May 092022
 

Henry had to do a delivery thingie in Erie on Saturday and was all, “Wah, come with me. Wah, I don’t want to be alone.” It was actually embarrassing. I only went because it was a miserable, rainy day in Pittsburgh, but sunny in Erie. I’d rather be in a dumb work van in the sun than sitting in the house in the rain. MAYBE THAT’S JUST ME.

We listened to and talked about kpop  the whole way there because that’s how you kpop-couple. Also, this is weird, but I think it’s really made our relationship better somehow?? Like, we finally found something that we can both enjoy? Or we’re just numb to each other. Probably a little of both.

Henry brought up the fact that Stray Kids had to add three additional shows to their upcoming US tour because it sold out so fast since Ticketmaster refuses to do anything about BOTS and scammers. I’m seriously so angry about that shit. Fuck Ticketmaster so hard. Anyway, this inspired me to look up the Newark shows to see if there were any tickets left. A handful for both nights, all resellers. I’m normally very against this but I started to have HUGE FOMO and wished that I had tried to get tickets when they first went on sale. I haven’t seen a kpop concert since SuperM in November 2019 and my heart needs fed. My friend Veronica lives in LA and she’s been living her best life by going to smaller shows for groups she doesn’t know much about just because she can and needs to. Everyone should be like Veronica!! If Pittsburgh wasn’t such a podunk city, I’d do the same thing. But I have to TRAVEL for kpop.

It’s fine.

Anyway, I started doing my HEAVY SIGH/WISTFUL EYELASH BAT routine that I step into whenever I’m trying to coax Henry into saying what I want him to say without my having to say it first, in this case, “GO AHEAD AND GET TICKETS IF YOU WANT.”

He did not pass the test.

So I had to flat out say that I wanted to go which started a whole, “THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY” and “I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN GET THAT DAY OFF WORK” and “THEN WE HAVE TO GET A HOTEL” line of rhetoric which I’m used to and can work with, trust.

“What if you get tickets for this and then NCT127 announces their tour?” Henry asked, trying to reason with me on a level he knew I would understand.

“Then I’ll buy tickets for that too. That’s why I have credit cards. For emergencies,” I said in a LE DUH tone developed exclusively for teenage girls.

“Kpop is not an emergency,” he sighed, and I knew that this would be just Part 1 of my plan. TO BE CONTINUED…

Anyway, the other reason I agreed to go was because he said we could get lunch in Erie and I found a diner (dinor, for some reason) that had polenta on the menu. LIKE, THREE TIMES! Or maybe just twice, I can’t remember, but there were actually other vegetarian options for me too, lots of avocado things, and even a meatless eggs benedict. I don’t think there were any vegan options though. If there were, the menu didn’t do a great job noted it.

First Henry to make his super boring lame delivery. I read a book while this was happening and then when he was done, I harangued him for being so slow and told him maybe he’s too old and should consider a new line of work.

I’m an honest partner.

Gem City was CUTE. I don’t know what I was expecting. I don’t know much about Erie but assumed that it was going to be a grungy joint with lots of Flos strutting around with grits to kiss. But no, it was kind of quirky with local art that you could buy straight from the wall. It was exactly noon so the place was crowded but the tables were spread out nicely so it didn’t feel stuffy. We were seated within 5 minutes, which was great and everyone there was super friendly and laid back, but maybe too laid back because we didn’t get our food until almost 1pm, which seems excessive for a diner (sorry, DINOR).

Fun fact about me: I went through such a heavy love affair with polenta in 2007/2008 that I created a category for it on here (I think it only has like 2 or 3 posts added to it though, you know how I run hot and cold). I also really don’t understand what it is. But I do like it! It’s the texture for me, fam.

This polenta was OK. But I kind of regret getting the breakfast option and wish I had gone with the polenta salad because that sounded really refreshing, but also the avocado sandwich did too so now I guess I need to go back someday.

No veggie burgers though which was kind of odd because it would have felt on brand for this place. Their signature burger had BURNT HAM, blackberry jam, and Wisconsin brie on it, and I wanted Henry to get it because I didn’t understand this whole “burnt ham” thing but I guess it’s an Erie thing?

Henry just got the house burger, whatever that is.

THIS BATHROOM THO?! I mean, I would never choose that wallpaper print for my own house but I loved it for Gem City. It made me feel fancy while I was peeing. I’m glad I didn’t pass on this piss chance.

Um, then we went to Waldameer because it was open for season pass photo day and said that some rides would be operating and I was like, “I guarantee that Ravine Flyer II won’t be one of them” but Henry—who was in, like, a really great mood I guess because he felt all cool and bigly because he thought I was actually watching him load cases of beverage onto his dolly-thing earlier but I can promise you that I was not—exclaimed, “WELL, WE’RE IN THE AREA, IT WON’T HURT TO CHECK!” So we went there and the only rides open were the carousel, Scrambler and Music Express. We bought Chooch cotton candy though and then left.

AND THEN CAME HOME AND BOUGHT STRAY KIDS TICKETS HAHAHAHA I’M GOING TO SEE STRAY KIDS NEXT MONTH BOY-O. Did I spend more than I would have preferred on not-great seats? Fuck yeah I did, for sure. But do I regret it? NO REGERTZ.

 

This has been me telling you about the things that happened last Saturday.

Apr 302022
 

We eventually made it to the Fountain of Youth. Can you imagine going to St. Augustine and not checking out the Fountain of Youth!? I mean, I’m sure Henry and Chooch would not have lost any sleep over that. But I learned about this in fifth grade, therefore, I needed to see it. I am just that kind of person.

I am also the kind of person who pays admission to tour museums and other places of historical import only to lose interest somewhat immediately and proceeds to skim the informational placards in an effort to get to the end faster.

It me.

I appreciate that this signage looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 1950s.

The lady at the admission booth liked my phone case! It’s my bread one from Brunch Brothers, in case Future Erin is here reading this and wondering, “Ha! Which one??” Queen of the Interesting Phone Cases.

It also me.

America’s FIRST colony!

It St. Augustine!

OK, I’ll stop with that not. I had a lot of sugar today.

I should also note that after we paid to get in, Chooch asked, “So what is this? Like, a ride or something?”

OMG that would make this place so much better, if Sally Dark Rides came in, installed some track and pretzel cars, plopped down some animatronics and jump scares….It would have been worth the $20pp!!!

We did the thing. Well, Chooch and I did. Henry was like I’M GOOD. It just tasted like an extinguished match. So you know, sulfur.

It was just us and two old ladies inside, so that was nice! I was expecting it to be packed, like we would have to stand in line just to chock back some disgusting $20 thimble of water by choice. But nope, we marched right over and helped ourselves. The old ladies didn’t even know you could drink it until they saw us and then we had to point out the cups to them. LOOK AT US, Fountain of Youth docents, basically.

Chooch always has to take a selfie with my phone before taking the phot requested of him.

And then we always get the zoomie of Henry too:

Honestly, after doing this portion, I was bored already but now we had to walk around the land and look at the artifacts or whatever.

These things seemed significant, so I took a picture to show my Internet Friends.

IT YOU.

OK for real I’m done.

Posin’ with Ponce.

Apparently, the local peacocks like to chill by the gift shop so they have feed there that you can buy and even though there are signs everywhere that say FOOD IS FOR PEACOCKS ONLY DO NOT FEED OTHER WILDLIFE, the pigeons were like, “No, the sign spelled pigeons wrong. That food is for us.” This one lady had accumulated close to 10 pigeons on her person just by holding out a hand of feed.

Here’s Chooch half-assedly fending off the pigeons.

We spent more time here than anywhere else in the whole archeological park, not surprising. At before we left, there was a healthy crowd of about 25 people hanging out, feeding the “peacocks.” Good times.

In  the gift shop, I of course bought a tiny souvenir bottle of FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH WATER and Chooch bought a puzzle of some sort – there was a lot of back and forth about said puzzle between him and Henry but I wasn’t paying attention. I’m not sure what was so special about this puzzle other than it was Noah’s Ark which was appealing to Chooch because he evidently inherited the “I love Noah’s Ark but not the BOOK it came from” gene from my mom, who had so much Noah’s Ark shit around the house when I was growing up including a MASSIVE wooden Noah’s Ark with handmade wooden pairs of animals that she collected from a store called the Hobby Horse and then our German Shepherd, Rama, started using some of the animals as chew toys so that kind of put an end to that. Man, I haven’t thought about that in so long but it was actually epic. She had it displayed in the bay window in our dining room. She must have spent thousands of dollars on that in the end because she would make trips to the Hobby Horse to pick  up whatever new animal pairs the artist had recently crafted and then I would beg for rock candy even though EW and also honey sticks, which OK those were good. They also had an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in that place. I had a love/hate relationship with it because it “so far away” (like 25 minutes probably, lol) and also my mom spent so much time there and it was essentially a cross between an antique shop and a country store, so it was dark and wooden inside with like, lots of wreaths and Americana bullshit. And like, old skillets. I dunno. It was fine.

Wow. what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, Chooch’s puzzle. So he and Henry worked out whatever the issue was (I think maybe he needed Henry to transfer money to his PARENTAL CONTROLLED debit card lol) but then Chooch was like, “Hold the phone, this box is messed up. I need to swap it out” so he went back to a new one. This is only relevant to the story because when we got home two days later, he opened the stupid thing to put it together and it was the WRONG PUZZLE – somehow a Santa’s Workshop one was in the box instead, lol.

There’s my bottle ^^^

The worst part was that after we left, we had to walk all the back to the car and I don’t know if I mentioned this or not but my feet were like blood sacks at this point?? My right foot was so fucked with bruises and my left foot had/has some METATARSAL thing happening, I don’t know if that’s true – I googled it and didn’t get very far in my research before becoming overcome with the woozies.

Henry started walking SO FAST and so far ahead of us limpers, because he was afraid of the meter running out I guess and as you know, he already earned himself a speeding ticket on this trip and was probably not trying to add a parking ticket to the collection.

Oh shit this reminds me that I forgot to tell his mom last weekend about how her perfect tree-climbing son got a speeding ticket.

Don’t worry, we made it back to the car. I think this was when we realized that Chooch’s Harry Potter chocolate frog was in the car and consequently perished because Florida.

From here, we went to Sarbez for lunch! Please read about that here. Then we drove around the St. Augustine Beach area which looked super cute and fun and I could see us potentially coming back there someday when we’re looking for a “slow vacation” and by that I mean a super fast-paced vacation with perhaps one day where we slow down and maybe dip our toes in water and read a book or something.  But just for a day. Then roller coasters.

Before venturing out of St. Augustine and Florida in general, Henry ran into The Kookaburra to grab us some iced coffees, which was funny to me since this trip made me feel a type of way about Australians and it ain’t a good way, pal.

My nails were fucked by the end of the trip. Actually, by the second day, who am I kidding. I even brought polish so I could redo them but I was so tired every time I found myself in the hotel room that this never happened.

WAIT PS PS PS!! I just realized that there is some Noah’s Ark art on the walls in the background of this picture of my brother Corey holding a very new baby Chooch at my moms house in 2006!

Enjoy.

Apr 202022
 

I’m going to insert some filler on here because I have a sneaking suspicion that no one really gives a shit about roller coasters and people I want to kill while standing in line. So today, instead of PART 2 OF BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG OMG, let’s look at 30ish pictures from the first part of our day in St. Augustine, Florida.

If you don’t know, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States and it was founded in 1565! You bet your sweetly-spanked ass that I googled that fact. I did know about St. Augustine, generally, though, all the way back to fifth grade when we did a chapter on SETTLERS in history class or whatever. For some reason, and this REALLY is singed into my fossilized brain, I was completely panicked about the upcoming test so my Aunt Sharon helped me study. She made me index cards and helped me come up with mnemonic devices, and because of this, Ponce de Leon is like a legend in my mind. I can’t remember exactly what we came up with for him other than associating him with the Fountain of Youth, but for Jacques Cartier, she was like “THINK OF MY CARTIER WATCH” and I was like “OH YEAH GOOD ONE” and  even though this was just some dumb fifth grade test, it is literally something that I think about every now and then because it’s one of the best memories I have of Sharon. She was a LOT of conflicting emotions toward the end of her life, and caused me lots of grief and stress, but she was also a fucking awesome aunt for ALL of my childhood, when it mattered most.

Um OK wow, I didn’t intend for this to be all that, but cook on, Erincheffer.

The last time we drove through Florida, I desperately wanted to step but Henry was all, “Ew barf history gross gag.” This time, I got my way. The older Henry gets, the easier he is to wear down.

Plus, we had a full day on Friday of nothingness, since all of our Florida parks had been satisfied, and we wanted to eventually start our drive home that day. And St. Augustine is on the way!!

We got there bright and early, right before the rush of tour groups and school field trips, and traipsed around Castillo de San Marcos. I like historical shit as much as the next bitch, but I opted to not pay to tour the innards of the fort and chose instead to just enjoy the scenery on the outside. We had plans to go to the Fountain of Youth later anyway, and I knew Henry would go, “PICK ONE, WE ARE NOT DOING EVERYTHING. THIS STUFF COSTS $$$$. ROAR.”

It made me feel like we were on a movie set or something I don’t know how to explain it LEAVE ME ALONE.

I’ll tell you, it felt strange not running from one attraction to the next but instead, walking leisurely like regular people on vacation. Well, at least for the morning….

HI. IT ME. My feet were so broke-down by this day. It was nice to lean against something, briefly.

This one’s best because you can’t see my idiot face lol JUST KIDDING I AM TRYING TO LIKE MYSELF BUT REWIRING ONES THINKING TAKES TIME. Ask me in a few months (years lol) how it’s going.

I love this picture of me and Chooch so much because he 100% did not wish to pose next to a palm tree even though I did because I had suddenly realized that SHIT it was our last day in Florida and we had not taken advantage of any palmy photo props.

“It’s not even a good palm tree!” Chooch scoffed in disgust. Just for that I made him pose with other palm trees on his own lol.

Smile, fucker!!

Why is this actually an OK picture of Henry? What is he thinking here?

I’ll go first: Remembering the time he visited a record store with his SERVICE buddies and slowly flipped through all the Pia Zadora albums. Obviously this was before he went AWOL.

Then I got bored of that area so we went to the quaint little shopping/historical district and saw THE OLDEST WOODEN SCHOOLHOUSE IN THE USA OMG WHOA YOU DON’T SAY.

The first place we went to was Auggie’s Donuts but they weren’t open yet so we explored the candy shop that shared the space with them. I bought two packages of licorice: one Dutch, one Finnish, because ever since I became An Old, I have a newly acquired taste for licorice. SPECIFICALLY Finnish and Dutch licorice, and I think also Swedish? There was some DIVINE and STRONG stuff I bought several years ago at Jungle Jim’s. I took it to work thinking it would be a big hit with the rest of my International Candies but NO ONE THERE LIKED IT. Not even Glenn, oddly. So I ate it all and now that I’m typing away about this, I want very badly to go back to Jungle Jim’s and stock up on some more.

Anyway, this Tid Bitz one was SO FUCKING GOOD I WANTED TO DUMP THE WHOLE BAG INTO MY MOUTH IN ONE SITTING which wouldn’t have been that much of a feat considering “one sitting” was basically a 5 hour car ride later that day.

See the source image

Finland knows what’s up.

While we were in there, the neighboring HOT SAUCE store opened and Chooch was like “FIRST” as he ran across the threshold but then wailed, “YOU HAVE TO BE 18 TO TASTE TEST.” The lady behind the counter laughed and said, “Oh you’re ok, hon, go for it.” And he basically tasted as much hot sauce as he could before he got sick.

Don’t worry, we bought a bottle of BBQ sauce and a jar of hot pepper flakes for pizza since we were close to overstaying our welcome.

Then the donut guy told Henry it would be about 10 minutes for his fryer to heat up or something, I wasn’t caring much at that point, and for some reason the desire for donuts had shifted from me to Henry, who was like, “WE CANNOT LEAVE NOW, IT WILL BE CROWDED ONCE HE OPENS” and I was like, “Dude, I’m not standing here watching oil heat up, I want to go look at stuff” so Henry stayed back at the donut place (I think he was still in that GET TO THE COASTER BEFORE THE LINE GETS LONG mentality) while Chooch and I went off on our own.

LOL, Chooch and I off on our own!

First, we went to the PUBLIC RESTROOMS! It was uneventful although Chooch felt that the mens room was haunted. I can’t remember why now but it was probably a dumb reason.

We had to walk past some stupid shops selling PRO TRUMP novelty shirts and hats because FLORIDA, but then we stumbled upon this gem: St. Photios National Shrine!! RELIEGIOUS SHIT!! The reason why I noticed it was because there was HARMONIOUS MONK CHANTS wafting out of the entryway!

It was basically calling to me.

The whole little garden area was filled with the mournful music.

MY.

FUCKING.

JAM.

Since it was still so early, we were the only people there!

THE ONLY GREEK NATIONAL SHRINE IN THE COUNTRY. If you are Greek and religioso, you probably already know this.

There was recently some sort of drawing contest for kids and the entries were displayed in one of the rooms. Not gonna lie, it was the room we spent the most time in.

A NINE YEAR OLD MADE THIS.

Amazing. I would proudly display this on my wall if it was for sale.

I only took a picture of this because some old guy in front of me did lol.

Then we walked through the gift shop and I wanted everything. But then I didn’t have my credit card and stupid HENRY was still waiting for donuts so we had to leave the gift shop. The lady was so nice too and told Chooch to go right ahead and handle the nesting dolls at his leisure and I always have to pause and regroup when this happens because to me, he is still that 6-year-old bull in a china shop and not an almost-16-year-old who can handle himself appropriately around delicate items.

I swear it was just yesterday when we walked into an antique shop in Philly and the old man proprietor locked his attention on Chooch immediately and was SO CLENCHED, just waiting for him to break something so he could force to pay for it.

I’ve definitely referenced this before but every time we made it out of shops like with nothing being broken, I always think of the time when I was a kid in Italy (Assisi I think?) and we went to some Delicate Items shop. My grandma was like TOUCH NOTHING and then continued to convey this order to me numerous times thereafter with nothing more than her lips pulled into a taut line.

Yo, I made it out of that shop with nary a casualty under my belt.

But you know who didn’t?

GRANDMA.

Oh it was delicious. The sweetest irony. She ended up knocking several glass things off of a shelf with her gigantic purse as she turned around.

GRANDMA BROKE IT AND BOUGHT IT.

Well, Grandma broke it and PAPPAP bought it, to be clear.

Then we walked off the main road onto a path that led us to some old timey textile shop run by a man WHO NEVER BROKE CHARACTER even when we were talking about Apple Pay. At first, Chooch goes, “I’m not going in there, there’s nothing—-oooh, a sword I want a sword!” so inside we want. He did not get a sword (it was actually a dagger anyway, nice try) but he did get a “booty box” and a compass necklace thingie.

We were able to handle this without Henry’s aid because, as previously mentioned, Chooch asked if he took Apple Pay and he was like, “AYE MATEY” or something, he wasn’t a pirate so I don’t know why I defaulted to arrrr speak but he was something….old timey. Anyway, Chooch had to help me use it because I never do it right and he gets soooo frustrated and then it turns into a big deal where the cashier wants to insert themselves into our bickering and it’s a hassle, which is why I always just use a physical card when possible.

Technology. Pfft.

Don’t even get me started on NFPs!

No really, you can’t get me started even if you wanted to because I don’t understand them and have nothing to say about that.

Meanwhile, Henry started texting Chooch threats about how if we didn’t start walking back to the donut place, he was going to eat them and Chooch didn’t answer fast enough so then Henry posted a picture of the donuts on Instagram and tagged us and we died of second-hand embarrassment. Why is he like this. Suddenly my inability to use Apple Pay wasn’t so cringey because now OLD ASS HENRY was clobbering around on Instagram, and that was way worse. So now Chooch and I were back to being on the same age-level and making fun of Papa H together.

The dynamics change super fast with us. Try to keep up.

The donuts were OK. Not really worth waiting for like Michael Myers in a bush. But OK Henry.

I wish this place was open because I would have taken a crepe over those donuts! The donuts were good, don’t get me wrong, but not like, “OMG IF YOU GO TO ST AUGUSTINE, GET THESE DONUTS.” I mean, if you like donuts in general, then Homer it up, friendos. Don’t let my blasé review sway your doughy decisions.

Anyway, after we inhaled our donut kebabs (they were actually awkward to eat, all impaled on a wooden stake like so), we excitedly lured Henry back to the SHRINE PLACE and he was like, “I’m not going in there” even though it was free to enter, so Chooch, currently on Team Erin, hissed, “MOM WANTS SOMETHING IN THE GIFT SHOP AND YOU HAVE TO BUY IT.” I’m sure Henry was nervous, thinking it was something extravagant and exorbitant, but it was just a $5 cross magnet made from sand and ocean water from the St. Augustine beach!

Also, Chooch got some religious medallion to put in his BOOTY BOX, which is also filled with all of the pressed pennies he collected on this trip.

But just as Henry was thinking he was free to leave after this transaction, we remembered that we needed cash money in order to light a candle. “Jesus Christ,” he muttered, fishing for two dollar bills which he then angrily thrust at us like we were going to run off to 1982 and buy a pack of cigarettes instead of lighting prayer candles.

“I lit mine for Ukraine, what did you light yours for?” I asked Chooch after SHOWING HIM HOW TO GET HIS CANDLE TO BURN SINCE HE “COULDN’T FIND THE MATCHES.” Seriously.

4.0 GPA.

0.0 Common Sense.

“Oh, I didn’t know we were supposed to light it for something. I just wanted to light a candle for fun…”

Oh don’t worry, there was much more St. Augustine action. Fountain of Youth, coming soon!

Mar 052022
 

For this weekend’s Greasy Spoon Lunch Date, I picked a place called BRENDA’S FAMILY RESTAURANT in Mills Run, whatever the fuck that means. (If Henry were the author of this Internet Diary, he would tell you exactly what that meant, with coordinates and a hand-drawn map.)

Brenda’s was a cool hour and 12 minutes away but I always enjoy going whatever direction out of the city that is — south? I can’t remember. It’s by Uniontown and I always have a tough time finding that place on a map. We listened to Kpop (mostly NCT, natch) and ranted about Russia and dumb white trash Repubs in Congress like WHOREN HOEBART and M.T. GANGRENE.

I am a good feminist.

I was getting really upset though to the point where I was ready to be trained to blow darts into Bad Russian necks.

“Can’t someone just like, poison Putin’s borscht??” I cried and Henry was like I AM PRETTY SURE HE HAS PEOPLE TASTING HIS FOOD FOR HIM.

So…back to the blow dart mission. OK.

Anyway. Sigh.

We made it to Brenda’s right when I was really starting to lean into my hunger. I made Henry go inside first because I was scared. I wasn’t really “scared” like I thought Leatherface was waiting on the other side but you know how sometimes you walk into a small town restaurant and everyone turns and looks? When I walk in first that always happens, usually because I’m dressed in something that’s not a sports sweatshirt, Looney Tunes hoodie, or flannel. On this particular occasion I was wearing a cropped gold lamé-ish young girl’s dance costume jacket over my NCT 7th Sense shirt and Cherry Bomb purse. So basically like a 14-year-old going to a Kpop concert.  I didn’t think I looked all that flashy but Henry just frowned and went inside first, using his boring blue-greenish Henley as a shield.

Hey! See those stools in the background? That is the reason I chose this place! There was a picture on Yelp that showed those stools and I was like, “OK Brenda, I’m listening.” Then I scrolled to the next picture and saw the booths with their strange 1970s watery-shit color and I was like, “Henry. I found it. This is the one.”

Seasoned with Old Bay!!

I asked Henry if this was like a big deal or something and he started to explain to me what Old Bay seasoning is like I’m a Dumbo and I snippily cut him off and said, “OK because they used two exclamation marks so I was just wondering if it warranted the extra mark but OK cool story.”

Also, the shrimp is either so big that it’s whatever comes after JUMBO in the size adjective spectrum, or they’re VEGAN? Probably definitely most certainly the former, lol.

OK OK OK I choose these places for the childhood comfort levels, not because I’m expecting some Michelin caliber plates, you know? It’s just fun to get out of the house and eat something non-fussy and casual, and everyone knows that grilled cheeses are my ult bias in the lunch genre. I have always been and will always be a grilled cheese head. And when we go to these little places, I’m not expecting some cheesy Big Boi like you’d get at Melt or some other trendy sandwich joint. But I also don’t want a soggy balled up thing that’s missing cheese on one half (sorry, I still am not over that plate of scraps I was served last summer at Hyde’s in Cinci).

You shouldn’t be “surprised” or “shocked” when you get a decent lunch at a small town restaurant, but in my experience, those of us who order grilled cheese are usually disappointed because this is traditionally the “kids choice” on a menu so it’s like the cook doesn’t even try.

But this one?! IT WAS SO GOOD. I opted for rye bread because I always forget about how much I love rye bread until I see it as an option on a menu and then shout, “I AM GOING TO CHOOSE RYE” and everyone at my table is like “ok” without looking up from the menu except with the one time I was at Pamela’s for breakfast with Wendy and Jeannie and Jeannie totally took my bread bait by agreeing that rye is underrated and then we had like a 20 second conversation about rye and I don’t even think Wendy noticed, probably.

“This bread is SO BOUNCY!” I gushed to Henry, who squinted and repeated, “Bouncy?” because he can never find good  terms to describe his food so he always likes to try and diminish the quality of my superlative descriptors. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a picture of Henry eating his coleslaw.

Of course I saved room for dessert! This is why I skip the fries and just pluck some off Henry’s plate. I knew from their website that their desserts are HOMEMADE so I made sure to save room to satiate my coconut cream curiosity. I knew as soon as the waitress pulled it from the cooler that it was going to be of MERINGUE variety which we all know is not my fave, but I was determined to keep an open mind.

And you know what? That meringue was actually delicious. I am super picky with that strange cloud-like pie helmet, but I do find it satisfying when done a certain way.

(I was going to say “done right” but I truthfully don’t know what “done right” is in this sense. Please tell me if you know).

This one was very, very light. Like it basically dissolved as soon as it touched my tongue, which I appreciated. I hate when you have to chew the meringue. I don’t want to chew it because I don’t really understand what meringue even is.

And the coconut cream part was satiny and delectable! The crust was nice too (I spelled it “noice” as a typo and considered keeping it and then immediately felt like an asshole, and not a cool kind of asshole but like a sleazy douchebag asshole and I squirmed a little bit)

Of course I had to check out the bathroom we left. Lots of inspirational Hobby Lobby art, as expected.

#FAITHFAMILYFRIENDS

Appreciated the wild basil and lime soap though! Good flavor choice!

There was a guest book so I signed it on the way out! “Really, you had to put down our full address?” Henry groaned. My comment was AWESOME GRILLED CHEESE!!! <3

[I know we have to continue living our lives but it is not lost on me  that we had the freedom to drive an hour to eat lunch while millions of people have been forced to leave their home country behind. This fucking sucks.]

Feb 132022
 

*I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. 

Hello from a Sunday in Brookline! I have prepared for you a photo dump of pictures that I commanded Henry to take of me yesterday as I am going through a pre-mid-life crisis, as mentioned in my last post. I think mostly it is because not getting to work in an office has made me sad for the closetful of clothes that I barely have an opportunity to wear anymore. But then I figured – whoever said these are work clothes only, right? So even though we were only going to some casual family restaurant for lunch yesterday, I wore one of my favorite blouses and fun fur cropped coat that I actually forgot I had which is a good indication that I possibly might have too many coats? Lol, never!

After lunch, we went to “downtown” Brownsville which is really just a super tiny town by the river, and collected some LOOKS from the locals who apparently did not appreciate my flamboyant coat. Oh wellz0rz, make way for the real city folk, I guess. (Lol, says the bitch from PITTSBURGH.)

First, I made Henry take a picture of looking like I was ready for PARTY TIME.

Then we walked onto A BRIDGE and it was really cold but I was a true professional as always and told Henry to quit his bitching and take my fucking picture.

He was always standing so far away from me and not even trying to do cool angles – I miss Chooch! Granted, he bitched a ton too but at least he has an artistic eyeball. Henry does not have an artistic eyeball although he claims he used to enjoy taking pictures when he was younger but now I have made it hate it.

“DID YOU USE A BROWNIE CAMERA?” I screamed, laughing to the point of tears as usual. He just mumbled something about dumping me into the river and stalked away, lol.

“Thanks for cutting off half of my foot!” I berated Henry.

“Take a picture of me adorably looking out across the river,” I instructed, because Henry does not take any initiative. (He did take a GREAT shot of his palm right around this point though.)

Truce.

“Really, we walked uphill over ice because this is the red door you saw from the car?” Henry grumbled. I liked how it looked, OK???

I’m actually cracking up here because there was a steady stream of traffic passing us by but Henry was the one who was acting embarrassed, lol.

Just when Henry thought he was off the hook, I made him go to a second location near our house after this and he was like OH BOY THE FUN NEVER FUCKING ENDS I JUST WANT TO TAKE A GODDAMN NAP.

I pulled out all of my REAL PROFESH POSES for this round. (Also this is the same place I took these photos of Chooch several years back!)

I really gave it my all, you guys. I was like WHAT WOULD TWIGGY DO. (LOL, the fact that that was the first model name I thought of, OK Erin.)

I mean, you’ve seen poses like this in Vogue, right?? Or maybe it was Yoga for Dummies.

In between poses.

I had to crop a ton of these because Henry stood 2374982374 yards away from me like he was afraid of getting kicked or punched or something. Like I’d ever….lol.

This is my new arm thing I guess.

LOL something scared me as Henry was taking this and I kept it because it is SO EMOTIVE.

More arm stuff.

This was me walk-lurching toward Henry afterward and I feel like this is a very accurate depiction of me IN MOTION.

New leg pose.

Oh this was fun, because as I was hanging onto the fence, I was pulling it slowly toward me without realizing and then I screamed because I thought it was opening and Henry was like “GOOD JOB, IDIOT.”

Well, that’s all for now. I finished watching All Of Us Are Dead today but Henry just started it so I guess I’m watching it again – maybe this time I’ll count how many times they say 씨발.

Feb 122022
 

Ever since going to lunch with Janna last week at HILLS, I have been on this kick of finding more family restaurants that appear to have not been renovated since the 60s. And then I remembered that there was this one place I had wanted to eat at back when Janna, Corey, and me took a tour of Nemacolin Castle, but it was closed so we ate at some other place instead. 

As usual, my compulsion to blog every minutiae of my life came in handy when I couldn’t remember the name of the place I wanted to eat (or the name of the place we ended up going to!) but a simple search on OHE learned me that it was the Chuck Wagon Restaurant and it still exists! So that is where Henry and I went today for lunch and I dunno why I was so excited about it – OK it’s because I saw a picture of the interior and it looks like exactly the place you would never expect to see me at but also everything that I love about a family eatery!

 

As soon as we walked in, I was squealing. This was exactly what I wanted! Henry is smiling because a Happy Erin is a Happy Henry.

This was when I wanted him to take a picture of me with the gumball machines as the background but Henry is unable to master any photographical challenge I give him. Like, who puts their phone that low?? Also, he said, “It’s a good thing I came with you so that you fit in somewhat,” which cracked me up with its accuracy because literally every man there was in camo and every broad there was dressed like they were there with someone wearing camo. If I had not been in such a great mood, I would have had some above-a-whisper commentary, the kinds that always make Henry want to curl up inside himself under a table in another state.

COLE SLAW TIME! It was pretty good! Very KFC-esque, which I like. Additionally, I ordered a grilled cheese which was fine for the $3.95 it cost (although it did not come with the tomato I ordered! Luckily, Henry gave me his tomatoes from his burger that had not yet been touched by the dead flesh, phew). Henry said his (farmer’s!!) burger was good.

(It had an egg on it so I guess that’s what constituted it as a “farmer’s” burger??)

Meanwhile, there was a conversation between three elders going on in the booth behind Henry and involved MEDICAL things which I do not ever want to hear about no matter what the scenario is, like you might say that there is a time and a place for a conversation about SURGICAL SCARS but for me, it’s “never” and “nowhere.” At one point, the one woman GOT ON THE PHONE WITH THE SUBJECT OF THE SURGERY and was practically hollering, “How big were your stones??? How big did you say your stones were??? The stones! YOUR STONES! HOW BIG WERE YOUR KIDNEY STONES??”

I fucking promise you I’m not exaggerating this. The following video is the aftermath of said phonecall, when all three people at the table were shouting out numbers and measurements of stones and I wanted to puke:

We had discussed earlier that Henry would order a piece of coconut cream pie for us to share because I didn’t want my own dessert (we had Valkyrie donuts for breakfast!) but after he finished his burger, he said that he was “too full.” Um, OK since when? Has a woodhick ever been “too full” for dessert? No! I got real pissy about this and started shaming him for his little girl stomach and then cried about how I purposely didn’t even order fries with my grilled cheese because I thought I’d be helping Henry clean a pie plate.

That cunt!!

So he was like, “OMG fine, stop calling me names, you’re hurting my feelings!” so that is how we ended up finding out that Chuck Wagon makes MY STYLE of coconut cream pie!!

It was so fresh and light, and it had WHIPPED TOPPING not sad, limp meringue! And the crust was upper tier. Not quite god tier, but close. I will be returning to Chuck Wagon many times in an effort to try all of the pies.

The bathroom wasn’t anything special but the sink had a floral design that was unexpected considering the rest of the bathroom looked like the kinds in smaller gas stations that you’re actually surprised to find are clean-ish. Do you know what I mean? It had that industrial cleaner smell to it and almost felt like it was a trailer. But at least I didn’t have to pee on top of some redneck’s poop.

Chuck Wagon! That mural made me uncomfy but everything else was amazing and I was so fucking happy when we left. Where should we go next??? Now that Valentine card season is finally over, we can do things on weekends again so I’m voting to make Saturday Lunches in Small Towns Outside of Pgh a weekly tradition.

Then we went to “downtown” Brownsville because I wanted to do a stupid photoshoot because:

  • I liked my outfit;
  • I am desperate for blog content in the winter;
  • I am having pre-midlife crisis where I’m regretting all the years I wouldn’t let anyone take pictures of me and now it’s like I didn’t exist from 2005-2016 aside from selfies.

I will post those separately but as a bonus, here two pictures I took of Henry the Dumb during our Brownsville prowl:

When I saw this sign, I screamed, “Henry! Here’s something that you will care about! Go stand next to it!” He was so irritated because it was right next to a steady stream of traffic and he hates having his picture taken when people are around. OK cool but did I ask??

I mean, I guess I felt welcomed! Although when we were walking around, I was wearing a hot pink faux fur coat and Henry was like, “Literally everyone is staring at us.” Lol oh well!

Feb 062022
 

Maybe you* can relate, but I have been caught in this frustrating cycle where I am home almost constantly and desperate for social interaction, but then when I think about scheduling any type of plans with anyone, I immediately feel exhausted and just resort to my shut-in tendencies. And then an hour I will complain about being bored and having no friends.

*(You know. You.)

I can’t tell if this the new COVID new, depression, winter, laziness, or all of the above, but last week I was determined to make plans and keep them. So I Kakao’d Janna and said, “let’s go to lunch this weekend” and she was like, “yes” and then I was like, “shit now we have to choose a place” and somehow, my random Yelp map travels lured me to the town of NEW EAGLE where a family restaurant by the name of HILLS RESTAURANT resides.

We’re not on this side all that often, but we do go out that way during haunted house season, and Chooch and I were just in that area last spring for GEOCACHING ugh. All I’m trying to say is that I have somehow never noticed this place in all the times I’ve driven on this road but of course HENRY knew what it was immediately and has even eaten there like 50 years ago which sounds like I’m exaggerating until you remember that Henry is, you know, many years my senior.

I don’t even know what made me click on it when I saw it on the Yelp map, but as soon as I saw pictures of the interior, I imprinted on this bitch immediately. So I sent it to Janna with prayer hands and she was like “yes let’s go here” and that is how normal people make plans, or so I hear.

The only downside was that it’s like 40 minutes away which is kind of weird to drive that far for just a basic lunch but sometimes you gotta just make a meal into an adventure, amirite?

We met there at 12:30 and I was lowkey acting like I was about to meet a blind date inside, that’s how anxious and giddy I was. “You go first,” I said to Janna who was probably just like *EYE ROLL* but I couldn’t see because I was behind her since I made her go first, remember.

Look at that cool tile!! I felt like I was in a subway station and I loved it. Also, we were the youngest diners, so that felt good, too.

LOOK AT HOW CHEERFUL THIS IS! I blurted out the same to the waitress as she was filling the cups. “I try to make sure they never match,” she said with a smile, and my heart was bursting.

Of course, I had to send photographical evidence of my coleslaw to Henry, who was back at home slagging away at projects lol. #PoorHenry says the studio audience in unison. 

Grilled Cheese check: look, I knew I wasn’t going to get a gourmet TOASTIE (that’s what they’re called in ENGLAND, isn’t it??) and am more often than not haunted by lousy diner grilled cheeses (um, the last time I went to Hyde’s in Cincinnati, it was literally two slices of baby-sized bread FOLDED OVER and the one half only had like a corner of a cheese slice on it –  you can kindly CLICK HERE to see a true life photo of that monstrosity. But I have been to Hyde’s enough at this point in my life to know that you don’t go to Hyde’s for a grilled cheese,  you go for the MOTHERFUCKING PIE, PEOPLE).

But the grilled cheese I received on my plate today straight from the HILLS KITCHEN was exactly the kind of grilled cheese I expect to get at an establishment like this. I know it’s going to be basic, but basic doesn’t mean skimpy, you know? And this grilled cheese was just right! The menu said it came on Texas toast and IT DID! I have ordered many falsely advertised grilled cheeses! And it had more than one slice of cheese, which was evenly melted under the bread. (The points  sticking out from the bread weren’t melted, but I didn’t mind.) And the tomato I requested as an add-on was a beefy boy! Yeah, I was please with this.

(Only downside was that the waitress didn’t bring us ketchup since neither of us ordered fries and I typically require a giant pool of the stuff on my plate so that I can dunk my grilled cheese into it before each bite, but I didn’t feel like calling the waitress over to ask for it. If my Pappap were still alive, he’d have dinged a knife against his water glass repeatedly to get her attention, just kidding, he only did that shit at Blue Flame because he was pals with all the waitresses and loved to eff with them lol.)

While we were still eating, the waitress came over and asked if we’d be having anything else, so I blurted out, “do you have coconut cream pie???” because the menu and website SAID THAT THEY DO and Janna and I both love CCP. (I have never called it that before but didn’t feel like spelling it out so instead I used an acronym and then spent all these letters forming words explaining the obvious. I am a Writer.)

“We have one slice left,” she said, not realizing that she was basically uttering the words that could end Janna’s and my friendship.

Janna and I looked at each across the table. “I’ll fight you for it,” I said, while Janna The Mature asked, “What else do you have?”

The waitress ran down the list and some of the other ones sounded good too so I brilliantly suggested that we order the coconut and another one, and then split each. 12 YEARS WORKING IN THE CONFLICTS DEPARTMENT, LADIES AND GENTS AND OTHERS.

“I’ll let you two decide and come back in a few,” the waitress said, realizing that she didn’t have time to stand there for this heavy discussion.

“OK, but save the coconut for us please!” I called after her, wondering if she could detect the coating of panic & desperation hanging on my voice.

A few minutes later, the waitress came back and asked if we decided. I asked Janna if she knew which other pie she wanted to get and Janna was like, “Should we just get the coconut and that’s it?” and I was like, “Oh. Ok. Sure,” but deep down I was like, “NO I AM A PIE PIG AND REQUIRE TWO SLICES IF WE ARE SHARING.” So we let the waitress walk away and then Janna IMMEDIATELY said, “Dammit, that raspberry cream one sounded good—-” and I was already crying out, “EXCUSE ME!” to the waitress so we could tack on the raspberry slice too. Crisis averted!!

Good thing too because the raspberry cream ended up being better than the coconut! Look, the coconut was fine, but it was not my favorite kind of coconut cream pie. I prefer the inside to be more of a whipped coconut filling and less pudding-y, and I definitely prefer my slice to be topped with a whipped wig, not a meringue mountain. To this day, I don’t think I have had a better coconut (literally have type cococunt every single time) cream pie than the ones served up at Grant’s in Millvale. That pie deserves its own TV show.

BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE BATHROOM AND ITS GOLD GLITTER SINK??

LOL.

Hills was decently busy when we arrived, but we stayed all the way up until they closed at 2 (two other old ladies did too!) like total rude asses. I blame Janna, who had to go to the bathroom. I had actually paid a few minutes prior to 2 but then had to STAND THERE AND WAIT FOR HER while the waitresses were like, “Cool thanks for finally leaving the table so we can clean up your mess now” but don’t worry I left a nice tip because what a great place with even better service.

We’re almost counter-sitting age! I bet a lot of old men have bitched to each other about their nagging wives while sitting on those stools and slurping down cups of black coffee.

Chooch would have been so stoked about the WIFI sign because that’s always the first thing he checks when we go to a restaurant.

Well, I think was a great lunch spot! I haven’t been to a restaurant since December (I’m still leery!) so I’m glad I broke my “eating out” strike for this place. Then, as I was about to get in my car to leave, Janna asked me some innocent question about NCT127 and it was like getting a POWER UP in Super Mario Bros. My brain, now flipping over to its Korean side, completely disregarded the original plan of “Lunch is over / get in car / drive home” and told my legs to walk back over to the sidewalk where Janna was standing.

“OK LET ME EXPLAIN HOW NCT WORKS” I said all breathily because talking about Kpop makes me get into HEAVY PANT MODE. So we were still having NCT class while all of the waitresses started to come out and leave. Then we were the only ones left in the parking lot and I’m sure Janna was like, “I WISH I HADN’T ASKED.” Lol.

OH FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I just realized that I failed to check at the register for Hills merch!!!

P.S. You know what else is good on grilled cheese? HOT SAUCE.

Sep 252021
 

Maybe you remember last year, right after the pandemic started, I reposted my old Indiana Beach blog posts as a tribute to the park after it was announced that the 2019 was the last season and they were officially shuttering. I was gutted over this! Sure, Indiana Beach isn’t Six Flags-level by any means but I remembered it to be a really quaint and quirky park, perched on a scenic lake, laden with Midwest charm and friendly staff. Back then, we had been lured there by the promise of dark rides, and it did not disappoint in that department.

I had barley even finished pouring one out for this lakeside park when it was announced that some rich-ass businessman in Chicago, Gene Staples, had granted the wishes of thousands of thoosies around the country by writing a check and saving this park’s ass. (And also a park in NJ and NY too! Gene Staples, you da man. Wish you had bought Conneaut too, since whoever the asshole is that “saved” that place has been busy selling off rides left and right. Asshole.)

Because I am constantly in a state of panic about RUNNING OUT OF TIME, I suggested rather spontaneously that we revisit this cute boardwalk resort and Henry was like, “OK fine twist my arm” because he is actually really into going to amusement parks lately – I think he’s having a midlife crisis if we’re being honest, and if he would rather work that out by riding rollercoasters instead of throwing down for a Mustang or a Harley, then I am happy to hold his hand through this…season of his life.

(The A Beautiful Mess broads use that saying for everything and I want to scream. “We gave up on our AirBNB dreams because it just wasn’t the right season of our lives” – OK if that’s how you want to sugarcoat zoning issues, cool. Cool cool.)

So anyway, that’s why we were in Indiana last weekend! We left Friday as soon as I logged off work, stayed overnight in Dayton, and then made it to Indiana Beach right as they opened at 11. (After driving past miles and miles of cornfields and wind turbines, literally like the good folks in Indiana decided to construct lifesized dioramas of  my nightmares for my window-viewing pleasure. I was screaming! Chooch even googled it because he thought for sure this had to be one of the most wind turbined-areas in  the US but it apparently Indiana only has a combined 2000-some, whereas the state that takes the top spot, Texas, has over 30,000. I’m gagging. You just can’t see me.)

Last time we visited, we knew NOTHING about this place, but since joining the Coaster Community, we learned that we parked in the wrong lot last time. For some reason, GPS will always lead you to the side lot which is NOT the main entrance. The good entrance has you crossing over a swaying bridge across Lake Shafer, with the most excellent views of three of  the park’s coasters. It was beautiful. If you ever go there, ignore the GPS and get yourself to the main entrance instead! (I actually don’t know how Henry got there, I was too busy listening to Taemin.)

One of the unique things about this place is that rides are built on top of each other, on top of snack bars, literally in the lake….it’s just a jumble of tracks and supports and it’s really crazy to see!  I actually forgot about that.

It was like 87 degrees and I definitely forgot to stay properly hydrated. Kids, drink your water. Don’t be distracted by all of the RIDES like I was. Also, Henry: be a better guardian. Thanks

There was a healthy crowd that day but I have no idea where everyone was going or what they were doing because nearly every ride, coasters includes, were walk-ons or station waits. There must be some townie secret that I was not privy to. Also, this “boardwalk” was adorable but was it as nice as WILDWOOD? No, Mary. The answer is NO.

I just loved the color scheme here! I took this picture from the train, which winds all around under coaster tracks and goes next to the antique car route and through a tunnel cut into Frankenstein’s Castle and right along the lake. I mean it was still kind of boring because it’s a train ride but it was cool to see the park from that perspective.

LOOK AT HOW THE  TRACK GOES RIGHT OVER THE LAKE!!!!??? I was so confused and then Henry started to explain construction things to me and I was like, “yeah I’m not actually that interested but nice try. Put the protractor back in your pocket, buddy.”

The website is all AND COME SHOP AT THE BOARDWALK SHOPS but there really wasn’t much I wanted to buy, lol. Not quite my aesthetic.

This crow in 1930s men’s swimwear is their mascot! (I guess at the year, I have no idea but I know men used to wear strange two-piece suits at the beach back in the olden days because I have eyeballs and have seen photographs. And that is what I pass off as “research” on these pages.)

I’ll do separate posts for the rides and food and whatever, but I took so many pictures of just the park itself that I really wanted to designate one entire post to just that, especially after we had that PARK IS CLOSED FOREVER scare in 2020. I’m super obsessive about MEMORIES and DOCUMENTATION and even if Indiana Beach does go belly-up at some point, at least I can contribute to the pictures that remain floating around in its honor.

I wish that my family took more pictures of the boardwalk all those times we went to Wildwood because most of those rides are gone and I think at least one or two of the actual piers are gone too. I also wish I had more pictures from Kennywood from the 80s and 90s. It’s so different there now and definitely not in a good way. :(

The park closed at 7 (7!!! OK fine, I guess it is technically off-season now.) so I didn’t get to capture any good night shots with the lights on but it sure did look pretty at dusk, I also had to laugh because Henry acted like we were only going to stay for a few hours and we closed that bitch down. Chooch and I got the last ride of the night on the Flying Bobs, which I found myself heavily fixating on the motor and the wheels that run seemingly haphazardly along the track next to the ride.

But it’s so pretty, even with the threat of perishing!

Of course Chooch and I fought no less than a dozen times but it sure was a pleasant day, regardless. Henry keeps telling me to just ignore him when he gets in his shitty moods and I am trying but I am a Leo and I eat shitty moods for snacks. So this arrangement doesn’t always play out well. It is my nature to thrive off the negative vibes of others.

Oh wait, this isn’t my paper diary. K, bye!

Sep 212021
 

A few years ago (2014, I think??), we went to Indiana Beach in Monticello, IN upon my insistence and relentless begging. We stayed in a town called Logansport which was not on my radar at all, until we randomly ate at a family-run fast-food establishment called MR. HAPPY BURGER and I became o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d that I demanded we eat at the second location as well AND I bought a commemorative t-shirt. I know, everything in this paragraph sounds so unlike me!

We semi-spontaneously revisited Indiana Beach over the weekend and I was almost as excited to go back to Mr. Happy Burger! It wasn’t that the food was amazing, but they did have grilled cheese on the menu which is almost unheard of for a burger-centric fast food joint, so that was a huge plus for me and Chooch, but it was mostly the VIBES, you guys. You know I’m all about the VIBES.

Sadly, the owner of Mr. Happy Burger recently decided to retire and put one of the locations up for sale. We drove past it and I will admit that I had a fleeting desire to buy that bitch up and rebrand it as Miss Happy Veggie Burger, the vegan mistress of Mr. Happy Burger.

But, I don’t think  that would be very well-received in that part of Indiana, lol.

Oh shit bitches, get ready to grill up some cheeses, because we’re back.

(I tried so hard to get Henry to order a Mr. Pib with his burger but he wouldn’t do it. The cashier was not amused. She had this dour, “Just fucking pick a bev” look on her face.)

There was a small group sitting a few tables over and one of them had just completed an 8-scoop ice cream challenge, not sanctioned by Mr Happy Burger.

“And he ate a double burger, too!” one of the people in his party exclaimed for everyone within earshot.

“Now I gotta go and drink some beer,” he said, completely unimpressed with himself, as they left the building.

Oh, Indiana.

There is something about orange and green as a color combo that is horrific and nostalgic all at once.  I declared that I was going to keep one of the fry wrappers and made a big production of dumping all the crumbs and salt specks onto the table, and then smoothing it out tenderly. I left it off to  the side, on the table, but then HENRY THE OBLIVIOUS put it on the tray with all the trash and I unknowingly threw it out, THANKS HENRY THE OBLIV.

I got really upset about this and he was like I WILL FIX IT, HOLD PLEASE and went back to the dour cashier and went through this whole awkward and confusing exchange before she finally understood what he wanted and he proudly returned to me with a clean wrapper in his hand, like a Viking returning home to his fur-wrapped woman, waving the head of the enemy on a spear.

Cool story, Henry.

I also wanted to get an orange version of the Haps shirt, but Henry just frowned and of course I didn’t have my wallet.

Their grilled cheese is better than most grilled cheeses I’ve had at diners and other restaurants. For instance, we were recently at Hyde’s in Cincinnati and the grilled cheese we both had there was so fucking pitiful, I can’t even believe they charged us for it. It was like they made it with scrap bread slices, and split one entire piece of cheese between mine and Chooch’s. I mean, I could make a better grilled cheese and we all know that’s saying a lot!

But Mr. Happy Burger serves up a substantial grilled cheese with a decent bread:cheese ratio. The bread is thick and buttery, and the cheese is actually thoroughly melted and not just a limp, cold slice between two half-toasted bread rejects.

I Just Said No to ice cream all day at Indiana Beach because I remembered that Mr. Happy has an ice cream parlor in the location that remained open. I dunno why but at the last minute, I happened to see a small menu of froyo flavors taped to the ice cream display. My eyes flickered across the “banana pecan” option and I thought, “bitch why not” so that’s what I ordered, and then almost immediately had remorse but I returned to our table, determined to live with my choice.

Yo, they actually blend up their froyos on the spot, boy! I watched that young ice cream princess cut up a banana and everything. And that was one BITCHIN’ cup of froyo, and also a flavor combo  that I wouldn’t have immediately paired together on my own. Apparently, the ice cream girls aren’t used to getting that as an order either because they had to double check with Henry after I sat back down and they made an unsure, “hmm, ok” face.

Henry for some reason also went the low fat froyo route and went with pineapple coconut. OH SHIT, YOU GUYS, that was motherfucking divine too! I took several hearty spoonfuls of it and felt like I had been personally transported to a beach in a first class seat on the Mr. Happy Burger train. Refreshing! Tropical! Exotic! Without even leaving Logansport, Indiana.

Dang, Mr. Happy Burger, please don’t leave. Surely someone in the Mr. Happy family wants to see the legacy live on!?

Oh, I contemplated bringing my Haps shirt on the trip but is that adjacent to the tackiness of wearing the band’s shirt to their concert? Sike, I don’t really care about that but I just truly forgot to pack it, lol.

 

Um, I never actually realized how lumpy that HB logo is. Is it supposed to be a burger? Mr. Happy himself? A potato??

Sep 162021
 

I’m not going to lie: I was HANGRY by the time we left Great Escape. I mean, we were in the middle of a line for the little antique car ride thing and I cried uncle. I just needed to leave and stuff food in my maw.

Surely someone out there can relate to this, but I often get so HUNGRY that I actually don’t even register the hunger and go straight to crimson-vision Murder Town where the only thing that seems tasty to me is lacerating the feelings of everyone around me with my silver-tongued vitriol.

Well, that’s what was happening Sunday evening when Henry rolled up to the pre-determined diner of his choice and we made it as far as the vestibule before I shouted about not wanting to eat there and stomped back off to the car.

TRAVELING WITH ERIN! The sign-up sheet is behind Todd’s desk.

(Sorry. That’s where they always put the sign-up sheets food parties at work BACK WHEN WE SHARED OFFICE AIR AND FOOD, I barely remember.)

Henry, you would think, should be used to this by now but he still gets a bee up his butt when I show signs of distress or discontent. Like hello maybe try harder to impress and satisfy me while simultaneously squashing my hunger, bitch. So he started to just angrily drive aimlessly around this foreign part of New York while Chooch was in the backseat mumbling, “Here we go.” Ah, family road trips!

He drove back past Great Escape.

Past the road he should have taken to get back to our hotel in Utica.

Past some annoying Outlets which had Chooch screaming because OMG Adidas.

Past…wait—these mini golf places are fucking cool.

IS THAT A SMALL AMUSEMENT PARK OVER THERE.

I actually gasped out loud at one point, to my horror, because Erin-Pouts-A-Lot was still very much in the throes of The Silent Treatment portion of that Sunday’s tantrum du jour.

Ah yes, my friends, Henry had unknowingly driven us right into the tourist trap of LAKE GEORGE. I had never heard of this so-called LAKE WITH THE MAN’S NAME but from the car window, it appeared to be a Pigeon Forge Lite and I desperately needed Henry to stop the car, but instead of just asking him to, you know, stop the car like a regular, functioning grown-up would, I had to play my little baby games with him by saying things like, “Wow OK cool you just passed up like 7 places where we could have eaten, but sure, just keep driving” and “A real man would have parked the car by now” and “Oh wait, I keep forgetting that you’re too cheap to take your family to a place like this.”

LOL wow it’s really amazing that he didn’t park the car in the middle of the street solely to dump my body in the lake.

Anyway, we went back and forth like this for a while, with him saying, “I SAID I AM LOOKING FOR A PARKING SPOT” and me saying, “OH JUST FORGET IT” and then him finally finding a parking spot and me complaining because I wasn’t wearing nicer shoes for the LAKE GEORGE EXPERIENCE and Chooch saying, “Hello, remember me? The growing boy who sincerely needs to be fed?”

Things calmed down very quickly once we parked, but I found it odd that while we were standing in front of the parking meter, two separate old guys basically pushed us out of the way so they could use it, and they were dumping POCKETSFULL of quarters into that thing while complaining about how it didn’t work?? One of them came back and asked us, “Did you get it to work?” and Henry was like, “Uh yeah, I used the app.”

Dumb old people.

And then right off the bat, we lost Chooch to an arcade.

We were all so hungry but I wanted to walk around while it was still light out.

I never would have thought of myself as A LAKE PERSON but I liked what I saw and now I’m desperate to go back and do LAKE THINGS as long as I don’t have to actually GO INTO THE LAKE. I want to go on one of the big boat cruise things they have though!

This reminded me so much of Europe! Probably the closest I’ll get to that in a while, fucking covid.

There’s a lot of Native American history ’round these parts. Maybe if we come and go on one of the BOAT TOURS, we will learn stuff.

Chooch spotted some Italian restaurant called Mezza Luna and his taste buds imprinted on it immediately. We had no choice but to dine here, and it was pretty decent!

MIRROR SELFIE.

There was some King of Queens asshole sitting in a nearby booth bragging to his date about how much his collectible nerd toys cost (Chooch whipped around in his seat to look at him when he price-dropped something in his collection and it was SO OBVIOUS, thanks Chooch). I couldn’t wait for him to leave because he kept doing a powerful trucker-sniffle and I cannot stand that shit, ugh.

I haven’t had pasta in a hot minute, yo, and I was pretty happy. Chooch and Henry both got different personal pizzas and our some-kind-of-European-accented waiter DENNY brought us plates to share.  Then he dropped a plate over by the bar and Henry and I both murmured, “Good job, Denny” at the same time – I hate when we’re on the same wavelength when I’m still trying to be mad at him!!

When we got the check, we marveled over the fact that it was only $10 more than the total from when Henry and Chooch had dinner at lame-ass Eat n Park several weeks ago. Look, Eat n Park, you ain’t worth all that, ok.

THEN WE WENT TO THE HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN!! Usually Henry frowns upon these things but he actually was like, “Fine, let’s do it.” I think Henry is really changing, you guys. It’s almost like he WANTS to have fun now??

I took this by accident but thought it was cool. I bet that snot-suckler at Mezza Luna knows how much these monster figurines are worth.

Anyway, this place was so much better than anticipated! You just walk through and peer into various windows to have your mind blown with the macabre, you know?

The only bad part was when the family behind caught up to us because they were practically running past everything instead of taking the time to really let the sinister vignettes simmer into their system. The patriarch (dad? grandpa?) of the crew was practically leering over Henry’s shoulder and it was so uncomfortable. Like, just go around us, assholes! We were actually trying to enjoy what Frankenstein had to offer.

Then Henry and Chooch got ice cream and I was going to as well but the dour girls working the scoop zone didn’t inspire me much. I have slight regertz now though because Chooch let me taste his ice cream and it was really good and he raved for the rest of  the night about how it might have been the best ice cream he’s ever had, but it was definitely the best waffle and I was like, “OK I GET IT, I FUCKED UP. TOO LATE NOW.”

Chooch kept saying this in a leprechaun voice, like “pray to me god” instead of “pray to my god” and I couldn’t stop cracking up over it.

Then we drove back to the ice cream place across from Great Escape so I could get this supposedly famous Dandee Creme that was featured on the Today Show.

Of course Henry picked the slowest line because we were behind a group that all ordered milk shakes. That was OK though because I kept wavering on what flavor I wanted and at the last minute went with raspberry and chocolate twist with sprinkles.

It was OK! I’ve had a lot of soft serve and custard in my days so I’m not sure if this really has that write-home-ability to it but it got the job done. This was a SMALL size though and I wish I had known they were that big so I could have went with the kid cone because woo-wee. That put a lot of junk in my trunk at 9:30pm at night. Yikes.

Then we had to drive nearly two hours back to our hotel in Utica, so that was tons of fun for Henry, haha!

But overall, wow Lake George, way to salvage an evening that was quickly going south! I am so dead-set on returning that I already had a travel guide mailed to us, haha. Let’s gooooo.

Sep 122021
 

Since Seabreeze was such a small park, we decided to just do a half day there and then drive another hour or so away to Sylvan Beach, a small little resort village on Lake Oneida which is similar in some ways to our Conneaut Lake Park in that the area is pretty but the amusement park is janky AF. Sylvan Beach’s park was even smaller than Conneaut’s but I ended up loving this place so much more. The vibes were solid.

And the colors were poppin’!

This is one of those places where you can either pay for a ride-all-day wristband (not worth it unless you’re a small child because the bulk of the rides were kiddie rides) so we just calculated how many tickets we’d need to knock out the rides we came to ride: the carnival-scale roller coaster called Galaxi, the Rotor, Laffland (a Pretzel darkride!!!), and one or two flat rides. SADLY, Galaxi was closed because it’s being repainted – no idea why they wouldn’t wait until the off-season to accomplish this, but you do you, Sylvan Beach. And the Rotor was also inexplicably closed. So, that was sad but we still managed to eke out a good three hours at this place, somehow, and had a lot of fun.

There was a sign on the ticket booth that said something like, “Just stand in front of the ride you want to ride and a ride operator will be over shortly.” It was that kind of a place, lol.

The first item on the agenda was FOOD. We didn’t eat at Seabreeze and were running off of vegan donut-fumes at that point. Henry went right up to some old man and asked him where he got the pizza that he was in the process of raising up to his lips, way to be a rude-ass, Henry. The guy pointed us to KAHUNA’S, where Henry went hogwild and ordered a whole cheese pizza and fries. Wow, don’t hold back, Big Guy. But then we had time to kill so we went to the nearby arcade, which apparently isn’t affiliated with Sylvan Beach but sure does enjoy that prime location right smack in the middle of this place.

You guys, I am SO SICK of Chooch’s obsession with arcades. When will it end?? Will it just eventually morph into a gambling addiction? Are Las Vegas benders in his future?? And there were like THREE separate arcades here too, I wanted to die.

Some older man walked past us at one point and dropped a quarter. Henry picked it up and tried to hand it back to him, but he dropped it again and said with a creepy, puddin’ face, “It’s for the kids.” We were like OK buddy but Chooch was like, “Wait, really??” and noticed that some young child was following in the guy’s wake, snatching up the purposely-discarded questers, so then Chocoh decided to get in on this action too and started beating the kid to the punch.

Wow, Chooch was getting some DEATH GLARES from that little kid.

Anyway, turns out that that kid was the son of the Quarter Dropper, so good fucking job, Chooch, you thief.

Meanwhile, Henry kept saying, “How hasn’t he run out of quarters yet?” OH FOR GOD’S SAKE, HENRY, KEEP UP!

Henry’s fries were done before the pizza. We stole a bunch before Henry sent us off. “GO RIDE SOMETHING WHILE WE’RE WAITING FOR THIS PIZZA!” he demanded, because he was sick of us, I guess. Even the Henrys of the world need some quiet time.

I wanted to ride this contraption called Tip Top, which appeared to be something akin to Tea Cups, but nope. So much worse. First, though, we had to wait for the ride operator over at the Tilt-a-Whirl to finish her cycle before coming over to operate the Tip Top.

Oh also, it took forever to even start the ride because two little girls were standing on the ride platform looking lost so  the ride operator came over and was like, “Hello, please sit down” and the older of the two was like, “She wants to sit in the blue one because blue is her favorite color, but…” and then pointed the already-occupied blue one. So the ride operator was like, “Aw, well how about this nice pink one right here” and the older one was like, “Blue is her favorite color” and the younger one was on the verge of crying and I kind of wanted her too because sometimes I think I feed off of children’s disappointment. Anyway, this went on forever and I was like, “COME  THE FUCK ON I WANT TO RIDE THIS THING AND EAT MY PIZZA JUST TELL THE BITCH THAT THE PINK ONE IS A RARE SHADE OF BLUE” but they ended up getting off the ride like little bitches.

Idiots.

OMG this ride was so scary. First of all, it started out Teacup-esque, where it just spins in a circle while you make your own car spin too. But then the whole platform (which was basically made of PLYWOOD) tilts up and does all kinds of other tilt-y, unsafe things and I was SCREAMING. Mostly because I felt v. unsafe and then I thought Chooch was going to fall out of the opening in our car and so he started purposely flailing around and I was like THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE and the ride operator wasn’t stopping the ride after like 55 rotations WHY WASN’T SHE STOPPING THE RIDE.

It was a JOURNEY.

Meanwhile, the pizza was done and Henry had already housed half of it by the time we were done having our Tips Topped.

Ew.

But not-ew was this pizza! It tasted like roller rink pizza and I was so happy about it! Also while we were eating, whatever radio station was playing announced that JACKSON WANG was coming on air in a bit, STRAIGHT FROM CHINA, to answer some of the listeners’ questions. I started freaking out! I love Jackson Wang! He was/is in one of my favorite kpop groups, GOT7. Not sure what their future is looking like as a group because none of them resigned with their agency, but they also won’t say that they’ve disbanded.

Anyway, that was a nice surprise! Of course I didn’t get to actually hear him because we were done eating by then.

For as fly-by-night as this place was, I really couldn’t get over how colorful it was. I can tell that it must have been a very nice place at one time, and it feels like they’re trying to bring back some of that magic. I think they can do it!

The fact that they have preserved this piece of amusement history is worth supporting Sylvan Beach. I am a big dark ride fan and even without the prospect of getting that +1 credit (I just learned this term! It means when you go out of your way to a small park that only has one dinky coaster just to get that credit), I would have definitely suggested that we factor this into our NY road trip, because it is a CLASSIC PRETZEL DARK RIDE.

When I was a kid in the 80s, Le Cachot was one of my favorite rides at Kennywood. Back then, I didn’t know shit about ride manufacturers and “pretzel cars” but Le Cachot had them and if you’ve been on a ride like this, you will know that there is a certain electric-zapping-whirring sound that the cars make as they whip around corners. Hearing this sound again that evening, in Laffland, was like have a bucket of ice cold nostalgia dumped on me.

Literally NO ONE was in line for this. The young guy manning the Fun Slides right next to Laffland came over and told us to hold on while he fetched the ride operator – this super friendly woman who was delighted to send some patrons through her ride.

Henry and I rode together and Chooch went in after us. He said that while he was still standing outside, he could hear me screaming through the whole thing and it was “embarrassing.” Lol.

But OMG it was wonderful! I fucking LOVE DARK RIDES. Not those newfangled shooter ones. I want the old shit! I want the hokey animatronics and the strobe lights. I want the tilted floors and laughing witches.

Ya gotta come to Sylvan Beach for the Laffland. It costs like 3 tickets. I think each ticket was $1.50 or something. It’s worth it, I fucking promise you. The sounds and the old-timey stench alone will make you remember all the best parts of being a kid and whoa, OMG – I am totally one of those Elders pining for the past.

OH BOY ANOTHER ARCADE. This one had skeeball and games that were similar to Fascination but poker-themed or something, I didn’t understand it.

AND ANOTHER ARCADE. I couldn’t stay in this one long because the guy had country music blasting and it was too much.

The ride area is basically akin to a local church carnival set-up. They don’t have much going on there, especially once you take the coaster and the Rotor out of the equation. I think the ride-all-day wristband was $25 or $35 and that was just really not worth it. We bought about $25 worth of tickets for the three of us to ride Laffland, and Chooch and I also rode that Tip Top thing and whatever that one ride is called that looks like the Zipper and a Ferris wheel had a baby. It was OK. We couldn’t get our cages to flip all the way though and I was too scared to be any more forceful with it than I already was because Sylvan Beach was cool but I didn’t want to die there.

SPEAKING OF DYING THERE, apparently some employee did just that many years ago in the Playland arcade and it’s allegedly haunted. They do after-hours ghost tours  (I will back for that, trust) and one of those dumb ghost hunting shows filmed an episode there too. I can totally see a place like this being haunted. It’s  been around since the late 1800s! Plenty of time for spirits to collect.

Then it was Carousel time! Since the carousel is independently owned, we had to buy separate tickets for it. The horses didn’t go up and down either, but it was still a fun ride.

Fascination was closed and Henry was so sad.

 

The rides looked so much better at night, lol.

We left Chooch in the arcade and walked over the lake. I had never heard of Lake Oneida before but it sure was pretty. I learned lots of geography-ish things on this trip! Like, we drove near the Finger Lakes, which is where my friend Alyson loves to go and get wine, and I had NO IDEA that was where they were in NY. Mind blown.

Also, we were in the area where my friend Val lives. Also had no idea until we drove past an exit sign and I recognized the name of her town! We didn’t have time to give her a heads up, but we will be back and I hope she is prepared, lol.

I think this trip has turned me into a lake person even though we didn’t actually do lake-things at all.

“Let’s pretend we’re a couple.”

Before we left, Henry wanted to get ice cream. I didn’t want any but said I would just have a bite or two of us. He was like, “What do you want me to get, blueberry?” and I was like, “Ooh ok” AGAIN, FORGETTING THAT HE DOESN’T LIKE BLUEBERRY LOL. So I had two bites of this and then he was left to sadly finish the cup on his own, all the while imagining he was eating the butter pecan that he actually wanted (I would have been happy if he had ordered that instead because I love me some butter pecan).

Anyway, wow! What a quaint little place. I was so obsessed with it that I demanded we swing through on our way home on Labor Day. I think Sylvan Beach could really get back to a poppin’ nature with some extra TLC and it does look like the owners are trying based on the fact that they’re repainting their coaster. I’d definitely go back to get that Galaxi credit, ride Laffland again, and inhale some of that pizza. And DEFINITELY eat at the Pancake House again. I dunno why I grew such an attachment to that place. Oh, because I’m Erin Rachelle Kelly, that’s why.

We left Sylvan Beach around 9 that night and drove for something like 30 minutes to the nearby Utica, where we stayed for two nights at Red Roof Inn which actually wasn’t too bad except for that stupid headboard that almost knocked me out. The next day was SIX FLAGS GREAT ESCAPE so check back for that scintillating recap, hahaha ugh. Sorry this is basically just an amusement park blog now but I’ve got little else going on!

Sep 092021
 

Hello. Last Saturday, we went to a small amusement park in Rochester, NY called SEABREEZE. It’s right on Lake Ontario and it was a pure delight. We opted to go to smaller-scale parks since it was a holiday weekend and Covid is running rampant. I didn’t want to go somewhere that would be super crowded and run the risk of catching that shit. Turns out, our mini NY road trip was perfect, and Seabreeze really kicked it off well.

I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about this place. Oh! Magnets. They didn’t have them! And you know I collect magnets from everywhere we go! So I had to buy a postcard and a sticker instead. Ugh.

The first coaster cred of the trip was the historic Jack Rabbit! When it was built in 1920, it was the FASTEST IN THE WORLD! There is only one coaster in the country that’s older than this one and that is Pennsylvania’s own Leap the Dips, which is also the oldest in the world (allegedly) and Chooch actually got this credit when he was like…2 or 3??

Anyway, this bitch is so old that a ride operator has to manually brake it with these big levers when it comes back to the brake run. I thought that was fascinating.

I really love experiencing history on such a tangible level.

Henry and I went back later to get a second ride on it before we left and Son of the Year actually left the arcade to take a picture of us on it.

I didn’t ride the kiddie coaster because I don’t care that much about credits, but Chooch pocketed his pride and strode right up to the station. The sign actually said that you can’t ride this over a certain height unless you’re accompanying a kid, but the ride operator was probably only 2 years older than Chooch and did not give a fuck at all about the rules, so he walked right on and claimed the last row.

I love how it looks like he’s holding this little bitch in his lap, lull.

“That actually had some decent pops of ejector air,” he said sardonically when he rejoined us.

I liked this area here with all the games and food stands.

OMFG this ride!! It was built in-house by the park owners and it, well, SLAPS. (I watch a lot of young guys on YouTube talking about roller coasters and I can’t help it if I talk like them now too please kindly step off.) It had the longest line in the park and for good reason.

(Because it, you know, SLAPS.)

When we were in line, Chooch nudged me and motioned toward the ground where some dollars had dropped out of the pocket of the man in front of us. He gave me approximately .000003 seconds to react before shoving past me and saying, “I’LL JUST PICK IT UP MYSELF” and then in a polite tone he goes, “Excuse me sir, you dropped this.” The man acted like Chooch was a goddamn hero and kept thanking him and I was like, “OK it was $11 calm down he didn’t lift a car off your kid for Christ’s sake.”

Chooch sneered at me after the man turned back around and I spat, “Well, if you had given me more than a millimeter of a second to react—”

“DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TIME WORKS?” Chooch screamed, well Henry was mumbling about how, “No, that’s not it, Erin.”

“I was hoping he would just let me keep it,” Chooch admitted later. THERE HE IS! THERE IS THE SON THAT I KNOW.

Before the BIG MONEY DROP, but after some kids were talking amongst themselves about how they LIKED MY SHOES.

Chooch was desperate to get the Suisse car and of course it worked out that he did because he’s Chooch and he gets everything, but Henry and I got the Jamaica one and I was happy with that because really I just didn’t want the stupid USA one ugh kill me.

But yeah, this ride was so much fun and if the line had been shorter, I would have marathoned the shit out of this. As it was, it was only about a 25 minute wait but nearly everything else was a walk-on and we had another place of amusement to patronize later that evening.

This is my crooked HENRY IS ACTUALLY RIDING THE MUSIC EXPRESS WITH ME smile. I think the last time this happened was probably in 2002 when he was still desperately trying to keep me.

HERE ARE THE SHOES THOSE CHILDREN LIKED.

“Yeah, probably because they’re VELCRO, for BABIES,” Chooch scoffed, because he hates when anyone likes my stuff.

Chooch’s 4th and final credit was this crazy mouse-esque ride which we assumed was going to be like the one at Waldameer which is similar, which spinning cars.

But this fucker ended up being INSANE. The spins were out of control and I was screaming my face off and laughing so hard. It was incredible! Until the end, when the ride stopped but I couldn’t get my eyes to stop bouncing from side to side. This one almost took me out of commission! Yet somehow I agreed with Chooch that it was my favorite ride there, lol

Carousel time!

So happy about it!

This was when we realized that Chooch and I were both wearing Warped Tour shirts (his is from 2018. mine is from 2008) so I made Henry take this picture, much to Chooch’s chagrin.

I dunno which #carouselfie I want to use for the wall!

Chooch was super annoying with arcade shit as usual. He cashed in his tickets for candy and some stupid jar of slime which he kept jamming his fingers into when we were in the car and the slurpy/sucky noises emanating from the backseat were so disturbing and I was screaming at him to stop, ugh. I hate slime.

OMG wahhhh.

The last ride we went on was the Screamin’ Eagle which was similar to our beloved Aero 360 at Kennywood. We got stuck in one of the inner sections though and I hate sitting there because you have to face the people across from you and in our case it was two women who were probably younger than me but had that Responsible Mom air to them and that is something that I lack. Anyway, the one lady JUST HAD A BABY 10 DAYS PRIOR TO THIS which I know because her friend said, “I can’t believe you just had a baby 10 days ago” and I was like OMFG how are you HERE? Aren’t you like, leaking entrails and placenta residue??

(Look, I didn’t major in BABY-HAVIN’ OK??)

Anyway, this park was a real cutie. The only thing it was missing, in my opinion, was one really good, old dark ride. I wonder if they used to have one back in the day? I would love to revisit someday and spend some time near the lake too, maybe eat at one of the restaurants nearby. The town of Seabreeze looked adorable from what we saw of it in the drive to the park.

Sep 062021
 

In lieu of live blogging, I want to just check in and talk about how much I adore Sylvan Beach, a tiny resort town on Lake Oneida in New York. We stopped here for a few hours Saturday night, after leaving Seabreeze Park, because there’s a little carnival-esque coaster and a dark ride that I wanted to go on. Sadly, the coaster is currently closed because it’s being repainted (why they didn’t wait until the off season is beyond me but you do you, Sylvan Beach!) but we ended up liking it here so much that I begged Henry to stop here again on our way home today so that we could eat breakfast at the Pancake House, which I became inexplicably obsessed with when I saw their website before coming here.

We were seated right away but it took nearly an hour to get our food because they were so busy. Luckily, the staff was really friendly and the atmosphere was delightful, but most importantly they were playing 80s music (two Phil songs played while we there, plus OMD, Flock of Seagulls, and Cutting Crew so who can be mad with all that massaging your aural passages??).

We shamed Chooch for ordering two glasses of chocolate milk (these teenage boy years are fascinating) but then the SHORT STACK of French toast. I was like OK but you’re still going to be hungry.

Henry got MEATS and EGGS and BISCUITS doused with MORE MEATS.

I got the daily special: orange pancakes!! They were divine! Subtly orange flavored and topped with mandarin oranges, and I got the cream cheese icing on the side so I wouldn’t get sick. It was perfect. Of course I only managed to eat one and then Henry and Chooch finished the rest lol.

One of the waitresses liked my shoes! Chooch hated that part of breakfast.

Oh and the hostess here was the most pure being of all time, I really think so.

Loved it. 5 ✨.

Then I wanted to walk down to the lake because if there is one thing I have learned from Korean culture, it’s that walking after a meal is good for digestion and it is so much better than getting right back in the car for four hours!

It is SO PRETTY HERE. I’m obsessed with it. Chooch? Ambivalent as always.

I let Henry get in a picture with me even though I’m still mad at for him for his callous response to me hitting my head off the headboard this morning at the hotel. It was the third time this weekend that it happened because it has A LIP ON TOP OF IT and is actually pretty low so it’s super easy to hit your head if you’re sitting up in the bed. Anyway, Henry the Gallant said, “most people learn from their mistakes” and I just lost it. I mean I was already trying not to cry from the pain of smacking my head against a sharp wooden edge, but now he’s LITERALLY ADDING INSULT TO INJURY and, well, 20 years with this guy! Congratulations to me.

Then Chooch wanted to get a picture of the Galaxi Coaster so we ditched Henry and walked one to the amusement park, which was closed but is ungated so we could just walk right in. Still, I didn’t want to creep around so I asked one of the employees if we could walk over just to take a picture and it ended up being the lady who was running the dark ride on Saturday! She was so nice! She said we could certainly do that, but not to climb over the fence, and I was like, “oh I don’t think I could do that anyway” and she laughed and then I laughed and it was so pleasant. It made me remember that I used to like people!

They also have a ROTOR there which also sadly was not operating. But this just gives us a reason to go back someday!

Sylvan Beach is pretty fucking amazing, and I’m so glad our amusement park addiction brought us here!

Sep 052021
 

Good morning from somewhere near Albany I think. We just stopped in Fort Plain for breakfast before we resorted to killing each other.

Their breakfast special was a French toast bake which sounded delightful to me but I also knew that I didn’t want to eat anything heavy for breakfast before spending a day at an amusement park. Look, I know my gastronomical idiosyncrasies and plan accordingly, OK? This is my life, love that for me.

So I told Henry to order it so I could try it. Have you seen Henry? He is very much a PLATE OF EGGS AND MEATS breakfast beast. But he is also afraid of crossing me so he agreed.

“And I will get an omelette so you can have some of that in exchange,” I offered in an effort to sweeten the pot. He seemed ok with this.

“Do you want me to get blueberry?” he asked, since the choices were cherry, strawberry, or blueberry and he knew that blueberry was Best out of those options. I said sure.

So we placed out orders and then he got all ruffled when I asked for my omelette to be made with Egg Beaters. When the waitress departed, he said, “Oh that’s great. You said we were going to share but then you got it with Egg Beaters. I hate Egg Beaters. Just like I hate blueberries. This breakfast is everything I hate,” he pouted, and I burst out laughing because I JUST LEARNED THAT HE HATES BLUEBERRIES THIS SUMMER AND ALREADY FORGOT LOLOLOL.

I coaxed him into calling the waitress over and changing it to either strawberries or cherries. He put on his BIG BOY PANTS and did just that, but after he changed it to strawberries, I mumbled, “I would have said cherry, but whatever.”

I am a very slappable human being.

Henry and his frou frou breakfast!

I took one bite and said, “that’s good but I’m glad I didn’t get it” and he mumbled something incoherent under his breath.

Meanwhile, at another table, some man was asking for a SIDE OF CORNED BEEF HASH and I said, “I bet you’re really sad that you didn’t get to have that.”

“Why, does he like that?” Chooch asked while Henry dabbing the whipped cream from the corners of his mouth.

“Probably,” I said. “I can picture it hanging off his beard.” And then we started cracking up while Henry dutifully ignored us.

Here’s Henry paying the bill and leering at the COCONUT CREAM PIE sign.

I asked Henry what he thought of his breakfast and he said, “it wasn’t bad. It’s not something I would usually order. Or ever again.”

Then we drove down the street and I made him pull over so I could take a picture of this BEAVER WITH BOOBS because it’s a Roadside America attraction.

Ok. Now we’re back on the way to Six Flags Great Escape and driving thru Amsterdam NY which is adorbs so I want to go back to looking out the window. Byeeeee.

Sep 042021
 

Chooch and I (definitely mostly Chooch) matched these two walls today at Sylvan Beach so I couldn’t pass up the photo op.

Anyway, day 1 of our Labor Day weekend is in the bag and it was goooood. Well, except for first thing in the morning when we left because I hate leaving the cats. :( We got vegan donuts at Misfit Donuts in Rochester, NY, spent most of the afternoon at Seabreeze Amusement Park also in Rochester, and then drove out to Sylvan Beach to cap off the day at a pretty janky carnival-esque park but the people there were super friendly and everything was totally colorful which is, as you know, TOTALLY MY STYLE.

Now we’re at a Red Roof Inn in Utica, but part of the R is burnt out so it looks like Ded Roof Inn. Henry told us numerous times how NICE THE GUY WAS at the front desk like OK HANK WE GET IT. There is a woman a few doors down who totally lives here. She has plants in the window and just had groceries delivered when we arrived.

Anyway, I’ve never been to this part of NY before so I’m living for the new-to-me views!