Mar 152016
 

 Alternately titled: Another Dumb Idea!
Last week when I was meandering about town during my lunch break, I kept pausing to either tweet or text Henry about all the perils in my path. You know, like Planned Parenthood protestors, city school kids, an errant paper bag skipping across the pavement. (I COULD TRIP!)

And it made me think about how much more fun it would be to SEND A POSTCARD instead of these electronic means of communication. Like my lunch break is a vacation and oh motherfucker, do I wish you were here. 

Perks: 

-snail mail is never a bad thing and gives the mailman something to read other than Pennysavers and campaign mailings. 

-I love handwriting things and it will give me something other than my name to scribble over and over again at my desk. And let’s be real, I don’t have the time/attention span to write full blown letters. 

-I’ll have something to give Last Mail!

-WHAT A PERSONAL WAY TO STAY IN TOUCH!

If I have your address, don’t be surprised if you get some weird sketch of the Stalker of the Day (I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING MEEEE) or a poem about the trash in the river. 

And if I don’t have your address and you want to get a random post card, email me! Butgavincantdance@gmail.com

I’ll probably also send them to random addresses as well because that’s not creepy it’s sweet. 

I’d like to send one a day and I’ll start as soon as Henrh buys me stamps, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. #HenryProblems

And if you wanna send one back from your own lunch break, PLEASE DO! Postcard frenzy!!

Feb 052016
 

You already know that I’m a horrible mom. I mean, psychologically horrible. I can’t help it! I live and breathe to punk people and no one is easier and more fulfilling to punk than my own kid. And believe me, he gives it back to me! It’s like our thing. We love to fuck with each other.

Off and on over the years, I’ve made loose comments about the man who lives in the attic. The steps to the attic can only be accessed from Chooch’s room, so it’s my way of nudging him down Night Terrors Alley. He’s always just like, “YEAH OK MOMMY” and then we all laugh and go about our day. But lately, it’s been heating up. My response to almost everything has been “manintheattic” and Henry gives me a disappointed look. Like when Chooch had a fever last week and woke up in the middle of night and dressed himself. He was horrified when he woke up because he never goes to bed with a shirt on.

“And now I have on TWO t-shirts?!” he cried, like call up Scully and Mulder, quick.

“Manintheattic,” I half-coughed. “Sometimes he dresses you during the night. You’re like his living baby doll.”

“YEAH RIGHT!” Chooch scoffed, but I could see that there was a tiny glimmer of doubt in his eyes.

The next night, as we all in our respective bedrooms for the night, Chooch made a fake phone number using one of those free text apps and started prank-calling me. I stupidly fell for it too, and I got so nervous when I saw a call coming in from someone with our area code BECAUSE WHO COULD IT BE, WHAT DID I DO NOW!? Then I realized it was the idiot in the next room over. So I made one too and said, “Be quiet down there, I’m trying to sleep.” And then “Good night.”

“You’re a dick,” Henry mumbled into his pillow when I giddily showed him my work.

The other day at work, I decided to create an Instagram account for The Man In the Attic.

Because these are things normal moms do.

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Step 1: Find a good snap of Gary Busey’s mug to use as my user pic.

Step 2: Follow Chooch.

Step 3: Comment on Chooch’s most recent video of the kittens.

“You need to put them in the basement while you’re at school. They’re very disruptive during the day.”

Step 4: Post pictures.

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I was crying at my desk over this while several of my co-workers clucked their tongues and made various remarks about Chooch’s future therapy bill.

“He does it to me, too!” I yelled in defense.

Glenn just shook his head at me and Todd struggled to wrap his head around how anyone thought it would be a good idea to have a child with me.

“My mom used to do this shit to me all the time when I was kid,” I explained during one of our daily “Dissecting Erin’s Childhood” conversations at work.

“Oh,” Todd said, attempting to understand how this was normal.

“I don’t talk  to her anymore, though,” I added as an after thought, and then we all started to laugh, because: family.

“I’m going to pay someone to hide in the attic one night,” I said, and everyone groaned.

***

After work, Henry dropped Chooch off downtown because he and I were going to the Pens game. First, we went to get dinner. Over pizza, Chooch learned of the Man In the Attic’s Instagram account.

At first he was like, “Wait. What. How.” But then his brain kicked on and he said, “Yeah OK, I know this is you.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me see that. Oh my god, this is so creepy!” I exclaimed, scrolling through Instagram on Chooch’s phone.

“Whatever, I know it’s you.”

I kept denying it over and over, and then we went to the game, where me made jokes about how Henry was home alone with the Man In the Attic. I thought everything was good. He knew I made the Instagram account and was able to find some humor in it, life goes on, Pens win, etc etc.

But later that night, after we came home from the game and Henry retired to bed after a long night of staying home doing nothing while Chooch and I screamed our faces off at Consol, Chooch brought up the Instagram account.

“Honestly, this is you, right?”

I couldn’t believe this was coming up again because I was certain he knew it was me. I mean, Chooch is a pretty bright kid!

But the sinister side of me saw this as an opportunity to continue the fun, so I denied it. Over and over and over.

“Chooch, like I have time to do shit like that at work, really!” I said with faux-annoyance.

(LOL, this was the biggest lie I’ve ever told.)

Suddenly, we had a replay of the Doll Episode. He was pissed, and he was also tired: A deadly combination.

He got so angry because I wouldn’t admit to it, that he started sobbing. Like, hands covering his face, body-convulsing sobs.

Since he’s my son, I initially couldn’t tell if he was faking it or not.

Turns out, nope. Thems some real optic-wets right there.

So of course I dropped the gag and hugged him, swearing it was me and apologizing profusely, but he shrugged away from me and shut himself in the kitchen.

When he came out, he spat, “DELETE IT. DELETE THE ACCOUNT.”

I promised I would, and then he retreated up the steps to his bedroom, sniffling and wiping tears with the back of his hand.

I felt like a complete asshole.

“Good for you!” Henry spat with disappointment when I went up to bed later and filled him in. “I’m glad we spent all that money on his new bed, because you’re the one who’s going to be sleeping in it!”

***

The next morning, Chooch was still bitter, but by the time I came home from a day of being scolded for being a terrible mom by my co-workers, Chooch had cooled down. I honestly think that the biggest issue here is that he hates it when I prank him better than he pranks me. But I’m happy to report that Chooch has now accept The Man In the Attic as a part of this household and has even added my newly-created phone number to his contacts as Manin Theattic. One day, we will laugh heartily about this over Christmas picnic in the cemetery with his children. I just can’t help it—I was born with a very dominant Prankster gene. (Or as some might argue—a Bully gene.)

The funniest part about all of this is that I’m the one who’s actually terrified of the attic.

Jan 172016
 

Chooch and I went geocaching last weekend and we are now, together, co-blogging about it. I’m not writing this with my hyperbolic plume either. This experience was particularly blood-boiling, and I have an extremely low boiling point to begin with.

Short-fused. 

Tightly-wound.

Hot-headed.

I’m all of these things. 

Hey its yo boy Chooch, I’m gonna tell you a little things about Geocaching. K, First things first, I learned about Geocaching in school in a book. Geocaching is basically a High-Tech Treasure Hunt Game where you get the app or go on a computer and look for a Gray, Blue, Orange, Light Green, or Dark Green dot and you click on it. It will tell you what the coords are and you just go look for it.

Erin here: I thought he learned about it from YouTube, so I am currently pleasantly surprised.

So I thought there wasn’t much to do, I thought me and mommy could go Geocaching. Daddy didn’t think it would go well, but I did. He said we would kill each other cause’ we’re so competitive. So we went on a Saturday and went to South Park. Because usually there is a lot of Geocaches in the park. As soon as we got there mommy flipped out. Two minutes in she just wanted to go home. I was in the wrong area the whole time.

Erin here: Geocaching with Chooch is terrible because he thinks he knows but HE DOES NOT KNOW. He took us to some area that had an older man like, DIGGING something or someone in the woods and we had to walk near him. That was incredibly unpleasant. Chooch was putzing around with the app and I kept screaming, “AREN’T THERE COORDINATES?! HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHERE TO LOOK?!?!” and we were literally just standing there, walking in tiny circles, staring at the ground and toeing rocks. Chooch isn’t wrong — two minutes in, I completely flipped my lid and screamed (and I mean BELLOWED), “This is fucking ridiculous! I am going THE FUCK HOME!” Volaries of birds burst out of a nearby tree. The man with the shovel was like “…the fuck is that lady’s problem?” and according to Chooch, everybody hated me when this happened.

“Everybody.”

We were in the fucking park in January! There were not many people around!

Except for a biker who said hello to me RIGHT AFTER MY OUTBURST and because I’m a fucking psychopath, I switched on Sweet Erin and jovially bid him a fine afternoon in the fakest fucking baby voice I could muster.

OH, SUCH DEMURE.

Back to Unicorn Chooch: After looking for like… 7 mins or so I was just looking through rocks, and I saw some weird looking rock. I felt the bottom and it was flat. I turned it over and it was a sliding rock cache. I found the cache. We put some inappropriate mommy cards* in there. I mean like the cards she makes. I was so happy. But… I forgot to bring a pen to sign it. So I made mummy go check the car for a pen. No luck.

Me again: When I went to the car, some dumb elderly couple cheerfully said hello to me, as they were getting their idiot bikes out of their minivan. I said, “HI-YEEEEE!” in return and they kind of stepped back a little because I guess I sounded like I was being an asshole. BECAUSE I WAS.

*And he’s talking about my Totally Awesome Blog Cards, thanks!

I just put a card in and went on the app and said I found it. I wrote “Took forever I thought me and my mom would kill each other! My god”

So then mommy wanted to go home but I told her there’s one 0.3 miles away. We walked down a muddy trail next to a golf course. There was a tree tipped over so it was like a tunnel. I wasn’t going off trail I was totes on trail. We got to some torn down outhouse because I thought it was right there but nope. Farther down by a log. I was getting stabbed in the leg by tons of thorns almost dying. Then I tried to climb over a log but fell. I could’ve died. Mummy couldn’t see because she was in some crack. Lol sounds weird.

Me, with anguish: Hello, it was a GORGE and I was trapped in it, OK?

Erin’s turn: Chooch had us going totally off-trail and it was getting late in the afternoon. I felt like I was on some Blair Witch expedition and bitch, I wasn’t dying for no fucking Tupperware container in the woods. And then we get to these decrepit outhouse ruins and I thought for sure we were going to perish. I kept having future visions of tumbling into that hole and getting dragged down into Hell. Because that would be my luck.

So Henry and I used to occasionally go letterboxing back in the day, which was like the pioneer version of geocaching in that it didn’t give you GPS coordinates and you had to rely on good old-fashioned directions to find your booty. Like, turn right by the crushed Michelobe Lite can. The problem with this though is that most of the time, that fucking beer can wasn’t there anymore, you know? However, with this particular cache we were looking for, it said that it was near “an old source of water.” For some reason, Chooch felt that this meant “look for an ancient outhouse and try not to get murdered.”

Spoiler alert: it was not anywhere near the outhouse. Chooch fucking left me there and started scaling some mountain to get back to the trail that we had long-since abandoned and here’s something to add to the Erin Fact Book: I tend to get crippled with fear anytime I’m faced with walking down a steep hill. So it took a good five minutes of me standing millions of yards away from Chooch, screaming, “I CAN’T DO IT! I’M SCARED! WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME!?” before I finally ran at full speed down the hill and then let momentum carry me up the other side of the “crack” as Chooch effectively called it.

I was rewarded by finding the stupid cache literally as soon as I joined Chooch on the other side. I stubbornly spat, “The clue said that it’s by an old source of water and I don’t see AN OLD SOURCE OF WATER” and then a split second later, I said, “Oh, right there” and pointed to a rusty water pump a few feet away.

And let me tell you, all of my homicidal rage completely evaporated and I was suddenly a completely different broad, jumping up and down and screaming, “Yay geocaching!”

So Chooch, back from playing GTA-V: We opened up the cache and put a card in. I took tw bouncy balls and a picture of a cat. I replaced it with the card.

We saw there was a bridge on the way back to the car we completely missed. I walked up really easily but on the way back down mommy cried for help and I was so disappointed in her. I thought she could do it until I told just to jump and she whined even more. Eventually like 24hours later she jumped.

Erin, Terrified of Heights: I WAS HIGH UP THERE, OK!? And I didn’t jump down. I cautiously and slowly scooted down. Anyway, it’s amazing how much my attitude changed after winning at geocaching. I practically skipped the whole way back to the car with a crown of blue birds swirling around my dome. Also, I was completely shocked at how calm and patient Chooch was during our trying times. He never gave up! So there’s one quality he didn’t get from me: the endurance of a champion quitter.

Bootiful horse ass! So cute with the tail and riders! I was like neigh and they were like moo! Then I just started singing The Killers.

That was a fun day maybe we can do it again!

Me: Probably not. Except for right now, since this was how I got Chooch to write on here. Fuck.

Dec 242015
 

At the last minute Monday morning, I bought a ticket to see Polyphia that night at the Smiling Moose. I saw them last year when they opened for Dance Gavin Dance and my heart immediately opened for them. I was never a big fan of prog, but I guess people change. People usually tell me I’m way off base when I make musical comparisons, but maybe my mind is just DIFFERENT ok? So if you asked me, I would tell you that Polyphia reminds me of the grandchildren of Chuck Mangione and Eric Johnson. Do with that what you will.

I’m still picky with this genre though. For instance, we saw Chon—another instrumental band in the same vein and they are actually taking Polyphia on tour with them next year—and while they were audibly pleasant, I was kind of bored.

Polyphia, however, did not bore me when I saw them last year.

Henry likes neither Chon not Polyphia, so this was another solo show for your girl ERK.

When I got to the Smiling Moose after work that night, there were strange vibes from the get-go. I wasn’t drinking that night because I really don’t want to rely on alcohol to help me get past my social anxiety, so that made it even worse because instead of killing time at the bar, I went right on upstairs where Save Us From the Archon were setting up and several small clusters of people were hanging out. Everyone always stops and stares at the girl who walks in alone.

Every time.

And it will never stop being incredibly uncomfortable for me. But…it’s either deal with it or miss a lot of great bands.

It got easier once more people arrived. Like this super tall guy who definitely commanded everyone’s attention so that I could go back to being a wallflower.

I thought he was going to stand in front of me the whole time, but was pleasantly surprised that he had enough concert couth to reposition himself in this one wall pocket near the side of the stage. Hats off to you, guy.

Once SUFTA started playing, my nerves were effectively shushed. This was my third time seeing them, and since they’re a local band, they typically inspire a lot of enthusiasm from the audience. I was really into it until halfway through when these two motherfuckers arrived and stood right in front of me. Look, I get it — these things are bound to happen, but they stood so close in front of me that my breath was making the fuzz sway on the back on the one guy’s peacoat.

And there were plenty of other open areas they could have stood.

AND THEN THEY TALKED THROUGH THE WHOLE THING.

They moved all the way up to the front after SUFTA. They were apparently friends with them and probably thought they were so badass coming to a show straight from their accounting jobs. Fuck those guys.

Whatever, SUFTA was insane as always and made my brain move around like a Rubik’s cube so I can’t be too mad.

In between sets, more people showed up and the front of the stage began to get more crowded. I watched as two docile, unassuming types took stage and got behind their respective drums and guitar.

“Hi guys,” said the guitarist in a fumbly kind of tone. “Our singer couldn’t make it tonight so um, we’re just going to an instrumental set for you.”

To myself, I’m thinking that this makes sense, given SUFTA and Polyphia are both instrumental. So the two guys start playing and it’s admittedly pretty heavy. I mean, my face wasn’t being melted off, but it was definitely more metal than the other bands.

Things were progressing nicely, people were moving around a bit, and then the breakdowns started.

This “oh shit” feeling come over me as the air in the room became pregnant with palpable doom. Amid the rustling in the crowd, I watched as a guy at the front of the stage turned around and charged right at me. “Fuck,” I sighed, bracing myself. But right before impact, he switched directions as though ricocheting off something invisible, and slammed into some guy who was big enough to absorb it without breaking a bone. And thus, the hardcore dancing started.

Moshing doesn’t bother me, but hardcore dancing is fucking obnoxious and dangerous. The Smiling Moose is extremely small, capacity is maybe 150? I’m no capacity expert, so that’s probably way off, but it is approximately the size of my downstairs. The room is as wide as the stage, which isn’t very wide at all. I always stand in the same spot at these shows — right near the front and against a wall. There was a line of us against this wall with no body-buffer on the other side of us. It was the wall, us, and then a bit of an empty space which is where all of the violent dance-spasms were performed.

This is all to say that I had nowhere to go and no one to shield me from the flailing limbs and flying fists.

“I DON’T WANT TO DIE LIKE THIS!” I cried to myself, determined not to let them smell my fear. For the most part, these bros were doing an OK job of not body-slamming me, but there were quite a few sweaty backs I had to forcefully push back into the crowd, a couple of which knocked me off balance but  my friend Wall caught me every time. The kid behind me, bless his heart, protectively placed his hands on my arm a few time, like that was going to do anything to help. I probably would have been better off if Chooch had been behind me!

This went on in spurts. I watched as one of them grabbed the small, young guy in front of me and tossed him onto the floor and that poor guy had a very strong “ANTI-BRUTALITY” aura about him so I felt pretty bad for him. No actual fights broke out at least, even though there were some tense moments when I wasn’t sure. But it would always end with jovial back-slaps and smiles and I just don’t get it, guys.

To each their own, but trying to not break a bone is not my idea of enjoying myself at a show.

For the last song, they called up “Dave” who was going to “help out” on vocals for the set-closer. Dave hadn’t even grabbed the mic yet and I was already gulping. If I had done my due diligence, I would have known that this was a local hardcore metal band called Delusions of Grandeur and I would have known to get in the back, maybe even all the way back to the bathroom, in a stall, crouched down with my head covered.

As soon as Dave emitted his first caterwaul, the meatheads got all riled up again and my “protector” declared that he was about to go fullblown windmill on this one.

And so he did.

And I had nowhere to go.

So I stood my ground, dodging fists and shoving bodies off of me, and then I got punched pretty hard in the arm and thought, “DO NOT CRY! DO NOT CRY! DON’T YOU DARE CRY!” So then I turned my fear into anger and stood my ground, prepared to throw down (I HAVE A TEMPER AND HIDDEN MUSCLES, OK?) while thinking, “I AM TOO OLD FOR THIS!” just as some bald-headed aging hardcore kid came rushing toward the stage from the back and added his own brand of nosebleed-waiting-to-happen dance moved. And this guy was easily Henry’s age.

But I did it! I endured their set without getting slaughtered and no one pulled my hair, which probably actually would have made me cry.

I hate having my hair pulled.

Just don’t touch my hair ever.

I briefly exchanged words with the drummer afterward as he was trying to push all of their gear into one of the wall pockets and I just couldn’t get over how this fucking nerdy little guy was in a band that incited such terror and aggression.

And then, for whatever reason, Polyphia ended up playing next, swapping spots with the fourth band in the line up and I had no problem with this, because my night was essentially done after being pummeled by flying flesh bags.

But Polyphia’s set was peaceful, beautiful, and worth the danger. I was glad that I fought to keep my spot because they are majestic to watch.

This guy especially:

I can’t remember the last time I saw such a perfect human being in person, but his face literally took my breath my away and I AM NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL. He was like some kind of angel and I had to keep rolling my tongue back into my mouth.

Peril aside, I left there loving Polyphia even more. There set was really short, adding to the weird vibes theme of the night. Everything about this night was off! But there was peace for Polyphia’s set and my adrenaline had finally reached A Normal Day levels by the time I left The Smiling Moose. And by “left,” I mean “pushed people out of my way, tried not to fall down the steps, and then burst through the door to reach that place where I was no longer surrounded by assholes.”

“There goes one of my assailants,” I texted Henry while waiting on a side street for him to pick me up. When I got in the car, smudged mascara and hair askew, Henry and Chooch just rolled their eyes at me. I felt like a new person.

A person who had just been picked up FROM PRISON.

***

The next day, I was telling my work friends about the night’s events which had turned into “I had to push some people off me and I got punched” to “I ALMOST DIED YOU GUYS!” Then we all watched this video together and Amber2 delightfully read out loud a sampling of the lyrics.

“Maybe it’s time for you to hang it up,” Glenn mumbled.

“YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH!” I cried.

At first, I was like, “I like heavy shit but this just isn’t for me.” But the more I watch this video, the more I actually like it. Just next time, I’ll stand far away. Or outside. Someone can Periscope that shit for me.

Dec 202015
 

We bought Chooch a loft bed thing from IKEA and are spending today assembling it while Chooch is at Judy’s, so like a pre-Xmas surprise I guess.

If you’ve ever had to work with me on anything before, you probably know that I’m fragile and prefer to collapse in a listless heap on a fainting couch rather than actually involve my hands in any actual labor. But the IKEA instructions said that Henry needed a helper:


“Considering you’re the second person, I’d be better off doing this alone,” Henry sighed, four new gray hairs sprouting along his temple.

Mostly I have just been sitting here, except for when I stand up to perform kickboxing moves to Icarus the Owl or Henry forces me to help him carry parts up from the living room to alleviate all the trips he would have to take on his own.


“Do you enjoy doing these things?” I asked him.

“It doesn’t matter,” he mumbled almost inaudibly. Then he dropped the 50-page instruction booklet next to me and I just let it sit there until he picked it up himself.  

“A real man would have cut down a tree and built his own loft bed,” I pointed out as Henry used one of the wussy IKEA-approved tools to tighten a bolt or nut or acorn. His response was to just stare at me with steely orbitals of ire.


“WHY U TRYNA GET ON MY LEVEL?!” I cried overzealously when he got down on the floor. He grimaced at me in response.

Later, he dropped a piece of the frame and I screamed, and I mean SCREAMED, “Nice one!” He’s trying to blame me for it, something about how it was one of the pieces I brought upstairs and I allegedly leaned it against the wall with the rounded end on the ground, OH OK professional bed builder.

I wish you guys would have been here when he declared, “I know one thing’s for sure: it is fucking hot in here” and I screamed, “TAKE IT OFF!” while firing up the instavid but he went in the bathroom so I couldn’t record him stripping.


Now he’s bitching at me because I’m supposed to be holding this thing but instead I’m standing here blogging on my phone.

“It’s cold. I want to make coffee,” I groaned.

“JUST HOLD THIS FOR A SECOND AND THEN IDGAF WHAT YOU FUCKING DO AFTER THAT, YOU CAN LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK I DONT CARE! I KNOW YOURE NOT MUCH HELP BUT I NEED YOU TO JUST TRY FOR A SECOND.”

Wow just wow.

Then after half-heartedly holding a thing while Henry screwed some stuff into it, I was dismissed.

“K, I’m gonna go make coffee. Do you want anything, bae?” I asked, not able to finish without cracking up.

“Yeah, water,” he growled in his hushed action-hero tone.

“SERIOUSLY?! I was just kidding! Ugh, God!” I yelled, and he gave me A Look overtop of his glasses. So I guess now I have to get him water. This is fucking ridiculous.


I made the mistake of coming back upstairs and he asked me WHILE I HAD CRACKERS IN MY HAND to move things for him?! So I moved one of the four things while mouthing off and then quit so he had to GOD FORBID lift a fucking finger and do the rest himself. Cry him a river, ladies and gentlemen!

First mistake of the day: Henry realized he put a piece on backward and is swearing like he just lost a limb in ‘Nam. “Cant you just take it off?” I asked and he considered this before calmly saying, “Yes, I can take it off.” So now he is taking it off and I wonder why this was worth yelling about but then I remember that not everyone is as calm and even-keeled as me.

Henry’s a fucking IKEA savage.

Ron Swanson would definitely not approve of this.


But most importantly, I have coffee now.

Henry just took that piece off and now is all confused so I suggested that he just call the IKEA hotline and he is very offended.

“IM GONNA TELL YOU WHAT!!!!” Henry snapped at me.

“GO AHEAD, TELL ME!!!” I sassed right back because Henry is like the funniest thing ever when he’s angry.

“Pick that side up and turn it,” Henry instructed.

“Which way?”

“that way.”

“WHICH way?”

“THAT way.”

“WHICH WAY?!?!”

“THAT WAY!!!!!!!” Henry shouted, having to drop his end of the plank so that he could point since I’m not fluent in head motions.

Oh for Christ’s sake, if there had been a video of us trying to lift this huge piece onto the top of the frame, I’d have to retire from the Internet because it was fucking chaos and off-the-charts in annoyance levels. It was just me screaming like Pee Wee Herman and Henry yelling “I HAVE THE WEIGHT OF IT, YOURE JUST GUIDING IT!” And then when I asked if I could let go, it was all, “FOR CHRISTS SAKE, DO NOT LET GO!!”

But I thought he had the weight of it?!?!

“That’s ok. I don’t need my back anyway,” he just muttered as I fled the scene.


I helped pick that thing up, no big deal.

It’s about 3 hours in and I excused myself to walk to CVS and buy a bag of Christmas bows to eventually stick all over the thing if it ever gets done. That has been the only thing I could handle today, plus I needed some air after I MAYBE POSSIBLY inhaled asbestos, which caused Henry to get all up in arms because he is evidently the resident asbestos expert and claims there’s “no way” that I “swallowed asbestos” so now I really hope that I did.

I wore my crochet TOMS on my walk because I forgot that it’s winter so now I’m pretty sure I have the flu.

But in any case, I’m back and ready to (not) help Henry. He just dropped something that sent things scattering across the floor and when I screamed WHAT DID YOU DO HENRY he snidely said, “Nothing.” Ugh fuck off.

Henry has spent the last hour without a hammer because he somehow “lost it.” Every five minutes or so he mumbles, “This would be a lot easier with a hammer” so I said, “It’s right there” and then when he turned around excitedly, I yelled, “MADE YOU LOOK!!” Oh shit, he fell for it. The oldest trick in the book!

“When I find it, I’m going to hit with you it,” he snapped. TAKE NOTE, INTERNET. If I ever disappear, it’s because Henry is a short-fused brute.


BRUTE WITH A LADDER.

Also, we just learned that we have to get a new light fixture now because the ceiling fan is in the way. We really put a lot of thought into this.

I was mocking Henry and ended it with a full-fledged theatrical vocal gag and, around the pencil he has between his lips, Henry said, “The only time I want to hear you make that sound is…..when you’re choking on water.”

OH GOOD ONE.


Henry’s face when he told me to move and I said no.

Well, we took a 30-minute break to run the van back to Henry’s work and for me to listen to Dance Gavin Dance songs super loud in the car, but don’t worry—we’re back at it! Supposedly he’s “almost done” and then I get the burdensome task of trying to rearrange all the crap in this junkyard of a bedroom.

If we had done this last Sunday like I originally wanted, we’d be done by now. JUST A THOUGHT.


Talking to himself while thumbing through the instructions and making me hold a thing while I’m blogging with one hand because SKILLS.

“Ew, there’s a spider on this!” I cried.

“Yeah, it’s been there,” Henry calmly answered.

“EW DID IT COME WITH THE BED?!” I asked, like IKEA was like “Thanks for choosing IKEA here’s a Swedish spider.”

“No, hand me the screwdriver,” Henry muttered.

An hour later and Henry is working on the drawers and I’m on “clean-up” duty which really sucks but look at what I did all on my own!!!

Here’s the view from inside, IM JEALOUS:


But then I climbed the ladder to make his bed and never mind. Not jealous. Omg heights.

Meanwhile, Henry is in our bedroom putting the drawers together while I finish decorating. THIS IS CALLED WORKING INDEPENDENTLY OF EACH OTHER.



Henry: why do you keep taking pictures of me.

Me: because this is going on my blog…?

Like why does he even ask I don’t get it.


HENRY WATCH YOUR HEAD, BAE.

“It’s a good thing Lisa and I canceled our plans today,” I mused. I was supposed to go to her house this afternoon so she could help me out on the Jamberrys that have laid around my house for like a year because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly and I can’t dooooooooo it.

Henry grumbled, “I’m sure I could have done it without you.”

EW!!! NO CHILL!!!

Although I will say that Henry looks kind of cute with his baseball cap on backward. Ugh.


“I can’t wait for you to read this,” I giggled.

“Yeah. And I can’t wait to be mad at you all over again.”


YESSSSSS this is the part I’ve been waiting for! To stuff Doll in a drawer! We’re done! Now Henry can go bring Chooch  home and I can start drawing up the FREE NINE-YEAR-OLD craigslist ad in case he doesn’t act grateful enough!

Henry just called me from the car to see if I wanted him to get me food and now we’re fighting over who ate less today on account of IKEA sucking. He only ate an egg sandwich and caramel creams so I hung up on him before he could figure out that he won.

And now, seven hours later:

Well guys, Chooch is home and I would say that it’s a success!

Dec 172015
 

Gayle forgot my birthday. Because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, I basically turned this into a huge scandal at work and made sure everyone* knew that Gayle was horrible and generally the worst.

*(OK, like 4 people. I’m pretty sure most everyone else tunes me out. I know I would if I could.)

Gayle’s self-appointed penance was to gift me with an unbirthday present on the 30th of every month, starting last August.  Wendy and Henry were absolutely appalled that I would let Gayle lavish me with gifts for no reason.

NO REASON?! Oh there’s reason.  Each gift is a ring on the ladder back up to my good graces.

Don’t worry, everyone on Team Erin Is Spoiled – Gayle is only spending a buck or two on each unbirthday gift; but I gotta tell you—she’s been doing a great job. I’ve loved all of my unbirthday gifts, but there has been one so far that really caused a commotion at work due to the fact that it’s CREEPY AND JARRING AS FUCK:

Gayle found this doll at a flea market and promptly deaded it up. A lot of my co-workers were alarmed by this, but I knew that it was going to get along just fine in my house. Because before I even brought it home, I knew that it was going to help me harass the fuck out of my kid.

I mean, it’s not that Chooch is a crybaby, per se, but does get scared pretty easily. So that night, I waited for Chooch to fall asleep and then I placed Doll on his pillow so that when he woke up, GOOD MORNING HERE’S DOLL, STRAIGHT OUTTA THE COAL MINE.

He wasn’t pleased with me at all, and promptly delivered Doll back to my room. And that’s how the game started. We just keep hiding it in each others’ room, and sometimes Henry even gets involved and hides Doll in places I can’t reach, and then Chooch gets all angry and starts screaming me when he wakes up and sees Doll staring down at him from the corner of his ceiling and I’m just like, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS THINK IT’S ME!? DADDY DOES SHIT TOO” and then Chooch just scoffs and says, “Yeah, like Daddy knows how to have fun.”

I hid Doll halfway under his bed one day when he was downstairs and then posted this picture on Chooch’s Instagram:

I love my BaByDoLl!!!!

A photo posted by Riley (@butt_jam) on

He was SO ANGRY. Fuck, it feels good to be a parent sometimes.

One night last week, Chooch found Doll in his room but left her on his dresser. Before he had a chance to hide her in my room, I snatched her and stuffed her inside his backpack. Later that night, he went upstairs and noticed that Doll was gone. First, he was pissed because it was his turn to hide Doll, but then that was quickly replaced with Fear when he couldn’t find Doll as quickly as he had previously.

We were sitting together on the couch that night; he was making me watch Christmas with the Cranks on Netflix and it was starting to get pretty late. As in: Bedtime late. Every couple of minutes, he would say, “No seriously, tell me where you put Doll.” And I would just ignore him because I was too busy CRYING because that idiotic movie had some supposedly “feel good” moments and I kept yelling, “THIS IS WHY I HATE XMAS MOVIES, IDIOT!”

So then because I was crying, Chooch started to cry. That’s how we are, we feed off each others’ tears. I’m almost positive that he was faking it at first. He is so fucking good at fake-crying and I have no idea where he gets that because it’s certainly not from his mom whose family always told her that she should get a role on Days of Our Lives because she could turn on the tears with all the best sociopaths. So I’m crying because of Christmas movies, and he’s crying for fun, but then suddenly he’s CLUTCHING MY ARM and earnestly begging me to tell him where Doll is. There was panic in his eyes. I momentarily felt sorry for him and considered telling him, but no. This was fun.

A little psychological torture never hurt anyone.

(That’s probably inaccurate.)

I guess it was because it was almost time for him to go to bed and the thought that Doll was out there somewhere was seriously making him crack.

He stormed off up the steps and I could hear him slamming drawers and gurgling on his tears. And then, as he came tearing back down the steps, I jumped out and scared him. Internet, if there had been a sharp object within arms reach of him, I probably wouldn’t be typing this right now, as I lay in a hole, surrounded by that fresh new-coffin scent.

Which, you know, I wouldn’t able to smell on account of BEING DEAD.

My original end-game for Doll In Backpack was that he would get to school and find her when he was putting shit in his locker, and then he would even more shocked and startled because school would be the last place he’s expect Doll to pop up. But after watching him have what appeared to be some type of emotional breakdown, I was afraid that this would totally push him over the edge and then I would be getting a phone call from the school and CPS.

And I really loathe phone calls.

So instead,  I waited until morning and coaxed him into opening his backpack before he left the house. He was looking for his pencil case anyway, and I kept saying, “HMMM MAYBE CHECK YOUR BACKPACK” and he was like, “No, I checked  yesterday and it wasn’t there.”

“Well, check again. I think Daddy put the pencil case in there,” I said in the strained tone of a person hiding a thing.

So Chooch unzipped one of the front pouches.

“No. Like, look in the main part,” I stressed again.

“I know it’s not in there because I already checked last night!” he said stubbornly and I was about to just rip the fucking thing open myself, but then he finally opened it himself and was SO FUCKING PISSED when his fingers closed around Doll’s burnt locks. I actually have a video of his discovery but god forbid I post it here since he SWEARS and my child is supposed to be PERFECT since I’m a mom who blogs.

Doll has been laying low for the last week because I have several plans for her on the horizon, and you know what fortune cookies and people who are into idioms say: Out of sight, out of mind.

This is more fun than when he was three and I had an app that would put ghosts in pictures, so he was convinced that a little Victorian ghost girl was haunting him because he just happened to be IN EVERY PICTURE I took of him, and only him.

Thank you, Gayle! This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Dec 122015
 

Sometime back in October, I had on my Eavesdropping Cap and overheard Glenn’s work bro inviting Glenn to his Halloween party. “OMG I guess the Feud is officially over then!” I excitedly thought, because it had been AWHILE since he’s popped on over to monotone it up with Glenn. I guess my lunch date plan really did work after all!

Once Glenn left for the day, I giddily chatted with Todd and The Processor Formerly Known As Amber2 about it. I had it in my head that Work Bro’s soirees are like vintage key parties of yore so I started sending Todd and Amber pictures of people with stiff posture and fake smiles standing around gelatin castles and Velveeta-filled fondue pots. Then I started looking at gross Betty Crocker party food pictures, because I have hobbies.

Around this same time, my friend Kate posted a vintage recipe on Facebook for these curious things called Carnival Creams:

I was at once repulsed and intrigued. Ketchup in a dessert!? I love Ketchup and I love desserts, but…

Still, I couldn’t get this out of my head and decided that I needed to try it. This recipe paired with my imagination churning out visions of square Halloween parties made me realize that not only did I need Henry to make these, but he needed to make these for an audience. I needed to have a vintage food party and make other people bring disgusting nostalgia eats as well.

“It’ll just be a small thing!” I promised Henry. “Not a full-blown party. It won’t be stressful!” And he just closed his eyes, sighed, and mumbled, “What do I have to make?”

I wanted him to make like eleventy other disgustingly atomic abominations developed for bomb shelter supper clubs, but he was like, “I AM NOT MAKING FOOD THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO EAT THAT IS WASTEFUL ERIN” so I had to try and find things that were gross but possibly edible, so tomato aspic (decorated with crawfish heads) and jellied chicken salad were out of the running. We settled on the Party Potato Salad below, because at least the inside would be edible.

The party was Saturday, December 5th and Henry did that thing that he always does where he left me alone at the last minute so I had to CLEAN BY MYSELF. Actually, I only had to straighten up the living room but I hate “straightening up” because it doesn’t fit my crooked lifestyle. Luckily, there was an early Penguins game on so that helped me make it through.

This picture has nothing to do with the party, but I took it while I was waiting for Henry and Chooch to return from picking up Blake and his friend Aaron. But this post is just about the food, so we’ll get to the people later.

Turns out, Carnival Creams aren’t that bad! I mean, you can taste the Ketchup. I won’t pretend like you can’t. But somehow, it works. The texture was similar to ice cream, and the almond and maraschino cherry bits on top really added a new dimension to it. Henry even had the forethought to buy pasteurized eggs so no one would get sick and die!

And then he used that topic as an opportunity to brag during the party about how he does, in fact, know how to pasteurize an egg on his own. OK Farmhand Henry. Go back to the barn.

Hilariously, the next day, my sister Amy commented on Facebook and said, “Those were bomb!” and then Lisa called me to tell me, “I can’t get over how good those Ketchup things ended up being” and then at work on Monday, Wendy was like, “I can’t stop thinking about those Ketchup things!” and I was like “INORITE?!” I’m so happy that they ended up stealing the show since the whole party was planned around them!

Guys, I “designed” those radishes! Henry was supposed to buy snap peas for me to make leaves and stems but he didn’t so, floating flowers it is.

The potato salad was literally preserved beneath of gleaming skin of mayo and gelatin. Get yo’ gag reflexes ready, party people!

And I did the pineapple too! I had to touch pearl onions a million times and it was disgusting. I was excited to bring in some of my succulents off the window sills because several of them are potted in perfect Goodwill nostalgia finds, especially Ted NUDEgent up there.

None of my parties are complete without at least one punch variety and this one especially would be a failure without one. I knew whatever punch I decided on would have to have sherbet in it. I settled for a lime sherbet with champagne and other crap, and it was a real crowd-pleaser! I barely had a chance to take a picture of it before Aaron was diving in. He and Blake came over about an hour before the party started, so he was getting pretty antsy for Punch Time. ME TOO, BRO. Parties stress me out.

Until I get sloppy.

Aunt Ethel just seemed like a good vintage name.

That cat food-looking shit in the upper left was Henry’s very own idea: deviled ham. “What? People ate this shit all the time back then,” he said as he plopped it onto the plate.

And that Jello salad up there was brought by Angie. It didn’t stand a chance once people discovered what it was: strawberry Jello pretzel salad. This is like a staple at Pittsburgh cookouts, plus it’s vintage-y too, so everyone was happy that there was at least one thing that wouldn’t haunt their dreams that night.

I MADE THESE! They’re vienna sausages with a generous dollop of Easy Cheese on top. I think Blake and Aaron were the only people eating those.

Wendy wouldn’t make the jellied chicken salad I sent her, courtesy of Octavia who I desperately wished lived close enough to attend, and instead brought something more on her skill level: salami wrapped around a cream cheese and horseradish filling. I hear they were a hit, though!

“You can’t go wrong with cream cheese,” Wendy said, and I would have to agree with that.

Kara, bless her heart, substituted soysage for the hotdogs that her Polka-Dotted Mac n Cheese called for. IT WAS DIVINE!

Chris and Monica made a Prosecco berry gelatin in a Han Solo mold and it was delicious. Aaron, the self-appointed food critic of the night, was really impressed with it. “Did you learn how to make this in France?” he asked incredulously.

“No, Pinterest,” Chris laughed. This was the point of the night where I deemed Aaron to be my favorite person in the whole world, and then Monica sadly said, “Well, Chris, let’s go home.” JUST KIDDING, THEY’RE STILL MY FAVORITES TOO!

I wasn’t able to get a picture of Lisa’s lime Jello salad before it was attacked, but it was the perfect color for this particular party, and I was really pleased with its addition to the table.

Stupidly not-pictured: The cheeseballs my sister Amy made (so good!) and Janna’s fondue pot that we thought she had left unattended with oil simmering in it, but it turned out it was beer because she was making BEER CHEESE, fuck yes. You can’t have a vintage snack attack party without a fondue pot, so Janna was like the unsung hero of the night.

(That originally said “herp” instead of “hero” and it took everything I had inside me to not leave it that way.)

OK, I’m splitting this into two parts because otherwise: picture overload. But what else is new. Next post: PEOPLE EATING FOOD.

(And no, my blog isn’t fixed. I have to put pictures on here the old-fashioned way which I forgot how to do so Henry had to do it for me. He has to call WordPress today because they haven’t been able to figure out what the problem is, so I told him to tell them I’m going to SUE THEM and he was like, “Yes, because that will make them really want to help us fix this.” And it’s funny because I’m sure whatever broke my blog is something that I did all on my own, because this isn’t some widespread WordPress epidemic.)

Nov 202015
 

“I think I need therapy,” I said in lieu of normal morning salutations.

“Well…yeah,” Glenn said, implying that this was the most obvious statement.

“No seriously, I’m so paranoid anymore that I feel like I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Take this morning on the trolley, for instance…” and then I told him the story of the guy in front of me, this white thug-looking dude with a neck tattoo and all dressed up in a gray sweatsuit, who had two metal stick things that I went back and forth between thinking was either a part of a gun or a fishing rod. One of the sticks had rings on it, so who knows.

But he was doing stuff with them, prepping them, I don’t know. And at one point he was doing something with … Thread? String?

I’ve been like this, moderately-so, for probably the last 10 years, but lately the DANGER WILL ROBINSON portion of my brain seems to be usurping whatever dying area of rationality is left up in that dusty cavern and I’m controlled by wild flights of fancy and panic-inducing paranoia. My senses are particularly heightened while I’m downtown, and at least once a week I’m convinced that the person walking beside me has a bomb detonator in his hand, or the man with the casual stride behind me is a serial killer, or the tired man on the trolley is going to stab me and ruin my favorite sweater. (OK, that last one was a valid concern, you have to admit!)

This happens at home too. Let’s never forget the time I freaked out when an old man was knocking on my door because I thought he was a zombie.

There have been times I’ve come back to work from my lunch break early because things just didn’t feel right out there, like two days ago when I was on the phone with Henry and started to walk past this one building but a well-dressed man, standing alone near the entrance, sternly said  to me, “Ma’am, you can’t walk over here” and sent me packing to the other side of the street. I described the scene to Henry, who remained calm and unflappable.

“Maybe he just doesn’t like you,” Henry reasoned, but he did the same thing to the man in front of me!

Once I crossed the street, I pretty much ran as fast as I could because I was convinced that there was A Situation unfolding inside the building and that the man who yelled at me was SECRET SERVICE. He was dressed like he could have been, OK!? And he was staring up at the building like he was waiting for something to happen, and that’s when I noticed that one of the windows WAS OPEN!? I was actually on my way to the Point when this happened, and after that, I changed my mind because if something was going down in this building, I didn’t want to be trapped with the RIVER on three sides of me.

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I went back to work, out of breath, and relayed my latest precarious situation to Todd and Glenn, who each answered with various versions of “You make this shit up.” And after I told them what building it was, I admitted that I only knew that because I sent Henry a picture of it so he could tell me.

“That’s the only believable part of the story,” Glenn said in his Yelp review of the most recent visit to Erin’s Delusion Theater.

Anyway, back to yesterday.

I texted Henry about the morning’s scene and he was like, “OK?” And then “You watch too much Homeland.” I wasn’t satisfied with his response, so I called him later that day on my break so that I could try to better paint the picture for him.

“COULD THAT HAVE BEEN A FISHING ROD MAYBE?!” I asked him, near-hysterics, praying that he would say yes and that I hadn’t been sitting in such close proximity to military-grade weaponry. “THE ONE METAL STICK THING HAD HOOP-THINGS ON IT!” It looked like it could have been that thing that stick down the barrel of shotguns. WHATEVER THAT THING IS. He had two of them!!

Henry considered this. “I guess it’s possible….” he said with little conviction, and then started asking me questions, like what color it was, and if it could have been fiberglass, etc.

“I DON’T KNOW! I’VE ONLY EVER SEEN CARTOON FISHING RODS!” I cried, and then Henry was pretty much done with the conversation by then, plus I was standing near all of the smokers and they were starting to notice my conversation at this point, so I figured it was time to say goodbye.

The most alarming part to me is that no one else on the trolley seemed to care that this guy looked shady as fuck and was taking up TWO SEATS with his backpack and SUSPICIOUS RODS. Never trust a motherfucker who needs TWO SEATS on public transportation.

I went back to work and tried to resurrect this topic because, like I said, I think I need therapy and spreading my conspiracy theories around the department is the closest thing I’ve got to that right now.

“Well, I haven’t heard anything about a mass fishing rod murder, so you’re probably safe,” Glenn sighed, and it was clear that he was done talking about it, too.

***

This blog post is brought to you by Google searches of “fishing rods” and “metal things that stick inside guns.”

ETA: My friend Regina has informed me that I was correct to assume that dangerous things were happening at that building because WINDOWS ARE FALLING OUT. She assured me that I wasn’t just being delusional. I told Todd and he was like, “Wow! I was really sure that you were just over-dramatizing the situation, but it actually is dangerous!”

SEE!?

Nov 102015
 

IMG_9800

 

Pascal wouldn’t give Pancho money for ice cream. Mother gave him five whole dollars and said to make sure his brother got an ice cream, but Pascal spent it all on a candle for his dumb girlfriend who stunk like PSLs and was real frangible, Pascal said. She spent hours carving her face and Pancho thought she looked hideous. Pancho hated her. Peg. What a dumb name.

Pancho really wanted a motherfucking ice cream, and what made Pascal the fugleman of frosty funds? Pancho hated Pascal even more than he hated Peg and her silicon chest-gourds.

Everyone knew they were fake!

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“And stop carrying that ax around everywhere. No one is scared!” Pascal sneered at Pancho. “Everyone knows it’s fake!” Just like Peg’s pepos, Pancho thought quietly to himself. “Mother bought it at the Halloween store for $8!”

Pascal was wrong though. Unlike Peg’s synthetic jugs, his ax was real. He swapped it out with Farmer Picklepecker’s real like battle ax last week after Pascal made fun of him for carrying around a baby’s weapon. What are you gonna kill with that thing? Stink bugs? The pimples on your back? Pascal yelled across the playground one day, when Pancho was talking to his crush, Pepper.

Pepper laughed so hard, it was all Pancho could hear in his head, like sheets of metal shaking against his ears. She laughed and laughed and laughed until she was nothing more but a bad memory stuffed inside a dumpster with rotted meat and cat shit.

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Pancho grudgingly followed Pascal home along the river. It was getting late and Mother would be expecting them to set the mannequins up near the window; ever since Pa ran off with the Bulgarian gymnast coach, Mother liked the neighbors to think that the house was full of friends and livelihood, as if she wasn’t eating her weight in beer nuts and watching DVRd recordings of Family Feud, and not even the good ones with Richard Dawson, but that shitty Steve Harvey garbage.

Hearing the river whooshing below them, Pancho considered pushing Pascal into it, but Pascal caught on quickly; his rounded eye-cuts made for exceptional peripheral peering and his reflexes were on point.

“I’ll rip your stem off!” Pascal laughed.

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“You’re such a dumb baby. Dear Diary, my brother wouldn’t buy me ice cream today. I am a big cry baby. I am going to stick my pacifier in my mouth now.” Pascal laughed at his own stupid joke and Pancho started to cry.

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“I’m going to tell Mother on you!” Pancho whimpered.

“Oh no, please don’t tell MOTHER on me,” Pascal begged, dragging down his voice with theatrical whines.

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Pascal’s mocking tone took Pancho back to a time when Mother bought him a new doll for Christmas, the kind with human heads and long flaxen hair.

The kind that Pancho would tattoo with Mother’s simmering cigarette butts.

The kind that Pancho would decapitate with Mother’s pinking shears.

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And then Pancho drifted off into a sanguinary gapeseed as Pascal’s needling taunts and baby-talked derision faded away until it blended with the birds above and the blood crashing against the inside of his head.

And then—-

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Static.

[Alternately titled: Bored during my lunch break when it’s raining and there’s nowhere else to go but sit at my idiotic desk.]

Sep 182015
 

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So, this tour was announced yesterday and it’s a dream and a nightmare all at once. Slaves is Jonny Craig’s current band and I have been boycotting them for over a year now because GIRL POWER, etc. But….Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, AND Strawberry Girls all on one tour? (Strawberry Girl’s is Zach Garron’s band, and he also used to be in DGD).

When I first saw this yesterday at work, I almost fell out of my chair. Then I shoved my phone in Todd’s face and said, “TODD. LOOK. OMG UGH.” And Todd was like, “Oh shit! What ever will you do?” because poor Todd knows all about the Jonny Craig Conflict since he has to sit near me now. So I texted Henry who was just like “LOL” because not only is it Jonny Craig, but it’s also a show that will require us driving to Cleveland on a work night.

But then Chooch said he wants to go, too. “We just won’t pay attention to Slaves,” he said with a shrug. Like, duh. Just ignore them! We’ll stick our fingers in our ears and yell “lalala”!

Anyway, Kurt Travis posted on Facebook that in addition to singing with ALLB,  he’ll be coming out and doing some of his old songs with DGD, which makes me believe that Jonny will be doing the same, since this is a 10th anniversary tour, and you guys know that DGD is in my Top 5 favorite bands of all time.

I’m so conflicted!

I actually sat here and cried about it this morning because will I be a hypocrite if I go? I don’t want Jonny to get a single cent of my money, but I also really don’t miss seeing DGD (they were just here in August on the All Stars tour and I skipped it because I didn’t care for any of the other bands, it was right after we came home from vacation, and I didn’t want to spend $30 to see one band play for 45 minutes. I figured I’d just wait for their next headlining tour…Sigh.

So I called Henry and before I said anything, I blurted out, “OK I know you’re going to say no, but…” and then I told him about the Kurt Travis thing and what if he sings Happiness with them?! I have never heard that song live! And Henry said, “Well, I guess I can’t say no, then can I?”

OH MY GOD.

I might have a heart attack.

I really don’t want to deal with Jonny Craig, but this is an opportunity that I really feel like I can’t pass up because it’s DGD and ALLB, and there’s always the strong possibility that Jonny will do something fucked up between now and then to get himself kicked off the tour. (Also, it’s fucked that Slaves gets top billing over ALLB, but whatever.)

OK, that’s all. Thank you for walking down Freak Out Alley with me.

 

Aug 082015
 

One of the things I really wanted to do while in Williamsburg was go on a ghost tour. I mean, you can only watch Colonial actors perform Colonial acts so many times, if at all. You know? (Actually, aside from walking down the main street in the sweltering heat, looking for ginger cakes, we opted out of the Colonial exhibits. As I mentioned previously, we were given tickets for that shit from our resort, but we exchanged them for Busch Gardens tickets instead, because we ain’t be needin’ no history on this vacashun.)

When I told Henry about the ghost tour, he was like, “……”

And then when I was like, “Well, we’re doing it,” he was like, “………………………………”

And then when I was like, “I paid $4 extra a person for the EXTREME version,” he was like, “Oh for fuck’s sake, Erin.”

We left a little bit early so that we could go to this peanut shop we saw the day before, because Henry and I are what you might call “peanut connoisseurs,” in that we often like to partake in the mastication of groundnuts. For example, right now I’m at work, eating a small cupful of peanuts that I cribbed from another part of the department. (Yes, I’m still a snack stealer.)

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Chooch wasn’t feeling it.

Then we visited some some large tourist trap of a shop full of moccasins, souvenirs, and bacon-flavored everything. Basically, an “outpost” stuffed with shit no one really needs. They put a fluorescent vintage VW minivan thing out from and a giant bear to sit on in order to lure people in. It works.

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Chooch desperately wanted a pen that looked like a rifle, and of course it was basically glowing in neon letters WILLIAMSBURG! CIVIL WAR! HISTORY! MORE THAN JUST A PEN! It was only $5 or something but Tight Wad Hank was like, “NO” which made Chooch sad, and I have to hand it that kid: he wasn’t being too spoiled so far. Sure, he was asking for everything, but 99% of the time, once we said, he moved on.

Except with this pen. He like, needed this pen. His heart was aching for it. So I gave him money to buy it and then told Henry to go fuck himself, basically. Henry just batted at the air with his blue-collared hand and walked away, leaving me to stand in line at the checkout with Chooch, who was getting really tired of thanking every old woman who stopped to tell him they liked his hair. THEN DYE IT BACK ALREADY!

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We came outside just in time to catch the tail end of Henry taking a picture for two broads who were also drawn off the road by the prospect of sitting on some fake bear’s crotch.

“Hyuk, hyuk, you’re welcome!” Henry was saying after he handed the phone back to them. Of course, Chooch saw right through this ruse and knew immediately that Henry probably had programmed his number into the phone and is by now deep in the throes of an affair. And that’s fine, because Henry’s not my type, anyway.

(Please see: must wear fitted flannels and beanies, be known to attend a Thrice or Circa Survive show BY CHOICE, neck/hand tattoos, preferably in a band.)

I bought our idiot tickets online rather than going to the “general store,” wherever the fuck that is, so once we got back down to Colonial Williamsburg, we walked straight to Bruton Parish, which is where the website said we should all plan on meeting. Since we were already there once that day, I felt less like a tourist since I knew right where to go. (It also helped that it was on the main drag.) Gradually, more and more people started popping up and I was getting angry. How were we going to get the full experience with so many motherfuckers who had the same idiotic idea as us (me)?!

A family of four plopped their asses down near us and naturally, the mom started moving her lips in the shape of small talk; why. Why why why why. Go talk  to your own family!  Henry of course was standing further away with his face firmly planted in his phone, so no one bothered him. This broad was even talking to people who were just passing by. Like, lay off lady!

“What makes this ‘extreme’?” Henry eventually broke down and asked.

“I don’t know, it just says it starts at 9:00* and there’s equipment involved,” I verbally shrugged.

*(Good old 9:00PM. SOME SAY it was the runner-up for the Witching Hour.)

Sometime after 9, some broad from the ghost tour office arrived and started collecting tickets and, thank god, dividing the now-sizeable crowd between several guides. Each group ended up having about 15 or so people in it, and we were separated from the Talker, so I was pleased. Except that in exchange, we got a family of 5 that included A BABY IN A STROLLER.

WHO BRINGS OUT THEIR BABY DURING THE (RUNNER-UP FOR THE) WITCHING HOUR?

We got paired with some hyperactive older woman who Chooch pointed out later reminded him of Ellen, and when Henry had the audacity to ask, “Ellen who?” Chooch shouted in disgust, “SERIOUSLY?! Oh my god” because there is only one Ellen in the world and that is the Degeneres one.

I actually don’t think I ever caught the guide’s name, so we’ll just call her Ellen. Thanks, Chooch.

Ellen was mildly humorous (some of the less intelligent people in our group thought she was a fucking riot, though) and asked us to keep an eye out for horse shit on her behalf since she was backpeddling while telling us historical ghost stories. She encouraged us to take pictures with the flash on. Have you ever taken a picture at night with a cell phone? Well, if you haven’t, get stoked, because you’re about to put your eyes on a shit ton of iPhone night photos, and they are real lookers.

Henry, annoyed before it even started because GHOSTS AREN’T REAL, spent nearly the whole tour trailing behind the group, reading the same status updates over and over on his phone (he only has like, 70 Facebook friends) and probably reading things about the Republican Party and pinning mason jar DIYs on Pinterest. This is what he looked like:

I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this is some kind of paranormal activity that my advanced phone camera picked up.

Turns out that the “equipment” included on the EXTREME tour was one (1) EMF meter. (I had to google that.) Ellen gave it to the vocal non-believer of the group, this broad named Donna, who was there with her husband and two bitch-daughters who were wearing t-shirts that said “Got Ghosts? Williamsburg does.” Chooch hated them right off the bat, and I quickly realized that it was because the one was a huge dickhead whiner just like him.

“I NEED SOMETHING TO DRINK,” she spat at her father through gritted teeth pretty early on into the tour. “I AM LIKE DYING OF THIRST.” God, that sounded familiar. I could almost hear that coming out of her mouth in Chooch’s bitch-voice.

And mine.

Quickly, Father! Run to the nearest haunted Williamsburg well and quench your dumb daughters thirst!

Anyway, DONNA got to hold the EMF meter first and surprise, surprise, she was picking all of the activity! Ellen was delighted. The non-believer was attracting all of the ghosts! Oh ho ho, isn’t that always the way it works? All hail, Donna! She encouraged everyone to bombard Donna with photos because this would be a great time to capture orbs. Of course, Donna’s husband took a photo that basically made it look like Donna was a magnet for paranormal activity. Ghosts were coming down from Salem, for Christ’s sake! DONNA THE NON-BELIEVER’S HERE, GUYS! LET’S APPARATE!

Everyone crowded around to see the poster for Paranormal Activity 6: Douchebag in Williamsburg on her husband’s phone. It was early into the tour so I was kind of interested in what was going on, I wasn’t full-on pouting yet, but I couldn’t get close enough to see what had everyone so excited.

I don’t know what this was supposed to be. Tree. Fence.

Ellen told us a handful of, truthfully, very interesting stories, which had us all gathered around like this:

There was this one broad there with her friends, they were probably in their early 20s, and she was fucking scared out of her mind. I mean, nothing was happening. There were no chainsaws. No scare tactics being employed. And with all the taverns in Colonial Williamsburg, we were far from being the only idiots out there that night.

Henry, closing his eyes to better enjoy Ellen’s stories.

Chooch and I agreed that the best story was about the Ludwell-Paradise House. Lucy Ludwell was the daughter of a prominent family, but her ginger cake was missing some very important ingredients, if you know what I mean.

Let me rephrase that for my non-Colonial friends: she was batshit, guys. I was reading about her on some historical Williamsburg website after the fact, and she is adorably referred to as an “eccentric.” This made me laugh, because I have been called that a lot in my life.

She would get all up in ladies’ grills and tell them that she liked their dresses. And then when they would nervously say thanks, she would ask for the dress! Of course, they’d be like, “The fuck?” and quickly retreat. So she would follow them back to their houses and stand out front, watching through the windows, until she saw that the dress in question was now hanging up outside on the clothesline, and she would promptly go into their yard and take it! Oh, Lucy. Nothing is more charming than a rich person stealing from her neighbors.

Of course, her parents would pay people off to save face. And in order to make people like her, Lucy would invite people to her house and promise them carriage rides, because she had this beautiful carriage that she brought from England. But Lucy’s definition of a carriage ride was to have the help pull the carriage back and forth on her back porch.

Eventually, once her parents were dead and no one was left to protect her, she was thrown in the mental institution, which is now the art museum.

Lucy sounds like she fucking fabulous and the whole time Ellen was regaling us with her story, I felt an electric kinship, like she was watching me through a window of her old house, psychically implanting  me with her lunatic chip. #lifegoals

A tree. Fence.


This was the prison, where Donna was attracting so many motherfucking ghosts it was about time to call in an exorcist, for Christ’s sake. Chooch and I exchanged annoyed eyerolls and silently agreed that Donna was a fuckerbitch.

Chooch’s review: “It wasn’t scary at all and eff Donna.”

The highlight of the tour for me was when DONNA LOST HER PHONE OMG! HER PHONE THAT WAS CAPTURING ALL OF THE GHOSTS IN THE HISTORY OF GHOSTS BEING A THING!

“How the hell did she ‘lose her phone’ when it’s never not in her hand?” Henry grumbled. So we had to linger in front of some house that apparently wasn’t haunted at all but it sure as fuck was scary, while Donna and her husband walked back toward the prison to look for it. Mu theory is that she just needed some extra time to orb-ify more photos with whatever ghost hoax app she was using. Get fucked, Donna.

OMG don’t worry though! Donna found her fucking phone.

FINALLY! MY RUDIMENTARY IPHONE LENS FAKED AN ORB! I was so stoked because I did just as Ellen said and took a series of photos in a row and just like that, one of them produced an orb.

“SHOW HER!” Chooch cried, trying to pry my phone from my hands.

“No!” I hissed. “I don’t want these a-holes passing my phone around!” I mean, what if I got a sext during that time? Talk about a ghost hunt foul.

I just asked Henry for a review and he laughed without mirth, shook his head, and said, “No.” I think he’s still trying to not think about all of the peanuts he could have bought with the money I flushed into this ghost event. My favorite thing to do during the tour was whip my head around and make “OMG!!!!” faces of disbelief at Henry as Ellen told us story after story. He was so mad.

Hilariously, the three of us pretty much walked separately from each other the whole time. God, what a team we are.

I wonder if ghosts and Amish people ever get together and talk about how fucking annoying tourists are.

Ellen showed me some photo of a window on her phone and I have no idea what I was supposed to be seeing, so I just said, “Wow. OK.”

Toward the end of the tour, someone else finally got a chance to use the EMF meter and promptly mistook it as her chance to try out new modeling poses she saw on A Beautiful Mess.  Still not as annoying as Donna though.

I wonder, if no one is paying attention to Donna, does she cease to exist? If Donna falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear her, does she take an Instavid of herself to prove that she made a noise?

Finally, the tour was wrapping up and we all headed back to Bruton Parish, where Donna told us some story about lightning striking and leaving ghoul faces on this grave marker:


And then Donna came flying over to show Ellen more of her doctored photos and I didn’t even try to be subtle about the barfing noises I was making. We left without saying thanks or goodbye to Ellen, but that’s OK because only had eyes for DONNA anyway.

DONNA DONNA DONNA DONNA.

And here I was worried that a baby was going to be the douche of the tour, but no. It was a grown-ass woman. Douchey Donna. I hope she took some evil entity home with her to her Douche Headquarters. She must be so proud of herself, being the star of some dumb ghost tour that no one will ever remember. EXCEPT FOR ME BECAUSE I HAVE A STORAGE UNIT FULL OF GRUDGES.

In summation, I enjoyed the historical and ghost stories Ellen told us (I didn’t write about all of them because they’re all taken from books written by some dude name L.B. Taylor so they can be easily accessed if anyone was interested in learning more) and to be honest, once we ventured off the main drag, it did get kind of creepy. But I would not recommend paying extra for the “Extreme” version because that EMF meter was a fucking afterthought. I don’t even think Ellen even really explained to everyone what it was doing, and she honestly seemed to forget that it was in use most of the time.

As soon as we were out of earshot, I was like, “Fuck Donna.” And Chooch and Henry wholeheartedly agreed, so really you could say that this was family bonding experience. It’s not often we’re all in agreement on something.

Jul 232015
 

Remember last week when I briefly mentioned that I was trying to orchestrate a beef between Glenn and his work-bro Terry? Well, the feud has gone on long enough, the tension is palpable, and someone needs to facilitate a reconciliation.

I guess that someone has to be me.

“Glenn,” I started earlier today after seeing Terry angrily storm past on the way to the restroom. “Do you and Terry ever, you know, like….go to lunch together?” I blurted out, a torpedo of giddiness following close behind.

“No,” Glenn casually answered, and then he stiffened a little and asked, “Why? What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” I cried in the Bobcat Goldthwait voice I adopt when I’m reaching the point of psych ward hysterics. I had to cover my face with my blanket, tried to suffocate the giddiness out of myself.

***

Later in the afternoon, after Glenn had left for the day, I was in the kitchen making coffee.

“What’s up, Erin?” Terry asked, walking by to fill up his water glass.

It’s a wonder I was able to utter my monosyllabic greeting without spraying his face with my alarming brand of laughter.  I had become distracted with actual work things after my exchange with Glenn about lunching with Terry, but now the subject was back on my radar.

I speed-walked back to my desk and pulled out the ransom note kit that my old office-neighbor Patrick had bought me for .25 cents at a yard sale. (“I saw it and it had your name written all over it!” he said proudly.)

Each sticker made me giddier and giddier until I was flat out ugly-laughing alone at my desk. People have come to know this as my “I’m doing something” laugh.

Amber-I Don’t-Have-Time-For-This-Bullshit-Now-That-I’m-A-Mom2 turned around in her chair and asked, “What are you doing?” So I got up and showed her my finished product:

“You’re so weird,” she sighed, but I could tell she thought this was the greatest thing ever. Todd was 100% on board with this too and we spent the rest of the afternoon speculating how we were going to get the invitation  to Terry, and what the outcome would be. I even considered making them a reservation at McDonald’s or 7-11, but best to make sure they’re both willing to take the next step in repairing their friendship first before wasting a perfectly good reservation, I guess.

“I’m just going to make Gayle do it,” I decided, after attempting to walk it over to Terry’s mail slot on my own and only getting as far as Allison’s desk (like, four feet away from where I started) before I had to stop and do the pee squat because I was laughing so hard.

Allison was just like, “Ohmygod.” In that moment, she may have been a little relieved that her temp assignment is coming to an end soon.

:(

A few minutes later, Gayle started to walk past on her way back from her break and I stopped her with an urgent, “GAYLE.” Then I thrust the invitation at her said, “GO PUT THIS IN TERRY’S MAIL SLOT BUT DON’T LET ANYONE SEE YOU FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.”

Or something like that. There was a lot of ringing in my ears. It was hard to hear myself.

But then before I left for the day, I panicked that Terry wouldn’t check his mail slot tomorrow because none of us ever do, really, so I jogged over to his side of the department like a thief in the night and snatched it. I took it to Gayle’s desk with explicit instructions to wait until everyone left for the day (Gayle works late shift every day) before leaving it on his desk.

She texted me later and said that he was on late shift today so she wasn’t able to deliver it! UGH. “Don’t panic,” I texted back. “I have a plan.” I’m going to make sure it finds its way onto his desk tomorrow after I get there, that way, I won’t miss all the excitement when he rushes over to tell Glenn that he’s missed him, too.

Maybe they’ll go to Szmidt’s, with Gayle as a chaperone, and get some gross meat sandwich loaded with sauerkraut. It’s going to be so great. I love bringing people back together, especially people who had no idea that they were ever together, or not together, in the first place.

Jul 112015
 

It happened in between PVRIS and Emarosa. We were walking down a hill, headed to the Black Craft Cult merch tent because Henry wanted to get a larger size in the Lucipurr shirt he bought for Chooch. Henry was in front of us when Chooch spotted the Warped Youtubers tent over to the left. A small line had formed, idiot girls waiting to get their pictures taken with these kids who are inexplicably Youtube famous.

What a world we live in, where the term “Youtube famous” is a thing.

“I want to meet BryanStars,” Chooch decided right then and there. “I just want to hear him say ‘Werped Ter.'”

As I mentioned in a previous post, Chooch and I like to watch these Warped Tour videos on YouTube and crack up at how some of the Midwestern Youtubers say Warped Tour. Bryan Stars is the major one who we ironically watch, and it drives Henry up the wall. He absolutely cannot stand this kid, because Henry is an Internet bully.

I’m not really sure how Bryan Stars became “famous,” but he has been interviewing bands on YouTube for years. One of his sit-downs with Never Shout Never turned into a notorious shit show and Bryan Stars is so beloved by his fans, that NSN ended up taking a lot of heat for blowing up at him. (Christofer Drew even made him cry!) It is incredibly painful to watch.

 

So we get in line and I’m like, “Whyyyyy are we doing this? This is so embarrassing!” and Chooch is all, “No it will be great. We’ll just hear him say Werp Ter and then we’ll leave.”

IMG_9356

And then Henry realized we weren’t behind him anymore and had to retrace his steps. Please see above photo for his reaction when he saw what we were in line for.

“Daddy’s so disappointed in us,” Chooch laughed.

So then it was our stupid turn and Bryan was all, “Hey man, what’s up?”

Chooch: *becomes a cabbage*

Me: *Gets Warped Tour schedule wet with tears as I see all the bands we’re missing at this moment*

Bryan: Do you watch my videos?

Chooch, nervously: Uh….not really.

Me: *dies slowly*

Bryan: Do you want a picture?

Chooch, shrugging again: Sure, OK, yeah, I guess.

Me: *take the fastest picture of my life while backing away*

 

Bryan: Do you want to meet Jordan? Hey Jordan, come here.

Chooch: *……….*

Me: *please make it end*

Jordan: *lots of awkward body movements that I think might have been a wave*

Me: *This is so dumb*

Bryan: Um, so, do you like, want to be in a band when you grow up?

Chooch: Uh, not really.

Me, desperately attempting to make a fissure in the ice: I want him to be, but he’s going to end up being something stupid….like a doctor.

[No one laughs.]

Jordan: *reaches out awkwardly to shake my hand*

Me: *swept away in a gust of awkwardness*

Bryan: So…..are you having fun at Werp Ter?

Chooch: *explodes*

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And then for the next hour, Chooch relived this moment and cracked the fuck up.

I was so pissed off at him though, because they were so awkward to begin with, and Chooch was making it worse by barely answering their questions, so then I felt obligated to say words and the whole time I was like WHY AM I STANDING HERE WITH THESE KIDS?!

Meanwhile, we found out later that right after we ditched Henry to go to the Warped YouTubers tent, Henry slid down the hill.

That was literally the only bad part of the day. Henry slid down the hill.

AND WE MISSED IT.

But, Chooch got to hear ‘Werp Ter’ so I guess that’s all that matters.

(Ugh, it pains me to admit this, but those guys were super sweet and adorable, even while slowly pulling us down in their awkward quicksand.)

May 232015
 

sprinkles

 

It’s Saturday, so why not slap sprinkles to your face with corn syrup?

 

Henry attempted to take pictures of us with the actual camera but he sucks so iPhone selfies it is! (Except for the first one. I took that of us with  the real camera.)

 

IMG_4759.JPG

I hate when he does that.

We don’t always get along, but when we are, it’s usually because we’re doing something stupid. 

 

I figured it’s been nearly 5 years, so might as well update the ol’ Trixstache photo.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash my face for the third time because goddamn ew.

IMG_4762.JPG

P.S. It’s over an hour later and of course Chooch still has candied brows, because why not. But then House Warden Henry was like, “IT WILL END UP RIPPING OUT YOUR EYEBROWS!” Apparently, that was actually what Chooch was hoping for. “Then I’ll be the creepiest kid in my class!” he cried happily. Yeah, I think he’s already got that superlative in the bag, bald browbone or not.

Apr 302015
 

See also: Waffle Whining

****

In order to raise some extra money for the food drive that the Law Firm is currently embroiled in, our department had a Chinese Auction yesterday. I don’t normally pay attention to these things because most of the items donated always seem to be things I wouldn’t ever use, like spatulas and laundry baskets. (These are standard Chinese Auction things, right? I honestly never look!)

I can tell you for sure that I didn’t bother to participate the last time this happened because I was still in my old position here and pouting literally every day. I remember hearing sounds of mirth and camaraderie coming from my work friends on the Other Side as they admired all of the wares and bought tickets, which made me slump in my chair and cross my arms over my chest. It was Dark Days back then, friends.

And honestly, I probably still wouldn’t have given a shit this time around either, except that I accidentally noticed it.

The best prize in all of the land.

A waffle maker.

I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED A WAFFLE MAKER! Henry is always “eh” about it when it comes up because he knows that I’ll be having him make some lavender fig chia seed monstrosity stuffed with some out of season exotic fruit that needs to be special ordered from a treetop garden in Tasmania.

And not that it comes up a lot, but I do read some bohemian lifestyle blogs for some reason even though I am neither Bohemian nor lifestyle, and they sometimes post photos of post-night, ante meridiem recipes (also known as: breakfast) for their fancy waffle maker sisterwives to say things like “amaze” and “so much yum” to on Instagram. Waffles are the shit. Waffles over pancakes any day. (Only because pancakes often make me sick, though.)

Our new admin person, Carrie, was the point person for the Chinese auction, so after digging out a crumbled dollar bill from my jacket pocket, I strutted to her desk and proudly thrust it at her in exchange for a ticket. Glenn, having heard my cries of waffle ecstasy, bought FIVE TICKETS and said he was going to put them all in the waffle maker raffle bag! AND THEN APPROXIMATELY EVERY OTHER PERSON IN THE DEPARTMENT DID THE SAME.

AND THEN GLENN BOUGHT FIVE MORE TICKETS!

This waffle maker was a hot commodity. I felt a little relief knowing that there were two of them being auctioned off, at least. Two winners. MAYBE I WOULD BE ONE.

But then something terrible happened. Amber AG1 declared that she too wanted to win the waffle maker. This could ruin our friendship, I thought to myself nervously.

And then LOU bought some tickets from Carrie and I overheard him tell her that he wanted the waffle maker and I got so enraged. He’s already my least favorite analyst! (Don’t worry, he knows. I told him.)

“They’re both broken,” I shouted, trying to deter him. He just laughed and walked away with his Cheater Tickets and I was 100% wringing my hands at this point. Literally everyone wanted the waffle maker. Who even knows what else was over there! WAFFLE MAKER.

Glenn spent the rest of the day taunting me mercilessly. He said if he won, he was going to sell it, just not to me. Meanwhile, Amber was way more upbeat about her desire to win and was over at her desk practically singing “I want the waffle maker” to the tune of New Kids On the Block. This was in stark contrast to how  I was expressing myself, which was by moping, whining, and panicking about my odds all day. 

I just knew I was going to lose. I never win these things!

Stop pouting, I told myself. Maybe out loud, even. The drawing hadn’t even started yet and I already had myself losing. I went outside for a walk to cool off a little, and I called Henry.

“Never mind,” I said with a big sigh as soon as he said hello.

“Never mind what?” he asked tentatively.

“Just forget it,” I sighed Eeyore-ishly.

“WHAT DID YOU DO?” he asked.

“IfIwonawafflemakerwouldyouuseit?” I blurted out in an auctioneer’s cadence.

“I mean, I guess,” Henry slowly answered, waiting for the other shoe to fall. And then I started gushing about the day’s events, and how I remembered that I actually brought my wallet that day and I had FIVE MORE DOLLARS to buy more tickets, and then Wendy felt so much pity for me that she put a ticket in the waffle maker bag too, even though she has a scar on her arm from a hotel waffle iron and basically never wants to look at one again, and then I begged Gayle to put in a ticket for me, too, and she originally said no but then I was like GAAAAAAYLE!!! and so she did it and OMG I’M GOING TO LOSE AREN’T I?!

Henry didn’t have much to say about this. Apparently, when I call him at work, he’s actually working, and doesn’t have “time” to care about my “problems.”

Back in the office, Carrie sent out an email saying that the first drawing was going to happen at 2:30. Glenn was all Glennish about this because he leaves at 2:30 everyday. I could barely hear his bitching overtop of my own pitiful wails of, “I WANT THAT WAFFLE MAKER SO BAD! I’M GOING TO PEE MY PANTS! OMG MY STOMACH HURTS.”

“Oh Jesus Christ, if I win the waffle maker, you can have it,” Glenn mumbled, slapping his tickets on my desk on his way out.

“SERIOUSLY?!” I cried.

“Yeah. I don’t want to have to hear about it if you lose,” he grumbled. I wonder what he put his other tickets in for. Probably this old army lunch box thing that someone donated.

At 2:31, Sue came over with two bags and had Carrie and Allison pick a ticket out of each one.

One of them was for the first waffle maker.

I was bouncing from foot to foot in anticipation, clutching all of my tickets in my hands. (The winning number for each item was emailed to the whole department, so no one but me bothered to actually go over and watch this happen.)

Allison drew in her breath and turned away from me a little.

“What?” I asked nervously.

Then Carrie looked at the ticket that Allison drew and she made a strangulated noise as well.

“WHAT? IS IT MINE?!” I yelled, knowing that it probably wasn’t because they didn’t know what numbers I had. So it must have been someone who wrote their name on the back. OH GOD PLEASE BE GLENN! I prayed. And then I felt gross for rooting for Glenn.

“It’s Amber,” Carrie said quietly.

DON’T BE A SORE LOSER, ERIN. GO SIT DOWN AND BE A GROWN-UP, ERIN. THERE IS STILL ANOTHER WAFFLE MAKER, ERIN.

Amber was so happy that she won, and I wanted to be happy for her too! I really did! When she walked past me to claim her prize, she stopped cheering and said, “Aw, but I feel bad!”

“IT’S FINE,” I tried to say in a happy, supportive tone but it came out through gritted teeth because OMG WHY AM I SUCH A BRAT. “I never win anything anyway, so I’m used to it,” I added just in case I hadn’t already come off as an industrial-sized, leaking douchebag.

WHY AM I SUCH A CRYBABY. There were no less than 87 moments that day when I floated outside of my body and looked down upon myself, frowning in disappointment. I guess, at least I’m aware?

A few minutes later, I went to get something off the printer and ran into Carrie, who was making copies. “Hey,” she said. “If you don’t win the other one, I’ll bring one in for you. I have one in my kitchen that I never use, and I swear you can have it. It’s not as fancy as this one, but it’s still good.”

And at this moment, I realized that I needed to stop thinking of Carrie as “Barb’s Replacement” because she is an awesome lady in her own right and has seamlessly fit right into our department in less than two weeks. CARRIE, YOU CAN STAY.

Seriously, that was a really touching moment. Until you remember that this was all over A WAFFLE MAKER.

A.WAFFLE.MAKER.

I mean, waffles are the motherfucking jam, but are they worth this much drama? Probably not. But I was already up to my neck in it. Now I had to see this through. I shouldn’t have let myself drift off into all of the daydreams about opening a waffle stand in my front yard, mass-producing edible Frisbees (Waffbees? Frisfles?), costing Henry an arm and a leg in upscale waffle ingredients and a camera upgrade because you can’t eat fancy waffles without photographing it on a stained pallet surrounded by baby’s breath and monogrammed-stamped baby forks.

I was really getting ahead of myself. Goddammit.

Throughout the afternoon, more drawings took place, but there was so much time in between each one that it felt like when you’re taking a test in school and all you can hear is the methodic, amplified ticking of the clock.

Wendy ended up winning the weird army lunch box thing, and I have no idea why she even put in any tickets for that. It was probably just her against Glenn. And then Patrick basically won everything else because he’s a baller and bought like an entire spool of tickets.

Todd came back from lunch before the final waffle maker was won, and he asked me with faux-interest if anyone had won them yet.

It was hard to push the words out around my big, pouty bottom lip, but I somehow mustered the strength to tell him that Amber had won the first one.

“All that was missing was the trumpets,” I said melodramatically, and Todd started laughing. And then he said something along the lines of, “There, there. You still have one more chance.”

Right before the end of the day, Sue walked over to Amber’s desk with the waffle maker ticket bag and told her since she won the first one, she had to draw the ticket for the second.

“Oh no, Erin’s fate is in my hands!” she said, and I was so nervous that I got up and walked around. I DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW, YOU GUYS.

Sue gave the drawn ticket to Carrie, who in turn sent out the email to the department. I figured it was going to be Patrick, since he had a billion tickets in each bag.

And then I heard, “OMG I WON THE SECOND ONE TOO!”

My first reaction was: WAH!

My second reaction was: OMG CAN I HAVE IT!!!???

“Can I give it to Erin?” Amber asked Carrie, who shrugged and said she didn’t give a basic fuck.

“SERIOUSLY?!?!?!” I screamed as Amber passed it off to me like the goddamn Olympic torch.

“Yeah, I don’t need two!” she laughed. “Now we can both have one!”

AND THAT IS HOW WE WERE ABLE TO LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Allison was just like, “Wow. What a relief.” I keep forgetting that she is still relatively new. We must look like a gang of fucking imbeciles to her.

“Wait. There’s something I have to do,” I said, and I walked over to Lou’s office with my waffle maker. “I just wanted you to see what I looked like holding the waffle maker,” I gloated, and he kind of hung his head a little and told me I’m mean.

SORE LOSER AND SORE WINNER. That’s me.

But don’t feel too bad for Lou, because the last drawing of the day was for the biggest prize of all: a hug from Ethan, who absolutely hates hugs. And Lou won! He seemed happier with that than he would have been with a waffle maker. Me? I preferred the waffle maker because I, too, hate hugs.

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Here’s a picture of my reflection while waiting for the elevator, with my WAFFLE MAKER IN MY ARMS! Amber, you are the best! We should have a waffle party!

****

When I got into the car after work, Henry did one of his patented mirthless-laughs and shook his head. “Great,” he mumbled.

I quickly relayed the day’s events to him and he said, “Were you a sore loser? Why am I asking. I know you were.”

Later that night, Henry, upon realizing that he had never even heard of the brand, googled the company’s name and discovered that it doesn’t even exist outside of eBay.

Buy It Now: $6.95.

I bought $6 worth of tickets, and I probably would have had to also pay for shipping, so all in all it’s still a deal if you ask me.

“It’s probably going to burn down the house,” Henry mumbled.

I’m going to use the FUCK out of this thing. And by that, I mean that I’m going to search the FUCK out of the Internet for waffle recipes to send to Henry.

****

In case you were wondering how the winning hug played out, here’s a video! A group of us gathered around noon and formed a big circle around Lou and Ethan, so it was like they were inside of a hug while hugging. It was fucking precious.

Apologies to all of my co-workers who probably have a waffle aversion after all of this. It escalated pretty quickly.

I can only imagine how disgruntled this waffle ordeal would have made the other Amber if this happened before she went on maternity leave. I can practically hear her saying, “Oh for God’s sake!”