Jul 302019
 

Monday was an action-packed day. Most of it was spent at Lotte World, which is the world’s largest indoor amusement park (a portion is also outdoors) and known as Korea’s Disneyland. It was so much fun and very exhausting!

But that’s not why I’m posting.

We ventured back out around 8:30 and things got super giddy right from the start when the elevator doors opened and people were already inside – Chooch started to have a laughing fit and was hiding in the corner while Henry glowered. He HATES our giddiness. By the time the elevator left us off in the lobby, I was laughing too and Henry stormed off. We caught up to him but he purposely slowed down so he was behind us because he didn’t want to be seen with us or something, who knows.

Henry being pissed going down into the Hongdae subway station.

Chooch is going to make a great travel partner for someone someday because he masters public transportation in a scary-quick way. I’m all stumbling around, getting turned around, tripping on nothing but solid ground, and he knows exactly which line and exit to use every time.

(To Be Fair, Ive been operating with ONE EYE on this trip although last night I said eff it and put both contacts in so Henry said that when my right eye falls out, don’t go one-eye-crying to him.)

It was so good to see the DDP again! I love this place so much, especially at night! It’s like being on a spaceship.

Seeing this gate was so significant because we walked to it on our first night in Korea last year, when we were fresh from the plane and super delirious. It’s crazy now to be back and have things look and feel familiar to us.

Chooch and Henry were hungry so we walked through nearby Gwangjang Market, which is the one they always feature on street food shows so if you’ve ever watched anything about South Korea, you have probably seen this. Chooch got bindaedduk which is a mung bean pancake, to take back to the room and then we were urgently summoned over to another stall by this adorable grandma who, in a series of hand motions, basically told us, “I’m going to put this food on a tray and you’re going to eat it, give me 10,000₩.”

Henry and I had makgeolli with our snacks and I barely drank any but REALLY FELT IT so the next portion of the night was awesome as Chooch (naturally drunk) and I (also naturally drunk but now actually drunk too) were totally slaphappy, especially because we were plied with sugary hotteok before leaving the market, but also because we decided to walk to the area we stayed at last time, in Jongno. Oh for god’s sake, being there again made us fucking die with laughter, just straight up choke on giggles, and Henry was whatever emotion comes on the Rage Totem Pole three pegs after “agitated hemorrhoids” but one before “caught the wife cheating.”

He stormed off ahead of us and muttered something about us being embarrassments and the disappeared into the subway station, completely ignoring Chooch’s cries of “Please reenact the subway scene!” referring to last year when he lost us and we have a video of him popping into the frame of that same subway station, with his arms out and making the “WHAT THE HELL” motion with his dumb head.

There is something about Henry’s general presence that KILLS Chooch and me. Like, we oscillate between being totally disgusted by him (“I hate him so much” is like our whispered catchphrase) to being absolutely entertained by everything he does but not in a way that’s flattering to him. Chooch mocks him so perfectly (he does this weird Paul Eugene-esque grunt to symbolize Henry’s voice) and I lose it every time and have to do the trying-not-to-pee squat.

Then when we got back to the hotel, THE SAME PPL FROM THE ELEVATOR were coming back at the same time and I had to make Chooch wait outside with me because I knew I would piss my pants if I got back on the elevator with those people.

If Chooch and I had forgotten which room was ours, we could have just followed the trail of steam that Henry left behind from his ears and nose; his patience was straight BLISTERING when we found him.

I dunno what it is about being in Korea but it’s like Chooch and I are mainlining laughing gas which is a HUGE problem for Henry but a blessing for the rest of us!

Bonus picture from yesterday morning, waiting for the elevator, a/k/a our Chuckle Chamber.

Anyway, we just got back to the room after a fun time day on the Chungyecheon Stream and Insadong, and now we’re resting for an hour before heading out to Digital Media City for a live taping of SBS MTV’s The Show!

Jul 282019
 

We took a train to Jeonju yesterday for a fun little day trip. We saw and did a lot but the purpose of this quick post is just to tell you about the Jeondong Catholic Cathedral, which was built to honor the Catholic martyrs of the Joseon Era. You don’t see many Catholic churches here so it was pretty interesting and very clearly a popular tourist spot.

We sat inside for a bit and listened to the choir practice and look I’m not just saying this because I’m Korea-biased but they sounded better than any dumb American choir I’ve ever listened to. The one girl had a voice that moved me to tears and Chooch was like “oh god.”

But god didn’t answer so I guess he wasn’t home.

There was a souvenir shop and you KNOW I needed to get some religious relics for my bathroom collection. I bought some crucifix decal thing and also Chooch and I got religious friendship bracelets! They had pretty much any saint you could think of and I almost got Rita since I was obsessed with her briefly but honestly Saint Francis is my all time homeboy so I scooped him up.

Chooch was obsessed with one that was called “Pie Jesus” so he chose that one. We googled it and the only thing they came up was some Sarah Brightman (“whoever that is,” Chooch scoffed, lol) song so it turns out it’s just regular old Jesus I guess.

Anyway, I like them because it has the names in Hangul and also because Henry doesn’t have one.

Today we’re going to Lotte World so look forward to that post in the future I guess lol.

Bonus picture of Chooch and me in Jeonju:

We were ridiculously giddy that day. (Not Henry though.)

Jul 272019
 

Daily hotel elevator selfie, pre-abandonment.

On Friday, we took a day trip to Incheon, which is a city about an hour outside of Seoul (also where the international airport is). In order to get there, we had to make several transfers on the subway. The last transfer was already quite a bit outside of Seoul and unfamiliar to us.

Now you should know that we weren’t under any time constraints. We didn’t have any sort of appointment we needed to make.

Yet! Somehow! For whatever reason! when we made it to the platform of the last train we needed to get us to Incheon, the doors were about to shut but Henry decided it was absolutely necessary for him to ballet-bound through the doors, causing Chooch to have the knee jerk reaction to leap after him just as the doors were closing.

They turned around just in time to slowly wave goodbye to me as the train pulled away, leaving me on the platform. Me, who didn’t have “get vivisected by shutting train doors” on the itinerary for the day. Me, who didn’t understand what the hurry was.

“Get off at the next station,” Henry texted me and I was like “NO SHIT YOU ASSHOLE” and then proceeded to wait the whole whopping two minutes for the next train to arrive before calmly and orderly boarding like a normal person and not Henry the Lumbering American Oaf.

I wasn’t even angry because I’m capable of getting on a freaking train on my own; HOWEVER when I arrived at the next station, they were nowhere to be found?!?!

This is when the texting frenzy started. First I thought asshole Chooch had turned on me and managed to talk Henry into hiding from me with him like we would typically do to Henry but after a quick walk around through the station I realized this was not the case.

“We’re here, where are you?” Henry responded to my rapid-fire succession of angry WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?s.

Well, they were not there, let me tell you.

So I walked back down to the track thinking that maybe I just didn’t see them. Because let me tell you about something that I have been dealing with since the day we got here: EYEBALL MALADIES.

My right eye has been beyond agitated since the plane ride because SOMEONE forgot to pack saline solution on the carryons so I couldn’t take my contacts out which is a HUGE TRAVEL FOUL, I know this. So I believe I have a corneal abrasion now in my right eye and haven’t been wearing a contact on that side.

Well, by Friday, I decided to be a big girl and just, omg, wear my eyeglasses.

Ok so look, I haven’t had a pair of eyeglasses in YEARS but I specifically got a pair last winter in preparation for, LOL, the plane ride. Have I worn them at all in the interim? FUCK no. In fact, they didn’t even fit on my face without flopping all over and thank god I had the foresight (ugh, “sight”) to walk down to the eyeglass place on Brookline Boulevard the Saturday before we left for Korea in order to get them properly fitted.

So not only am I abandoned in a foreign country’s train station, but I’m also visually impaired because I CANNOT HARDLY WALK STRAIGHT while eyeglassed and waited until I was across the world to try out the damn things for the first time. What is: A Thing That Makes Sense In Erin’s World.

Since I wasn’t used to wearing glasses, I felt off-balance every time I looked around, plus my right eye was screaming and wanted nothing more but to be closed. So when Henry kept texting me “WHAT STATION ARE YOU AT” I wanted to fling myself onto the tracks.

You can tell I was really fuming because that’s when my Hulk Thumbs make typos and don’t bother to change them.

I felt like Brenda in Adventures in Babysitting when some homeless person steals her glasses while she’s sleeping in the bus station and replaces them with a pair that don’t work and Brenda is left stumbling around, abandoned and blurred, except that I didn’t mistake a rat for a cat and Henry and Chooch didn’t meet Thor or sing in a blues club on their way to collect me.

Some dear old man train attendant came over to me, probably noticing that I was on the verge of tears, and asked me where I was trying to go. All I could do was wail “IM LOSSSSSSTTTTTT. My family LEFT MEEEEEEE” and he was able to at least tell me what station I was in because I couldn’t see the signs through my water-filled eyes.

Not my picture, but these are the steps I clumsily walked up and down in my frantic search for my hateful family. I cannot walk on steps while wearing glasses without white-knuckling the railing and my knees knocking like a baby deer’s.

Anyway, eventually I saw them ON A DIFFERENT SET OF TRACKS so we were reunited but it didn’t feel so good because I seriously wanted to eviscerate Henry for doing that to me and he was all “OH HA HA HA YOU WERE FINE” but can you imagine if the tables had turned and Chooch and I had done that to HIM? HOOOOOO LAWDY he’d have verbally-spanked us right there in whatever small Korean town we were in.

So it turns out that the train I got on after Henry’s was the correct one, and if he hadn’t been role-playing in his head that he was the popo chasing a perp onto a departing train, he’d have maybe noticed that his train wasn’t going to Incheon and actually SWITCHED TRACKS which put him and Chooch on the other side of the station, so it was no wonder we both thought we were at “the next station” but couldn’t find each other.

It was really frustrating and I mean at the end of the day, if I’m going to be lost, let it be in South Korea BUT STILL.

Oh, we can laugh about it now. But at the time it was the worst thing in the world and I felt like a discarded puppy.

Anyway, we eventually made it and I will of course have a full Incheon post at some point when I get home but here is a picture from Fairytale Village next to Chinatown and now you know why I was wearing glasses ugh for days.

The rest of the day ended up being wonderful in spite of Henry’s jackassery.

(This Post was written on a three-hour train ride to Jeonju while eating chestnuts and admiring the guy in front of me for his nonchalant public corn-on-the-cob eating skills.)

Jul 252019
 

One of the things we did on our first full day yesterday was have lunch at Tongin Market. Here, you have the option of putting together a lunch box-style meal using a roll of traditional coins. Most of the vendors in the market participate in this activity–their stalls are clearly marked–and most items cost 2 coins so one roll could get you 5 different things.

First though, I had to take a picture of Henry’s bias Cha Eunwoo from Astro, which he knew I was going to do and rolled his eyes in advance.

The stomach in my head thought for sure I could eat two coin rolls’ worth of food but thank god my real stomach overruled and only bought one roll because that meal had me set for nearly the rest of the day.

I couldn’t even finish the roasted sweet potatoes in that cup up there and I love roasted sweet potatoes so that says a lot.

This was perfect for Chooch because he’s so picky but he knows exactly what he likes when it comes to Korean market food so he filled his tray with confidence. He said the thing that he thought was potato salad was actually apples in “potato salad sauce” and that they were really refreshing and maybe his favorite thing. It was good to see him actually eating Korean food though because he is not all that adventurous but he really does try when it comes to Korean food, so props to Chooch.

I was happy to get my fill of lotus root – I love lotus root so much and am always begging Henry to make it because it’s obviously not something that’s readily available in dumb Pittsburgh but Henry doesn’t care about my wants and needs and has only made it twice in three years.

I also got japchae, some kind of Korean wrap which I have never had or seen at any of the markets there before, and my beloved teokbokki. Henry gave me one of his kimbap and we both ate the too-spicy-for-Chooch rice cakes that Chooch got from the kind elderly Korean woman who kept teasing him that it was too spicy but he swore it was fine–stubborn Chooch! He also got some sort of egg wrap thing which he said was satisfying.

Henry got meat.

This was a really fun way to eat lunch and I would highly recommend it for the experience but obviously, if you’re looking for more options and more “famous” food items, I would suggest going to Gwangjang Market which is HUGE and has all the crazy stuff you see on street food and travel TV shows.

Don’t forget to wash down your food with some BTS cold brew, though.

Ok that’s all for now. I have to get ready for another day of bossing around Henry and making my kid walk three marathons around Seoul.

Jul 242019
 

After what felt like five days on the plane with the girl behind me ramming the back of my seat the whole time, we have made it safely to Seoul.

Also, Chooch took one for the team and let me have the window seat so I didn’t have to listen to henry snore! I am milking this birthday trip for all it’s worth!

The ride from the airport to our hotel was excruciating because we could barely stay awake but then we got a second wind and walked around Hongdae for a bit because I wanted to find Taemin’s birthday billboard and we did!

“This is so embarrassing,” Chooch hissed through gritted teeth.

Then I ordered street food for him and Henry said I sound more confident with my Korean now and I disagree but I will take that compliment!

Chooch won me a stuffed toy from the same balloon game as last year!

Even Henry loves Hongdae.

First of many 바나나 우유!

View from our floor.

안녕 but not for long!

Feb 022019
 

We got lucky and had a really clear, snowless drive into Canada on Saturday, but it snowed a bit overnight which made our Sunday about 10 degrees colder than the dumb weather app on my phone said and the snow-piled sidewalks provided a great calf workout.

It’s actually a miracle that we all remembered to leave Pittsburgh with snow boots. Mine are a size too big because I bought them online and made poor choices so I felt like Frankenstein’s monster but at least my feet were dry and mostly-dry. It also made me feel invincible to winter threats so I kept purposely walking in the deeper-snowed areas.

Henry wanted to drive into Toronto this time instead of taking the train so we did that and it was scary because the roads were still not-great from fresh snow and we even saw a car spin-out on the ramp by our hotel, but OK Henry, willingly put our lives into the hands of the ice gods, that’s fine.

Spoiler- we ended up being fine but it was still dumb. We parked and then took the subway everywhere which was fun and isn’t it funny how I hate our public transportation back home but get so excited to use it in other cities? OH THATS BC BIG CITIES HAVE GOOD TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our blustery adventures in the Maple Kingdom.

We started the day in Korea Town, wow so much shocks and surprisals. (YES SURPRISALS THAT IS WHAT I WOULD HAVE SAID IF I WAS WRITING THIS FOR A CAT AUDIENCE OK.) As previously mentioned, we went to Rustle & Still cafe and then I went back to the Kpop shop and snagged a Taemin album and this time the person working was the cutest Korean boy and I felt like there was some level of imprinting happening which Henry ruined by saying that he was certain that guy was only 18.

Meanwhile, Chooch rummaged through troughs of stickers looking for Taemin ones to mock me with and then cried after we left because he allegedly wanted a turnip one (????) and we were like YOU DONT LIKE TURNIPS THO???

Mural posing. This was Dirty Birds Chicken & Waffles. We didn’t eat there. We just used them for their wall aesthetics, boy.

Also, look how cute that milkshake straw is!

I….really don’t know how to pose for photos. I have been doing this same pose since like, 10th grade I think. I mean, when I’m actually allowing someone to take my picture, that is.

We strolled around downtown for a bit and by that I mean we were shaking in our boots and trying to defrost the tips of our noses by blowing hot air into our cupped hands. It was frigid that day, and would serve as a prelude to the stupid-cold weather we were about to get slammed with back home.

I feel like the coldness really comes through in this shot. Also, this was moments after Chooch tried to be cute by scaling a snowbank, lost his balance and slid the whole way down on his back. Henry was DONE after that.

CN Tower, which Henry deemed “TOO EXPENSIVE.”

Toronto’s murals are on point. This was part of a long mural inside an underpass.

Their subway stations are great backdrops for photos as well. It’s an Instgrammer’s subterranean paradise.

When your coat matches the wall…

My coat matched too but that would have required Henry to take our picture while droves of people were filing by and that is a BIG NO.

Fighting over maps, Korea vibes. Also, LOL at Henry’s dorky Clearfruit jacket.

Henry was still looking at the map.

FROZEN WATER. There was one unfrozen path for the ferry. That was really exciting to us for some reason and by us I mean Chooch and me, Henry doesn’t get excited about anything other than the weekly circulars and, I don’t know, new hemorrhoid creams.

You guys. It was so cold that as I was talking, I could actually feel parts of my face tightening up. Now, I have never had Botox, but I think this is how it feels after?! I couldn’t get my lips to move all the way when I was trying to talk, like I was working against gravity. It was really scary.

There was some random gigantic camo picnic table in this park because ART. There was a #bigpicnic hashtag on it but when I used that on Instragram, it pulled up a ton of irrelevant things and like, one other picture of this table.

Here, the extraordinary method actors E.Rachelle & Chooch Robbins audition for the “Happily Arrested” roles in the off-off-off-off-underneath broadway play Picnic Outlaws.

Thank god Toronto has so many different indoor passages to get from one place to the next. We were able to walk a good distance back to the parking lot completely indoors BLESSED BE. I kept hoping we would see Winner walking around in a tunnel somewhere with the rest of the Toronto mole people, but they were probably somewhere warm and cozy with a fireplace and fancy food. It’s OK – they deserve it.

So, all in all, it was another cool time in Toronto but I really would like to go back sometime when we’re not there for a concert so we can focus solely on doing touristy things and, obviously, eating at more cool places. Um, preferably sometime in the summer or fall! AND MAYBE IT COULD COINCIDE WITH A VISIT TO CANADA’S WONDERLAND?! I mean, it’s right there. 

Coming soon, I’ll recap the Winner concert and close this Canada chapter. Sigh.

Feb 012019
 

I was going through my pictures and realized I have way too many for one post so you know what that means — whoooooboy multi-posts!

Since we were in Toronto in the dead of winter with very little time, we didn’t do any touristy things and instead just focused on being gluttons. Toronto is a meatless Mecca so our options were overwhelming, and luckily our resident Meat Man Henry is perfectly content eating vegetarian/vegan so we went, um, hogwild.

Except for breakfast which was just a quick stop to Tim Horton’s because this was like A BIG DEAL for Chooch and you have to throw the kid a bone here and there so that when they grow up and pen an in depth exposé on their childhood, it won’t be all doom, gloom, & my parents locked me in a piss-puddled storage closet, you know?

So here is a little run-down of Sunday’s eats, treats, & drinks.

Our first stop after Tim Horton’s was a Vietnamese cafe in Korea Town called Rustle & Still. I was drawn to this place by a promise of pandan and purple sweet potato latte options. I had a sweet potato latte in Busan and have been dying to have another ever since, especially a purple one! I eat purple sweet potatoes nearly every day at home. My diet is very niche.

My first impression of this place was that it’s very vegetation-friendly. I love plant-filled cafes!

My second impression was that it was not one of those snobby places that brings out a first-timer’s inner-n00b. The barista (possibly the owner? He had that owner-aura to him) had a friendly face and didn’t make me feel rushed.

Chooch and I had a game-plan that morning in the hotel, which consisted of me ordering the sweet potato and him going for the matcha pandan so that we could share, but once we were at the counter, he acted like this was BREAKING NEWS and got all weird and surly about it. He ordered it anyway, but then tacked on, “Because I guess that’s what I HAVE to order” and I was like “WTF is your damage, child!?” because he pulls this shit all  the time and it’s bewildering to me. He has this knack for acting like I have all of these one-sided conversations when he, at one time, is a willing participant!

PARENTS, DO YOUR CHILDREN THROW YOU UNDER THE BUS LIKE THIS!?

Anyway, he also ordered a black sesame coconut cookie so that pacified him a little.

My lattes! Yes, I inherited Chooch’s matcha pandan latte because suddenly, he no longer likes matcha and apparently “never said that [he] did” so I guess that’s another dream-convo I had — am I even really here? Or am I living in the dementia ward at some Ukranian clinic? What is even real anymore!?

Mr. I Never Said I Liked Matcha

Mr. Everyone Knows I Don’t Like Matcha But I Will Drink Half of This Latte Because I Paid Like $10 For It

Oh you guys, I was so mad. BUT! The silver lining is that both lattes were just my style and I didn’ regret for a single minute the bloated belly (Chooch hates that word, so now I use it often) I received after drinking nearly 2 thick lattes in one sitting.

Afterward, we went into the city center and hit up Milk Bar at Momofuku. It was actually just a little self-serve area so we just grabbed some cookies and a to-go slice of crack pie and went about our way and by that I mean, Chooch and I fought with Henry as soon as we got outside because we act like we’re starving children just let out of a crate and we didn’t trust him not to eat everything so he threw the bag at us and stalked off toward the subway. Haha, what a bitch baby.

The next part of our food journey took us back to Korea Town that afternoon but not for Korean food, like you’d expect! Instead, we went to Apiecalypse Now, which is another vegan place that Chooch had his stomach set on. Henry and I were actually going to eat here the last time we were in Toronto, but the sweet fucking siren call of Korean food lured us a different direction.

We got here around 30 minutes after they opened so we were able to walk right up to the counter and order (I mean, after hemming and hawwing – there were so many choices!). We all opted for slices of the Pig Destroyer Destroyer which wins for best pizza and also best name because come on now. Henry also got a slice of the BBQ Buffalover which I think I would have loved had I not already tried the Pig Destroyer Destroyer, because anything after that one pales in comparison. It is the ultimate, meaty meatless pizza! I fucking inhaled my slice and the best part was that it didn’t make me sick to my stomach afterward like a regular slice of cheese pizza would. (Which sucks because I love pizza but it almost always makes me sick now.)

As you can clearly tell from the name of our pizza slices alone, this place has major punk aesthetic so I didn’t get that shitty “more vegan than you” vibe from it at all.

Chooch looks solemn in this picture but it was actually just because I had the nerve to take his picture while he was fumbling toward pizza ecstasy.

And here’s Henry (im)patiently waiting for me to TAKE THE FUCKING PICTURE so that he can finally have his carnivore card revoked. J/K. He liked his pizzas too but not nearly as much as he would had there been real fatty meat on each slice.

But I’ll tell you, I’m still talking about that damn pizza almost as much as the Winner concert, which is the actual reason we were in Toronto!

Family Portrait 2019

After a bunch of walking through the one-digit Toronto temps (actually I think it was like 10 degrees that day but, windchill) we headed back to the hotel and  then ate dinner at a Viet-vegan joint called Dai Bi Chay. This was actually Henry’s choice! I was willing to eat at a regular restaurant, figuring that Henry would have been withering away by this point, but he was like, “Let’s eat more soy! Woo! Soy baby!”

Pages upon pages of glorious meat-free options, I could barely stand it. We had such a good  meal there, even though someone behind Henry was eating like a very hungry man without his dentures in and you know it’s bad when HENRY, the White Noise of Annoying Sounds People Make, gets all up-in-arms and hoarsely whispers to me, “What is that behind me!?” And then it magically became less annoying for me, knowing that it was bothering Henry!

I don’t even remember what I had but the broth was piping hot and winter-perfect and the BBQ mock-meat lounging on top of the noodles was just a motherfucking delight. Henry also had some kind of noodle soup dish and this was the meal that he’s still talking about from the weekend. He loved it there!

Chooch had fried rice or something because he doesn’t believe in food adventures, but he had no problem eating more than his share of the appetizers we ordered!

Meanwhile, Chooch and I were so giddy. We have this running joke that whenever Henry is “going to the store” or “to the laundromat,” he is actually going downtown to this strip club called Blush and that his favorite stripper there is some broad named “Cheetah Girl” — Chooch created her but we talk about her all the time like she’s a real person in Henry’s life and he gets really mad about it. So for some reason, Chooch started googling strippers while we were eating and he was like, “HAHAHAHAHA HERE’S CHEETAH GIRL” but then I was like, “No, wrong one” so I googled, “Old ass washed-up strippers” and presented a picture of someone’s grandma sprawled out on a bed in black leather lingerie and at this point Chooch started choking and the waitress kept asking him if he was OK and Henry was signing off on the official Disowning Paperwork.

OMG my stomach hurts right now just thinking about how uproariously we were laughing over this while Henry had virtual steam billowing out of his ears and Chooch and I actually ran to the car ahead of him when we left because we were afraid he was going to beat us with his boot, lol.

(Disclaimer: Henry has never beaten us with his boot but there’s always a first time for everything!)

Henry will never stop eating meat but it’s really cool that he is willing (and without being a jerk) to eat vegetarian/vegan food every now and then. I mean, let’s be real, most times, Chooch and I have to scramble to find something to eat at regular restaurants or we have to settle for the generic Gardenburger of the 1990s. It’s nice to actually experience the other end of ordering anxiety – when there’s so much to choose and everything sounds delicious!

So hats off to Halftime-Herbivore Hank for indulging our plant-based needs.

Well, that concludes my Sunday food round-up. We didn’t purposely go to Toronto with a Go Veg or GTFO mindset, but it just happened that way!

Jan 302019
 

We got a pretty late start to our drive to Toronto on Saturday which I wasn’t pleased about but Henry wanted to rent a car so that automatically meant we couldn’t leave until after 9 ugh Henry ruins everything however the car we rented had heated seats which was fantastic to have while traveling to freaking Canada in January.

So I’ll give him a pass this time.

The drive to the border was pretty uneventful but we did stop at that one travel plaza that requires one to cross over the highway via a skybridge so that was fun. This was also Chooch’s first time traveling along this route but he was buried in his phone the whole time and it’s doubtful he noticed anything except for when he expressed excitement upon spotting the General Mills building while passing through Buffalo. This was inexplicably a big deal to him?

One notable thing was that this was the first time entering Canada with Henry where he didn’t get us pulled off for further questioning because of his suspicious, nervous stutter. We just breezed right through after he said, “concert. Winner” to the border guy’s question of “why are you here.” Good job, Henry.

I don’t know why I was in such a hurry to get there. We didn’t have any standing plans for Saturday other than EAT AT DOOMIES, which is a vegan “fast food” establishment that Chooch and I had been drooling over at the mere thought.

We stayed a bit outside of Toronto this time, checked in around 4 and then took the train downtown. Chooch and I were really excited because while we were waiting for the train, Henry realized he left his phone charger in the car and actually ran to get it which was hilarious because he was wearing this big burly gray fleece-lined hoodie over his jacket, plus a beanie, so I started humming the Rocky theme and then Chooch was nearly peeing his pants. Oh you guys, the sight of Henry actually running, like legit hauling ass, totally gave us the jollies.

Two fucking hyenas.

Here we have Henry, deep inside his favorite zone. What you can’t see is Chooch sitting across from him, drawing a weener on a picture of Henry and me spectating this and cackling like a middle schooler. Henry tried to hurt our feelings by saying he’d rather hang out with his 1.5 year old grandson Calvin, who is, and I quote, “quieter and less needy” than Chooch and me.

WOW.

Once in Toronto, we left Union Station (after Henry bought two family day passes for their public transportation system and proceeded to look like a walking fanny pack, that’s how much of a yodel-dodely tourist he came off as. Chooch and I were caught up in Korea flashbacks for real) and walked around for a bit, passing the Fairmont Hotel, where we were fairly certain Winner was staying but Henry drew the line at going inside and loafing creepily in the lobby all evening.

So we got on a streetcar to Parkdale, a/k/a Vegandale where Doomies is located! It’s actually inside the Vegandale Brewery now so that was kind of a bummer because all the videos I had watched on Toronto vegan spots featured the old location of Doomies which seemed to have way more of a “dive” feel to it and that’s what I like. I’m not wild about breweries.

Immediately, we were put off by the host and hostess, who were like the King and Queen of the Glacier Prom. I was not impressed with their hipster ambivalence but I’m glad we gave it a chance because our waitress was wonderful – friendly, helpful, and just genuinely nice – and the FOOD WAS FUCKING STELLAR.

I wanted us all to get something different so we could taste-trade, and Chooch had already called dibs on the vegan Big Mac (not on the menu, but it exists and it is the Holy Grail of meatless burgers, let me tell you), so I opted for the Chik-Bac-Ranch sandwich because anytime a faux-chix sandwich is on the menu, I’m down for that chick-biz.

But then stupid-ass carnivore Henry got the chicken and waffles and Chooch and I were like, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT” because I already got chicken and we wanted him to get a different thing! He is so dumb! Ugh.

I tried some of this and it was legit fam. It’s amazing that I was able to get a taste though because Chooch devoured that sumbitch like he was on a day pass from the orphanage. It was nuts.

Oh man, if I had the time to write a chapbook in honor of this bitchin’ chicken…

This Doomie fake-fowl has my heart. Fuck all the rest.

Bellies full of no-meat and totally content.

It was so cold that weekend in Toronto, but we still strolled around as much as we could handle it. Chooch was mad because he took a picture of this wall-saying first and then I copied him.

We hopped on another streetcar eventually, and then took the subway to KOREATOWN. On the subway, some younger girl next to me nudged me, literally elbowed me like we were bros, and said, “I love your jacket.” I happily said thanks and Chooch was so pissed. “Even in CANADA?!” he cried later, and Henry, who had been sitting across from us, said he was watching the girl right before she went in with the elbow and said he could tell that she was considering doing it.

OF COURSE HE WAS WATCHING HER. He’s the Perv of Public Transit!

Anyway, I think I might start an Instagram for my coat so it can cyberbully him.

That’s what any good mom would do, I think.

Yeah boiiiii. I talk to this Korean guy Kyoung on Kakao (three cheers for natural alliteration) and he was like SEND ME PICTURES and was so excited to see a Canadian Korea Town so that was pretty cool. We stopped at this little place we went to last time that sells homemade walnut cakes (hodo kwaja) because they also have patbingsu and I was IN THE MOODSU.  Chooch got hotteok and was so content.

(Hotteok is a delicious sweet Korean pancake full with piping hot, gooey brown sugar and cinnamon, it’s like something that was created specifically for Jesus to have at his birthday parties, that’s how religiously delicious it is and I cannot wait to get my ass back to Korea and buy one every day from street vendors.)

It was just us and a bunch of Koreans so I was content, too, haha. I didn’t care that it was like 5 degrees outside, that patbingsu was everything I needed right then.

(Even though it wasn’t the fancy kind that I wanted at some place that Henry deemed TOO FAR TO GET TO EASILY.)

This place makes their own pat (sweet red bean) so that was a real bonus, and one of the girls working there even came over and asked us if we wanted more of it. I did NOT hesitate. Pat is my fucking jam, man.

(Actually, it would probably make good jam now that I think of it.)

Then we walked around Korea Town for an eternity and I pouted in a Kpop store because I couldn’t decide what Taemin album I wanted to buy so instead I BOUGHT NONE OF THEM and acted like a brat and then the cafe I wanted to go to was CLOSED and I suddenly had to PEE and it was getting colder and colder by the minute, so we decided to head back to Union Station around 8.

Fucking cold, man.

We walked around Union Station for a bit before getting on the platform to catch the train back. I was happy that they had clean restrooms there.

I insisted that we walk around the block one more time just in case Winner was meandering about, like they would actually be outside in that cold weather and not in some warm and cozy high class steak house or something. Le sigh. I kept seeing people on Instagram posting pictures of their run-ins with various Winner members in Seattle and Houston AND I REALLY THOUGHT IT COULD HAPPEN TO ME TOO, OK?! I did think that I saw Mino near their alleged hotel but it ended up being an Indian in a turban, which really could be something that Mino might be wearing.

HE IS VERY FASHION-FORWARD.

When Chooch realized I took that first picture, he posed for the one above. He’s a camera whore, you guys, and I have no idea who created that monster.

GOODBYE TRAIN.

We got back to the hotel around 10 and promptly crashed. Walking in the cold is tiring.

This post was so exciting. We had a lot of fun but it was mostly because Chooch and I were making fun of Henry the whole time, and that doesn’t translate well on here.

Stay tuned for more walking-in-the-cold that took place the next day!

Nov 272018
 

The last time we were in Tennessee was in 2011 with our friends Bill and Jessi, and we missed them so much this time around! I remember when they invited us to go with them that year, I was like, “Ew, Tennessee. What’s even in Tennessee?” and then found out that this area in particular is A FUCKING WONDERLAND. It has something for everyone! Country crap for country people. Old people shit for old people. Church garbage for Christians. Outdoor junk for nature nerds. AND A ZILLION TOURIST TRAPS FOR ME.  We will get to all that stuff later.

On Saturday, aka Dollywood Eve, we made some time for some Smoky Mountain action, because you can’t go to the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area without doing at least a little bit of nature shit.  I made sure Chooch changed out of his stained hoodie (literally got like 48 stains on it just in the four hours it took us to get from our hotel in Beckley, WV to Tennessee — just watching him eat lunch made me realize that I failed as a mom because my kid is 12 and still needs a bib) and into socially-acceptable garb beforehand, and then we set off for the Great Smoky National Park or whatever, where Henry was immediately at wit’s end with us and praying for a bear attack.

He’s so mean. :(

I’m not the most nature-y person, but damn, it’s really fucking beautiful there you guys. Not a bad view anywhere. (Unless someone with a MAGA hat gets in your line of vision.)

Second time in the Smokies and I still don’t know how to spell it.

Senior picture practice.

He’s a good sport (mostly) about these photoshoots and always has a pose or two of his own to contribute. Um, like this one.

We actually kind of got along during our scenic stroll through the bear-laden woods. (I was so afraid of getting attacked! Are they hibernating yet? I’M NOT SURE!) I felt like we were, I don’t know, making family memories or something. Like some day, Chooch will fondly recount this day to his future kids and they’ll be like, “What’s a mountain? What’s a tree?”

OMG WHY DID I TYPE THAT NOW I’M SO DEPRESSED.

Mood.

Here’s some more that I took with my phone-y-phone-la-la-la.

My favorite part was when Chooch and I were practicing exaggerated walking moves from Leslie Sansone walking workouts and didn’t realize that there was a family having some type of celebratory picnic nearby, watching our every move. THEY WERE SO JEALOUS OF OUR CREATIVE WALKING. I think this was the point where Henry ran back to the car ahead of us and tried to lock us out.

It’s nothing short of a miracle that he didn’t:

  • faceplant on a rock
  • fall into the water and get swept away into the jaws of a bear

How many murders have happened in these woods.

In Korean, the word for mountain is SAN (산) which you would know IF YOU READ MY KOREA TRAVEL BLOG POSTS.

God, you guys. The things you could learn from this stupid blog! IT IS A TREASURE TROVE OF TRIVIA.

We kept making Henry pull over at overlooks and he was getting so pissed because people weren’t parking to his liking.

We came here last time too!

Man, for only being in Tennessee for two days, I have so much to tell you! So, check back or whatever.

Nov 262018
 

It’s 8:05am and we’re waiting for Henry to check out of the hotel (the Ramsay – actually not a shit hole!). I wanted to have been on the road much earlier but no one listens to me. Anyway, I’m live-blogging because this is an 8-hour drive and I need to stay occupied or else I’ll start picking fights with Henry – which I’ll do anyway, who am I kidding LOLOL.

The mysterious bruise on my thumb went away but now I have a mysterious cut on my finger that even cut thorough my nailpolish?? It hurts but it’s not bleeding.

8:14am: So here we is y’all at the Red Rooster Pancake House where Chooch was thrown off that there is NO LEMONADE on the menu and proceeded to act like it was his first time ordering in a restaurant and kept looking at us with frantic PHONE A FRIEND eyes and we were like psychically coaxing him to just order chocolate milk and then when it was time to order breakfast, he got eggs and toast and ordered the eggs like a pro (overeasy FTW) but then he complicated the toast part of the order by making her run down the whole bread inventory and then asking “do you have Texas toast?” and we were like OH COME ON and she was like “Oh no, honey lololol” in her thick southern drawl like he just asked to see the Alamo’s bread pantry.

This waitress hates us so bad.

Ugh some old song just came on and I could vividly remember it playing in my pappap’s kitchen when I was little and now I’m crying in the Red Rooster Pancake House.

9:04: I couldn’t stand that bitch GPS voice so I made Henry change it to Santa, who just now told us that there was a cop reported up ahead. “Thanks, Santa,” Henry mumbled.

10:24: Chooch has me playing some word game called Letter Press and he is cheating sooooooo bad it’s not even funny.

We just stopped at Sheetz and Chooch and I got so riled up that Henry threw our stuff at us when we got back in the car and then he started eating a banana that I got for myself but didn’t want because it wasn’t done enough so then that set Chooch and me off all over again and we almost peed and then Henry yelled IF YOU PEE YOURE SITTING IN IT! and then he saw some guy sitting alone in an RV and said he wished he was him.

11:10am: Stupid GPS Santa keeps calling us Comet big what if I want to be Donner?! LIKE THE DONNER PARTY.

11:24am: Mino’s solo album dropped today and the MV for “Fiancé” is fire. I watched it this morning in the hotel while Henry struggled to pack everything on his own. I don’t care what anyone says, YG has the best rappers in Korea. DON’T @ ME.

12:33pm: One of our favorite road trip games to play is calling out HENRY LOOKED! HENRYS WANTS TO GO THERE! every time we pass billboards for adultmarts and strip clubs. Henry just blocks us out now.

1:26pm: Hello from some highway in WV! We ate a quick lunch at Sheetz (ballin’) and now we’re en route to some monster museum in Sutton WV. Speaking of museums, I need to call the Bayernhof Museum to schedule a tour for this Saturday but every time I tried to dial the number I started to crack up because I’m so giddy so finally I admitted defeat and Henry said he would do it for me next time we stop YES ANOTHER VICTORY!

2:40: We just rolled up in Sutton and Henry read the welcome sign out loud. I thought he said “bitchin’ history and hospitality” but it actually said “rich in history and hospitality” which is less rad.

3:03: Wow so the Flatwoods Monster Museum was pretty amazing! I mean, if you have low expectations. They had the documentary playing and it was creppy (autocorrect is always trying to change this to creepy ugh). Basically A UFO CRASHED THERE in the 50s and a bunch of boys and some old broad SAW A MONSTER and experienced symptoms similar to those that MUSTARD GAS cause but also HYSTERIA!!! So you tell me!!!

We’re back in the car and cracking up so bad at everything and Henry is like NO ONE IS LAUGHING and I’m like CAN YOU NOT COUNT BECAUSE TWO PEOPLE ARE LAUGHING?!

Anyway, that was a fun detour! Henry probably disagrees.

He actually bought us this adorable miniature Flatwoods monster but then bitched about it being EXPENSIVE.

Then we saw this creppy Santa on the way back to the car.

Chooch is playing this dumb Scattergories-type game; the letter was P and the thing was “Things You Find in a Bedroom” so Chooch and I simultaneously screamed PLAYBOY and PENIS while Henry calmly and vanilla-ly suggested PILLOW lol Henry you’re so square.

4:34pm: Oh god, we were just talking about the Dollywood coasters and then I said, “Remember when they went to an amusement park on The Smile Has Left Your Eyes??” which is the last drama that Henry and I just watched and in fact, I refused to leave for this road trip on Friday until we watched the finale because I knew it would bother me all weekend otherwise and turns out, it was THE MOST TRAGIC KDRAMA I have seen yet and the impact it has had on me is so ridiculous, so my weekend was totally affected by it anyway because I just started crying after saying that to Henry and he was like, “…oh my god” because the whole way to Tennessee I was dissecting the entire show and then I would start wailing WHYYYYYYYY in the stylings of a Korean Kerrigan.

Honestly, this drama was spectacular and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a thriller / emotional roller coaster.

4:57pm: One more hour to go! I just said, “It doesn’t seem like we’ve been driving that long” and in tandem, Chooch piped up from the backseat, “I know!” while Henry frowned deeply.

“I guess that’s because we’ve been playing those games,” I said, all up-beat, and this made Henry’s frown deepen into something more murderous.

5:38pm: “Nice turn signal, a-hole” — Henry, in a very calm voice to someone in a minivan.

We are 35 minutes from home and I have to pee BUT I DONT WANT TO STOP DO YOU THINK I WILL MAKE IT? Also I forgot to mention that at our last Sheetz stop, Henry had the nerve to tell me and Chooch that we are embarrassing. WE ARE?? He’s the one who dresses like an off-duty trucker shopping for guns and jerky!! I just started cracking up after I wrote that because I’m the only person I make laugh, and Henry tried to quote an IU song where she says “Stu-p-i-d” but he completely fucked it up so then I started laughing harder and now he won’t talk to me.

5:45pm: Chooch and I are playing that letterpress game again and he just cried in anguish from the backseat, “I wish there was a P because I wanted to play ‘pansexual'” and I cried OMG ME TOO and Henry just shot me a glare. Eyes on the road, partner.

6:00pm: 17 minutes from home! I’d like to thank all the new Kpop drops, Chooch inviting me to play Letter Press or whatever it’s called, and Henry’s willingness to be the laughing stock of the car. BITCH LASAGNA.

6:19pm: We’re a mile from home and Henry just said we’re the stupidest people he’s ever met and this is the last trip he’s taking with us, so there you have it! The official ending of the liveblog!

Oct 162018
 

After our voyage across the Brooklyn Bridge, we headed back to One World Trade Center, which is where we started our day hours and hours before. (The next blog post will talk about that, says the Queen of Writing Out of Order.)

First, we stopped at St. Paul’s, because it’s humanly impossible for me to pass a cemetery without stopping. Le duh. Duh to the max. Box of duhs.

I was low key grateful that the church was open because I had to pee pretty bad. We had to go through security inside the doors because this is America but I was happy to discover that the two security guards were super personable and just a general pleasure to interact with, even though one of them was desperate to talk to us about the Pirates and we had to do the universal “no speak this language” Arm X.

The inside of the chapel was bright and beautiful. It actually had more of a court room feel to me than that of a church. Chooch and I sat down for a bit to take it all in while Henry paced around the perimeter alone, almost like he’s afraid to be too close to us inside a church?!

I didn’t realize the part St. Paul’s played during the aftermath of 9/11, but apparently the doors were open to the cops, firefighters, paramedics, and other volunteers who needed a rest. The pews have since been removed and replaced with chairs, but one pew was on display in a back room; it had grooves and gouges in the wood, mementos left by the uniforms and equipment of the people sleeping there.

After all the walking we had done that day, we really needed a good sit, and this was a really welcoming place.

More 9/11 mementos. My eyes were heavily sweating in that room, man.

There was a guest book that Chooch and I signed because if there is a guest book, we’re leaving our mark. There was a spot to write a message so I said “put hashtag blessed. No don’t. Put bless up. No don’t. Put—-just don’t put anything.”

We’re really bad at signing guest books. I signed one in a chapel at Dollywood and Henry was so clenched, not knowing what I was writing, but it was just, “Hey God, please bring Dance Gavin Dance back to Pittsburgh.”

And now here are some pictures of buildings, including the amazing rib-like structure of Oculus, which is an amazing piece of architectural art that houses the World Trade Center station. We were staying right across the river in Jersey City and this was how we commuted in that morning. It was a pretty amazing experience when we emerged into the center of Oculus, that’s for sure! Chooch and I exclaimed like Farm Kids’ First City Trip while Henry was just like WHERE IS THE BATHROOM.

Every angle of this joint is just mesmerizing…and also a bit terrifying. It’s like contemporary prehistoric art.

SORRY, I WAS OBSESSED. SO LOOK AT THESE PICTURES.

Chooch is such a great sport about posing in front of walls, but Henry acts like he’s being fisted by hipsters.

It took a minute to get this picture because we had to stand in line behind all the Instagram models.

LOL, Chooch and I realized that Henry was asked to some girls’ picture and we were almost peeing ourselves because everything Henry does is funny to us (but, you know, at Henry’s expense).

Finally, I had pussyfooted around it long enough and it was now time to see Ground Zero. You guys, there are no words. I think the one thing we can all agree on as Americans is that 9/11 was one of the worst tragedies we have experienced as a modern nation. I still can’t believe it, even though I can so plainly and distinctly remember exactly where I was and what I was feeling when it happened.

The melancholy in the air at Ground Zero is really indescribable. Chooch and I traced some of the names with our fingers and just, for once in our lives, stood there quietly. Henry was around somewhere, being unaffected and cold-hearted.

NOTHING BOTHERS HIM!!!!!???

Oh look, here he is, ready to leave.

From right inside Oculus. I was so disoriented at first and though these people were on the roof but then I realized they were just outside, on land (lol), and we were below ground-level. I’m a smarteeee.

Inside the ribcage, yo. There are also a bunch of stores inside, like some trendy mattress store that Chooch tried to get us to go into with him because he is obsessed with mattresses and pillows. We of course kept walking while Chooch flounced right inside and sat on a bed. He said the salesgirl was awkwardly starting to talk to him but then actual customers came in so she set her sights on them and Chooch got to test the firmness of the mattress in peace.

His interests are extremely varied and sometimes domestic, like when he goes on and on about the exact Samsung fridge he wants.

Good thing he placed in “advance” on his latest PSSA test results because that boy’s gonna need to earn himself a good scholarship so he can furnish his future McMansion with the best mattresses and fridges.

And just like that, our day in NYC had come to an end, but not before standing in line to buy a ticket back to Jersey City behind a bunch of people who could not seem to figure out how the fare machines worked and it brought back sweet memories of our first subway experience in Seoul, SIGHHHHHHHH.

And then we almost died when the escalator dropped us off onto an overcrowded platform with nowhere to go and we almost perished on the escalator. I had flashbacks to being 4-years-old and getting my shoelace caught in an escalator at a casino in Atlantic City and OMG WAS I GOING TO GET SUCKED INTO THE ESCALATOR? I NEEDED MY PAPPAP TO SAVE ME LIKE HE SAVED ME IN ATLANTIC CITY! Spoiled: we ended up surviving, but it honestly felt like being in a zombie movie.

Another fucking adventure, though!

Oct 142018
 

All I can say is, thank god we are a family acclimated to walking. Anytime we visit a different city, that is all we seem to do. But for us, it works! Having an open itinerary makes me feel less rushed and more open to spontaneity, which is something that I find I struggle with at home lately.

So after we ate lunch and got ice cream, we just causally strolled around Soho and perused some boutiques. There was one shop where a French woman was selling a bunch of vintage-looking shit but she had these kind of cool purses shaped like a woman’s face with sunglasses, and Henry was like really adamant about buying me one which was weird because he usually isn’t one to want to buy me gifts so the sirens were going off, like was he cheating on me or something? But it turns out if it was just because our other plans fell through so now he was like, “Here, spend this money somewhere else.” Wow, what a gentleman. Anyway, I ended up not liking the purse once the lady took it off the rack for me to see better, because it turned out it was baseball-themed and I don’t care about baseball one way or another, so then the broad was, “Here is one in a different color” but it was still baseball-themed?! So then Henry was like, “Maybe this one then?” and now I had THREE PURSES in my hands and I did not want a single of them but I felt so pressured! I just kept murmuring over and over, “But I don’t want one” and then luckily the broad turned her attention to another customer who was questioning a scarf so I dumped the purses on the table and ran out of the door.

We went to several other shops though and I got a ring filled with candy and Chooch bought a cool t-shirt from ESNYC. This is the girl we bought it from and she was so nice and cool and I wanted to be friends with her but I’m old and uncool:

(This picture is from the ESNYC website, I didn’t take it.)

All of the shops we went into made me think of when I was in 8th grade and an avid reader of Sassy Magazine (like every alternative teenage girl in the 90s) and one of the issues had a fashion spread with crazy Mad Hatter-style hats (which I was totally into and had several that I bought at Merry Go Round; I had so many that when we had Crazy Hat Day in 8th grade, I swapped them out three times during the day, lol; I was really into outrageous hats) and FUNFUR OVERALLS. You guys, I wanted these fucking overalls so bad. They were from Antique Boutique in NYC and of course, this was back when you couldn’t go on a computer and get everything you saw in a magazine, so I begged my mom to take me to New York but SHE NEVER DID.

I just googled Antique Boutique and it’s CLOSED FOREVER.

Ouch my heart.

I guess it’s just as well because I’m not cool enough anymore to pull any of that off. If I were, I’d have bought one of the totally crazy repurposed t-shirt dresses I was drooling over in one of those shops, ugh. They were so 1980s new wave, I’m dying on the inside just thinking about them.

Here’s a picture of Chooch recording some Vine tribute that I don’t understand.

HASHTAG STUPID!

Things you stumble upon when you opt for the Walk Blindly Thru the City tour itinerary.

Drooling over architecture never gets old to me. Even in Pittsburgh, there are moments when I’m walking around and notice something cool that I somehow have always missed, a baroque* facade or an old ad painted on the side of a brick building in an alley. So I was more than content to walk around taking pictures all day long.

*(LOL like I know what I’m talking about.)

It was around here (dunno where exactly “here” was) that we realized we were very close to the Brooklyn Bridge. Our original plans for that day included waking up early to see the Brooklyn Bridge, so even though it was late afternoon at this point and prime-tourist time, we figured it was still worth experiencing, because YOLO or whatever.

Do the kids still say that?

Probably not the COOL kids.

Like the girl who sold Chooch the shirt.

On the way to the bridge, we were distracted by some lively commotion in a little plaza. Turns out there was some type of street performance going on and I wasn’t very interested because it wasn’t beautiful Korean people busking in Hongdae (#spoiled), but Henry was all, “Yo ho ho, let’s go see what’s going on, we have all the time in the world, after all, yippee-ki-ay.”

There was some troupe of, I dunno, break dancers? And one of them was going to jump over some lone Canadian broad that was pulled from the crowd but then he decided that he needed to make it more dangerous so now they were pulling out men from the crowd, and I knew, I just knew that:

  • This was going to involve a money collection
  • They were going to choose Henry

DING DING DING. I WAS RIGHT ON BOTH ACCOUNTS.

I knew this because Chooch got dragged into something similar a few years ago at the art festival downtown, where a group of hustlers masked as street performers were going to show us something really cool but NOT UNTIL WE DONATED. I can’t even remember what the actual trick was now, but Chooch was stoked to be part of.

So now, there are nine people up there and I’m like, “The fuck is someone going to jump over all of them?” OH, THEY HAD A PLAN, ALRIGHT.

First, they went around with bags and at first I thought they wanted everyone to put their phones in there so that we couldn’t record so I started to panic because OMG DON’T TOUCH MY PHONE IT’S AN EXTENSION OF MY BEING. But no, it was simply money-swindling time.

When they got to me, I was like, “Hey man, you took our money man” and pointed  to Henry  because I can’t remember the last time I had cash on me. So I guess the goal was to get TWENTY DOLLARS from everyone. TWENTY DOLLARS!!!! I could buy a fucking kpop album with that or three fancy ice cream cones or like 7 Kakao emoticon packs! SOME PEOPLE WERE ACTUALLY GIVING THEM $20!!! I know this because every time it would happen, the person that collected would scream, “STOP THE  MUSIC!” and then give that person a shout out and it was so crazy to me because I am a TIGHTWAD when it comes to this stuff.

This was like the ultimate NYC tourist trap, you guys. Why are people so dumb!?

Well, they didn’t stop there. They also singled out each “volunteer” in line, and some of those assholes also gave $20!! I couldn’t believe it. Then I started to panic because no way was Henry going  to do that but the difference between him and the people in the crowd is that EVERYONE WAS WATCHING.

So, first, when Henry is asked where he is from, he says “Pennsylvania.”

Not “Pittsburgh.”

But “Pennsylvania.”

So the guy in charge goes, “HAHAHA WELCOME TO CIVILIZATION” like we’re from the fucking hills and not a legit city, oh I was so embarrassed.

And then, AND THEN! He gave them SEVEN DOLLARS.

So on one hand I’m like, “Thank you for not giving them tomorrow’s lunch money” but also I’m like, “GREAT NOW THEY THINK WE’RE POOR PEOPLE LIVING NEXT TO A CREEK IN RURAL PENNSYLVANIA AND YOU DIDN’T MAKE AS MUCH OFF THIS MONTH’S MOONSHINE BATCH AS  YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD, HENRY!”

Still, it was worth it to get this video of him repeatedly having his ass slapped in front of a crowd of strangers in NYC!

One of my friends asked on Instagram why he was moved to the side and I was like, “Oh because that’s the POOR PERSON line.” Only the suckers who paid $20 (allllll foreign tourists btw) got to move to the front of the line, so this was how they weeded out the line, making it more realistic to jump over.

BRAVO, STREET HUSTLERS.

The guy who pops up at the end of Chooch’s video up there is the ring leader and the one who acted like he was going to do the jumping through the whole routine until the very end when some guy who didn’t participate in the act at all got up from the sidelines and completed the jump.

“You really thought that other guy was going to be the one jumping!?” Henry exclaimed, incredulous. “Did he really seem like he was in shape for that!?”

Wow, Healthy Hank. You’re one to talk!

So, $7 poorer, we continued on to the Brooklyn Bridge, which was, of course, jam-packed with tourists. I felt like we were part of a herd of cattle marching off to the slaughter house.

There were tons of people desperate to get that Instagram-worthy shot but we weren’t fucking around with that. I was like, “JUST STOP HERE *snap* OK KEEP WALKING.”

I mean, come on now. No one was going to stop walking just to get out of someone’s frame, but fauxtographers were still getting all huffy, having their amateur photoshoots bombed by passers-by.

Did you know that I’m desperately afraid of bridges? I am. And I live in a city that is literally known as the city of bridges. I force myself to walk across one every week on my lunch break and it has been helping me a little bit. (Although there is a pedestrian bridge that goes from the North Shore to the Point that always gets me good — I was on it two weeks ago and seized up when I got to the middle; my heart was crashing against my ribcage and I started to get light-headed, and then it began to rain. It was pretty fucking terrible.)

While my legs were a bit wobbly as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, I was still able to make it halfway without having a full-blown freak out.

It was still pretty scary though.

I think I would have been scared if we were on it alone, if that makes sense.

It really was breathtaking and worth the hassle of getting dinged at by bike bells and jostled by distracted tourists.

LOL, freshly-spanked Hank.

Some guy was on the middle of the bridge with his albino boa constrictor and asked if anyone wanted to hold it. Chooch shot his hand up into the air and did the whole “Ooh! Ooh!” eager school boy routine.

“That’ll be $10,” the snake’s owner said to me and I was like, “HAHA BOY BYE.”

Chooch was all sad but dude, no. We can go to stupid Cheeseman’s Haunted Hayride and he can hold like three different snakes at the end for free! This is NYC, boy, of course you can’t hold some bridge snake for free.

Henry’s stupid elbow.

Oh, Brooklyn Bridge, where you can’t even take a picture of a plaque without some stranger being in the shot.

Anyway, that was the first half our spontaneous afternoon in NYC. I was heartbroken that our original plans fell through, but really grateful that we were able to make the best of it and let Chooch scratch some shit off the ol’ Bucket List. I didn’t get to do a lot of domestic travel when I was a kid, so I’m glad that we’ve been able to do these things with Chooch. HE BETTER SPEAK FONDLY OF IT WHEN HE’S AN ADULT.

Oct 102018
 

For reasons that I will get to in a separate post, we once again found ourselves roaming around NYC last Sunday, the day after the BTS concert. Why is it that every time we find ourselves in NYC, it’s completely spontaneous and unplanned?! I don’t know, but it’s kind of fun and I can’t say that I hate it.

We were in Queens when our original plans shit the bed, so we shrugged and moved on. I mean, at least it happened in a city that has a billion things to do! And I know it’s kind of dumb, maybe not something you would choose to do above all else while in NYC, but there is this ice cream place that I’ve been following on Instagram for a while and it’s on my bucket list. (And yes, my bucket list is like 75% ice cream joints.) So that became our jumping-off point. I mean, at least we had something to start with!

This place also happens to be near Chinatown, so we decided that we would go there first and get lunch.

And then something miraculous happened: we walked around for about 20 minutes while I coveted, and I do mean biblically so, all of the exotic fruit being sold on the street. CHERIMOYA! LYCHEE! RAMBUTAN! SAPOTE! GOLDEN DRAGONFRUIT!

Oh, Chinatown, you fucking snake, you.

Of course Henry was all, “WE ARE NOT BUYING FRUIT. I AM NOT GOING TO CARRY FRUIT AROUND WITH ME ALL DAY. NO, KEEP WALKING. I’M NOT BUYING IT.”

Something amazing happened to us in Chinatown, you guys. We found a place to eat that we all agreed on, before any domestic violence broke out, and in record time. It was almost surreal. This almost never happens. We usually walk until our feet are praying to be lopped off by the Nighttime Sickle-Wielding Ghoul.

Are we finally learning how to coexist with each other in public as a family?!

No, it was probably just a fluke.

It also helps that Henry isn’t one of those manly MUST EAT MEAT bastards. He’s super compliant with Chooch’s and my vegetarian needs and is usually the one who finds good veg places for us to dine. In fact, he’s the one who spotted Buddha Bodai Kosher Vegan from across the street (probably also because my eyes are bad). It was crowded when we walked in, but I was determined to suck it up, butter(substitute)cup. So many times I panic at the sight of a crowded restaurant, but when we walked in, I realized that not only was this place vegan like the sign boasted, but it was also DIM SUM. Uh, hell yeah I want that vegan dim sum, bitches, and I will stand here in everyone’s way until a table is cleared for me.

Things were looking up right away though when we got the coveted corner table. Even though Chooch was a dick and wouldn’t let me sit where I wanted because he’s 12 you guys and 12-year-olds are perfect fucking dickheads, in case you don’t have children/have never been around children/wear a child-repelling amulet.

So right away, we started fighting about this and Henry was like ENOUGH. Wow, dad has spoken.

And then our waitress hated us because she thought I asked for meat (I most certainly did not) and she got all defensive and said, “NO! NO MEAT! WE DON’T SERVE MEAT HERE AT ALL ANYMORE!” and I felt like everyone had set down their chopsticks to get a better listen at the dumb tourist who came into the vegan dim sum joint looking for meat.

And then she hated me even more because I had Henry call her back over after I decided I didn’t want the Buddha’s Delight I ordered because I knew it was going to be too much food and I just wanted to fill up on dim sum instead and she was like APPALLED, like no one had ever changed their mind in the history of restaurants existing, ever.

Luckily, the food was amazing and Henry is still talking about it, a week later. I love that he isn’t too burly and gratuitously masculine that he can’t set aside his carnivorous tendencies for an hour to nosh on some finely prepared soy and seitan. I didn’t take pictures, but we got a wonderful assortment of steamed dumplings, some type of bun stuffed with this wonderful sweet faux-meat, spring rolls, something with taro, sweet rice balls….we were fucking stuffed and happy.

Chooch went rogue and got some kind of faux-chicken lo mein and the Chinese family next to us kept complimenting him on his chopstick skills. I was so proud!

And then Henry sent Chooch and me a selca from the restaurant bathroom, which made us lose our minds because HAHAHAHA since when does Henry take bathroom selcas?!

He’s not even smiling, this is killing me all over again!

After lunch, we walked to Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, which I follow on Instagram and drool over daily. I just really love the cereal-as-dessert concept and the novelty  has not worn off on me yet, even though it’s been 10 years (10!!) since my brother Corey and I were launched into sugar shock when we ate at Cereality in Philly and by “ate at” I do mean binged our way into checking off “Gluttony” in Deadly Sin Bingo.

(For those of you too L-Z to click that link, my cereal bowl was called The Devil Made Me Do It and it was comprised of Cocoa Puff, Lucky Charms, malt balls, and chocolate syrup. And then I had to drive for 6 hours back to Pittsburgh.)

So yeah, my love affair with sugary cereal goodness runs deep, so this latest trend of Fruity Pebbles-on-everything is something that really fucking speaks to me like a Leprechaun yodeling in tongues or a Bee Gees record playing in reverse.

Milk & Cream is somewhere in between Chinatown and Little Italy…maybe? That’s what it seemed like. I do not know NYC well at all so when someone asked me on Instagram where this was, I just ignored that part of her question and answered the rest. That’s what you call The Erin Way.

So at Milk & Cream, you pick your base ice cream (vanilla or cookie dough) and any cereal from the laundry list on the wall, which is blended together and splooged out of a soft-serve machine.

I of course chose vanilla and Fruity Pebbles, with a Teddy Graham topping. Chooch went with vanilla and Apple Jacks with a strawberry drizzle. Henry shared mine because I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it (I think my new diet has shrunk my stomach, and I’m not complaining) but then later on, Henry whined about how he wanted to get his own because he was eyeing up the Cap’n Crunch option which I didn’t notice because my eyes hone into Fruity Pebbles first, always, and now I’m pissed that Henry didn’t speak up and be his own person because I would have liked to try his Cap’n Crunch creation too! Cap’n Crunch is my second favorite cereal, ugh, you fucked up Henry!!

Just look at those specks of Fruity Pebbly goodness! And the ice cream itself was thick and rich, way more dense than I expected after watching it splooge through the soft-serve machine. Suffice to say, I couldn’t finish it and Henry obediently finished off the sloppy seconds. I don’t think I save any Teddy Grahams for him, lol.

While I would highly recommend this place to anyone who loves the ice cream and cereal crossover special, it fucking killed my stomach and gave me a sugar headache, so I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling like absolute trash. I think I should have waited longer after eating lunch!

God, I even fail at eating ice cream. This is where I am in life, you guys. Sigh.

(And of course they have their Halloween specials available now so I want to go back and feast on some dumb Boo Berry brain freeze. How quickly the stomach forgets!)

Aug 252018
 

Oh, it was fraught with adversity.

My obsession with Holiday World started about five or six years ago when we were planning a small road trip around a visit with our pals Bill and Jessi in Michigan. I started looking up amusement parks around that area and found two in Indiana that seemed promising: Holiday World and Indiana Beach. I remember it was a big to-do because I wanted to go to both parks and didn’t understand what the problem was, no matter how many times Henry showed me on a map that they were on opposing sides of the state from each other.

SO WHAT!?

Henry just wasn’t as committed as me I guess, and in the end he made me choose one.

In his own gruff dad-words: ONE OR THE OTHER!

I ended up choosing Indiana Beach because they had several rides and y’all know that dark rides are my absolute favorite things in amusement parks. A pox on those that don’t have any, I say!

Something made me jump back on the Holiday World train sometime in late April.

“We’ll see,” Henry said, utilizing his favorite cop-out response.

“But we never go anywhere!” I cried.

“We literally just came back from Korea?!” Henry cried while foraging in our backyard for that night’s dandelion dinner because Korea left as poor people.

(It didn’t really but that’s how Henry acted because it gave him an easy way out of having to do anything for the unforeseeable future.)

My begging and pleading went on for MONTHS culminating in him flipping out and yelling, “SOMETIMES I FORGET THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY AS OLD AS YOU ARE!” in the middle of Target when I was pouting.

I even took this one particular Friday off work because it was getting down to the wire and I couldn’t get that asshole to confirm but if we were going to go, it was going to have to be on that weekend and finally I was like FUCK YOU and booked the hotel and then the rest of that week was really tense and silent in our house, lol, not really but Henry wasn’t pleased with me at all.

At one point, just me and Chooch were going to go but I hoped that my bluff wouldn’t come true because I definitely didn’t want to make that 7 hour drive myself. HOW WOULD I LIVE BLOG?!

After I booked the hotel though, I started to tell work people about it because I thought maybe if I vocalized my desires, they would be more apt to come true so I was all, “YEAH WE’RE GOING TO HOLIDAY WORLD THIS WEEKEND NO BIG DEAL” and blew on my finger nails a few times like I was a 1950s greaser who just called some nerd Coke Bottle Eyes at the soda shop.

Glenn was like, “That sounds dumb” but Lauren and Margie were all in. Especially when I told them that there was the promise of FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE WITH SANTA IN MRS. CLAUS’S KITCHEN.

I walked past them one time last week and casually called over my shoulder, “Oh, and all soft drinks are FREE at Holiday World. Sunscreen too” and then I fake-yawned and continued on to my desk.

But then the day before I admitted to Lauren that I wasn’t actually sure if we were going for real because I still hadn’t gotten Henry to say the y-word (“yes,” come on guys, I shouldn’t have to spell out everything for you, get a clue) but that I had taken the following day off a month prior.

“Did you take that day off specifically for this, without knowing for sure–” and then she started cracking up when I sadly nodded.

So then Friday came. I knew Henry didn’t take the day off because god forbid he ever takes days off work, but sometimes he can get out of there semi-early depending on other people. I fucking paced around Brookline ALL DAY and then Chooch and I argued because I didn’t feel that he cared enough about this trip, and he was like, “But it’s just….Indiana—I mean, no I’m really excited! I want to go! Yay, Holiday World!” but his forced enthusiasm wasn’t foolin’ nobody. NOBODY.

Finally, that d-bag Henry came waltzing in the house around 3:00 and I was like LET’S GO but then he had to take a stupid shower first and pack and I was tapping holes into the floor with my foot.

It was around 3:30 when we finally left the house and I was like, “OK we’re doing this, we’re finally leaving” and Henry was surprisingly in a good mood so that made me feel ominous, you know? Like was something going to happen? (This isn’t foreshadowing, nothing happened, but I am a very superstitious and paranoid person so I was ON EDGE all weekend.)

The funny part is that part of my deal was that if we went to Holiday World, I would drive part way. Originally, I said I would drive for the first part because I can’t drive well at night (see: eyes that can’t see) and Henry was like, “Deal” but then I was like, “Well, I’ll just drive to Columbus and then you can drive after that because I get confused around Columbus” and he sighed heavily but still agreed.

(When I was friends with my ex-bff who lived in shitty Cinci, I would always make her take the Greyhound to Columbus and then I would pick her up there and make her drive the rest of the way to Cinci because following directions on a highway is not my strongsuit. On my very first time ever visiting her, I got the exit number screwed up and got lost like 2 hours into the trip, lost my temper, and came home. Turns out my head scrambled the exit number and instead of taking, say for example, Exit 81 I took Exit 18 and it didn’t occur to me at all that it was awfully soon into the drive to be “almost there” and then I stopped at a gas station and got in a fight with some trashy bitch in Marietta, OH and I have the rest blacked out but I think I wrote about it on LiveJournal so maybe I’ll go and look that up on a rainy day which could be any day since all it’s done here in Pittsburgh this summer is rain and will you just get back to the story, Erin?!)

I was prepared to get in the drivers seat when we were leaving but Henry said he would drive for a little bit because he’s a big tough man and everyone knows women should just shut up and get in the passenger seat. He was going to switch off with me once we got to West Virginia but HILARIOUSLY it started storming so hard that it was hazardous and everyone was crawling along the highway with their flashers on and by the time it stopped, we were nearly to Columbus, and Henry was like, “WOW YOU SURE GOT OUT OF THAT ONE” and I just smiled cutely because we all knew I wasn’t going to do any driving, come on now, I have shit to do.

It was around 7 at this point (yes, that rain took a major chunk out of our travel time) so we stopped in some podunk town for dinner. We were going to eat some joint called Clay’s which was an ice cream parlour and family restaurant, but there was a bit of a wait. I put in my name and we sat on a wooden bench with some of the locals who knew we were outlanders, but then Henry realized there was a Loving Hut nearby so we left and he was mad at me for not telling the lady to take our name off the list like he suddenly is the authority on restaurant couth.

Got to Loving Hut and originally sat down near a fucking screaming toddler whose ear-piercing screeches were ricocheting in my head, and I almost left because I was on the verge of flipping a table (its mom just sat there and scrolled through her phone, like hello maybe your idiot kid is screaming because it wants you to look at it) but then Henry asked a waitress if she could clean off an empty but dirty table on the other side of a wall so ALL WAS WELL.

I usually try to just eat at local establishments when we travel but the call of Loving was just too strong. We used to have a Loving Hut in Pittsburgh but it closed and I’m not sure if it’s reopening somewhere else or just gonezo forever, but it’s a vegetarian joint that even Hank the Meat-Tank can stand so we were all happy. (Even Korea has Loving Huts!)

I want to go back in time and tear that sandwich apart with my gnashing maw all over again it was so good. (Vegan BBQ with coleslaw, ugh more please). I don’t know what Henry got but he nearly licked the plate clean while Chooch complained because he didn’t like the sauce on his burger bun – that kid is so averse to condiments, it makes me sad.

We were sooooo off-schedule by then. Our original ETA was 10:30pm but we had only made it to Cinci by 10, and Santa Claus was still 3 hours from there. But the bright side of running late was that we got to see fireworks over top of an otherwise bland city.

Chooch fell asleep sometime after this and I was burdened with the task of making sure Henry didn’t fall alseep at the wheel even though I was tired too but SOLIDARITY. The drive from Cinci to Louisville wasn’t too bad (we drove past the Vent Museum!) but holy shit it was all black nothingness once we hit Indiana. And then we somehow got rerouted so the GPS added 45 minutes to the drive time and I started crying out of anger while Henry was threatening the GPS robot lady, but then somehow it recalculated and shaved off a bunch of time so we celebrated.

We rolled up to the super basic (but clean and not crawling with sex workers like the last place Henry booked in Newark) Motel 6 or 8 or whatever number they use sometime after midnight which was actually after 1am for us but time rolled back an hour when we crossed over into the central time zone somewhere in Indiana. There was some family in a banged-up minivan who got there at the same time as us and the dad was like, “HAHA you guys look as thrilled as us” because we were just dragging at that point. He had on shorts and a wife-beater and as the elevator door closed on us, Chooch said, “He looked like a discount Vin Diesel” and I couldn’t stop laughing at that because he kind of did look like that.

We crashed and then woke up bright and early to get ready for HOLIDAY WORLD! First we went to Subway for a light breakfast (I get sick if I go to amusement parks with too much food in my gut) and we were in line with a young alternatrash couple that were super skinny probably from drugs and the dude had TERRIBLE face tattoos, which was basically my prelude to a day full of more face tattoos, so many face tattoos, Indiana must run specials on them. And they weren’t on people who looked cool and edgy, like guys in bands or tattoo artists, guys who can pull that shit off because it’s part of their lifestyle as a musician or artist, you know? No, these were the kinds that screamed, “I just finished beating my girlfriend and gave myself this shoddy prison face tattoo.” Every single guy I saw in that park who had one just looked so fucking trashy and heroin-y and I can guess that they all had at least one Kid Rock CD in their car at that moment.

But that didn’t affect our glorious time at Holiday World!

We got there right when it opened at 10am and expected it to be relatively crowded because it was a Saturday and we try to avoid going to amusement parks on weekends. I was fully prepared to have to do a lot of waiting in lines but it was gloriously sparse!

The Raven was the first ride we rode! It was a wicked coaster and unexpectedly fun – Chooch and I sat in the back and got our asses (and necks) kicked on it.

I took some family’s picture here and then the mom was all, “here I’ll take yours too” and I reluctantly agreed but I hate having my picture taken so bad so that’s why it looks like I have 87 fire-sticks up my ass.

Henry was going to wear a gray shirt that I hate because every time he wears it, he’s in a bad mood, so then he changed into a different gray shirt. The man loves grays and browns, I don’t think he’ll change up his wardrobe at this point.

I’m going to stop here and get into the real meaty portions of Holiday World in my next post because SPOILER ALERT we had such a great time there and I can’t stop thinking about those majestic wooden coasters.

Aug 202018
 

Before I get into the real reason we were in Santa Claus, Indiana, I want to talk about the delightful time we spent at the Santa Claus Museum before departing for Pittsburgh yesterday morning.

Yes, the museum was open on Sundays, much to Henry’s dismay!

I thought it was pretty strange that a random town in Indiana was named after Santa, but luckily, I learned immediately at the museum that it was originally called Santa Fee, but when it was time to, I don’t know, do something postal-related, I can’t remember now (I’m the worst at museum-ing!), they realized that there was a town called Santa Fe also in Indiana (WHICH SANTA FE CAME FIRST!? Who has time to google, not me — I want to get through this blog post and finish watching the Taemin Off-Sick concert!! HE WEARS A SWEATER VEST WITH NOTHING UNDER IT DURING ONE SONG, AND HIS PANTS HAVE SUSPENDERS AND HE HAS SOME WEIRD SWEATER COOZY ON HIS ONE FOREARM – ONLY LEE TAEMIN CAN MAKE THIS DORK-STYLE SIZZLE).

Anyway, back to the Sante Fee vs. Santa Fe debacle. There was a town hall meeting to come up with a new name and during that meeting, a strong gust of wind blew the door open and some child-broad yelled, “SANTA CLAUS?!” So that’s how that happened.

A likely story.

But first, we had to snoop around this creepy Santa statue which is allegedly the oldest in the world but then I also read that it’s the only tribute statue to Santa, so…It was still very cool! When we were walking over to it, we saw an older couple that was standing in line in front of us for our first ride on the Voyage at Holiday World the day before!

SPOILER ALERT: We were in Santa Claus for an amusement park.

Such secrets.

(It wasn’t a secret. But we almost didn’t go so I was trying to refrain from being all FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL HOLIDAY WORLD except at work. Those poor people had to hear about it a lot. The new admin lady is learning so much about me whether she wants to or not.)

‘Sup Santa.

So the museum was actually a museum for the TOWN and not Santa in general, which was fine. I appreciate learning the history of a quaint little town every now and then.

I love that they keep old letters to Santa on display.

LIKE THIS ONE.

One of my favorites was from some polite bitch who was like I don’t want anything for Xmas but peace and whatnot and then she conveniently left a PS:

But then the one below it, OUCH MY STUPID HEART.

Chooch was diligently working to piece together this puzzle which ended up missing a bunch of edge pieces and he was in a fit of extreme outrage over this but before the rage happened, some super annoying midwest family came in and the young daughter screamed, “MAMA IS THAT REALLY SANTA” while peering at pictures of some old town Santa in a cabinet. Chooch spun around so fast with the most disgusted look on his face and I was like OH GOD IS HE GOING TO END THIS BITCH’S CHILDHOOD RIGHT NOW but then he turned back around and focused all of his energy on that stupid puzzle that I would have had pieced together in like two minutes, but let’s not make this a competition.

Then the mom was hovering while I was reading the letters to Santa so I stepped aside and she swooped in and started taking pictures of every single one.

The other appealing thing about this town is that some dude back in the day was like, “I have a lot of money so I’m going to retired and build Santa Claus Land” and that’s what he did but then it was only mildly successful and something happened, I can’t remember, and now it’s Holiday World.

OH! There was a wall in the hallway that had a bunch of framed celebrities’ headshots with signed dollar bills in each one and it turns out that some townie back in the 80s decided to write to famous people and ask for their autographed pictures and they included a dollar to also be signed and these celebrities like Johnny Carson and Danny DeVito actually complied?! I thought only soap opera actors did that shit.

Chooch was like, “I DON’T KNOW WHO ANY OF THESE PEOPLE ARE” so I pointed to Charlton Heston and started mouthing off about the NRA and Henry gave me the NOT HERE, NOT NOW moustache bristle so then I mumbled, “He was Moses.”

GUYS, IF I WRITE TO G-DRAGON IN THE MILITARY AND INCLUDE A 1000 WON BILL, HE WILL SIGN IT AND SEND ME A GLORIOUS PHOTO OF HIS PERFECT FACE.

THEN WE WENT TO THE FAKE POST OFFICE.

AND CHOOCH WROTE A LETTER TO SANTA.

(Even though the lady in the museum didn’t ask him if he had written his letter yet, but she practically pounced on the kids in the annoying family about it because they were younger OK #AGEISM.)

This fucker really asked Santa for V-Bucks. I RUE THE DAY FORTNIGHT CAME INTO OUR LIVES. I literally start to shake when he starts begging and whining for V-Bucks. He wanted this “special” they were having the other day and then told me it was TWENTY-FIVE REAL DOLLARS to get a bunch of FAKE DOLLARS to buy FAKE GOODS for his VIDEO GAME CHARACTER?! Um, no. This is the dumbest thing ever, Santa don’t you dare get him V-Bucks.

Get me a gift certificate for Choice Music.

Then the annoying family came in and took over so I was like OK LET’S WRAP THIS UP because I just couldn’t handle the mom with her neon pink Loony Toons shirt and fanny pack.

I don’t know if it was actually Loony Toons but it was neon pink and something a mom would wear in the early nineties and I needed to get away from her.

(Ironically, I was wearing a Hypercolor shirt BUT IT WAS FOR THE BAND HANDS LIKE HOUSES so don’t lump me in. Don’t you fucking dare do it.)

This old-ass creepy church was also on the property so we poked around.

Oh god, it smelled SO OLD in there, and I felt like I was for sure inhaling asbestos and ancient sins. I can’t believe they let people go in there. The floorboards were whack in some spots and I felt like rafters could have started falling in on us at any moment and not just because we heathens yo.

The museum was free but there was a suggested donation of $5 for families so I made Henry cough it up and then I only signed Chooch’s and my name in the guest book, hahahahaha.

Afterward, we went down the street to Santa’s Candy Castle which I mentioned in my liveblog (DID YOU READ IT?! I can’t remember what I wrote but it was probably not important). This was originally part of Santa Claus Land – oh hey, the candy castle’s website has a history page! Here, just read this. 

I just love shit like this. I didn’t even want any candy, I just wanted to see the building. But then I saw that they sold salt water taffy so I bought a bag for work just to be a dick because everyone goes to the beach and brings back legit salt water taffy. WELL HERE’S A SACK OF TAFFY FROM SANTA CLAUS, INDIANA!

Glenn was not impressed.

Overall, Santa Claus, Indiana is a quirky little town and even though I couldn’t imagine living there, it was a fun little road trip and I hope that one day Chooch will be like, “KIDS WE’RE GOING TO SANTA CLAUS” and his partner will be like, “WTF WHY.”