Jun 242016
 

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On Wednesday, I ate a grilled cheese in a shitty diner in Maryland with Henry.

The diner was super sketch and the extent of its decor was cheap I Love Lucy memorabilia.

Coffee was weak.

Henry got a thimbleful of cole slaw with his burger. Man, what a tease.

It was just us and two ladies behind us, until a group of three men came in on their lunch break from digging ditches or whatever people do for work in rural Maryland, and the one guy said he didn’t like to sit with his back toward the door; at first I thought he said it was from all those years he was in prison and I thought maybe things were going to get interesting, but it turns out he used to WORK in a prison.


Grilled cheese tasted like I made it. (That means it tasted less than basic and probably was made in a toaster then microwaved.) I wonder if it was better or worse than prison grilled cheese. Shoulda asked that guy on my way out.

But I didn’t give a shit about any of this because I was with my one true love, Henry. LOL JK: because I was on my way to see The Cure.

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Jun 182016
 

 

My people and I had a really lovely pre-Pierce the Veil afternoon in Cleveland last Sunday. I just love that city so much, and it’s OK for me to love it because I have zero affinity to our lame football team so I don’t feel like I’m breaking any rules of loyalty or solidarity, like when you keep being friends with someone who treated your other friend like absolute horse shit.

I mean…

I like when we’re blessed with weekend shows because then we have all the time to tool around, stuff our faces, hang with local friends…it’s just PLEASANT. A very PLEASANT feeling all around.

It only takes around 2 hours or so to get there from Cleveland, but Chooch acts like it’s a cross country hike and then winds up sleeping for most of the drive which is fine because sometimes I just want to listen to music and not his psychotically motorized voice warbling incessantly from the backseat.

(He said we have high expectations if we want him to stop talking so much. He’s so strong-willed! God help us.)

Our go-to food place is usually Melt, but the last time we were in Cleveland, we went to Happy Dog and I fucking fell in lust so hard and I’ll tell you why: Froot Loops on a veggie dog and like 50 different condiments for my tater tots!? Is this real life?! I have been dreaming of this place since we were last there in November for the Dance Gavin Dance 10 Year Anniversary show.

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This was Chooch’s first time there and he was so overwhelmed with his options, 99.9% of which he didn’t agree with anyway so I’m not sure where the struggle even came from. He shocked us all though by actually sticking a toe out of his basic box and ordering Spaghetti-Os and a fried egg on his dog.

I just now asked him if he liked it and he shrugged while sadly smiling. This kid is the worst when it comes to eating. It’s cereal or GTFO with him. Too bad there are only two Cereality locations left in the world and none are anywhere near Pittsburgh.

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When I was pregnant, I went through a really intense condiment phase. I was a few weeks along, unbeknownst at the time, when Henry and I were visiting Christina in Cincinnati. I knew something was awry when we went to Jungle Jim’s and I bypassed the chocolate aisle in favor of MUSTARDS OF THE WORLD. (Don’t worry — there was a fortune teller machine at the store’s entrance so on the way out, I asked her if I was pregnant. I don’t remember specifically what she said, but it was probably something about how even mild-mannered men have a threshold.

Or: “He’s not going to marry you. Move on.”

Then we went to get ice cream and after making both Henry and Christina trade with me, I eventually pushed all of the dishes away and pouted. “I don’t want any of these,” I mumbled.

“Well, what DO you want?” Henry asked exasperatedly while Christina frantically prepared to book a flight to Iran to procure me some faloodeh.

“Horseradish,” I answered without even a second thought.

I even had two hermit crabs named after condiments: Tabasco and Dijon. If Happy Dog had been around then, Chooch likely would have come out of me weighing 15 pounds (as opposed to the 10lbs2oz he wound up being without the aid of Happy Dog’s fatty sauce enabling.)

Chooch at the bar getting change for pinball, knowing I was taking his picture because when am I not taking his dumb picture.

And then there was a weird menstrual interlude, where Henry had to go to Rite Aid to get me tampons because I’m the worst woman, as he always says. It makes him so mad that my purses are full of concert ticket stubs and lip gloss, and not things that a woman/mother should have. Like Kleenex and bandaids? Who knows.

“Get used to this, Chooch,” Henry sighed as he got out of the car to make his lady product transaction. “This will be your life someday.”

“What, buying TAMPAX PEARL? Chooch said from the backseat. And then that became the joke of the day, and he said it every time I took his picture.

(He knows I hate when he makes that stupid chipmunk face so he does it ALL THE TIME. I complain about it now, but he’s going to end up being the next motherfucking Jim Carey with all the idiotic face-pulling he does. His face is like rubber!!)

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After sufficiently putting a plug in the menstrual interlude, we met up with our pal Jason at Sweet Moses. Chooch brought his dumb Loom thing with him and was really insulted when Jason asked him if he was making a robot when it’s clearly a PANDA. Also, I only took this picture because Chooch was acutely aware of those girls behind him and he always shuts down when there are girls around.

  

Henry’s ice cream date.

It’s always nice getting to chat it up with Jason. And finally, over dark chocolate vegan ice cream, I was able to blab on and on about Bled Fest with someone who actually gave a shit and even asked, “What bands did you see?” and as I rattled them off I knew that Jason had heard of all of them and for once it didn’t feel like I was speaking a language no one else understands.

It’s really frustrating not getting to talk about your biggest passion!

Jason had work obligations to attend Taste of Chaos, so we parted ways with lots of hugs (hugging is OK sometimes) and then we went to see THE WATER. Chooch was just happy that we weren’t taking another boat tour.

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The whole time we sat by the lake, I kept screaming, “DON’T GET TOO CLOSE! OMG HENRY TELL HIM TO NOT GET TOO CLOSE!” I am way too tightly-wound and paranoid to be a mom sometimes. My mind automatically imagines 87 fatal outcomes for every scenario.

12 years ago, Henry and I sat in this very spot, and Chooch wasn’t even so much of a thought yet. It’s crazy to think about sometimes. But being there with these two idiots made me feel super lucky and content with life. It was a great day, and it was only about to get even better.

(And no—not because Henry proposed to me. Because he didn’t.)

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Jun 072016
 

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Getting to hang out with Bill & Jessi was like the cherry on top of a decadent Bled Fest sundae, you guys. We really missed them, as evidenced by the gusto Chooch put into his hug for Bill as soon as the front door opened. I’ve never seen Chooch hug with such feeling before!

I wanted to talk about Bled Fest forever but BILL kept interrupting and asking questions about our Disney trip like we were the first people to ever go to Disney World, UGH BILL.

(J/K — it was just as fun talking about that too!)

The original plan was to go to this place called Greenfield Village, which is a part of the Henry Ford museum. I saw “train” and “Carousel” on the website and was on board, but once we arrived, there was quite literally nowhere to park. It was probably a combination of it being a holiday weekend in addition to CIVIL WAR REENACTORS setting up shop. As soon as I heard “Civil War reenactors” I felt kind of sick to my stomach because I used to know a super huge asshole who did that shit with her husband and she was honestly one of the most sociopathic people I ever met.

So I wasn’t very broken up when we decided to fuck that idea and instead go to Dearborn Music. I could tell Henry did not approve of this idea, as evidenced by the sobbing I heard coming from the wallet in his pocket, plus he kept screaming things like:

  • “I THINK THAT RED CAR IS LEAVING!!
  • “JUST KEEP FOLLOWING THOSE PEOPLE AROUND UNTIL YOU SCARE THEM INTO GETTING INTO THEIR CAR!”
  • “YOU CAN TOTALLY SQUEEZE INTO THAT SPOT MADE FOR A MOTORCYCLE, FOR FUCK’S SAKE BILL!”
  •  “WHY DON’T YOU GUYS JUST GO AHEAD IN AND I’LL SIT OUT HERE IN THE CAR AND WAIT FOR A SPOT TO OPEN UP KTHXBYE.”
  • FUCK THE HANDICAPPED, JUST TAKE THIS SPOT AND I’LL PAY THE FINE BECAUSE IT WILL BE LESS THAN WHAT I SPEND AT A FUCKING RECORD SHOP, PROBABLY UGH.”

In the end, we decided we would visit Greenfield Village next time because they have a membership, and instead we went to the glorious, heavenly Babylon known as Dearborn Music and I died and was resurrected as a girl with a bunch of new records in her collection (would have been one more if my idiot son didn’t have to buy Panic! At the Disco).

Then we went to Taylor Town, an indoor flea market in a strip mall with surprisingly clean restrooms. Henry breathed a sigh of relief after we walked the whole perimeter and determined that there were no wheelchairs for sale. (There were birds though! I kind of wanted one.)

It’s funny how all places like that have the same stench. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s like a mothball and knockoff perfume marinade.

But then the best part happened! We went to the Red Apple! Jessi suggested this place the last time we were there and it was on my MUST DO list for this time around. It’s not even about the food — the atmosphere of this joint is SO GOOD. It’s the best kind of outdated — there’s so much character and good vibes, I can’t contain myself!

Look! I’m smiling! Henry is smiling! Because we’re with Bill & Jessi at the motherfucking Red Apple!! Jessi and I both got grilled cheese with cheese sticks inside, because when in Wayne, MI, you know what I’m saying? And coleslaw!!

HERE IS HENRY EATING COLESLAW.

Jessi told us that she has very high standards when it comes to coleslaw because she used to have to make it at one of her old high school jobs. So then we talked about coleslaw forever because it’s the best. The Red Apple has  pretty good coleslaw, in case you were wondering.

There was a very large party taking up an entire room of the Red Apple so it took a long time for us to get our food. I normally would have been storming the place with torches but when you’re with excellent company, long waits don’t suck as much. Even Chooch was fine.

Well, until he brought up the subject of our dead cat Speck and started bawling at the table for a good five minutes — it was so sad! I was like, “There there” in my very stiff, uncomfortable way, but Bill & Jessi were totally amazing and consoled him.

My kneejerk reaction is to say, “Aw don’t cry” but I know that telling someone not to cry is basically the shittiest thing you can do!

Then our food came and everyone stopped crying.

I ran into the bathroom real quick while Henry and Bill were at the register paying. When I came out, I had to side-step one of the cashiers, who was busy sweeping up a shit-ton of toothpicks on the floor.

“Pfft, that sucks,” I thought. “Some asshole probably knocked those over and ran.”

When I met everyone outside, Henry made some offhand remark about Chooch knocking over “some toothpicks.”

Some!

Hopefully that cashier didn’t know I was with Chooch!

Back at Jessi & Bill’s house, Bill taught us how to play ladder ball. I was really horrible at first, because I couldn’t get my depth perception in check. And Henry was like some secret ladder ball champion, like he’s been sneaking out early in the morning and playing at the old folks’ home down the street.

Jessi kept calling him a ringer. Henry just shrugged. “I used to play horseshoes a lot,” he said.

“LIKE COMPETITIVELY?!” I cried from my post across the lawn.

“I don’t know, I guess,” he mumbled. “I had it at my house.” And it was almost in a bragging tone he said this, like he was talking about a fucking tennis court and not a spike hammered into the dirt.

But you guys, something incredible happened. After a few rounds, Henry somehow got worse and I kept getting better and better until Bill was like, “Holy fuck, are you sure you haven’t played before? Like is this game actually called Erin Ball?” and maybe that’s just me visualizing the script from my upcoming docu-drama, but he probably said something along those lines in real life.

People were calling me She with the Golden Arm after that. All of the people. The whole crowd.

Just trust me.

Like, when do I ever lie on here? THE WORD “HONEST” IS IN THE TITLE.

PRACTICALLY.

Later, I quoted the Arrested Development song “Tennessee” (“A game of horseshoes? A game of HORSESHOES!”) and Henry was like “……” so then I had to play it on my face while reminding Jessi that this was probably during his hardcore country phase.

“Actually, I think that was during my blues phase,” he corrected me.

TOUCHE BIG GUY.

Did I mention that Henry and I were on the same ladder ball team? I’m still competitive with him even when he’s on my team. Our relationship is healthy, like being on a diet and only eating ketchup packets.

[ETA: Bill just cried on Facebook because I didn’t mention his and Chooch’s ladder ball team. Fine: Bill & Chooch had a ladder ball team. Henry and I beat them most of the time.]

Later, we went to Marv’s Dairy Dan because it’s not truly the weekend without ice cream.

Still smartin’ from being upstaged at ladder ball, I see.

The ice cream was soooo good (I had a strawberry shortcake because Jessi said that anything with strawberries was the way to go at Dairy Dan’s and she was not wrong!) but I think we all ended up getting ice cream stomach aches!

Bill & Jessi have the best games ever, which is good considering they own a comic book/gaming shop. This time we played some game that I forget and was really bad at, but I got to point a gun numerous times at Henry and that’s all that mattered.

Chooch and Bill were going to do a duet of C.R.E.A.M. on Musically, but Chooch wussed out at the last minute and by then it was around 11pm and time to let Bill & Jessi have some peace and quiet so we set off for our hotel in ROMULUS.

ROMULUS!

Next time I want to stay in Remus.

#ancientromehumor

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Jun 012016
 

We had some time to kill Sunday morning before we were due to arrive at Bill & Jessi’s but don’t cry for us, Michigan-a — Roadside America had our back.

Imagine my sheer delight and giddiness when I discovered that Howell (where we had stayed Saturday night) was only several miles away from Hell, MI! A tourist trap, to be sure, but one that even Henry was quietly on board with.

First though, we stopped at the Pinckney Diner in, omg, Pinckney. I was wearing my Bled Fest shirt in hopes that some of my Bled Fest peeps would be there, but no. Just basic breakfasting locals.

I ordered some type of “healthy” scrambled egg and fruit cup bullshit, and Chooch thought it was hilarious that it came with a small orange juice and I try not to let him bully me, but man did I feel self-conscious drinking it, like I needed to create a curtain with my napkin.

It was a nice place but nothing to write home about so don’t be expecting a post card.

After a slight directional snafu (in which Henry was reminded that I do not understand how to read a map even when Google is practically reading it for me), we whizzed past a short stretch of road that housed a Hell-themed diner called Hell in a Handbasket and a gift shop called Screams, and a bar called the Hell Hole.

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“Oh well, everything is closed,” Henry said in a sing-song voice because I had angered him enough on the way there that he was now ready to forgo the idea and find the nearest gorge to drive into.

But before he had a chance to get very far, I had the proprietor of Screams on the phone confirming that they were set to open in a few minutes, so downtrodden Hank had to turn the car around and head back to Hell, which probably just felt like Groundhog Day to him because when is he not heading back to Hell.

I appreciated that the man at Screams answered the phone with a robust, “How the hell are ya?” I was even more stoked at this point to make it rain in this kitschy souvenir shop.

And it was pretty much exactly as expected – a fun-loving, tongue-in-cheek tourist trap. It provided just enough of a time suck for us to arrive at Bill & Jessi’s right on time and didn’t stress out Henry too terribly much so we showed up in a collectively fine mood.

Without even faking it!

I bought a Hell, MI coffee cup to use as a future succulent vessel and hopefully my asshole cats don’t shatter it. And of course I also bought a magnet because that’s my thing. My closet-thingy at work is covered with magnetic tokens of all my Americana travels, I give it a once-over every morning and it fills me with early-morning joy!

(I mean, my morning coffee also helps with that joy-filling.)

We chatted for a bit for the elder manning the register and it turned out he’s the mayor of Hell! What a piping hot honor! I asked him how much these really cool postcards were that depicted a Hell homage by some local artist, and he was like, “Aw hell, you can just have it.”

HELL FUCKING RULES.

We said goodbye to Mayor of Hell and went outside to mill about the property. Mini golf was open yet, but there was a mini lock-covered bridge to stomp across, a DAM to look at, and a CHAPEL.

No joke, if the chapel had been open,  I totally would have come home to Pittsburgh a married woman. I’m not sure who my husband would be, but at least I could tell people I got married in Hell.

Henry doing his favorite thing: looking at nature and trying desperately to tune out our cries of “I WANT I WANT I WANT!!”

And then it was time to get back in the car and embark on our 45 minute drive to the Wayne-ish area of Michigan, while I yapped on and on about Bled Fest the entire way because I had the time of my life.

No, I never felt this way before.

Yes I swear.

Blah blah blah.

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May 302016
 

Today we head back home to Pittsburgh so you know what that means — live blogarama. Sadly, this one won’t have as many big asses in it.

10:25am: We’re with Bill & Jessi waiting to be seated at Scrambler Marie’s and Bill is ready to file a formal complaint because they told us the wait is 25 minutes when we can clearly see NUMEROUS open booths and tables?! ITS DISPROPORTIONATE.

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Henry’s mommy just called him to thank him for serving our country!!

10:35am: Now I’m standing inside and Bill just RECOUNTED the empty tables. Some waitress came over to see if our name was on the list and Jessi reiterated that we preferred to sit outside and that we saw there “SEVERAL EMPTY TABLES OUT THERE.” The waitress was like “OK let me check with the hostess because I don’t want to screw her up.” SHE IS ALREADY SCREWED UP.

10:41:


WE’VE ARRIVED.

11:00am: INTENSE KIDS MENU ACTIVITIES.

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Also, still talking about the wait time / empty table ratio.

12:02pm: Ugh we said goodbye which is the worst and now we’re back on the road. The breakfast was worth the wait, and also observing the bizarre manner in which Chooch says his pancakes: he scrapes some off with a knife and then scoops it up with the knife and fork and two-hands it into his mouth? Like who taught this kid how to eat? Also, Henry usually has to cut his food because he can’t stand watching him struggle with butterknives because apparently Chooch has inherited his inability to cut food from his mother. That’s what Henry says, but if you ask me, Chooch would just prefer someone else to do it for him, and that is something he definitely inherited from his mother.

So there.

12:10pm: Henry Appreciation Shout-Out. Homeboy hooked me up this weekend! He bought some of these without me knowing at Bled Fest, and the rest came from Dearborn Music where the guy at the register said, “These are actually some really good records” like he was surprised but then it was probably because he thought they were Henry’s since Henry was paying, and we all know Henry has I’M A TED NUGENT NUGGET practically branded across his furrowed forehead.


That P!ATD is Chooch’s but still. We’re already fighting about who gets to listen to what first, ugh. It’s really hard having a kid who’s exactly like me. I’m sure our bickering was beginning to wear on Bill & Jessi!

1:02pm: Absolutely nothing interesting has been happening since I last checked in. Just been annoying Henry with an emo revival Spotify playlist (I like to flail and flop around in the passenger seat to this stuff which adds to Henry’s annoyance) and now all of a sudden Chooch has decided to remove his nose from Goblet of Fire* in order to poke his head between the seats and bitch about something.

*We stopped at a Walmart (UGHHH) in Monaca, PA on our way to Michigan on Friday to buy Chooch the 4th Harry Potter book because Henry claims he couldn’t find my copy on the third floor (otherwise known as The Computer Burial Ground) which he was supposed to clean out weeks ago in order to turn it into a guest room. Anyway, I GOT LOST in Walmart because I hung back in the makeup section a tad too long and then BOOM. THEY WERE GONE. So I wondered around with my hand on my chest, trying to build a dam for the tears that were about to spring forth from my eyes, and then some way young Walmart worker boy flirtily said hello to me and I giddy for a split second until I remembered that HELLO IM LOST.

I had to ask some Walmart broad for directions to the book aisle but then I saw them walking by and I ran toward them and cried, “I’VE BEEN FOUND.” Chooch literally threw his arms around me because he knows how fragile I am. Henry just rolled his eyes though.

All that and they didn’t even have the dumb book so they had to go to Target which is where I said they should have gone to in the first place. This in addition to the really slow service at the Monaca King’s completed negated the fact that I left work an hour and a half early because we still arrived in Howell at the same time we would have had I left work at 5:30 so thanks for sucking, Monaca.

1:16pm: Chooch said he saw some guy wearing a La Dispute shirt at Bled Fest. I asked him if he said “cool shirt, bro” and Chooch said, “No, because I hate them.” UGH MY KID IS THE WORST.

1:24pm: Chooch just farted and I had to put down the windows to fumigate. So for that, here is a LA DISPUTE VIDEO, WOOOO.

1:49pm: AND NOW WE ALL HATE EACH OTHER AFTER A REST STOP WENT SOUTH DOWN THE TOILET. All I fucking want (nay, NEED) is coffee and schools started running his mouth because Henry wouldn’t give him money for some dumb arcade game and now they’re fighting and I was like FUCK EVERYONE and stormed off. Then I put on a SMOOTH JAZZ station in the car because I have a headache (see also: NEED COFFEE) and Henry had the audacity to try and change the station like this was an accident!? And apparently he stole money out of Chooch’s wallet for “tolls” so this is a brand new fight.

2:49pm: Well everything was fine, Chooch resumed his book-reading, I was happily dissecting my Bled Fest experience, but then HENRY made me look up the nearest Sheetz on google maps and now the car is full of angry snipes and raised voices again because FUCK YOUR MAP.

2:57: I CAN SEE SHEETZ AND I WANT IT.

3:18pm: Iced lattes must be super hard to make because I have had a shit ton of really fucking terrible ones, two in a row today. I guess Crazy Mocha just has me spoiled. Henry’s pissed because I apparently “wasted money” but he’s not a coffee drinker so he doesn’t understand the devastation and ensuing pout-session when one is served a poor excuse for a latte. Go drink a Faygo, Hank.

3:46pm: Henry stopped at a rest area to get me a latte from Starbucks (I dislike Starbucks but whatever – third latte’s a charm) and Chooch and I had a huge fight in the car because he nearly ruined my Bled Fest poster by being CARELESS and then he accused me of knowing where his dumb wallet is but not telling him?! So by the time Henry got back to the car, Chooch was in full-blown TAKE ME TO THE ORPHANAGE I DONT CARE mode. What a little jerkfuck, seriously. Now he’s back to breathing heavily while reading and I’m nursing my mediocre Starbucks iced latte and Henry is enjoying the silence after I gre tired of yelling about how I disagree with the Cincinatti Zoo’s decision to MURDER their gorilla, but whatever — I know enough people from that area to understand that it’s not exactly known for its high IQ.

This whole bit prompted Henry to say, “When I used to go to the zoo in the 70s” and then something about animals in cages but I quit paying attention when I realized that there wasn’t going to be a pregnancy scandal or TED NUGENT concert involved.

4:40pm: Henry just gave me a hard time for apparently listening to too much Cardboard Swords. “How many times are you going to listen to this?” he asked in a needling fashion. AS MANY TIMES AS I WANT, CUNT. Jesus. Nag much?!

Also, he made me count change for tolls at the last minute and then talked while I was trying to count?! I can’t stand him.

4:59pm:


YEAH BOIIIIIII THAT’S MY CITY. 10 minutes until we’re in good Ol’ Brookline. And Chooch just assaulted me with the sight of his bare feet.

6:02pm: Been home for an hour. Cleaned up succulent carnage (of which there was enough to require a plant cemetery, le sigh) and reminded the cats who I am. They seemed stressed out and then we realized that they had to endure their very first Memorial Day parade which oozes past our house every year and is chockful of sirens, muskets, and the screeching sound of children. Sorry, cats. :( Glad to be home but I’m already missing my Michigan friends and without the distractions, some pretty significant post-show depression is beginning to eke its way in. And then Chooch cut himself while playing with Marky and Henry’s not here so I started to panic but don’t worry, Chooch dressed his own wound while I was laying in the fetal position. Ugh. Back to dumb reality I guess.

But hoooooo boy, I’ll be back with a myriad of Bled Fest post for everyone to scroll past! Stay stoked.

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May 272016
 

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I promise this is it. The last post about Universal. I’ll stick a fork in it when I’m done. But man, this was the best vacation and it came at the perfect time, almost just fell into our lap and you have to know that shit like that never happens to us. It was like being rewarded for making it 36 years without committing homicide or heading a drug cartel.

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The third day was chill as fuck. We had already ridden everything by then so we just basically ran amok and re-rode all of our favorites like all of the Harry Potter stuff and that motherloving Mummy Returns ride — seriously, that joint was bomb.

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I would say the highlight of day 3 for me was definitely revisiting Seuss Landing even though Son of the Year started a fight with me right before we got there and then I got super sensitive about it and decided that we were just going to LEAVE so I stormed off in a huff and heard Henry hiss, “APOLOGIZE TO HER” because he didn’t want some ungodly scene to play out in the middle of the most adorable place in Universal, so then Chooch begrudgingly said he was sorry and I wasn’t satisfied with it but I also didn’t want to actually leave so then Henry rang the lunch bell and I snapped out of it because YAY IT WAS TIME TO EAT INSIDE THE SEUSSIAN CIRCUS TENT YOU GUYS!
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Henry was so annoyed because the train travels through and everyone waves and of course I too was waving as obnoxiously as possible just to piss off Henry even more. He is sooooo out of touch with Childlike Wonder. It baffles me.

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Here’s a pretty well-known fact about me: I hate SpongeBob. Always have, always will. I honestly just can’t with that piece of shit cartoon, so when Henry rudely pointed out to Chooch that there was a SpongeBob photo op, I wanted to Mexican Necktie him on the spot. Of course the line closed off as soon as we walked over but their liar of a handler said, “two minutes!”

Last time I checked, two minutes wasn’t a synonym for half an hour, but what do I know. #highschooldropout

HOPE IT WAS WORTH IT, SONNY BOY.

(Apparently it was because he got two key chains made with the stupid picture. So gross.)

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I was totally on board with Sideshow Bob & Krusty though.

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Guys this payphone rings every minute or so and if answer it, a random Springfield resident will be on the other line, yelling at you, and it’s awesome. Even Henry partook in some payphonage.

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In conclusion (I’ve been reading too many of Chooch’s school papers), Universal is made of pixie dust and literal win. It is my current favorite theme park of all time and I already decided that I’m going to get a job there. I think it kind of brought us closer as a family because Henry actually rode everything once. Also, I already mentioned this in my Liveblog from the drive home, but we rode the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit (what a horrible name for a coaster though am I right?) and there’s an option to select a song to listen to from a  personal built-in stereo and of course it’s extremely mainstream and limited; Henry and I found out afterward that we both picked Finger Eleven without knowing the other chose it! (We weren’t even sitting together.) Tru luv, I guess.

Tru something.

This place was absolutely mesmerizing and exciting. I just wanted to lay down on the hot pavement and make melted-flesh Angels while giggling maniacally — it was just a crazy euphoria that I can’t wait to experience again.

I’m sure I could forcefully stuff another several paragraphs into this pointless piñata of words, but truth be told, I’m in the car on the way to Michigan and I really just want to dance like I have Tourette’s to my Bled Fest play list which clearly is what Henry wants too in lieu of me quietly blogging in the passenger seat.

I’m feeling really psychotic but in the totally feel-good kind of way.

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May 262016
 

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It’s officially been a month since our Orlando trip and I’m still not back to normal yet. Rather than stretch out my thoughts like taffy (because you know I can keep pulling that shit out of brain until someone makes me stop, usually Henry), I’m going to wrap up the Harry Potter portion of the vacation with some photos from the last two days.

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The character actors were amazing. They would hold lengthy conversations with anyone who made eye contact with them, and sometimes they would just blindside you with conversation, like one particular witch who crouched down and started talking to Chooch while he was sitting on the ground looking at his map. I mean, she asked him all sorts of questions, and she was kind of cute so his responses were mostly unintelligible. It really added to the experience.

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Henry, trying not to smile. Bitch loved him some Harry Potter World. By the second day, he had pretty much stopped riding things, and said that he was fine hanging out by himself “watching all the people run around making things happen with their wands.”

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🚉🛤

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

There were a lot of things that made me squeal with happiness, but this mirror that made it look like everyone really was walking through the brick wall totally made me lose my mind.

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The last two times we rode Hogwarts Express, I had major coughing fits. Like the ones that come out of left field, everything is fine, and then suddenly you have A Tickle it feels like your throat is folding in on itself and there is no other option but to conjure up a magical knife to scratch that itch by COUGHING AS VIOLENTLY AS POSSIBLE so that everyone around you starts feeling paranoid about CONTAGION and PANDEMICS.

Twice this happened on two separate days!! I was so upset the second time because I had planned ahead by making sure that there was beverage available and then my asshole son drank it all while we were in line and had the audacity to get annoyed when I frantically pantomimed for him to give me a fucking ice cube while I was literally wretching in the train compartment and looking like I was Patient X in the zombie apocalypse.

Then I brought the cough home with me and drove my co-workers crazy for a week.

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Weird ice cream flavors in an amusement park—thank you, Lord Florean Fortescue. I had a scoop of clotted cream and Earl Grey lavender and might I tell you that it was DIVINE? I mean, I might if that was how I talked.

It was rull gud, guyz.

And the ice cream scooper guy was so awesome and pleasant to talk to and you know how much I hate small talk! Not with this guy!

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Chooch got one scoop of Plain and one of Safe.

Otherwise known as vanilla and strawberry. Probably. I can’t remember, but I know I was disappointed that he didn’t get anything I wanted to try,

(Henry got butter beer soft serve, which I already wrote about the other day so you should go back and read that if you want. Or don’t. Do what you want. I’m not your fucking mother.)

Can I just live here forever.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I can’t remember if I already posted this video, but oh well! My blog, my rules! Lol(ing alone forever).

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Henry spent so much time waiting for me and Chooch to be done riding Escape from Gringott’s that he found himself on the same firebreathing schedule as Gringott’s Dragon.

(Seriously, watching the fire breath never got less exciting!)

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Do you know what the best part is? (Sorry, but this is about to turn into a Mommy Blog mo’ right here) For as much as my kid loves to read (his Dibels score thingie is like off the chain, or whatever) he has never really expressed much interest in Harry Potter. But being there was like opening up a whole new world to him and he has been obsessed ever since. He asked me lots of questions while we were there (I mean, he already knew the basics, but there were so many nuances that a casual fan could have missed), and then when I suggested that he just start reading the books, he agreed and there was a scary hunger to his voice. Even though I have the books at home, we bought him the first one on the day we left Florida and he immediately started reading it in the car. He’s currently nearly done with the third book and it’s literally all he talks about. He’s smug because the smartest girl in his class is only on the first book so now it’s like a race I guess, who knows where he gets that from.

See? I knew we could pull off the whole “educational vacation” guise.

Meanwhie: The Penguins won the Conference Finals and are going to the Stanley Cup Finals!!!! TODAY IS THE BEST DAY! I LOVE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE!

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May 232016
 

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Every morning, we woke up early and were on our way out the door by 8am, which might seem like a horror movie to some people, but we’re very go-go-go when vacationing, and if an amusement park opens at 9, then best believe we’re gonna be there at 8:45. I was fucking stoked every morning and sure, I was still a mega-bitch until Henry slammed a coffee into my palm, but I’m happy to report that we mostly got along all day, every day.

Except for me and Chooch.

We bicker a lot.

That’s what happens when you’re basically THE SAME PERSON. It’s pretty scary. Imagine being Henry.

Chooch and I started fighting Thursday morning right after we pulled out of the resort’s parking lot because “When Doves Cry” came on the radio and he piped up from the backseat, “I don’t like this song.”

I wanted to throw him out onto the highway but Henry said we couldn’t do that just because he didn’t like a song I like and I’m sorry, but since when?

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Inside the park, Henry got his map on. He loves pointing the way. Fucking directional nerd.

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We spent a good portion of the morning in Springfield, soaking up the Groening vibes. I haven’t actually watched The Simpsons in a super long time for no real reason other than I really just don’t watch much TV I guess, but if you know me IRL, you might know that I have been playing Simpson Tapped Out on my phone for THREE YEARS now. I have never played a game that long! I have no attention span for games! But this one is such a stress reliever for me that I literally cannot quit playing it.

The other day, I was outside on my break and Henry was calling me. I declined his call twice and then when I called him back, I started out with, “Sorry, something terrible happened.” He of course was all, “OMG WHAT?!” and I cried, “I just got an update on Simpsons and it said this is the last level!!! They’re not going to have any new levels!!!”

“That’s fucked up,” Henry said.

“I know!” I whined.

“No, I mean it’s fucked up that you’re still playing that game,” he sighed.

Hey, I have money invested in this game! I like to treat myself by buying donuts on days when I’m feeling particularly down. (Donuts can be used to buy premium shit in the game!!)

Speaking of donuts! Treated myself to a Lard Lad. I feel like it’s obligatory, you know? How are you going to walk through Springfield and not glut yourself on a pink frosted, am I right or am I right?!

Of course, I only took two bites and then gave the rest to Henry because that’s all I can usually stomach when it comes to donuts. (Unless it’s sugar or glazed, then gimme a dozen and back away slowly.)

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Then Chooch and I went on the Twirl n Hurl alone because Henry’s stomach is too elderly to handle such extreme spins through the air. Universal has a pretty staunch NO SELFIE policy on the rides which is completely understandable but am I under arrest for taking a picture of Henry standing alone?

Too bad, so sad, Henry has no friends.

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I loved this ride so much, but not as much as One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish in Seuss Landing, which SQUIRTS WATER AT YOU. Chooch and I rode it twice while Henry sat on a bench with other parents, staring at his phone and pointedly ignoring us every time we screamed, “HENRY!! LOOK AT US!! HENRY!!” That’s cool. Ignore our bliss. We don’t need your acknowledgement.

At some point, we were on our way to finally ride the Revenge of the Mummy for the first time when we were sidetracked by some pop-up show full of acrobatics and a super hot man-bunned boy named JOEY.

I imprinted on him almost immediately and while I’m sure the other boys were wonderfully spry, I couldn’t take my eyes off of JOEY and I only applauded for JOEY.

Ugh, he reminded me of Scott Speedman, Felicity-era.

Ugh, why can’t Henry look that good in a man bun?

Ugh, why can’t Henry be Scott Speedman?

UGH, THANKS A LOT, HENRY.

Henry bought these shorts for Chooch right before we left for Florida and of course I wasn’t there so wow, I was surprised when Chooch put these on that day. Like, what even is the point? These are basically just billowy pants.

Not shorts.

Henry is so dumb.

More importantly though, this Mummy ride was the absolute shit. And the wait time was non-existent! AND THERE WAS REAL LIFE FIRE INSIDE! Super thrilling, my review is raving. This ride was excelsior!

For lunch on Day 2, we at the Monster Café! I was so excited about this even though it was literally just a standard Universal cafeteria, but the décor was enough to lure me in! We sat in the Crypt area and ate pizza and shared a gigantic cupcake. All was well, all was right.

It’s all about making sure I’m fed at an appropriate hour. This is how you will make or break the day.

Back in the kiddieland portion of Universal, Chooch and I discovered yet another coaster to rival the Wacky Worm’s claim on my heart: Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster! I asked Henry to take a picture of Chooch and me enjoying life but no, he couldn’t even do that much because that might have meant he actually cared about our happiness!

Also because then people would have known we belonged to him, god forbid.

Had to go back to Seuss Landing later that day too because it’s the best! There’s an interactive called If I Ran the Zoo where Chooch and I got to twist knobs and crank levers to make things pop out of the ground and I almost stuck in a slide and burnt my knees crawling through a tunnel and it was just the best fucking place ever!

SEUSS LANDING IS THE PLACE FOR ME.

I don’t even know who this, and there was an Australian family next to us who also didn’t know who he was and still didn’t know even after Henry told them but they got in line anyway. I was obsessed with that family, btw. THE PARENTS WERE SO COOL and I feel like the dad was 100% probably maybe more than likely in a band, and definitely a band I would like.

For the first time ever, Henry and Chooch rode something while I sat on a bench and waited. I thought Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall was one of those stupid free fall rides that I just can’t handle because I get so goddamn scared that it will honestly ruin the rest of my day. So I sat down and then this huge group infiltrated my area and I felt like such a loser, sitting there sadly by myself, pretending to be super interested in whatever was on my phone, while this huge group was laughing and having so much fun, waiting for the rest of their peeps to join them, and when they finally left, I was partially relieved because I was really feeling like a voyeur there for a hot minute, but then I also felt sad that they had left without taking me with them.

And I was back to sitting there alone and silent, waiting for Henry and Chooch to come back from riding something that only had a 15 minute wait time.

After 30 minutes had passed, I really started to panic. I mean, I get nervous anytime I’m waiting for something or someone, but I was really starting to take this to the extreme because I was holding all of their stuff which included Henry’s phone, so I couldn’t send any irate, nagging texts demanding to know his whereabouts like I normally would because I’m a controlling man.

“Where’s the exit for this ride?” I asked some broad sitting nearby, thinking that maybe the exit was on the other side and that perhaps they stopped to play some games or ride something else that was in the general proximity, but she pointed to the gift shop that was literally right in front of us.

I gulped and said, “Oh. I think I was ditched.”

And she laughed, probably thinking I was being cute, but really my mind was spinning and my ears were starting to ring because holy shit, Panic Town here I come.

I got up and went inside the gift shop to see if they were in there, because there were some arcade games so I thought, maybe, just maybe, Chooch strong-armed Henry into letting him play some shit and they lost track of time.

YEAH, THAT’S IT.

LOST TRACK OF TIME.

Except that I knew deep down the truth was that Henry met some old hag who looked like she would be more capable in the housework department and so he decided to leave me and Chooch was like, “Will this bitch bake cookies and actually take care of me? OK cool, I’m in.”

My heart was beating so fast that I was starting to see stars. I went back outside. I paced back and forth. I spun in circles looking for the nearest Lost Erin station. Looking for a cop. Looking for a new family to adopt me. The lady who laughed at me had reunited with her people; they were walking off into the horizon, holding hands, ready for their next adventure.

And I was still alone. ABANDONED.

It was the worst moment of our entire vacation.

How would I get home!? Never mind that I had the car keys and a cell phone and the credit cards.

I DIDN’T HAVE HENRY TO DO ALL OF THE THINGS FOR ME.

I guess I was just going to have to live inside of Universal Studios.

I was going to live inside of Universal Studios!

Just when I was starting to like where this was going, those two assholes emerged from the gift shop/ride exit and I remembered how scared I was, which immediately turned into ANGER. Their lame excuse was that the wait time ended up being “way longer” and that they had actually just been standing in line that whole time while I was slowly melting into a pool of pity out there on the pavement.

I started screaming about how worried I was and Henry just scoffed and said, “Now you know how I feel when you two wander off.”

OH OK LIKE HE ACTUALLY GETS SCARED, SURE.

Hey guess what, we fought on this ride because he purposely flung himself into my and made me bang my arm or something, I can’t remember now but I know there was pain involved and he was so smug about it.

Chooch just glanced at this picture and asked dryly, “Oh, is that the ride you almost ‘died’ on?”

UGH FUCK OFF!!

I think my new life goal is to become super famous somehow and have Universal build an entire section in my honor, where you can literally take a ride through my stupid life which I guess by then won’t be so stupid if I’m that famous that Universal made a whole area for me. Maybe one of the rides can be a boat ride through various music festivals and the water will actually be my tears. And the vessels will be logs in the shape of Henry lying on his back.

A 4D multi-sensory darkride called BROOKLINE BOUND, where you are latched onto the coattails of Purple Pants as she pulls you through the bowels of Brookline; you will fight off hipsters for Las Palmas tacos, dodge errantly-strewn syringes, and cruise through a concert of Yinzers screaming about the Steelers.

Maybe a roller coaster called GET ERIN TO THE ALTAR? And don’t forget to snatch the engagement ring on the motherfucking carousel which is going to be full of Henry-headed horses and soundtracked with music box versions of Pierce the Veil and Emarosa songs.

And the food will be grilled cheese and more grilled cheese and 12 different ice cream shops with all the weird flavors! LAVENDER EVERYWHERE.

Oh man, I’m getting so excited for the grand opening of my future amusement park! It’ll probably just be called GET STOKED.

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May 202016
 

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Don’t worry – we got butter beer on our first day at Universal. I’m not a n00b. It was exactly how I imagined it would be: butterscotch-y, creamy, a motherfucking delightful river of magic coursing down my gullet. It was so sweet that I had to share it with Henry, though.

Ugh, sharing.

At first, Henry was like, “IT’S BASICALLY JUST CREAM SODA, BIG DEAL.” Because he’s the Beverage Overlord, he thinks he can make these types of radical declarations amongst rabid Harry Potter fans. I was like, “OK Papa H, slow your roll. You’re about to get us flogged by all these newly-purchased Ollivander’s wands.”

Like, way to sour a magical moment, you know?! My first butter beer and Henry is trying to write it off as some basic A&W bullshit.

But this post is not about me and the way each sip of butter beer danced the Swan Lake upon my palate.

It’s about how not even an old miser like Henry could escape the pure joy and whimsy of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The butter beer alone made me him SMILE IN THE SHADOWS!

And by the second day, he was sneaking off to buy his own butter beer.


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He wasn’t interested in sampling my fishy green ale. (Which was amazing, btw. Not as great as butter beer, but really fun because it had exploding blueberry fish eggs at the bottom and I love those damn things. Shout out to my homies at the Asian froyo establishments.)

The way he drank it was slow and methodical; he was totally savoring every last drop while probably imagining himself going head to head with DRACO MALFOY (I was going to say Voldemort but I think Henry knows that’s out of his wheelhouse even as far as imagination goes.)

Henry + frozen butter beer = ❤️

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

I tried so hard (so hard!!) to get him to let loose a little and rock a butter beer froth-stache but he refused and then walked away and stood alone when I tried to smash his cup against his mouth. Ugh. LIVE A LITTLE, HENRY.

And on the third day, we visited Florean Flortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour, and guess what Henry ordered? BUTTER BEER SOFT SERVE, YOU GUYS.

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If you look really close at Henry’s face (I know, it hurts my eyes too*), you might denote that his lips are struggling to remain down-turned in that omnipresent frown of his.

*(JOKING, HENRY!)

(Gotta stay on his good side. He’s been showering me with music festivals lately and vague promises of Romania lately.)

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We popped into the Hogs Head so I could get a butter beer in a souvenir glass (which I will honestly probably use as a succulent planter, no fucks given). I ordered a frozen one from the bar maid.

“Will that be all?” she asked, and I started to say yes, but then Henry cut me off and said, “And one regular butter beer.”

OH SHIT SON, someone’s caught feelings.

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I just asked Henry for a review of butter beer in his own words and his reply was a very Henry-esque: “Butter beer good.” I’m sure he had a lot more to say in his butter beer porn script.

“And as the frothy butter beer sluiced down Hagrid’s bare navel…”

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What about Chooch? He had one sip and shrugged, mirroring my face when I try actual beer and remember that I don’t like 97% of the beer that ekes past my lips. Chooch only likes milk and lemonade. He’s a fucking weirdo.

If Henry starts bringing home pallets of Faygo cream soda and bags of those yellow-wrapped butterscotches that me and old people love so much, we’ll know why:  BUTTERBEER KNOCK-OFF. Maybe he’ll start competing with the asshole kids in the neighborhood who sell watered-down lemonade in the summer. Maybe he can call it…Hank’s Margarine Ale. Or nah?

Nah.

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May 192016
 

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Gotta hand it to Universal — put two amazing amusement parks right the fuck next to each and basically dare a bitch to only pay for entrance to one. HOW WOULD YOU EVEN DECIDE?! How they really get you is that the Harry Potter attractions are actually split up between the two, and you can’t ride the Hogwarts Express unless you get the park-to-park option.

WELL PLAYED, UNIVERSAL.

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Since it wasn’t Chooch’s birthday anymore, we were back on our normal Whatever Erin Wants schedule, so as soon as we rushed through the gates of Universal, I declared that we had to find Harry Potter World ASAP because I figured it was going to be insanely crowded and we needed to GET THERE.

“OK, but this Shrek thing only has a 5 minute wait and it’s right here, so why don’t we do that first?” Henry suggested and Chooch, forgetting that it wasn’t his birthday anymore, jumped on this and ran inside the Shrek building.

So we ended up sitting through some Shrek 4D theater experience thing and OK it was pretty cool, god, whatever. But it was taking away Harry Potter time and I was in A HURRY. Have you seen me when I’m in a hurry? It’s not pretty. Or relaxing.

Universal has a great app that will give you step-by-step directions to every attraction, so I utilized that much to Henry’s chagrin — he can’t handle anyone else being in charge of directions.

The app dropped us off right smack in the middle of London. I got really excited for a second because there was a record store but it turned out to just be a facade. That made me think about all the Harry Potter characters and what kind of music they would have listened to (thoughts?!), which would have been prevalent if I had written those books (thank god I didn’t).

I bet for sure Snape would have done some heavy Joy Division spinning.

We slipped between some cracks in a brick wall RIGHT INTO DIAGON ALLEY.

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And that’s when I started crying. It just hit me so hard, the sounds of the people and the majestic music and the whimsical* storefronts – so many stimuli! It was like we weren’t even in an amusement park anymore because it was so sequestered from the rest of the park, literally tucked away, and everything had changed right down to the ground we were walking on. This was by far the most crowded section of Universal, but the happiness of being there overruled any type of social anxiety or misanthropic tendencies that might normally arise among crowds.

*IDGAF if you hate that word. It was 100% applicable to this place.

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Before stopping for a butter beer or any other obligatory nonsense, I needed to get to Gringotts. The wait time was only 15 minutes!

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Some witch at the entrance told me she liked my Cure shirt and I shouted “THANKS!!!” like she had just given me a life-saving organ.

(This just made me picture an actual organ, the instrument kind, dressed up as a life guard at the beach, saving people from Jaws.)

(I don’t get enough sleep.)

Everyone at Universal is so motherfucking nice and instead of making me want to vomit, it enlarged my heart! MY HEART WAS REALLY FAT AND BLOATED AT UNIVERSAL. It’s back to being black and dessicated now that I’m back in Pittsburgh, but it was nice while it lasted.

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We pretty much just breezed through the entire queue because the line never really stopped moving. Each part of it was literally like being inside Gringotts though. Universal makes waiting in line so much less painful than most parks. There’s always something going on, something to look at, something that you didn’t see the last time you were in line. I mean, I imagine that if I had been there on a super busy day in July when the line spilled out of Gringotts and into Diagon Alley, my tune would be a lot different.

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I honestly just typed and deleted about 87 different sentences in a futile attempt to illustrate with words how motherfucking boss the Escape from Gringotts is. I’ve been on rides before that share the same premise, the whole $D extra-sensory experience, but this is some next level shit. I was at first concerned that it wasn’t going to be a true “ride” but more of one of those moving theater type gigs, and thank god that wasn’t the case. It had all the best elements of a dark ride, a coaster, and the 4D theatrics and special effects, all perfectly packaged with JK Rowling’s stamp of approval.

It was a game changer. How can I ride anything else now?  The trolley needs to step up its game or I’m probably going to have to quit my job.

This ride was so good that everyone applauded when the ride ended.

Even Henry.

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Since we had the park-to-park option, we were able to take the Hogwart’s Express to Hogsmeade, which is located in Islands of Adventure. The whole experience was literally like we actually in a train station and I was so fucking giddy.

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Behind that smirk is a jug of chuckles with the cork ready to pop off.

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ALL KINDS OF SHIT HAPPENS WHILE YOU’RE TRAVELING TO HOGSMEADE. Even Henry was excited.  We sat in a compartment with a super WASPy family and if the kids weren’t called Muffy, Buffy, and Tad, I’d be super shocked, but I didn’t even hate them because HOGWARTS EXPRESS CURES HATE.

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Over in Hogsmeade, there are THREE rides:

The Dragon Challenge, which is a fucking amazing coaster that Henry was too scared to go on, so just Chooch and I went on and the wait time was only 5 minutes! We spent more time power-walking through the super dark, cavernous queue trying to find where the line even started. It was part of the fun, to be honest. There are two coasters to choose from and each is a completely different ride! We rode the blue dragon first. I screamed the whole time and Chooch was so embarrassed. (I’m kind of afraid of coasters lately, OK??? I still ride them though!)

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which was similar in concept to Gringotts but amazing all in of itself. No loose articles are permitted on this ride, but the guy at the entrance said that as long as Chooch’s big-ass motherwhomping refillable Universal cup would fit in Henry’s pocket, we didn’t need to get a locker. So Henry grudgingly shoved it it in his pocket, but then during the ride, he realized that the ride was jerking us around enough that the contents of the cup were sloshing around and spilling onto the guy next to him and now I’m here at work typing this and making strangulated faces as I try to hold back my laughter because every day I wind up laughing alone at my desk and can’t today be the day that I sit here like a basic person!? Henry was so fucking pissed about this.

Like Gringotts, everything about standing in line was glorious and the ride was fucking phenomenal. I actually cried, it was so great. I guess this what some people feel like when they go to church.

Or hold a baby.

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Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a kid coaster. The most exciting part of this ride was when we were standing in line near the front and Chooch dropped his big-ass motherwhomping refillable Universal cup for the 87th time because brother just can’t listen when we say “STOP JUGGLING THE CUP, BROTHER” and so it rolled into the line next to us, where some man snatched it and started screaming, “SIR! SIR! YOU DROPPED YOUR CUP!” to a man who was about to get onto the ride, so then a ride attendant came over and took the cup and was going to give it to Wrong Man while I’m yelling, “NO! IT’S NOT HIS CUP!” and then some broad next to us, an EYE WITNESS, also started frantically screaming, “THAT’S NOT HIS CUP!!!” way louder than I was and people were really starting to pay attention now because WHAT IS TO BECOME OF THIS DUMB BOY’S UNIVERSAL BEVERAGE RECEPTABLE!?

When the ride attendant tried to hand it to Wrong Man, Wrong Man was like, “Bitch, why you tryna give me some jerk kid’s germs?” and that’s when Ride Attendant’s ears were finally opened to our anguished cries and so he returned it to Chooch, and Henry quickly snatched it right off him and gave him that “LOOK WHAT YOU CAUSED” glare that I grew up looking at from basically everyone in my family except for my Pappap because my Pappap was the greatest man in the world.

Anyway, we all got a good hyuk out of that one and then went about our business of standing in line.

The second highlight was when Henry had to ride with a TEENAGE GIRL and Chooch and I were cooing the entire time about how Henry was on a date with some underaged bitch and it was hilarious to no one but us, and certainly not Henry.

That ride was kind of just OK though. Henry was pissed because the wait was 30 minutes, hahaha.

Before we left the park that day, we swung by Honeydukes so Chooch would finally stop crying about how we’re shitty parents for not buying him a chocolate frog to eat in the 95 degree heat. I bought Exploding Bon-Bons and pumpkin juice and now I wish I could go back and buy everything else, too.

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LE SIGH. Writing this is depressing.

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May 152016
 

A/k/a MY MOTHERLAND.
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I know this trip was supposed to be all about the celebration of Chooch’s existence, blah blah blah, Chooch for motherfucking Prez….but you can’t celebrate the spawn without also heralding the INCUBATOR. So I decided that we needed to tack on Universal Studios in order to appease Cesar and my ever-tingling scar. And in usual Erin-Fashion, I can’t just write one post about an amusement park. This is going to take a while. Such thoughts. Many feels.

Henry got some Universal Studios deal through work where he bought two day park-to-park passes and got the third day free. At first I thought, “Maybe three days is excessive…” but then we got there and I was like, “Nope. Three days is going to be a fucking dream.”

To be honest, if it wasn’t for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, maybe we would have skipped out on Universal altogether and found other things to do. But there was no way that I could be IN ORLANDO and not experience the Harry Potter magic. I fucking love Harry Potter (it’s a lowkey love — I read all the books as they came out and watched all the movies, but I don’t like cosplay or write fanfic). Henry knows this. When he was “courting” me back in 2001, he would buy me Halloween and  Harry Potter memorabilia. I guess it worked. I mean, fifteen years and one wild child later…

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My initial assessment of Universal? IT’S NOT JUST HARRY POTTER STUFF*. This place, you guys. This place. Amusement parks are my things, but this one is definitely my new #1 and now I’m convinced that we’re probably going to have to visit at least every two years because I don’t want to miss out on all the things they’re adding. Also, maybe I might even be trying to get a job there. As Lisa Simpson. Or as a psychic. YOU DON’T KNOW.

*(But the HP stuff is phenomenal and will get its own post because I know how to beat a horse. You should see the welts on Henry’s back.)

 

Here are some photos from our first day there, from both Universal and Isles of Adventure.

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The food was more expensive and there were less options for the token VegetErin but I was fine eating cheese pizza because I’M NOT THERE TO EAT, JUST REFUEL.

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The Simpsons Ride was the shit. It made Henry sick though because he’s old and dumb.

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We spent most of our first day at Islands of Adventure, and I instantly fell headfirst in love with Seuss Landing.

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Basically it was like walking into what my house would look like if I wasn’t lazy and poor. A landscape of over-saturated colors.

Naturally, it was there that I may have found my new Wacky Worm, you guys.

This came close to evicting the Wacky Worm from my heart. 😯

A photo posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

If you ask Henry, it was “just some stupid kids train” that we had to wait in kind of a long line for (I mean, a 30-minute wait was unusually long on the days we were there). We were really pissed because an entire family of super rambunctious New Yorkers cut in front of everyone to join The Placeholder. Henry usually doesn’t get very riled up over these types of things, but his mustache were starting to singe against the heat of the smoke leaking out of his dragon nostrils.

He was mouthing off about how rude they were and I was pissed too but the fact that there was so much vitriol being produced while waiting in line for a children’s ride was pretty comical.

And then when Henry had to ride with one of the New York Dads? Fucking priceless.

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The train got stopped TWO TIMES because of them! Once when one of the daughters complained that her seatbelt was too tight and Mouthy Mom hollered at a ride attendant to fix it. And then again right as we finally began to pull away from the station and they all reached across to high-five the remaining members of their family who were still waiting in line.

And the whole time, it looked like Henry was a part of them and I’m sure he was slowly dying on the inside because he hates shenanigans and these motherfuckers were LOUD AS SHIT. I went from hating them for line-jumping to absolutely adoring them for embarrassing Henry by association.

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Henry made a friend!

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

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Afterward, the mouthiest of all the New Yawkers came up to me and screamed, “I THINK YOUR HUSBAND HAD A GOOD TIME RIDING WITH MY FAMILY! HE PROBABLY WON’T BE ABLE TO HEAR FOR THE REST OF THE DAY THOUGH.” And I was almost peeing my pants at this point, laughing too hard to even correct her that hello he is not my “husband.” Like, ew. Gross.

Whatever.

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Cat in the Hat was scared of Chooch’s Chiodos shirt, lawl.

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BUCKLE UP, HANK.

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Chooch suddenly became a Rule Follower and was extremely distressed that the carousel had the audacity to start before he could fasten his seat belt. I mean, his concern was super adorable, but I don’t think he really was in any danger…? I love that I had the good fortune of catching him giving up in this Instavid:

WHEEEE, HENRY. WHEEE.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

 

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Post-Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Rapids, i.e. the best rapids ride I’ve ever ridden! Henry conveniently couldn’t find a vacant locker near the ride so he was like, “Just go. Go on without me” like some fucking war-zone martyr.

We did get him to go on the Jurassic Park ride though and we were front row so he got soaked. Suckerrrrrrr. And since he was already wet, we convinced him to go on Dudley Do-Right’s Rip-Saw Falls right after in the Comic Strip section of the park, which was the best log flume ride I’ve ever ridden! EVERYTHING IN UNIVERSAL IS BEST. BEST BEST BEST!

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Look at that! What a fucking delight. The final drop had a double-dip!

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Man, we had a great time at Disney, but…Universal kind of stole the show. More later! I have to go and roll around in my bed of vacation pictures now. That’s totally not true at all…I’m not that obsessed. I mean, I look at my pictures constantly on my phone and cry like I just lost my best friend, but I don’t ROLL AROUND IN THEM.

God.

****

Chooch’s review of day 1: “I met a lot of characters that day and I have to agree with my mom that Universal did kind of steal the show from Disney. Mainly because of Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Thanks.”

Henry’s review of day 1: “What? I’m busy cooking. I can’t do this. Day 1 was OK.”

 

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May 112016
 

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Originally we were going to spend two days at Magic Kingdom because I thought for sure we wouldn’t have enough to get everything in. Less than halfway through the day, it became evident that we were definitely going to be able to get everything in and even rode Space Mountain twice because the line was so short near the end of the night. So we decided to spend our second Disney day at Hollywood Studios and it really feels like it was a solid choice.

I didn’t realize it until the other day, but I’ve apparently been there before. I honestly thought that all these years that my family and I went to Universal Studios the last time we were in Orlando but nope, turns out it was MGM which is what Hollywood Studios used to be called. Thanks Wiki, for holding my hand as I slowly made my way down Remembrance Lane.

Another fascinating look into my childhood!

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My only memory is that it was very small, new, and had little to do so my dad bitched a lot about what a waste of money it was — typical Kelly! Bitching even when he wasn’t the one who paid for it!

There’s definitely more to do now, but it’s so small and the lines were so short that we really tried to pace ourselves. First though, we went to the guest relations place so Chooch could get a stupid “It’s my birthday” pin because we never got around to doing it at Magic Kingdom on his actual birthday. Which is just as well, because now we got to spend an entire day LIVING A LIE. So every time someone wished him a happy birthday (it was always like a janitor or snack booth cashier though and Chooch was getting SO ANGRY, haha), it felt like we were BREAKING THE LAW. Thrilling!

Right after that, I checked the app and saw that there was a super short wait for the Aerosmith coaster thing, so we headed straight for that.

I mean, after Henry took us 8 wrong ways and then he and Chooch started fighting over the map. Like, give me a break, am I right?

I believe we only waited 15 minutes or so and it was a very quick wait. Granted, we were there during a slower season, but it still seems like Disney is doing it right as far was keeping the lines moving.

Henry got to ride with some broad who was there with her husband but they “always go through the single rider line.” She was a huge talker and kept babbling on right on up until our ride finally launched. Maybe they choose the single rider option because her husband can’t stand her.

The very first thought I had was, “Wow, this ride would be so much better if it wasn’t Aerosmith.” It was really fun, your standard indoor coaster, but obviously an Aerosmith medley was blasting through the building for the duration of our fake trip in a stretch limo and I was not feeling that aspect of it.

I think it should be refurbished into the Toto Coaster. JUST PLAY “AFRICA” THROUGH THE WHOLE THING!

There’s some Star Wars stuff at Hollywood Studios. None of us have seen the new one yet and actually, I’ve only ever seen the original three (numerous times, though), but I still felt like we all collectively knew enough to get some level of enjoyment out of it. There was some 10 minute movie that was also playing but it turns out it was just like one giant, extended trailer for the new one.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think I added this to the Times Henry Fell Asleep list. I’m slacking.

Stood in line for fucking THIRTY MINUTES to meet Not Actually Chewbacca for THIRTY SECONDS (and that’s being generous). Star Wars trivia was playing on TV monitors that were sprinkled around the queue and Chooch kept answering the questions out loud which would have been fine if he was EVER CORRECT. “Stop drawing attention to the Mediocre Star Wars fans!” I hissed because people honestly were starting to turn and stare and I felt like LINDA HAMILTON in Children of the Corn.

OUTLANDER!

He wanted to also meet Kylo Ren but I cried, “YOU HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN THE MOVIE!” I wanted to ride things, not meet awkward teenagers in costumes.

But the problem was that there just weren’t very many rides there, so we did something that we never do because it goes against everything we stand for*: WE WENT AND WATCHED SHOWS.

*(Not really, but I wanted to keep with the whole Outlander theme.)

We watched some condensed stage version of Beauty and the Beast. Chooch sat alone several rows up from us, because he decided he needed to make 85 people stand up so he could barrel through and take the last seat in a full row.

At one point, I had to put my sunglasses on to hide the tears rolling down my face. Totally not my tears though. It was the invisible midget sitting on my face.

Henry just rolled his eyes but I know he walked away silently praising Gaston for his unrelenting desire to hold a bitch back.

My favorite thing is when Chooch and I decide last minute to stop following Henry and meander off in our own direction without alerting him to the change of direction. And then watching Henry tense up as he eventually realizes that his back feels lighter because his burdens have gone missing. And instead of shouting, “HENRY DEAR! OVER HERE!” we just continue doing whatever the fuck we went because we’re our own people and he doesn’t own us.

The only time things got hairy was when we missed lunch because we wanted to eat at the SciFi Dine-In Theater but we couldn’t get a table until 3:15 because we’re bad planners, so then Chooch and I spent a good two hours speaking in tongues and vomiting pea soup until we were finally seated in some classic car table thing and I bitched because it wasn’t as cool as the other ones and Henry snapped, “If we sat in one of the other ones, I’d have to eat alone!” to which I responded, “Yeah, so?”

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There were loops of sci-fi films playing on a large screen in the front of the room—I have never been in a restaurant more quiet in my whole life. Every sat in their cars, staring at the screen while their mouths chewed in slo-mo. It was like being in a roomful of pod people. I felt like I was going to get shushed for talking.

But I still talked anyway.

I dared Chooch to order an Ariel punch, which came in a collectible LITTLE MERMAID cup with some light-up Ariel thing attached to the straw. He was like, “I don’t give a fuck” and drank the shit out of it.

Meanwhile, I apparently poured my beer wrong because I rarely ever drink beer, let alone pour it, which caused Henry to jump at the chance to ridicule me because how often does that opportunity present itself. MAYBE I WANTED MY GLASS TO BE 3/4 FULL OF FOAM.

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I ordered the veggie burger and it was actually super delicious. Shout out to my co-worker Elaina for the pointers! At the end of the meal, Chooch said to our waitress, “Excuse me? It’s my birthday” in an attempt to finally get something better than the attention of a Disney garbage man.

“Oh really? Happy birthday,” she said in a thoroughly unimpressed tone and I bet you felt stupid, kid, didn’t you?

But then she came back with a plate of ice cream and a cupcake, lit candle and all. I wanted to take a picture because when don’t I want to take a picture but he blew out the candle too soon and basically ruined what probably wasn’t going to be a beautiful memory, but you can’t be sure!

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The Great Movie Ride thing was equal parts cheesy and amazing. IT WAS LITERALLY LIKE RIDING THROUGH NUMEROUS MOVIES. My favorite was the Wizard of Oz part. Chooch liked all the James Cagney gun fight shit. Henry liked our tour guide, Rachel.

U + God = ???? We stood around for a bit, waiting for the plane to finish the equation but it never did.

Chooch is a huge Andy Griffith fan ever since visiting Mayberry last summer. (I mean, not really.)

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In addition to cheesin’ with the characters, Chooch also makes me take his picture next to every display he deems worthy of a photo op (which is essentially every single one).

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I was terrified to ride the Tower of Terror because I hate drop-rides. But I also didn’t want to NOT go on it because even HENRY was going on it. (He vowed to ride everything at least once since everything in Orlando costs a zillion dollars + any chance of our kid going to college on our dime, so he wasn’t about to waste a single cent.)

This ride ended up being hands down my favorite at Hollywood Studios, and it managed to come in second overall when Magic Kingdom was factored in. And there’s like an actual part where you’re riding down a hallway too so it’s like WHEN IS THE DROP GOING TO HAPPEN, PAPI HOLD MY HAND!

And the drop wasn’t even that bad, mostly because I couldn’t really tell exactly how high up we were since it was inside. (Although there is one point where you’re hovering in front of an opening that looks out into the park. Holy fuck.)

And one of the gothic ride operators said happy birthday to Chooch, which he dutifully added to his “Is Hollywood Studios going to pay adequate attention to me or will I have to blow this bitch up?” tally.

In addition to Beauty and the Beast, we also took in a riveting Little Mermaid light show thing (Henry fell asleep) and the Indiana Jones stunt thing, which I thought was going to be lame but found myself getting all swept away and super excited when JEFFREY, one of the STUNT GUYS disguised as an audience member, ran right past me! There were all kinds of explosions and gun shots.

Henry actually stayed awake.

One of my co-workers was talking to me in the kitchen last week and he said, “All I remember about MGM was that there was some super lame Indiana Jones stunt show” and I basically had to turn my back so he wouldn’t see me cry. It wasn’t lame!

And then Chooch used the Disney gift card given to him by Chronica for his birthday to buy a Stitch plush because he can’t go anywhere without buying a stuffed animal.

They’re expanding the Pixar area and building a whole new Star Wars thing, so if we ever go back to Orlando, I think Hollywood Studios will be on the itinerary. There were way less strollers. Also, I don’t think I hated anyone there.

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May 072016
 

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

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

And my kid was one of those dorks.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH THE PERILS OF BEING ERIN RACHELLE KELLY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that was our super-touching Disney moment.

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

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

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Other things to note:

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

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

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

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

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

 

*DISAGREE. SEE: STROLLERS.

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

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

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

Touché, Carrie!

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May 062016
 

I fluctuate between thinking I don’t do enough for my kid and wondering if I’m enabling his Spoiled Brat status. But, you only get one childhood and I really wanted to get him to Disney before he was too old to give a shit. It kind of goes against everything Chooch stands for when you think about it, but he has always been very WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!? even though we’re totally not a Disney family.  I think the last Disney movie (animated, anyway) that I saw was Lion King. Kind of not sorry about that, either. I didn’t like how the animation changed, OK?!!

Disney always kind of seemed like it was out of reach for us though because we’re not good at planning and saving for “real” vacations. But then we got roped into that time share which has turned out to be a good fit for our weird lifestyle and Henry found a way to make it work for what was kind of a poorly-planned almost last minute surprise birthday trip.

And by “almost last minute,” I mean that unlike normal families who start planning Disney trips a year in advance, we booked everything 2 months in advance and then had to deflect and ignore Chooch’s constant suggestions about where he wanted his birthday party to be.

I did a pretty good job of keeping things under my hat; only a few people knew about it because I just really didn’t want it to slip out. I didn’t even mention it on here until I was live-blogging on the way there!

Somehow, we managed to make the secret last all the way up until the morning of his birthday when we were driving to Magic Kingdom. Guys, my kid is fucking smart as shit, but WHOA NELLY is he dense. I started recorded him when we told him what was going on and his initial reaction was an ambivalent, “Oh. Cool.”

HONESTLY? YOU’RE GOING TO “COOL STORY BRO” ME?!

I was just about ready to tell Henry to turn the fucking car around, we’re going home, when Kid Genius in the backseat had a moment to think about this, let it sink in and swish around in his brain, before having an A-HA! moment. “We’re going to Disney World? REALLY?!?!” and then he lost his mind.

I’m not going to lie, it was pretty magical and I’m still so excited that we managed to make it happen! He’s a good kid 90% of the time and I try so hard to fill these formative years with happy memories. My childhood was pretty great and I want Chooch to grow up and COMPLETELY LIVE IN THE PAST LIKE I DO.

Oh my god, I miss the 80s!!!!!!! Wah.

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Here are some photos from his birthday at Magic Kingdom. I will be back with part 2 once I collect all of my thoughts. HOLD ONTO YOUR MICKEY EARS. Such revelations forthcoming.

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I love how miserable he looks here but I swear to god he’s not. We had literally just walked through the security check so we hadn’t been around each other long enough to have misery oozes down our faces yet. I think he was just in the middle of saying something.

Duh.

When isn’t he in the middle of saying something.

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Chooch and “Uncle Walt.” It was honestly hours into the day when he asked, “Wait—are we still going to visit Uncle Walt?” I gave him the universal look for “Are you an idiot?” I let that marinate for a few seconds and then he gasped, “Oh! Walt Disney. I get it now.”

Jesus Christ.

You’d never know it, but Henry was pretty much in an OK mood all day, even after Chooch knocked over his $6 Dole Whip float before even taking one bite.

At Home Henry would have made Chooch pay for it and then chained him up for a few days in the attic. But At Disney Henry was like, “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE CHOOCH YOU’RE LUCKY IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY” and then took a few deep breaths and went off to fetch some napkins. Then we went on the Jungle Ride and he was OK again.

Maybe I’ll try to coax a review out of him sometime this weekend.

Drunk on Disney.

Huge shout out to Time Share and Tax Refund for making this thing happen.

In hindsight, it’s kind of hilarious to me that a family like us (a bunch of dicks) was even at Disney World at all. Chooch kept yelling at me, “You can’t swear at Disney World!” and I was like, “For fuck’s sake, kid. I’m fucking sorry! Look, there’s that cunt Elsa!”

WHAT A MOTHERFUCKING MAGICAL DAY.

Does this finally erase that time Child Protective Services got called to our house? Lol forever.

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May 012016
 

Me: Don’t worry, I’m gonna live blog. 

Henry, muttering: That’s great. You do that. 

8:24am: Well, today is the day that we eventually make our way back home. We just checked out of the Microtel in Columbia and are now foraging for breakfast. I found a place on shitty Yelp, but I’m worried that it will be a fail since yesterday’s Yelping was actually successful. It’s storming and Henry is grumbling about how this place better have a lot of indoor seating since neither place did yesterday. This is the first day of bad weather we’ve experienced all week, and also the first day I had to wear jeans so EVERYTHING FEELS WRONGS. Gimme back Orlando.

9:02am: We had to walk through a rainstorm down an alley to get to the Wired Goat Cafe, and it was a little glimpse of what it must feel like for Henry to walk beneath a black cloud all day e’ryday. Anyway, this place might end up being a bust. A guy with a handlebar mustache gelled into place with a hefty dollop of ambivalence crafted my French toast latte while the other barista flitted around in absent-minded confusion after someone approached to ask her how much longer they would have to wait for their food. Henry is sitting here with his GOOD ONE, ERIN smirk twisted upon his dumb mumbling lips.


Now he’s accusing me of reading he reviews for the other location and not this one, which apparently has a reputation for being uninviting. LOLFOREVER. At least we got a table outside on the porch-thing, safe from the rain and the judging once-overs of adult women in rompers.

Also, Henry unwisely let Chooch and I pack for ourselves without supervision and neither of us ended up packing enough on account of our ADD and inability to keep count. Luckily, our room at Star Island had a washer and dryer so Poor Henry had to do laundry on vacation.


Bee Mine French toast with EUROPEAN BUTTER (great, thx) and fruit. Henry just got up and left, and then came back with a cup of water.

“I went to go get my water. Locally-sourced….from a tap,” he muttered miserably because he hates places like this LOL. Henry doesn’t give a shit where the eggs came from because they’re all gonna end up in the same place later— the commode.

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#multimedia

10:04: Back on the road! Only 7 and a half hours to go! KILL ME!

10:22am: Well, Henry just hydroplaned and is now congratulating himself for not killing us. “THE TRICK IS TO NOT TOUCH THE BRAKE” he’s instructing his imaginary class.

10:30am: He’s still discussing the science of hydroplaning with himself. I just want to stop somewhere and pee, please.

10:40am: Chooch is scarred for life because Henry made him use a gas station bathroom that had a CONDOM DISPENSER. He came running out to scream about it to me. “YOU PUT IN A DOLLAR AND IT GIVES YOU A CONDOM. THEY HAD ORANGE FLAVORED, STRAWBERRY FLAVORED—” and then I shut the car door on him.

At least he can tell his teachers this was an educational vacation. Seven more hours of condom talk.

11:50am: Somewhere in NC, listening to Balance & Composure and Chooch’s heavy backseat breathing.


And I just finally bought his VIP Bled Fest ticket (it gets him a meal, plus drinks and snacks all day long, so it was worth the extra money to ensure his mouth will stay full with food and not whines). Less than a month away! Not even home from this trip and already anticipating the next! Literally the only thing this Florida vacation was missing was a concert. That would have made it perfect.

1:06pm: Henry’s mom-mom-mommy just called and he made Chooch answer it! Rude.

1:36pm: HELLO VIRGINIA. Five more hours, ugh to the max.

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3:00: At a Shoney’s in WV. Chooch was alone at the buffet for what was probably an unlawful amount of unsupervised time for a child according to buffet laws. I watched him, from the comfort of our table, struggle with the mashed potatoes. He came back and is just livid. “The man before me got this perfect scoop of mashed potatoes on his plate and then when it was my turn, I could hardly get ANY!” And now there’s a problem with his jello too, but I stopped listening. Buffet Woes with Chooch.

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Meanwhile, Henry is on his third pork chop.

EW YOU GUYS THE CREAMED CORN TASTES LIKE WHEN A DENTIST HAS THEIR LATEX FINGERS ALL UP IN YOUR GRILL.


Mystery dessert foraged from the buffet by Chooch — I have no idea what it is and it burnt my lip.

Chooch and I are so wasteful at buffets. Thank god Hank the Bottomless Pit was our shares along with his own.


The Jerusalem Experience offers no discounts. Not even $3 off with proof of stigmata? I find that hard to believe.

JUST LIKE GOD.

Accidentally grabbed two of these brochures and Henry is all exclamatory about it: Why did you get so many???

Dude, it’s two. Not a ream.

4:12pm: Chooch and I just let go of our sanity at a rest stop near Tamarack and Henry is PISSED. Chooch keeps swearing and Henry is like STOP SWEARING and then I started dry-heaving because I saw some man kiss an ugly baby and Henry was like STOP BEING YOU and then I said for the 87th time in 15 years that I don’t understand what the fuck Tamarack even is and Henry yelled AND YOURE NOT GOING TO FIND OUT EITHER which prompted me to ridicule the way he says “going” (sounds like GOYng) and from there I started singing Henry’s version of “going” in the style of a grandfather clock and I think I saw actual steam come out of his nostrils.

Henry says "going" like "GOYng" and here is what that would sound like as a grandfather clock.

A video posted by Erin Appledale (@ohhonestlyerin) on

6:35pm: STILL IN WV. Is WV spreading? It’s like a geographical STD. Did it take this long to drive through WV last week?! Anyway, we stopped at a Sheetz because I have some terrible Throat Affliction and can’t stop coughing and all I could think about was HOT TEA WITH HONEY. But I always get coffee so I walked in and felt paralyzed and literally said WHICH WAY DO I GO and then I finally found the tea bags but I couldn’t find the cups because it didn’t occur to me to use the same cups that I would use for coffee?! Then I couldn’t find the hot water but by then Henry had emerged from the rest room so I slammed the empty cup into his hand and said “You do it” and then walked away. It was all too much.

7:05pm: location update–still in motherfucking WV. “Whyyyyyyyyy?!” she screamed in the Key of Kerrigan.  And not even being low key about this but we’re listening to old school Finger Eleven right now, driving through a rain storm. That’s what’s up.

My friend Wonka and I hung out with them after a show once in 2000 (ugh sixteen years ago?!?! Might as well keep my Nancy Kerrigan WHYYYY out for awhile) and the singer was questionable but their guitarist James Black was an absolute gem and even though I was annoyed when F11 became radio-friendly, I was happy that he was getting to experience that success because dude was chill as fuck.

#OBLIGATORYROADTRIPMUSICMEMORY

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. Last week at Universal, we rode the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit which is a coaster that has speakers in each seat so every rider can select a song from the mini-jukebox screen in front of them. Henry was riding alone behind me and Chooch, so when we all got off the ride, I asked him what he chose, prepared to mock him, and he said “Finger Eleven” and I was like “OMG ME TOO!!” so he high-fived me (this might have been the first time he’s ever initiated a high-five with me, btw) and we bonded for like a split second until I said, “That was the only tolerable option i could find in the limited time we had” and he was like”inorite” and then breathed the wrong way or sneezed too loudly so I went back to being completely annoyed by him.

8:04pm: In PA now. 20 more long ass motherfucking minutes. Nancy Kerriganing my fucking face off right now. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!???!!! 

Well we’re home and I just finished assessing the damage. One of the idiot cats pulled the tassel off one of my swag lamps but other than that, everything seems ok! Thanks to my brother for keeping the cats alive! Just watered my plants and am currently ignoring Henry who keeps inexplicably asking for “help” as if he is not an able-bodied man capable of bringing some luggage into the house. Come the fuck on, dude.

/end vacation

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