I’m the only one awake in my house right now, so instead of sullenly staring out the window at the SNOW, I figured I could spin some yarns about the shit we did yesterday. Because how will you ever sleep not knowing every detail about my lame life.
Chooch has his piano lessons every Saturday at noon. It used to be at 11 but then Cheryl moved it back an hour and I rejoiced because sometimes it’s nice to lay around like a sloth on Saturday mornings. I know my kid’s attention span, so I’m kind of surprised that he not only makes it through the hour long lessons without his brain exploding, but that he actually seems to enjoy it (and he even practices on his own!). He’s getting comfortable enough with Cheryl now that he gets kind of argumentative with her. Because he knows everything, you know. Like, I sit there and try to read my book*, but then I get distracted by the arguing. She was like, “Here, you play this song and I’ll sing along” so that happened but Chooch for some reason got really irritated by her singing (she sings like a normal person, not a dwarf swallowing pine cones like that Passenger guy) so he made this disgruntled noise and said, “Or, how about I play this AND I sing.” He’s such a goddamn dick sometime.
Then she made the mistake of telling him he’s a natural talent, so I’m sure we’ll be hearing all about that until the end of time.
*(I’ve been on the same page of “Broke Down Horses” for weeks, it seems. This book is so boring, it’s no wonder it’s been sitting around my house, unread, since 2009. I really liked Jeannette Walls’ other book, “Glass Castle,” so I’m pretty disappointed. I’m on page 70. Should I just quit? I mean, I quit everything else!)
After the lesson, our chauffeur Henry picked us up and we ate lunch at Station Street Hot Dogs which I love because they have veggie versions of pretty much everything (and it’s Kevin Sousa’s, my Pittsburgh chef-crush). My favorite is the Devil Dog, which is loaded with egg salad and potato chips (a fucking picnic in your palm!), but yesterday I opted for the veggie chili dog because it has cheese curd on it and I woke up yesterday really wanted to roll some balls of cheese curd around my mouth. (Not actually.)
I forgot that I dislike onions.
Anyway, after we ordered at the counter, the cashier asked Henry what name to use for the order.
“Henry,” he said, of course.
“Eric?” she repeated.
AND HE WAS LIKE SURE. So then the hot dog maker called “Eric?” when our order was done and Henry was like “That’s us” and fetched our hot dogs like a good Eric. It wasn’t that funny, BUT IT WAS THAT FUNNY. I had to spin around on my stool so no one would see me cracking up alone, because why wouldn’t Henry correct that lady when she misheard his name? (Asks the girl who eats tomatoes & walks extra laps in the cemetery because speaking up is hard work.)
“It’s not that funny,” Henry mumbled when he slid my hot dog over to me.
Henry’s Hot Dog Hole. I was going to start calling him Eric all day, but Eric’s Hot Dog Hole just doesn’t satisfy my psychotic need to alliterate everything.
Then we came home. Then we went to the craft store so I could get shit for my fake art. Then we went to my new favorite cookie place, Give Mia Cookie, and then and then and then! We acted like we had never seen or eaten a cookie before and tried to get Henry to buy it all. Seriously, if you live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, or if you live elsewhere in Pittsburgh and don’t have a bridge-crossing stick up your ass, go buy some cookies from this place!
After eating too many cookies (and brownies; they brought out a tray of fresh brownies right as Henry was about to pay and Chooch and I screamed, “BUT, BROWNIES!!!” so then we got brownies too because Henry still is moderately affected by our adorable spoiled brat syndrome), we went right down the street to the South Park Skating Rink, a place I haven’t been in honestly like 20 years, what the fuck—how did I get old? It was my friend John’s daughter Abby’s birthday party, and I was really nervous about this because you might remember when we went to her party last year at the bowling alley and Henry tried to murder me with a bowling ball. I didn’t even want to think about the horrible “accidents” he could cause on an ice rink.
Thinking about it.
As we walked into the skate rink, I smiled and said dreamily, “Wow, I got in so many fights in this place.”
“Why?” Chooch asked.
“Because your mom’s a brat,” Henry sighed. MORE LIKE BECAUSE MOMMY WAS A THUG, YO.
My relationship with ice skating is shoddy at best. I spent almost every winter weekend in 9th and 10th grade at this rink, but I sure as shit wasn’t skating. I was flirting, y’all. (I actually had a personality back then.) Sometimes I would go through the motions of slapping skates to my feet, but I never made it much further than the baby rink. It always hurt my ankles and I was never very good at it. I was one of those wall-clingers that I make fun of at the roller rink.
But I wanted to try it again because I didn’t want to just stand around like a doof. But I should have known that it was going to be a failure from the get-go when they skate people kept giving me awful skates that were made for giants and gave my Princess Complex a reason to come out roaring like a bear, and Henry just looooves when that happens in public, because who doesn’t like to be seen with a 34-year-old spoiled fucking brat?
Finally, I let the skates win and dejectedly followed Henry and Chooch out to the baby rink. This was Chooch’s first time ice skating and he was walking around like he was wearing penny loafers, no big deal. He went around the baby rink once and was like, “OK, I got this” and left for the big rink while I was still paralyzed on the first square foot of ice I stepped on inside the baby rink. Henry had to help me back out.
Even after that, I was still going to try to skate on the big rink, especially after seeing Chooch fearlessly step onto it. But I never made it. I stood at the rink-opening, contemplating it, but visions of falling and having Henry skate over my neck kept ice-dancing through my head so I stomped back inside and ripped off the skates.
With just the tiniest smidge of attitude, I said to the skate rental boy, “I’ll stick with roller skating.” Then I slid the skates at him in a huff, forgetting I had to wait there for him to return my fucking shoes to me.
Oh, the joy of sliding my green-striped feet back into my TOMS. None of the other parents were skating, so fuck it, right?
I went back outside to watch Henry forget that he’s a warehouse manager and not Johnny Weir, but he didn’t last much longer either, stating “foot problems” as the reason, when we all know it’s because his hemorrhoids were probably becoming enflamed. So we were standing there, watching the kids skate, when I heard a familiar voice behind me. I turned around just in time to see a white puffy coat and a flash of blond hair whizz past me, and immediately I recognized her as someone I went to high school with.
Now, normal Erin fashion would be to form a face-curtain with my hair and then spend the remaining time at the party trying to wedge myself inside Henry’s armpit. But instead, I left Henry without a word and marched over to where the girl was standing, because this was one of my best childhood friends of all time.
Turns out she had recently moved back to Pittsburgh and her son is in Abby’s class, so they were here for the same party. So fucking random. I think the last time I talked to her, we were 19 or so. We had slowly grown apart during high school, not because of any certain drama or anything, but we just went different directions. And it probably doesn’t seem like a big deal to reconnect with a lost friend in the age of Facebook, but she isn’t on Facebook. God, that must be nice!
So I totally ditched Henry and talked to Spring for the rest of the party. Henry didn’t mind though because he and John were talking about boring man things, like Home Depot sales and NCIS probably.
“Are you still artsy?” Spring asked me, and it made me laugh because back then all I ever did was write and draw and now I still do, but just in very different ways, I guess. So I don’t know if I really consider myself “artsy.” I do tech support at a law firm, for Christ’s sake. That’s about as un-artsy as it gets. But I appreciate that this is how I was remembered.
And then the subject of my family came up, which is always a party foul. I guess her mom runs into my dad sometimes, so Spring knows a little about what’s been going on, and so we talked about how my mom is not the woman she used to be and how everything went to hell after my pappap died.
“He was the glue that held your family together,” Spring said knowingly. And then she went on to talk about how wonderful my mom was to her when we were growing up, and it made me so goddamn sad, because my mom used to be the fucking shit. I can’t tell you how many times she helped out my friends, how generous she was, and how much fun we used to have with her. She wasn’t “Mrs. Kelly” to anyone, she was Val. But you know what I realized though, after thinking about this all last night? She still sucked at being a mom, even back then when she still had most of her sanity. She was just good at throwing her money around and rejecting responsibility, which obviously was amazingly cool and fascinating in the eyes of a teenager. But sometimes I needed her to be a mom. Like when I was heart broken but she said I didn’t know what a problem was. Or when I was legitimately sick and she kept laughing and saying I was a hypochondriac. Or when my pappap died and I needed to mourn with her but she had completely shut down.
Family drama out of the way, we spent the rest of the party reminiscing about all the time we spent in the “haunted” woods behind my house (for real though, it could be haunted), roller-skating in my basement, and how Spring stepped on a yellow jacket nest at my dad’s campground.
“Did you ever legally change your name to Emerald?” Spring laughed. I totally forgot about that! It was my poetry pen name. You know how I make fake art now? Well in high school, I wrote fake poems. I even trained two teachers to call me Emerald in class! (Granted, one was a gym teacher…)
Emerald Appledale…now to find a Pudgy Mom porno to star in.
We kept trying to tell our respective sons about how we were best friends when we were their age, but they didn’t give a shit.
Eventually, everyone went back inside to the party room to have pizza. I was getting anxious because it seemed like every child was going for the cheese pizza and I started wringing my hands because what if they ran out of cheese and I had to pick off sausage?! So I got up and stood in line with the kids.
“I just want to make sure all the kids get a piece first,” John said as I was doing the Nervous Jig in line.
“John, I AM a kid,” I argued.
“This is true,” he said, handing me a plate. And that is how I got to eat pizza before any of the grown-ups.
Later, he was telling me and Henry about how his teenaged daughter was driving him nuts.
“It only gets worse,” Henry counseled, subtly jabbing a thumb toward me.
As the party started to disperse, Chooch and John’s son Gavin were running around. John and I had both told them multiple times not to run around up there, but god forbid kids should listen. So Chooch got up and started running, causing Gavin to immediately get the itch to chase him. However, Gavin was running in his socks and inevitably slipped, banging his head off the concrete floor. OMG we are like a black cloud at their parties! Two years ago at Gavin’s party, Chooch and Gavin were running around and Chooch accidentally pushed him down a hill. Henry, as mentioned earlier, almost killed me at Abby’s party last year. And now this.
I really thought we were going to make it out of there without incident! It’s a miracle that still invite us to their parties.No tags for this post.