Dec 242018
 

Ever since my tooth saga was resolved, I feel like I have been living my best life. (#dramatic) So this past weekend was full of just straight-up relaxing and enjoying company, so basically what the season is actually supposed to be about!

Saturday night, we hosted a small work reunion. It worked out perfectly because Wendy had been asking me if I was going to have a Christmas party this year and I just didn’t feel like it, in true Scrooge-form. But then I was texting with our friend Sean who left the firm several years ago and we talked about getting together with Wendy, so I offered to host a small soirée at my place. We got BARB to come too and it was a nice evening full of cheese and alcohol and LAW FIRM MEMRIEZ.

I was really worried that other friends would get upset that they weren’t invited, but it really wasn’t a “party,” but more of a casual mini-reunion of sorts, and then I realized that this wouldn’t be an issue anyway since I’m not on Facebook anymore and Facebook is the devil when it comes to making people feel left out!

Even just hosting this little gathering made me miss having parties though so maybe sometime later this winter I’ll think of some random/strange theme and have a proper party because I really don’t see my friends enough.

I was in the middle of taking totally predictable pictures of my snack spread when Wendy and her clan showed up and then I didn’t take a single picture the rest of the night because sometimes you just gotta BE IN THE MOMENT – isn’t that what all the Instafamous bloggers are preaching to their followers in an effort to pretend like they actually have non-curated lives?

I didn’t realize it until that night but it’s been two years since I hung out with Sean, at my last Christmas party, actually, but we didn’t really get a chance to talk much then so he had no idea about my drastic lifestyle change, so that was fun filling him in about our Korean immersion. And then Barb said to me, “I’m trying to figure out who you look like me to now” but she said it in a way that sounded like it wasn’t going to be good. All the info she gave me was that she thinks it’s someone from a soap opera. She watches Days of Our Lives so maybe JENNIFER HORTON!? #IWISH

Do you know how hard it was for me to not talk endlessly all night about my new bias Jinu from Winner, though!?

See the source image

See the source image

Sigh.

The next night, Blake and his fam stopped over so we could do an informal pre-Xmas. His friend is temporarily living with them and he has a kid two weeks younger than Calvin so we had them come over too and it was kind of exciting having some younguns around. They’re both still too young to give a shit about opening gifts but it was fun for the rest of us and that’s all that matters.

Right?

Speaking of presents, Chooch all of a sudden is super into wrapping gifts.

This was the best picture I could get before Calvin was on the move again.

The only lowlight of the whole weekend was GOING TO THE EYE DOCTOR on Sunday, which is basically just like a stripmall eye doctor chain and most of the broads working there are absolutely rude and joyless. I have to find a real eye doctor….But the whole reason I went was because I wanted to finally get a pair of glasses, something I haven’t had since my beloved BIG HUMONGOUS GIANT GREEN SPECS* broke and if you have been around for a while, you might remember that I bought those from Zenni Optical and had to make up a pupil measurement or whatever that is and it was clearly wrong because they were like looking out of fish bowls but I wore them anyway and  basically trained my eyes to see out of them which I AM SURE was just fantastic and eye doctors worldwide would applaud me.

*(Wow, that was six years ago. I have lived six years without any glasses, LOL.)

I only went back to this dumb place because they have this one pair of Candies frames that are exclusive to just this dumb place (I looked online first to see if I could get them anywhere else) and I really wanted them last year because they are black and the insides are bright pink which reflects off my face and I love that and the model is actually called BLACKPINK which hello is a great kpop group.

This time, I actually had a “professional” measure my pupil distance or whatever and I’m pretty sure the term professional should be used lightly because no one in that office seemed very educated but what do I know, I’m a fucking high school dropout.

…so maybe I do know.

The whole time I was sitting in the dumb waiting room, Henry was blowing up my Kakao with pictures of Jinu with curly hair, because that’s the ONLY JINU LOOK I DON’T LIKE.

Ugh, stress.

Oh, I forgot to share this last week. Chooch had his picture taken with his little niece and nephew and Santa, but I was unable to be there because it was the night before THE TOOTH drama finally ended so I was extra-triple-high-strung and decided it would be in everyone’s best interests if I just stayed home.

Look, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that my life was like ruined last week, OK.

It’s so much better now, though!

Anyway, that’s really all I have time to share for right now. We just came home from a really fun Christmas Eve (but really afternoon) around town and I am pretty tired. I have a full night of wine and K-Dramas planned, but first I’m going to watch some theme park vids because I’m an adult and I can do what I want.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Dec 222018
 

Hopefully you’re sitting down for this because it’s probably going to shock the Christmas Crocs off your feet, but I’m kind of neurotic. So when the great tooth incident happened last Friday, it…..it basically ruined all of my days. I mean, I pretty much had a Shakespearean tragedy written for it in my head.

I could barely even sleep. Especially that first night, it was like being in a waking nightmare, and the first thing I did when I woke up each time was jut my tongue over to The Tooth and then straight up wail when I realized it WASN’T A NIGHTMARE, IT WAS REAL LIFE.

Saturday night, Henry and I were in line at our neighborhood Dunkin’ Donuts when someone tapped me on the arm and it turned out to be a guy I’ve known since like kindergarten (actually, the TWIN BROTHER of the boy who broke Mrs. Glumac’s glasses and called her a bitch, a story I’ve referenced over 100x times in my life because it was apparently super impactful for a fourth grader). When he asked me how I’ve been, the whiny word barrage of “WELL I’M GOING THROUGH THIS THING WITH MY TOOTH” was revving it’s engine and rearin’ to go but then I made brief eye contact with Henry and said, “I’ve been OK” instead.

That over-the-counter tooth putty stuff Henry got me was doing a good job of preventing my neuroses from shoving me over a cliff though. I mean, I still wasn’t chewing on that side of my mouth and was shying away from foods with a consistency harder than a fresh marshmallow, so basically I was on a diet for people with no teeth.

Then on Monday morning, New Dentist finally returned my call! Look, I am one of those super-phone-private people who refuses to take personal calls at her desk, but when I saw the Smiling Tooth pop up on my phone (I added a friendly cartoon tooth image to the contact for my dentist in my phone as a means to soften the blow) I snatched my phone off my desk and answered, “HELLO, YES THIS IS SHE” and then proceeded to ramble on psychotically about how I was basically over here on my last limb, please help. SOS. The lady was LAUGHING at me which was fine because she was able to squeeze me in on Thursday at 8:45 which was perfect since that’s my late shift day!

Still, I found Amber in the kitchen and blurted out, “I MIGHT BE LATE ON THURSDAY” and after I explained to her my latest tragedy (she wasn’t in the office on Friday and missed me when I was at my most hysterical; everyone deserves at least one reprieve from that, I guess), she was like, “Oh, you probably won’t be late” and I was like YOU DON’T KNOW HOW LONG IT’S GOING TO TAKE FOR THEM TO FIT ME FOR DENTURES OK.

Later that week, I remembered that when I initially called this new dentist in October to see if they were taking new patients, back when I had all of my teeth and not “almost all of my teeth plus one shell,” the receptionist told me to be sure I printed out the new patient forms found on their website and filled them out prior to my appointment. So on Wednesday, I tried to do this, but I couldn’t find the forms. Then, upon scrolling around, I also noted that I didn’t see the dentist (Dr. Hall) on their anywhere, either, it was just two other guys, and I thought that was weird since when I called last week, their answering machine message says “Thank you for calling the office of Dr. Hall” and the broad who called me back on Monday introduced herself as someone from Dr. Hall’s office.

I had to find their number in my phone and GOOGLE IT to find my actual dentist’s website, which was definitely not the one I was looking at earlier, or even last week when I was trying to get a better idea of where I needed to go. So basically, if I hadn’t needed to go to the website and print out those forms, I was about to show up at the completely wrong dental office on Thursday at 8:45, which was about a mile further away which doesn’t seem like a lot but it is when you’re walking, which is the whole reason I was trying to find a new dentist to begin with, because I wanted to be able to walk there if needed, since I don’t always have the car (#onecarfamily) and also because I accidentally missed my last appointment at my other dentists and felt like a jerk so I did what any other rational human would do and immediately look for a new one.

Don’t try to figure me out, OK. Just nod, pretend to understand, and let me go on my way.

Wednesday night was an emotional rollercoaster over here. I was in the throes of panic all night long (except for when I bought Winner tickets which was completely impulsive and we can thank my tooth hysteria for that, but seriously, thank you tooth hysteria, because I am so excited to see Winner!!!) and I slept FOR SHIT.

By the time I was showered and dressed for the appointment on Thursday, I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital. I had chest pains and my body was wrought with the shakes. I was a fucking mess and started about 87 fights with Henry on the phone prior to even leaving the house.

The great part was that it took me less than 10 minutes to get to the dentist! I even left early because in case I couldn’t find it because Google maps made it look like it was somewhere off the main drag, but it was pretty much right in my face and I have no idea how I never noticed it because I have walked past it a thousand times.

Adrenaline kicked in at this point and I stormed into that place like I owned it. The receptionist looked up and said, “Erin?” I nodded and blurted out, “I AM FREAKING OUT.” She wasn’t even trying to engage me and instead took my forms and told me to have a seat. She was very no-nonsense and I was mad because I needed coddled.

A few minutes later, she came into the waiting room with a very serious look on her face and said, “Unfortunately—” (PLEASE, NOT THAT WORD, NOT NOW) “—we can’t file a claim with your insurance—” (THEN WHY DID YOU TELL ME OVER THE PHONE YOU TAKE MY INSURANCE?!!?!?) “—-without your social security number” and then she tapped the spot on the form that I somehow left blank.

Jesus fucking Christ, is that all. So I gave her my social security number that I have had memorized since I was 16 and oddly obsessed with getting a job* and filled out applications like it was a new hobby, only to get my first job at a dollar store where I took my break on my first day and never went back, lololol.

*(All of my friends were like, “You’re rich AF, why do you need a job?” except “AF” wasn’t a thing in 1995, so I’m not sure what they actually said. “Hella rich” maybe?)

(I am no longer “hella rich/rich AF” though so if we’re being honest here, 90% of my stress over this tooth episode was from worrying over how much I was going to have to pay out-of-pocket and HOW WOULD I AFFORD IT SO CLOSE TO XMAS? I was about to start collecting some more of those job applications…for Henry, lol. Second job time, buddy! Take one for the team!)

Then some older man breezed through the door and hollered HELLO EVERYBODY to which the receptionist answered, “Hi Mark” and then Mark sat down and immediately called who I presume was his secretary and asked her to book him a flight to Orlando next Thursday morning and then gave her/him details about the car he wanted to have rented, where he wanted to stay, and when he wanted to come back, which was going to be sometime after he “has dinner with the Chinese.”

Cool story, Mark.

That was enough to help distract me and before it was even time for my appointment, the hygienist came out to get me (my last dentist was consistently 30 minutes behind on appointments so this was amazing to me) and she seemed way more receptive to hysteria so I just unleashed on her when she asked me how I was doing and she was very reassuring.

“AND I HAVE THIS OVER THE COUNTER STUFF IN THERE RIGHT NOW AND I WAS TOO SCARED TO REMOVE IT BEFORE COMING HERE IS THAT OK!?!?!?” I cried, wringing my hands as I sat stiffly in the exam chair.

“Oh that’s fine! We’ll take it out, no problem,” she said, going about her business of setting up tools, etc like she didn’t have a dying patient before her. My whole body was shaking by this point, and then I heard her in the next room telling THE DENTIST that I had the stuff in my tooth and I was like OMG IS SHE TATTLING ON ME.

Anyway, Dr. Hall came in right away, looked at it, declared no x-ray was needed, and then Novacained me the fuck up before I had a chance to keep blurting things out because I lose all filter when I’m in the dentist’s chair and have a desperate desire to talk about all of my oral fears.

Once the Novacaine kicked in, Dr. Hall filled and bonded it.

Just like that!! I still have a tooth!

In my head, this is how it was going to play out:

  • they would determine I needed a root canal;
  • in the process of doing a root canal, my whole tooth falls out;
  • while they’re trying to stop my tooth from going down my throat, they knock off the crown on the tooth next to the one that just fall out;
  • now I need an implant;
  • I’m at the bank trying to take a loan;
  • can’t get a loan so now I’m selling my kid on the dark internet

My imagination is a slippery slope, OK? I always go right for the worst case scenarios. I told Dr. Hall this and he was like, “Yeah, Google is not always your friend” and I really feel like Dr. Hall and I are going to have a great Dentist/Patient relationship.

By the way, it’s my supposed root canal tooth that this happened to, but he said it didn’t look like I was in any dire need of one right away, maybe down the line, and to just let him know if I have any pain or discomfort.

The whole process took about 20 minutes and I felt NOTHING. Dr. Hall is a fucking miracle-worker.

And then they gave me my pre-insurance filing bill, and according to that, the most I will have to pay once the claim is filed is like $150 and THAT IS DOABLE. I almost started to cry, I was so relieved.

Right before I walked out of the office, I called over my shoulder, “Thank you for saving me!” and he was like, “haha…ok.” Get ready, Dr. Hall. I am always 150% “on” at my dentist appointments. Erin Uber-Unfiltered is someone only boyfriends/close friends/dentists/doctors ever get to see. At my old, longtime dentists office (before she ruined my life by retiring) her staff used to laugh and announce, “Erin’s here!” when I walked in. It was like that.

And it was only 9:15 when I left! This was great except that I couldn’t go home since I don’t have a housekey (lol) so instead I went to Muddy Cup and got a chestnut latte and then walked all the way to the trolley platform in Beechview (about a 30 minute walk) to kill time and burn off some of my hyper energy, because I was a fucking bouncing ball of spitfire by then, you guys. It felt so good to have that stress taken away. I cannot handle dental problems, I am obsessed with my teeth and constantly think I have at least 6 things wrong in there.

So now, after texting several people at work that morning to give them the heads up that I might be late (on account of having all of my teeth pulled, being fitted for dentures, going to the bank, writing up a good description to make my kid seem more buyable), I was actually EARLY which was great because this allowed me to blow through the department like a fucking hurricane, pulling people away from their work in order to tell them I WENT TO THE DENTIST WITH A BROKEN TOOTH AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE.

***

“I feel like I was given a second lease on life,” I said to Henry that night.

“Oh my god,” he mumbled.

Dec 212018
 

Not even going to front, this is going to be a quickie because I was terrorized by Friday Night Late Shift and then immediately after I made the poor choice of going grocery shopping with Henry and he dragged me to not one BUT TWO different stores and I feel emotionally battered right now.

Anyway, I meant to share these pictures earlier in the week because it was part of my “Convince Yourself You’re Into Xmas” exercise. Christmas decorations really do get me going, though.

These trees are what greets you as soon as you get off the elevator on our floor. Our director Sue decorates every year and these trees have been in her winter holiday arsenal for at least as long as I’ve worked there, but she usually would just set them out around the department in clusters of three. This year though she put them in military formation and I actually felt attacked when I came to work the day they made their debut.

Everyone had something to say about them, from Melania Trump comparisons to musing that they multiplied (seriously, did someone spill water on them?!)

One of the guys from Accounting moved two of them ever so slightly just to screw with her and then the next day, a bunch of us gathered in the elevator bank to take a clandestine group photo amidst the trees that I later turned into a Christmas card from all of us to Sue because she seriously spoils us and we thought it would be cute to surprise her with something personal like that. But it turned into A Thing because she was supposed to leave the floor for a meeting at the time I told everyone to meet in the elevator bank, but then she ended up staying in her office to take a call, and her office is like RIGHT NEAR THIS AREA so we were definitely running on borrowed time.

We had the trees all over the place and tried our best to put them back in place (Regina said someone had three red trees next to each other and she was like, “Come on, Sue would never let that happen!” lol!) but the next day, Nate said he was getting out of the elevator with Sue and said, “Looks like Andrew was messing with the trees again. I’m just gonna let him do his thing.” LOL!

Anyway, here is what the card ended up looking like. I whited out the faces of most people because I said I wouldn’t share this on the Internet so I’m mostly honest!

Wendy wasn’t there the day we took the picture so I had her text me a picture of herself waving and I stuck her back there by a tree, and Lauren was actually the one who took the picture but I made her send me a picture of her head so I could stick her in there too. The inside says “we’d be lost in the woods without you” lol gag but it’s so true! One of my coworkers asked me where I had it made and I was like, “….I made it?” because hello I have made cards for work-purposes before and she was like, “OMG you could make money off this! You should be on Etsy!” and I was like, “….I am…?” Lol, I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE but it was pretty funny.

In my head.

Meanwhile, SOMEONE put a creepy vintage Santa in one of the trees and guess who keeps accused?

YEAH, ME.

It’s not me, though! But I know who it is…

Meanwhile, back outside, this huge ass tree goes up every year but I love it because the ornaments are so 1950s-ish and I bet Christmas was cool back then, before kids cried about wanting V-Bucks for Fortnite and whined about BB guns instead, or whatever, and moms wore aprons and used actual butter dishes.

(I had to ask Henry, “What do you call those dishes people put butter on? Butter dishes?”)

This big tree in in front of some big building. The county building or something?

ONE OF THOSE ORNAMENTS SAYS BROOKLINE. I live in Brookline.

Anyway, that’s my holiday picture post. Now I have to go back to watching Winner videos on YouTube.

 

Dec 192018
 

You know how motivational speakers and self-help weirdos are always preaching about mind over matter, etc etc? Well, somewhere in my life, I actually kind of started to believe that WHOA maybe there actually is something to positive thinking. I know it’s easy to fall into those negative nets and motherfuck everything that comes your way, and I spend a lot of my days doing just that. Being surly is kind of my thing, also I think I might be borderline.

But anyway, today is a really good example of how thoughts can completely set the tone and control the day. Take this morning, for example. I got a twitter notification that the trolley was having issues and I flipped my shit because I hate when wrenches are thrown into my daily routine. So I ran out of the house earlier than usual in order to grab an earlier trolley and hopefully not be as late. The trolley driver was really great about keeping us updated on what was happening and how the detour was going to go, and I appreciated that. Yes, I was still annoyed. Yes, I whined about it when I got to work 10 minutes late which doesn’t even count as late at that place, trust me — my job is so laid back when it comes to these things. It’s ME who gets all wound up about it!

And yes, I berated Henry via KakaoTalk because this was all his fault, after all.

About an hour later though, I was thought to myself, “You know, this could have been way worse. We’re lucky that we have a transit system full of people who are so on the ball.” I mean, whoever runs that twitter account is amazing at keeping passengers updated, and what a shitty position to be in, knowing your tweets are going to get lambasted by angry Yinzers. So do you know what I did? I deleted my crybaby tweet about how the trolley sucks and I replied to the Port Authority account, thanking them for being so helpful and diligent at keeping us up to speed when shit like this happens. 9 times out of 10, when they’re having issues, it’s because of some uncontrollable force, like a tree falling on one of the wires or some dumbass leaving their car on the tracks (this happens more than you’d think). And just like that, the tone of my day changed! Being nice kind of felt…..NICE. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?!

Then I was having an annoying afternoon of dealing with people who definitely haven’t discovered that sentiment up there about being nice, and I was being a big bitchbaby about that but then we got an email from Wendy about a late afternoon holiday soiree that she and the other associate directors prepared for our department, which included ALCOHOL and normally I would let my social anxiety dictate how I RSVP to something like this (yes, even with people I see everyday, I get a little palm-sweaty and collar-tuggy when surrounded by them). But I told myself that it would be good to walk away from my computer screen and have a drink with my work friends.  I figured I would just make an appearance and then sneak away, but I ended up staying for the full hour and it was really fun and reminded me of how it used to be there so maybe in 2019 I will try to be more people-y.

And then guess what happened?! Henry actually parked the car and met me outside of my building so that we could walk back to  the car together since I have been complaining lately about the weirdos I have to encounter on the way to where he waits for me after work. I thought that was really sweet but of course I didn’t let him know that, haha.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning (oh, don’t worry, there will be a WHOLE POST dedicated to my oral woes, I know you can’t wait) so once again, I let my feelings about that darken my mood and I was totally snippy with Henry and Chooch but then I watched the new Winner video and said, “Fuck it, I’m buying tickets to see them” so now I’m going to see them in Toronto next month, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME AND MY WRECKED MOLAR.

So my current mood is: pretty fucking content as long as I’m not thinking about my tooth (OR, THE SHELL OF MY TOOTH), and the whole poing of this is that I guess those dumbass self-help weirdos are kind of right. Plus, one of the YouTube fitness ladies I like also reminds us that if we smile, we can actually convince ourselves to feel happier and I think that she’s probably right because she has a degree in something.

Anyway, I’m going to go and watch this Winner video MILLIONS of times now because it is really uplifting and that’s the whole point of this post which you would know if you were paying attention, jesus.

Dec 182018
 

I’m really weird about decorating. For instance, a lot of people assume that since I am so into Halloween, my house must basically look like tomb during October, but I don’t think we have bothered decorating since like, 2008?! We haven’t even had carved pumpkins in forever! I’m pretty lazy.

And aside from a Christmas tree/Trudy, we don’t really do much else even though every summer I think to myself, “I should start working on that dark Christmas wreath I’ve been dreaming about for 10 years” but do you think I do that? NO BECAUSE IM TOO BUSY HOUNDING HENRY TO TAKE US TO AMUSEMENT PARKS!

But this year, I kind of felt inspired to throw up some extra lights and make good ol’ Robert look extra festive. I mean, have you seen my house? We have fucking lights blinking and flashing all year round regardless of the almighty baby Jesus.

It’s a nice nook to relax after a long day of My Bloody Valentining. In other words, these lights will definitely still up for Valentines Day/until they burn out.

Just some bonus shots of Drew at Trudy’s feet. The cats are very respectful of her. Just not any ornament dangling from her that may be constructed of felt or pompoms.

I wanted to cover the whole ceiling in garland and lights but Henry was like SO IT CAN ALL FALL ON US UNEXPECTEDLY WHILE WE’RE WATCHING ALL THE K-DRAMAS IM ADDICTED TO? I THINK NOT.

Asshole.

Garland on the mantle. Wow, I went ALL OUT this year. Get me a fucking spread in Better Homes & Gardens.

Anyway, something small like this has helped get me more in the spirit, because I don’t WANT to be a Scrooge, ok? It just comes naturally and I have to be mindful enough to want to make a change. And you know, barking light-hanging orders at Henry really helped to lift my spirit!!

I have some pictures of downtown Xmas spirit shit that I have been collecting so I will post those this week too. Maybe it will help some other people get in the spirit as well!

K annyeong.

Dec 172018
 

It’s been a whole year without Jonghyun and I am drowning in real thick feelings and ugly tears. I can’t explain why exactly but his death wrecked me harder than any other “celebrity” death and it felt like losing someone I actually knew in “real life,” because his artistry really touched me and brought me so much joy.

The anniversary of his death is really hard for so many of us, but it’s also a reminder that this time of year is especially slippery and fragile for so many people suffering from depression. It’s easy to get swallowed up in the stress of holiday shopping and tensions can definitely flare when shops are crowded and the streets are full of traffic and it feels like we’re hemorrhaging money, but I am going to try extra hard this week to smile at strangers, even the weirdos I see on my lunch break walks (except maybe not the one weird man who made sexually suggestive gestures at me with a Slim Jim last week and then high-pitched shrieked at a woman waiting to cross the street).

It’s not much, but sometimes a (non-creepy) smile can go a long way, and maybe it will be the difference to someone who is having a bad day or feels extra alone in this whirlwind holiday season.

Please, if you’re reading this, be kind to a stranger this week. Be kind to one stranger everyday. Let’s all be extra shiny for Jonghyun.

Dec 162018
 

Remember when I said that there would be one more Dollywood post and you were like IS THIS A THREAT well guess what, IT WAS A PROMISE.

Even though we didn’t go to Dollywood specifically for the Christmas shit, it was still really hard not to get swept away in the festive feels. There is just something so magical about amusement parks all lit up for the holidays!

So, I just wanted to dump some of the evening shots we took from that day.

This was supposed to be “an artsy shot” of Chooch admiring the drop tower, but then he turned around too soon and I didn’t feel like redoing it.

“Did you get it!?” he asked, because this was his idea.

“….yup,” I said, shoving my phone back in my pocket.

The lights over this walkway changed….

…see?!

Second time at Dollywood and I still can’t say that we went in the museum, lol, sorry Dolly Parton! We’re just there for the rides, not your history!

Never been in the theater, either, lol. Some day I will be an old person and maybe then I will do these things…?

As the sun set, Dollywood’s walkways started to get more congested. I think a lot of people only come at night, maybe. This had zero impact on the wait time for the rides, though.

Thank god.

I loved this area of the park so much. My dad is a huge geek for anything 1950s, so I grew up in a house where the Oldies station or a classic jukebox was always blasting in the garage as my dad worked on his hot rods (he had four different ones when I was growing up; I’m not sure which ones he still has though) and some random Andy Griffith show rerun was always on the TV. He even had several vintage pop machines that worked, one of them held glass bottles of Barq’s root beer, I’ll never forget. Of course, I didn’t appreciate any of that shit back then and would die of embarrassment any time I had to ride somewhere in one of his damn old cars, but man do I miss those simpler times now!

This area of the park is right of my dad’s alley, all the way down to the 1950s garage-themed queue line for Lightning Rod.

We thought this Santa had blackface at first but I think it’s just really old and hasn’t aged well. As I was trying to take this picture, the adjacent theater let out and I got swept away in a tidal wave of wheelchairs and walkers. Old people don’t yield, you guys. Then some broad accidentally unplugged the lights, so that was a real scene.

(It wasn’t, really. She plugged them back in right away.)

I took this from the train, so it’s not the best but look at how lovely the Grist Mill looks all lit up!

Home of Sherbet the Waiter and the Secret Veggie Burger.

 

My oppa, King Lightning Rod.

And then as we were heading toward the exit at the end of the night, snowflakes began to softly hit my cheeks.

“It’s snowing!!!” I cried. “It’s a real Dollymiracle!” Yo boy, I was so stoked on snow and I typically hate that fuck-slush. That’s how you know Dollywood is a real mood enhancer.

Aaaaaand, then I realized that the snow was coming from snow machines mounted to the roof of the gift shop.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend a trip to Dollywood during the holidays. I was surprised by how many people told me that they didn’t even think there were rides at Dollywood — guys, don’t be fooled by the countrified mountain themes – this place has some world-class coasters and really interesting dark rides., and as long as temperatures are 40+, the coasters should be running even during the holiday event. I can’t speak for the shows, but they seem to be wildly popular, so I think it’s safe to say that D-wood is a joint for the whole family. So don’t leave Gramps at home! I mean, we brought Henry and he seemed fine.

Dec 142018
 

I was going to do a Friday Five bullshit, I mean, bullet point post today but THEN MY FRIDAY STARTED OUT SO WACK and I can’t concentrate on anything BUT THE TRAGEDY THAT OCCURRED IN MY MOUTH.

Everything was fine. The morning routine was as boring and basic as ever. Chooch left for school and I sat down to eat the same bowl of cereal I eat every morning (Cinnamon Life with almond milk, boy) and I put on some kpop music show performances because this is how I spend the tiny bit of free time I have before leaving for work.

I had just finished my cereal and was about to tweet something about how Kai from EXO had graduated from crop tops to shirtless blazers…

Image result for kai love shot

(Yeah boy.)

…and I wasn’t mad about it, when my tongue happened to casually graze A HOLE IN MY BACK MOLAR.

My first instinct was to stop breathing. Then my mind began to reel and I began to try to wake myself up because I am always having nightmares about this so CLEARLY I WAS STILL ASLEEP.

First I thought my crown came off, which I am always terrified of, but then I realized that it’s actually the molar next to it, the very last tooth and the one that I was supposed to get a root canal done on earlier this year but put it off so NOW LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. I DESERVED  THIS.

I ran upstairs to the bathroom and did all kinds of contorting to try and see what was going on in there.

“And that’s how they found her, kids: standing on her head with a hand mirror jammed in her mouth.”

And you know what’s totally Alanis Morrissette about this? I actually had a dentist appointment scheduled for this Monday WHICH I CANCELED YESTERDAY because it’s the same day as one of our holiday work lunches so I had to call back and leave a desperate message, begging for my old appointment back, OMG WHY.

Then!! My stupid trolley was TWENTY MINUTES LATE and when it finally arrived, it was the elusive “Holiday Express” which I have been dying to ride, so it was perfectly fitting that I would get my inaugural experience on it standing shoulder-to-shoulder with surly strangers (that T was packed to the gills because of the delay) while trying not to pass out every time my tongue gravitated over to my molar canyon. You know what it feels like?! A fucking popcorn shell thing.

(I wish that’s what it actually was, because I DID eat popcorn last night but I am a dedicated flosser, so…)

Then I made the mistake of telling Lauren and Margie about it, who in turn made me feel utterly hopeless. “You’ll probably just have to get it removed,” Lauren said.

“Yeah, but then you’ll have to watch that your teeth don’t start to shift because of the empty space,” Margie added.

“They might have to pull a tooth on the other side to even it out,” Lauren volleyed, and I had to walk away from this tragic theoretical tennis match because I already know who wins: THE DENTIST.

“You guys are going to have me in dentures by the end of the day,” I cried.

The only highlight of the day so far is that I lost another pound and I guess I’ll continue losing more pounds considering THAT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO EAT AGAIN.

(I’m actually eating pineapple right now. It’s…OK. But I am hyper-aware.)

UPDATE!

Carrie and Marlene and have given me hope. First, Carrie pointed out that pretty much anything is fixable and it will be OK as long as I get it taken care of ASAP (trying to!!). And then Marlene was like, “Did you have fillings in that tooth?”

YOU GUYS, I DID INDEED HAVE FILLINGS IN THAT TOOTH. So maybe my tooth didn’t actually break, but the fillings fell out!? That’s a better scenario right!?

Also, Marlene told me that teeth don’t generally shift back, but if they are going to shift, they crowd* toward the front. That also made me feeling better, in case I have to get the tooth pulled. I’m so glad I work with so many recreational dentists!

*(You know where it feels like I do have crowding? In my brain.)

Now I’m just sitting here, willing my dentist to call me back.

Wow, I was like, “Why is my face wet” just now and realized that I had drool pathetically sluicing down my chin on account of the fact that I’m subconsciously trying not to swallow because of Tooth.

***********

I just came back from my lunch break walk which involved no food because I decided I may never eat again, and Henry did not make me feel any better at all because he’s acting like this isn’t life or death.

“I hate that your life is actually better than mine right now,” I wailed.

“WOW,” he said, and then he had to get off the phone because he was going to the store so I told him to just buy me broth, I guess. Straw-food forever.

I can’t tell if my face is actually swelling up or if I’m imagining it…

#cliffhanger

UPDATE:

I’m home from work now. My fake husband is also a fake dentist and is trying to put some temporary tooth filling* in my mouth to help tide me over until my dentist can see me. I am being v.dramatic about this so be lucky you’re not here.

*(and no, not an euphemism for a weener.)

Henry DDS said it really does look like I just lost a filling and that if I had actually broken my tooth I’d have been crying since 8:00am when I first found out. LIKE HE KNOWS ME OR SOMETHING.

Dec 132018
 

I said a few days ago that I was feeling anti-Christmas so I have been trying to casually immerse myself in the season my own way and participating in Secret Santa at work also helped nudge me half-past Scrooge, more toward Stoked. I’m usually so freaking selfish about everything in life but I LOVE BEING SOMEONE’S SECRET SANTA! I get so much joy out of it.

And then I stumbled across this wonderful, pure video from years and years ago when SHINee and Kara did a Christmas performance together on Music Core and my heart melted like a fucking marshmallow in hot cocoa, you guys, ugh.

Maybe you need some Christmas spirit in your life, or maybe you need a good dose of cute Kpop, or maybe you’re just a chronic YouTuber constantly looking for new videos to click. In any case, here it is!

(Side note: Seungri and Daesung MCing in the beginning gave me even more life!)

I think I’ll make it through this Xmas season after all. :)

Dec 122018
 

“Wow, that’s the quote of the night,” Janna laughed, after I screamed this when Chooch drew a weener in the snow of one of the houses we were walking past Saturday night.

LET ME BACK UP.

Janna came over Saturday night for the annual Lighting of Trudy, and as usual, Henry didn’t get new lights knowing damn well that the lights from last year were probably going to be busted because they just don’t make Christmas lights like they used to!

(Or maybe they do and Henry just sucks at storing them, I don’t know.)

(In either case, we needed new lights.)

(And I made Janna and Chooch walk with me to CVS to get the lights, and then proceeded to stress over what Henry meant when he said, “Don’t get too many lights” and then there were greater-quantity-lights that cost the same as the lesser-quantity-lights and I was going to ask if it was for real but then I realized that the cashier on duty was that terrible maybe-Meth head who never knows what’s going on and Chooch pointed out recently that she has her name scratched off her name tag so maybe she’s also a fugitive!?)

(Anyway, the price was real.)

So then on the way home, Chooch desecrated THE ONE HOUSE on our street that has classy Christmas decorations (I want to leave them a note commending them on the aesthetic appeal of their choices) with a weener drawn in their snow and now I think you’re all caught up.

Penelope was READY for the Trudy-dressing….until Janna arrived and she was all, “A PEOPLE. BYE.” And then we didn’t see her or Drew the rest of the night.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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So basically Henry does all the hard stuff because in order to dress Trudy, one must remove her upper-extremities and I can’t do that.

Apparently, Henry can’t either because he dropped her arm and BROKE HER HAND!!!! Blake and Calvin had just arrived when this happened and Blake was like, “DAD I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WOULD DO THAT TO TRUDY” and Calvin was just like, “This house is effin’ cray, man.”

Seriously, what must it be like for a toddler visiting the Pioneer Nut House?

Meanwhile, I think the only reason Blake stops over is to get his fill of Kpop, which is not-so-secretly loves. He told us that night that he especially likes how the girl groups have like 10 members and we were like YEAH YOU DO.

I have to admit, Trudy is always out and about in our house, we don’t stow her away like a real Christmas tree (I mean, I’m sorry, Trudy! You ARE real! You’re a REAL XMAS TREE!) in the attic or whatever, but we do need to move furniture around so that she has a good spot worthy of a real Christmas tree.

Which she is.

A real Christmas tree.

This year, she is in front of the window after I moved over the beverage buffet and relocated the pink elephant table that holds the giant clown head.

That sentence tells you everything you need to know about my house, by the way.

Anyway, you can imagine how confused the cats were when they came out hours later because a few things were moved over a few inches, oh no.

Isn’t Trudy’s 2018 face beautiful? The starry barbed wire gagging her is an extra-special touch. I think it’s a real glow-up from last year’s gas mask. Janna said that we have to change her face every year and I was like, “Yeah, maybe Henry can just BEHEAD HER” ugh, Henry.

Speaking of Henry the Amputator, he glued Trudy’s hand back on nicely and is now going to fill in the cracks and then give her arm a fresh coat of metallic green. I think he genuinely feels sorry that he maimed her so horrifically.

You can see in this picture that Trudy’s right arm is actually just an empty sweater sleeve. IT’S FINE. Maybe by next Christmas she’ll be put back together. (I’m looking at you, Henry the Procrastinator.)

I used one of my G-Dragon peaceminusone clips to hold an ornament on Trude’s sweater. That’s what you call INGENUITY.

Maybe next year, I’ll just have Henry remove her legs and then we can sit her torso on one of the wheelchairs, but still have the Christmas tree skirt splayed out underneath.

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Moments before Henry broke Trudy’s hand. 😩

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“Wow, it really looks so cozy in here now,” Janna said upon returning from the bathroom, and I have to agree that Trudy really does add some Christmas comfort to the house.

And then Chooch made us play Heads Up and then we made Janna watch roller coaster vlogs on YouTube and now my new goal is to hook her up with REECE from INTHELOOP but she thinks he’s too young like that’s a problem?

Dec 102018
 

Here’s a mind-dumping for you, in list form.

1.Today, Onew from SHINee enlisted in the military. As you know, SHINee is my #2 favorite kpop group so my ship (a/k/a MY HEART) is pretty wrecked over this. I know, I know, it’s just the way things are, I should be used to it by now, etc etc. But it’s still very bittersweet, especially since it hasn’t been a year since we lost Jonghyun. Feelings are still raw.

I really wanted to call off today (shut up) but instead, I came to work with some new international treats, and I’m wearing a bright blue sweater as an homage to Onew’s solo debut from last week. One of the songs is called Blue and the video for it is…well, it’s tragically beautiful and really got me all caught in my feelings.

Whenever someone says kpop idols can’t sing, I’ll be sure to send them this video from now on.

2a. On my lunch break walk, three different people enthusiastically told me that they liked my coat (that dreamy 1960s goldenrod floral sofa one) and I think if Chooch had been there, this might have been the day that pushed him to take a paint can to it. I’m sorry, but I truly think this was the best Target purchase I’ve ever made and considering that, it’s amazing that in all of these years (five now, I think?) I have only seen one other person wearing it. One day it really will be vintage!

2b. My second-most complimented coat is a cow-print jacket I bought probably in 2000 or 2001 from Delia’s so this one actually is kind of vintage by now and I am so smug when I tell people how long ago I bought it but then I saw on Instagram that Delia’s (yes, Delia’s is back) has brought back an updated version of it! It’s currently sold out, because apparently cow print is back in style baby.

3. Oh shit you guys, get ready to taste vomit: some girly boudoir photography studio is opening up in my neighborhood and it’s called the—–hhhherrrrrk, the—-burp, the BABE CAVE. Omg get me a puke pan, quickly. Chooch was like, “So…it’s a strip club, or…?” Honestly! What a hideous name! I’m so embarrassed for all the women who enter that place, thinking they’re going to be all empowered or whatever the fuck but they’re just being branded as a “babe.” So next time some gross d-bag on the street whistles at them and calls them babe, they better just shit up and take it.

4. Hey speaking of puke, I was making fun of Henry’s shoes on Saturday (they squeak and squelch when he walks, like he soaks them in a shoe bath over night) and this is like, a really popular skit that we do in our house, but for some reason Chooch thought it was extra funny, so he did his laughing-till-he-pukes routine and then I was dry-heaving because I can’t see someone puke, and I ended up puking a little bit in my mouth, and Henry was listing us on Craigslist, but first of course he mopped up all the puke.

When will they make candy vape guns, I wonder.

5. Ever since I had that dream about having my head cut off and put back on, I haven’t felt right.

6. A few weeks ago, Wendy sent me a picture of SHOO FLY PIE from my favorite SHOO FLY PIE purveyor, DUTCH HAVEN. I was practically licking my phone.  I asked her where she got it and she said that Amish people are going door-to-door in Pittsburgh now, and that she told them they should go to Brookline too, and I legit ran over to the door like a little kid who just heard the ice cream truck from 9 blocks away, and yes, this was sadly before I had the dream that my head was lopped off. So….

Henry made it in the background of this Dollywood vlog lol. He asked me if I recognized them and I was like, “no b/c I was busy riding rides and having fun…”

7. Henry made me go grocery shopping with him Friday night after we went over Blake’s where he fixed Blake’s dining room light (god, these Fridays just get crazier and crazier) because I guess I was being punished for something, who knows, but grocery stores are definitely like the ultimate dungeon for me. Anyway, I was distracting myself by perusing the cake decoration section and Henry was like WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT THOSE and I was like “……um, for the cake we’re making when G-Dragon gets out of the military next fall?!” Why does he ask such stupid questions?!

8. Christmas has me stressed the fuck out – WOW I BET NO ONE CAN RELATE. I managed to get Chooch’s “big present” bought and the process of purchasing it left me in hives, man. If I didn’t have a kid, I would just opt out of Christmas! I mean, I’d still be into putting up Trudy or whatever, but the gift part of it gives me major chest pains. I swear I’m not actually a total Grinch, I’m just an awful shopper. PLUS RED VELVET TICKETS ARE GOING ON SALE THIS SATURDAY, RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING UGH FML.

OK, this blog post is a waste of Internet space.  I’m going to go and cry a little bit more about Onew and then watch some roller coaster videos and finish off my night with an episode of Come & Hug Me (a great serial killer K-Drama!). Check back this week for some pictures of Trudy all dressed up and, I’m sorry, but one more Dollywood post lol.

Key, Taemin, and Minho went to send off Onew. TRUE BROTHERS. They love their hyung. Sigh. SHINee forever.

Dec 092018
 

Oh shit son, I had you fooled. You really thought I was done slapping out Dolly-words, didn’t you? But nope! I have more pictures and thoughts to share because I’m a freak who really likes things past the acceptable limit.

Contrary to popular belief (and the overly, grossly gushing romance novel I wrote last week) there are other rides at Dollywood other than Lightning Rod, and they are all fun too!

Basically, Dollywood has a stash of fine-ass coasters up in those Smokies and Chooch and I rode the fuck out of them. Except for Wild Eagle, which was evidently the first winged coaster in the country! (Maybe the world? I don’t know, too lazy to google.) For some reason, these types of coasters don’t do much for me so Chooch and I only rode it once. It was good, but not “I can’t wait to get back on that bitch!” good. There was a highlight though: when we were next in line, some young girl was exiting and said to us, “It was easy!” Chooch really latched on to this and decided he needed to pass it on too so when we were exiting, he said it to the next person in line, some middle-aged dude who thoughtfully responded with, “It was easy, huh? Ok!”

Across from the Wild Eagle, though, was a family coaster called Fire Chaser. It’s by no means a “thrill ride” so we went into it with very expectations but it ended up pleasantly surprising us!

First of all, it has a mild launch to it which is kind of unexpected for family coasters, but I thought it was cool because it kind of prepares kids for bigger thrills in life, you know?

This part is cool because it features a BACKWARD LAUNCH, at which point, the track changes and you ride the rest of the way back to the station backward, and you enter the station the same way you enter while another coaster is currently out for a spin! OH THE MAGIC OF CHANGING TRACKS! We were so stupidly giddy about this that we dragged Henry on later in the day.

He was this thrilled about it:

It was even more fun this time around because Henry and I sat in the back seat with Chooch in front of us, and Chooch and I did our really obnoxious and exaggerated WOO HOO HOO! WOOOOOO HOO HOO HOOOOOOO!s through the entire ride and Henry was begging us to stop. “YOU’RE PISSING EVERYONE OFF!” he hissed, and we were like, “duh that’s why we do it.”

God, Henry just doesn’t get it.

But yeah, this ride was tons of fun. I especially loved that it had a storyline and that there were actual flames in the firecracker storage room!

The ride I was the most excited to ride, after the Lightning Rod, was MYSTERY MINE. It was the ride that most stuck in my mind after our last visit in 2011 and since Chooch was too short to ride it that time,  I was so stoked for him to get to experience it this time. At the time, it was the first ride like this I had ever ridden – it starts out like a darkride, but then it has two outside portions with crazy drops and loops. It’s actually QUITE painful (you know that when you’re 12-year-old’s takeaway is, “That was so much fun, but it really hurt” then it is definitely not a comfortable ride!) but the theming is 100% worth it. I remember being so surprised by it the first time I rode it, and then I made Henry ride it and he pretty much needed a neckbrace for the rest of our vacation. That being said, he politely opted out during this visit, haha.

It’s so beautiful at night! We rode it three times because we were determined to finally get the front row, and third time’s a charm. It was worth it!

The first time we rode it, we were in line behind a family and I noticed that one of the guys was wearing a shirt that said Pittsburgh on the back, so I got all MISS BUTTINSKI on them (Chooch’s favorite thing about me) and asked, “Excuse me, are you from Pittsburgh?” because you never know, I wear a shirt from some bar in Cleveland sometimes, you know? PEOPLE WEAR STUFF, IS WHAT I’M SAYING. But in the case, they actually were from Pittsburgh! Well, a little bit outside of the city, but close enough that they would definitely be fans of the sports teams.

“We’re actually sneaking out of here at 4 to watch the game,” the one guy faux-whispered to me and I was like, “OH HO HO HO” which is my “I’m trying to fit in with the football fans” laugh.

Mystery Mine for life!

Another great darkride/coaster combo at Dollywood is the less-thrilling but hilariously-themed Blazing Fury which takes you through an 1880s hillbilly town that’s about to go up in flames. The ride operator screams FIRE IN THE HOLE! We actually got Henry to ride this with us later in the day and he was annoyed because he had to stand in a separate queue by himself while Chooch and I giggled secretly because Chooch was air-dropping pictures of his cat to unsuspecting iPhone users in line. Henry probably thought we were laughing at him though because he has a Victim Complex.

Here in this photo, you can see part of Chooch’s and my second favorite in the park, our bae the Thunderhead. In the forefront of the photo is Wildwood Grove construction, the new-for-2019 area of the park which is going to include whatever that green coaster is in the background.

But, Thunderhead. Wow wow wow wow. I 100% do not remember loving this ride so much when Henry and I rode it 7 years ago. Maybe my love for woodies (lol) needed to develop a bit more with age, I don’t know, but my appreciation for these types of coasters is much more massive now. I understand them a little better now, after falling down the Coaster Vlogs rabbit hole, and goddamn do I wish Kennywood had a beastly wooden coaster that could stand up to some of these fancy ones out there. Not only is this ride pretty long, it is VICIOUS! From the moment the coaster starts to bend over the initial lift hill, it is non-stop. This coaster fucking FLIES and it has some incredible banks. My favorite part of it is when it actually COMES BACK THROUGH THE STATION:

This is a really shitty photo, but you can see how there is an elevated track so that while people are loading in to one car, another one comes roaring through and the whole station rumbles. Chooch and I screamed our dumb faces off the hardest during this part every time.

The best part is that the park was so empty that day, at least rider-wise, that we were able to just walk right on this badass babe every single time.

Riding it at night though, wow motherfuckers. I even didn’t mind Chooch screaming Papa Roach lyrics while we were on it because it just added to the giddiness. (I don’t know why he has been doing that lately — it must have been in some Tic Toc video or something.)

Chooch loved the Tennessee Tornado which was just a standard steel loop coaster and it did nothing for me but I rode it twice anyway because sometimes I actually do shit for my kid.

Sometimes.

The second time we rode it, some dumb bitch teenagers behind us spent the whole ride up the lift hill talking about how “anything could happen,” like “the restraints could break” or “a plane could crash on us right now.” It was awesome commentary as you can imagine. I wanted to turn around and try to punch them, a la Frankie Avalon in “Back to the Beach.”

Little bitches.

Anyway, Henry is like our pageant mom, standing on the sidelines with a camera.

Henry’s new family.

We also rode some non-coasters too, like the carousel, where Chooch was extremely downtrodden because he WANTED TO RIDE THE DEER, BUT SOME DUMB LITTLE KID BEAT HIM THERE, WAH. So instead, he pouted on a pig.

THE DEER.

Most of the ride operators in Dollywood are like tall glasses of sweet tea (lol whut) but the older broad at the swings was a miserable biotch. She was angrily telling people where to sit and then gave us the shorter ride of our lives.

What a Waltzing Bitch.

Chooch and I had a strange encounter with some woman in line for the Lemon Twist. I saw him make eye contact with someone so I turned around and this older blond woman in a hoodie was like RIGHT UP AGAINST ME doing this super weird smile-thing that was more frightening than friendly. I thought she was with the kids behind us but it turned out she was alone and then I felt kind of bad for being so judgey when I saw her joyfully solo-spinning in her cup. But honestly, my first thought when I saw her was that she left her gingerbread house to take a spin on the Lemon Twist and would finish cooking the children upon return.

I feel like all Chooch and I did was laugh all the livelong day. We get along the best at amusement parks.

A trip to an amusement park would be remiss without a cruise on the kiddie cars! It’s also right next to the Lightning Rod, which is so perfect, theme-wise. This ride has a dual track so halfway in the line, you can split up and go on the other side. The guy in front of us was so annoying and had like 8 children with him, so I hissed, “Cut across to the other line!” to Chooch. Chooch was reluctant, because he really wanted to get the pink cadillac and didn’t there was one on the other track. He had even been counting when we were in the other line to see when the pink car would come back. He gets really tightly-wound about these things and I have no idea where he gets that.

From Henry, I guess.

Anyway, turns out the original line we were in actually moved faster than the second one for some reason, AND if we had stayed over there….we would have gotten the pink Cadillac.

Um, oops.

That’s Chooch’s “I’m smiling because we’re in public but please know that tonight might be the night we all learn about matricide” face.

Meanwhile, some dumb guy cut in front of us because his group was up ahead and we were so annoyed because he was a douchey hipster and said, “Hey can I squeeze through thanks” WHILE HE WAS ALREADY SQUEEZING  THROUGH. Hello last time I checked you can’t hold some asshole’s place in line.

Anyway, Chooch was doubly pissed now because it looked like we weren’t going to get his second choice either, the baby blue car. “Great, we’re going to get this ugly ORANGE car now,” he angrily spat and in case you missed it before, let me remind you that these things are HUGE DEALS to him.  I tried to calm him down by pointing out that at least we probably weren’t going to get the ugliest car in the lot (I said it was probably one of the many things that Henry would White Knight if he heard us talking about, like, “THAT CAR IS NOT THAT UGLY. A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD BE EXCITED TO GET THAT CAR” because this is his role in life, the most annoying devil’s advocate ever). But then! The hipster douche in front of us wasn’t just with some broad, but also A CHILD and he seriously tried to stuff himself into the car with both of them, like a Carhartt flannel that fit him before becoming a dad drove him to drink more artisanal hard ciders and mead.

So this meant that douche-dad had to ride alone, so he took the ugly orange car that we were going to get and that meant we got the baby blue car after all!

Oh man, we had so much fun on this, rocking out to oldie Christmas carols while I beeped along like a maniac.

God, never let either of us grow out of this stuff. I feel like every “best day ever” we had in 2018 involved an amusement park and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Dec 082018
 

In addition to the 5 billion other things I’m obsessed with, I’m extremely fond of Bavarian things. I definitely get this from my grandparents, man, and their house had some awesome Bavarian footprints in it.

(Like, not real footprints. But you know, Hummel figurines and cuckoo clocks and other fine Black Forest shit.)

This is why I keep going back to the Bayernhof Museum. It’s not like much changes, but I just can’t get enough of the early-80s tackiness.

I’ve written about this place before, so there won’t be much detail here, but here’s a bit of background: The owner of the house was a real quirky son of a bitch named Charles Brown, a super rich business owner with a sprawling imagination.

My kind of guy.

He built this big house right outside of Pittsburgh without even consulting legit contractors or architects and then filled it flea market finds and exorbitantly priced pieces. It’s like my pappap’s house on steroids. So many parts of this house have strong Gillcrest vibes and it’s bittersweet. Long story short, he knew that when he died, he wanted this place to be opened to the public, because one of his favorite things to do was host parties and give friends and their friends tours of his sprawling Bavarian bachelor pad. But he knew he needed something that would be more of a draw, some gimmick that would enable the house to be labeled a museum, so he started collecting these massive antique music machines, nickelodeons, calliopes, etc etc. Some of the pieces in his collection are the only ones left in the world, which is nuts considering he didn’t even know how to use them!

Charles died in 1999 and the house was eventually opened to the public in 2006, I believe. That was around the first time I saw a billboard for it, on my way to class at Pitt. I knew immediately that I needed to go and Kara was going to go with me, but then we realized right before leaving  my house that we needed to make an actual appointment for a tour, like a real life grown-up thing, so instead we went to Phipp’s and made fun of people looking at flowers and I found out that Kara hates orchids.

I finally managed to get to the Bayernhof in 2011, when some broad was visiting me from California. She absolutely hated it there because she basically just hates everything in life, but it may have also been because the guy who gave us the tour was also the guy in charge of maintaining and servicing the music machines, so he was a bit stuffy.

I went again a year later, this time with my brother and my friend Kristy, and it was just as fantastic. Especially being there with Corey, who immediately picked up all the Gillcrest vibes that the Bayernhof was throwing down.

Now that Chooch is 12, he’s finally at the acceptable age listed on the Bayernhof website, so I gathered Janna and Kara (finally!) for a Sunday tour last weekend.

The Bayernhof is one of those places that you can tell people about until you’re blue in the face and your mouth is all gummy but there is no way better to paint the picture than by having them step into it themselves. So while Chooch was feigning excitement in that awesome, monotone pre-teen way, I knew that as soon as the tour started, his outlook would turn around and he would maybe stop pining for Fortnite for a few hours.

We got there as soon as it opened, fifteen minutes before the tour started, because I am a fucking eager beaver and I also know from past trips there that they don’t wait around – that tour starts at 2 and one of my greatest fears is walking into something that has already started and then everyone stops and looks at me and, NO THANKS.

So, of course we were the first group there, which meant we had to awkwardly stand in the foyer with our guide (a young woman whose name I forget but she is a SCIENTIST and also super cool) and an older woman assisting with the tour. The older woman started laughing at one point and said, “Oh, I just noticed that your purse is a rollerskate!” and Chooch started to grumble because as you know, he hates when my accessories take attention away from him. I laughed back and said that it was from the kids section at Target* and she said, “Hey, you might have to grow old, but you don’t have to grow up” and I was like, “MOM?!”

*(My friend Katrina sent me a picture of the purse a few months ago and I sent Henry out THAT DAY to get it. It was on sale too for like $6! Granted, I can only fit  my car keys, one lipgloss, and one small vial of hemlock in it, but the cuteness is worth it.)

Meanwhile, Chooch was pocketing a discount card for some brewery affiliate, and the guide saw this happen and started jokingly calling him out for being too young to go to a brewery. So Chooch was happy to have the attention back in his court.

Eventually, two more groups arrived: two men and a yuppie couple. I had strong feelings against the woman part of the couple because almost immediately she made it perfectly clear that she was going to be That Person on the tour that had Something To Say about everything. There was also something about her that reminded me of my ex-friend Cinn so I was immediately turned off.

 

As I mentioned before, I’m not going to get into the details of the tour because I have numerous posts about it in the blog archives, and also because it’s something best experienced in person. I can tell you that it is not one of those boring tours full of needles dates and facts – Charles had a fucking fascinating personality and this new guide actually told some stories about him and the origins of the house that I definitely don’t remember hearing the other two times I was there. So it was almost like being there for the first time for me, too!

The cool thing about this is that many of his friends are still around and involved in the estate so the stories are almost always first hand accounts.

See that gas lantern thingie? These are the products that were manufactured at Charles’s company and I don’t know why I never made the connection before but my pappap’s house was FULL of these lights. He had them outside his front door and at the end of his driveway too so I wonder if they were from Charles’s company!? I asked my mom if the name sounded familiar and she said she wasn’t sure, and that my grandparents had a decorator named Herbie who did all that shit for them. But it’s still fun to imagine my pappap and Charles knowing each other!

They were in the process of decorating for Christmas!

The lady I disliked of course knew almost all of the old-timey songs that the machines played, and then her dumb yuppie husband would high-five her. After the tour, Kara was like, “I kept trying to make eye contact with you because that lady was so annoying” and I was like “FUCK YES I KNEW IT WASN’T JUST ME!” I think the guide was even getting a little miffed at the constant “witty” interruptions and would just respond with, “I know, right.”

They call this guest room The Red Room, not to be confused with Redrum. I want to sleep here.

This other guest room REALLY reminded me of my pappap’s house and I can tell you without a doubt that some of the furniture in there was either the same or extremely similar. I almost started to cry.

This was Chooch’s favorite room until he saw the billiards room. He’s obsessed with pool lately and the pool table at the Bayernhof has purple top!

The amount of times Chooch’s eyes widened like saucers was hilarious.

When you have to share your seat.

Janna was upset that my grandparents never thought to add a pool into their enclosed porch.

The infamous “horse-shoeing” picture! I actually made this into a pendant after the last time I was there. The other curator caught me giggling at it and he sighed, “They’re shoeing a horse.” Lol!

I already can’t wait to go back again. It’s honestly one of Pittsburgh’s hidden treasures and I would 100% recommend it to anyone visiting. I even included it in my Pittsburgh Tourism List that I wrote several years ago! So if you’re planning a trip to the ‘Burgh, or already live here and want to go to this place, PLEASE LET ME GO WITH YOU. I will even call and make the appointment and I hate calling and making appointments! IT’S ONLY $10 FOR A TWO HOUR TOUR!

Dec 062018
 

It’s that time of year again when everyone is stressed to the max about Christmas hoohaw so why not add in some additional holiday stress at work too!? I was thinking about what my team should get Boss Amber this year and instead of just being normal and buying a card at the store and stuffing it with a giftcard or something, I decided to make her work for it.

LET ME BACK UP.

This past year, we started using Docusign in our department and my group acts as the backup for the people who usually send shit through it. Since we use it so irregularly, it’s a pain in the ass for us and we are all very vocal and crybabyish about it. It’s just one of those things, you know? Every job has one! Anyway, Boss Amber is always annoyed with it too whenever she has to use it so I thought, “WHY DON’T WE SEND HER XMAS CARD THROUGH DOCUSIGN” and my work friends were like WHY ARE YOU SUCH A JERK, BUT YES LET’S….WAIT, HOW. Don’t worry – I made it work and then I forced them pose for a totally cringey picture (my original idea was to buy a nice frame and put a giant picture of us in it for Amber’s desk but that was meant with a a barricade of frowns) which we we planned to send her today before our holiday lunch, along with a gift card, through Docusign.

Glenn’s wife Amanda took this for us! Glenn was actually on his way out for the day because he was sick but here I am, forcing the guy to tangle himself up in garland in the cold weather first. Anyway, I wasn’t satisfied with how the garland looked in this so I demanded a do-over.

Lauren was like, “Should we be….touching each other?” Amanda was like, “I mean, do you want to?” We all just looked at each other, like, “Nah” and continued standing together like strangers. Look, we have boundaries, OK.

This was the final version, a motherfuckin’ Cringemas miracle. Carrie was like, “Did you come up with that? I thought so” – lol. I photoshopped that Jethro Tull record into Glenn’s hand because one time he sent me Jethro Tull videos and said, “This is what real music is” and I have been making offhand comments about it ever since, in fact, I just made one last week and he told me that I should really consider letting it go.

Never.

My thought bubble says that because it’s what I’m always saying on Monday except not just in my head, but out loud to everyone who will listen. One time Amber was off on a Monday so our meeting was canceled and I was so happy BUT THEN SHE RESCHEDULED IT FOR THE NEXT DAY.

Now I’m questioning why I put together this Xmas gift for her!!

Anyway, I added the picture of us to a word doc and put something like “We hope you have a great Christmas __________” so that when Amber electronically signed it, it would complete the sentence with her Docusign signature.

We all signed it (via Docusign, so our signatures are all weird and formal) and then once that was complete, we all ran outside of Amber’s office and waited for her to get her notification. When I heard her say, “What the hell is this?” I knew the game had started!

So now we were all crowded around her office, laughing at our brilliant idea, and I noticed that she HADN’T SIGNED IT YET because she was too busy smiling at the picture so I had to force her to complete the process and she was just like, “WOW.”

Yes, Amber. WOW. I did that.

We also “spruced” up (OH HO HO HO) Dead-Again Bob Ross and used this as the picture for the Amazon gift e-card.

God, we’re such great minions.

Then today was our holiday lunch (which Todd didn’t know about until Amber sent an email telling us when to meet at the elevator bank, lol) and I was so excited because we went to the Yard and they have the Impossible Burger now and I have been dying to try that except  I guess not that urgently because I’ve known for a while now the various places around town that has it on the menu but am super lazy and ambivalent when it comes to food.

Clearly.

Anyway: worth it!

And after that, we went over to Santa’s House to have our now-traditional picture taken with the Big Guy! Everyone thought they were off the hook since we did this last year, but Cathy moved back to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg since then so we had to get an updated picture with her in it!

Everyone was grumbly about it but brought out their best (forced) smiles when it was time for the picture. Amber and Cathy were not thrilled about having to sit on Santa’s knees but the “photographer” was like, “I can’t fit everyone in the shot” and it’s like, “Maybe….turn the camera then?” They kept telling me to lean in and now that I’m looking at this, I don’t understand why I had to lean in.

Anyway, it’s awkward and cute and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Dec 042018
 

Regularly scheduled amusement park and Kpop posts are interrupted because Blake and Haley’s baby was born today! Haley managed to break the Henry Family Curse by finally bringing a girl into the fold!

Chooch’s first niece! Henry’s first granddaughter!

Her name is Lily Anne and we’re obsessed. I am so prepared to buy all the cute baby girl clothes for her!

Congratulations to Haley & Blake!