Space Mountain. I liked the Haunted Mansion. I would say the park was pretty people-friendly, easy to move around.* It was too expensive.

Chooch’s thoughts: It was way more than I expected. I thought it was just going to be like a couple of rides, a couple of food places, and just. But then when I went there, I saw a FANTASY. It was AWESOME. There was so much to do. There was a lot of rides. But Big Thunder Mountain wasn’t as fun as mommy remembered it so that was a big bummer**. That’s it.

 

*DISAGREE. SEE: STROLLERS.

**I must have bitched about this more than I remembered that day.

****

My first day back at work last week, I was telling my co-worker Carrie about Disney and how, while it was a fun experience, Henry and I probably won’t ever go back.

“No, you’ll go again. You’ll have to take your grandkid, Emarosa!”

Touché, Carrie!

Apr 232016
 

 I might need a Pod for all the photos I’ve brought home from my Pappap’s house. A lot of the photos are familiar to me but Corey and I have unearthed a ton that are new to us. It’s funny because in my mind, the heyday of that house was obviously the early 80s because hello, HERE’S ERIN. But then we found several photo albums full of evidence of some totally bitchin’ parties that were had in the 60s and 70s it’s like nope, THAT was the heyday. 

“They had a freaking band playing in the game room!” Corey said, thrusting a photo album in my rubber gloved-hands.

You know this intrigued me because BANDS ARE BASICALLY MY WHOLE LIFE. I posted this on Facebook immediately and my Aunt Susie (my mom’s younger sister)  commented and said “Oh, that’s Hausen. Dad had them play at the house every year.” 

#nbd

So for the hell of it, I googled their name and found the bio of one of the members, who still plays in bands with some legit Pittsburgh musicians, but my favorite part of his bio was when he casually mentions that he briefly played in the Urge with TRENT REZNOR. 

I’m so obsessed with this now and want to go to see them and cry TELL ME ABOUT THE TIMES YOU PLAYED AT MY PAPPAP’S HOUSE because I’m sure they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It was only 40 years ago. 
   

Meanwhile, my grandma was rocking some COUTURE COIFS. So in addition to hiring Hausen to play at my imaginary wedding, I’m flat out obsessing over how stylish my grandma’s freaking hair was, decade to decade. Seeing all of these old pictures makes me appreciate her so much more, because damn you guys, my grandma was a babe!

I’m also a bit surly that my mom and her sisters were so pretty in their formative years and the universe clearly stepped in after I was born and said, “OK this fam has seen enough beauty so now I present to you this baby who will have 5-6 good years before blimping out and ruining her pretty golden locks with a perm while also having a brief (as in 3 years) battle with facial eczema.”

That happened. 

On top of all this, my mom stuffed my frumpy body UGLY PLAID SKIRTS, KNEE HIGHS AND MOCASSINS. 

Anyway. My grandma’s hair. Let’s look at more of it. 

  

  

That’s my mom on the left! I got zero of her looks. :( I apparently look like my birth dad. 
  

   
  

The 80s <3

  
 

I can’t stand how pretty she was!   

This was her Bahamas look.    

In one of the stack of photos I found, there were no less than 8 photos of the TV, because my grandma wanted the same hair as some broad from “Dallas” and that’s what she would do so she could have a picture to take to the salon. She taught me well, so in the 90s I snapped an entire roll of film during one of Carrie Brady’s scenes on Days of Our Lives and took it to the salon and wound up with nothing like it because I’m not my grandma and spent all of the 90: crying post-salon trips. 

Hashtag Grandma Goals, for real. I need to step up my game in a BIG WAY so my future grandkids’ response to old photos of me won’t be “hnnnnnggggg.” 

Beehive, maybe?

Apr 182016
 

Sharing these photos has been really cathartic for me. If you’re still visiting my blog even through all my mopiness and ridiculously embarrassing navel-gazing (yes, I’m aware, but I can’t stop!), then thank you, baes. I like sharing my woes with the world. I’m just a generous kind of broad.

  Chooch inverted that crucifix the other day and I was like, “BOY! NOT WHEN WE’RE TWO DAYS AWAY FROM GOING TO A BIRTHDAY PARTY IN A CHURCH.” Shit, son.

  
The sunset was pastel AF the other night when I was leaving. I miss living on this street a lot sometimes. There is so much wildlife everywhere! Deer and turkey just like, casually stroll down the lane together, like it’s no big deal. And Henry pointed out a possum the other night when we were leaving. When I still lived at home, we used to have sheep as pets, for Christ’s sake. (And a blood-thirsty rabbit.)


I never noticed these faces on the dining room mirror before.

At one time, this porch was entirely open. Corey and I have been shaking Val down for Original House details. (There was a fire at one point and it was rebuilt into what it is today.) She pointed out that in one of downstairs bathrooms, there was a window where a mirror currently hangs, and that’s where she used to sneak out of the house, haha. Also?! Her bedroom pre-house fire was the current clown room! Which actually was never really called the clown room by anyone but me. It was technically considered the “stereo room.”

I mean, here’s the carpet:

I’d like to curl up and die on that carpet. BIG FUCKING EMO SAD SACK SIGH.

Found a stack of these in a bathroom drawer.
  

Chooch’s new bae. He’s been spending so much time there that now he’s starting to have dreams about the house, which makes me sad, but at least it’ll live on in someone else’s memory now too I guess? He said he’s going to start writing it into his Amethyst story and my heart was basically pumping confetti and smaller, baby hearts into my chest.

Yesterday we made Val order us pizza (lol) and Chooch insisted on eating at the dining room table, which I swear to god probably hasn’t been used since…1983? I remember my grandparents had a really big Christmas dinner one year with lots of extended family, and people sat in the dining room, in the living room at a long table, and also at the kitchen table. There were people everywhere but more importantly, there were presents for me everywhere, too!  #spoiledbrat

#formalpizzaparty #whysoformal #usingthegoodpapertowels

  

This fucking bowling game was always so frustrating, even back when it was new and should have worked properly.

Music was clearly super important in this house. There were speakers all over the house so that you could listen to whatever was playing in the clown room, or the kitchen, etc. There was always music playing in the kitchen when I was growing up and I think that’s a big reason why I always leave the radio on in my bedroom.

I had so many good hangouts in this room during my teen years! This is the largest of the three game rooms in the basement.

Glass guns filled with wine, which Henry discovered in a drawer.

ALONG WITH A PROJECTOR!!

This is the carpet in the game room we always referred to as “the pool room” because, you know, that’s where the pool table is.
  I used to be so good at PacMan, but my Pappap was a champion.

I loved fucking around with the intercom system when I was a kid, making it squawk and being generally annoying which I know sounds shocking. Corey was fiddling with the one in the den and it still works kind of! We heard Henry and Chooch outside. I never actually knew how to properly work those things, though.

That time Corey turned the corner and didn’t expect anyone to be there.


MORE TOM SELLECK!

This house needs preserved,  you know? Some of the things inside there, you just don’t see anymore. How does that quote go? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. LOL. My life is that quote AF right now.

Apr 132016
 

This post is full of pictures, so if you’re a member of the GET OVER IT camp, you are permitted to peace out now. :) I AM ACCOMMODATING EVEN IN MY EMOTIONAL STUPOR! Anyway, this is one of the walls in the den, featuring some framed baby prints of yours truly. Also my aunt Susie and some old people. The den is one of the only…how do you say…subdued rooms in the house. The wall paper in that room is textured, and I used to always scratch it with my nails, probably while watching HUNTER, who knows. I would be lying if I said I haven’t been sneaking in some gentle wall-scratches lately. Creature comforts, old habits, etc.

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pinched my fingers in that goddamn gate!


  

GIRRRRL, cover up.

Sharon was way into Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80s. She used to fly to Babyland, USA once a year to buy whatever those special ones were, I don’t know. I was never into it, even though she tried to get me to be. She bought me a preemie once (how weird is it now to think that you could get “premature” versions of Cabbage Patch Kids??) and I thanked her by repeatedly bashing its head off the road in front of my old house in South Park. (Sylvania Dr., holla!)

Henry found a drawer with a stash of Cabbage Patch Kids birth certificates the other day and just sighed.


  

When I was really young, the Christmas tree was in this room and we ate in the adjacent dining room. But then my grandma started inviting less people so we started having more informal Christmases on the porch.  I didn’t care where the tree was as long as there was a veritable toy store wrapped underneath it with MY NAME on it.

#COBWEBS

I’ve really been trying to take advantage of the situation by spending as much time over there as possible. Henry keeps saying that I’m too involved, too immersed, too obsessed…maybe the obsessed part is true, but I firmly believe that this is where I need to be right now, taking the time to go through the drawers and closets, remembering my old plastic bowling set that I used to play with on the indoor porch; the paper mache mail holder I made for my grandma (which is still intact 30+ years later!); the smell of the cedar closet where my old, baby fur coats still hang.

I gotta find that Bruce Willis cassette.

I am grateful for this time I was given, in spite of the circumstances. Plus, Corey and I collected a shitload of new hashtags that mean nothing to no one but crack us the fuck up.#SMELLMYGLOVE #POSTALBINSORGTFO #GOFUCKYOURSELF #DAWNSBLOCKOFCHEESE

Life, AMIRITE?!

But on a happier note, here are some things I’ve brought home and I promise to give them many more years of life.

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My Aunt Sharon was apparently really into Magnum PI in the 80s and always had this padded Tom Selleck…art piece (?) hanging on her wall. Henry found it in a closet last weekend and I was like, “I HAVE TO HAVE THIS.” I mean, c’mon. First, Chooch was like, “This is hideous.” Then, Chooch was like, “Can we hang him in my room?”

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“DO YOUR FUCKING HOMEWORK OR FACE THE WRATH OF THE ‘STACH, BOY!”

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I promised Henry I wouldn’t take every single clown in the house even though he so very sweetly (and smartly) said he didn’t care either way, but there are several that I do want to keep because MEM’RIES.

LIGHT THE CORNERS OF MY MIND.

(This whole thing is bringing out my inner Old Person.)

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And this beaut! I’m no doll expert, but Kara put on her Creepy Doll Investigator’s Hat, jammed a cigar in her mouth, and reported back that this is a Little Miss No Name doll, and that the ones with the tears are rare!

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She fits in super well in my house.

More later!

Apr 102016
 

Trying to spend as much time there as possible, which I’m sure is hurting my heart more than helping. Henry keeps saying annoying things like, “You need to pull back a little” and “How about taking break?” and I’m like HOW ABOUT YOU FUCK YOURSELF.  I just can’t stay away knowing that one day it will be gone, and with it the hugest piece of my childhood, so this is kind of like a time capsule for me.

I was in the house alone the other night and it was extremely scary, which made me sad because I’ve never been scared there before. But at the same time, I was kind of hoping something would happen. Some kind of contact, or sign. I KNOW: when you want something to happen, it won’t.




  


  


Chooch asked, “What is this, like a really old cell phone or something?”



He made up a song about Satan, and the smile on his face. Um…



There are so many layers to what is happening right now, and this is just one. In a way, it feels like I’m losing my Pappap all over again.

In lighter news though, I found out today that someone in that house was a HUGE Gino Vannelli fan. So many Gino records! Sometimes I listen to “Living Inside Myself” when I want to make myself cry. Which is often, because I am fucked up and clearly thrive on salty wets.

Apr 072016
 

 


My music obsession was definitely sculpted and honed in my grandparents’ house. I made my first mixtape there using a Fisher Price tape recorder; it had a lot of family conversations that I captured without permission and Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” which I recorded off the music video that was playing on the TV. I’d eat my grilled cheese at the kitchen counter to a soft rock soundtrack wafting out of a stereo kept tucked away in a cabinet behind me. My friend Amy and I played on the enclosed porch a lot, where I would often play a BRUCE WILLIS cassette that had his cover of “Under the Boardwalk” on it and my god was that song THE FUCKING SHIT.

But when I think about my romance with music in the 80s, the distinct memory of sitting on the floor of the game room, playing song after song on the jukebox,  always comes to mind.

SHE BOP!

LUCKY STAR!

SAY SAY SAY!

But the one that stands out the most is Phil Collins and Genesis. My love for Phil is unabashed. I’ve always been open about it too, even in high school when I went to see him at the Civic Arena and I gave no fucks about everyone knowing. I decided to torture myself the other night, so on my drive home I put on “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” and just fucking lost it, but it felt really good to get it all out. I was a little girl again, sitting on that game room floor, playing my favorite songs over and over again.

Seriously, this song is everything. Whatever that means.

There was also a jukebox in the other game room at their house, but that one played “old people” music and I didn’t like it.

Music is the best damn time capsule. Sometimes I find myself getting a little too dead on the inside and all it takes is one song to bring back the feels. My dad had a jukebox too, in his garage, but that one had of 90s jams on it. I used to play Toad the Wet Sprocket over and over while hitting a tennis ball off the garage door. But it never felt the same as that jukebox in the game room.

The good jukebox. Not the old people jukebox.

My mom is all, “Why don’t you guys take the jukebox?” and I’m like, “ARE YOU TRYING TO MURDER ME WITH MEMORIES?”

There’s no real point to this other than I love jukeboxes, I’m so goddamn tired, and I really fucking miss my Pappap.

Anyway. This song is relevant to my life right now because GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Apr 042016
 


After years of not being inside of my Pappap’s house, I’ve been over there every day since Wednesday. My brother Corey and I were standing in one of the game rooms when we spotted this crazy ornamental box thing on a fireplace mantel.

“Oh my god, that looks like it belongs in your house!” Corey said.

I asked him if it would be weird if I took it and he was just like, no don’t be dumb. So I did. Because it calling to me. 

I started rooting through it later that night and it’s mostly full of old curlers, Bobby pins, matchbooks, receipts (mostly Sharon’s—things like dry cleaning, etc) but there was also a doctors appointment card in there with my birth dad’s name on it, which was kind of jarring to see.

We were over there again yesterday and uncovered a photo album in the living room. When I was little, I was OBSESSED with paging through tomes and tomes of photos. I loved asking my grandma, “And who is this? And this?” But I had never seen this photo album before in my life. It appears that it belongs to my Aunt Sharon and it’s full of Polaroids from a party she must have had there in the 70s. At first, it made me feel so depressed, but then Corey admitted that seeing pictures of the house being so alive made him feel happy. And he’s right. The party years were over by the time I came onto the scene, but I used to hear stories about the epic parties held in that house, and it was pretty awesome to see pictures of Sharon looking so happy, hosting a party for her friends. There’s even a photo of her with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other, and we never knew she ever smoked!

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I feel like my grandparents must have been on vacation at this time because I have a hard time believing my grandma was OK with randoms traipsing through her master bathroom, lol.

Anyway, in one of the photos, that box is sitting on a table in the game room!!!!

I’ve never noticed this thing before in my life, and now it’s punching me in the face twice in 4 days.

My grandma used to babysit me when I was super little. My friend Amy’s grandparents lived next door, so she would always come over and we would spend a ton of time in that game room playing at the bar. One of the waitresses at Blue Flame had given me an order pad thing and we would use that to take each other’s bar orders, because that’s what 5-year-olds do when their playroom is essentially an adult’s playroom. We’d go back and forth between that and the slot machines.

And in high school, this is where L.A.M.E. had all of their “meetings” and where we would film a lot of our English class videos. Yet I don’t even recall seeing that box. It’s so bizarre to me!

So many puzzle pieces.

Feb 282016
 

Last Saturday, I planned a little get-together for the remaining members of my family that actually like each other. My only intent was for us to be together on the 20th anniversary of my Pappap’s death, rather than mope around alone, internalizing our sadness. And that’s just the thing—I didn’t WANT to be sat on that day. That’s not what my Pappap would have wanted. My hope was that we could go out to dinner, share stories, and laugh.

My brother Ryan was out of town last weekend, but Corey, our aunt Susie, and her husband Larry were all available. And Henry too. So we met up at Pan Asia for a three hour nostalgia feast. It was everything I hoped the evening would be: tons of laughter and good old-fashioned family bonding. It’s a fucking shame that my mom and aunt Sharon couldn’t be chill enough to join us.

Eventually, the subject of my birth dad Paul came up. His name was pretty much verboten throughout  my whole childhood, with my mom only letting tiny informational morsels slip out here and there. I knew these few things for certain: he was a multi-substance abuser, a woman-beater, he died from an accident caused from driving drunk, and I was better off without him in my life. Basically, Paul was a very touchy subject, and you better believe he was my secret weapon during my volatile teenage years when I was looking to get that TKO in screaming matches with my mom and step-dad. I was the motherfucking champion of the last word. Thanks, dad.

(I actually started writing about my dad two years ago and never finished because it was exhausting and made me feel a certain sadness that I didn’t understand.)

Anyway, Susie and I were piggy-backing off each other, filling Corey in about my dad’s death. When we got to the part about the actual car wreck, Corey said, “Oh, so he was drunk-driving then?” At the same time I was saying yes, Susie was saying no. I stopped talking and let her finish.

“That’s the funny thing, the tests came back saying there was no alcohol in his system at all,” Susie said, unknowingly dealing me a Mortal Kombat round house to the gut right there at our corner table in Pan Asia.

“Oh….so drugs?” Corey asked.

“No, he was sober. We were all shocked.” And then to me, Susie asked, “You didn’t know that?”

Um, no. Because for my whole life it was beaten into my head that my dad was drunk-driving and deserved to die. So every time someone would find out that my “real” dad was dead and offer their obligatory apology, I would just shrug it off and say, “Eh, he was drunk-driving, so…”

I know it’s 33 years later, but I can’t help but have that “This changes everything” feeling. But what’s changed, really? I’m not sure. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s still dead, and it doesn’t change the fact that I still don’t know him—but it’s not even about that. It’s about my relationship with my mom and how it proves once again that she has never respected me enough to be honest, like I was never anything more than just a dumb kid to toy with. One more Val grenade to add to the memoirs I’ve been writing in my head since grade school. I don’t think she would ever understand the damage she’s done to me.

I guess I thought I was OK until last Sunday when I totally lost my mind over it. This is part of my history too, not just my mom’s, and who even knows how many other times she’s changed my narrative on me. At the risk of sounding like a petulant bitch, this just isn’t fair. I wish I could sit down with her and have a normal, honest conversation that’s not bloated with delusion and maniacal laughter.

Aside from that, it was a really great evening! And it could have been worse, you know. Susie could have said, “Paul? Paul‘s not your dad!”  Hey, nothing would really surprise me at this point!

Secrets, secrets hurt someone.

Feb 202016
 

  
I was sitting cross-legged on my bed, talking on the phone to my on-and-off again boyfriend Justin when my mom burst into my room and shrieked the words that would forever rattle in my brain with all the other loose screws. I spent the rest of the night filling my Composition book with orange-inked screams, denouncing God and making promises to the devil.  

Teenaged angst mixed with true tragedy is one volatile recipe, guys. Look out. 

  
That one moment in time completely changed the course of my life. I didn’t understand how my Pappap could suddenly be dead when I was just at his house earlier that evening, and he seemed fine. He was sitting on his Reserved For John spot on the couch, talking to someone on the phone about business as usual. 

  
He was alive, and then he wasn’t. 

 In his element: manning the grill during the copious cookouts and pool parties we had every summer. 

I credit my friends and teachers for helping me get through the aftermath. My friends Lisa and Christy, especially. And I don’t think it’s random that while so many other friends have come and gone, they’re still here. They walked with me through the deepest trauma of my life and made sure I didn’t sink. This day is making me think of so many things and I am so glad that I wasn’t alone then. 

  
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him, how he was taken from us abruptly, on a fluke, and I certainly don’t miss him any less than I did in 1996. But I think what I miss most about him, is his uncanny, effortless knack to hold our family together, like sane, stable mortar between our crazy, cracked bricks.   He was the greatest father figure to me. He was my goddamn hero.   

Feb 082016
 

Because I lead such an exciting life, I stayed up late Friday night watching old Wildwood, NJ videos on YouTube. There is something REALLY ENCHANTING and perverted about watching the home movies of strangers and I don’t give a fuck, I’ll do it until I die.

I would say about once a year, I go through heavy Wildwood withdrawals and I need to nourish myself with copious amounts of nostalgia, even if it’s another persons memories.

My family vacationed in Wildwood every summer. It’s one of the few spotty memories I have of my birth dad, and also some of the best memories I have of my mom. My grandparents came too, every summer, and it was just the fucking cherry on top of the entire year. I can’t think about that beach and boardwalk without being flooded of the best memories and thoughts of my Pappap. Literally, the best memories of my whole life were made in fucking New Jersey, of all places.

I haven’t been back since 1991 and as much as I want to, I’m also terrified because I don’t want to see how much it’s changed. I stupidly made the mistake about 10 years to look at the Morey’s Piers website and I felt like Morey himself had kicked me in the gut with a steel-tipped boot, that motherfucker.

ANYWAY. Before I wind up just straight up living in the rabbit hole, let me get to my point. One of the videos I watched on YouTube was a clip from a 1994 documentary and now I’m utterly obsessed (what else is new) and going to buy the entire film because how I can not have a chunk of cinema like this in my private collection:

I’m kind of sad that I only ever experienced Wildwood through the eyes of an innocent child, there only to ride some fucking dark rides and eat a goddamn hot dog at Hot Spot B. I never got in a fight with anyone there other than my step dad. And I didn’t even put him in the hospital!

Nov 192015
 

Last winter, I suffered through this bizarre episode where everyone around me accidentally had me convinced that Boz Scaggs didn’t exist, but then he started popping everywhere and I felt a small victory. Hats off to the universe for backing me on Boz Scaggs’ existence.

Thank god I often have old people radio stations playing in my bedroom, else I may not have known that Boz was going ON TOUR and that there was a Pittsburgh show! This was less than a week after I got a new succulent and named him Boz Scaggs; not trying to say I’m magic but I’M MAGIC.

I looked up tickets right away and my heart sank a little when I saw that they were pretty expensive — starting at $67. You have to remember that the shows I go to are for relatively small bands and I’m usually paying less than $20 for a ticket.

But you guys — fucking Boz Scaggs. He played a role in my childhood, and 2015 seems to be The Year of Sentimental Shows for me (Mike + the Mechanics, Howard Jones, SNOOP DOGG?!), so I knew that I had to go, and I also knew it meant going alone because we’re not made of money, you guys. I know it’s shocking that my blog isn’t pulling in the big bucks. But then someone bought two paintings from me on Etsy, which equaled the cost of one Boz Scaggs ticket + fees almost down to the cent. If that’s not fate stepping in…

So I was able to splurge and buy a ticket for the center seat in the first row of the balcony (there were no good seats left on the floor, and I prefer the balcony anyway), which is how I wound up spending what might have been an ordinary Sunday evening at the Carnegie Library Music Hall with several hundred of my elder-mates.

I arrived early enough to go to the “bar area” —which is just a table of Barefoot wine varietals  set up in the library— and bought a plastic cup of cheap Zinfandel. I stood alone, laughing to myself, sipping the wine, and texting Henry.

“I am the youngest one here by a very large margin. People are staring at me suspiciously!”

Henry’s response was his famously succinct “LOL.”

There was a teenage girl there with her dad and she looked PISSED.

I wasn’t sure what appropriate “Going to the Boz Scaggs Show” attire consisted of, so I just wore jeans and my favorite Lauren Conrad sweater. I realized immediately that I was just fine with what I was wearing, right smack in the middle of Steelers-sweatshirted Yinzers and over-dressed Big Night Out broads, like this one old woman in a long fur vest who almost fell thanks to the voracity of her seat-dancing during Lowdown, and an old bitch who looked like she was at the fucking opera. Her husband was dressed like he just walked off a yacht to the tune of “What a Fool Believes.” Aging yuppies are amazing to watch.

There were a lot of blazers, loafers, and yes Alyson—a sea of slacks! One woman in her 60s had on a sheer white blouse, and I mean SEE-THRU, with nothing more than a black bra underneath. She was sitting in the front row off to the side, and I sure hope Boz was able to see her from where he stood onstage.

After downing my $5 wine, I made my way upstairs and handed an elderly usher my ticket.

“Oh, this is the BEST seat up here!” he said enthusiastically.

That’s one of the perks of going solo — there’s always that one lone vacancy in the middle of the sold-out seats!

“Don’t throw any of your clothes over the balcony!” he laughed, and then I started cracking up too, at the thought of old ladies throwing bras on stage for Boz.

My seat was right smack in the middle of the first row of the balcony: a perfect view, 100% unadulterated by fat, bobbing heads and wanton usage of cell phones. (However, the Library Music Hall ushers are quick to smack down on recording—pictures are fine, though. This makes me happy, because even though I do love to post Instavids at shows, I can’t stand it when people hold up their phones for the entire show. I like to grab my 15-second clip for sentimental reasons and then shove my phone back in my pocket.)

There was no opener, so I just relaxed in my seat between two sets of old couples and enjoyed the people-watching. I don’t know why, but I expected to see at least one person wearing culottes for some reason and I was really sad when that sighting didn’t happen.

For the record, the only reason I know what culottes are is because my idiot MOM made me wear them in elementary school, because nothing adds to frumpiness like wide-legged knee-length shorts paired with ANKLE SOCKS AND MOCCASSINS, THANKS MOM.

Boz and his band came out a little after 8:00 and the night of blue-eyed soul and soft rock jams. His backing band was incredibly jazzy — there were even a few sax solos! This pleased the old people greatly and much cheering and exploding applause occurred throughout the night.  I was happy for these people to be out enjoying an artist that they loved, instead of wasting away at home, eating liver and onions and watching QVC. I hope that I’m still going to shows when I’m old.

Boz played a lot of stuff from his new album, none of which I knew, but that didn’t make it any less enthralling. I love his voice so much, and that band of his was FIRE. His back-up singer, Monet, was a show-stealer though. Halfway through the set, he said, “This is my favorite part of the night, when I get to introduce the talented Monet. But I just have to tell you: better buckle your seat belts.”

Boz took a step back while Monet blew our faces off with her rendition of “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do).” She can SANG, ya’ll. Every last arthritic body shot up from their seats to give her a standing ovation and I was like, “FUCK YES I was here for that!” Totally following her on Instagram now.

 

Boz played three of my favorites: Lowdown, Lido Shuffle, and motherfucking JOJO, which he prefaced by saying he wrote with David Foster and I got really giddy because I was obsessed with David Foster in the early 90s when he hosted an informercial for something that I no longer remember but I feel like it was some sort of radio or stereo system? Google is not helping me.

Sadly,  “Look What You’ve Done To Me” was not in the set list for Boz’s last show of the tour, and this pains me because I noticed it was played at some of the other shows, ugh. I love that song! There was, however, another slow jam that he played that I didn’t really recognize, but it gave me the “Sitting In Pappap’s Kitchen” feels and I started openly weeping, which should shock no one as I always cry at least once at every show.

(You should have seen me at the Eisley and Copeland show last Friday. Two bands that make me sentimental to begin with, playing on a night that a Paris concert venue was just attacked by terrorists, and then someone gets engaged on stage!? My face was slick.)

Boz ended the last of several encores by 9:45 and said one final good night. I’m not used to getting out of a show so early, but I didn’t mind — now I’d have time to go home and watch The Walking Dead before it got spoiled for me!

***

What a great fucking show. Boz is like, 71 now, so I’m happy that I got the chance to see him. Even though the very next morning, I pulled something in my back when I was brushing my hair! Tell me that’s not a side effect of being immersed in a crowd of grandparents for a whole evening. It still hurts, too, FYI.

We were talking about the show at work and Todd said, “I knew it was real when Glenn said he knew who Boz Scaggs is.” And then Amber was like, “Oh yeah, how was the…..Bose…..Scaggs concert?” She will never be able to say his name right!

Life is so weird. I started the week having water squirted in my face by Beau Bokan at the Blessthefall show, and now I was ending it in what could have been the set of a new Cocoon movie. BOZ SCAGGS BRINGS THE LIFE FORCE.

(Ugh, now I’m thinking about how dreamy Steve Guttenberg is.)