Feb 022016
 

Party People

  • Kara
  • Corey
  • Chris and Monica
  • Blake and Haley
  • Aaron and Erica (I think — drinking does not allow me to remember names)
  • JANNA – WHO WAS THE LAST ONE TO ARRIVE

In my quest to be more social, and to satiate Chooch’s constant desire to play games, I planned a small game night for January 23rd. The theme was BREAKFAST FOODS, because God forbid I should just have a regular game night and let my friends bring a simple bag of Fritos. I had big hopes and aspirations for this game night: a waffle bar! some type of OJ punch! egg things!

But this before I knew we were getting a kitten(s).

So instead of an elaborate spread fit for the gods of the A.M., Henry half-assedly churned out ONE VARIATION of waffle (PLAIN) and made some crappy chili chicken dip to meet the “savory” quota, leaving me to my own devices to come up with other dips.

I went with the exotic Nutella; the opulent purple Funfetti frosting straight from a can; and a maple fluff worthy to coat the gullet of the worlds most renowned gourmands.

A/K/A maple syrup mixed with Marshmallow Fluff.

Thank god for my back-up plan: CAP’N CRUNCH PARTY MIX. And no I didn’t use a recipe! Instead, I concocted it in my head, at work, and bounced ideas off of Glenn.

“What else should I put in my Cap’n Crunch party mix?” I asked him.

“What all have you got so far?”

“….Cap’n Crunch.”

“……”

A day later, I shouted, “PEANUTS! Peanuts would go good in a Capn Crunch party mix, right?”

“Sure,” Glenn mumbled.

In the end, I went with honey roasted peanuts, pretzels, and then I attempted to drizzle white chocolate over it but newsflash: I don’t know how to drizzle white chocolate, so it wound up hardening very quickly and then I decided to just go with white chocolate clumps.

“I like how some of the pretzels have white chocolate on them,” Chris said in a very complimentary manner which I greatly appreciated.

“Thanks! I did that myself. They’re HAND-CRAFTED.” I literally was so angry at the white chocolate that I started smashing mounds of it against the pretzels as a form of torture. I showed you, white chocolate.

Then I dumped a bunch of sprinkles on it. Then I made Henry go and buy me chocolate chips, and hooray, that shit was happy to be drizzled.

It worked. This shit was teeth-rottening divine.

Keeping with my staunch theme of breakfast foods only, Kara brought delicious chocolate-filled croissants and mini muffins; Chronica brought monkey bread which we were all eagerly awaiting since they texted me a picture of it and my phone promptly got passed around; and JANNA WHO WAS LATE brought a French toast casserole. She was late because the casserole was still in the oven when game night was scheduled to start and I was like, “WHY DID YOU WAIT SO LONG TO PUT IT IN THE OVEN THEN JANNA.”

Whatever, it was really good even though she was an hour late.

And when Blake arrived with his posse, he was carrying a bottle in a bag and I thought to myself, “Oh my god, Blake is like an actual adult now! He brought something to game night!”

YEAH, A BOTTLE OF MAD DOG FOR HIMSELF!

We played Taboo first, because I forgot until the last minute that our Catchphrase broke a long time ago and we never replaced it, because why would we ever think to replace my FAVORITE GAME NIGHT game. Taboo is basically almost the same game but it just doesn’t feel right in my hands.

Game Night: Round One was kind of utter pandemonium because Janna spiked her casserole with Robitussin and some of us couldn’t seem to grasp the “every other person is on your team” concept and Chooch threw a fit at one point and there were close to four separate conversations going on while the person holding Taboo was shouting out clues and then Corey kept hitting the wrong button and Kara looked like she was about to lose her fucking mind.

However, there was a highlight! And that was when it was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “Erin has one…”

My mind reeled. I have many things! What was a thing that I have?! A complex? An estranged mother?

Meanwhile, Monica was already calmly suggesting, “A blog.”

First guess. And she was right!

This was right before Kara ripped off her face to reveal the Directionator. LISTEN TO HER READ THE DIRECTIONS AND FOLLOW ALONG, PEOPLE. Together, we can all get through it.

This is the first time I didn’t take a picture of my dumb beverage buffet. I made a punch that was supposed to be a screwdriver but it wasn’t (the recipes on Smirnoff’s website are lamer than your average lifestyle blogger) so I changed the name to Good Morning Punch. It was OK. Nothing fancy like you’d typically expect at my ragers.

Corey and I made Janna tell her harrowing tale of Robitussin codependency, like this was a surprise intervention. No one laughed nearly as hard as Corey and I did, if at all.

The last game we played was Likewise, and I was on a team with Erica (really hope that’s her name). She chose wisely because we dominated. If her name really is Erica though, I sincerely regretted naming ourselves the A+ Team when E2 was the clear choice. We did butt heads a quick second though when the prompt was “something unusual at the beach” and I wrote down “Igloo” because hello, that’s unusual. We had a slight argument about it but I got way and no one ended up getting any points for that round anyway, soooooo.

The last question was beautiful singer or something and I was trying to send ESP waves to Henry and Corey so that they would write down Robert Smith but they kept smirking at me confusedly, so we ended up going with the obvious choice of Justin Bieber, matched two other teams, and FUCKING WON.

BECAUSE THAT’S ALL I DO IS WIN.

And we all lost at Cards Against Humanity to a nine-year-old*, and then Chris taught Chooch how to crochet while Monica tried to get us to guess “Janna fondling breasts coated with Robitussin” during some late night charades.

*(To be fair, Monica tied with him.)

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The end.

Dec 102014
 

Just a little preface: after I posted about the most recent game night, I decided to make a “game night” category so that I could keep all of the game night posts together because every so often, I get some kind of blog OCD. Anyhow, I realized that the only account missing was still over on my old LiveJournal. And it just so happens it’s the one where the infamous (not really) CARLY SIMON incident happened! So, this is a reposting of the very first game night I hosted at my house in 2006. You have permission to not read it. Aren’t I nice.

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The last time I played Scattergories was in 2003 and I slugged Janna for challenging one of my answers (because according to her, frolicking is not a valid form of transportation, and not even my graceful demonstration of frolicking to and fro could convince her otherwise — bitch) and then Keri threatened to kick me out of her wedding party if I couldn’t get along with others.

I figured three years was long enough to cool down, so Scattergories was the first game we dove into during the Game Night that I hosted at my house Saturday evening. Brian, Janna, Ryan, Stacey, and Kara all spread out in a circle while I got all the pieces together. OK, Henry helped me with that a little. There were plastic things that hadn’t been assembled yet on the cardboard clipboard things because I usually only ever play Scattergories (and Boggle) with myself and I lost my patience within a cool ten seconds.

Henry decided he was going to sit this one out, because he’s afraid to play Scattergories with me.

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We played three rounds, which was all good and fun, except that I discovered that Stacey is some brand of undercover Scattergories-Nazi and challenged about 3/4 of my answers. One of those she challenged was “earwig police officer.” I’m sorry, but who are we, as human beings, to say that earwigs don’t have police officers (category: Someone in a Uniform, Letter “E”)? And are you going to tell me that, in some fairy tale right now, someone isn’t sitting on a toadstool? The category was a very ambiguous “Furniture,” not “Human Furniture” or “Earth Furniture.” At one point, she got really angry and said, “Come on Erin, you’re a smart girl! Play right!” I was playing right! It’s called strategy, Stacey. I don’t want one of those dickshitters having the same answer as me!

Almost every time it was my turn to unveil one of my answers (it took about twenty minutes for everyone to grasp the concept of clockwise and Brian was really getting heated), I would be laughing to the point of tears, but no one else would laugh with me (sometimes Kara would because maybe she feels sorry for me) because there was a Serious Game being played and I was holding it up.

Because of Stacey’s iron fist, I ended up losing by ONE point to this asshole:

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…whom I’m positive was cheating. I think he realized that he was down a few points whenever my answer of water buffaloes as farm animals was being challenged. I have to state for the record that Janna and Kara tried to sway the vote in my favor, but Brian, who had the distinction of being the swing vote, saw this as his opportunity to go in for the win so he gave me a big hearty thumbs down.

I was angry at Brian six hours before Game Night even started though, because he called me that afternoon to ask what time it started, which spun me into a frenzied tangent about invitations (or Evites, in this case, which always skyrocket my blood pressure because, unfailingly there’s always at least one asshole who doesn’t RSVP or downright doesn’t even view it and then I get all OCD because their name just hangs there, festering in limbo and no matter how many times I call them and email them with clear cut instructions, they refuse to make it right). I left him a lengthy voice mail, schooling him in the very narrow field of invitations, and how they are necessary because they contain pertinent info regarding the party, such as, oh I don’t know, the fucking time it starts, asshole.

He called me back later and left a message to see if it would be cool if he was fashionably late. But apparently, in Brian’s skewered land of party etiquette, fashionably late means retardedly early, because he arrived two and a half hours before game night even started. I hadn’t even dusted the games off yet.

I’ll probably just place a fake personal ad in his name and then I’ll be over it.

During the third round, Lisa arrived with her arsenal of games, which included the crowd-pleaser that is Catchphrase. I was thankful for this, because a girl can only take so much rejection during the same game, so I stuffed everything back into the Scattergories box and slid it under the chair, secretly proud of myself for not throwing any blows during the game but inwardly ready to blow a fucking gasket because goddamn, it’s hard to control your temper when you have explosive anger disorder!

Lisa explained the rules of Catchphrase repeatedly until Brian couldn’t take it anymore and screamed at Lisa to just start the motherfucker, already. I mean, once it was unearthed that Henry had played the game before, everyone relaxed and decided it couldn’t be that hard. I was thankful to not be stuck on a team with Stacey.

Right in the middle of the fourth practice round, Melissa arrived with her baby. I let her fill in for me because I was too rambunctious to be doing so much sitting. Instead, I stood behind Henry and pinched the back of his neck many times and mocked him every time it was his turn to get his team to guess the catch phrase. Most of the time, I couldn’t figure out where he was going with his hints, because he really is a special sort of durrr, but I guess that’s what makes him so endearing. I mean, if you’re the type of person who would think someone is endearing, who typically, I am not.

Every time Catchphrase ended up in Melissa’s hands, she would take too long to get her team to guess the word and the buzzer would go off. She attributed her distraction to Stacey’s “beautiful cleavage.” It could have been an uncomfortable moment, and my innards were aching from laughing so hard, but Stacey took the compliment with grace and the game went on. This would turn out to be a suggestive hint to where the night was headed: Down Girlsex Alley. Of course Brian took great pleasure in this and went to great lengths to egg Melissa on until finally she knew no other topics other than Boobs, Tits, and Pussy. It was very apropos later on when her Catchphrase word was nipple.

And don’t let Ryan fool you, but I was in the kitchen with him when he was getting a refill of his Faygo (haha) Blue Raspberry and totally saw him reach for the Windex instead and quickly try to play it off when I started laughing.

“I knew it was Windex! It was in my way and I was moving it, I wasn’t going to drink it!” Lol oh.

My favorite moment of the night was about an hour after Brian confided to me that, “I’m not trying to be conceited, but I really do know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.” He was trying to get his team to guess Stalingrad and decided to tackle the “Stalin” part first. He kept saying, “Russian tsar! He was a fucking Russian tsar, Janna, you idiot!” (Put those two on a team together and it’s truly like having a wholesome 1950’s TV family sitting in my living room.) Somehow, Janna was able to piece together his mis-hints and after she finally guess it, she quipped, “Stalin wasn’t a tsar, Brian.” I wasn’t on their team, but I did a jubilant fist pump in her honor. It’s not often Brian gets put in his place.

No, I was wrong! I have a different favorite moment of the night, because that one wasn’t about me. But this one is. It was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “I don’t know. Um, female singer” and I screamed “Carly Simon!” and it was totally Carly Simon and I seriously rode that horse for the rest of the night.

“Remember when all he said was ‘female singer’ and I totally guessed Carly Simon because I really am that many layers of awesome?”

After playing Catchphrase for about three hours, because we’re all clearly pathetic, it turned into Ask Uncle Brian comedy hour, wherein Melissa asked Brian questions of a sexual nature, but I do not have permission to go there.

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Finally, it was after 1AM and I was coming dangerously close to achieving auto-annoyance, so everyone said goodnight and then Janna came with me to drive Ryan home. I started to pat myself on the back for not losing my temper and Ryan was like, “Really? You don’t think you lost your temper? At all?” and Janna kind of gave me this sad look that read, “He’s right, you know.” Fine, so I got a little angry, but I kept my paws and claws to myself and no one got hurt and nothing got broken. I did good considering what I’m capable of!

Unfortunately, it began to unravel after I dropped off Ryan. One of the scenes where Stacey gave my Scattergories answer a thumbs down started to replay in my mind and I punched the steering wheel. I slight honk was emitted, which kind of sucked because it was like 1:30AM and we were driving through a semi-scary area. I ended up bending one of my nails all the way back.

It hurts really bad today.

—————

And now some thoughts on this night from 2014 Erin: That kid Ryan turned out to be the Biggest Douche and started a huge flame war with me in 2008, and prior to this, literally every last one of my friends were begging me to stop inviting him to my parties because no one could stand him, BUT I NEVER LISTEN; my thoughts on RSVPing have not changed and I WILL hold it against you; Melissa supposedly left her husband and child and ran off to the Playboy Mansion, and I haven’t heard from her in years; could my pictures be any smaller; Stacey’s work schedule prevents her from attending game nights now but there’s a part of me that wonders if it’s really because she just can’t take the blinding light of my Scattergories brilliance; I’m totally going to play Scattergories alone tonight after work.

Dec 082014
 

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GAME NIGHT PARTY PEOPLE

Janna

Kara

Blake

Corey

Ricky

Tim and Patty

Chris, Kari and Katelyn
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In lieu of a traditional Thanksgiving at our house this year, I opted to have a casual game night the following Saturday night. And then it occurred to me that, Jesus Christ, I haven’t had a game night here since 2010! And if I remember correctly, we didn’t even really play any games that time.

So it was settled. I sent out Facebook invitations a few weeks in advance, which is how Henry discovered that instead of cleaning the house and cooking a turkey, he would be cleaning the house and cutting cheese cubes. I think he was OK with that.

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All day, Chooch was like, “PLEASE CAN WE PLAY HEADS UP AT GAME NIGHT?!” and I was like, “NO BECAUSE THIS IS MY GAME NIGHT NOT YOURS GO AWAY UGH” and then Henry was like, “STOP FIGHTING! YOU TWO CAN SHARE GAME NIGHT OR THERE WONT BE A GAME NIGHT!” Ugh. So I took the high road and let Chooch play his stupid game as a sort of game night aperitif while we were waiting for everyone to arrive. I really dislike this game for some reason, probably because Chooch always wants to play it and then literally never knows the answer and he sucks at giving clues UGH. But anyway, I had one turn and Kara was like, “Blah blah blah, you probably think this song is about you” and I yelled, “CARLY SIMON!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!”

You guys. At one of our past game nights, we were playing Catchphrase. When it was Henry’s turn, he honestly only said, “I don’t know. She’s a singer” and just to be a jerk, I screamed, “CARLY SIMON!” because who really thinks of Carly Simon anymore other than maybe Warren Beatty. Everyone was like, “Yeah, haha, OK” but then Henry quietly passed the Catchphrase device over to the next person and I said, “Whoa, wait. Was it seriously Carly Simon?” and the next person checked to make sure Henry was fucking with us, and it was totally Carly Simon and I know it’s not that big of a deal but I think I have probably referenced this on my blog 87 times since that happened because I honestly consider it to be The Moment I knew that I wanted, NO–NEEDED, to stay with Henry for the rest of all Time.

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Something totally devastating happened though, mere hours before game night was scheduled: I realized our beloved Catchphrase no longer worked! I thought maybe it just needed new batteries, but NO. I actually felt panicked, because this is pretty much the game we ALWAYS start with, since it forces people to have to yell out answers and serves as a good ice breaker. (Although my punches worked pretty good at soothing nerves, too.) Janna stopped at Target or somewhere, I don’t know I’m not her keeper, on the way over and bought an electronic version of Taboo, which is similar to Catchphrase, so I felt a little better. God knows how much how I hate change.

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Hi this is Chooch my review of Game Nite is “Inappropriate Content Deleted”

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Beverage Buffet, Game Nite Style. Some kind of red wine cider punch thing and a cinnamon roll punch, which was originally supposed to be pumpkin pie but for SOME REASON, I had trouble finding Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie vodka immediately after the holiday with the biggest pumpkin pie demand. So I had to swap it out with the Cinnabon flavor, which was delicious anyway so who cares. Pumpkin is overrated.

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Patty and Tim brought a STACK of games that we never got around  to playing and I’m pretty sad about that. They were going to teach me how to play Fluxx which everyone says is the easiest game to learn but I have read the directions 4 times (see also: skimmed half-assedly, one time) and I just don’t get it. I have a really hard time learning how to play games, which is amazing considering how stellar I am at playing people.

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We are great at parenting. Also, Chooch won.

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I kept the hockey game on in the background because hockey yields to no motherfuckin’ game nights. And then this exchange happened:

Me: [Evgeni Malkin] reminds me of Don, don’t you think?
Corey: No! No, I do not! One is a Russian hockey player and one is YOUR CAT?!

But then Kara pointed out that Corey thought a seagull and pelican were the same, so I shouldn’t put too much stock in his opinion, and this made me super giddy because now I know that not only is my brother colorblind, but he’s also BIRDBLIND.

(On a serious tip though, Malkin really does remind me of my deceased cat Don and I just want to cuddle him so bad. No one sees it, though. Sigh. Does it help if I add that Don was a Russian Blue?)

(JUST FORGET IT!!!)

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Something to note about Game Night: Resurrection is that I didn’t hit Janna. Not even once! I don’t even think I raised my voice at her! I’m going to go ahead and thank the beverage buffet for that one.

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We finished the night playing some new game that Janna brought over that involved writing answers on paddles with dry-erase markers! One of the questions was something about a weird movie you’ve recently watched and I was stage-whispering to Henry (who played zero games all night, OK tough guy), “WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THAT GERMAN PORNO WE RECENTLY WATCHED? THE ONE FROM THE 70s* WITH THE PRIEST?!” And Ricky was all, “You do know the point of this game is to try and match answers with the rest of us, right?”

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Idiots.

Anyway, now that these photos have been effectively dumped, it’s time for me to call it a day. Can’t wait until the next game night! (Right, Henry?) (Maybe in February? VALENTINE EDITION?!)

(No, that’s dumb.)

Jan 062014
 

Chooch decided he wanted to have his own game night and I was like, “That’s fine because I don’t feel like having my own. You do it.” So he invited Janna, his cousins Zac and Steph and Aunt Kelly for a riveting night of “Wait, where did we put the games?”

GOD FORBID JANNA was late, so we had a relaxed social hour while waiting for her, a social hour which consisted of Chooch pretending to know how to play his keyboard (I’m 5 for 5 so far with piano instructors not reponding to my inquiries, so that’s rad) and me chanting, “Can we have pizza? Will you order pizza? Did you order pizza? WHERE IS THE PIZZA?” in time with Chooch’s make-believe piano ballads.

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Here’s a rough timeline of Chooch’s Game Night for those of you who were not (un?)fortunate enough to receive your own Chooch-emailed invitation.

Around 7:00: Let’s play Apples To Apples Junior! Chooch will be the judge and try to only pick his brilliant mommy’s card, which makes Janna and Zac say things like, “We want a new judge!”

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7:20: Chooch cries for the first time of the night because Janna and Zac said they want a new judge and EVERYONE HATES HIM!

7:21: Chooch runs off to his bedroom.

7:22: Flimsy accusations of how he’s “JUST LIKE ERIN” poop out of Henry’s dumb mouth.

7:23-7:35: People try to coax Chooch downstairs, but then he wipes his tears off and says, “Send Janna up here.”

7:36: Janna goes to Chooch’s bedroom and is almost killed. She’s all, “Let’s talk about this” and Chooch is all, “Thanks but I would rather dice you up with my ratchet and eat like a fucking Dinty Moore stew.”

7:40: We play Scattergories without Chooch, and Janna tried to fashion a garrote from the memories of 15 years of surrendering to my impenetrable Scattergories gauntlet.

7:42: I forget how to spell Mary Magdalene. God, who does that?

7:45: I make up a dessert called raspberry ramalade because that is a word I heard once on the Food Network but it’s apparently spelled “remoulade” and is made with pickles and mayonaisse and sometimes anchovies, so clearly I was justified in giving myself 2 points for that dessert. And then I put “rapist” for “Things on a Map” and the room gets quiet. “I can see why Janna hates playing this with you,” Kelly says, laughing nervously.

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7:50: I scream at Janna for continuing to write after time runs out. Kelly and Steph learn why I have no friends.

7:55: Give myself a pat on the back for winning another three rounds of Scattergories while being super mature about it for once.

8:20: Chooch and Zac play Twister after us Old Timers explain that adults have been known to break things by playing Twister, and sometimes those “things” are “children.”

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8:45: Janna drinks all of my wine and then starts drinking Henry’s beer, too.

9:00: Kelly, Zac and Steph peace out. Wouldn’t you?!

9:05: OMG I drink a beer!

9:10: I remember that we have Old Maid, which just so happens to be the only card game I can play. After downing a lot of wine, this seems like the best idea ever, even better than the time I decided to vaccuum the fridge to “save time.”

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9:11: I’m still drinking the same beer.

9:20: We manage to fuck up Old Maid, and then Chooch loses interest.

9:21: We play Story Cubes and Chooch makes me proud by effortlessly name-dropping Lizzie Borden in his story. He is so good at that game! I wish I had recorded one of them.
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9:30: Henry participates in approximately zero games, which makes Janna and I reminisce about this one beyotch we used to be friends with (who, incidentally, threatened to kick me out of her wedding party one night after I slapped Janna while playing Scattergories, haha) who would always bring her weird boyfriend/now-husband to my game nights but he would never play so we were certain it was because he was illiterate. I know that Henry is at least partially-literate, so clearly his problem is that he HATES FUN. Shocker.

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9:45: I’m almost halfway done with my beer!

10:00: Speaking of literacy, Janna and I talk about books.

10:30: Janna accientally hits Chooch in the face with a chair, WWF-style.

10:31: Chooch cries for ONLY the second time that night and then uses said tears to guilt her into watching him play Minecraft.

11:00: Janna tries to escape and Chooch says, “You hit me in the face with a chair. You’ll do what I tell you to do.”

11:01: Henry draws Chooch/Erin comparisons for the 87th time that day.

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11:20: I (mostly) finish my beer!

Great game night, Chooch. You have a real future in hosting. JUST LIKE YOUR MOMMY!

Dec 312010
 

The Gamers

  • Blake
  • Barb
  • Wendy
  • Sandy
  • Kara and Harland
  • Lisa and Matt
  • Lauren and Randy
  • Gina
  • Kim and Chris

Hey, I guess I should write about Game Night while it’s still the same year in which it occurred! Two very important things that I learned this time around are: never throw a party a week before Christmas, and get Chooch a fucking babysitter.


Also, invest in torture devices and cages so that people will be too afraid to say, “No, let’s just play Catchphrase from now until the end of time!” when I suggest a new game. Catchphrase is a great game and it forces people to interact, this is true, but I feel like it must emit some electronic cocaine waves that confuse people into thinking they can’t live without it and that it’ll help them get skinny.

Blake wouldn’t tell me what the letters on his hat meant because I’m too OLD. I was really upset about this. I know what it means now, though. Oh, but I can’t tell you. You’re too old.

Some of my work friends came and I was very happy about this! Although, after the incident with Barb and the Travel Lady, I made it known that I was gunning for her that night. She hadn’t been there ten minutes before I snidely asked, “Hey Barb, what will you do if we’re playing Catchphrase and you get zebra or giraffe? Your head will probably explode!” Because Barb confuses the two, you see! My plan is to compile as much information as possible about her (like the fact that she doesn’t “do” gum) and turn it into some sort of weapon. I’ve already led her into thinking that I write a secret blog solely about her.

Everything was fine in the beginning while Matt played Memory with Chooch, who was annoyed that Harland is still a baby and kept asking Kara, “When is he going to be a KID?”

Kara is usually a Catchphrase Nazi. I’ve seen veins throb on her that I’m not even sure are where they’re supposed to be, that’s how angry she gets. So angry that her anger MOVES VEINS. So everyone should be happy that Harland was there to distract her. She went from being, “OVER MY DEAD BODY YOU’LL GET A POINT, THE ANSWER WAS MAC AND CHEESE AND YOU SAID MAC N CHEESE, MOTHERFUCKER!” to “Oh who cares, just give Team 1 the point. Lady Gaga is close enough to Tammy Faye Bakker.”


In reality, it was less game night, more Foods Made with Cream Cheese Night. Holy shit, there was some good snacks on that table. Kim brought over some chicken salad sandwich croissant thingie that everyone seemed to inhale and Lauren made a popper dip that was so amazing, I was considering eschewing the dipping chips and just dunking a twisty straw right up in there. Wendy and Henry both made cheese balls, Barb brought salsa and cream cheese dip and Henry made some rich and creamy crab dip that grew me a new set of back-boobs, thanks Henry. Lisa had the ingenious notion of pouring a mixture of raspberry preserves and pepper jelly right over a solid block of cream cheese. I was scared of it at first, but damn that was like breaking open a pinata on my tongue. So surprising!

Henry didn’t play a single game because he was too busy strutting around, hoping someone would notice his new look Thrice fan/New England fisherman look.

And then Chooch hijacked Catchphrase. I like how Gina is seriously considering what the answer could be. It had to be either:

  • Stupid Daddy
  • some Star Wars character
  • one of the kids in his class

Because the dynamics of Chooch and me are very akin to those of brother and sister, I was not very pleased about this turn of events and kept pleading with him to go away. Then I would cry, “Henry, he’s ruining game night!” and everyone would said, “No! He’s fine! This is fun! He’s so cute! CHOOCH FOR PRESIDENT! CHOOCH RULES, ERIN DROOLS.”

Lauren and Kim are too cool to play games! But that’s OK, because they brought food. (And it turns out they used to work together!) Plus, Lauren gave me a cigarette, which I smoked with her on my front porch with no jacket on, shivering and hunched over under the weight of guilt, not wanting Henry or Chooch to know that I was out there smoking. Unfortunately, Chooch’s internal buzzer goes off .00005 seconds after the slight detection that I may have left the room, and soon it was all, “MOMMY MOMMY WHAT ARE YOU DOING? MOMMY MOMMY!” and I came back in just in time to see that he had just finished pulling on his socks and shoes to come outside and inspect. Nosy fucker.

Kim, Chris, Lauren, Randy (I was only able to get a picture of his KNEE and I am very sad about this) and Wendy stuck around and we talked about ghosts and ate more cream cheese.

Finally, Chooch was in bed, and it was just me, Henry, Kim and Chris, sitting around and talking.

“Now, was that the same Barb from your blog?” Kim asked, pointing to where Barb had  been sitting on the couch earlier in the night.

After I nodded, she exclaimed with slight incredulity,  “And she still came to game night? I thought you hated her!” It made me wonder if Barb herself found herself unsure of where she stands with me, but I was there when she read that post on my blog, and she was laughing. But just in case, let me go on record saying that Barb is pretty much the best part about my job. She’s the best!

Somehow the subject of Sandy Duncan came up (but really, who doesn’t enjoy a good Hogan’s Family episode every now and then?) and Chris mentioned that there used to be a band called Sandy Duncan’s Glass Eye, which I thought was the coolest thing ever.

“You know she didn’t really have a glass eye, right?” Chris asked.

“SHUT UP!” I yelled, fumbling to bring up wikipedia on my phone and by golly he was right. All these years I thought she had a glass eye. Talk about shattering  my reality.

I was really happy with the crowd that night. There was no drama, no one angrily calling each other fucking retards, no Gay Ryans…I think it may have been the first gathering of socially-capable people I’ve had in my house in years. Well, with the exception of myself of course.

Dec 192009
 

2I wanted to have one last game night of the year, especially since my brother will be studying abroad next semester and he loves a good game night. But at the rate December was going, the only night I could schedule it was for a Sunday, which is apparently a bad night for people with jobs. (I wouldn’t know. Every night is Friday night for me.) And my brother ended up not being able to come anyway.

But Blake, Deanna, Alisha, Janna, Mose, Stacey and Brenna didn’t let little old Sunday get in their way of snack food, wine punch, and my horrible selection of games.

12

We started out with no one’s favorite – Catchphrase. Alisha immediately opted out, remembering that this is the ONE GAME that brings out my competitive side. (That’s an understatement.) I got saddled with a team of people who  were skip-happy and didn’t know the word “pediatrician.” The team that had all the boys on it basically pulverized my pathetic team and furthered my hatred of Henry.

11

My Liberatree is so fabulous, it won’t let the camera focus on anything else. And everyone got to (inadvertently) take home tinsel as a parting gift.

Kara’s too good to come to Game Night (maybe it might have something to do with the fact that, I don’t know, she lives in Maryland and just had a baby) and Catchphrase really flounders without her policing every person’s fuck ups. I tried to step up and bark at people for not following rules but no one listened to me. And at one point I sort of removed myself from my body and realized I was being a psycho-competitive asshole. But that didn’t stop me from screaming at my own team mates for not doing it right.

1

It was supposed to be that whomever got this cup was permitted to leave early (after punching Alisha in the face, of course). Unfortunately, Henry got it and even though he begged, I remained firmly planted in my decision that he was ineligible.

Alisha was all hunkered down in her arm chair, laughing  as my gasket threatened to blow. Winning Catchphrase is pretty much all I have in life, OK? We can only play so many rounds before I get all anxious and one side of my face starts to sag like a stroke victim’s.  I’ve hit people in more heated rounds before. No wait, that was Scattergories. Which we also played!

Somehow there were too many people for everyone to get a Scattergories scoreboard (I know, how often does “too many people” and “at one of Erin’s parties” ever go together?) so we had to pair up. Alisha immediately clung to me and whispered, “What? I want to win.” See? She knows! Now, Stacey HATES playing Scattergories with me. Something about how she thinks I cheat? I can’t remember. But I firmly believe this is the reason why she hasn’t been to a game night since November 2006. (Yes, I keep track.)

Henry and Mose were a team, which apparently Henry thought was awkward. “Because we’re two guys,” Henry explained. Oh, of course, that makes sense now—wait. I thought we were playing Scattergories, not TouchEachOthersPrivaterories. And even THEN Henry might need a better argument than “because we’re two guys.”

Maybe that’s why they played the game so straight. OH HO.

9

And of course Alisha and I pwned the whole room with our unbeatably ingenious answers. Janna sat this game out and totally had our backs, righteously defending our answer of “gas stove” for furniture. HELLO IT’S CALLED ANTIQUE.  I know so many people who have one and use it as a fashionable footstool, so suck a dick Henry. And when Henry and Stacey accused Alisha and me of making up the name Giacomo for “boys name – letter G” (maybe if they READ MY BLOG they would know that I wrote a story in 2008 called Giacomo’s Secret, not that I’m angry about that or anything) and that “at best, it starts with a J!” This is because Henry is not as worldly and traveled as I. Had he ever been to Italy, perhaps he’d have had the opportunity to ride on the back of one Giacomo’s Vespa.

“That’s a real name,” Janna said, waving her imaginary flag. “Erin knew a Giacomo once. He liked to brush his teeth.”

“What? I did?” I asked, thinking she was making this up to help. I searched her face for a wink, but found nothing other thana look that said “Why are you staring at me like that, psycho-perv?”

“Yeah, don’t you remember? He brought his toothbrush over to your apartment.”

So now I’m thinking silently, “Oh my god, did I fuck some guy named Giacomo and he knew he was going to spend the night so he brought his toothbrush? That’s awfully brazen. I’d remember one-nighting it with someone named Giacomo though, wouldn’t I? I wonder if it was good. Probably not. It rarely was.” But the more clues Janna fed me, it finally clicked that he was some blind date I had and in order to meet him, I had a get together at my apartment and yes, he brought his tooth brush, and also a pack of cards which he later used to wow no one.  I should write about that dude sometime. I vaguely remember the night ending with me locking myself in my car and crying. You know, the usual.

Now remember, Mose has never been to my house before and has never met any of my friends. So the poor guy had to sit through all of this and probably wonders about my credibility as a human being now. For his sake, I did go easy on the rest of them, and funneled my brilliance into smaller doses than typical. I know how some people feel threatened by my awesomeness. (Henry and Stacey.)

10

Whenever our answers would be questioned, we’d use Arkansas as our scapegoat, since that’s where Alisha is from and ain’t no one gon’ mess with Alisha. Like when we said Galaxies for a professional sports team and immediately followed it with “THEY’RE FROM ARKANSAS.” Too bad when Henry asked, “What sport?” I nervously yelled, “Basketball! Women’s basketball! WNBA!” while Alisha said, “They’re a baseball team” at the same time. I vaguely remember someone opening their fat mouth to question, “I thought there was no WNBA anymore?” Well guess what, tonight there is, and you’re not my friend anymore.

FUCK.

It didn’t matter because Alisha and I KILLED at this game. No one stood a chance. And as usual, we got cold shoulders at the end of it, something I’m all too familiar with since I always prevail. “Now you know how it feels at the top,” I whispered somberly to Alisha. “Lonely.”

I’m not going to front, I used to play Scattergories alone as a kid.

5

After Henry took a generous one hour to read the directions, because no one remembered from last year, Last Word was the next and last game to be played. I sat this one out because the worth of my brain is far too valuable to be overexerted on such silly child games. It’s insured by a very powerful Slavic corporation.

8

Somehow during this game, the topic of anime came up, and Mose mentioned that he has a friend who love Inuyasha. I could sense Janna shooting me desperate glances and willing my mind to notice that she was psychically zipping her lips. Too late. I pointed at her so hard that I almost propelled myself out of my chair.

“JANNA LOVES THAT SHOW AND HAS THE HOTS FOR THAT BOY CARTOON THING!”

And her face got all red and she sputtered something about that being a long time ago and we all had a good laugh at Janna’s expense. Thanks for baking that lovely banana bread, by the way, Janna.

4

And then we all talked about porn and Henry was like, “Hello, may I remind everyone that my son is sitting right here” and I was like, “Yeah I know, and I think he’s the one that broached the topic.” Awkward for Henry, LOLs all around for the rest of us.

7

Poor Chooch. He wanted to play so bad. But instead, he hauled out Candyland and played quietly on the floor. It reminded me so much of myself as a kid. And also now. Being this awesome can be so alienating, Chooch. You’ll get used to it. If you’re lucky.

I think I’m done with game nights. The next one will be just a regular party. Or something really awesome, like a quilting bee.

Dec 142009
 

Because Henry was being a little angel by cleaning for game night (more on game night horrors later), I decided to do the grocery shopping. But really it was so I could use the shopping list tab in my Awesome Note app, which is so far my favorite app, aside from Words With Friends, which is apparently good for meeting future husbands on top of learning new two-letter words.

What you should know about me, and probably could have guessed, is that I am no grocery shopper. Basically, I’m a fat red “F” upon an essay on the topic of housewives. I mean, there was a time a year ago when I wanted Henry to make sugar cookies and he was all, “If you want cookies then get your jigglin’ ass to the store and buy the ingredients.” Even after writing it down, Janna and Blake still had to come with me to make sure I didn’t fuck it up. For Christ’s sake, this is what my fridge used to look like pre-Henry:

alkiefridge

(Lol @ Zima. That was probably for Janna.)

So yesterday I made Alisha go with me. I didn’t need a lot of stuff. In fact, I had given myself a budget, which I never actually put a number to, but just kept chanting ‘budget budget budget” in my mind as I roamed sadly through aisles of shit you can make food with. Alisha is pretty no-nonsense when it comes to shopping, so I sort of felt safe. I was even really impressed when I called Henry to see if he wanted me to get stuff for spinach dip and Alisha already knew how to make it! And even where to get the ingredients! (Although I still felt it necessary to send Henry a photo of the packet of Knorr’s vegetable powder shit to make sure it was right.)

I was going to get salsa, but the kind I like is nearly $5 and I was like, “Oh, not from my checking account.” I’ll save that for Henry’s next trip. In another aisle, I found myself wondering how I got to the point where $3 for a bag of candy inspired me to clutch my heart. Jesus christ, I can’t tell  you how much I hate to spend money when it’s my own and not my mommy’s.

Every single person in that store I hated. Every last one of them. Were you at Giant Eagle in Brentwood, PA yesterday? Hated you. Handicapped? Still hated you. A baby? You were ugly and I hated you. I was sick of the squeaking wheels on my cart; sick of the ugly babies; sick of the women who camped out in the aisles with their carts, chatting to other uppity soccer moms they know from their swinger parties; sick of the $14.99 price tag on the Penguins coffee mug I was eyeing up (Alisha considered getting it for me for Christmas, saw the price, and then picked up a shot glass and said, “Uh, can you just drink your coffee out of this?” and I thought, “Well, it’s better than the arsenic-laced thimble Henry pours my coffee in.” TIMES, THEY ARE TOUGH!).

Alisha even asked me if I was crying at one point.

But then I saw it. It was in the aisle with all the baking bullshit. We were there so Alisha could get marshmallows for rice krispie treats. It’s all because of Alisha that I found a bag of gigantic regular and strawberry marshmallows, made in some unknown, off-brand factory, probably in Arkansas, and ready for me to buy them for only $1.99.

“What the fuck are you going to do with those?” Alisha asked hesitantly as I tossed them in the cart.

“Make something awesome,” I said. I mean, duh.

Then we had to go down a bunch of other aisles before checking out. “I love grocery shopping,” Alisha said, which you know warranted a look of incredulity from me. “It’s fun because you can find cool stuff.”

“That’s what European travel is for!” I sighed, moments before Alisha chose the WORST POSSIBLE LINE TO STAND IN and I started getting hot flashes and our cashier was some slow-as-shit young kid who I think might have been exisiting solely on canned cheese. I texted Henry and thanked him for not making me grocery shop on the regular. Can you imagine?? No wonder people say I don’t look my age yet – it’s because I’m not forced to supermarket sweep.

But it was all worth it, newly cultivated gray hairs and all, because I got to come home to a clean (semi-clean) house and make these beautiful marshmallow monsters that were supposed to serve as game night referrees but instead just sat on the coffee table, frosting-hair congealing into poison and candied eyeballs slowly sliding down their sugared faces. To tell the truth, I am quite smitten with them and plan on preserving them so that their friendly facades can be enjoyed by all for years to come. Amen.

4

Henry and Alisha kept giving me annoyed looks as I tediously labored over them in a very Dr. Frankenstein fashion. I like to pretend they’re my army. With their help, I’ll be mayor of this town. Or at the very least, the person who gets to ring the bell in the clock tower. After Henry builds me a clock tower.)

2

Because I’m obsessed, I tweeted another photo of them  today. Henry was sitting next to me and when the tweet came through to his phone (yes, he gets  my tweets to his phone; that’s TRU LUV), he glanced at it quickly then put his phone down.

“You didn’t look at the picture,” I whined, insulted.

“Um, I know what it is. It’s those stupid marshmallows. And they’re right there on the table.” OK it’s true, they were right in front of him. But my photo was from a different angle. No excuses.

3The one on my right is my favorite. He’s my little edible scene kid! (Although, I wouldn’t actually eat these. Chooch helped with some and well, he touches his butt as often as a dog LICKS his butt. Also, I saw him lick a toothpick-arm before spearing it into the side of a monster.)

1

 

Untitled-1

I might make more, turn them into ornaments and sell them on ETSY. LOOK OUT WORLD (and Regretsy).

Mar 132009
 

The Suckers:

  • Janna
  • Blake
  • Collin
  • Corey
  • Kaycee
  • Dyanna*
  • Justin*
  • Jessi*
  • Bill*
  • Alisha*

(* all new to the horror of my game nights.)

When I sent out the Evite for game night, I apparently excluded the words “game” and “night” from the invitation. I wondered why Blake’s RSVP was all, “Yes but will there be games?” I guess Henry probably clarified that for him, though, so he wouldn’t think he was walking into a lingerie party. Because that would probably suck for a sixteen year old dude.

So this Game Night was special because finally, after including him on every Evite, my Michigan friend Bill was finally like, “OK FINE YOU WIN” and attended, along with his lovely girlfriend Jessi. I was worried that even after spending the entire day with me, once they saw my true colors (because game night brings them out in fucking prism-style, trust) they’d be all, “Yeah, let’s never come back here. Ever. Except for those cupcakes.” But they still like me! Even after I introduced them to a crowded room as “Bill & Jessi, sometimes they talk funny.”

We started off with Catchphrase as usual because that’s the best game to get everyone acclimated with the screaming that is bound to escalate as I imbibe more and more Woodchuck. Unfortunately, my two mouthpieces – Kara & Rhonda – were unable to attend so I had to actually be a hostess and explain the game to the people who had never played it. And then I had to start it too. It was really upsetting, not having anyone to do it for me. I like it better when someone else takes the reins and I sit around lollygagging, which is something that I truly excel at.

6

I like this picture because that’s pretty much how Collin looked the entire eight months we worked together.

5

Kaycee’s default clue is usually, “Oh my God, shit. I don’t know! He’s like an actor I think!” Somehow she is always on my team and somehow, we always figure out what the fuck she’s getting at. Also, this is one of two expressions typically found on my brother’s face at game night. The other is utter boredom.

3

My friend Alisha and I recently reconnected and I can tell by this photo that she is supremely thrilled to be sucked back into the maddening vortex that is my pathetically retarded social gatherings. I think the last party she came to, I threw a fit during wiffle ball because Henry called me out when I was quite clearly SAFE ON FIRST but he is dumb cooze with crooked glasses and was trying to look all badass in front of his big shot friend Randy. But lookie, she came back for more!

2

Bill and Jessi are serious game-players. I’m surprised Bill didn’t issue tickets when people on his team fucked up (like Janna, but that’s just her nature and I think Bill realized and accepted that, so she was kind of written off as the retarded person at the institution who cuts the grass behind someone else with a mower). She even forgot to give her team a point after one round and if she had been on my team, I’d have cold-cocked her and then turned her into a drug mule.  Just throwing that out there.

4

I can’t remember what Blake was trying to describe, but I remember he was super happy when Dyanna took this picture (I dumped my camera on her for the night, and she didn’t seem to mind, but that  unfortunately means that there is only like, one picture with her in it, shit). If it was just me and Blake on a team, we’d have won. Unfortunately we were saddled with Collin and he can bring down even the best team.

I covet Blake’s scarf.

1

After Catchphrase, Alisha cried uncle as she ran out the door so we switched to Apples and Apples, which Jessi explained so I could sit back and stew in my drunkeness. Henry didn’t play at all, he just stood there wearing a DARE shirt that I bought off some man at a gas station last year because I felt bad for him. I feel like this shirt gave Henry some unwritten license to puff out his chest all night and it was really kind of making me sick. Every time someone arrived that night, I would make the proper introductions and then slip in a, “Look at how gay Henry’s shirt is” to which he would haughtily mumble, “It was the only clean shirt I had.” I really wish he had worn his Vietnam belt buckle with it.

I think this was the first time anyone had played Apples to Apples, and naturally I won. There was no competition, I was practically playing alone. (Like when I play Boggle.) But I particularly enjoyed playing judge. It made me feel powerful, like I could smite the entire room with a bolt of cyborg semen from my metal-ensconced fist. Which I don’t really have, by the way, but now I feel I need to. Dyanna totally kept trying to make me cheat for her. She’s a sneaky one, that girl.

After two or three rounds, much to Collin’s chagrin, we dusted off good old Scattergories. Everyone had to pair up, and Blake immediately sidled on over to me and I’ll tell you why: It’s because I’m a winner and if you want to win, you join forces with the masteress of win. Henry was a little disturbed at the answers we came up with and reminded me after everyone had left that Blake is only sixteen and I shouldn’t be answering movie title categories with Candy Can’t Cum or putting “candied cunts” as a disease (when meanwhile Henry was finishing that thought with, “now that’s a disease I’D like to treat.”) Then he mumbled something about how annoying it is when Blake and I are together because suddenly I’m sixteen too, and I go, “Well, maybe it’s more that Blake is 29, too.”

After a fleeting pause Henry reiterated, “No, you’re sixteen.”

Bill mentioned the next day that there came a point when he was less concerned with winning and more amused by Collin’s visible agitation with my answers.

I think everyone officially left around 1:30am or so, and I sure hope Dyanna’s boyfriend Justin doesn’t think I’m a complete loudmouthed lunatic. I only yelled, “FUCK YOU” once out the window to random bypassers.

Mar 122009
 

Since last weekend was all about cucpakes and game night, I find it apropos to repost an old LiveJournal post about the same subjects. And hopefully sometime Capn’ Cusspants will let Mommy have a fucking minute to sit down and write about the recent game night. If not, Doctor Nyquil might have to make an appearance. (KIDDING.)




Originally posted January 21, 2007

 Bathing in a tub of warmed pistachio pudding with buoyant sponge caked-rubber duckies.

Traipsing through a field of peanut butter-covered bubble wrap while Robert (or Elliott) Smith warbles love songs down golden rays of sunlight while perched on a nearby cloud.

Swimming in a chambord pie with lesbian mermaids.

These are the sensations I imagined would wash over me while I tackled the cupcakes last week. I did not feel any of these things. Instead, I felt tired, bored, agitated. All the things I normally feel when spending time with Henry.

First, he quickly talked me out of the “from scratch” mindset and set me free in the baking aisle of Giant Eagle, where I bought three boxes of cake mix and decorative thingies and neon food coloring. There was so much more I wanted to buy but I don’t know where to go to get the good baking stuff. I wanted to encrust my cakes with edible diamonds and sugared seaweed, but time was fleeting.

My cupcake-baking enthusiasm quickly waned as I struggled to mix the batter, but interest was regained when Henry took the blending-reins and set me free with a kitchen-full of ingredients to plop into each pocket. He lingered close-by, though, to make sure that everything I used was edible. Just because I had hoped to fill the innards with mud, grass, thumb tacks and soiled baby wipes, I guess. Henry was disgusted and even remarked that I have the audacity to wonder why I can’t keep friends. And here I thought it was because of my wicked mood swings and inability to trust!

Here is what I learned:

  • Cheerios shrivel and get very hard when baked
  • Fruit snacks don’t melt; they still stick to your teeth even after being baked into batter
  • Fistfuls of marshmallows should not be allowed inside a cupcake because then Henry has to use a knife to cut the finished product out of the pan. And then your guests think that one was nibbled on by your cats. And then you feel like shit because people think your house is unsanitary and they start holding cupcakes up to the light to inspect further.
  • Maraschino cherry sauce sinks and congeals at the bottom for a bloody good-looking finished product
  • Janna will eat her weight in cupcakes flavored with blueberry preserves, and won’t even notice that a well-concealed olive is awaiting her beneath a cap of green icing
  • Chopped dates blend into cake batter and come out the other end of the baking process undetected. Seriously, who ate the one with the dates? No one knows
  • When Henry urges me to only fill each baking cup halfway, I should listen

The next morning, Henry and I stood in the kitchen staring at two dozen un-iced cupcakes. We marveled over their non-uniformity and I grabbed the next box of mix.

“Whoa! Oh no. You are not making anymore. Are we looking at the same cupcakes here? You got two dozen disgusting cupcakes sitting here and let me tell you something: once your little friends find out what’s in them, ain’t no one going to be eating them. We don’t need any more cupcakes going to waste.”

I was enraged, yet relieved. Baking is tiring business, you guys. It’s not fun like it looks like on TV. I couldn’t even read the directions on my own. I tried, but words blended together and it started to look like a word problem which angered me because numbers just don’t belong in sentences with words because it makes my brain seize up a little. But I ate a lot (a lot) of batter and felt like it might have been my last day on earth.

So instead of boarding the baking train, we (read: Henry) whipped up some butter cream icing which was then separated into several bowls so I could get all Picasso with my food coloring.

“Just put like, two drops in,” Henry advised as I meat-fisted the small vial and sent at least fifteen droplets splattering into the icing.

We made purple (regular flavored), pink (amaretto), lime (almond), blue (marshmallow) and then I got bored and ditched Henry. He used this quiet time to concoct his own icing: bright green flavored with a hint of red pepper, which left a pleasant warmth in the mouth. It was my favorite, but none of the game night attendees noticed and had to be told what was happening. Sometimes I wonder if Janna’s mommy has to accompany her to the potty since Janna seems to need dialogue added to her every action.

“Now you’re passing a corn-studded turd through your anus. Here it comes! Plunk! That was the sound of it dropping into the toilet water! Now wipe yourself good, Janna. Front to back!”

Honestly. She probably didn’t notice the olive because I wasn’t giving her a play-by-play.

After I finished slathering my disfigured cupcakes, it was finally time to decorate them! Except that I didn’t give a shit anymore! I half-heartedly dusted each one with sprinkles and plopped a cherry on some of them. I was kind of over it. I mustered enough energy to impale two of them with toothpicks in order to create a two-story cupcake shanty.

It’s a shame really, because I had big plans of desecrating each iced dome with obscenities and unmentionables and maybe even using a piping bag to scrawl out some of Janna’s dirty secrets, but my belly ached from the fingerfuls of icing I had scooped out–behind Henry’s back–and jammed into the back of my throat like an orphan eating porridge. (I’ve been obsessed with porridge all weekend.)

I guess baking wasn’t the worst thing for me to find out I don’t mesh with. It could have been something dangerous, like knife-fighting. (Which isn’t to say that’s not a hobby I’ve flirted with in my head.)

For some reason, my guests actually ate all but five or six, forcing Henry to eat his words. There were several murmurings of “What is that sticking to my tooth?” but I really think that Henry’s delicious icing (ugh) overpowered my misuse of creative baking license.

Granted, two of my guests were stoned, but hey–I’ll take it.

Jan 082009
 

I must be getting old. It used to be there was nothing more fun to me than attempting to cram my house near capacity with friends, bounty hunters, and random strangers from the street and Internet, fill them up with Jello shots and proceed to piss off most of the block. Sometimes I’d cap off the night by pulling on my roller skates and having guests whirl a frisbee at me as I coasted up and down the street.

But now I just want to hunker down with some family-friendly board games, maybe wrap myself in a shawl, perhaps  nibble on some Melba toast.

OK fine, maybe I still like to drink a little and get sort of kind of a lot too loud. But now I almost can’t imagine having a party without games. Games bring people together, ya’ll. Or, in the case of Henry and me, push people apart.

The guest list for Game Night #1 of ’09:

  • Corey & his not-girlfriend-but-should-be-girlfriend KC
  • Blake
  • Niffer and Weird Paul, who brought Pretzels and only the most fascinating board game of all time
  • Collin and a lovely bottle of wine for me for me for me
  • Rhonda & her wonderful Jill, who brought a cute hippo for Chooch and delicious baked goods for me
  • Brenna

It was unusual not having Janna there, but I guess it’s my fault for not keeping better tabs on her, otherwise I’d have known not to schedule game night on the same weekend she was out of town.  She’s the only person besides Henry who I feel I can physically assault when a round of Scattergories gets particularly tense and heated. Her absence also meant no homemade guacamole or platter of fancy cookies, which is really the only reason I invite her anyway. Surely it has nothing to do with her game-playing braun.

Rhonda filled Kara's position of Game Night Rule Nazi

Rhonda filled Kara's position of Game Night Rule Nazi

In my Evite, I swore that, unlike Game Nights past, we would not be fixating solely on Catchphrase. I was dying to play Last Word, which was veto’d at the last game night, so I plopped it down in Jill’s lap and said, “Here, you do it.” She looked like someone who might enjoy reading and relaying directions, I don’t know. She quickly deemed it confusing, as did Rhonda, so Last Word was kicked away like a pissing puppy.

Instead, we played the Pop-Up Video game that came with Rhonda and Jill, but it was kind of obscure and Collin kept whimperingabout not wanting to sing (meanwhile KC was begging to sing – I will never again be able to hear Tracy Chapman singing “Fast Car” – even if it wasn’t her turn, and then she’d catch herself and slap her hand over her mouth. That girl would be my bff if I wasn’t an old lady!) so we switched to Catchphrase, which erupted into a near-lethal debate over button-pushing right from the start. If Kara had been there, she’d probably have started shanking people. She is very serious about her Catchphrase.

My favorite moment of Catchphrase was one of Blake’s turns. He kept shouting out clues like: “What I would say when I’m really excited to go somewhere! I’m in the car and can’t wait to get there!” So his team is shouting things like, “Are we there yet? Shotgun?” and Blake, he’s getting real frustrated now, and has taken to accentuating his clues with a series of wild gesticulations, pumping his arms and pulling faces. “I’m so excited to be going somewhere and this is what I say!” he shouted one last time before the buzzer went off. No one could guess it, and he exasperatedly said, “Away we go!”

“I’d like to see a video of you saying that in the car,” Collin said, sulking because his gay team lost a point, boo-hoo. And then I couldn’t stop picturing Blake – with his plethora of piercings, tattoos, and gauges large enough to stuff with bratwurst – skipping to the car, swinging his arms, and cheering, “Away we go!” Corey and KC left during Catchphrase. It was simply too fast-paced for them.

Niffer, bracing herself for some wild Uncle Wiggily gameage

Niffer, bracing herself for some wild Uncle Wiggily gameage

Paul brought with him an old board game called Uncle Wiggily. I found myself gawking at it, ogling it even, from across the room. I’d find reasons to go to the dining room so I could slowly walk past it, dropping hints here and there about how, gee whiz, that game sure looked swell. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it intrigued me nearly as much as the time in ninth grade when I walked in on Jameelah and her brother smoking pot from a crushed can of Cherokee Red.

This game demands to be played harder than a hooker with a whipped-creamed checker board on her tits.

This game demands to be played harder than a hooker with a whipped-creamed checker board on her tits.


Paul regales us with details of Uncle Wiggily's journey.

Paul regales us with details of Uncle Wiggily's journey.

The Uncle Wiggily game referenced odd-sounding herbs (Niffer, who is wiser than the rest of us, had to educate) and name-dropped characters who had names stranger than the ones I make up. Collin goes at one point, “What the fuck, was this shit written in the ’20s?” Apparently the books it’s based on was. Jill laughingly said, “Whoever made this game was high,” to which Blake retorted with, “Yeah, high on vocabulary.” Do not underestimate the power of a sixteen year old’s comedic timing.

Brenna readz0rz for the win.

Brenna readz0rz for the win.

Team Brenna&Collin won. It’s true, they were more skillful at card-drawing than the rest of us thought. I thought Brenna was going to get up on the table and do the Big Shoe Dance, she was so pumped up. Collin funneled his enthusiasm onto a pink balloon.

Those two got so cozy, I wouldn't have been surprised if one of them birthed baby pink condoms at the end of the night.

Those two got so cozy, I wouldn't have been surprised if one of them birthed baby pink condoms at the end of the night.

I decided to suggest one last time. Paul and Niffer hadn’t yet arrived the first time I begged to play it, and Paul made the mistake of admitting that he had played that game before. I pawned it off on him and he proceeded to freshen up on the instructions.


Jill's just as confused when OTHER people have the instructions. I will say that she got further than I did, which was the third line.

Jill's just as confused when OTHER people have the instructions. I will say that she got further than I did, which was the third line.

Up until this point, I feel that I was pretty well-behaved. I hadn’t been punching Henry or engaging in loudly slurred conversation, even though I had been quietly sipping vodka. But when a game is centered around having the last word? I don’t know, I could have been imbibing Shirley Temples laced with the essence of Sunday School all day long and I still would have been an out of control, must win at all costs, token person you want to coldcock at the party. Besides, games with timers have a certain urgency that make me shout my words to compensate for the rising panic.

Henry sucks so bad, he's the caboose of Last Word

Henry sucks so bad, he's the caboose of Last Word

When Henry got the last word during one particular category, I tried to veto it because he’s Henry and not supposed to advance, on a gameboard or otherwise. But he played the downtrodden card and mumbled, “It’s not like it’s hurting anyone if I move up one damn block” and then moved his pathetic Schleprock marker up a block. I considered flicking it into oblivion, but something weird came over me and I sort of felt…sorry…for Henry. I know. I know.
Perhaps my  most out of control moment came with the subject card of “Things That Are Desserts.” The letter was T and I threw that fucking bitchkissing card down so fast and began rambling off desserts with such manic determination that no one else said anything after a certain point, choosing instead to stare at the obnoxious loudmouth who at that point had risen from the couch and had begun shrieking, “Tart. TartLET! TORTE!” while jabbing her finger at Henry’s face. I was about to say Henry’s lucky there was a coffee table separating us, but that’s never stopped me in the past. Oh, those were the days.

When I sat back down, Brenna goes, “Calm down” and patted my thigh or some shit, as I recall, but that’s what game night is all about! Getting the blood pressure up! Being the best! BEING A WINNER. Besides, I was having all the fun.

Speaking of winning, I won that game even when Henry vetoed my last word of “fang” for the “Things That Are Metal” category, even though I stamped my feet and screeched what would he know, he’s never been to Dracula’s Ball? And then he said, “But then the letter would have had to have been ‘m’ for ‘metal fang'” and I was all, “Are you a fucking retard?”

Blake considers enrolling in Camp Cool Like Erin so he can be a WINNER.

Blake considers enrolling in Camp Cool Like Erin so he can be a WINNER.

Everyone was exhausted after having their minds obliterated by my genius, so game night came to a satisfying close.

Two concluding thoughts:

  • I should have these more often
  • I am not proofreading this
  • I would like to hang out with Rhonda more than just once a year

(Pretend 3 is the new 2.)



Feb 102008
 

2008 02 03 026

Game Night should officially be renamed Catchphrase Night, since that’s the only game we ever end up playing. Hopefully someday we’ll play Last Word, which was my big fantastic Christmas present to myself. And no one ever wants to play it. But the box is green! And "Last Word" is embellished in beautiful glitter!

This was the first time that Christina, her sister Cynthia, and Cynthia’s boyfriend Joey were able to make the trek from Cincinnati to partake in game night. My brother Corey brought his friend KC who was super sweet and now I want them to get married. Plus, KC was on my Catchphrase team and we had a good rapport. Corey texted me earlier, begging me not to embarrass him (which translates into: "Hey, I like this girl and would appreciate if she didn’t think I’m a prat") but I think I might have reneged when I passed around a picture of the haircut he gave himself the night before he started pre-school. And maybe I might have accidentally mentioned that he reenacted the Britney Spears’ "Stronger" video a few years ago.

The theme of this game night was ‘cereal,’ as suggested by Collin. I feel a little embarrassed that I used his suggestion, but it was appealing to me. Janna brought some kind of delicious chocolate powdery Chex concoction that Christina and Cynthia kept calling Puppy Chow and Corey was calling Poppycock, but I think he really just wanted a reason to say Poppycock. Chooch was up on his tiptoes taking generous fistfuls of that all night. Brenna and Liz brought their own variation of Chex Mix, which was some kind of Chai orgasm with dried bananas; it was so good but I barely got to enjoy any of it.

Henry acted like a baby because he had to use pumpernickel rolls for his spinach dip because the rounds were sold out everywhere. I thought maybe there was some sort of spinach dip festival going on until Joey reminded me that the Superbowl was the next day.

My contribution to the cereal vittles was a delightful peanut butter cookie with just the perfect smattering of Cap’n Crunch crumbles intermixed. Granted, my hands never actually touched any slimy gritty batter — my Henry implemented my brilliant idea into a realistic recipe.

I was really anticipating Collin’s arrival because he and Christina had been sharing some hostility with each other via comments on my blog. I had hopes for an old school street fight complete with some curb stomping and protruding bones, but they ended up liking each other.

Bob from work came with his friend Dan, who joined me in "getting drunk and ruining everyone’s night." Christina favored Dan because she sells windows and he used to install them.

2008 02 03 0432008 02 03 004

It wouldn’t be game night without Kara and her donations of tubbed frostings. This time she brought vanilla cheesecake filling and a box of Cookie Crisp for a delicious win. She was in high competitive spirits though, and acted like the Catchphrase gestapo. I was afraid she was going to flash her fiancé Chris the secret signal to send him off breaking kneecaps, but it turned out he was too caught up in a heated debate with my work friend Lindsay over gelatin.

My favorite moment was when Catchphrase was in Janna’s hands:

"Oh, OK — what does Erin get every time we go out to eat?" (Unfortunately, there was only one person on her team who would know — Christina.)

"Grilled cheese!"

"No, the other thing."

"French fries!"

"No, the other thing."

"…………………………"

"The thing on the bun."

"Oh….VEGGIE BURGER!"

2008 02 03 0302008 02 03 023

I thought Cynthia called Janna "Vagisil" at one point (I think she was really saying that Janna was full of fail though), so ‘vagisil’ became Cynthia’s fall back answer every time the buzzer would run out on the opposing team. It was a welcome change from the usual ‘blow job.’ I have a skewered recollection of shouting "formica!!" over and over until Joey refused to take any more guesses from me and turned to our other team members, of which one was Collin. I don’t know how I let that happen, but I’ll chalk it up to the Woodchuck and poorly structured seating arrangement.

2008 02 03 031Sometime after I busted Christina cheating, she went outside and sprayed my street with vomit. To the unsuspecting eyes of my neighbors, it probably looked like I was hosting a wild kegger at my house. She came back inside and I told Henry to take her up to our room. "And do what with her?" he asked with mock alarm. Evidently, two or three people laughed at this, so he was riding on a comedic high for the rest of the evening. And at one point, he told me I flirt like a three-year-old and shoved me away.

Cynthia had some verbal vomiting that I spent the next two days cleaning up, but I think all is well now. It’s just that not everyone enjoys being called a dumbass over a game. I know I don’t.

My chest feels like it’s been shot three times while wearing a bullet proof vest, so you’ll understand if I cop out and say that it was a rad night and can’t wait for the next one.

 

Feb 052008
 

Since Henry was a dear and preparing all the food for game night, I agreed to make the journey to the grocery market to get the stuff he needed. All by myself. Alone. Me, in a grocery store. Solo.

To make my trip easier, Henry was nice (smart) enough to make me a list. (He spelled ‘vegetable’ wrong.) But at the last minute, I panicked and begged Christina to come with me.

And thank god. She showed me how to choose good peppers. "Ew, no, that one’s bad." I’d pick another. "Um, no, that one’s bad too." I’d pick another. "OK look — when there’s mushy spots, that means they’re bad."

Christina picked the peppers.

Giant Eagle was out of pumpernickel rounds (I kept calling them boats?). I panicked, but Christina assured me that we would get the damn pumpernickel somewhere else.

I made friends with an old lady. Her cart was jutting out in the middle of a very critical thoroughfare, blocking my advances. We made eye contact and she threw her head back in joyful old woman laughter, pulling her cart back for me. I saw her a few minutes later as I was bounding out of an aisle acting like my cart was a plow, and nearly collided with her. I pulled back and let her pass. Her face moved into an exaggerated expression of relief and we laughed. I kept talking about her after that and Christina had no idea what was going on. I think she thought I had an imaginary friend. I wish.

IMG00158

I insisted that Christina purchase these marvelous animal cups with sippy lids.

 There was an older couple in the beverage aisle and I hated them immensely but I’m still not sure why. Christina said they weren’t that bad. Oh, they were in my way, that’s why. But then I forgot about them when we approached the snack aisle and I realized with great excitement that Kenny Rogers’ "You Decorated My Life" was plunking away quietly on the sound system overhead. I lifted my arms in graceful ballerina motions and, in my signature "I’m Excited" fast talk, rambled, "I used to make up ballet routines to this song and dance on my mom’s front porch when I was little!" Christina, distracted by a Wise potato chip sale, mumbled that she knew, I had already told her, and that I made her listen to that song once in the car because it was on one of my Greatest Lite FM Hits mixed CDs. She threw two bags of chips in the cart and we moved on. 

 IMG00157

While looking for sour cream (for some reason, this was the item on Henry’s list that Christina had latched on to the hardest. She was intent on finding it and very concerned that we might forget it), some older broad approached us and very seriously asked us to point her in the direction of Pillsbury pie crust. At first we thought it was because we looked knowledgeable and approachable, but then we figured it was just because we look like we like pie. I told her to try the freezer section, but Christina realized it was a few feet down from us, with the rolls. Thank god for Christina, else that poor lady might have been lost and devoured by the freezer section. But I didn’t really care.

At the check out, I started to feel nervous. I’m a notorious tight wad, and the thought of spending money on all that food frightened me. But then I realized that my purse was at the bottom of the cart, giving the illusion of a full load. "Oh thank god, it only just looked like a lot of food," I sigh, hand on chest. My purse is super gigantic. I could be Mary Poppins. If I liked kids.

We loaded all the bags in the car. Well, Christina loaded all the bags in the car while I played on my Blackberry. At the end of the parking lot is a beer distributor that my dad’s family once owned, so because I’m always using my brains, I suggested that we just walk down there and take care of the alcohol acquisition while we were out.

"My dad used to bring me here when I was little," I told Christina as we crossed the parking lot. "I’d have a fucking field day climbing atop all of the stacked beer cases and crawling through the tunnels that the tight aisles made. I’d have so much fun there." When we walked in, I wondered if my dad’s brothers would be working. I thought my dad had mentioned recently that they still work on weekends, just for the fun of it. But I only saw some middle aged man that I didn’t recognize.

We grabbed a case of Woodchuck. Well, I pointed to a case of Woodchuck and then Christina hoisted it up. As we neared the register, the customer in front of us turned to leave, revealing another man behind the counter. It was my dad’s dad.

My dad, though he adopted me when I was nine, is essentially my step-dad, and if you want to get nit-picky, he’s not even that anymore because my mom divorced him back in 2001. But we get along, not so much that I could legitimately say we’re close, but he’s a nice guy and I enjoy seeing him.

His dad, however, is another story. I haven’t seen my Grandpa Kelly in about ten years or so. He has an extreme case of OCD — he’s been hospitalized for it and he pretty much thinks he has AIDs anytime he uses a public restroom. The last time I went over his house, my dad met me outside and gave me a refresher course. "Don’t talk about your cats! Oh my god, he’ll have a fit. And don’t let him know you smoke! Just…don’t talk. Don’t talk, OK? And don’t pick up things from the floor." It was Father’s Day, I believe, and he didn’t even come out of his room anyway.

Christina dropped the Woodchuck on the counter. And I’m standing there, just standing there awkwardly with my arm extended limply, credit card and ID cinched between my thumb and forefinger, and he’s staring at me. I wasn’t sure if he recognized me, was trying to place my face, or was just zoned out because let’s face it the dude’s about eighty-five years old now.

I cleared my throat. "I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m…" Crap, what’s my dad’s name? "D-Denny’s ….. stepdaughter. Erin? I haven’t seen you in many many years."

He continued to stare at me, his eyes were pearly and milky behind large glasses. Something registered and he gave his head a sharp shake. "Erin! Oh, Erin, why, how are you? What are you doing buying beer, young lady? You’re supposed to be this big!" He held his hand out by his thigh, indicating the height of a child. He flicked his eyes toward Christina and I introduced her. He took her hand and held it in a lingering clasp. I was shocked that he was touching a stranger’s hand. Especially Christina’s, that dirty Mexican.

"So, where are all the contestants?" he asked, looking behind us. We shrugged and look at him confusedly. "All the contestants….in the beauty pageant."

This was a line right up Christina’s alley and she played him like putty from that moment on. It’s kind of sickening how she has the ability to flirt with old people. She’s like the physical embodiment of "wink wink, nudge nudge" and her cheesiness makes me uneasy sometimes. While they bantered, I grabbed a handful of jerky for Bob. I wasn’t sure what kind he was always dyking out over at work, but I knew it wasn’t Slim Jims, because the kind that MSA offers in the vending machine "blows Slim-Jims away."

"Erin was just telling me how she used to come here and climb on the beer cases," Christina schmoozed. Grandpa Kelly waved his arm out toward the store and told us to have at it.

"Eh, I think I’d do quite a bit of damage now," I grimaced, while Christina was yammering on something about "wait until we drink some of this stuff, then we’ll come back and play" and I realized at that point that she should really start wearing leisure suits while trying to pick up helpless women at the gym. I wanted to leave. It was hot in the store and kind of uncomfortable being leered at by this old man that I haven’t seen in ages. He scrutinized my drivers license for too long and he rang us up at a snail’s pace. I’m quite sure his tenure at the beer distributor should have ended ten years ago.

He kept making comments about how I grew up to be such a beautiful woman, and the way the words were passing through his old man lips made my vagina beg for a staple gun. Sleazy. Which is probably why Christina forged such a quick rapport with him.

The middle aged man came back into the store and Grandpa Kelly had him carry out the case to my car. I tried to talk him out of it, insisting that we had parked too far away, but he made it clear that it was his job. So this younger man heaved the case up and Christina fake-flirted with him too, the whole way back to the car. She’s such a sexual predator.

"You having a Super Bowl party?" he asked, with just a touch of Pittsburghese.

"No, we’re having Game Night," I said, opening the car door for him. Christina and I laughed about that later. "He probably thought to himself, ‘Isn’t that what game night is?’" I mocked on the ride home.

The next day, I called my mom and told her of my run-in.

"He still owns that place," she corrected me. "It’s just not called Kelly’s Distributor. It never was, I don’t know why they had all those shirts with that on it."

And that asshole didn’t hook me up! He could have at least thrown in the jerky for free. Bob didn’t even eat any of it.