May 192009
 

It was all Alisha’s fault. She tricked us into driving out to Sharon, PA by boasting of this really fucking awesome chocolate kingdom at Daffin’s and some Coney Island restaurant that had like, the best food ever, though she wasn’t sure if there were non-meat options for me but who cares about Erin anyway. I agreed because I thought maybe it would be fun to leave her there, in Sharon.

And so, with Henry driving and Blake sitting comfortably in the passenger seat, Alisha and I squeezed in the back of our modest Ford Focus with Master Chooch, who was thrilled for the human contact. I had him on one side, pulling my hair, and Alisha on the other, jamming her elbow between my ribs. I spent a good portion of the billion-hour road trip wailing, “HEENNNRRRY! They’re hurting me!”

After pulling over in the parking lot of some run down factory where I took pictures of Alisha and Blake lounging on a run-down tetanus-laden car, we arrived at Daffin’s Chocolate. The “kingdom” was really just a wimpy display of a decrepit castle tower with a giant turtle thrown in the center to provide a weak distraction of the fact that it was less kingdom, more trailer park. And it stunk real bad in there too, and not just because Henry’s old and losing control of his faculties.

Chooch ran around the shop like a fucking crack addict, causing old women to gape in horror (some of them still had stroke-face after getting a glimpse of the very-pierced Blake, and that always makes me laugh), so I had to pull him out before I ended up owing Daffin’s my life savings. (But not before grabbing a handful of complimentary postcards; if you want one, holla.)

daffins

Alisha’s much-hyped Coney Island was closed (I thought Henry was going to kill her) but LUCKILY I saved the day when I spotted a diner. Henry and Alisha tried to ruin everything by suggesting, with no basis, that it was closed. Well guess what motherfuckers it was open and it was awesome.

donnasdiner

So awesome, in fact, that it has two names.

dineroutside

A quaint brick and moss courtyard next to the diner. There was a river at the other end and I kept envisioning Chooch falling into it and promptly had Mommy Heart-Flips.

dinerinside

Thank god we were the only people there because Chooch was acting like a poster child for Ritalin. Blake eventually had to take him outside and then I remembered the river and had Mommy Heart-Flips again. I will not feel calm until I get that kid hooked up to a leash.

choochjelly12

Chooch likes to spoon jelly into his loud mouth. It could be worse. It could be shit.

tableThis retro pattern made me feel dizzy, and then I started thinking about my kidneys.  And then boomerangs. And then clown porn. What?

alishablake

Blake ordered every breakfast item on the menu and proceeded to stare longingly at the syrup carafe. For a long time. And Alisha spent the whole time looking like she was trying not to puke and maybe it’s just me, but I’m starting to develop a sickening paranoia about that. Do I really make her that nauseated? Probably it’s from all the LAUGHTER I provoke in her.

The women’s room was labeled “Dolls” which I thought was very charming. But then I became worried! Where would ALISHA pee??

Henry ordered wings and ate them like it was his last meal before succumbing to H1N1. The sauce-smear across his moustacioed lips was very attractive, like he had just went down on a barbequed street walker.

And then we left and spent another fifty billion hours driving aimlessly through Amish turf, where I started to write a script for a brand new television drama starring Henry’s eyebrows*, and became arrested by strong desires to relinquish the hold all these material things have upon me and join Team Amish, where I can don a bonnet, write with a quill and ink,  and have sex through a hole in a sheet. And sell my bathroom plaques to tourists from the Big City.

[*A few minutes later, we passed some weird building consisting of two side-by-side domes and Henry goes, “It’s a breast-stop, get it? A breast-stop” because it looked like boobs sort of (but not really) and it was really lame and no one laughed, but then I said, “That will be the first joke your eyebrows tell in their new show” and Alisha was trying so hard not to laugh that her face was all red and Blake was doing that high-pitched snort thing which means he thought it was REALLY FUNNY so fuck you, Henry.]

Edit: Srsly, I have 14 of these lame-o postcards and maybe you’re into collecting lame-o post cards, then you should tell me and I’ll send you one.

Oct 122008
 

Even though we’re being graced by an Indian summer and it was nearly eighty degrees yesterday, it was still a perfect day for taking some photos of Blake and Chooch: autumn edition. 

My only intention was to stuff a preppy sweater vest on my small child, dump him in a mound of leaves, and have him behave accordingly for the camera. Except my small child doesn’t behave accordingly for the camera. He doesn’t ever stop moving. So instead I took a thousand photos of Henry’s large child playing in the leaves. Blake managed to wrestle him down for one or two shots at least.

I always keep the animal masks in the trunk of the car, because you just never know when the urge might arise to hold up the corner porn shop as a giraffe. But I’ve used them so many times now in photos that I wasn’t planning on utilizing them yesterday. Then I turned around and saw this pint-sized horror stumbling toward me.

It’s almost like the masks were swirling around my face, whispering, “Don’t deny us.” So then I was like, “Ok fine, it doesn’t ever get old. Let’s do this shit.”

Christina said, “I like this one because the background looks so happy.” I considered that opinion for a fleeting second and then countered with, “Really? Because I feel like a little girl was murdered in that greenhouse in the background, seventy years ago. And that’s why I like it.”

One of the cemetery groundsmen took a time out and perched on a tombstone to watch how this would unravel. It kind of made me have stagefright. Until I remembered that I wasn’t on a stage.

This is actually an improvement upon Christina’s natural look. I bought her that necklace by the way because true friends encourage suicide.

He’s late, obviously.

Blake has cool hair. For a rabbit.

~~All the more.~~

Oct 012008
 

Rainy Saturdays usually make me miserable and grouchy, but this past Saturday turned into one of those days where every single thing had me squatting in laughter. I really needed a day like that.

First, Blake and Janna joined Henry, Chooch and me for a quick jaunt to Bloomfield’s Little Italy Days. It’s essentially just a small street fair, with a portion of the road blocked off and stuffed with food vendors and craft booths.

Henry’s mood soured immediately when we passed a voter registration booth with clip-boarded volunteers doling out Obama stickers. Too bad for Henry, but the rest of us like Obama so we made an executive decision to slap supportive flair to our chests. Henry continued pushing Chooch down the block while we stood around and fraternized with the enemy.

It wasn’t until later that I realized they said, “Italian Americans for Obama.” I scoffed and said, “Great, we’re not even Italian!” but Janna said, “Well, actually, I am.” I don’t know why, but it gave me more incentive to make fun of her. And not because I’m some closet racist plotting to bomb Italy. I love Italy! I love those fiesty pasta-slingin’ peeps! It’s just that it’s Janna. And judging Janna is my #1 hobby. I think she has come to realize, after nearly 20 years, that this is her role in life. Which is why, later, when she asked for Splenda for her iced tea, I took it upon myself to make her a sweetener bomb (Splenda, Equal, and SweetnLow). And she drank that shit too. BECAUSE IT’S HER PLACE ON EARTH.

Henry wouldn’t buy us cookies or brownies and Janna wouldn’t buy me jewels, and the clouds were black and heavy with precipitation, but nothing, NOTHING could ruin Little Italy Days for me. And oh, the sights I would have missed had I let some unfortunate weather and stingy asshole furrow my brow!

I might have missed this sweetheart of a nun, with her adorable hell-damning visage. And then I would not have known such lovely edelweiss fashion still existed in these States.

Bloomfield’s own Elvis-Wayne Newton hybrid might have flown under my radar.

And I wouldn’t find out about Gene Simmons going marachi until VH1 decided to make a show about it. Also, that waving broad is exactly the type of classy dame I strive to grow into. Imagine the lamé she has packed in her closet.

And if I had let Henry’s conservativism cloud my personal sunshine, I wouldn’t have thought to subject Blake to yet another of my impromptu photo ops.

We only putzed around the streets of Bloomfield for an hour before Henry herded us back to the car. He later complained that he had wanted to stop and fill up on the many Italian concessions waiting to bloat bellies, and when I asked him why he didn’t indulge his pretty little desires, he muttered something about “all you damn kids acting like idiots” or some such completely absurd variation. I know it was the whole Obama sticker thing. He felt left out and out-numbered.

As we drove through the back streets of Bloomfield, I caught a glimpse of a scene so horrific, it forced me to shriek loud at a volume high enough to make every occupant in the car jolt in their seats.

“WHAT?” Henry shouted, probably wondering if he had driven over the unconscious lump of a homeless man blitzed from chugging turpentine in a boot.

“Something was going on back there. There were two army guys holding GUNS and approaching a house!” I cried.

“Are you sure they weren’t cops?” Henry asked, glancing in the rear-view mirror.

“No, they were definitely armies.” This made everyone laugh and I was angry because this was a very serious situation. “We have to go back there and save a life!” I screamed.

So Henry did. He actually turned around, but not without lip, until we drove past the street in question.

As I shouted, “THERE THEY ARE!” Henry, Janna, and Blake (in unison so harmonious it could have been sung by angels on high) groaned, “They’re playing PAINT BALL.” And we all laughed.

After that, we dicked around on Mt. Washington, taking Chooch on his first ride on the incline. It started raining really hard by that point, so we went to dinner at King’s, where Chooch burped out “Asshole!” with all the charm of a Tourette’s sufferer, and Blake and I reminded Janna repeatedly that she wasn’t a part of our family. It was more fun than doing a speedball in the Champagne Room.

To add a dollop of whipped cream to a day full of giddy antics and newly sprouted grays on Henry, Blake declared that we should make cookies.

“Oh, we should!” I encouraged. “STD cookies!”

Henry got all foot-planty and spat, “If I’m making cookies, then YOU’RE going to the store to buy what we need.” Thank God he sent Blake along to make sure I didn’t fuck shit up. You know me, send me out for flour and I come back with a non-descript bag of dildos.

So while Henry slaved away on the kitchen, Blake performed serious Google image searches on various STDs while I bossed around Janna and basically sat around being cute. Then Henry realized he didn’t have corn syrup or some shit for the frosting, so while he was out we had a tea party and it was awesome because it was yet another thing that Henry wasn’t invited to. During our tea party, Blake ridiculed Janna’s selection of Earl Grey by saying that, “Earl Grey is for assholes.” My selective hearing heard, “Let’s race for abstinence” which had me squatting on the floor, squeezing back pee drops. Of course, no one else thought it was that hilarious, which only made it harder for me to not need to slip into a fresh pair of Depends. At some point, we were talking about egg harvesting and I tried to convince Blake that it was as easy as lounging in a tubful of ice, wielding a melon baller, and then creating a Craiglist post. Hopefully, he will teach all the girls at school this method.

My mug, Skelly, indulges in some delicious diseases fellatio. Look for it in the December issue of Bon Appetit.

For my cookies, I mainly stuck with the theme of Vaginal Maladies, such as menstruation and yeast infection. This one, Popped Cherry with Lone Tear Drop (added for extra sentiment), was my personal favorite. Lost virginity never tasted so delicious.

Hey, there’s some yeast in your pink. Or perhaps a fresh load. Whatever whets your appetite.

Later, I laughed at the realization of what a great role model I must be. Send your teens to my house, Parents, where we make jokes of serious matters and look at pictures of diseased vaginas.

Sep 112008
 

For some people, summer is synonymous with baseball, sailing, unprotected sex underneath the pier. For me though, it doesn’t feel like summer until I’m having my insides pulverized on thrill rides that, with a little tweaking, could be used by the military to snap necks. Usually, I don’t get to enjoy this awesome brand of gear-grinding, bolt-popping pleasure because my boyfriend is a Grade A stick-in-the-mud kill joy; but now that his son Blake has been spending more time with us, you better believe I’ve jumped in with rubber gloves and got to milking.

When I read about Lakemont Park, I jabbed my finger at the computer screen and excitedly yelled, “Here! This is where we should go this weekend with Blake! Two hours in the car, we can sing carols! We can play truth or dare! We can drink mulled cider and chat about when we lost our virginity!”

So Henry, who has a very close and personal relationship with Blake, texted him to see if he was interested.

And that is how we ended up in Central Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

It was the last weekend in Lakemont’s season, and what better way to close out the summer than by inviting people to schill their country-inspired arts and crafts in the middle of the park? There was no shortage of wolves painted on wood, patriotic yard adornments, and psychics. All of this for a five dollar admission? It’s true.

One of the vendors had an assortment of God-inspired cross-stitched sweatshirts, which made me simulate abdominal hemorrhaging as we walked past. This made Henry, in turn, tighten his grip on my upper arm like he so often does to keep me in line.

Somewhere between a county fair and an amusement park, Lakemont had the obligatory kiddie ride fare. Chooch took a liking to the boats, especially after he learned that by pulling the rope, a bell would ding. He always sits on these rides like he’s in the middle of a presidential procession, rarely emoting, keeping his lips in a taut line. Riding is serious business, and he has a stoic composure to uphold.

Of course, he freaks when the ride is over and begs to ride the blue one, or the red one, or the green one, oh please, I can have that, the orange one, here please.

It didn’t take long for Blake to get the sinking suspicion that we didn’t fit in there. On top of all the Christian-influenced artistry, food vendors sponsored by local churches, and a sea of Nascar-chested patrons, McCain signage sprouted up along the park grounds like weeds in a garden.

“There aren’t any kids here like me,” Blake complained, scanning the lines we stood in. Later on, two scene boys passed us, paused to take in Blake with widened stares. Henry pointed them out, but Blake was irritated. “They didn’t even have GAUGES in their ears!” It was true: they were half-assed scene kids, with too-loose band t’s and bangs that only provided a SLIGHT eye-coverage. I wear black eyeliner every day, but I don’t call myself goth. YOU KNOW.

In addition to a dizzying array of spinny staples, Lakemont is also home to a really fucking rickety wooden coaster called the Skyliner, and the oldest coaster in the country – Leap the Dips. Standing in the short line, I wondered what the meaning of Leap the Dips was. Then as Blake and I, stuffed into an antique four-seat car, careened down the first hill, it occurred to me that the car was jumping the track every chance it got. Nothing beats having a question answered before you have to ask it. Blake later admitted that it was “fucking exhilarating.” I was just glad our car didn’t perform one last fatal leap over a dip before delivering us to safety.

Lakemont is also home to the Toboggan, which is another ride I have never come across in my theme park carousing career. Each car is sent one by one inside that tube, where the car is then lifted up the shaft at a jerky ninety-degree angle. At the top, the car is then righted before it tilts to an extreme angle and sent spiraling down to the bottom. I tried to take mental notes on this one, but I was too distracted by my inner voice chanting PLEASE DON’T TIP OVER OH FUCKING GOD DON’T TIP OVER I HAVEN’T EVEN HAD SEX WITH A TRANNY YET. PLEASE DON’T LET ME DIE ON THIS SHITTY TOBAGGAN. AT LEAST LET ME DIE ON A REAL TOBOGGAN. WITH A TRANNY. I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO SPELL TOGAGGAN. I was shaking a little when the ride attendant released my toboggan’s jaws and watched with little expression as I struggled to extract myself from its depths. Seriously, these rides are designed for five-year-old physiques.

Maintenance, janitor and security in one capable body. I watched him with a scrutinized eye and was impressed with the skillful way he handled his walkie talkie. However, the Rollercoaster Tycoon in me wanted to pick him up with pinched fingers and transport him over to a wayward Coke bottle I saw clogging up a walkway.

An untrained eye won’t be able to tell, but there is actually a small child squished underneath my armpit. Thinking the Scrambler would be a good initiation into the world of big kid rides for Chooch was pretty poor judgment on my part. But I don’t claim to be a smart mom. To me, I look at Chooch riding those slow-moving boats and think, “This poor kid. Let’s get him on something good. Teach him what whiplash is all about.” Chooch seemed like a willing participant at first. He scrambled (oh-ho) into the seat, cozied up next to me, and cheered when the attendant slammed the safety bar shut. But before the ride started, he looked at me and said, “OK, let’s go,” as he leaned forward and looked for a way out. So I kind of had a feeling that maybe this was a bad idea. Cementing that theory was Chooch’s horrified pleas of “No. No. No. NO. NO!!! NOOOOO!!!!??????” which escalated in pitch and volume as the ride picked up more speed. I felt so bad for him, but couldn’t stop laughing because that’s just the natural reaction on spinny rides – even as bile is rising, you fucking laugh. IT’S A WAY OF LIFE.

However, when the ride was over and Chooch’s feet were back on Lakemont’s conservative land, he pumped his feet in the air and yelled, “Woo-hoo. Awesome. Fun.” Like he was reading it from a script. Kind of like me, post-coitus.

Just leave me in Kiddie Land, thanks. Assholes.

“Henry, take a picture of that dumb looking idiot on the Tilt-a-Whirl,” I implored, hands frozen in an endearing clap under my chin.

“You know he’s retarded, right?” Henry sighed, holding up the camera.

Lakemont even had Christian bean toss! Chuck the bean bag into Jesus’s tomb and get a SECOND wafer at tomorrow’s communion! Ping it off the church lady’s olive-covered holy hiney and get a FREE RAFFLE TICKET FOR A JESUS BOOKMARK! Pop her hemorrhoid and get a free pass to stab a hobo WITHOUT GOING TO HELL! I can’t tell if that castle is supposed to be heaven or Care-A-Lot. My friend Nicolesaid one of those hearts should have at least had some of Jesus’s blood trickling down and I agree.

I never saw any actual participants in this fast-paced, high-staked game of skill. I can’t imagine why! I guess people in Central Pennsylvania just don’t like to have all of the fun.

Thank you, First Evangelical Lutheran Church, for giving us the opportunity to ingest quite possibly the worst bouquet of onion petals to have ever entered a deep fryer. The breading was something left over from a Baptist fried chicken dinner, and it only coated the tips of the onions. The onions themselves were too thick and reminded me of elogated albino beetles. What? I used to eat those a lot when I was in ‘Nam.

When I used the park restroom, I was the only woman in there not sharing a stall with a child. The entire time I was peeing, a small girl stood directly outside my stall, waiting to slide in as soon as I exited. I kept waiting to see her eye appear in the gap between the stalls and was prepared to gouge her eye out with my key. Washing my hands, I observed the other moms in the mirror, gagged a bit at the overwhelming scene of tapestry bags, brown leather mules and ill-fitting capris, and felt proud that I was not dressed like any of them. I’m probably less responsible than them, though, but I guess that’s the trade-off for not succumbing to frumpy fashion and mushroom coifs.

This is what the sky looked like most of the day, but the rain never came. A shame really, because nothing adds excitement to thrill rides quite like the threat of electricution.

A ginger, in line with Blake and Chooch. In the past, Blake probably would have made some snide remarks because he’s anti-red hair. But that was before he met Amanda, a waitress at the Blue Flame, who just happened to be the first cute red head Blake ever did see. They’re dating on MySpace. She has “cute little gauges.”

Waiting for Henry and Blake to exorcise their go-carting urges, I took a liking to this cute old man. I like to think he was watching Henry, zipping past in his bright green go-cart, while murmuring to himself, “I think I know that lad from The Service.” Nice floral tote, lady.

See this ride? This is a fucking ride built by the cooperative genius of Hitler, Satan and Mr. Burns and camouflaged behind the cute and fuzzy appearance of a ferris wheel. LOOK CLOSELY. LOOK AT THOSE CARS, JUST DANGLING THERE HARRY CAREY. LOOK AT HOW SOME OF THEM ARE UPSIDE DOWN AND POINTED TOWARD THE HARD, GRITTY SURFACE OF THE EARTH.

Of course, Blake and I simultaneously salivated at the sight of a metal contraption that could potentially send us spiraling to a grisly demise, after which I would hope our mangled, mashed, and possibly vivisected corpses would be studied laboriously and recreated for the next “Final Destination.”

No one was in line when we approached, but a trio of teenaged girls stood near by, ogling its height with craned necks. We assumed that the ramp they were standing near was the entrance, but it turned out to be the exit so we were sent away by the two greasy beer-bellied attendants. As we passed the girls on our way to the real entrance, one of them said, “Oops, we made them think this is the entrance by standing here,” and I called out, “I know! Now we look dumb!”

NO, WE LOOKED DUMB FOR WILLINGLY PUTTING OUR LIVES INTO THE FATE OF THIS FUCKING RIDE THAT THEY CALL THE SKYDIVER. First, the padded bar was slammed down onto legs and applied so much pressure that I went numb below the knees. It created a beautiful illusion of amputation, so much that I began complaining of phantom limb pain before the ride even started.

Did I mention we were the only ones riding it?

We hadn’t even made a full revolution before my body was wedged against the side of the cage, leaving a very fashionable waffle print against the side of my face, and I’m not sure but I think my bowels were capsizing. Our cage was spinning and revolving and flipping in so many different directions, and combined with revolutions of the actual wheel itself, I had no fucking idea what direction we were facing. Except when our cage was pointing straight down to the ground, giving us the delightful sensation of plummeting toward Hell.

I knew we were at the bottom when I would catch blurred glimpses of the neon green shirts of the attendants, so I would scream – NAY, bellow – “PLEASE LET US OFF THIS FUCKING RIDE. OMG FUCK YOU PLZ.” I began wondering if it would count if I quickly typed up a Living Will on my Blackberry. I think Blake was crying. Every time it would fling us upside down, my arms would shoot out to brace myself, even though the lap bar was ensuring that nary a penny could escape.

Just then, the spinning began to slow, gears cranked and ground, and eventually we slowed to a stop near the attendants. My hand flung to my heart and I started to thank them, but my words slurred AS THE RIDE EMBARKED ON A BRAND NEW CYCLE, BACKWARD.

My body gave up fighting and resumed its former position, smashed against the grated window of our torture cell. I began clenching, to prevent any accidental pants-poopage. “Please God, don’t let me poop my pants in front of Blake. He’ll tell all of MySpace” I prayed to the giant pink plastic heart pendant that became my makeshift Skydiver rosary. That’s what fifteen-year-olds do, you know. Send out bulletins, outing adults who poop their pants. That’s what’s I’d do too, if the opportunity ever presented itself.

The first round was obnoxious, but tolerable, like watching an anal fisting. You grimace, you laugh at the enlarged asshole, you cry a little. But then the Skydiver decided it had to go backward too, and that was about as unnecessary and gratuitous as the part where the girl shits on a glass table.

And that is how the Skydiver is quite like a Japanese porn.

(More pics here.)