Aug 262014
 

Guys! Did you know that Glenn is having a baby? Well, his wife is, anyway. So we had a baby shower for him today at work!

There was a group card for everyone to sign, but….come on. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to ridicule Glenn in front of the department once again. So I made my own card.

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It’s just too easy sometimes.
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And then Glenn had to pose for pictures and pass around my card for further humiliation. In other words: IT WAS A GOOD DAY.

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Aug 242014
 

Oh boy, has today been a day. Actually, you could say that for the whole weekend. Some exceptionally high points with some shitty lows sprinkled in. You know, for good measure. Keep that shit balanced, I guess. Definitely the highest point of the weekend was Kaitlin’s wedding yesterday! (That gets its own post, though, obvi.) But a low point was drinking waaaay too much for my low tolerant body and then basically laying awake, miserable, from 4AM on. This was my expression at many points throughout the day today:

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I had a fight with the neighbor yesterday. A parent fight. Just what I wanted, you know? I’m like, BITCH CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRYNA TO PAINT MY FUCKING NAILS AND LISTEN TO EMAROSA? STEP OFF. Seriously, one of the worst parts of being a parent is DEALING WITH OTHER PARENTS. This is the same bitch who accused Chooch of punching her son in the face and giving him a bloody lip at school, when their teacher flat out said it DID NOT HAPPEN. And then they expected me to walk their kid to school every day last year?

Anyway, apparently Chooch kicked him yesterday (in the balls, lol) and THIS IS THE SECOND TIME IT’S HAPPENED AND IT’S GOTTA STOP! ONE OF US IS GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE! MY SON IS A FUCKING BULLY! These are these things she was screaming in my face immediately when I opened the door after she was BANGING ON IT seemingly with a sledgehammer. And Chooch was standing next to her, crying.

I’ve seen these two idiots playing together (which I don’t know why they even bother since they clearly don’t like each other) and they both do it to each other. They’re boys. They play rough. Yes, it gets out of hand and they’ll pout separately for a half hour, then go back outside.

So she’s screaming this shit at me without actually even looking at my face and then storms off before I can even really get a word in, which is definitely for the best because I fly off the handle at an alarming pace and I’m much bigger than her meth-addicted, drug-scabbed frame.

She retreated to her house and I called Henry on the phone and started screaming to him about it. I was shaking so bad and he was like, “Don’t stoop to her white trash level.”

I KNOW, I’M TRYING!

I talked to Chooch about it and he didn’t deny it. But then he calmly told me the other part of the story, which is where the kid rips Chooch’s phone from his hands and then shoves him to the ground when he asks for it back. And I believe this because I’ve seen that oaf-kid do these things and there’s not a doubt in my mind. So I asked, “Did his parents see all of this?” and he said no BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T OUTSIDE. But they heard their lame kid do his patented fake cry (honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scowled at him when he’s pulled this shit in front of me) so his mom came running out and started screaming because that is 100% all the Yinzer bitch knows how to do and let me just tell you how hard it is for a person who doesn’t speak like a yokel to decipher what the hell is being said/screamed.

This was the lowest low of the whole weekend, and I started drinking as soon as I got to Kaitlin’s wedding reception, because NO, JUST NO.

Then today, another mom came over to talk to me and basically sided with me because she spends a lot of time around both kids (her kid is 6, so she makes sure she’s outside most of the time when they’re all playing together) and she said that the bully kid’s mom yells at Chooch A LOT without ever seeing what happened, and she says things like, “You’re not innocent” and has her son spouting off things like, “Your parents think you’re so perfect.”

Yes, we think he is SO FUCKING PERFECT. Bitch, STFU. I don’t think my son is perfect but I think that he’s a boy and this is the shit that boys do, if you don’t want your precious cargo getting nicked, then don’t let him out of his room. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU.

Other Mom also said that she sees a lot of these fights and that—shocker—Chooch isn’t the one who starts them. But god forbid he defends himself. And she also said that Chooch is always the one to try to make up and move on, but the other kid will say things like, “No, you’re stupid.”

He also calls people homos and faggots, so you see the savory sort of people we’re dealing with here. If I had 100% control of the situation, I wouldn’t let Chooch play with him AT ALL. But they are drawn together like destructive magnets.

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I felt pretty good after that conversation. And then we went to Station Street Hot Dog for lunch, and I felt even better. And then BILLY OCEAN came on while we were waiting for our hot dogs and I was like, “OH SUNDAY, YOU SEXY DAY YOU.”

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Remember my post about Henry on Friday? Yeah, forget that. I have a new boyfriend now. THIS GUY. ^^^^

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Also, when I was talking to Nice Mom, she interrupted herself at one point to gush about how much Chooch looks like me and I was like, “LADY YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH THAT MEANS TO ME.” Everyone thinks he looks like Henry and not me at all, which makes me sad because I think we look a lot alike. And then later, I was being my typical animated self which involved me pulling faces to get my point across, and she yelled, “OMG I SEE YOUR SON MAKING THAT FACE ALL OF THE TIME!”

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I got a vegetarian taco hot dog, yessss.

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We took everything to the cemetery for a picnic on rocks.

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You know what else Nice Mom told me? That bully kid’s mom told her that Chooch doesn’t talk to her kid at all in school, and if he does, it’s only to pick on him, but then he turns around expects her son to play with him all summer.

ARE.YOU.FUCKING.KIDDING.ME. First of all, Chooch tries to keep his distance from him because that a-hole gets him in trouble all of the time. Every year, the teachers learn that they have to keep them separated. I actually JUST pointed this out to Henry a few weeks ago, how it’s convenient for him to play with Chooch in the summer when he’s got no one else, and he’s guilting Chooch into buying him ice cream from the ice cream man. (THIS HAPPENED!!!! I WAS LIVID!! THAT A-HOLE’S MOM WAS RIGHT THERE TOO AND NEVER EVEN BOTHERED TO OPEN HER FUCKING PURSE, OMG I HATE THIS WHITE TRASH FAMILY SO BAD.) But then I KNOW he’s going to turn around and go back to being a super-dick to Chooch once they’re in school again. HE knocks on OUR door! Chooch never initiates it!

Ugh, I miss the days when Chooch’s only friends were adults.

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Henry yelled at Chooch for “getting moss on his pants,” thereby furthering his passionate stance on the fluffy green stuff.

Then we went to the worst Target in the city, which is always full of college kids and hipsters, and Target is usually such a happy place for me, BUT NOT THIS ONE. And then Henry bitched because we spent $100 more than he wanted to and I was like, “OH OK BITCH JUST GO RETURN ALL OF MY STUFF” and he was like, “NO I DON’T CARE, I WAS JUST SAYING” and then I was already still so mad about having to weave and wind through so many hipsters, it was like knowing what a damn Mumford & Sons concert must be like, so I just started yelling incoherent things and then bitched because it smelled in the car AND WHY DOESN’T HENRY JUST CLEAN IT ALREADY OMG.

So then he was like ,”Do you still want ice cream?” and I was like “OMG yes I almost forgot!” so then it was going to be a high point again, going to Oh Yeah! to get ice cream, but there was a long line with only one person working and my Perfect Son was being decidedly Imperfect so I stormed out and marched back to the car and Henry was so annoyed when they finally caught up to me.

ANOTHER LOW POINT.

But then we decided to just go and get some of these amazing Leona’s ice cream sandwiches but then got into another argument because he was making me look up where we could buy them and I hate when he makes me do that because then he will unfailingly ask impossible questions, such as, “What is the address?” and I’m like “I DON’T KNOW STOP PRESSURING ME!” and then he will yell, “FUCK YOU WE’RE GOING HOME!” and then I’m like, “OH THIS IS TYPICAL, THE ONLY THING I WANTED ALL DAY AND NOW I CAN’T HAVE IT” and he will scream, “THE LAST 457 THINGS YOU GOT TODAY ALREADY WERE SUPPOSEDLY THE ONLY THINGS YOU WANTED TODAY!” and then Chooch will be like, “Does wherever we’re going have wifi?” and we’re all like, “UGHUGHUGH.”

But then we eventually found a market in Lawrenceville that sells Leona’s and also tubs of vegan chicken salad!!!! So we bought that and each got an ice cream sandwich and we were all happy again. Mostly.

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Then we came home and I started working on this piece called “People To Watch Over You.”

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Chooch goes back to school tomorrow. I’m sad that summer is over, but it was time. Yesterday’s blow-up definitely proves that.

What a fucking bipolar weekend, you guys.

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Aug 192014
 

Henry’s mom has been staying over a lot this summer to help out with watching Chooch since my schedule changed and Henry’s work is constantly jerking him around. Now, don’t get it twisted, I like Judy a lot. BUT if I have to hear one more second of the Family Feud music, Ruby might make a comeback.

(Ruby is my bi-polar psycho personality, for those who haven’t been graced with her presence.)

Try to imagine how you felt when you were 16 and too many grown ups were around. That’s how I feel. It’s bad enough when it’s just Henry!! Now I’m surrounded!!

Last night, I pouted in my bedroom and listened to Touché Amore REALLY LOUDLY and waited for Henry to come in and ask me what’s wrong so I could cry NOTHING!!! UGH!!!

Judy’s downstairs watching the Bachelor now I think. Sigh.

You guys? My life. This is it. What a fantastic summer this has been.

Tonight, I’ve been replaying the same Emarosa song over and over and crying because I am the ultimate emo song personified these days. Ever since I heard them play this song on the Devil’s Dance tour in May, it has haunted to me. It makes me feel like my heart has been carved and sculpted into a wigwam and I’m curled up inside it. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN DON’T LIE, FUCKER.

^ That song title is wrong, FYI.

I salivate every time I think of this upcoming album. Less than a month until it’s released (I preordered it of course)! And then a week later I’ll be seeing them in Chicago at Riot Fest and that will make up for my lame summer.

(Oh boy, now Henry’s here to completely not listen when I try to talk about my FEELINGS.)

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Aug 122014
 

For months, I had been giddily anticipating a visit from the only Flyers fans I like. Terri and Christian got into Pittsburgh the day after my birthday (WHICH IS JULY 30, PUT IT IN YOUR BOOK THINGS) and came over to hang out that night. Terri baked me chocolate chip cookies, you guys, and they were incredible but CHOOCH somehow seemed to eat most of them because “Those are mommy’s birthday cookies” means nothing to him.

We spent most of the time talking about music (which put me on a Felix Culpa kick, so thank you guys for rejuvenating my love of that band), shows that we’ve been to, bands we’ve met (Terri fucking drove Greg Dulli to his bus one time; how do you even recover from that??) and then Chooch was like, “OK, enough. Now you will all sit here and watch me play Xbox.”

Like myself, Terri and Christian are both vegetarians, so I was happy that I’d get to eat at places that actually offer more vegetarian fare than just shitty freezer aisle veggie burgers, because most of my carnivorous friends would rather than die than throw me a (tempeh) bone and go to a vegetarian restaurant. They’d just point out that I could at least get a salad, even at the meatiest of places. And even on my birthday! Vegetarians get no love.

That being said, Christian and Terri picked me up from work the next day around noon and we went to the OTB Cafe on the Southside, where seitan ruled the menu and we all ate happily beneath a ceiling laden with bicycles. I had a veggie burger with PB&J, go fuck yourself.

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Terri ordered fried pickles and seitan wings for us to share and I can’t remember the last time my belly was so happy. Goddammit.

Also? Our waitress looked like a young, bleached blond Mariel Hemingway with tattoos and gauges. And that will probably be the last time I think about Mariel Hemingway’s existence for another 20 years.

Afterward, we pissed around on Carson Street for a little while, because Henry was supposed to meet us but then his work fucked him over (or maybe that really is actually his euphemism for “Sorry, I’m banging my mistress”). Terri wanted to buy some Pittsburgh-centric magnets but we couldn’t find any and the one time I bothered to ask some I was sneered at like I was wearing orange in a city of black and gold (oh shit, I just realized that I actually was, too). When I was a kid, there was a store at the mall that sold a bunch of Pittsburgh souvenirs. It was called—wait for it—-The Pittsburgh Store. I couldn’t think of a single place comparable to that nowadays. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Time to expand my Etsy empire to include tourist-y Pittsburgh magnets.

Magnet-less, I took them to Dave’s Music Mine, where we flipped through bins of used CDs and shared our dirtiest, guiltiest pleasure albums.

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If I cared  a little more, I could have gotten my Christmas shopping for Henry out of the way.

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On the way out, Terri mentioned that she had the Livin’ La Vida Loca single from back in the day.

I didn’t even have that!” I laughed mockingly, to which she cooly replied, “Oh please, after all the albums you just admitted having? I think you’re way worse.”

And she’s totally right. But I just can’t get rid of my 90210 soundtrack, OK?!

Then it was time to ride the Incline, which is a true Pittsburgh installation. It’s essentially a funicular that goes up and down Mt. Washington, which arguably provides the best view of the my fair city. Anytime someone is visiting from out of town, it’s imperative to take  them for a spin up and down a treacherous hillside. It’s just what we do ’round here and I never really think anything of it.

But this time, I was with rational people who value safety. The plan was to park at Station Square and ride the Incline up, but as we passed the track on the way to the parking lot, Christian piped up from the backseat and said, “THAT’S IT?! No. I’m not riding that.”

I thought he was joking at first, but then I looked out the window and tried to see the incline from his perspective, and you know what guys? That’s some fucking scary shit, for real. I still laughed at him for it, though. Terri was still partially on board, probably because she was driving and didn’t get to really take long, lingering looks at it like Christian had.

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So I suggested that we just drive to the top of Mount Washington and then they could decide from there if they wanted to ride it because for some idiotic reason I thought that looking DOWN at the Incline would be so much more convincing. “Yes, you too can ride this super old-fashioned contraption clear down the side of a steep hill!”

“Is that it?!” Terri asked on t he drive up the hill as her car passed beneath the track. “Oh, well now that I’ve seen the underneath it, I’m definitely not going on.” And this prompted Christian to start muttering once again about how terrible of an idea Inclines are and how he can’t believe President Obama hasn’t put an end to this yet and why don’t we just skateboard down the hill, that would be safer.

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Alas, being at the top didn’t change their minds. It only solidified to them the fact that Pittsburghers are Sidney Crosby-loving reckless hillside travelers. Oh, how I laughed at them! But then my stomach flopped around like a fish chased out of water by shitty Katy Perry music blaring from a submarine. You know, just like that.

But we stayed on one of the overlooks long enough for me to take a touristy photo of them:

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Fuck yeah, Pittsburgh!

After getting some iced coffee at Grand Brew, Terri and Christian went back to their hotel, presumably to “rest” but really they just wanted privacy to watch a bunch of videos of the Incline doing terrible things.

Later that night, we all met up at Page’s Dairy for ice cream, which is just as much of a Pittsburgh-y institution as anything else, so suck it, Incline. I apparently hate the Incline now. PEER PRESSURE.

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Aug 032014
 

It rained most of the morning and afternoon here in Pittsburgh, so I treated myself to a binge-session of the new (and final) season of The Killing. (This TV series has seriously affected me in some mysterious ways and I am so happy that Netflix revived it long enough for the series to get a proper wrap-up, but also devastated that it’s donezo.)

Then the rain broke, so I made Chooch go for a walk with me to try to balance things out. I hate being even a little sloth-like. This is why, even when I’m sick, I don’t rest. I brought my camera because I’m trying to get back into the habit of taking pictures of Chooch. I’ve been L-Z when it comes to using my camera lately, and then when I’m like, “Henry I want a new camera, buy me a new camera, Henry” he’s like “Why? You barely use the one you have.” True story. So if you’re ever thinking, “Why is she getting worse at this instead of better?”, well, that’s why.

But at least I’m getting a little better at remembering to bring the camera with me. Baby steps!

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We walked to the abandoned Bradley School, which used to be a school for deaf kids. (Or blind? I’ve been there often enough, kicking around shards of broken glass, that you would think I would know this.)

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This was Chooch’s idea. “Take a picture of me looking evil, and then photoshop a dead girl behind me.”

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Chooch wants me to call this one “I’m Beautiful and Fabulous.” Done.

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It occurred to me, halfway through our fauxtoshoot, that no one knew where we were. So I texted Henry and told him “you know, in case something happens to us.” And all he said was “ok.” No “good luck” or “please be careful” or “OMG I”m so afraid for you” or “PLEASE DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS.”

Not even a reminder to be mindful of the “CAUTION: ASBESTOS” signs posted all over the property.

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Don’t worry: we kept out.

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Spoiler alert: we made it home safe and sound and Henry was like “ok.” Then I watched the series finale of The Killing and bawled my little bitchy eyes out. I’ll miss you, Linden and Holder. :(

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Aug 012014
 

You guys. My friends Terri and Christian are here visiting, so I’m going to take advantage of Flashback Friday and post an older painting, which is available as a print, oh boy.
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It started out simply. Two old friends, meeting up in the city for some Milwaukee’s Best and beer nuts.

Paul talked ad nauseum about his new bride, Pricilla. Talked about how she picked up his dirty socks with a broad smile on her face and even wore a skimpy apron while cooking his meatloaf. If he brought her roses and Vodka, she would even make love to his anus.

Samuel, having been single for the last eight years, sulked a bit. He hated hearing about his friends’ good fortune with the ladies, while he was left to sleep alone, with nothing more than his pit bull to spoon. Though it was a step up from the iguana he tried to recruit as a temporary bedmate.

Paul didn’t like to see his friend look so sullen. He thought Samuel had some great qualities that many women would be attracted to. For example, the fact that he was the quietest farter Paul had ever met. (Though, were silent-but-deadlies any better?) And that he didn’t live with his mother. (Mostly that’s attributed to the fact that she’s dead.) And that he had a large weapons collection, with which to keep any woman feeling safe and protected. (Paul still wasn’t entirely sure why Samuel needed a bazooka just for fox hunting, though.)

But still, Paul couldn’t see any reason for Samuel to continue his dry spell any longer and became determined to find him a girlfriend. Or at the very least, a mute with a clean vagina upon which Samuel could practice, maybe get his groove back. So when they left the bar in favor for some totally non-gay window shopping, Paul broached the subject.

“Say, Samuel, what types of broads do you like?” Paul asked as the ducked into an Army Navy store, where Samuel darted straight to a counter displaying knives.

“Well, like I always say: I like my women like I like my ice cubes,” Samuel murmured absently, running a calloused thumb over the blade of a Bowie.

Paul laughed. “Frosty exterior with a piece of fruit in the center?” he asked, curling his fingers into exaggerated air quotes when he said “center,” and recalling that Samuel was really into freezing tiny pieces of nectarines in his ice cubes, which added pizazz to his signature summer Sangria.

“No,” Samuel replied, with a slight scoff. “Frozen in a tray,” he answered, sliding his credit card over to the cashier. “By the dozen.”
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This is a print of my original painting The Conversation. It measures 8×10 and does not come framed.

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Jul 302014
 

Today is my 35th birthday. Thank you, thank you. Since 35 seems to be an age where things happen (?), I decided that I should commemorate it in live-blog form. And I sure picked a super awesome birthday to live blog, because I have a ton of festivities lined up today, like….going to work and taking Chooch to his piano lesson. Anyway, let’s get this party started in the least Black Eyed Peas way as possible.

7:43am: I just ate an everything bagel thin and I’m drinking coffee and typing in this and keeping track of all the people who wish me a happy birthday without an exclamation point on Facebook.

7:55am: I told Henry he didn’t have to get me anything for my birthday since he’s taking me to Riot Fest and then when he didn’t get me anything for my birthday I pouted and told him to GTFO and that I hate him. BUT HE IS STILL HERE WTF. This just happened. REAL TIME, FRIENDOS.

8:19am: Henry decided to go “religious” when choosing my birthday card this year. GOOD ONE, HENRY:

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8:28am: Henry is whisking me away to work in his juice van chariot. He knows how to make a girl feel like a lady.

8:46am: I’m at work now. Surprisingly, Glenn didn’t get me a birthday present. He said if he had known in advance, he’d have left a dead fish in one of my desk drawers. BETTER THAN NOTHING!!!!!

9:00am: AHHHHH CHRIS BROUGHT ME THE MOTHERLODE OF BIRTHDAY FANTASIA! CHRIS, YOU AND MONICA ARE THE BEST!

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I tried to show Glenn how cute the wrapping paper is and he was like “OK.”

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STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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THESE ARE HOMEMADE AND AMAZING! Chris and Monica, you guys are so sweet and I’m going to sit here and cry about it for a few minutes. Don’t tell.

9:07am: Glenn tried to out-do Chris and Monica by giving me a stapler. NICE TRY.

9:55am: Mean Amber offered to get me birthday coffee this morning but I declined for fear of her purposely BURNING me with it. That’s something she would do.

10:09am: There are people laughing in the forbidden section of our department (a/k/a “Forbidden City”) and it’s ruining my birthday. Also ruining my birthday: ETHAN giving me dumb work. Thank god Sandy came over and hung up a Dora the Explorer birthday banner on my desk. That helped.

10:55am: I just made the mistake of defending Mean Amber when she said she didn’t want to throw away her deflated balloon dog because his eyes looking up at her from the garbage can made her feel so sad. So I said that I knew what she meant; for example: when I’m shopping with Henry and go to put the cart back (my favorite thing!), I will never put the cart in an empty cart-return stall because I don’t want it to be lonely. I’ll find one that has others (preferably just one other because then I’m helping save TWO carts from loneliness). Then I can walk away, comforted by the fact that my cart has people to talk to. “Keep it up,” Glenn mumbled. “You’re just reinforcing what we already know about you.” What, THAT I’M A PHILANTHROPIST? Because, duh.

11:48am: Finally broke down and ate one of the vanilla bean macarons and holy fucking shit it’s going to take everything in me not to dump the rest of the box into my panting mouth. I’m such a whore for macarons.

11:59am: MY BROTHER JUST TEXTED ME THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT OF ALL TIME! Look at the disgust on my face! And Henry is still in that “Yes! I bagged a youngin’!” stage of delusion.

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12:11pm: Here’s random birthday memory. For my 23rd or 24th birthday (they all blend together, really; my 20s sucked tremendously), I had a handful of friends over for birthday cake. My then-friend (as in, no-longer friend) brought some guy with her and said, “I just found him at the gas station. He recently moved here from Italy and can’t speak English. I was like, “YES YOU CAN BRING THIS FOREIGN INTERLOPER INTO MY HOUSE!” because that was back when I lived on the edge and loved me some stranger danger. Henry was like, “frown frown frown frown” about this, but whatever. I rule the roost. Always. So yes, here comes this guy with a bottle of wine that I didn’t like and he’s just standing around and smiling and I’m talking REALLY LOUDLY to him because I kept confusing foreign with deaf. And then finally, after hours of this, my “friend” laughs and says he’s not Italian and he’s not a stranger. He’s actually her friend and has a good strong grasp on the English language. I was really mad because I felt like I wasted my whole birthday trying to find ways to ask this asshole if he wanted vanilla cake or chocolate.

12:53pm: YAY WENDY JUST GAVE ME PRESENTS! She got me a mustache ring-holder and a really cute tote bag. When I brought it all back to my desk, I said, “Look Glenn, Wendy got me a bag to put over your head!” because it’s my birthday and I’m on a roll.

1:19pm: At my birthday lunch with Jeannie, Wendy and Barb but BARB is ruining it with boring work conversation!!!

1:44pm: That time it was my birthday and WENDY spilled her Coke all over my side of the table!!!

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2:59pm: Lunch at Las Velas was great, but I had a moment of panic when I thought I was going to have to pay for my own birthday lunch and I still haven’t gotten a new debit card after losing my wallet two months ago. Don’t worry, Jeannie had me covered. Came back from lunch and Bridget yelled at me for saying Las Velas wrong. Also, I learned that Barb basically knows nothing about Mexican food and ordered the most Americanized thing she could find on the menu and then asked Jeannie what cilantro is and I was like, “Jesus fuck, even I know what cilantro is.” I had a tamale. Barb, a tamale is:

  1. a Mexican dish of seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks.
    Mine had veggies in it, not meat.

3:04pm: I just started cracking up at my desk because I let myself actually think the words, “I wonder if my mom will wish me a happy birthday today.” But then I almost started to cry. MOVING ON.

3:26pm: SOMEONE ATE NATALIE’S PIZZA ROLLS!!! DRAMA ON MY BIRTHDAY!!!!

4:48pm: Natalie still hasn’t found the Pizza Roll pilferer. Meanwhile, Henry just told me he canceled Chooch’s piano lesson, but don’t worry: I’m sure it’s not because he has any surprise birthday plans for me. This is Henry we’re talking about, after all.

6:07pm: I’m home now. Sadly, there were no clowns hiding in my house.

6:15pm: I used to look forward to my birthday so much every year because I would typically have a big swim party at my Pappap’s house, and my Pappap would make everyone burgers and hot dogs and he was so damn proud of his grilling skills. I try not to hang on to the past, but fuuuck do I miss those days. My birthdays have always had an underlying layer of sadness ever since he died in 1996. I cry for him at least twice on my birthday, every year. I can’t help it.

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6:18pm: Haha, sorry. Henry left to take his mom home so this is the first time I’ve had a chance all day to really think about this day and what it means. :(

7:28pm: My big birthday plans involved coming home from work and finally starting the new season of Teen Wolf but the stupid first episode is already gone from On Demand WHAT. FUCK TODAY. GAME OVER.

8:40pm: I watched Teen Wolf on MTV’s dumb website so all is well in Appledale Hell.

8:41pm: I never said this live blogging event was going to be entertaining. It’s basically the same thing as going to the dentist and calling THAT an event, too.

8:50pm: I’m walking to CVS to return “Noah” to Redbox. Maybe something outrageous will happen!

9:00pm: Walking home behind Mormon missionaries. This is the first time I’ve seen them (same two) that they didn’t give me a prayer card and ask, “Will you read it? WILL YOU?” Happy birthday to me, I guess. They’re no Sister McRae, that’s for sure.

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10:37pm: Well, this wasn’t the worst birthday I’ve ever had, so let’s call it a win. Henry could have been a little more accommodating though.

P.S. I almost forgot to include this gem! The envelope of my card from Chooch:

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Jul 222014
 

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I’m really thankful that my cousin Danielle and I reconnected because now Chooch has a cousin around his age and I just think that’s so important, and not something that I had growing up because my family is so goddamn mental and loooooved to sever ties with entire branches. Chooch has been getting to know Danielle’s son Ean better lately which makes me happy because while he regularly sees Henry’s family, there’s clearly not much left of mine.

Ean slept over on Saturday and they were still getting along when they woke up on Sunday. I mean, assuming they even slept at all!

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And then on Sunday, one of our little neighbor kids wanted to come in and I have a pretty strong NO NEIGHBOR SPAWN IN THE HOUSE POLICY because it brings back traumatic memories of when I first moved there when I was 20 and literally ALL OF THE NEIGHBOR KIDS gravitated to me and the next thing I knew, I had 5 kids hanging off the railings of my front porch every single motherfucking day. And then it occurred to me that I had become some unofficial Brooklline babysitter and it was just no good.

All of those kids were fucking DDDDDDICK HEADS.

But this neighbor kid isn’t bad. He was kind of in awe of my house which was hilarious because if you’re most adults, you’re sneering at my juvenile decor. But if you’re a kid (or a cool adult), you’re like IS THAT A PEE WEE HERMAN DOLL?!?! And then running around my house with a pig mask on.

These are all things that happened.

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Later, we took Chooch and Ean to a pretty sad mini golf course, where Chooch only cried once so I guess he’s growing up, you guys.

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Henry relived his SERVICE days with an ugly camouflage ball. Get a life, Henry.

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Intense staring.
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HYENA FTW!!! (That’s me, obv. And I WON.)

Anyway, aside from feeling hungover all weekend without having had a single sip of alcohol, it was a good one. That was the most time I’ve spent with Ean, so YAY FAMILY STUFF!

This was basically Marcy’s face all weekend, especially when the extremely high-pitch voiced neighbor kid was over:

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Jul 152014
 

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When I told people I went to a professional woman’s football game last Saturday night, the popular response was, “What the hell. You hate football!”

Truth! I really do hate football, and the only thing I hate worse than football is PITTSBURGH football. Boys or girls, I hate them all the same. No discrimination here. But when my friend Kristy asked me if I wanted to go and explained that she was only going because her friend Katie plays for the opposing team, the New York Sharks, and also that we were going to drink at the Smiling Moose beforehand, I was like, “Fuck yeah, I’ll go.” I get a lot of joy rooting for opposing teams! I’m like a sports hipster, I guess.

Besides, if I was going to go to a Pittsburgh Passion game with anyone, it would be Kristy. I don’t know why, but I stand behind this statement.

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Kristy even made this awesome sign to show support for her friend Katie! It was kind of adorable. I want to join some kind of team now or run for Congress so that Kristy will make a poster for me.

When we got inside Cupples Stadium, Kristy decided she didn’t want to sit in the middle of Passion fans, because Pittsburgh sports fans are a special brand of crazy. Like, bath salts crazy. Before we even made it to the stands, we stumbled upon a small group of Sharks fans with some assertive Passion broad who was trying to accommodate their seating needs. And by seating needs, I mean that they were asking to sit as far away from psycho Yinzer sports fans as possible. So we tagged along and entered the field with them, and that’s when I realized that one of the Sharks ladies was actually a part of the organization, so I started to feel really special, because that’s the type of person I am: the type that gloats when mascots or someone on a professional women’s football team payroll spends one extra nanosecond on me than the rest of the kids. It’s because I’m attention starved, OK? I will take flirtatious sentiments from anyone: in a fur-suit, NY Sharks shirt or prison jumpsuit, I don’t give a fuck.

Anyway, the Passion broad explained to us that she was unable to unlock the gate so that we could sit on the bleachers across the field from the Pittsburgh side, some lame excuse about how the Passion organization only paid for half of the stadium to be cleaned so they couldn’t have us getting our filth all over the other side of stands, too. However, what she was able to do instead was bring over extra benches ON THE SIDELINE so that we could still sit far away. There was some grumbling from the other Sharks fans about how they weren’t going to be able to see real well, but I was like, “Fuck yes.” Because if I’m going to have to watch some dumb football game, you better believe I want it to be on the field.

While we were getting situated on our special benches, one of the Sharks ladies felt compelled to beg us to behave. Don’t distract the players, don’t get up and walk off the field during play and basically just don’t breathe. Then she came back with her camera and yelled, “OK SHARKS FANS!” and everyone put their hands up on top of their heads like shark fins, and I had to whip my head around to look at everyone else’s so that I didn’t fuck it up because I’m a hand-gesture dunce.

“I wonder what the Passion sign is?” Kristy wondered out loud, making a diamond over her crotch with her hands. “Do they just like, masturbate?” And I died for the first of 87 times that night.

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Seriously, this was our view: a recreational lesbian’s field day. I cultivated no less than 8 crushes in the first five minutes of sitting down. It’s actually kind of surprising that Christina doesn’t play professional women’s football.

“Fair warning, my twin daughters play for the Sharks, so I might get kind of loud,” an older man who bore a mild resemblance to Laura Palmer’s Dad (but enough so that I would run with it for the rest of the night) said cordially as he sat down next to me. “Wow, Pittsburgh’s sure got a big fan base. Look at that!” he enthused, pointing across the field to the home bleachers. I thought he was being sarcastic, because there didn’t seem to be that many people there, but then I remembered that this was WOMEN’S football and we all know that no one cares about women’s sports.

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Passion’s Impressive Fan Base.

Did you know that they have to pay for this shit themselves? It’s true! Kristy told me. And they all have to have regular day jobs too, unlike those fat NFL rapist douchebags. So I was able to overlook my hatred of football by convincing myself that I was actually there to support girls doing shit. Because I’m a girl.

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I took this picture when we returned after halftime to illustrate how sparse the Sharks section was.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was a pretty laid back guy and I didn’t mind that he was trying to lure conversation from my clamped mouth because was mildly charming. But then 10 seconds into the game, he fucking EXPLODED with rage and bulging forehead veins.

“PAIGE!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!?!? CONTAIN!!!!! WHERE’S THE D?!?!?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, REF?! WHAT WAS THAT!?!??! HEY REF, YOU NEED TO BORROW SOMEONE’S GLASSES BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE!”

And on and on and on. Kristy slowly looked over at me and we totally lost it. At this point, he was standing on top of the back of the bench, leaning against the fence behind him for balance, and every time he yelled, it sounded like angry jets were being launched from his throat and into my ears. And then another dad on the bench next to us joined in, the two of them volleying disparaging reviews of the ref’s competence back and forth between them in their thick New York accents. Laura Palmer’s Dad kept marching over to the Sharks bench and reaming out his daughter’s, Paige and Jenna, but it seemed like poor, fuck-up Paige was taking the brunt of it. She would just stand there with her head down, shoulders rolled forward, probably wondering when she was going to have time to finish digging her dad’s grave in the woods.

Please, please, please watch this dumb video.

Laura Palmer’s Dad was screaming so hoarsely, that I feared he was going to have a stroke. I was honestly afraid to turn around to see what he looked like while verbally battering the entire Sharks team and officials. I half-expected to catch him deep-throating an entire horse out of unchained anger.

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I kept getting misted with Haterade every time he screamed too, so now I can say Laura Palmer’s Dad showered me.

Meanwhile, my brother Corey was texting me because he saw my video on Instagram, so then it became even funnier to me, knowing that it was this funny to Corey. You know who definitely didn’t think it was “that funny”? HENRY. I kept texting him with a play-by-play to NO RESPONSE. He was just jealous because he wasn’t there and he probably knew it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with Laura Palmer’s Dad. I mean, he was totally my type. I bet he has sexually harassed an impressive amount of secretaries in his day.

Or Henry was just sleeping.

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Laura Palmer’s Dad in a rare moment where his lips were demonstrating what some people might recognize as “a closed mouth.”

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What? You guys don’t take shoulder selfies?

The other angry dad is standing next to the guy stroking his chin, who was actually with Laura Palmer’s Dad but not nearly as loud. Occasionally he would bellow “SHARKS!” but I felt like it was more because he didn’t want Laura Palmer’s Dad to be disappointed in him, too.

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Here’s one of the twins getting berated.

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And the other.

He reallllly wanted them to “contain it,” whatever the fuck that means. And see, that was a big problem, not understanding the game and terminology. I would have to wait for my Sharks peeps to cheer or clap to know how to proceed, but sometimes I was confused because the Passion fans would also be clapping and I thought we hated each other? Anyway, when one of the Sharks got the ball-thing and started booking it down the field with no one close enough to stop her, I knew to stand up and do jump-y things and yell. And I also knew that when things weren’t going our way, to blame the refs. That’s universal. And if I hadn’t known that, Laura Palmer’s Dad would have taught me real fast.

The Passion scored enough times for the speakers to bleed out Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “Single Ladies.” You know, just in case we forgot we were at a girls football game.

Too bad we were losing pretty good (I guess?) by halftime. I was pissed when we came back from not getting stabbed during our halftime drinks at Jack’s because KRISTY lied to me and we were LATE getting back to a sporting event I don’t even care about, except for when I do, so we had to stand off the field and wait for the quarter thing to end before going back to our dumb bench. THANKS, KRISTY. I was so concerned that we were going to be ostracized from our elite Sharks section. But as soon as the clock turned to 0:00, I speed-walked across the field back to our bend.

“Hurry! I don’t want to get in trouble!” I kept hissing at Kristy. And approximately 3 minutes after I said that, Laura Palmer’s Dad and Other Official-Hating Dad came together to throw a joint temper tantrum so histrionic that the ref literally turned toward us and screamed, “NO! YOU SUCK!” blew his whistle, made a violent motion with his arms, and stomped off the field.

The fucking ref stopped the game and stormed off, you guys. IT WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC!

But….then the Sharks lady (I learned after the game that she is the CEO or CFO or COO or some acronym equally as important) marched over and said sternly, “I told you that you had to knock it off. Ref wants you gone. ALL OF YOU.”

Laura Palmer’s Dad said, “No! You guys stay. I’ll take the hit on this one.” MY MOTHERFUCKING HERO. Oh god, please let me be Laura Palmer’s Dad wife. Oh, who am I kidding. Laura Palmer’s Dad’s penis coozy is good enough for me. He can scream at me to contain the D all night. Yell at me like I’m one of your disappointing twins!

“Ref wants you ALL gone!” Important Sharks Lady repeated. So we all got up and dejectedly walked off the field, Kristy with her rolled-up Sharks poster, basically the entire Cupples Stadium watching.

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This is what Womens’ Football Game Ejection looks like.

And just in case one of us was planning on resisting the ref’s request, two cops were sent out to make sure we left peacefully. It was the most ridiculous thing ever and I was so afraid I was going to pee from laughing so hard.

“Womp womp,” Kristy said with mock sadness into her rolled-up poster, and that just made me laugh even harder.

 

Once we were off the field, we all kind of stood in a cluster, laughing nervously by the concession stand. I was glad to see that Laura Palmer’s Dad was also laughing about it and not snapping metal rods over his legs in fury like I had anticipated.

“Sorry guys,” he said, with a shrug and then he flashed that good old Laura Palmer’s Dad smile at us and I melted. UGH HOW CAN I BE MAD AT THAT.

By then, one of the Passion broads had learned about what happened, so she decided to intervene. I guess because it was the ref who kicked us out and not the actual Passion team, she let us back on the field. They tried once again to get the gate unlocked for us, but then realized no one had the key. So the compromise was to move one of the benches further away from the field and have one of the cops babysit us.

“I feel like a red-headed stepchild,” Laura Palmer’s Dad laughed as he helped drag the bench away from the rest of the benches. Kristy and I opted to sit on his bench rather than return to our original spots, because I wanted him to see that we were IN THIS BITCH TOGETHER.

I just like being a part of things, OK?

Anyway, the game resumed after the ref rubbed the hurt out of his butt, and it didn’t take long for the two dads to get all fired up once again.

“OH NOW HE THROWS A FLAG!” the other dad bellowed, his voice cracking under the weight of the sarcasm.

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This was right after the ref called an illegal formation, whatever the fuck that is, and that set off Laura Palmer’s Dad and his Partner-in-Scream-Hemorrhaging all over again, to the point where I thought for sure they were going to cause us to make the 11 o’clock news. FUCK YOU AND YOUR ILLEGAL FORMATION, REF!

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Our babysitter.

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This lady refused to leave when we got kicked out. I guess that’s her daughter. She popped her shoulder out.

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And then, after it was all said and done, Laura Palmer’s Dad STOOD ON THE FIELD, yelling for his daughters’ attention. He was relentless.

I LOVE THAT IN A MAN.

During the final minutes of the game, “Girl On Fire” warbled out of the cheap sound speakers, and we just lost it. I wish they had put as much effort into their concession stand offerings as they did with the girl-centric stadium anthems.

Anyway, the dumb Passion beat the Sharks and I’m 99.999999999999999% sure it was fixed. We hung around after everyone left, watching the Passion do some sloppy Electric Slide thing to a really terrible pop song while the Sharks sat in a slumped huddle and cried. For a girl who hates football, I felt surprisingly really sad. Once the Sharks started to mill around on the field, Kristy and I went over to say goodbye to Katie, who hugged me twice which I thought was really nice of her but I think she was really just using my torso as a Shamwow for her sweat.

“What was going on over there?” she asked us, and we got to giddily tell the story of Laura Palmer’s Dad, a story that I look forward to retelling over and over and over again for the rest of my life.

SHARKS 4 EVA.

 

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Jul 142014
 

I have a story to tell you guys about a football game I went to with my friend Kristy over the weekend, but every time I start writing about it at work, I crack up alone at my desk. Which would have been in the past, but where I sit now is A SUPER QUIET ZONE. So, that story will have to wait until I get home. Until then, here are some photos that have been collecting dust in my phone.

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I made this “Fuck Yeah, Breakfast!” painting as a housewarming gift for my friendos, Bill and Jessi. I hope it gets along with their other breakfast art!

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Henry bailed on me one day while Chooch was outside playing with the neighbor kids and within 2 minutes he was injured. I called Henry approximately 87 times and then texted him with the 911 but can we please focus on the fact that it took him THIRTY MINUTES to respond to me?!

Henry came home and examined Chooch’s wound and asked me, “Did you even look at this? It’s not a splinter. It’s just a scrape.” Sorry bro, my eyeballs don’t do wound exams.

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This is what Marcy does anytime someone wants to play games. Once, many moons ago, that little brat waited until I had finished a 1000+ piece puzzle and then casually jumped on the table and pushed it off onto the floor.

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FUCKIN’ ICE CREAM, MAN.

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Finishing Chooch’s and his own, as usual.

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Henry was nervous when we went to Dell’s for ice cream one night because some guy was there that he knows from work, GOD FORBID, what if Mouth One or Mouth Two embarrasses him.

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Celebrated my friends Chris and Monica’s engagement a few weeks ago with vegetarian meatballs at Emporio: A Meatball Joint. That was one good goddamn meatball sandwich, you guys. My brother Corey used to call them “meat ballps” when he was a baby.

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I appreciate it when ice cream shops provide spill troughs. Page’s Dairy, you’re A+. Except when you have long lines. Then we will drive past you and go to Dell’s.

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We had to wake up Chooch to give him his ice cream and he was such a jerk about it. Dude, we’re waking you up to GIVE YOU ICE CREAM. Shut your face.

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Chooch is still going strong with his piano lessons, which just warms my heart. He mentioned a few weeks ago that he wants to take voice lessons too and it just so happens that Bradley Walden, the new (and BETTER THAN JONNY CRAIG) singer for Emarosa, offers voice lessons via Skype, but Chooch got all weird when I suggested it and then later said, “I’m too shy!”

He’s like me when it comes to band guys.

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It took 10+ years, but Marcy and her grandma kind of have a relationship now. Judy got to pet her for the first time ever last week and was so excited about it!

OK. Those are my pictures. Now I have to go back to work.

 

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Jul 072014
 

Alternately titled The Purge: Brookline

Henry and I drove back from Cleveland after the show Saturday night and were a few blocks away from home when Henry pointed out the window and said, “Oh look, a drunk guy on our street. What a shocker.”

It was about 2:30am by this time, and I had been fighting to keep my eyes open pretty much the whole drive home (I always force myself to stay awake out of solidarity to Driver Henry, so stop saying I’m a bad girlfriend). But since this drunk guy was staggering only a few blocks from our house, I decided I could postpone collapsing onto my bed for a couple more minutes so I could feed my disgusting addition of clandestinely recording strangers.

Also known as: being a creepy stalking motherfucker.

Henry was not OK with this and kept telling me to stop, but thank god my penchant for being a dickhead won out because that guy ended up falling in front of my house, right onto the street.

We could hear the thud of head against concrete from our house, and Henry immediately called 911. Drink Guy was still breathing, but he was knocked out for several minutes. I was terrified that a car was going to smash him into a puddle of guts and vodka, but thankfully my neighbor’s parked car was blocking him from oncoming traffic. Still, he was pretty far out into the street.

He started to wake up right as Henry was finishing up the 911 call.

“You done?” he kept slurring, trying to pick up his head. “You done? We done here? ‘Scuse me.” Then he started to sit up and Henry told him to take it easy.

“You done?” Drunk Guy mumbled again, using the telephone pole to pull himself up. It’s sad that we live in a world where Henry and I were too afraid to offer the guy a hand, because god only knows if he’d turn volatile. There was already one fatal stabbing in Brookline earlier that day*. ON MY STREET, TOO! So we just stood there, helplessly watching him struggle to his feet.

*(Oh, and also someone got shot in the shoulder on Brookline Boulevard about an hour before we came home from Clevelend. I mean, what ever happened to just spending 4th of July weekend blowing yourself up with black market fire crackers?)

Henry pointed out that the man had some blood on the back of his head.

“You done? We done here? I’m going home.” he repeated again, like some drunk baby toy.

“You ARE home,” Henry said to him, using his creepy ‘I’m Teasing a Child’ tone.

“Why are you talking to him like you’re his kidnapper?” I asked. Meanwhile, the guy had steadied himself on his feet long enough to take off down the sidewalk.

“Follow him,” Henry sighed, calling 911 again.

Friends (and enemies), I am so grateful that this idiot was on foot and not behind a wheel. I’m just really not a fan of drunks. Stay the fuck home if you want to drink yourself to death.

Drunk Guy staggered at a quick pace down the sidewalk and then ran into the street, right in front of a car, for fuck’s sake. All I wanted to do was go the fuck to sleep, not witness vehicular homicide. By the grace of the god, the guy managed to make it safely to the other side of the street, where he collapsed on the steps of a nearby church. I stood and watched from a distance, making sure he stayed there so I would know where to direct the first responders, who were thankfully quick to arrive. I saw the firetruck idle next to Henry, who sent them my way. I pointed to the church steps and then went home. Too bad adrenaline prevented me from achieving the state of sleep that I had been craving for the last 3 hours.

“Hey, what did say to the firetruck people?” I asked Henry as we got ready for bed. God forbid I should miss anything!

“Firetruck people?” he repeated in a patronizing tone. “They’re called firefighters, Erin.”

Anyway, that’s the story of how I ended up babysitting a drunk stranger.

****

Brookline exploded again the next afternoon, starting with a landlord/tenant dispute two houses down that began with a simple disagreement over lawn-mowing and culminated into a screaming match and a visit from the motherfuckin’ popo. This sparked my other neighbors to emerge from their house and talk loudly about how our landlord has “another thing coming” and I’m like, “Can we wait until I move? Can we also not stand in my front yard while shit-talking the land lord?”

Meanwhile, some older gentleman slowly biked past our house and screamed, “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU AND YOUR DOG” to my neighbor who thinks the landlord has another thing coming, who was standing in the yard with his dog. This prompted said neighbor to scream, “COME BACK HERE AND FIGHT ME YOU FUCKING FAGGOT” so yay, now we have delightful slurs happening in front of the children, too.

And then an hour later, a neighbor on the street behind our house paid us a visit because OUR SON threw a rock and broke one of his garage windows. Luckily, Henry and the neighbor remained cool-headed and even shook hands and laughed about it, because that is how normal people handle confrontation.

I mean, that sucks it even happened—bad Chooch, bad! But thank god Chooch was the perp and not our landlord-hating neighbor’s son, who was the accomplice, because the police would have probably had to come back since that family is incapable of handling things peacefully. That’s all they do all day is scream: parents screaming, kids screaming, dogs screaming. They’re like a goddamn Yinzer screamo band.

So that’s how our weekend ended: Henry having to pay to have a window replaced and our son grounding himself and putting himself to bed without dinner at 7PM. (I mean, I was just going to be like, “Stop throwing rocks, dumbass!” but whatever gets it done, son.) Henry and I just kind of sat numbly on the couch for the rest of the night. I think it’s safe to say that buying a house not on this street is our #1 priority at this point.

And that’s the story about that time Brookline broke.

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Jul 032014
 

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It’s that time of year again, friends: AnthroCon a/k/a Furry Season! Honestly, it just hasn’t gotten old yet. I love that they have chosen Pittsburgh as their mecca.

I got stuck working the late shift today, which ended up being OK because Henry and Chooch wanted to come downtown after I got off work to do some furry-hunting. It’s kind of a tradition by now.

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If you’ve ever met Chooch in real life, you probably know that he’s pretty outgoing. But you should see him around furries. He gets shy.

SHY.

S-H-Y.

Verklempt, if you want to be fancy about it.

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He loosened up a little bit after playing fetch with this dog.

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I think the furries can sense that Chooch is one of them. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about that. It’s almost like they target him, like they can smell his inner fur.

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ZOMBIE FURRY, YES! I was in love with this one.

I wish I had gotten a video of this, but someone had a dog with them who was going NUTS watching a furry high-five a little boy (I think maybe the dog belonged to the boy). It was hilarious because the dog was so confused and angry and acting all GET AWAY FROM MY HUMAN, YOU FAKE DOG-THING! I guess I never thought about how furries must seem from a dog’s perspective.

SEE?! Furry-watching is basically a brain-boosting activity.

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These two were so awkward and it took them forever to position themselves for this picture. I mean, shouldn’t they be used to having their picture taken by now? They must be n00bs.

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I don’t know why, but this furry reminded me of my brother Corey. I sent him this picture and he was like, “Um, I assume you mean the one in the green hoodie and not that lady with a tail.” I mean, obvi! I don’t know, they’re both tall and kind of stand the same way, so…easy connection.

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Skunk/badger thing creeped me out a little.

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This dude came over and just posed like that randomly.

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It took Chooch a million minutes to work up the nerve to approach this one. After I took their picture together, they high-fived each other, and right as the…cheetah? WTF is that thing?…started to walk away, Chooch lunged at it and gave it a hug.

Then he ran back to me with his hands over his flushed face.

He’s so fucking ridiculous.

Then we went to Eat n Park on the way home, where I made Chooch cry by insisting that he actually came from a sewer, not from me. Another successful day of parenting.

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Jul 012014
 

Guys, the furries are coming back to Pittsburgh this week! I don’t think the beloved Walrus Royce is attending this year, but I wanted to repost this anyway because he’s awesome, furries are fun, and this was such a great experience for me last summer. 

*****

Weird Al’s version of “Born This Way” plays from an iPod attached to his chest—right next to a fish-shaped necktie—as Royce Cobblepot shuffles and flaps around the lobby of the Westin Hotel. It’s probably as close to dancing as one can achieve while having their hands and feet covered with plush flippers. “I just love Weird Al!” he shouts through a prosthetic snout.

Royce is the popular walrus attendee of Anthrocon, a furry convention held annually in Pittsburgh. In case you recently moved back to civilization from a secluded mountain cult, “furry” is, in the simplest sense, the pet name for a person who has an interest in anthropomorphic animals, which may also culminate in dressing up as a mascot-type animal.

Furries are also sometimes misunderstood, and, being a devoted fan of the (upcoming pun in 3…2…1) underdog, I wanted to spend some time getting to know one, and Royce was kind enough to oblige.

20130715-063927.jpg I didn’t register for the convention, so I couldn’t get all of the way inside to check out the panels and members-only events, but Royce was given the go-ahead to answer some of my questions in an effort to shed some positive light on this social subset that most people seem to think is synonymous with sex, like furrydom is the seedy underbelly of the cartoon porn industry; this is all thanks to media outlets like Vanity Fair portraying them on the whole as sex-obsessed. To be quite honest, I had never heard of the furry phenomenon until one fateful day in 2004 when I posted a picture of the Froggy radio station mascot and myself on my LiveJournal and jokingly wondered if there was such a thing as “mascot porn.” Someone commented and said, “Yeah, it’s called ‘being a furry.’” So this tête-à-tête with Royce Cobblepot was just as much to enlighten myself.

The fact is, there are always going to be people who can sexualize anything. It even happens with Harry Potter fandoms, yet people don’t automatically assume that someone who enjoys reading the Potter series must also be into writing fan fiction about Harry and Draco riding each other’s broomsticks during Nude Quidditch matches. And it’s OK to dress up as your favorite superhero and attend Comicon, but as soon as someone suits up as a purple fox and isn’t getting a paycheck for it from an amusement park or ballfield? Alert the sex police.

According to Wikipedia, the subculture is said to have originated at a science fiction convention, not the basement studio of some bored and desperate 1970s porn director looking for a new kink to sell some films. Growing up with a sci-fi novel obsession and love for cartoons with anthropomorphic characters are generally what seem to lure people into furry role-playing as adults. Royce himself credits cartoons and his love of stuffed animals as sparking his interest in anthropomorphism, but it wasn’t until he watched a documentary in 2004 on the The Learning Channel about the subject of animal impersonators that he decided to take his love of animals to the next level, thus seeking out a community where he could talk to other people who shared these interests.

****

In a scene ranging from half-suits (people who choose to wear only ears and tails) to full-blown animal fursuits (foxes, cats, and bears being the most ubiquitous as far as I can tell), it’s rare to see something as unique as a walrus, which was one of the reasons Royce chose this animal as his animal persona, (or ‘fursona’, as they call it)”, after originally joining the furry community as a were-bear named Furio.

“Walruses are such wonderful creatures,” Royce explains proudly as we sit together on a bench in the lobby. “When we see them in movies, they’re always personified as older, dignified gentlemen.” In fact, he was inspired by Karl Malden’s portrayal of the Walrus in the 1985 version of “Alice in Wonderland,” which is my favorite Alice film, so my interest is really piqued at this point. Royce tells me that there is enough furry inspiration culled from Alice in Wonderland that at another furry convention, he headed an entire panel on the subject: Furries in Wonderland.

Another inspiration was Royce’s very own grandma, who has showered him with support. He was even given his grandfather’s cane to accessorize his costume. My grandma only ever supported my body image issues and wavering self-worth, so I’m impressed!

Royce’s walrus get-up was a labor of love, from the donation of the cane to his friends and neighbors assisting with fashioning flippers out of regular old bedroom slippers and oven mitts. Royce worked with a Canadian prosthetic company to create the mask, which fits the contour of his face and moves along with his jaw when he speaks. He only gets the opportunity to don it about four times a year, at various conventions and showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in his hometown in Virginia. Royce typically only attends Anthrocon every other year in order to keep his character fresh and novel.

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****

Our conversation is interrupted frequently as interested and curious people (even other furries who are presently disrobed of their fursuits) stop to compliment Royce on his get-up and ask for a picture, but I don’t mind because I enjoy watching Royce in his element. I’m also not surprised at the attention he garners, because of the furries I’ve seen around town, Royce is the most unique and eye-catching.

“Thank you so much!” he gushes when I tell him this. “But at the same time, that actually makes me sad.” He explains that while the attention is nice, he doesn’t want anyone to think that he’s better than anyone else out there, because they all work so hard on their personas, even if they only have ears and a tail to show for it. Royce stresses the fact that every furry has something unique about them, and that there is certainly no hierarchy in their community. “We all know that there is still a person under there,” Royce explains, and I find it kind of alluring how much love and respect flows freely within this community. “Everyone here has something to offer: one person is an amazing puppeteer, another person is a veteran. Many people here are involved with wonderful charities. One guy can play the most beautiful music spontaneously, without knowing how to read music, it’s the most incredible thing!” he gushes. So it’s a good thing that Anthrocon has a talent show, in which Royce and some of his friends participate.

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Moments later, Royce blurts out, “Oh, wait until you see who’s coming—it’s my nemesis!” and together we watch the revolving door of the hotel as a slender fox in a tophat emerges. “Oh, he’s so dapper!” Royce gushes, and it’s clear that they’re not actually nemeses and that Royce has genuine admiration for the fox’s slick attire. It’s a shame that some people are too busy fixating on the negative aspects of furries instead of enjoying the artistry and ingenuity behind some of these costumes.

****

We’re walking down Liberty Avenue to visit Fernando’s Café, the first furry-friendly establishment in Pittsburgh. Four days a year, you’ll find chalk paw prints leading up to the front door, furry-centric items on the menu, and food served in dog bowls. Their name even temporarily changes to Furnando’s. But that’s not what makes the owner a legend in the Book of Furry: During Anthrocon 2007, Fernando himself stepped up and defended Anthrocon attendees in his restaurant from getting harassed by a local Pittsburgh meathead and wound up taking a brick to the head for it. The furries thanked Fernando later by raising over $20,000 to help him keep his restaurant when he was in danger of losing it. It’s a pretty sweet love story, if you ask me, and Royce wants to stop in to thank them again for their hospitality and support.

En route, we pass a bar on the corner of Liberty Avenue called Tonic, which offers outside seating in the warmer months. “Oh, these people just love us!” Royce says, brandishing a flippered hand toward the presently-empty line of tables. “People sit out there with their drinks and cheer at us and just have so much fun!” I’ve seen it too during the times I’ve hung out in front of the hotel to engage in one of the newer Pittsburgh sports called “Furry-Spotting.” It’s almost become somewhat of a game for downtown professionals to collect photos of themselves engulfed in furry embraces, which inevitably wind up on Facebook. But this is a good thing! Because if my city can (mostly) ignore the naysayers and have fun with it, then that has got to give the furries hope that they can win over others, slowly but surely.

20130715-063957.jpg Just outside of the cafe, we run into one of Royce’s best friends, Comus, who has experience in the animation industry. He is on his way to one of the many Anthrocon events taking place in the Convention Center, but is kind enough to stop and briefly chat with us. When I tell Comus that I’m not a furry, he hands me the schedule of activities to peruse, and I’m surprised at how much they jam into these four-day conventions—it’s almost like flipping through a small college course guide. There’s everything from financing (have you seen some of these furry get-ups? they’re not cheap) to Native American totems to puppetry skills. And yes, there is even a panel for all you bronies out there—adult men and women who love and relate to the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—which excites me because this is a whole other subculture that I find completely fascinating; I’m not shocked that there is a crossover between this phenomenon and furries.

I excitedly mention this to my fur-company, which leads into a brief discussion about the show’s cultural irony and clever adult-relatable storylines, so now I feel like I need to revisit My Little Pony. Because to me, these aren’t much more than plastic ponies I used to get in my Easter basket.

Inside Fernando’s, the walrus-sighting draws out employees from the kitchen. Everyone wants to either talk to Royce or take his picture, further exemplifying the appeal—to be just a regular person, working a regular job, but then have these moments every year when you’re such a hot commodity? I kind of want that. Especially when it quickly dawns on me that I am the only non-furry in this joint. The Fernando’s staff is actually looking at me strangely for not even at least sporting a tail and I have to laugh at the absurdity of the situation—and also marvel at the progression that my city has made in these last eight years of being Furry Headquarters.

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While furries are quick to dole out hugs, shrugs, and photo-ops, many choose not to interact verbally with their un-furred fans. Royce, however, gives his walrus a more approachable edge by speaking affably with anyone who stops him.

“I think it puts people at ease,” he explains, after thanking an admirer for his accolades. I think of horror movie icons like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees, mute behind their masks and communicating only through head tilts, chainsaws and machetes, and I’m suddenly very thankful that my new walrus friend isn’t answering my questions with blank stares.

While Royce’s avuncular voice perfectly complements his tail and top hat, touching his whiskers gets you a boisterously anthropomorphic “aarf,” which is a real crowd-pleaser!

Outside of Fernando’s, we encounter a furry in her human form who, like everyone else, is anxious to get her minute with Royce. She is here from Canada, and the two of them seamlessly fall into a conversation entirely in French. Afterward, Royce says to me, “Yes, I speak French—a little, and not very well!” So humble and self-deprecating.

Another reason some people might be drawn to anthropomorphism is the power and confidence that comes from shielding your insecurities beneath a mask. “Sometimes,” Royce explains, “finding an animal persona can bring out things in a person that they didn’t know existed.” I mention Robert Smith, the singer of my favorite band The Cure, and how I once read that the reason he wears lipstick and eyeliner is because he’s so painfully shy, and makeup is enough of a mask for him to be able to walk out onto the stage and perform. Royce agrees that there’s a correlation there. “I’m definitely a shy person,” Royce says, and admits that becoming a walrus has had a positive impact on his human side.

Royce is eager to talk about the oft-overlooked aspects of the furry fandom, the most important point being how it’s all about making people happy. He tells me about how his favorite moment of this year’s convention happened just the night before, when he danced with a disabled woman in a wheelchair. Her husband was even inspired to join in.

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“How many people get to say they danced with a walrus?” Royce laughs, and I can see just enough of his eyes beneath the mask to tell that he’s tearing up a little at the idea of being able to leave some sort of imprint on someone’s life. That’s a pretty cool thing. And I think for a lot of Pittsburgh adults, it’s a chance for them to act like a kid again, running around on their lunch breaks, high-fiving neon bears and bunnies in bustiers. “I like the idea that I might be a special thing in someone’s life that they may never see again,” Royce muses. “At the end of the day, I’m tired and sweaty and my back hurts, but I’m laughing—I just love making people happy.”

When you break it down (and, if you’re a prude, ignore the “darker” side of the movement), furrydom doesn’t seem so “weird” or “creepy” after all. People dress up as zombies and gather in hordes because they like zombies. People volunteer at haunted houses because they like horror movies and scaring people. And no one says anything about them. And to all of the people out there who say things like, “I don’t want one of them hugging my child, knowing that they’re going to be having furry-sex”? Think about this: that broad who gave your kid a lollipop at the doctor’s office may have went home and banged her girlfriend later. Your kid’s third grade art teacher? She might have a closetful of whips and toys. Maybe your mailman goes to Revolutionary War Sex Parties. PEOPLE HAVE SEX. All kinds of it! Stop letting it affect you and go hug a fucking furry.

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[These views & opinions do not reflect the furry community as a whole and should be regarded only as one individual's experience as a furry. Thank you, Royce Tuxford Cobblepot, for your graciousness and time!]

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Jun 282014
 

One of the greatest things ever about the Internet is meeting new people, especially if those people aren’t psychopathic torture warriors greasing up the Iron Maiden for your visit.

Before I had this blog, I used this awesome blogging platform called LiveJournal and met some really incredible people, most of whom I have kept in touch with even after abandoning LJ in 2007 (I still miss it every day, though!). So on day 3 of our road trip, we had plans to meet two girls I have known for what seems like my entire adult life at this point, thanks to LJ.

After Indiana, we had plans to go to Michigan to hang out with Bill, Jessi and Tammy for the weekend. They were coming back from Tennesee that Friday night, so we had the whole day to make our pilgrimages to meet Michelle and Sarah, who thankfully all live within an hour’s drive from Bill and Jessi. And they were both available that day! All the stars were aligned, for once.

(Coincidentally, LJ is also how I know Bill! All hail, LJ. Some of my best friendships were forged from something that I had no idea what I was doing when I signed up.)

First up was Michelle in Royal Oak. I can’t even remember when she and I became friends, but it was definitely pre-Chooch, so probably around 2004/2005, would be my guess. I have wanted to meet her for quite some time and we even had plans to meet up last year at this Pee Wee’s Big Adventure festival that was supposed to happen in Louisville, KY, but then Pee Wee found out about the festival and pulled the whole cease and desist thing, so there went that.

Michelle and I both really like Pee Wee, obviously.

It was raining in Royal Oak when we pulled onto Michelle’s street. Henry passed her house and had to turn around but that was a good thing because it meant that I got to see her Little Free Library! Henry was like, “Oh she’s the one with the library thing?” TRY TO FOLLOW ALONG, HENRY.

Ugh.

Anyway, we finally parked in front of her house and Henry said hello to her mailman which cracked me up for unknown reasons. He just loves men in costumes, you guys.

Michelle opened the door and I immediately went into “dur dur dur now what??” mode because my social skills are missing a chromosome. My first impressions: her hair is awesome. She has purple walls! And some of my art is on them! OMG CUTE KIDS! OMG CUTE DOGS! Chooch pretended to be totally annoyed but then immediately ran off with her little girls, Delia and Kira, so Henry and I got to sit down and have grown-up conversations with someone which rarely happens!

It’s always surreal to meet someone in the flesh after they start out just being a user name (mshecubus!) but then advance to real pictures on Facebook and sending real life mail to each other. Michelle sent me my coveted blood-splattered coffee cup with the brass knuckle-shaped handle that made everyone at work shake their heads! I love that damn mug!

We passed a signed for 8 Mile on the way to Royal Oak, so of course I had to ask Michelle questions about Eminem. She wasn’t sure if he still lives in Michigan, but she said his daughter recently graduated from a high school close by and that he had to watch it from a TV somewhere inside the school so he wouldn’t get mobbed, which is kind of sad but then I remembered that I don’t like Eminem so what do I care.

Every once in awhile, Chooch would run back into the house to tattle on the girls, not one of his finer traits, and to cry about getting sand in his damn ankle wound. God, try to be a little more self-sufficient, kid.

As usual, we were behind schedule and had to leave after about an hour, plus we didn’t want to impose since it was such a poorly-planned meet-up because Henry sucks at mapping things out. Professional driver my ass.

The only good thing about leaving was watching Chooch writhe in horror and pain as Delia and Kira gang-hugged him, hahaha.

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PROOF!

Then it was back in the car for more stupid driving, this time to meet Sarah. It took about 45 minutes to get to Flint and we were too stupid to find Sarah’s salon, so she took a picture of us standing on a street corner, looking lost, and texted it to me. And this is why we’re friends!

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Sarah was one of my very first friends on LiveJournal, back when I didn’t believe in capitalization and the only punctuation I used were ellipses and groups of 18 exclamation points. We were pregnant at the same time (her daughter Alpha is two months older than Chooch) and she was one of the only people who knew the truth of my fucked up friendship with Christina; I still feel so grateful that she was there for me.

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And now we were finally meeting! More surreal feelings.

Sarah had recently finished working at the salon for the day, but if I didn’t work at a Law Firm, I would have totally asked her to give me lavender hair. I dream of lavender hair. But instead she took us around the corner to the Flint Crepe Company, which was like walking into the 1920s.

A man in a suit said, “Hi Sarah!” and after greeting him, Sarah was like, “Oh that was the mayor of Flint.”

THE MAYOR KNOWS SARAH! She is so cool. (This made me really giddy too, for some reason. Mailmen and mayors just do it for me, I guess.)

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OMG I got the Lemon Drop and it was just the right combination of lemon and drop. So good.

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Who cares what Henry got, but he was actually kind of smiling!

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Chooch got some chocolate strawberry special and ate it like we hadn’t been feeding him at all on this trip. Then he proceeded to lap his water out of the glass like a cat, because that was his new thing, as of that moment, pretending to be a cat who speaks like a toddler.

“Me a cat, meowmeowmeow,” he kept saying and I was kicking him under the table because it was creeping me out. I mean, it’s one thing if this was just his nervous tic, something that he does every now and then because he thinks he’s being cute, but aside from a casual and ironic “meow” here and there, he has never regressed like this before. I was kind of alarmed, like my kid was breaking.

I ended up chalking it up to the fact that he was acting stupid because he was crushing on Sarah.

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After crepes, Sarah took us on a walking tour around Flint. Some of my friends were like, “Really? Flint?” because vacations are supposed to have beaches I guess, but it was really fun! I love exploring places and Flint had that gritty feel to it that I love.

Of course we had to ask Sarah about Eminem too. She told us this story about how she was at Warped Tour in 1998 (Chooch perked up at this part, because WARPED TOUR) and accidentally kicked a rock at the guy in front of her. He turned around and called her a fucking bitch and then later she heard all of this booing coming from one of the stages and the guy who called her a fucking bitch was on the stage and turned out to be Eminem, haha.

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This is when Chooch was excited to trespass.

 

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Sarah taught us about these berries, the most important fact being that we could eat them, so then Chooch and I had to stand there, pulling down branches and getting stains on ourselves. “I don’t even like these!” Chooch said, popping another into his mouth. Henry just sighed and kept walking.

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I bet they sell Faygo in there!

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Then Sarah took us to the river to see if there were any dead bodies and causally mentioned that there was a 1-in-45 chance that something violent would happen to us just by being in Flint. That was exciting!

I thought we saw a dead body for sure but Henry was like, “THAT IS A RUG AND BESIDES IT’S TOO SMALL FOR A BODY.”

Oh OK. Midgets or babies can’t be wrapped up and discarded in a rug? Appendages or severed heads? I forgot we live in a perfect world where midgets don’t get murdered and babies aren’t thrown away and not everyone eats their kill. That’s so 1990 Jeffrey Dahmer.

THIS POST JUST GOT TOO DARK. Or not dark enough, if you’re my kind of people.

We did see homeless people with a George Forman Grill, and that was the one thing that Henry  took away from him. When we met up later with Bill and Jessi, he couldn’t wait to tell them about that.

“A George Forman Grill! Where were they going to plug it in!?” he laughed. Oh, Henry.

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Henry Crapo, HAHAHAHA!

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Trying not to laugh at Henry Crapo.

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Alleyway Photo Op.

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Henry and Chooch had to stay outside while Sarah and I went inside Paul’s Pipe Hospital, which immediately made me think of my dad. I’m not sure if he still smokes pipes, but he did when I was growing up and I always loved that smell. One of my high school teachers owned a pipe shop in the mall called the Tinder Box and I used to love walking in there for the same reason.

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Paul’s Pipe Hospital taught me that there are actual trophies to be won if you can continuously smoke the same pipe longer than anyone else in Pipe Competitions. Now I kind of want to acquire a taste for pipe tobacco so that I too can win a trophy. How popular would Chooch be at school once everyone finds out his mom is a competitive pipe smoking CHAMPION? And how long will it take before someone in his school realizes there are ways to make this into a euphemism for fellatio.

“OH YEAH, I HEARD SHE SMOKED YOUR DAD’S PIPE REAL COMPETIVELY.”

God, this is a fantastic idea. How do I get started? I want one of the pipes I saw there that come in a far-out array of 1970s afghan colors.

Look at what you’ve done to me, Sarah.

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My outfit matched Sarah’s hair perfectly.

After about 2 hours, it was time to say goodbye and head back to Wayne so we could check into our hotel and grab a quick dinner before meeting up with Bill and Jessi.

Sarah and Michelle, thank you both so much for making  time for us and getting the awkward “first meet” out of the way. I already can’t wait to see you both again! Come to Pittsburgh!!

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Jun 172014
 

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This is the first year that Chooch didn’t spend the entire time “wanting.”

“I want ice cream.”

“I want stuffed animals.”

“I want games.”

“I want the deed to Kennywood.”

Except, he did have a moment in line for Noah’s Ark where Henry was The Worst Dad He Ever Had because he wouldn’t buy Chooch lemonade at that exact moment.

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THANK GOD he got his fucking lemonade afterward though and calmed down enough to take the 57th selfie of the day with me. Right after this photo, I ran into one of my old high school friends, Heather the Ken! I hadn’t seen her since 1998, so it was pretty awesome/awkward. “You ain’t kidding,” Henry drawled when I later said that it was kind of awkward. I suck at seeing people I know, but it was still cool.

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Call it old age, but these last several years, I have felt SHEER TERROR every time I even just glance at the Phantom’s Revenge. And every year I make the conscious decision to not ride it. But then every year I somehow find myself in line, doing the pee jig. This year, it was just Henry, me, Chooch and Chris who rode it. Henry and I sat behind Chris and Chooch and I wasn’t aware that I was being loud enough for Chris to hear my panicked narration, but when we got off the ride, he said, “You are my new official soundtrack of the Phantom’s Revenge.”

It starts with the ascent up the inaugural hill, which is where I moan, “Oh, I forgot how much I hate this part…..oh god we’re going to die….WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!” and then after we reach that daunting daunting zenith, I am an emptying bag of battle cries. I also enjoy letting every one know each and every time I feel the slightest twinge of pain, like, “MY BACK JUST BROKE! I ALMOST LOST MY ARM!” And then I usually cap it off with a finale of Nancy Kerrigan-approved “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”s.

And then the ride coasts back into the station and I’m all “Fuck yeah, Phantom!”

Afterward, the rest of my party turned into unfocused loiterers and I was getting so anxious! I even walked far away from where they were sitting at one point to see if they noticed that I was gone. I DON’T THINK THEY DID!!! I was in a BIG HURRY because I wanted to ride the Exterminator next and that’s basically the best ride in the whole park in case you don’t live here or just have bad taste in amusement park rides. I nearly pee my pants on it every year! (And sometimes you can scratch out the “nearly.” FULL DISCLOSURE UP IN HERE.)

While waiting for my group of Southern Meanderers, aka Careys, I stood and watched the Black Widow do its thing. When we were in line for Phantom’s Revenge, I caved and told Chooch I would ride it with him, but ONLY so that I would have leverage for the future because that’s my solid gold parenting style. Just watching it Jello-fied my legs, but a promise is a promise. However, I started imagining every last worst case scenario, so that really helped.

(NO IT DIDN’T HELP.)

Finally, everyone started walking toward the Exterminator and I was like, “YES YES YES!” and started to get in line, but then they all went and fussed with the lockers and in the meantime, approximately FIVE PEOPLE got in line in front of us.

THANKS A LOT, GROWN-UPS.

The line was kind of long and Henry kept trying to put me on blast by pointing out how whiny I was being when I really didn’t think I was being whiny just because I kept letting my body go limp against him and saying things like “WE HAVE BEEN STANDING IN LINE FOR-EVHAHAHAHA-ER.”

But whatever, the Exterminator is worth the wait. It’s basically like the Crazy Mouse but INSIDE A DARK BUILDING. It makes me choke on my own laughter every single time, like I have a disease.

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Chris got in a car with Chooch and Katelyn, leaving me, Henry, Kari and Ricky to squish ourselves into the next one. Except that the car we picked was “sensitive,” whatever that means, and the bored Kennywood worker made us get into the next available car all the way at the end of the line. This meant that Chooch, Katelyn and Chris had returned to the station before our ride even started, since there were four cars in front of us.

“They’re going to think we perished when they see that we’re not behind them anymore,” I laughed. And we found out afterward that they sent our car through empty since it was malfunctioning, so when the kids saw an empty car return to the station, they got scared. HAHAHA.

Anyway, I managed to not pee my pants this time but fuck, I laughed so hard that my face hurt (I know, I know, it’s killing you guys too). It’s such a satisfying ride!

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After that, I rode the Whip with Chooch and Katelyn, whose relief that we hadn’t actually perished on the Exterminator had worn off by then. It took us forever (read: 5 seconds) to get in line though because we couldn’t get around dumb Henry who was walking excruciatingly slow and totally Whip-blocking us. That motherfucker.

Every time our car would whip us around the bend, we would scream “WHIP SELFIE” because it’s imperative to be obnoxious at amusement parks. Also, because we had just taken a Whip selfie:

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The next day, I noticed that my Facebook friend Kelly had checked into Kennywood on Sunday as well, and I commented to tell her that I wish I had seen her. She said that she saw me speed-walking by when she was getting on the Whip, so it must have been right around this time. It made me laugh so hard to know that someone witnessed me being an impatient maniac.

Right after this, Chris, Chooch and I convinced Katelyn to ride the Swing Shot and she basically hates us forever now. As soon as the ride started, I remembered how horrible it is and screamed, “MY TEARS ARE REAL!” at one point, which I’m sure did wonders to ease Katelyn’s nerves. Henry, Kari and Ricky were watching from a table and said that looked like an actual cartoon during the whole ride.

I mean, she didn’t cry, but she certainly was NOT happy.

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Henry trying to escape.

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Then it was time for ice cream!! This is my favorite part of the day, food-wise. Most people will tell you that Potato Patch fries are the creme de la creme of Kennywood cuisine, and I won’t argue there because those are the most perfect french fries in the entire world. But I rarely hear anyone mentioning how delightful the Golden Nugget square cones are! You guys can get soft serve anywhere. Gimme my square-edged chocolate-dipped delight.

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Cone-dipping consternation.

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Sprinkle carpet.

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Henry and Chris were talking about how they used to think it was just a Klondike shoved into a cone until they saw the Golden Nugget workers actually cutting blocks of vanilla ice cream. It never occurred to me that it could have just been a Klondike, and Henry was like, “REALLY!? I THOUGHT IT WAS AN OBVIOUS ASSUMPTION SINCE KLONDIKE’S ARE FROM HERE!” in that belittling tone he loves to use on me, except I’m paraphrasing here because clearly “assumption” is too big of a word for him.

Fun Fact: Klondikes are apparently from Pittsburgh. I just learned this on Sunday because I’m seriously the worst Pittsburgher ever.

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This was right before the hardcore amusement park riders ditched us for Kiddieland. They were gone for an hour! (Don’t worry: Chris went with them.) The rest of us hung back and found ourselves in a discussion about Mr. Big, Extreme, and Meatloaf which met Henry’s criteria of “Anyone but Jonny Craig.”

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Ice Cream Brones.

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Look! It’s a Henry in its natural, agitated state.

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Gross, I know.

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Chooch is finally tall enough to ride the Sky Rocket, which is Kennywood’s newest coaster. It’s nothing too spectacular, but it does go upside down. Henry, Chris and I had to beg Chooch to go on it. It wasn’t the upside down-ness that had him scared, it was the first hill, an inversion, that was freaking him out. (And he didn’t even know that it was one of those launching coasters.) At one point, he sat down and put his face in his hands, but then he turned around and started to twerk. Hey, do what you gotta do, right? Twerk it out son.

There was a guy in line with us who had an apple tattoo and I wanted to sow him mine so we could be apple ink bros but Henry stopped that from happening.

Spoiler alert: Chooch made it through his first Skyrocket ride alive. His reaction was, “That was it?” I just kept screaming, “IT TICKLES!” the whole time and Chooch was like, “Please stop embarrassing us.”

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I asked Chooch for a quote expressing how he felt about riding the Bayern Curve with Katelyn and he said: “I’m a cat.”

So anyway, this was a hilarious moment for the rest of us because the Bayern Curve is one of those rides that pushes the front rider into the back rider so Chooch was like FML through the whole ride. It was incredibly rewarding to watch, as a parent who is verbally abused by her son on the daily. (His sass is off the charts these days.)

WHAT’S UP NOW, MOUTH?
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Remember when I said that Chooch mostly made it through the day without tantrum? Well, that’s because he was waiting for the VERY END, when the park was closing, to project his exhaustion and hunger on the fact that Henry wouldn’t buy him Dippin’ Dots because Henry is a terrible person who doesn’t feed his children. He was outright CRYING about this and it was so annoying and disgusting, so I guess 8 is not the magic age where kids stop acting like spoiled assholes in amusement parks.

We left the park and Henry fed him a burger and miraculously, Chooch was fine.

“Ugh, he’s so much like you,” Henry muttered.

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As always, it was wonderful spending a day with the Handa’s and Ricky being there was an added bonus even though he MADE FUN OF ME a lot and even when he was just saying regular things to me I think he was still making fun of me but sometimes I’m too dumb to realize.

I feel like I’m forgetting lots of things.

And now we get to do this all over again at a different park on Thursday, wooo!!!

P.S. We never made it on the Black Widow. Chooch and I were in line for approximately one minute before he said, “So….maybe I should just wait until I’m talk enough to ride ALL of the rides here*. And then I’ll ride the Black Widow.” Then he ducked under the railing and left me standing there alone.

*(There’s only one ride he can’t ride yet and it literally never running every time we’re there.)

SONOFABITCH. All that positive thinking I put myself through, for what.

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