Aug 292015
 

The downtown Pittsburgh Macy’s is closing and there has been a real bonanza of liquidation sales going on. People at work have been all excited about it, telling me about how you can get linens and other house-y things for next to nothing, and then laughing at themselves when they remember that I’m not the household member responsible for purchasing such things.

However, it occurred to me last weekend that there are a ton of mannequins there, and what will become of them? So I set a reminder on my phone to ask Glenn first thing Monday morning, because Glenn used to work at Macy’s (WITH TERRY!). 

This is how it went: 

Me: Glenn, how was your vacation ok but seriously, do you still have connections at Macy’s?

Glenn: ……

Me: Because I need to know if there are mannequins and if so, can I have one.

Glenn: Why don’t you just ask Terry?

Because Terry still works there sometimes! Great idea!

So that went like this:

Me, popping up in Terry’s office doorway: Terry, serious non-work-related question!

Terry, not looking up from his computer: What’s up, Erin?

Me: IS MACY’S SELLING THEIR MANNEQUINS?

Terry: Yeah, everything is for sale. 

Me: HOW MUCH ARE THEY?

Terry: I don’t know. There are all kinds, old, new, you’d have to go look. They’re all on the third floor. 

So then this is how my conversation with Henry went:

Me: WE HAVE TO GO TO MACY’S THIS WEEKEND. 

Henry: For?

Me: MANNEQUINS. TERRY SAID!

Henry: Oh for fuck’s sake. 

And then after finally getting Henry to dejectedly agree to Mission: Mannequin, I had this conversation with Chooch. 

Me: WAKE UP WE HAVE TO GO DOWNTOWN. 

Chooch, murmuring: For what?

Me: A mannequin. 

Chooch: OH COME ON!!!

   

 And this is how I ended up on the third floor of Macy’s, stepping over a jumble of enough Art Deco furniture and framed stock pictures to decorate a 1980s porno set, ready to elbow some douchebag in the ribs when he held his gaze just a tad too long on the mannequin that I had already claimed but was waiting for Henry to come back with some Macy’s broad who had no shits left to give about answering mannequin questions. 
  
But I got my fucking mannequin! Henry lugged it over to the service desk and paid for it with much unhappiness. 

“Do you want a cart for that?” a nice man asked as we began our journey out of Macy’s and back to the car as a four-piece family. 

“No I’m good,” Henry sighed with his penis between his legs, and then, this is my favorite part, nearly whacked the man in the face with Mannequin’s sassily extended arm. 

Luckily for Henry’s modesty, we parked in a garage that is very close to Macy’s, so there wasn’t much public ground to cover while transporting the mannequin back to the car. Not that anyone would have given us a second glance—it’s downtown Pittsburgh. People lug around all kinds of weird shit down there. 

There were two old women waiting in the parking garage as the elevator door opened to spill us out on the second level. 

“Oh my!” one of them laughed. “All I saw was that hand first!” as Henry stepped out behind the mannequin. We all had a good laugh, and Chooch was all, “what happened? What did she say?!” Because God forbid he’s not included in something. 

When we came home, Hot Naybor Chris was in the driveway. He asked us what we were up to. Henry said, “Not much” and I cried, “We went to Macy’s and bought a mannequin!”

HNC thought about this for a moment. “OK. Cool!” he responded, determining that this wasn’t the weirdest thing he’s seen us bring into our house over the last 10 years. 

Anyway, I’m just so excited to finally be able to have the Christmas tree I’ve been dreaming about since I was a teenager! I feel like I chose the right one. Something about her really speaks to me and I just can’t wait to paint her all glittery and then strangle her with garland. 

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Aug 252015
 

Last week, we were on our wag home from getting ice cream, what a wonderful, wholesome, all-American family outing. At a red light on Rt. 65, I looked out the window and noticed we were idling next to a large pet store.
Chooch and I naturally started hounding Henry to turn into the lot, because we waned to splay our hands all over the fur, but Henry got really shady, and I mean ultra uneasy about our desire to stop at some local riverfront establishment to ogle the living wares. Now maybe a normal person would suggest this was because Henry was worried that we would try to bring home a Richard Gere-certified gerbil or some dumb beta fish; maybe you might assume that Henry was tired of being out and about and just wanted to go home and take his pants off; perhaps you think he saw his SERVICE porn dealer’s car in the lot. Or could be he was just tired of letting his two dependents constantly get their way. I hate when he utilizes his right to say no.

And these are all reasonable theories, I guess.

But I immediately cried, “Oh my god! It’s because you impregnated some broad in there, didn’t you?!”

Chooch joined in from the backseat.

Hypothesis for two, please!

“How far along is she?” I asked with faux-sincerity.

Henry was really agitated by now and when the light turned green, he floored it.

“You know, this place isn’t too far from where you work, so it’s plausible,” I rationalized, inspiring more flimsy arguments from Henry’s imaginary defense team.

+++++++++

Last night, Henry and I were on our way home from the Howard Jones concert at Hartwood Acres, when we drove past a pet store that’s for sale.

Ooooh! Maybe the place where your pregnant mistress works put it out of business!”

“Yeah, speaking of that. Chooch almost told my mom about that but I stopped him in time, thank god,” Henry sighed.

“Why do you care if he tells her if it’s supposedly FALSE?!” I yelled, excited to put him on the spot again.

“ITS NOT TRUE!” Henry yelled. “I don’t want him telling her that because I didn’t feel like explaining to her why you were even talking about that in the first place,” he said in exasperation as I ate the last of the peanut butter cookie I was supposed to be sharing with him but yeah right.

Hmm. If he wasn’t guilty of knocking up some pet store clerk, then why is he trying to keep the story from his mom?!

How does that saying go? If it looks like a pet store clerk impregnator and walks like a pet store clerk impregnator, then Henry’s got a ho that probably smells like soiled newspaper and fish food?

YEAH. Something like that.

(I wrote this in bed and fell asleep a few times, so I’m sure it’s a great read!)

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Aug 162015
 

Henry declared that he wanted ice cream yesterday afternoon, and you know how it is around here: whatever Henry wants, Henry gets. Let’s all jump for Prince Henry.

Chooch came inside after playing with the neighborhood brats and Henry told him we were going to get ice cream. Chooch’s reaction was what you’d expect from a child who was just told to put on a starchy suit, it’s time to go to a three-hour mass.

Seriously. He threw his head back and wailed, “WHYYYY??! I don’t WANT ice cream!!” We just sat there in stunned silence.

“YOU DIDN’T EVEN FEED MY LUNCH AND NOW YOU’RE FORCING ME TO EAT ICE CREAM?!” Chooch wailed in anguish. I couldn’t even believe we were having this argument. Is this real life.

Henry explained to me that Chooch was hungry, and that this is exactly how I act too, when I’m hungry, which is a huge lie. So after we dragged Chooch out of the house as he screamed some more about how there’s nothing to eat because Henry doesn’t buy food and we’re so poor, I yelled, “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE JUST TAKE HIM TO MCDONALDS SO HE WILL SHUT HIS DUMB MOUTH!”

UGH.

So that happened.

And then after Chooch’s hunger was quelled, Henry started to pull out of the McDonald’s parking lot and I asked him some question that I don’t remember now but I’m sure it was really important and urgent so probably what’s happening here is that I’m having another PTSD blackout, and I didn’t like the tone Henry used when he answered me, so then that started another fight and Henry was like “YOU TWO ARE ASSHOLES AND WE’RE GOING HOME.”

But then he kept driving because going home “to teach us a lesson” was really only going to hurt Henry.

You would think that we would have a favorite ice cream shop that we frequent, but the truth is, part of the fun/battle is scouring Yelp for somewhere new to try. Henry found a place about 25-30 minutes away called Punk’s and I was just happy that someone else picked a place for once.

On the way there, I looked it up and saw that my Mortal Yelp Enemy was the FIRST REVIEWER for Punk’s and then I read this portion of his review and raged:

Henry hates him too so I read it out loud and then Henry and I put aside our current hate for each other and focused on mutually hating Yelp Enemy instead. Seriously, go fuck yourself beneath a deep indigo sky with a nut-armored ball, you asshole. Get the fuck out of here.

AHEM. By the time we arrived at Punk’s, we were all kind of on good terms again and even managed to order our ice cream without too much mishap. Chooch was still being weird about not wanting ice cream, so we told him not to order anything then, but he wound up ordering a vanilla milkshake like he was choosing his method of execution and then fled.

I don’t think he’s ever ordered a vanilla milkshake before.

Henry got a Scooter Sundae and acted all smug about it for some reason, but no one really gave a shit.

Nice stance.

The girl working that day was really nice, like an ice cream shop person should be. She didn’t make me feel rushed or dumb for asking questions, which sometimes happens when I go to get ice cream, OK?! And then I panic and get something plain and boring and cry about it later because it totally wasn’t what I wanted but that dumb bitch made me feel pressured to give her my final answer! I mean, that doesn’t happen often or anything.

So I got the soft serve flavors of the day in a twist: caramel and strawberry, which sounds like an odd pairing but I’m here to tell you that it worked. Just like our volatile family dynamics.

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Aug 142015
 

Remember back when Amber2 was about to have a baby at any given moment and we got a temp up in here to ensure that our little group didn’t quit/perish/Donner Party each other while she was out on maternity leave? Allison turned out to be a godsend. She was such a quick learner and eager to work and, most importantly, liked me the best out of everyone. (I mean, DUH.)

Our department tried so hard to keep her, but it didn’t happen. ;(

This is what I felt like the day she told me her assignment was up in two weeks, the day after my dumb birthday:

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(I am obviously both Artax and Atreyu in this scenario.)

Even worse? I was on vacation for her entire last week so I didn’t get to pantomime my thoroughly awkward and uncomfortable, however appropriately-timed, farewell. Instead, I had to do it a week early and it looked like I was just being really weird. Like, “Wow. Erin is going to REALLY miss Allison this weekend.” But then it would probably get shrugged off like everything does involving me.

I was going to buy a card but then I was like, “Wait. Der. I make greeting cards for a living.”

(NOT REALLY. I don’t make enough cards to live.) 

So I made her a law firm-y card and glued Glenn versions of our little group within the department:

Obviously, there’s me (FIRST!) with my Cure shirt, crying a bucket of tears. Then we have Amber2 and her baby (WHICH GOT US ALL INTO THIS MESS OF HAVING TO SAY GOODBYE IN THE FIRST PLACE!), Amber1 and her NKOTB shirt! (I had to explain to Glenn what that stood for. What a Lame.) Todd, who does this thing here at work called LINKING (you wouldn’t understand: j/k — I don’t understand) and ALWAYS gets Qdoba for lunch, Dumb Glenn, and GAYLE with her HANKIE. Maybe she should embroider my BIRTHDATE into it so she won’t FORGET it again.

(Did you know Gayle forgot my birthday? Don’t worry—we’ve already had words. I’m almost done being gravely insulted.)

(Although, bringing me a chocolate-covered apple couldn’t hurt.)

Anyway, it was disorienting coming back from vacation and seeing all her stuff gone, BUT I’m happy to report that she is moving on to better things. She better not forget me though!

I will end this with a picture from the one day in April when Allison was still super new and we had cake to rejoice Amber2’s impending due date because I’m in the background looking happy and I’ll tell you why: it was because this was the day Allison thought I was REALLY YOUNG. God what a great day that was.

That was also the day I determined Allison was my new work BFF, much to Wendy’s chagrin.

Also, I cat-faced Amber because it’s like 1 in the morning and I’m not sure she’d appreciate a text from her weird co-worker asking if it would be OK to post her face on my blog.

Also #2: I don’t even know who took this picture. I saved it from our department page-thing awhile back because my stance was funny.

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Aug 112015
 

Hi, So yesterday 8/10/15 some 15 year old girl stole my bike. Thank god Hot Naybor Chris spotted her and called the cops or if he didn’t I woulda never got it back. I wished the chain came off because it always does and you cant ride when it happens. 

She got all the way to Potomac but then she got busted by the cops. Her mom was there to teach here a lesson. Chris got to go in the Police Car to Indentify the girl. It was like 1:30 at night and Grandma just closed the door because Chris just got home from Erie. Grandma got scared because she thought it was an intruder so she slammed the door. And right after that the girl stole da bike. (Mommy made me write this but I did it secretly while she was upstairs) So yeah ROFL. I was watching youtube and all of a sudden I hear knocking at the door and grandma said “Who is it?” and they said “THE POLICE.” I was excited and sad at the same time. Excited because I would get to tell my teacher that my bike got stolen when she asks how my summer was.  I went to get Pa and he said what happened and did nothing and then went back to bed. 

The girl told the cops and probably Chris too that when she was 8 she got her bike stolen and apparently that made it ok. 

It was scary. When the cop went somewhere Me, Chris, and grandma were sitting on the porch while Chris drank beer. It was so boring cause I didn’t get to see the girl even though IT WAS MY BIKE!!! Ma was sleeping so I didn’t tell her till today. (Hopes she like it because I was listening to train while writing this and she hates Train, like nobody knows that.)

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Aug 092015
 

Hello, let’s briefly pause the vacation recaps so I can post proof that occasionally, people outside of the Cult of Erin (otherwise known as Henry and Chooch) hang out with me. Friends, I have them.  

Thursday evening, Wendy and Barb took me to dinner for my birthday! Wendy and I left straight from work and met Barb (THE QUITTER!!) at Cafe Io in Mt. Lebanon. I didn’t meet Wendy’s navigational standards so by the time we arrived, she said exasperatedly to Barb, “YOU can take her home. I’m done with her!”

Wendy has made a seamless transition into the Mean Pregnant Lady spot that Amber2 has vacated!

I mean, I was already stoked that I was getting a free meal, but they both had presents for me too! I LOVE PRESENTS! I think it stems from my past of being a very spoiled child. Wendy got me an awesome bracelet that has a ribcage cameo on it. Totally screams “Erin Rachelle.”

Barb has entered the Adult Coloring stage of her life and I’m the first recipient of the fruit of her labor! I LOVE BEING FIRST! Not only did she put it in a frame for me, but she signed it too! 

So sweet and thoughtful and abundantly clear that she idolizes me so much that now she’s trying to be a fake artist like me now, too.

I miss seeing these two everyday at work. I mean, I still see Wendy, but it’s only half as good without Barb being there too. LE SIGH.

As Barb crossed the street to her car, I shouted that I was going to hang the picture up when I got home. “In my BASEMENT!” I added, and oh how we laughed. Just like old times. :(

And then on Sunday, I got to see Barb again, at Wendy’s baby shower! Did I tell you, Internet Memoir, that Wendy is PREGNANT?! I mean, aside from the second paragraph of this chapter.  Well, ICYMI*, Wendy is WITH CHILD.

*(Barb, that means “in case you missed it.”)

Normally, the idea of these types of functions makes ash slough off from charcoal heart, but I was excited about this one because Wendy is one of my dearest friends (ugh, it pains me to be sweet) and I was doubly stoked about this event because Nina and Angie were going to be there and I never get to see them anymore since they left The Law Firm and moved to different states!

Angie and Nina, and Debbie who also left The Law Firm last January! It was a nice reunion.

Nina harassed me because I get so stiff when someone tries to take my picture. Deer in headlights might not be as accurate as, say, girl in a dentists chair with a drill approaching.

Bridget got roped into being the gift-writer-downer and the poor girl probably needs physical therapy for her hand now. She made a comment about how it should be me in that chair with the pen and paper, and I was like “LOWER YOUR VOICE!” Seriously, if I had been nominated for that duty, I’d have knocked Barb the fuck out the way and dove through the closed window behind her. I hate being in front of crowds!

Wendy got a SHITLOAD of awesome gifts, and because she’s Wendy, she had an anecdote for pretty much every gift she received. She could find a way to drag out the opening of a bottle drying rack into a 7 minute Rose Nylund-esque trip down memory lane. Another one of my work friends, Regina, was one of the shower planners and she was trying so hard to get the present-opening portion of the afternoon moving less like a Sunday Driver and more like Justin Bieber driving through a Florida suburb.

I got the baby “The Adventures Of Beekled: An Unimaginary Friend” because the illustrations were cool as fuck and that’s the most important thing to consider when buying a book for a baby. Also maybe stop and think and if there will be any literate people around who can possibly read this book when the baby is born. I also made Wendy a painting for the nursery, because she has me on lock for three pieces. So, one down!
  

The book and the painting both inspired two separate wendylogues and Regina gave me a seething look. A thing you should know about Wendy is that her ability to get sidetracked and take you down an oral rabbit hole is one of her most endearing qualities!

It was a really beautiful baby shower and so great to see some of my work friends outside of The Law Firm, and to some quality time with those who aren’t there anymore. But if I’m being honest, my favorite part was the fact that the favors were TEA CUPS. You guys might not know this, but I have a thing for these little plants called succulents?! And tea cups are my preferred potting object for them! In fact, I had two at home that were homeless, so I was really excited to bring home something for it to rest its roots!

But then I noticed that all of the tea cups were different, and I promise I was trying to be subdued about it, but I started examining the other cups at my table. Nina and Angie’s mom were like, “Uh, you can have ours” and Barb tried like 87 times to give me hers even though I kept telling her IT WAS TOO PLAIN!

Debbie pointed out that hers was still at the table she was technically supposed to be sitting at (she dragged her chair over to our table and we made room for her). I noticed that Missy was walking toward it, so I got up and lunged at it, swiping it off the table before she had a chance to. She was just like, “Um, OK.” And then I kind of felt bad because she was just trying to get an extra one so that her daughter could have a tea party; I offered Barb’s bastard tea cup to her but she didn’t want it either.

Catherine found out what was happening, so she gave me hers, which she didn’t want because she found a better one unclaimed at another table. When she showed me that one, I said I preferred that one over the first one she offered me, and she was like, “Tough shit, I’m not giving this one up.” IT WAS SO PERFECT. It had TWO HANDLES and a beautiful gold, Greek-like design embossed around the lip.

Then Regina caught wind of my tea cup hoarding and gave me a tea pot that no one chose as a prize. As soon as I got home, I ran straight to my bedroom, changed out of my dress and into my gardening garb, and potted the shit out of my two homeless succulents.

I texted a picture to Barb who replied, “You don’t waste any time!” Maybe if Barb understood what it was like to be passionate* about plants, she wouldn’t respond in such a surprised manner.

*(See also: obsessed and lacking an actual life.)

Later, I went to dinner at Grant Bar in Millvale with Henry and Chooch because god forbid a day goes by that I don’t allow them to hang out with me.

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Henry made a silverware sculpture, I had the best coconut cream pie I’ve ever had in my whole life, and Chooch NEVER STOPPED TALKING. (He also was on the verge of verbally attacking the waitress when she came back from the kitchen to inform him that they were out of the pumpkin pie he ordered “with a la mode” but managed to catch himself just in time and instead expressed his disappointment in a long, drawn-out groan.)

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The food at Grant’s Bar is fine, but it’s those faux-stone walls and small-town, outdated ambiance that keeps me coming back. These are the types of restaurants I’m always trying to eat at when we’re on vacation too! Speaking of, I will continue that saga tomorrow. Busch Gardens or the Whirligig Park?!  I KNOW YOU CAN’T WAIT TO FIND OUT.

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Aug 042015
 

Funny backstory guys! 

Just kidding. This isn’t a funny story at all. But it’s going to start out waaaay worse than it ended up being so don’t you go and get all panicky!

A week before vacation, Henry and I came  home from work to find his mom, Judy, in what appeared to be some type of shock on the couch. She didn’t seem very cognizant or coherent, and she was shaking really bad.

We thought she was having a stroke. It was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed personally. Thank god Henry was there to take action because I was one step away from joining his mom on the couch. I’m so terrible in emergencies!

Chooch was down the street at his friend’s house so while I ran down to get him, Henry called 911 and then fetched Hot Naybor Chris’s wife, Ruth, who is a nurse. She sat with Judy and pretty quickly deduced that it likely was not a stroke. 

The first responders and paramedics said the same thing, but wanted to transport her to one of the city’s hospitals that has a stroke unit, to be safe.

Turns out she had several infections and a fever that was over 104, which was what had sent her into that scary, seemingly catatonic state. Long story short, she had to stay in the hospital for a week but she is home now and well on her way to recovery. 

Scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed though, and I appreciate the one first responder who tried to quell my sobbing by looking around the house and asking, “So, who likes The Cure?” Meanwhile, the othe one was slowly looking all around my house, at the pictures of bloody Easter bunnies and cemeteries on my walls, clowns scattered about, Ouija board container of mints on the skull-covered coffee table, and then at me, and then back at All The Stuff. I was slowly trying to roll up the Devil rug with my foot. I mean, my house isn’t an in-your-face exploration into the design aethestics of a serial killer, but there’s a lot to look at. And then the more you look…the more you might start to wonder….But I don’t think about it that often because this is my normal and usually the people who come into my house are people who know me so they’re not fazed. It’s always interesting to see it through a stranger’s eyes. 

I was telling Glenn and Amber2 about this the next day and for the first time since it all went down, I laughed. “It probably looked like a spell gone wrong!” And oh how we all chuckled in unison, a real Oh Honestly, Erin moment.   

To me, the creepiest thing in my house is that pink-haired boy in the background.   

Anyway, most of the Henry Bombs from that week were shot in the hospital, so now you’ll know why. (Oh, and obviously I wasn’t running around the hospital taking pictures on that first night; these were all when we were visiting, after we knew she was good and on the mend. Good lord, that was scary.)

  

The “Headless Henry Carries A Purse While I Stuff Melons Down My Shirt” shot. Seriously, my boob looks so big and droopy in this picture. 
  

The “Henry Enjoys the View From The Mercy Hospital Elevator, Considers Jumping” shot. 

  

The “Another Day, Another Elevator Ride, Another Same-Colored Shirt” shot. 
  

The “Stalking the Hospital Men’s Room, Waiting For Henry to Emerge, Getting Weird Looks In the Hallway” shot. 

  

The “Just Came Home From Buying Food For The Dependents, Found A Different Shirt To Wear, Is It Plain Enough?” shot. 
  

The “Hot Naybor Chris Is Working On His Car So Henry Suddenly Needs To Mow the Lawn” shot. 

 

The “Balancing a TV On Your Head Takes Panache And a Stately Moustache (And a Blank T-Shirt)” shot. 

 

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Aug 022015
 

I’m the type of broad who gets super sensitive and sad on her birthday. It’s all that emo I listen to, I know, I know. But my 36th birthday was a very pleasant one, aside from a fight that Chooch and I had that night over dinner because we are literally the same person and turn into psychopaths when we’re hungry and the restaurant I picked (Tortuga’s in Thunderbolt, if you’re curious) ended up not having the same menu I saw on Yelp and the waitress was annoyed when I whimpered, “But I’m a vegetarian” and then I started CRYING AT THE TABLE and Chooch was all OH NICE ONE, MOMMY and then Henry was like, “Um, why don’t you go wait in the car and I’ll get this food to go?” 

This all went down in about 30 minutes and then everything was fine. Henry defused yet another bomb. The waitress got the cook to make me a fried green tomato panini and Henry drove to some parking lot and then Chooch and I walked on the beach for a little bit after we ate and it was nice. (Henry hung back in the parking lot shadows like the Salem Strangler.) And some teenaged girl enthusiastically told me that she thought my outfit was cute, like I wasn’t some 36-year-old out-of-touch hag! In my head I was like CAN I HUG U but in real life, I mumbled, “Thx.”

  
Before things went awry. 

Other than the Dinner Disaster, every thing else was wonderful. On the eve of my birthday, we checked into our hotel in Savannah and I was greeted by this:

  

The sweetest birthday basket from my sweet friend Octavia, which also included a small toy fox, because Emarosa. <3 Such a thoughtful touch! Octavia would go on to spend the next day showing us around Savannah and making our first time in her city totally fun and unforgettable. (All of that gets its own post, coming soon!)

Meanwhile, friends and family were sending me birthday wishes, photos of cabbage & Robert Smith & clowns, and proof that they listened to Emarosa in my honor. 

My favorite, from Allison: 
:):):):):)

We arrived home from our vacation around 1:09AM this morning and a package containing THREE LITHOPS FROM KENDAHL was waiting on my porch!! Talk about getting a second wind! I left Henry on the sidewalk to deal with our luggage (lol, like I’d have helped him otherwise) and promptly potted my new succulents instead of going to bed like I had spent the last hour(s) in the car whining about wanting to do.  

The Kendahl Family! Bradley, Robert, and Barbara (named after three of my favorite singers, Bradley Walden, Robert Smith, and Barbara Streisand):
  

This morning, Hot Naybor Chris gave Chooch a bag of our mail, which included a package from Brandy. LOOK AT THIS MASTERPIECE:

 

I cried real tears. It means so much to me and I can’t wait to put it on my desk at work, where I can look at it everyday!  I’m surrounded by caring, thoughtful, GOOD people and that makes me feel less alone and a little less jaded, too. I try not to let my birthdays get to me, but I always lose that battle. So thank you to everyone who reached out and made my birthday less painful. 36 is a big number! 

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Jul 312015
 

We’re currently headed back north, though we won’t be back home in Pittsburgh until tomorrow. This is the first time I haven’t had a reason to feel homesick while on a trip; it’s a weird feeling knowing that we’re going home to a house void of cats. 

I’m sure Janna is also a bit relieved because I always hounded her for photos and videos of my cats doing fuck all whenever I was out of town. Especially the time we went to Tennessee and Chooch had a full-blown emotional breakdown because he missed Speck so much. Poor Janna had to essentially film the most boring cat documentary of all time with her phone just to assure Chooch that all the cats had continued to exist without him. 

That being said…

 
This is Lahana. I miss her and my other succulents very much. Is that weird? To be so attached to a colony of plants? Maybe I’m just so accustomed to feeling homesick that I needed to find something new to pull me back home. 

Octavia gifted me a succulent for my birthday (I named her Savannah, obvi!).  

And then yesterday, Chooch found something that we think might be a succulent growing on a sidewalk in downtown Savannah, so he “gently” plucked it from the earth and I have been trying to coddle the poor guy as much as possible. I think I’ll name him Leopold. <3    

I’m not in any big rush to get home to boring Pittsburgh and go back to work, but I have to admit that I’m a bit concerned for the well-being of my succulents; I sure hope none of them have perished in my absence. I guess I should have asked Hot Naybor Chris to look in on them. :(

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Jul 302015
 

Today is my birthday! If you felt so inclined to celebrate along with me, It would make me super happy if you either:

  • Listen to one Emarosa song (OR ALL OF THEM!!) 
  • Send me a cabbage-y picture of yourself! Posing with cabbage head boobs, eating cole slaw, etc etc. Text it to me! 412-638-2379 I won’t think that’s creepy or anything, but Henry sure as hell does.

Speaking of cabbage….

  

We ate at some family restaurant yesterday in NC that had cabbage on the menu and I was dying. That’s what happens when you make yourself become obsessed with cabbage for the month of July.

I had a pimento cheese sandwich because when in Wilson, NC….amirite? It was pretty anticlimactic and the okra I ordered was fried and I was sad. I don’t know what I was expecting from a semi-fast food joint: steamed and on a kebab? My expectations are stupid.  But still, okra.

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Jul 292015
 

Today we’re en route to Savannah from Williamsburg, and I am ridiculously bored. Henry has essentially quit talking to us altogether. Which is fine because it’s not like we listen to him anyway. Chooch is playing something dumb on his DS and I’m reading Absolute Punk. So unless you want a detailed account of Buddy Nielsen from Senses Fail speaking out against the current state of the scene, or the recently announced tenth anniversary Juturna tour, then I’ve got nothing. 

So please enjoy looking at pictures of idiot Henry at Busch Gardens yesterday. 

  

Here you can see Henry about to triumphantly walk through his favorite part of the park, where his patriotism and selfless SERVICE stint could be celebrated by all. 
  

Standing in line for the second of the whopping FOUR rides he rode all day. This is actually more than usual, though. (This line was for Verbolten which is my new favorite ride in the whole world. Henry thought it was “fine.”)

  

Looking for a bench so he could push up his glasses and use his phone to look up Pretty Little Liars theories (“A” is really Xavier Roberts!) and home remedies for hemorrhoids. (Fresh cabbage leaves! I’ve learned A LOT about that leafy veg head this month.) 

  

He walks far ahead so people won’t think he belongs to us. And also so he can pretend that he doesn’t hear our cries for food, presents, and STRANGER DANGER, and more food. 

  

My favorite part about lunch at the Festhaus was the fact that Henry didn’t want to eat lunch at the Festhaus. 
  

He got really mad when he sat down at a table far away and then realized Chooch and I hadn’t followed him, so he had to pick up his tray and stomp irritably to where we were sitting. 

 

Henry wore one of his favorite salmon-colored tshirts yesterday and there were TWO OTHER MEN wearing salmon-colored shirts as well, and Chooch and I kept mistaking them for Henry. Also, a man in front of us in line for the Lochness Monster could have easily passed for Henry as well, if only his hair was more full-bodied and McNicol-ish like Henry’s. He even was wearing plain white New Balance shoes which is Henry’s preferred brand!  

Ok I’m peacing out now because it’s nearly my feeding time and I’m about to punch through the roof of the car. LYLAS!

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Jul 282015
 

  I was going to ask if anyone wanted to blog about their favorite cabbage-centric recipes while I’m away this week, like this Best of Deutschland plate I saw at the Festhaus in Busch Gardens today, complete with a hearty wad of kraut, but my track record at wrangling guest posters is pretty abysmal. However, a new blog friend wrote something even better than a dumb recipe, so please enjoy a guest post by fellow Pittsburgh blogger, Matt Pritt! We have just recently been acquainted and I’m really enjoying learning about him through his blog, and the fact that he worked in radio is sickeningly interesting to me! 

***************

At this point in time Art Bell might say “The end times are nigh”, what with you coming here expecting words from Erin, Chooch or Henry, though he seems to be of few words. I imagine your level of disappointment would be comparable to all of those guys who had information stored on the Ashley Madison website right about now.

Truth be told, you should be worried that I am here because I come with an Internet robe and sickle. Think I am kidding, I have had three different social Internet platforms die off in my 10 years of blogging. First there was Yahoo 360, yahoo’s venture into social media. A surprisingly user friendly platform, Yahoo decided to scrap it when they thought they could take on Facebook. How is everyone’s Yahoo mash page doing these days? Next on deck for my internet kiss of death was Multiply, another of the user friendly type blogging sites. They thought that they could make money by being the next eBay of Indonesia ( “Jarkarta, hello!” Bonus points if you got the Larry King reference.). Then there was my ever so brief foray into podcasting, which went hand in hand with my time in radio ( more on that in a moment) and a beautiful little site called Imeem, which was bought out by MySpace and we all see how successful MySpace has been. So the fact I am here could mean bad things, very bad things indeed.

As for who I am, well I’m Troy McClure, you may remember me from such past blogs as…….., sorry I couldn’t resist, sometimes, most times actually I do this to entertain myself. Actually my name is Matt Pritt, if you know me, allow me to apologize now for whatever I have done to offend you. If my name rings a bell, and it might for some, I used to be in radio, working as a producer of radio shows by Jerry Bowyer, Lynn Cullen and the late Doug Hoerth. If you have never been a fan of talk radio, don’t start now, there is no point in getting sucked into that cesspool. It is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. Go feed the poor or save a whale or something, you will feel much better about your time spent than by listening to talk radio. That is not to speak ill of the people I worked with, I am still friends with all of them, but the process is such that you spend three hours a day saying how right your side is regarding an issue and how the other guy is so wrong and it becomes an emotionally taxing experience.

As for outside of radio, I have been a blogger for over a decade now, though for the most part I have a level of disdain for calling blogging work. I admit that some people use the platform as an extension of their craft, and for them a blog might be work related, but for me it has always been the illusion of work, that by sitting down and banging out an entry or two I have accomplished something, when, truth be told, there are far more productive things I could be doing with my time. I do this because I like it, which I am sure is the same excuse my father used after marriage number 5.

I am a late comer to the Oh Honestly Erin party, so I am learning as I go. Our musical tastes differ slightly, my favorite radio station from back in the day ( us old folks are allowed to say “back in the day”, as well as “get off my lawn” ) was WXXP, you know Pittsburgh’s station that dares to be different, or at least different for the 2 years of its existence, but that too suffered a kiss of death ( my robe and sickle please ). Though they do still exist on a 365 live stream some place, and a reunion show is planned according to their Facebook page ( perhaps an Affordable Floors performance if I may make a suggestion ) but that was the good old days folks, when candy bars cost a quarter and places like the Electric Banana, the Upstage and the Decade were still in existence.

What else is there to say? I am 46 years old, my face’s resting position is a scowl ( thanks for the line Amy Schumer, check out her interview from Ellen, it is hilarious ) and I am the general manager of Smithfield News, which I jokingly say is downtown Pittsburgh’s largest purveyor of pig’s feet. It’s funny because it’s true. At current rate we may end up being the oldest store downtown, provided my robe and sickle doesn’t get in the way of that as well.

If blogging were professional wrestling, my intro music would be “Cause I Said So” by The Godfathers, but thankfully it isn’t, readers of this page have enough trouble keeping up with the musical comings and goings without my dropping obscure 80s references into the mix.

Anyway I hope I didn’t scare anyone away with my nonsensical drivel. Time to turn the page back over to its rightful owner. I am outtie, like a belly button.

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Jul 272015
 

Quick thoughts on my first full day in Williamsburg.  

   
Cheese Shop for lunch, per Jeannie’s recommendation. 
Acquired a deed to property in Williamsburg. (Yes, after three hours of back-and-forth with the resort sales staff, we snagged a deal that fits our lifestyle and won’t bankrupt us.)

Bought a ton of postcards

Bantered with Nelson at the Activity Center when Chooch & I went to check-out tennis rackets. He was fucking nuts, in all of the good ways, and gave us both Popsicles. 

Argued furiously with Chooch while trying to teach him how to play tennis when I myself haven’t played in 19 years. I eventually had to walk away before I disowned him*. I hope everyone enjoyed the show. 

Gleaned another tiny morsel of Henry’s past when he slipped up and divulged more information than he intended when we asked him what kind of tree we were walking past.  Remind me, Blog, to tell you about “smoking trees” at a later date. 

Extreme Ghost Hunt later tonight!

*I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for Chooch to be taken in. Everyone at King’s Creek fucking looooooves him and he’s practically famous here after one day. It’s nauseating. WHAT ABOUT MEEEEEE?? 

  
 

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Jul 262015
 

You know the Liveblogging drill: keep checking back for updates, or abstain and read all at once tomorrow—oh what a treat. I liveblog because Henry ignores me.

7:36am: HI GUYS we’re about to embark on this year’s shoddily planned vacation! Chooch is a fucking hornet and keeps growling and NOW HE CANT GET HIS SHOE ON OH WOE IS HE. Henry just walked past with his hands full of suitcases and said, “I’ll get these; you guys just sit there.” Um, yeah. Duh. 

7:42: Chooch’s shoe still isn’t on and we still haven’t left. The usual. 

7:53: Chooch made me an Emarosa bracelet last night and left it for Henry to tie in the morning. I was watching him tie it and I yelled IS THAT A SERVICE KNOT? He calmly replied, “No. It’s a double knot.”

  

8:22: Just stopped at Sheetz where Henry yelled at us the entire time and made us feel confused about what we were “allowed” to get. I got coffee and some Fig Bar thing and then ran away because I hate road trip Henry. HE’S MEAN. 

8:50: Henry just tried to make some dumb joke and I’m not talking to him so in my head I thought, “Go stick your dick in a cabbage-bun.” But he would probably like that so I hope it’s one that is straight outta the oven!!

9:30: just realized we were driving past a lake and I mimicked violent vomiting, to which Henry sighed and said, “REALLY?” Also, I wish Death Cab would do a Something About Airplanes tour. I haven’t really liked anything they’ve done last Transatlanticism but SAA has always been my favorite. It got me through a lot of traumatic times at the abusive Meat Place I worked at with Henry and that is not an euphemism for the time when I was Henry’s sex slave. I just call that time “paycheck from hell.” I didn’t get much sleep last night. 

9:36: We’re in Maryland. I always forget that Maryland and Pennyslvania touch. 

10:26: Chooch just woke up and is asking ludicrous questions now, like how many miles is New Zealand from Australia. And I’m like “unless you’re asking because you want to go to the Soundwave festival next year, shut up no one cares.”

10:40: I hate him.   

11:30: We’re at the Old Town Diner in Myersville, MD and Chooch is dying because our waitress said “y’all.”  Henry is this angry:

 

Chooch and I are being bad (see also: adorable & entertaining) and Henry said he just wants to go home LOLOLOLOLOL.   

12:46: Explaining to Henry the article Terri sent me about musical frissons, or skin orgasms, and his eyes are now rolling somewhere behind our car on 270. He just doesn’t get it. “It’s sad that you’ll never experience it,” I said to him in exaggerated sympathy. “I feel really bad for you.” He just tried to roll his eyes again but forgot he already cartwheeled them out of his head the last time. 

12:50: SAY HELLO TO THE BAD GUY. 

1:36: Get ready to be annoyed, Virginia. We’re in you.   

Henry just said we have three more hours though, wtf?? How big is Virginia?? Ugh. 

2:46: Slept for awhile until Henry woke me up to see a large plaster roller skate we were driving past and it wasn’t even that cool so now I’m in a bad mood and Henry exacerbated it when he drove thru a Dunkin Donuts and got me coffeeless iced coffee because I think guy asked him if he wanted wanted extra cream and idiot Henry said yes without asking me. I hope he chokes on his Chips Ahoy donut. (Kidding! Because that would put my life in danger too, God forbid.)

3:16: I just randomly burst into tears because I miss Warped Tour & Henry, before I even finished my whine, barked, “Oh my god. Why don’t you just get a goddamn job with Warped Tour and travel with them all summer?” He was so mean when he said it, but then after considering this and calming down, he added, “You could be Kevin Lyman’s conflict analyst.” WHICH IS FUNNY IF YOU KNEW WHAT DEPT I WORK IN AT THE LAW FIRM. I would be so good at that! I could research all of the bands and make sure none of them were pedophiles or sex offenders or rapists, or have any major beef with each other. 

4:41:Just checked in. Right as Henry was hitting “accept” for the resort’s agreement contract thing, Chooch almost put a rocking chair through the window. 

   
 
Chooch: HOW DID WE AFFORD THIS?

Henry, grumbling: Oh, we’re gonna pay for it tomorrow morning at the time share presentation. 

   
   
Chooch and his imaginary friend get their own room. AND BATHROOM, thank god. 

6:46: Went to the pool for a bit and now we’re waiting for our table at Food For Thought which is right across from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Chooch is being OMG SUCH A FUCKING BRAT because of course he wants to go there and we are like “we went to the one in Gatlinburg & if you’ve been to one you’ve been to all” but he’s still going on and on and THERE IS NO ESCAPE. Even the sign in the parking lot of this restaurant says “additional parking at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” Hey Ripley’s, believe it or not you can go fuck yourself. 

7:19: we have the best waitress in this joint. She said she likes my tattoos and Chooch’s hair and said “you guys are just cool in general” and then she carded me. And the vegetarian options here have me feeling #soblessed  

8:05: Henry is completely miserable. But Chooch and I are in a great mood. Chooch read this quote that was on the restaurant wall:   

and said, “I don’t get it. Oh. George Bernard Shaw said it. No wonder.” ???

9:00: The speed limit here at Kings Creek Plantation is 17. We went to Shorty’s Diner after dinner for ice cream and Shorty’s proprietor called Chooch “boss” which totally inflated his head.   

We then had a riveting conversation about wet walnuts and cherry Coke. God, can Henry facilitate deep discourse or what.

Food For Thought had conversation starter cards on the table and Chooch was excited about it. “Daddy’s not going to answer any of those, you know. He hates sharing storied about himself,” I said. 

“No, I just don’t like talking to you people,” Henry sneered, right before ordering POT ROAST. God, what an “AARP supper.” And coleslaw! Coleslaw twice in one day. Henry must have been on slaw duty in the SERVICE mess hall back in the day, hence the affinity for that mayo bath of a side dish. 

 9:23: Current state: 
I may or may not crash right now. 

10:14: I just realized that Savannah is over 7 hours away from Williamsburg. This whole time I thought it was like 4?! 

10:23: I miss my succulents. :( Especially Panne. 

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Jul 232015
 

I was feeling overwhelmed on Saturday and decided that I needed to cancel all plans and just decompress at home. Henry and Chooch had a friend-of-the-family picnic thing to attend (where Chooch spent the whole time being “harassed” by an older girl in a bikini), so I had the house to myself. And look, it was nice to spend time alone, getting some painting and writing done, listening to music super loud, and exercising; but by the end of the day, I felt like I hadn’t done anything and then quickly morphed into cabin fever and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Before we went to bed, I told Henry that I wanted to spend Sunday outside.

“Doing what?” he asked, the words floating out of his mouth on a sheet of exhaustion.

“I don’t know, like hiking in the wilderness or something,” my 16-year-old scene bitch alter ego Skye Vanity sighed with mild disgust and sullen ambivalence.

And then Henry exploded into a million tiny pieces of FML confetti, because he knows that Erin + Wilderness = more gray hairs for Henry.

Still, Henry looked up “wilderness trails” or “places to bury a body” who knows what he searched in order to decide that we were going to spend Sunday afternoon in Keystone State Park. We mostly all got along on the way there, although Chooch and I fought over music here and there, because that’s what we do when we’re in the car. BICKER, FIGHT, QUARREL, ARGUE, CAST ASPERSIONS, PUNT INSULT-STUFFED CABBAGES AT EACH OTHER, CARVE YEARS OFF OF HENRY’S FLEETING LIFE.

But we eventually made it to Keystone State Park, which I never knew existed, but we apparently drive past it every time we venture out to Lakemont Park and Delgrosso’s. It took us about an hour to get there, I guess; who cares.

First, we stopped at the visitor’s center so that Henry could inquire about the various trails and then accept a map from one of the….park rangers? Adult cub scout? I don’t know what they are….only to then put it in the trunk of the car before we embarked on our “hike.”

Henry wants us to get lost in the woods and die.

I had to pee real quick and was happy that the visitor’s center had a real, working, modern bathroom and I didn’t have to hover over a chamber pot. When I came back out, Henry and Chooch were waiting for me outside, but the younger of the two khaki-coated trail experts intercepted me on my way out and eagerly started reiterating all of the information that Henry had already obtained.

“I recommend this one,” he panted, after describing every single trail in all of the Keystone Kingdom. He was pointing at the trail that started right outside of the visitor’s center, probably because he wanted me to fall into his slyly-crafted Instant Girlfriend pit.

I thanked him and then finally rejoined Henry, who was smirking when I approached him. (And Chooch was trying to hide from me but I knew where he was because you can’t hide from the hiding master.) “That kid couldn’t wait to tell you about the trails,” Henry laughed and gave my boobs a nod. Henry’s lucky that he’s the only one who can get away with objectifying me. (Sometimes.)

(OK, never.)

TOMS are great to hike in.

Henry regaled Chooch with some completely fictional story about how, in the early, formative stage of our “relationship,” he took me to some place allegedly named Moraine State Park, where I “threw a fit” after “five minutes” and we “had to leave” and now Henry has an “aversion” to “being outside” with me.

I do not recall this. Henry says this was back when I had lots of rage black-outs, though.

I wound up walking way ahead of these two schmucks because they are as slow as your great-grandma driving home from Church. Plus, Chooch has to stop every few feet to scream and cry about bugs and how hot it is, which is usually what I would be doing too, but I was in the mood to WALK IT OUT that day. It’s surprising that I had any energy considering I was up half of the night waiting to hear if Jonny Craig’s band of idiots got voted off Warped Tour or not. (THEY DID! I might post about that on a later date.)

The heat and humidity felt good to me so I took off and wound up so far ahead that I lost sight of Henry and Chooch.

But I wasn’t far enough away to lose audio of Chooch’s non-stop running mouth. I’m not sure I’m ever far enough away. Even at work, like right now, I have an endless loop of his voice swirling around in my head. “Mommy. Cats. Mommy. Mommy. Minecraft. Cats. Skylanders. Cats. Mommy. YouTube. Mommy. Buy me this. I want this. I’m bored. Mommy. Mommy. Cats. I want a cat. I want 28 cats. Cats. Cats. Cats.”

So intermingled with nature’s soundtrack, I could hear Chooch’s constant oration, that beautifully annoying, high-pitched lilt of prepubescent boys. God love it.

There were various intersections in the path we were on, so I would have to stop and scream, “I’M GOING LEFT! HELLO?! I SAID I’M GOING LEFT!!” and once the blue birds delivered to them my screeching message on a ribbon, Henry would jack up the volume on his mumble just enough for me to hear his flat, “Ok.”

It wasn’t until I walked through a giant spider web that I decided this was bullshit and one of those assholes should be leading the way to prevent this from happening again, so I waited for them to catch up.

Chooch had dirt smeared all over his neck and face, and the front of his tank top was sopping wet with sweat. There was a moment where I considered sending him home on a bus so that he wouldn’t stench up my car.

Apparently, there was some competition that I was not made aware of until the end of the walk. Chooch was competing to see who could find the most wildlife, and of course he WON because he didn’t include me in it until the very end! Luckily at the last minute I saw a bird, and then I walked through another web and wound up with its homeowner scrambling around on my shoulder, so there, CHOOCH. I ended up tied with Henry, but I’m pretty sure Chooch was cheating. It’s a terrible character flaw of his.

Father Nature was wielding some strange object and I demanded to know what it was.

“It’s an acorn weapon,” he explained. “So that if someone jumps out and attacks you, I can give this to them to help.”

What an asshole, you know?

Before we left, Chooch treated us to an impromptu performance, and then told us to get our asses up and leave. He has a bright future in the entertainment industry.

On the way home, Henry had a coughing fit.

I mocked him.

Chooch cracked up and yelled, “Are you going to die?!”

“Probably,” Henry wheezed. “Because you two aren’t going to help.”

You’d think Henry would be immune to our insensitivity, but I guess it still stings a little.

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