I was feeling overwhelmed on Saturday and decided that I needed to cancel all plans and just decompress at home. Henry and Chooch had a friend-of-the-family picnic thing to attend (where Chooch spent the whole time being “harassed” by an older girl in a bikini), so I had the house to myself. And look, it was nice to spend time alone, getting some painting and writing done, listening to music super loud, and exercising; but by the end of the day, I felt like I hadn’t done anything and then quickly morphed into cabin fever and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Before we went to bed, I told Henry that I wanted to spend Sunday outside.
“Doing what?” he asked, the words floating out of his mouth on a sheet of exhaustion.
“I don’t know, like hiking in the wilderness or something,” my 16-year-old scene bitch alter ego Skye Vanity sighed with mild disgust and sullen ambivalence.
And then Henry exploded into a million tiny pieces of FML confetti, because he knows that Erin + Wilderness = more gray hairs for Henry.
Still, Henry looked up “wilderness trails” or “places to bury a body” who knows what he searched in order to decide that we were going to spend Sunday afternoon in Keystone State Park. We mostly all got along on the way there, although Chooch and I fought over music here and there, because that’s what we do when we’re in the car. BICKER, FIGHT, QUARREL, ARGUE, CAST ASPERSIONS, PUNT INSULT-STUFFED CABBAGES AT EACH OTHER, CARVE YEARS OFF OF HENRY’S FLEETING LIFE.
But we eventually made it to Keystone State Park, which I never knew existed, but we apparently drive past it every time we venture out to Lakemont Park and Delgrosso’s. It took us about an hour to get there, I guess; who cares.
First, we stopped at the visitor’s center so that Henry could inquire about the various trails and then accept a map from one of the….park rangers? Adult cub scout? I don’t know what they are….only to then put it in the trunk of the car before we embarked on our “hike.”
Henry wants us to get lost in the woods and die.
I had to pee real quick and was happy that the visitor’s center had a real, working, modern bathroom and I didn’t have to hover over a chamber pot. When I came back out, Henry and Chooch were waiting for me outside, but the younger of the two khaki-coated trail experts intercepted me on my way out and eagerly started reiterating all of the information that Henry had already obtained.
“I recommend this one,” he panted, after describing every single trail in all of the Keystone Kingdom. He was pointing at the trail that started right outside of the visitor’s center, probably because he wanted me to fall into his slyly-crafted Instant Girlfriend pit.
I thanked him and then finally rejoined Henry, who was smirking when I approached him. (And Chooch was trying to hide from me but I knew where he was because you can’t hide from the hiding master.) “That kid couldn’t wait to tell you about the trails,” Henry laughed and gave my boobs a nod. Henry’s lucky that he’s the only one who can get away with objectifying me. (Sometimes.)
TOMS are great to hike in.
Henry regaled Chooch with some completely fictional story about how, in the early, formative stage of our “relationship,” he took me to some place allegedly named Moraine State Park, where I “threw a fit” after “five minutes” and we “had to leave” and now Henry has an “aversion” to “being outside” with me.
I do not recall this. Henry says this was back when I had lots of rage black-outs, though.
I wound up walking way ahead of these two schmucks because they are as slow as your great-grandma driving home from Church. Plus, Chooch has to stop every few feet to scream and cry about bugs and how hot it is, which is usually what I would be doing too, but I was in the mood to WALK IT OUT that day. It’s surprising that I had any energy considering I was up half of the night waiting to hear if Jonny Craig’s band of idiots got voted off Warped Tour or not. (THEY DID! I might post about that on a later date.)
The heat and humidity felt good to me so I took off and wound up so far ahead that I lost sight of Henry and Chooch.
But I wasn’t far enough away to lose audio of Chooch’s non-stop running mouth. I’m not sure I’m ever far enough away. Even at work, like right now, I have an endless loop of his voice swirling around in my head. “Mommy. Cats. Mommy. Mommy. Minecraft. Cats. Skylanders. Cats. Mommy. YouTube. Mommy. Buy me this. I want this. I’m bored. Mommy. Mommy. Cats. I want a cat. I want 28 cats. Cats. Cats. Cats.”
So intermingled with nature’s soundtrack, I could hear Chooch’s constant oration, that beautifully annoying, high-pitched lilt of prepubescent boys. God love it.
There were various intersections in the path we were on, so I would have to stop and scream, “I’M GOING LEFT! HELLO?! I SAID I’M GOING LEFT!!” and once the blue birds delivered to them my screeching message on a ribbon, Henry would jack up the volume on his mumble just enough for me to hear his flat, “Ok.”
It wasn’t until I walked through a giant spider web that I decided this was bullshit and one of those assholes should be leading the way to prevent this from happening again, so I waited for them to catch up.
Chooch had dirt smeared all over his neck and face, and the front of his tank top was sopping wet with sweat. There was a moment where I considered sending him home on a bus so that he wouldn’t stench up my car.
Apparently, there was some competition that I was not made aware of until the end of the walk. Chooch was competing to see who could find the most wildlife, and of course he WON because he didn’t include me in it until the very end! Luckily at the last minute I saw a bird, and then I walked through another web and wound up with its homeowner scrambling around on my shoulder, so there, CHOOCH. I ended up tied with Henry, but I’m pretty sure Chooch was cheating. It’s a terrible character flaw of his.
Father Nature was wielding some strange object and I demanded to know what it was.
“It’s an acorn weapon,” he explained. “So that if someone jumps out and attacks you, I can give this to them to help.”
What an asshole, you know?
Before we left, Chooch treated us to an impromptu performance, and then told us to get our asses up and leave. He has a bright future in the entertainment industry.
On the way home, Henry had a coughing fit.
I mocked him.
Chooch cracked up and yelled, “Are you going to die?!”
“Probably,” Henry wheezed. “Because you two aren’t going to help.”
You’d think Henry would be immune to our insensitivity, but I guess it still stings a little.