Apr 262016
 

You guys. I found out recently that Henry has never been to Disney World. Apparently he was supposed to go when he was Chooch’s age. He went to Florida for two weeks to visit family and they were going to go to Disney on week two but Henry ended up getting SWIMMERS EAR or something — I don’t always pay attention when he spins his yarns–and so this was his first visit. It took him FIFTY YEARS to get there. The moral is never give up! And also, visit Disney before swimming with your family.  

I don’t know why I thought Henry was going to be stoked for this experience, like it was some late-bloomer, coming-of-age feel-good tale. Because of course he wasn’t stoked and it was none of those things. From the tram to the ferry to the park entrance, he was very “MEH” as you can see in that first photo up there, and there was no twist ending, trust me. 

Here is a collection of photos from Henry on Day One and Day Two because why not. 

DAY ONE: MAGIC KINGDOM

We made Henry wait some absurd amount of time (90 minutes maybe) to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Ride thing and he got paired up with some other dad who immediately started yukking it up with him and Chooch and I heard Henry LAUGH before the ride even started! When I asked Henry afterward what the man said to make him laugh, he conveniently “couldn’t remember.” Probably some SERVICE joke. 

Henry rides alone on Big Thunder Mountain. HOLD ON, HANK! (That should be the name of Henry’s emo band.)

Unimpressed with the line for the Jungle Ride….

…but slightly amused about taking a boat ride full of mechanical animals and bad puns. 

Confused by all of the magic and happiness. 

Sleeping on the Little Mermaid ride. 

Ambivalent to ride through Winnie the Pooh’s story and also not cool enough to have ears. 

Henry said he wished they had a “First & Last Time” pin. Dang Henry. Maybe if they had more places to nap? 

DAY TWO: HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

This park had less lines to stand in and about 90% less strollers to dodge, and In turn, Henry seemed a little less hemorrhoid-flared. 

Here we find Henry angry because when he buys pretzels for himself, we always eat most of it, but when he buys one for us, we never offer him any. I mean, you have legs Henry. Walk up and get your own pretzel ok thx. 


Family portrait: me, Chooch, pretzel with cheese. Also, some rando. 

When Chooch and I changed directions without alerting the warden. 


At the SciFi Dine-In, Henry wouldn’t let us get one of the good tables inside the old cars because then one of us would have to dine alone (lol it would have been him) so we had to sit at some dumb table which wasn’t as cool BUT WHATEVER HENRY WANTS, AMIRITE. Here he is considering getting the Ariel punch in the souvenir cup but remembering he doesn’t have enough security in his manhood to get away with it. You know, like Chooch. 

Running tally of all the attractions Henry has fallen asleep on so far:

  • Carousel of Progress
  • Little Mermaid ride thing at Disney
  • Little Mermaid show at Hollywood Studios (a splash of water woke him up lol)
  • Walt Disney Productions film
  • Muppets 3D
No tags for this post.
Apr 242016
 

SATURDAY 11:27pm: we’ve officially started our 14+ hour road trip. When we originally started to plan this trip and decided to drive instead of fly (because I’m neurotic), Henry was like “No it’s fine I guess. We’ll just leave early on Saturday and take our time since we don’t have to check in until Sunday—” at which point I was making that face I make when I know something that’s about to CHANGE EVERYTHING and Henry was all WHAT. WHAT DID YOU DO. And I was “Well remember when I bought a ticket to see Basement? It’s that Saturday night.” And that’s why we didn’t leave the house until 11:30 tonight, because he had to wait for my show to end. HAHAHAHAHA I’m a really easy person to be in a relationship with. 

11:33pm: Henry just said he has to get “fuel” and now I can’t stop repeating it — FUEL. FUUUELLLL. FWEULLLLL. FEEEEEYYYYYOULLLL. He’s not happy about that. 

SUNDAY 6:07am: I tried to sleep in the car but it was a constant panicked wake-up, with me screaming HENRY ARE YOUR EYES CLOSED?! There was so much fog on West Virginia, it was eerie and I thought for sure if I closed my eyes for too long, Henry would wreck. But now it’s almost dawn and we’re somewhere in North Carolina with only 8 and a half hours to go UGHHHH. I have to start my driving shift soon. And I ask myself, why didn’t we just fly again? Oh that’s right because of me. 

6:41am: We’re at Cracker Barrel in some town in NC and Henry didn’t know the difference between country ham and sugar ham. WHAT A n00b. Also, Henry had to change his shirt in the car because his other one had “mysterious stains” on it. 

9:53am: After Cracker Barrel, I was supposed to drive for awhile. And I did! For about 30 minutes. But then I started freaking out because my eyelids wanted to close so bad like literal sandbags were on them. So I took the first exit I came to and Henry woke up like WHAT R U DOING and I was like PULLING OVER SO I DONT FALL ASLEEP AND KILL US. GOD, I can’t even be a responsible person without the Warden yelling at me. Anyway, he’s been driving ever since. Six hours and 22 more minutes to go!!

So then I slept for an hour because I didn’t sleep at all last night and don’t go martyring Henry just yet because he slept all yesterday afternoon to prepare for this and when did I have time to sleep when I’m too busy keeping a watchful eye on the road all through the night?

10:05: We’re only 10 miles away from the monument of the father of gynecology and Henry flipped me off and said he doesn’t care. :( So I turned up Balance & Composure because he doesn’t “care for them.”

10:40am: Tomorrow is Chooch’s birthday so we’re engaging in my favorite story: how Chooch had to be delivered 2 weeks early because he was so gigantic already that the doctor didn’t want to risk letting him go to term. 

11:06am: Just postulated at length about how the 80s was like this magical wrinkle in time where all music artists made the best music of their careers and then everything after that was just ok and when I asked Henry for his thoughts, all he said was “Yeah.” 

He asked me for one of my Cheezits and I complied but not before licking it. I hate that it doesn’t bother him anymore. 

12:57pm: Somewhere in Georgia, past Savannah so now our secret is gutting harder to contain because Chooch thinks we’re visiting Octavia and he’s like WHY ARENT WE STOPPING and I BET A LOT OF THESE PPL ARE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD. He thinks in addition to visiting Octavia, we’re also visiting Henry’s “Uncle Walt” who lives in a trailer that isn’t big enough for us all to sleep in so Chooch has to sleep alone in a tent. But then he just randomly asked if Uncle Walt is dead. Yes Chooch. We’re visiting Uncle Walt’s grave. 

1:31pm: We were going to eat at Huddle House in Somewhere, GA but it was taking an unacceptable amount of time to get waited on (IT WASNT CROWDED!) So I threw a fit and now we’re at Taco Bell/KFC because we sure know how to vacation. Had a weird encounter with a little girl in the restroom while I waited for a stall and she washed her hands and waited for her mom; she gave me numerous, lingering once-overs because naturally she covered all of my accessories like all young girls do. 

2:45pm: Well, Chooch missed the Welcome to Florida sign, so there’s a conversation we won’t have to have right now. Also, Henry pointed out a car that had pulled over in order for the driver to switch with the passenger, and then I realized he was glaring at me when he said it, hahaha. 


3:12: Henry & Jacksonville. SCOOTER WARD, WHERE U AT?

6:37pm: Well guess who got us here, Star Island, in record time? ERIN RACHELLE KELLY. Henry whined at one of the last rest stops so I was like oh for CHRISTS SAKE and took the wheel for the last 2 and a half hours and wound up shaving off a bunch of time too. Because I’m a fucking pro. Meanwhile, there were signs everywhere for Orlando and Disney and Chooch was like WAIT WHAT and I just kept yelling about being too poor to go to Disney so keep dreaming. Ugh. He totally knows. Or maybe not. He’s been asking a lot of questions about Henry’s “Uncle Walt” so we’ll see how tomorrow (i.e. His birthday and the big reveal) goes. 


Anyway, remember when we bought a time share last summer? Haha thank god for that. 


The resort has these swan boats and Chooch asked if we could all ride in one, side by side. “That’s a high expectation,” he laughed at his own suggestion. “We’ll just end up arguing and bumping into each other. You know, a typical day in the life of the Robbins/Kelly family.” OBSERVATION ON POINT SON. 

6:58pm: Chooch is still asking questions about Uncle Walt (“does he shoot machine guns?”) and Henry SUCKS at answering them. He just keeps saying I don’t know to everything while I’m making up back stories and somehow Chooch hasn’t asked yet why I know more about Henry’s uncle than Henry does. 

7:54pm: At Sweet Tomatoes which I didn’t realize was an all you can eat buffet thing which I hate and are a complete waste for me and Chooch because we just don’t eat that much (contrary to my BMI) but don’t worry because Henry ate his share, our share, and the next table’s share. The busboy gave him A Look. 


8:17pm: Obligatory “Buying Everything We Forgot to Pack” trip to Target. Henry and Chooch were annoying me so I left and came out to sit in the car. I’m sleep-deprived and ready to snap necks. 

8:48pm: Went to Orange World because of my obsession with novelty-shaped buildings and stocked up on souvenirs in spite of feeling extremely unwelcome. WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE MEEEEEEEH.  

9:00pm: Chooch is swimming while I’m being throughly entertained by the dulcet notes of some broad singing Dionne Warwick’s masterpiece “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” inside the resort lounge. I turned to Henry and zealously mouthed some of the words but he didn’t appreciate it like I know you guys would. 

Right guys?

10:13pm: Painted my nails, ate an orange from Orange World that Henry opened for me (incorrectly, I might add), and now I’m saying goodnight to this edition of Live Blog because my vacations are never relaxing & I am really goddamn exhausted. SEEYAWOULDNTWANNABEYA


No tags for this post.
Mar 292016
 

   

I felt #soblessed that we had time for a Dutch Haven visit before the show on Saturday. There is a certain magic to this place, like a butterscotch candy in grandma’s purse. 

I have a cold and I’m half-asleep writing this on the couch. Don’t question me. 

We were pretty full from our late lunch at Bridgeport Family Restaurant, where all the regulars loafer at the  counter, engrossed in whatever kids talent show that’s hosted by Steve Harvey.

I really can’t stand Steve Harvey and none of those kids had any talent worth writing home about. 

Anyway, I was so big high off life (and all that manure in the air) that I was scream-laughing the whole way to Dutch Haven and Henry was not pleased. I just really love road trips, guys.   

Inside Dutch Haven, Chooch acted as though he’s never had shoo-fly pie before and devoured two samples of it before ordering a whole slice all while making foodgasm sound effects. You’d think we kept him locked in the car every other time we swung by the Haven.   

Oh my god, and the whipped cream to shoo-fly ratio is DIVINE, like a holy helmet to protect the molasses-y relic below. 

I’m thankful that my beloved shoo-fly is 4 hours away because I don’t ever want the novelty to wear off. 

Of course I ate my slice too fast and got really sick. Totally worth it though. 

And then Henry gave us $5 so we could buy a horseshoe from some random unattended horseshoe stand outside of Dutch Haven and I got really worried that whatever Amish kid was shilling these wouldn’t know if we paid even though I definitely shoved a $5 bill into the metal cash box and I hope no one actually steals a horse shoe! The stand was right next to the parking lot for Dienner’s, which is a SMORGASBORD RESTAURANT for disgusting pot-bellied TOURISTS UGH. Everyone knows those are the types of people who piss on the honor system!
 

But seriously, why would you want to buy six of these?

Someone should bake me a shoo-fly pie for my birthday which is JULY 30TH. You have time. 

No tags for this post.
Mar 272016
 

9:24 We’re headed home from Lancaster. I figured I would Liveblog to keep myself busy, but I’m just going to wait to post it until it’s done because my WordPress app hates me. 

Henry was upset because some guy kept staring at him when he and Chooch went to grab some hotel “breakfast.” I figured he was exaggerating because you know how flagrant Henry’s imagination is. But then when we were leaving the hotel after checking out, Henry said “Look there’s that guy who was staring at me” and wouldn’t you know it, that guy’s eyes were GLUED to Henry even as we sat in the car. It was nuts. Then I realized Henry was wearing his Arizona Iced Tea hat so I said, “Maybe he’s staring at your hat and it’s making him thirsty.” Sounds like I cracked that motherfucking case, bitches. 

 
Chooch and I took this picture before we left the room, and Henry titled it “Two Idiots In a Mirror.” OR YOU KNOW, EMAROSE TWINS. But whatever. Use whichever one you want. I don’t care. 

9:48am: Henry’s reminiscing about his paperboy days and I promise you he has told me this story before, verbatim. Delivering newspapers in the 70s must have made a pretty big impact on him. From Newspapers to FAYGO: The Life Of Henry J. Robbins. 

10:35am: If you ever feel like people don’t give a fuck about Easter anymore, just drive through Gettysburg on Easter Sunday. The Easter hats are out in full effect. Also, if you ever want to be embarrassed at Henry’s and my utter lack of historical knowledge, sit in the car with us as we drive through Gettysburg while Chooch bombards us with war questions. At least I knew it wasn’t WORLD WAR 2 though, CHOOCH. 

11:16: At a Sheetz somewhere on Rt. 30. Some older broad was in a bathroom stall talking on the phone and it was really uncomfortable because I just wanted to pee, you know? Then she was out of the stall and blocking the sink when I came out, still on the phone too! So she moved out of the way and after she ended the call, she said to me, “When your daughter starts talking, you don’t stop her” and then we shared a moment of polite laughter so then I felt kind of bad for psychically wishing she eats a bad egg today. Then the Sheetz barista (lol) gave me cold coffee instead of hot so Henry had to go back in and deal with it on behalf since it’s Easter and he didn’t want me to make some young teenage boy cry. Henry the Patron Saint of Sheetz Baristas. 

On the real, I wouldn’t want to make coffee for fucking assholes like me all day long so sorry for psychically wishing you eat too many jellybeans today, barista boy. 

11:26: NOW MY COFFEE IS TOO HOT. 

12:30: We were going to walk to the abandoned turnpike tunnels near Beeezewood because every time we drive past we never have time. But then we realized that it’s apparently an all-day jaunt by foot so we decided we would just do better research (this is a new thing for us—due diligence as opposed to our usual spontaneity/unpreparedness). However now Chooch is in the backseat beating his head off the window because WE NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN. THE ONLY FUN THING WE DID ALL WEEKEND WAS THE CONCERT AND NOTHING ELSE and we were like “hello that was the whole point of the weekend so shut up Mr. S. Poiled Rotten. Now Henry is yelling at him and I’m like “Hahaha better you than me, little boy!”

  
1:04: Just drove through Bedford and Henry pointed out a restaurant that was open but then continued to drive and now we’re out of Bedford so I guess we’re not eating in Bedford.

Meanwhile, I have on a Bled Fest play list and I keep asking Henry if he’s stoked to see each band that comes on and then I hurry up and repeat his response in a mocking manner before he even has a chance to finish because I know exactly what he’s going to say and I can say it better than him. THAT IS HOW GOOD I AM AT IMITATING HIM. 

1:13: UGH we just drove through the area that has all of those sickening windmill things and I was dry heaving. 

“There’s nothing wrong with them!” Henry yelled. 

“WHAT IF YOU FELL OUT OF THE SKY AND LANDED ON ONE?! THESE ARE HAZARDS!” I cried. 

“Why would you be falling out of the sky?” Henry asked in that smug tone. 

Because maybe I’m skydiving that day? I DONT KNOW. Regardless, they’re disgusting. 

“How are they disgusting?” Chooch asked incredulously. 

“Chooch, anything mommy doesn’t like or understand is disgusting,” Henry calmly explained. “Like my breathing.”

GOT THAT RIGHT, POPS.

LOL. “Pops.”

  

2:19: Just left our beloved Summit Diner in Somerset after Chooch barfed in the bathroom then came back to the table crying and gagging so we made him go outside while we paid because BOY DONT BE PUKING AT THE TABLE. Prior to that, Henry and I had a coleslaw standoff because I always take his picture while he’s eating coleslaw so then I had to let him take a picture of me eating his coleslaw to even the playing field. THAT’S FINE. YOU WIN SOME YOU LOSE SOME. 

 
This one is from yesterday at Bridgeport Family Restaurant. I was laughing so hard about this that I started sobbing in the car. It’s that Amish air that does it to me. I get psychotically giddy. 

  
   

WHATEVER at least my double chin miraculously hid itself for this photo. 
 Coleslaw King. 

Coleslaw is probably one of the few things that Henry and I share a mutual love for. Although I’m way more picky about my coleslaw than he is. For instance, I had the worst coleslaw that’s ever touched my tongue last week at Diamond Market but I bet Henry would have liked it. It was so vinegary!!

  
All the waitresses had on bunny ears in case anyone dared forget that today is Easter. 

Now I’m sitting in the car while Henry and Chooch are in Walmart because we didn’t get Chooch an Easter basket since I was too preoccupied with making one for Emarosa (dorky fan girl, party of one for that corner table by the bathroom) so Henry’s letting him pick out some small item of cheap joy I guess. 

Speaking of bathrooms, I had to pee so bad when we got to the diner but the bathroom was occupied so I went back to our table and proceeded to stress out over this and then Henry had to use the men’s room so I told him to check the women’s room while he was back there and he was all YEAH THATS NOT WEIRD. Anyway, I didn’t want to go back and try again because there was a table of people near it and I didn’t want to walk past them again because I’m neurotic and assumed that they were paying attention to my bladder strife. Finally, as Henry was paying the bill, I tried again and as it turns out, there was never anyone in there that whole time because, FUNNY STORY, I was turning the knob the wrong way. 

2:42: They’re back from Walmart. Chooch didn’t see anything he wanted so he got Kleenex and then actually won something out of the claw machine: a Chinese takeout container with stickers inside?!

3:26: Randomly started missing my old pink Converse. “Remember when I lost one but then you found it? It was that one weekend Christina was visiting and I was crying.”

“Ha, which weekend? You were always crying when Christina was visiting.” True story. 

In other news, Chooch is back to calling Henry Pee-Paw. I thought that one was permanently put to rest but apparently on Easter, all kinds of things are resurrected. 

4:40: Just stopped at a Dollar General down the street from our house because we need cat food (for our actual cats, not Easter dinner) and I can’t wait to get inside my house and close my eyes. I got hardly any sleep last night because ADRENALINE and I won’t sleep in the car because I’m afraid that if I fall asleep, Henry will fall asleep. And you know what that means: no more live blogs. Unless there’s a way to Liveblog from the afterlife. And I can’t think of any other way other possessing someone alive, and that just seems like a lot of effort to tell the Internet about which latest body part has sufficiently decomposed. 

I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m exhausted and we have been listening to The Summer Set for the last hour and that is some fucking sugary pop brainrot. 

ON THAT NOTE I’M HOME NOW BEST WEEKEND EVER!!!

No tags for this post.
Dec 212015
 

We tried so hard to keep it a secret, but Robbie pretty much figured out right away that me, Henry and Nikki were taking him to Cleveland last Wednesday for the Craig Owens show. Henry and I weren’t sure if it was going to work out at all, since it was in the middle of the week, but Nikki super slickly went behind Robbie’s back and asked his boss to give him the day off. Once that happened, Henry bought the tickets and then we tried to come up with a plausible explanation as to why we were going to Cleveland on a random Wednesday, but stupid Bandsintown alerted Robbie that Craig Owens was playing that night, so he knew. It’s a lot easier to pull one over on our gullible 9-year-old, so I sometimes forget that everyone else wouldn’t just go along with a mysterious road trip without doing some serious investigating on their end.

Robbie loves Craig Owens even more than I do, so we thought it would be the perfect birthday/Christmas gift for him. Especially when our friend Jason mentioned that he could possibly get us access to the video session that was going to filmed earlier that day in the Alternative Press office. That meant we had to leave early on Wednesday, which really set off the alarms in Robbie’s head. Nikki said he was practically bullying her into telling him what was going on.

Surprises are so delightful!

We left an hour later than originally planned because Henry is the worst. Do you know how hard it was to sit in my house waiting for Henry to come home, when there were all these awkward vibes because everything was so suspicious?

< insert boring drive to Cleveland here. >

We arrived in Cleveland sometime after 1 and Nikki woke up from a nap.

“I had a dream that I asked Craig Owens how tall he is and he said he’s 5’10”,” she said. We all agreed that we felt like he was taller than that, so Robbie quickly googled and announced that Craig is, indeed, 6’2″. I wonder if Craig ever thinks about all the rando conversations his fans probably have about him on a daily basis. I mean, even Henry has talked about Craig’s hair A LOT over the years. He’s kind of obsessed with it and will always be the first one to notice if it’s changed since the last time. His only takeaway from the D.R.U.G.S. show we saw in 2011 was that “Craig’s hair is darker.”

We had just enough time to grab coffee and a quick poke through my favorite store of all time, Flower Child:

I had just ended a conversation with the owner about how much I love her shop and how I cried real tears when I was there a month ago and it was closed, when Henry got a text from Jason that said, “Get here NOW.” Henry barked, “Let’s go!” and whisked us out of the shop, which probably looked like we were the clumsiest shoplifters EVER. I can only imagine how suspicious we looked, tearing out of a shop that we had just entered a minute before, but I was too excited to be embarrassed.

“Where are we going?” Robbie asked nervously.

“We have to meet our friend Jason real quick. I have a case of root beer for him,” Henry stuttered.

I mean, that was partially true! Jason is a true root beer connoisseur and especially likes it bottled. So Henry brought a case of root beer from the Faygo Factory for him. This is why Jason likes Henry better than me. Well, that and because Henry doesn’t bring up Jonny Craig every single time we hang out with Jason.

And Robbie knew something was about to happen. He met Jason last year when we were in town for a Chiodos show at House of Blues; Jason met us at Melt for a quick hello and Robbie remembered that he was affiliated with Alternative Press, so even though there is no signage outside of the building that houses the office, it didn’t matter.

The jig was up!

“Don’t freak out,” I whispered over my shoulder as Jason keyed us through the AP door and led us into a back room where cameras were set up and Craig Owens was sitting on a stool, strumming his guitar and warming up.

Robbie’s face looked like this pretty much the whole time: somewhere frozen between a smile and a stroke.

Jason got chairs for us and basically bent over backward to make sure we were comfortable—he is such a stand-up guy! As if he hadn’t already done enough for us, now he was trying to give us more things. We promised him that we were fine, and after reminding us to turn off our phones, he retreated back to his office, because deadlines.

I accidentally took this blurry photo as I was tucking my phone away:

Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset

Jason warned me that the chair he gave me was kind of broken, which didn’t stop me from leaning back in it, and further and further back until I realized I was falling. I caught myself before anyone noticed and made sure to lean forward for the rest of the afternoon because I didn’t want to be That Person who disrupted filming.

Ugh, that would be so typical of me!

Craig performed two songs with his friend Pete: one was a song that was so brand new, Pete was having difficulties because they literally had just written the music for it the night before. Craig said it will be released sometime in 2016 as part of his new, top secret project. TOTALLY PIQUED.

The second song was off the new Before Their Eyes album which he produced. Both song were fantastic, but that first one was a stunner. Those two songs were being filmed for Periscope, but we got to hear the first one several more times when he was asked to play it again but with a more detailed introduction other than just, “This is…a song” which is how he had originally introduced it, ha! I love Craig.

When he finished performing the songs, he walked back over to where we were sitting so that he could join his friend (NICOLE RORK who is an exceptional photographer and I was low-key fangirling when I saw her there) and come up with some facts for the 10 Things You Didn’t Know segment that he had also agreed to film.

“Did it sound OK, guys?” he asked us, and we were all like, “HHHHHHHNNNNNNNGGGGGGHHHHH YES.”

OK, Henry was way calmer than that.

I don’t want to give anything else away since these video segments haven’t been posted on Alternative Press’s website yet, but I just have to say that Craig is ridiculously interesting, multi-faceted, and extremely intelligent. Listening to him answer questions was riveting. All the behind-the-scenes minutiae was actually fascinating and I’m so humbled that we got to take it all in.

After about an hour of filming, he walked over to us and held out his hand.

“Hi, I’m Craig,” he said with a friendly smile and not the forced kind that Henry always adopts.

I’m sure internally, we were all like, “WE KNOWWW OMG!” but I feel like we kept it together and somehow managed to introduce ourselves without causing a nose bleed or biting off our tongues. He asked us how the drive from Pittsburgh was and Henry gave his stock answer, “Fine. Fine” while I blurted out, “BORING” and I think Robbie was just giggling at this point. Thankfully, Nikki was there to break the ice by telling Craig about her recent dream about him and his height.

“Yeah, I’m pretty tall!” he laughed. “Actually, all of the Chiodos guys are like, over 6 feet tall,” he added, and we were all like, “Oh wow,” with batted eyelashes and flirty giggles because CRAIG OWENS.

Somehow I was able to muster the courage and enough of my voice to thank Craig for allowing us to sit in on that. Thank you, Craig Owens, for being a true gentleman and so gracious to your fans.

(I love that there’s a Cure issue two above Robbie’s head in this picture!)

Before walking out to the parking lot with us to get the root beer, Jason asked again if we needed anything. “Any magazines? Anything at all? No, you’re good?” he asked, and we assured him that he had already done so much for us. Seriously, thank you Santa Pettigrew!

We were about to leave when Craig passed us in the parking lot. Thank god Nikki had the good sense to ask him if we could take his picture with Robbie. He very jovially agreed, at which point we all just stood there.

“Erin, take the picture,” Henry hissed. SORRY! I was in a Craig Owens daydream bubble. Henry’s burly tone snapped me out of it and I was somehow able to take the picture without fumbling for my phone.

We told him we’d see him later that night, and with a big smile, he said, “I hope you’re wearing your singalong pants!” I laughed along with everyone else, but I couldn’t help but feel a tiny pull of paranoia.

“Do you think he said that on purpose?!” Nikki whispered on the way back to the car, knowing that Craig and I had a…disagreement on Twitter four years ago because I wrote a bitchy blog post about how I went to his solo show and he let the audience sing most of his songs while he just stood there and held out his microphone. Look, my cat had just died and I was really emotionally fragile OK?! Nothing could have made me happy on that night.

But this particular night was about to be so much better. And we determined later that he probably didn’t mean anything by his singalong pants remark, thank god!

Afterward, we had about 90 minutes to kill before the actual show. We drove to Coventry in search of food, since none of us had eaten anything since breakfast, not like it mattered, because it probably would have gotten puked up anyway. (I mean, except Henry’s. Nothing fazes Henry.)

Big Fun is next to Tommy’s, so we popped over at dinner, hoping to find some toys to buy for the show. Anyone who brought a new toy or stuffed animal to the show got a meet and greet wristband. Even though we already had our time with him that afternoon, we wanted to do our part in helping out underprivileged children. Except Henry. He was like, “I don’t need no meet n greet bracelet, fuck off!”

img_0526

Saul Berenson is big fun.

img_0524

We wound up just going to a nearby Target, where I bought Candy Land, and Nikki bought a Mr. Potato Head and an exorbitantly-priced stuffed pony, which Robbie picked out with complete disregard to the price tag.

“Oh wow, that sucks,” I said when she told us how much it ended up costing her. “Mine was on sale for $4.”

Mine was on sale for $4!” Nikki mimicked, and we all laughed. But then we all agreed that it was nice to do something charitable but Henry wouldn’t know what that’s like.

Doors to the Grog Shop weren’t open, so we stood in line where I thought about all the things I should have said to Craig.

**********

Things I Wish I Had Said To Craig:

  • OMG I’m super stoked for the new Hotel Books that you produced!
  • I love Lomo Prieta too! I saw them open for Pianos Become the Teeth last spring and they blew my mind!
  • [SOMETHING ABOUT JONNY CRAIG!!!!]
  • Do you like Artifex Pereo????
  • What is your stance on the whole Blue Swan music movement and would you ever consider working with any of the bands in that genre?????
  • WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOREIGN HORROR MOVIE!?!?
  • And in response to his ironic Juggalo tattoo inside his lip: HENRY WORKS IN A FAYGO FACTORY!
No tags for this post.
Dec 162015
 

Today, we’re going to Cleveland with Henry’s son Robbie and his girlfriend Nikki for the Craig Owens solo show at the Grog Shop. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Craig solo and I’m excited but super nervous because he’s always been one of The Big Ones in my life, you know? Some of his words are tattooed on my arm, so to say that I think highly of him is kind of an understatement:

IMG_4694.JPG

My all-time favorite Craig Owens experience was back in 2009 when Alisha and I went to see him, also at the Grog Shop. That was such a fun day and one of my favorite memories of Alisha, so today is making me miss her tons!

I love his solo work, but I will always love him in Chiodos the best. Chiodos was like the gateway drug into me becoming a scene kid back in 2006, so I’m sure Henry has mixed feelings about Craig too, haha. I just pointed this out to him and he did that laugh-without-mirth thing that he does when he wants everyone to know that he hates his life and nothing is amusing.

This is what I live for.

No tags for this post.
Oct 232015
 

Let’s take another stumble around my city. This time we’ll walk out of my building and go right then change our minds and go left because why not.

When the distinct stench of boiling piss coils its way up into your nostrils, you will know without even looking up that you are about to pass Mike & Tony’s Gyros and then, if you’re anything like me, you will say the word “gyro” to yourself and then relish the fact that SO MANY PEOPLE would be angry with you for not pronouncing it YEAR-o. Say it again! GY-RO GY-RO GY-RO! Oh, just like it’s spelled!

Now that we’re cloaked under a steel curtain of rebellion, let’s proceed.

If the bouquet of piping hot urine didn’t make you hurl, you’ll have another shot at jogging ye ol’ gag reflex a few feet later when we approach the Planned Parenthood protestors. Mmmm, abortion dioramas! If they try to hand you some of their literature, take it and then throw it away in the garbage while they’re looking. That’s what I do. BECAUSE: REBEL.

GY-RO GY-RO GY-RO.

Let’s turn on to another street where we can marvel and ogle the luxurious facade of this…printing company.

What a waste of a great slab of architecture.

If you’re one of those freaks (like me) who dislike Starbucks, might you consider buying your whatever-is-trendy-now latte at Crazy Mocha? It’s OK there but sometimes the broads working at this particular location are the exact reason why hipsters get a bad rap. SORRY THAT I’M MAKING YOU DO YOUR STUPID JOB BY ORDERING COFFEE.

Now we’re walking on the same block we started on because your tour guide got confused and turned the wrong way. But hey, let’s re-pass this new artsy theater thing called Bricolage and see if that lady is still sitting in the window in the middle of a pile of papers. Yep, she is. I think it might be some kind of living art exhibit but who has time to talk to a person and ask, you know?

This place closed sometime shortly after I started working downtown and I honestly thought Barb was going to throw a funeral for it, she was that upset. I never ate there, so I didn’t care one way or another. It’s still just sitting there, all vacant and asking to be vandalized.

I hope one of Barb’s enemies buys it and turns it into a BILL PAXTON MUSEUM. I’d visit it every day just so I could send her mean photos to remind her of how much I MISS HER.

And then right across the street is the library, which I knew existed somewhere downtown after 5+ years of overhearing co-workers say things like, “I am going to walk to the library to return my book” or “There was a crime scene over by the library.” However, I had never actually seen the library. Turns out, I’ve walked past the library approximately 87,000 times and somehow never, not once, picked up on the GIANT letters spelling out “library” on the windows or the fact that it’s filled with books.

 

 

If you’re not into the glorious musk of books, cross the street and dunk your nose into the wares of the sidewalk perfume peddler. Also, this elderbroad with pink hair and skull scarf is way cooler than you and me. I wonder which scent she will buy. Hopefully none because I don’t trust the perfume peddler. I saw him doing push-ups once in the middle of a plaza FOR NO REASON.

PUSH-UPS! FOR NO REASON!

This is a building that tourists like to photograph. Every time I see it, I think back to the time in elementary school when I went downtown with my BFF Christy’s family to see the Christmas shit that is traditionally on display down there, and I was being so uncharacteristically obnoxious that Christy’s mom yelled at me, and Christy’s mom is like THE NICEST LADY EVER, so that should tell you a little something about how I was acting.

Also, that’s a lie because I see this building EVERYDAY and I do not actually think about getting yelled at by Mrs. McBride EVERYDAY.  But I did think about it after I took this picture because I walked by a sign for the Wintergarden and had a flashback of getting scolded.

And then I noticed I was walking with my bottom lip jutting out.

Henry often yells at me for the same reason, so I guess I haven’t really grown up very much. (Welcome to Oh Honestly, Erin, where the realizations are groundbreaking.)

Now we’re walking alongside the big tall glass castle building because I like the way the ground looks fit for Alice and her Wonderland friends to have a scene.

 

There are these dinosaur things on the other side. Also, Heinz is like a big thing around here. You wouldn’t understand.

I don’t think they mind having their picture taken. They’re probably used to it.

I know this is weird because my name is Erin, but this is not actually my deli. If it were, the only “hot special” would be what you’re dumping down the commode afterward.

There. That was another 60 minute stumble* around downtown. And now you’ve seen more Pittsburgh parts than you probably ever cared to. In the next installment, I will try to capture the Dunkin’ Donuts protestor and possibly the scary lady on Smithfield who is always having a very loud argument with who I can only assume is Drop Dead Fred.

*(Not even lying, I really did lose my balance and stumble into a wall while walking through an alley and I basically fit right in.)

No tags for this post.
Sep 232015
 

As much as it sucked to part ways with Terri and Christian after breakfast at Panera (where Henry’s confident stride was in full effect thanks to Panera Worker Nikki, who was brusque and disgruntled to Chooch & me but apparently very sweet and accommodating to Henry), I was anxious to get on the road because it meant it was almost DUTCH HAVEN TIME.

It’s impossible to be anywhere in the eastern part of Pennsylvania without stopping for my favorite Dutch delicacy: motherfucking shoofly pie.

What? That’s what they call it. At night, after the bonnets come off. Motherfucking shoo-fly pie.

OK, you’re right, Google Translate. It’s probably moederfucking shoo-fly pie.

Actually, I wasn’t even going to ask if we could stop, because I had a feeling Henry was going to grunt something in a fatherly-fashion about how “it’s either shoo-fly pie or the shoe house; pick one!” and if I had to choose….it was going to be the shoe house, you guys. I know! What kind of fair-weathered shoo-fly pie eater am I? (Actually, I’ve eaten the shoo-fly in various types of weather.) So I kept my mouth shut and was rewarded when Henry suggested, all on his own, that we stop!


Some man working behind the pie counter asked us if we wanted a sample and we were like, “Pshhh, fuck that molasses-y noise, we want a SLICE.”

“Oh, you’ve been here before,” he said, but did not seem very excited about it. That’s OK. I wasn’t looking for enthusiasm to put in my mouth. Just some shoo-fly pie. Put it in there.

BAE.

(Do you guys remember the great shoo-fly pie tragedy of last fall? I’m #soblessed to have had the opportunity to eat the fuck out of it twice since then.)

Chooch has become obsessed with pumpkin pie somehow, behind my back, so that’s what he had. We were all very quiet and still while enjoying our pie outside of Dutch Haven.

Applauding the autumnal offerings.

Before we left, we stopped at the neighboring building, which used to be this creepy BBQ joint and is now a creepy popcorn joint. A young employee was outside on the porch, working hard at a popcorn machine. “Please, help yourself to the samples on the table inside,” he said in a strange robot-trying-to-act-human staccato. I think he was probably recently estranged from Amishdom, so not quite a shitty human being yet.

There were two elderly women in there, and the one was determined to make sure Chooch tried all of her favorite flavors, and then when that was done, she started pressing him for information on his favorite flavor profiles and he kept tossing me furtive glances, like I was even thinking about saving his annoying ass. HOW DOES IT FEEL, SUCKER? ANSWER THE QUESTIONS! The lady’s companion finally pulled her off of us and we were able to enjoy samples at our own leisure and without her staring at us expectantly.

We each chose a small container to buy and the other woman cried, “Well, what did you choose?!” It’s like they’re reporters for the Popcorn Times.

Or, you know, “just friendly,” according to Henry.

The only other notable moment of our drive home was when we stopped to eat the the Summit Diner in Somerset, and Chooch decided to reenact the time last December when Henry asked the waitress for a napkin, not knowing that there was an entire napkin dispenser on the table. So Chooch asked our waitress for our napkin, and then shot us giggling glances as the waitress said, “There’s some right there on the table, hon.” It was incredibly awkward because it looked like he was laughing at the waitress and she totally picked up on that; and since I was the one sitting next to the dispenser,  I had to go through the motions of getting him a napkin that he didn’t even need.

“Thanks for making me play a part in your stupid reenactment,” I mumbled, crumbling the napkin and chucking it at his face.

No tags for this post.
Sep 222015
 

A few years ago, we were going to Lancaster, PA for a Pierce the Veil show and I thought it would be incredibly fun to stop at this storied house that’s shaped like a shoe in Hallam — a true road tripper’s wet dream. I had seen it on some local roadside attractions show and started obsessing. Like I do. Since it was off-season, I emailed them two months in advance to see if we could stop by for a tour. The reply I got was curt and also kind of rude. I don’t remember what they said exactly, other than it made me rage vocally at my desk. I mean, don’t live in a shoe  if you don’t want people to email you about it!!

Fast forward to several weeks ago. My anger had subsided a bit over the years and I decided to look the house up again since we were going to be in the area in a few weeks. The website announced that not only was this still peak season, but the house had new owners! I asked Henry if we could stop for a tour on our way home from Philly this past weekend, and he said yes, which leads tme  to believe that he is either cheating on me or dying.

I excitedly told Glenn  that not only did I get my way about going to Philly, but Henry was also taking me to the shoe house!

“He really needs to stop rewarding behavior,” Glenn sighed. He was really happy when Henry initially said no to Philly because I came back from my break crying. But you know, THINGS CHANGE. It’s harder for Henry to say no to me in person, anyway.

The Haines Shoe House is really close to Rt. 30, so Henry couldn’t bitch about it being out of the way, like he did about every single place we stopped at on the way home from vacation last month. The man who built it in the 40s put it close to the highway so it cold be seen because it was essentially advertising his shoe company.

The tour is $5 a person, what a steal.

“Nope, I’m good,” Henry said as he handed me $10. Chooch wasn’t too excited about this either, but I was like, “DO NOT MAKE ME TAKE THIS TOUR ALONE, PLEASE, I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD.” And he was like, “Yeah, a world full of stupid novelty houses to tour.” He and Henry just don’t get excited about these things.

After I paid the lady in the gift shop, she asked Chooch for his hand so she could stamp it. I stuck mine out too and she said, “Oh, no. We just do this for the kids.” She laughed a little and then realized my hand was still there. “But I mean, that’s fine, if you want a stamp too.”

“I mean, she basically is a kid, so…” Chooch said with a roll of his mean eyes. Shut up, Chooch.

She stamped my hand but didn’t even bother to re-ink the stamp first so it looks STUPID.

It’s supposed to be a shoe! You can’t even tell! Chooch’s was so much nicer than mine.

So then our tour guide came in and retrieved us. Immediately, she made a passive aggressive comment about not sitting on the furniture, because of course as soon as we entered the house, Chooch’s ass helped itself to an armchair cushion. But you guys, his leggggs. They were so tireddddd. He was so exhausteddddd. His life is so roughhhhh.

We learned some boring ass facts about Mahlon Haines and his shoe company. He was really into pimping out his company and even ran for Congress at one point just so he could essentially advertise his company with promotional compact mirrors. I didn’t know what else to say, every time the guide stopped talking and looked at me expectantly, so I just kept saying, “Wow, he was like, really smart.”

Chooch just looked really bored and annoyed the whole time, but I swear to god it was really cool to walk around and see that even the windowsills were curved. The guide kept encouraging me to take photos, and I’m so used to being told to not take photos so that I have to take clandestine spy-cam shots the whole time that I actually felt too nervous to take more photos than I did.

In the early days of the shoe house, Mahlon held contests for newlyweds to honeymoon in the shoe. In the honeymoon suite, there’s a laminated letter of marital advice he typed up for his guests. “YEAH, TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT!” the guide said when she saw me awkwardly taking out my phone. I felt so on the spot through the whole tour!

He really thought highly of himself.

My favorite thing about the house’s interior was the eccentric color scheme. The upstairs bedroom was mint and lavender, for fuck’s sake. I commented on this and the tour guide said that the new owners are actually in the process of repainting all of the walls neutral colors. “They’re trying to get the house back to the way it originally was, since the people who owned this for the last 15 years had it painted this way,” the guide continued, practically turning her nose up at the glorious hues. Apparently, they’re using old black and white photos as their reference. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. You own a house shaped like a shoe! Why try to downplay that with a neutral interior of beige and egg white? Go big or go home!

In the maid’s quarters, the guide said, “I bet you’ve never seen one of those before!” pointing at an old sweeper leaning against the wall.

“It’s a vacuum. Mu grandma has one of those in her house,” Chooch said, spitting chunks of ennui onto the floor for the invisible maid to sweep up. He was just not impressed by a single thing in this giant shoe, but at least he was being quiet about it.


And then the guide instructed us to sit at the kitchen  table so she could take our picture, because that is apparently what all of the other tourists like to do. I got really nervous and stressed out because I hate having my photo taken and what if one of my furry-lovers sexted me while she was holding my phone!?

(Just kidding. I don’t have any furry-lovers. Yet. #Anthrocon2016)

But would you look at my happy face!? And Chooch’s pained expression.

Our guide said something about the arch at the top of the steps, so I took that as my cue to take a picture of it.

The tour was over after a soft 10 minutes. We found Henry in the parking lot, leaning against the car, and looking at boring Henry-things on his phone. Probably pallet DIYs and computer part auctions.  I made him go back into the gift shop with me because I didn’t have my wallet and I wanted a post card and a magnet to add to my growing tourist trap desk-shrine at work.

It’s actually pretty nightmarish, now that I really look at it. I found out later that Henry had checked in to the Haine’s Shoe House on Facebook, like he was actually so stoked to be there. He didn’t even go inside of it! What a shoe house poser fan.

There’s even a shoe-shaped doghouse in the yard. And Chooch wants everyone to know that he was “as calm as [he] was at the stroller place.” I asked him if he learned anything at the shoe house and he said no.

After we left, Henry kept asking me questions about the Haines shoe company and my response to every question was a solid, “I don’t know.” So, I guess I didn’t learn much either. Except that I need to do a better job advertising all of my crappy wares. Maybe Henry could build me a Jeffrey Dahmer-shaped house?

***

Today after work, I asked Chooch if he told any of his friends about the shoe house.

“Nah,” he shrugged. “I told them we went to Panera, though.”

OK that was cool too because it was when we had breakfast with Christian and Terri, but the Panera was not SHAPED LIKE A SHOE.

No tags for this post.
Sep 212015
 

Saturday morning, Henry, Chooch and I woke up early and drove to Philly to hang out with our friends Terri and Christian, but more importantly, so Terri and I could go to the Armor For Sleep show later that night. I still can’t believe I convinced Henry to do this, right on the heels of Riot Fest. I think he’s just worn down at this point in our relationship.

(I probably would have just gone by myself if it came down to it, but I really like traveling with both of my fam-bots. We’re kind of like a really annoying package, like a box of kazoos.)

The day started off annoyingly with two back-to-back botched coffee orders at Sheetz (I mean, my standards for gas station coffee are low to begin with, but the teenage girl working that morning took the liberty of burying them for me). About an hour later, we stopped at a rest area on the turnpike so I could get better coffee (Starbucks — not much of an improvement) and Henry made this huge production of “finally” getting something for himself to eat, since Chooch and I ordered breakfast sandwiches at Sheetz and he chose not to (NOT OUR FAULT—he is our keeper, we are not his). He stormed off to buy himself some Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites, which is his favorite turnpike treat because his blue-collar taste buds crave the snack of coal miners and junkyard proprietors.

(I wrote my senior thesis on the dietary habits of coal miners and junkyard proprietors, so don’t even try to question me on this one.)

While Henry was in line for his roadside brunch, Chooch and I pretended to be interested in a cabinet full of Pennsylvania Turnpike curios. (It really did make me long for the days of Howard Johnsons, though.) Suddenly, Henry breezed past us, popping a piping hot pretzel bite into his idiot mouth, and tossed us a smug glance over his shoulder.

“LOOK AT THAT CONFIDENT STRIDE!” I screamed to Chooch, who immediately set off to imitate him. We were laughing so hard by the time we reached our car that Henry was threatening to lock us out. Oh god, the fodder that Henry unwittingly provides.

The rest of the drive was relatively uneventful. I just made Henry mad with my schizophrenic fan-girling and Chooch played stupid games on Henry’s phone. Nothing really happened because we were just trying to get to Philly as quickly as possible so that we would have time to spend with our friends before we became burnt out on each others’ company.

****

We got to Christian and Terri’s place around 2:00 and after hanging out and eating their candy for a bit, Christian drove us into the city, where Henry was having quiet fits in the backseat because Philly’s jaywalking epidemic is much worse than Pittsburgh’s and if there’s one thing he hates, it’s a fucking jaywalker.

One of the jaywalkers was missing an arm, so we were nice to that one. BUT STILL. Way to be entitled.

We had a late lunch at Su Xing House, an entirely vegetarian Chinese restaurant. Sometimes, it’s the little things like this that remind me there is a god up there somewhere after all. But then Chooch acted like a spoiled brat because HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT HE WANTED AND HE DIDN’T  KNOW WHAT ANYTHING WAS PLEASE SEND HELP so I was like, “Yep, and there’s a Satan, too.” Henry and I were giving him suggestions so that turned into STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO and this had all of the potential to turn really ugly, but then he ended up ordering a tofu appetizer and also a bowl of unpeeled, steamed edamame; that kept him busy. Especially when he was trying to cut the tofu and Henry was like HELP HIM and I was like I CAN’T DO IT EITHER HELP. Terri said watching Chooch devise new food-cutting tactics was entertaining but I was too busy bracing myself for disaster to be entertained.

It’s moments like these when I’m reminded that Chooch is definitely still a kid.

For Christ’s sake, this restaurant is delightful. As a vegetarian, I’m not used to walking into a restaurant and struggling to order because there is too much to choose from. So much tofu and seitan, I couldn’t decide! Henry got the General Tso’s seitan (predictable) and Terri got some amazing sesame thing. I’m not sure what Christian got but it looked fantastic too. I ended up getting Under the Sea, which was a faux, crispy fish in a sweet and sour sauce. It was DELICIOUS, but the presentation was extremely creepy because it was in the shape of a whole fish and it looked so realistic. I struggled with that for a second. Not going to post the picture here because it might trigger some sensitive gag reflexes out there.

I also got a taro tapioca and was not sad about that at all. Taro is so goddamn underrated!

Henry should make a taro pie for the pie party…

We honestly spent the whole time talking about music and I took a second to silently thank Jason Pettigrew for bringing us together in 2011. I remember parting ways with them that night after the AP show at the House of Blues in Cleveland and saying to Henry, “I really, really hope that we see them again.” And there we were, almost four years later, sitting together and eating excellent vegetarian food at Su Xing House.

I mean, ahem. It was a cool time. And I’m totally not getting all misty as I write this because that would be so unlike me. Black heart. Thick skin.

****

After we ate, it was finally time for Big Gay Ice Cream. I have been so excited about this ever since I found out Philly was getting a location! Who can resist flamboyant ice cream?! It wasn’t open yet when we were there last December, but I knew we would back soon enough to experience its gay goodness. Terri said that she actually had  been waiting for us to visit again before trying it — she is so sweet!

Christian went back to the car because he was going to try to park closer to Big Gay Ice Cream while the rest of us walked there. It wasn’t a terribly long walk and the weather was seriously perfect that afternoon. I was really happy to be walking because we were in a part of the city that I hadn’t been to yet and I love looking at things, like all of the riff raff and stores that are so much better than what we have in Pittsburgh. Downtown Pittsburgh is not very bustling. And it’s definitely not where people go just to shop. But if you’re looking for a CVS or check cashing place, you’re in luck.

“Yeah, this is the theater district,” Terri explained as we skirted around a pack of ridiculously-dressed rich older persons. One of the women, who looked like a younger Stacey from What Not To Wear, was blabbing about something and she sounded so vapid, it was almost a parody. All I could think was, “God, you sound so idiotic, yet you’re still better than me in so many ways.” The world is super unfair, guys. I just found out.

Henry walked ahead of us the whole time because he knows everything. LOOK AT THAT CONFIDENT STRIDE! Chooch and I kept mocking him, which is what we do best. It’s our specialty. Like, if we had to do a talent show, we’d probably just do that. Terri was laughing after the 6th “confident stride” mention, but then quickly stifled it and said, “I shouldn’t laugh, I’m just encouraging you guys!”

THAT IS WHAT FEEDS US, TERRI. DON’T STOP.

Did you know the Pope is coming to Philly!? I actually didn’t until Friday night when Terri texted me to see where we were staying. I told her that Henry was having a hard time finding anything close to them without spending over $200, presumably because there was a football game scheduled, and she replied, “Good thing the Pope isn’t visiting this weekend!”

I just said “Inorite?” or “haha” or something, because I thought she was just being facetious, equating a home football game to a visit from the Pope.

Nope, the Pope is really visiting Philly.

I wish I had known, because I would have worn my Pope Francis shirt!

popefrancis

(Except mine is green, yo.)

I’d actually really like to see the Pope. I saw Pope John Paul II when I was younger and it was amaze, but Francis is the best damn Pope of all time. I don’t give a fuck what your Gram says.

AND THEN BIG GAY ICE CREAM HAPPENED! Oh, it was overwhelming. The choices! The toppings! The paletas (whatever the fuck that means)! I was originally going to get the Bea Arthur because I felt like that was the obvious choice for a Big Gay Virgin, but at the last second, I freaked out and ordered the Mermaid, which is a sundae with KEY LIME CURD and pie crust crumbs. I had ordering remorse right away, but then I tried it and felt really satisfied with my decision.

The Golden Girls décor made me unbelievably happy. REMEMBER WHEN SOPHIA STOLE THE POPE’S RING!?

CHOKING!

Ultimate bae.

All those fabulous, flamboyant flavor combinations and Henry goes for his good ol’ standby: the twist. Plain, nondescript, and dependable. JUST LIKE HENRY.

I was ragging on him about this again today and Chooch shrugged and said, “He can’t help it. That’s just who he is.”

The Mermaid was like a giant key lime nipple, It was delicious. And honestly, underneath all the disco dance floor ceiling lights and fig & blood orange balsamic syrup, that plain vanilla soft serve was really fucking great. It was dense and rich and the perfect base for all of those gay fixins.

Terri got a Monday Sundae and when I saw that her cone was being lined with Nutella, I was like, “Stahhhhp!” Ugh, why didn’t I order that!? I need to go back there right this second and try everything. And then buy a magnet, since they were out of stock. :(

I love how annoyed Henry and Chooch look in this picture. “Oh wow. What a shocker. Mommy is taking pictures of us eating ice cream. Again. Like the Internet doesn’t already know what we look like when holding ice cream cones in our angry-fists by now.” At least Terri was happy!

Seriously, this picture makes me laugh so hard.

ME N’ MY GIRL.

 
Later on, Terri and I went to the Trocadero for the show, while the guys hung out and I’m sure Chooch drove them nuts. (More on the show in another post!)

 ****

Where we stay really doesn’t matter too much to us since we’re barely there when we road trip like this, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the Motel 6 we stayed at. I always thought those places were dumps, but this one had been recently renovated and was pretty mod. AND CLEAN. The place we stayed outside of Chicago was reallllly questionable. But, all I cared about was being close to Riot Fest, and that shitty Econo Lodge did the trick.

There was a lot of orange in this joint, but I got over it.

I miss Terri, Christian, and Philly already. I know Pittsburgh and Philly are supposed to be enemies or whatever, but I just love that damn city. Next time, I’d like to visit when there isn’t a show to attend so that we’ll have more time to do stuff and drive Henry and Christian nuts!

No tags for this post.
Sep 172015
 

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

[disclaimer: my blog keeps smashing words together after I hit publish; that’s not actually me trying to form post hardcore band names out of everyday sentences.]

We were duped by Riot Fest again. They said “Gates open at 11, guys!” and we fell for it. Our Lyft driver, Bobby (he asked us to tell him things about Pittsburgh and he definitely doesn’t want a Primanti’s sandwich, guys), got us there promptly at 11, only for us to stand in line for 90 MINUTES. Why you do this, Riot Fest? Why so mean? Aside from having a musical know-it-all standing behind us (talking about Gwar like he didn’t know Oderus died, though) and then being rained on for 30 minutes, it wasn’t the worst line I’ve ever stood in.

But then the lines started moving and we were one of the first 50 to be let in. It’s so strange being there that early, before any of the stages are bumpin’, none of the food vendors are ready, and people are just roaming around aimlessly in an attempt to familiarize themselves with the grounds.

This was the first year for Douglas Park to host the festival. When Riot Fest started 10+ years ago, it was actually just a bunch of shows split up around different venues of Chicago. It was only within the last 4 or so years that it became the sizable festival that it is today. Since 2012, it was held in Humboldt Park, but after last year, Humboldt Park was like, “Hell to the no,” so the organizers were forced to move it to nearby Douglas Park. Douglas is smaller than Humboldt, so the layout had the stages closer together. A lot of people were complaining about this, but I kind of liked that it was easier to run from stage to stage — last year, two of the stages were so far apart from each other, god help you if you were trying to split your time between the two of them. Henry and I practically walked the soles off our boots last year. It was a lot more hectic and the I’M GONNA BE LATE sensation that I’m so susceptible to really put a damper on my fun at times.

I’m tightly wound. And I have found that I describe myself this way so often, that it’s got to be a future tattoo.

First thing we did once we got through the gates was sign up to be bone marrow donors, which involved having the inside of our cheeks swabbed, so that was an unusual way to start things off, but you know me, such philanthropy.

“Does it hurt, donating bone marrow?” I asked Henry after we walked away with our BONE MARROW DONOR cards.

Henry just smirked at me. “Uh, yeah.”

Fuck.

In an effort to dial back the amount of information I’m tempted to cram down the Internet’s throat, I am going to now make a list of the bands that we saw on Day One, even if it was just a partial set, and then briefly (LOL, what’s that word mean?) talk about the highlights. EVERYSINGLETHING! It was all a highlight! OK, but really. I’m going to try to do this. Henry’s comments/thoughts/reviews are indented.

Bands We Saw On Friday

  • Coathangers –  I really am not a fan of girl bands. Luckily, we were just strolling past while they were christening the main stage.
  • Into It. Over It. – I’ve wanted to see them for quiet some time so I was excited that this would be the first band of the day for us. Henry was not impressed. My favorite part was when Evan stopped playing a few notes into a song and said, “No. Fuck that. You people paid a lot of money to be here and I’m not playing this song out of fucking tune” before starting over. Respect.
    • I don’t remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

  • Real Friends – I missed them at Warped Tour in July, but was like, “It’s fine, they’ll be at Riot Fest, so…” but then their set overlapped with Mariachi El Bronx, so I only got to stick around for two songs before running to the Roots stage for a Mexican dance party.
    • We’re not real friends. At all.
  • Mariachi El Bronx!! – God, I love this band! It’s literally the mariachi side project of the Bronx, a band that I used to really love but admittedly haven’t listened to in a while. I saw Mariachi El Bronx once at Warped Tour years ago and they stole my gringo heart. Even Henry smiled a little bit. Go listen to them if you’re having a bad day or so hungry that you’re not sure what you want to eat. 
    • Nope.


Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

  • Bayside – I don’t care how many times I have seen them, I can never miss an opportunity to hear my heart breaker jam “Don’t Call Me Peanut.” Chooch used to love that song when he was younger and would sing it quietly from the backseat, so I got all sad-eyed and missed him a ton during their set. I was a late-comer to the Bayside scene and never really bothered with them until 2009 when I saw Anthony Ranieri on the Where’s the Band? tour, which also featured Chris Conley, Matt Pryor, and Dustin Kensrue. What a fucking lineup of heart-eye emojis before heart-eye emojis existed. That’s one show I would love to relive. Anyway, Anthony ended up winning my idiot heart that day and I have been a Bayside fan ever since, but I still feel likean00b every time I’m in that crowd.  Anyway, go listen to Bayside. It’s like being hugged by someone you don’t mind touching.
    • It’s a band.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with n1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 preset

  • Every Time I Die: I always, always, always miss this damn band every time they play Warped. But not on this day,motherfuckers. We got a good spot near the side and Henry was like, “Who are these guys again?” and seemed pretty relaxed during the intro where they played the theme to Perfect Strangers, like it wasgoingto be a bunchofBalkiBartokomouses andCousinLarrys playing chill 1980s sitcom scores on mandolins. But then Keith Buckley and crew came storming out andHenrysighed. I really liked what I heard/saw butmyactual highlight of their set has nothing to do with the music — we were standing right next to the press gate so after a few songs, a throng of photographers came filing out. I happened to glance at one of them and realized that she looked super familiar. “I think that’s Ashley Olson!” I shouted into Henry’s face. “WHO?!” he asked. I just rolled my eyes because he is so old and dumb and this just proves that he clearly never listens to me when I talk about my interests. Anyway, Ashley is one of the best up-and-coming music photographers I have seen lately. I started noticing her last year when she was on tour with Chiodos, because Craig Owens would always regram her photos and they were stunning. And I never use the word “stunning.”I’ve been following her on Instagram ever since, and her Warped Tour photos this summer just blew my mind. Plus, she has good taste in bands, so. She ended up walking away and I regretted notsayinghi to her. (I even double-checked on Instagram to make sure it was her, and her most recent post was from Riot Fest, so I figured that was a pretty good sign, haha.) Halfway through ETID’s set, she came back! She was standing in front of me for a minute, getting in some more shots, and then she retreated. The guy she was with was still standing in front of me, talking to someone, so she was just hanging back, waiting for him. I really dislike approaching people because I get so awkward and creepy, but I said to Henry, “Ok, I’m going in…” and dove right the fuck into Small Talk Ocean. And it went, well, swimmingly! (God, my writing skills just slay.) I thought it was going to be a “hi/bye” type of transaction, but we ended up having a nice, meaningful chat for several minutes, during which she hugged me TWICE, and said that she had noticed me earlier because I was wearing my (ugh, Chooch’s) Emarosa “For Fox Sake” shirt. So we chatted about how wonderful those guys are and I said, “My 9-year-old son met Bradley this summer at Warped—” Ashley cut me off to say, “You do NOT have a 9-year-old son.” I laughed and said, “I do! I’m 36!” and she was genuinely surprised and kept saying, “NO YOU’RE NOT!” I enjoyed the moment because I know my extended youth is fleeting and these days are slipping through my fingers. I’m reminded of this every time I look in the mirror and see more gray hairs and deeper bags under my eyes. Ashley gave me a sticker and we tookaselfie. “That’s really cute!” she said when I showed her, and asked me to tag her in it so she could save it. I think I’m getting better at talking to strangers! I’ll be kidnapped any day now. 
    • It all runs together after awhile.

Henry was like, “You and all your weird Instagram crushes” when I excitedly showed him the picture. I was happy that he didn’t come with me when I was talking to her because who brings their dad to Riot Fest, you know?

  • Coheed & Cambria: Heard part of their set while roaming around. I used to really like them when they first came onto the scene but then I stopped for no real reason. Their drummer is a douchebag on Twitter, that much I know; tweeting shitty things to Jonny Craig’s ex-fiancee and it’s like, “Why do you care? Don’t you have some lame hip hop rhymes to lay down?”

  • THRICE: You know how your elderly Uncle Milton is always telling the same stale-ass war story every time you sit down at the kids table to eat fucking figgy pudding, supposing you live inside a Christmas carol? Well, just call me Uncle Milt because DID YOU KNOW THAT MY KID IS NAMED AFTER THE DRUMMER IN THRICE? Well he is. It’s true. (His real name is Riley,btw.) And I am contractually obligated to mention that every single time I write on my blog about Thrice, or text someone about Thrice, or hear the song Three Times a Lady by Lionel Richie. CHOOCH WILL LOSE HIS NAME IF I DON’T. And then that fucker Bastion from Never-ending Story will have to give him a new one and it’ll be something stupid. Like Chooch.Ok Ok Ok, let’s reel it back in here for a second. Thrice is one of my all-time favorite bands and I won’t get too whiny about it because there are definitely more than one lengthy post in the archives about my love for them, so I will give you the truncated version: The last time I saw them was in 2009 and then they went on hiatus and everyone was like WILL THRICE EVER COME BACK!? They played a show (one show) a few months ago and I knew, I just fucking knew, that they were going to be announced for this year’s Riot Fest and I was fucking right because I spend way too much time analyzing this shit. There were three bands that were announced last May for Riot Fest that made me fall to my knees and beg Henry, and Thrice was one. I was fucking giddy all day, but then right before their set, my stomach got all knotted and my eyes got all moist and sting-y, and I knew I was in for it. Yep, I cried for most of their set—which was SO FUCKING GOOD and it alone was worth the drive to Chicago. Crowd was great and really into it and it felt sogoodto be there in the middle of it all. My connection with Thrice is on another level. Like some spiritual shit. This Riot Fest moment was brought to you by some strong 2003 feels.
    • They’re ok.

 

IMG_7657-0

Those clouds, tho. Thrice was literally bringing Heaven down to earth. OH YEAH, I WENT THERE.

  • Faith No More: Friends. This is the top reason I had to go to Riot Fest. Faith No More is one of the few bands that I never grew out; they’ve stuck with me through every musical phase I’ve gone through, from gangsta rap to synthpop. I was in middle school when I first heard Midlife Crisis (back when it was cool to discover new music on MTV!) and it was the first “heavy” band that appealed to me and I was like OMG someone take me to the mall right this instant so I can buy thatfuckingcassingle (which I still have!). I can’t say that they were a gateway band for me though, because they were literally the only metal-type band that I liked until junior year when I became a closet Marilyn Manson aficionado. Naturally,FNM would go on  to break-up before I ever had the chance to see them, so that sucked. (I did get to see Mike Patton’s sideprojectFantomas though, in 2000…or 2001?) As 7:45 approached, I started to freak the fuck out—I was so giddy and excited and probably super annoying forHenryto be around. (I mean,moreso.)FNM was headlining the second main stage, so there was a huge crowd there. We got a decent spot on the right side, andIwas relieved that there weren’t anydrunkdouchebags around us. Everyone was cool and excited, if not a little disappointed that they were only given an hour to play. But for someone who had never seen them before that night, an hour felt like a fucking gift. I thought it was fantastic — they sounded great, they played most everything I wanted to hear (unpopular opinion, but I REALLY like “Stripsearch” and would have maybe fainted if they played it), obviously MIDLIFE CRISIS. Just hearing Mike Patton’s otherworldly voice traveling across that park gave me chills. I have chills again just writing about it. Also, it wasreallychilly. This was definitely one of the Top 3 moments of the weekend for me, and I just kept murmuring, “That was so fucking amazing.” I need to invent some new adjectives to use when talking about music because “amazing” just doesn’t cut it anymore. The only downside was when Mike Patton told everyone to snap their fingers. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO SNAP MY FINGERS,MIKEPATTON!
    • They were good.

Setlist, according to the Internet (it looks right to me):

  1. Motherfucker
  2. Be Aggressive
  3. Caffeine
  4. Evidence
  5. Epic
  6. Black Friday
  7. Midlife Crisis
  8. Gentle Art of Making Enemies
  9. Easy
  10. Separation Anxiety
  11. Ashes to Ashes
  12. Superhero
  13. Introduce Yourself

I still can’t believe No Doubt got to play longer than Faith No More. I mean, I can, because Americans have a knack for making mediocre bands rise above the good ones. But, THAT’S A POST FOR ANOTHER DAY, SMILY FACE.

  • Ice Cube: Immediately after FNM ended, the main stage to the left came to life and I couldn’t get out of that area fast enough because — No Doubt. Words cannot express how much I dislike that band and Gwen Stefani. And maybe I’m biased, but holy shit they sounded atrocious. Not just her cat-in-heat voice, but the whole band. I know, I’m full of the unpopular opinions tonight. That band just gets under my skin for some reason that I can’t explain; it’s not even like I associate them with bad memories or anything. They just have never sounded pleasant to my particular ears. I remember in high school when No Doubt was playing at Starlake and pretty much every fucking female I knew went to that show, regardless of how much they liked them, if at all. I was like “Lol, nope,” stayed home and listened to Spanish gangsta rap, probably. Anyway, back to 2015: Henry and I finally made it across the park to the Roots stage, where Ice Cube was about to headline. I had no fucking qualms with Bye Felicia’ing No Doubt in favor of Ice Cube. I was never even really a big Ice Cube fan, but my inner Yo Girl was definitely curious to see his set, which to be honest was mostly one long commercial for Straight Outta Compton, but it was high-energy, he sounded great, and the crowd was fucking going nuts. There were people climbing trees, trying to get a better view. His special guests were his son, MC Ren, and Yella. Some people were speculating that it was going to be Dr. Dre, and if I had been one of those people, I would have stayed for the whole set to find out. But I was pretty confident that Dre wasn’t going to show up to perform for an hour on a stage that wasn’t even the main one. So we left after I got to hear Check Yo Self, which I have to admit, was pretty fucking cool.

Douglas Park didn’t have any lights so if you weren’t close to a stage, good luck. There was lots of stumbling and stepping in invisible mud pits on the way to the exit, and then a long walk into the sketchier area of the neighborhood, looking for the designated Lyft pick-up area, which is one of the reasons I could never go to Riot Fest alone: there are too many things you have to know about! Too many logistics! Thank god Henry looks into all of this or I’d probably be sleeping on a bench in Douglas Park right now instead of blogging in my dining room.

So, impromptu props to Papa H for getting me there and back all three days with absolutely no incident.

***

We got back to our shitty hotel after a pleasant ride with a Lyft driver (“You were really talkative with tonight’s Lyft driver; you must be hammered,” Henry observed, to which I clarified that I was not hammered from the ONE Strongbow I drank eight hours earlier, but that it was because I thought the driver was cute, duh) and I collapsed onto the bed and cried, “TONIGHT WAS FUCKING AWESOME.”

Then we fell asleep to Jaws, which was also on when we left earlier that morning, too.

GOD, EVERYTHING WAS SO PERFECT THAT DAY.

No tags for this post.
Sep 012015
 

Last winter, after we decided where this summer’s vacation was going to take us—-and Henry started bleeding money from all blue-collared orifices—-I excitedly consulted Roadside America to find all the ways to drag our trek back to Pittsburgh into a poorly-written modern remake of Homer’s Odyssey, only with less blood weddings, spiritual growth, and Latin declensions.

One of the “attractions” I read about was this mysterious-sounding African village in Sheldon, SC called Kingdom of Oyotunji. I sent Henry the link and received no response. Shocker. During the beginning half of our trip, I kept bringing it up, and Henry just kept saying things like, “We’re not going that way” and “It recently burned to the ground” and “Katy Perry is performing there all week.”

But I would not be deterred.

It turns out, when we left Savannah that Friday in July, the village was on our exact route to Charlotte, NC. Henry either must have had his guard down or was just that fatigued from fielding my lofty requests all week, because he actually turned off the highway when we arrived at the Sheldon exit! I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

“Is this place is even open?” he sighed. “It better fucking be open.” But I could tell that what he really meant was, “I hope it’s not open because I don’t want to go but I am still going to be mad if it’s not open because either way this is a waste of time and I hate you.” Over the years, we have learned to communicate through a series of huffy sighs, glares, and fists slamming against steering wheels.

Actually, their website said that they were open until 7:00 (it wasn’t quite 6 yet so we had time in our favor, at least), but they recommend that you email them if you want to stop by for a tour. I mean, I did that, but we were already about 20 minutes away so we were going to stop by regardless. Also, it seemed weird to me that this mysterious US-seceded African village in the Gulleh Geeche South Carolina low-country (I got that from their website because I’m a journalist now) even has the Internet and didn’t require me to send notice via carrier pigeon.

Just kidding. I’m not that culturally ignorant. But on that note, the Oyotunji community is something that I definitely know nothing about and I was genuinely interested in learning about how they live. (And also genuinely interested in making Henry feel uncomfortable, because he HATES taking tours of places.)
IMG_7416

Chooch was sleeping when we made it to the entrance of the kingdom, which required us to turn off the highway and continue on down a dirt road buffeted by forest. The whole time, Henry was murmuring, “I hate you. I fucking hate you. Fuck my life” through gritted teeth, while I cracked up next to him so hard that I was wheezing.

“It’s not fucking funny!” he said. BUT IT IS, HERNY.

20063810658_22a95d87bc_k

At the end of the path, we could see the gate to the compound, and Henry started to rejoice because it was closed.

“Yeah but keep going, maybe there’s a doorbell,” I urged, because we had come so far!

IMG_7418-0

Most of my pictures are blurry and out of focus because I guess I was just that excited about being there.

IMG_7419-0

Henry kept trying to tell me in a dozen different ways that this joint was closed, but too bad I noticed the “Blow Your Horn” sign next to the gate before he had a chance to gouge my eyes out with his strong and masculine Service thumbs.

“Blow the horn,” I demanded.

“No, I’m not blowing the fucking horn,” Henry hissed in response.

But if you ask Henry to do something enough times while consistently raising your voice until it’s a crackling screech, he eventually gives up and does the thing! So he reluctantly pressed down on the car horn and then we waited.

“No one’s coming,” he sighed, ready to throw the car into drive.

“Just wait!” I begged, holding my gaze hard against the big red doors.

20246544942_9f58305128_k

After about 30 seconds of nail-biting suspense, a man dressed in a white robe stepped out from behind a fence along the left-hand perimeter of the property.

“Oh great, Erin. Just great,” Henry huffed, lowering the window so the man could talk to us.

“Are you guys looking to do the tour?” he asked after we exchanged proper Southern salutations. (You know. “Hello”s were said.) Leaning across Henry, I emphatically nodded my head. You bet your white-robed ass I want a tour. I want to know all about the Oyotunji tribe! I was just getting ready to barrel-roll myself out of the car when he went on to explain that unfortunately, they’ve been mourning the death of their leader, in Africa, for the last three days and had closed the community off to the public for that.

“We open back up tomorrow though, if you’ll be in the area?”

Henry nodded and said something along the lines of, “Yeah, we might be.”

“I was actually just on my way out to take a shower when I heard you beep,” the man said, explaining that he’s not usually the one who gives the tours.

He then gave us a brief run-down of the community, told us how he’s originally from Florida but had shed his American citizenship 20+ years ago in favor of living a simple life in the woods of South Carolina. They’re a community of around 40 people, self-sustained, they home school their children, and basically live a life where no one has to give a shit about the things that Americans give a shit about that don’t even matter, like Donald Trump, the idiot Superbowl, and Miley Cyrus’s pasties.

I can only imagine how better behaved their kids are than Chooch.

This whole time, I was trying to maintain strong eye contact with him while chewing on the insides of my cheeks to keep from laughing outright. Look, please understand that I don’t think anything about their community is funny, and I certainly don’t find humor in the fact that they were all in mourning, but it was the situation itself: the detour into the woods of Beaufort County, Henry’s reluctance, the Jonestown Massacre vibe of it all….it was all of these things, like sitting in church during the homily and feeling that itch to laugh out loud for no good reason, that had me writhing in giddy discomfort.

20275399551_6d0b0296e5_k

Some other tourist-sucker pulled in behind us about 10 minutes into our on-the-fly history lesson from our new robed friend. He quickly wrapped it up and then excused himself to go talk to the other visitor.

“Are we really going to come back tomorrow?!” I screamed as we slowly drove back out to the highway.

“Wha—-? No!” he said, his big bushy brows all furrowed.

“But when that guy asked if we were going to be in the area—”

“Yeah well, I didn’t mean it.” And he used his End of Story tone, so I sulked for awhile.

Oyotunji, I’ll be back for you someday.

But then we pulled over at the Carolina Cider Company! We had been on a mission to procure boiled peanuts the whole time we were in the south and finally, it was our time. On our last day, no less.

IMG_7424-0

Chooch was still sleeping, how he managed to sleep through all of the Oyotunji excitement, I’ll never know. At first, Henry was like, “Just crack the window, he’ll be fine.” But then I was overcome with paranoia and something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on….the overwhelming need to PARENT, maybe? Nah. I think I have it confused with the desire to not have Child Protective Services called on my ass.

What would the Oyotunji do, I thought hard to myself.  Aside from probably not giving a shit about boiled peanuts, I mean.

I went out to the car to wake up Chooch and proceeded to set off the car alarm. The proprietor of the cider establishment and the only two patrons there at that time stopped what they were doing in order to gawk at me from the open doors of the store.

“What are you doing!?” Henry yelled, marching over with the car keys to stop the alarm. SO SORRY THAT I WAS TRYING TO SAVE MY KID FROM ASPHYXIATION.

IMG_7422-0

So then I was able to save Chooch and he groggily followed me into the store while I excitedly told him about what he had missed, but I don’t think he believed me.

IMG_7423-0

Henry bought us stuff and boiled peanuts are weird as fuck, yet I couldn’t stop eating them.

Eventually, we made it to a shady Red Roof Inn, I mean shadier than the typical Red Roof Inn, in Charlotte. We had to pass Carowinds on the way, with its coasters all sexy and lit up against the night sky. I begged Henry to take us there but he was like, “IT’S NEARLY 10’O CLOCK AT NIGHT!” God, he always has an excuse.

Luckily, the Red Roof was only shady on the outside (i.e. the parking lot and the entire right section of the motel where I’m pretty sure people were living and since it was a Friday night, shit was popping off) and the inside was clean and recently remodeled. I realized that HENRY hadn’t fed us dinner, so he went to a vending machine and came back with snacks and a Snickers. THANKS, PA.

We live large on vacation.

***

Anyway, aside from some additional pictures from our travel day back to Pittsburgh, that pretty  much wraps up our whirlwind Southern road trip, which took me an entire month to recap. But holy shit, we did so much! I love these trips so much, and I know that they don’t really seem like “vacations” because we’re so go-go-go, but I couldn’t imagine sitting in one place for 7 days and “relaxing.” I honestly don’t know how to relax. I look forward to these trips so much because we get to see cool things, meet really awesome people, and make some pretty hilarious memories.

We hadn’t even crossed the Pennsylvania state line yet and I was already asking Henry where we’re going to go next. He just glared at me.

No tags for this post.
Aug 272015
 

Our final day in Savannah was the best one. Octavia graciously invited us over for quite honestly the best meal we had on the entire trip – fruit salad, sweet potato hash with sausage (and a version with faux-sausage for me!), cheesy grits, eggs, and fried green tomatoes. And coffee in pretty cups!

All prepared by her husband, Dustin.

I’m drowning on my own drool (and not someone else’s, for once, you know, when I’m out whoring around) over here just thinking about it. I am always so terrible at hospitality issues. For example, if you were visiting Pittsburgh and came to my house for breakfast, I would hand you a Poptart, or guide you down the street to Eat n Park.

And that’s on a good day!

Octavia and Dustin’s kid, Tallulah, immediately glommed on to Chooch. I absolutely love when this happens. PAYBACK, CHOOCH.

Although, he only just pretends to be distressed by this. Deep down, he loves the attention. (But you guys, would you look at how freaking adorable she is? THOSE CURLS, THO.) They got along really well, if you don’t count the time Chooch was pushing her outside in a swing and accidentally slammed her into a tree, ugh.

Octavia’s house is stimulating in all of the best ways. They have two cats and a dog, and an entire room of instruments. It’s a musician’s wonderland and they told Chooch to have at it. He was like, “Seriously? You want me to make noise? YOU’RE TELLING ME I CAN MAKE NOISE?!” They very nearly acquired themselves a son that day.

OCTAVIA EVEN PLAYS THE ACCORDION. These people are swimming in talent and I kept hoping some of it would waft over my way.

And then she showed me some of her mixed media pieces and I was just like, “OK, when can we be sister wives already or nah?!”

As much as I was enjoying talking about art and music and our dislike for other mothers, it was getting later in the afternoon and we needed to hit the road. The plan was to spend the night in Charlotte, NC and continue on our way home the next day. Chooch gave Tallulah one of the birthday balloons that Octavia used to decorate our hotel room, and when that one was whisked away into the tree tops, he gave her another. Sometimes Chooch is not a dick!

IMG_7433

****

As stoked as I was to gallivant around Savannah, this is what I was really hoping to do in Georgia. Casually talking all morning and into the afternoon was what exactly what I wanted and was honestly the zenith of the trip for me. I have a tricky temperament and there are a LOT of incompatible personalities out there for me. And I’m not saying that it’s not me, it’s everyone else — I am voluntarily admitting that I can be tough to get along with. (Just ask Janna. It takes a saint!) I start out fairly introverted and observant, until my comfort and trust levels go up. (Which doesn’t always happen.) But I knew within minutes of meeting Octavia that it was going to work, that conversation was going to be easy and two-sided, and that I was going to learn a lot from her.

Also?! SHE WAS BORN IN ROMANIA. We were bound to become friends at some point in our lives and I left her house that day feeling really good about things, and also determined to have some of my ribs removed so I can fold myself in half to better fit inside her luggage the next time she visits Romania.

Kismet! I’m so grateful that we met, and apparently, I can thank Barbara and her fucking denim jacket for that.

****

Just a few days ago, Octavia texted me a picture of the purple balloon, still branch-snagged. “Miss you,” she texted. I MISS HER, TOO. :(

No tags for this post.
Aug 262015
 

IMG_9496

Before we left Savannah the day after my birthday, we swung by Wormsloe Historic Site because god forbid I visit Savannah without snagging a picture of this iconic sight. We tried to go the day before with Octavia but it was closed and Henry’s suggestion of, “Just take the picture through the gate” wasn’t a winner.

Apparently, you have to pay to enter the park, but the part of the road I wanted a picture of is like RIGHT THERE. So we parked at the entrance and Henry hissed, “Take the damn picture!” I had to step around a sign that said a bunch of words about visiting the information center to pay before taking a picture.

Ugh, I hate breaking the law. Henry made me do it!

I took one picture and then fled back to the car. Chooch couldn’t believe that I actually took a picture without him in it.

“Yeah but it’s Wormsloe. I didn’t want you to ruin the picture,” I said, casually shrugging him off.

Shortly after this, we began our drive home. While stopped in Orangeburg, NC,  I made Henry pull over so I could take pictures of Chooch next to a corn field. Because these are things that I want to do while on vacation.

IMG_9504

Chooch of the Corn.

This was actually when we were driving in circles, looking for a post office and Henry wanted to kill me and dump my fat body in that corn field over there. Imagine the creepy corn mutations my rotting corpse could potentially create!

Octavia talked about corn mutations when we were hanging out with her.

I will always think of her when corn mutations come up in conversation. :(

SHE TAUGHT US SO MUCH!

IMG_9506

I’m almost finished writing about the trip, which I’m happy about, but it’s making me miss it even more! It was a good one, that’s for sure. Just not long enough.

No tags for this post.
Aug 242015
 

IMG_9483

See also: I need to give my fingers a break from typing so here’s a photo dump, Blog.

Words cannot describe how beautiful Savannah is. I’ve wanted to visit so badly, that I was kind of starstruck to the point of not taking as many photos as I should have. (Yay, just what you guys need—more fucking photos!)

IMG_9469
IMG_9468IMG_9486

Octavia wanted to take us in this church but some asshole had to go and die and have their idiot funeral that day. Way to ruin my birthday, dead person.

Henry was happy that this plan was foiled by the reaper, because he dislikes being in god’s house.

IMG_9470

I was stupid-scared of these steps, but Octavia said this warning was mostly there for drunk people and hobos, both of which I walk like on a good day, so that didn’t help. NICE TRY, OCTAVIA.

IMG_9471

IMG_9472

IMG_9473

Henry was considering walking straight off into the river and drowning himself. Chooch was starting to that thing that kids sometimes do called TESTING THEIR PARENTS’ PATIENCE.

IMG_9475

IMG_9481

We spent about 15 minutes scrutinizing Forrest Gump movie stills on Octavia’s phone until we settled on this being the site of Chippewa Square where Forrest’s bench was. There were people on Segways congregating there before us, so maybe?

IMG_9477

IMG_9480

We saw an antique shop and Chooch wanted to go in but all I could think about was how I really didn’t want a replay of the Chooch in a China Shop episode of our weekend in Philly last winter.

IMG_9484

Yeah! Me too! Bandwagoner!

IMG_9487

Lastly, here is Chooch with the succulent/weed he plucked out of the sidewalk for me.

We started to walk back to the parking garage around 4:30, because it was HOT and we were all pretty exhausted. Thank god we left when we did because by the time we got back to Bonaventure for Octavia to retrieve her car, THEY WERE BASICALLY CLOSED. There were some workers by the gate and they tried to stop us from driving in but Henry was like, “We’re just taking her back to her car!” and then all exchanged blue collar, uniform-wearing hyuks and we were allowed to pass by. Henry is so weird when it comes to interacting with those kinds of people.

After saying our temporary goodbyes, we headed back to the “hotel” so we could rest for a little bit before attempting to find somewhere to eat dinner.

“What’s Octavia’s real name?” Chooch said from the backseat.

Uhhh….Octavia?” I answered in my favorite condescending teenager tone.

This seemed to please him. He’s basically obsessed with her now.

No tags for this post.