Chooch and I were set free into the wild Sunday afternoon. I think Henry was concerned at first but then probably did the Risky Business sock-slide as many times as a 55-year-old can without getting winded.
One of the “coupons” we made for Chooch’s stupid Easter egg hunt was that I would take him geocaching. Henry actually created that coupon on my behalf BECAUSE HE IS SUCH A SWEETHEART, knowing how much I LOVE GEOCACHING.
Just a reminder*: I do not love geocaching.
*(I was perusing the pages of my very first vacation journal the other night and the amount of times I wrote JUST A REMINDER for things that weren’t actually reminders was hilarious and totally on brand for the idiotic, nonsensical style of writing that I would later grow into.)
I was really annoyed about this coupon on Easter, but then after we got a new car, the idea of driving Chooch to some random location in order to embark on a fruitless scavenger hunt was kind of appealing, I won’t lie. After scrutinizing the dumb geocache app for the entire morning, Chooch finally settled on a cluster of geocaches in some rando place called PALMER PARK in Donora, which is about a 30 minute drive from Pittsburgh, I guess, in a part of town next to the Monongahela River that I used to cruise through all the time back in the late 90s in my 1995 Eagle Talon, bitches. It’s also where I had a semi-tragic experience getting a new eyebrow ring put in, but that’s a story for another day, friendos.
So, we managed to find the dumb park with little to no effort, and thankfully it was a REGULAR park and not one of the gross industrial parks that dot the river along the way. We were screaming at those.
The first geocache was somewhere behind Pavilion #1, and Chooch found it before I even finishing trudging over to him. I guess this would be a fine time in this rickety blog post to explain geocaching to anyone who doesn’t know and doesn’t care enough to google: it’s this dumb fucking “treasure” hunting bullshit activity where you go to the geocache website or app and find coordinates and use the provided clues if needed. Then, if it’s a good geocache, you will find a plastic container in which there should be a paper log for you to record your name and date, and also a PRIZE to take, provided you brought something to replace it. We usually bring whatever junky little toys we find floating around a junk drawer.
For this geocache, Chooch took the little plastic toy duck that was inside and replaced it with this nude plastic baby, haha. I can’t remember why but I bought a whole bag of those babies one time.
The next geocache was within walking distance, so we left our car in the pavilion parking lot and walked farther into the park, where we discovered it was actually bumpin’ with people. There was a giant soccer field past where we parked, and a caravan of minivans was arriving in preparation for a Sunday game.
This meant that there were people around when we arrived at our next geocache: one of those dog poop bag dispensers at the edge of another parking lot.
(Not the actual dispenser we were at, BUT JUST SO YOU KNOW WHAT WE WERE CONTENDING WITH.)
Based on the clue, it was 100% clear that this is where the stupid thing was supposed to be but we couldn’t find it. Surely they wouldn’t put it where the actual used bags go, but I also wasn’t comfortable sticking my hands into where the new bags were dispensed, because ew there could be spiders or needles in there!!
I lost my patience after approximately one minute and yelled, “ARE YOU SURE THIS IS RIGHT” and Chooch showed me the clue again and it seemed legit?!
“According to the log on the app, someone JUST found it today,” Chooch said. “Maybe they didn’t put it back?”
“WHAT AN ASSHOLE!” I shouted in my Big Mouth Screech, paired with wild gesticulations. I mean, I had absolutely nothing else to do that day but THIS WAS REALLY CUTTING INTO MY NON-PLANS!
Then Chooch started laughing.
“Look! The people who found it today posted a picture too! ‘Fun day geocaching wirth my hubby’,” Chooch mocked. And then, because we’re professional trolls, we started laughing at how “with” was spelled “wirth.” Then Chooch showed me the picture of the “hubby” and we started laughing even harder. “That’s who you called an asshole!” Chooch wheezed. “Way to go!” I mean I’ll be the first to admit that I would likely NOT call this guy an asshole to his face:
Sick Panera shirt.
Meanwhile, we’re still loitering around this dog poop stand looking SUPER suspish because we don’t even have a dog, like we’re indulging in some joint strange addiction of sniffing dog shit, who even knows. Anything probably seemed possible to the people observing us. Plus we were still giggling like dummies.
But then Chooch stopped laughing and murmured, “OMG look.” And there, across the parking lot, THE GEOCACHING ASSHOLE WAS STANDING A FEW YARDS AWAY “WIRTH” HIS WIFE.
And he was looking RIGHT AT US! Everyone else in the parking lot faded away and it was just the four of us, frozen in time, facing each other like the world’s most awkward showdown.
It was obvious to him that we were looking for the geocache, since he JUST FOUND IT. I didn’t know what to do so I panicked and waved to him.
“What are you doing?” Chooch hissed.
“HI! WE SAW YOUR PICTURE!” I hollered, holding up my phone, even though it was on Chooch’s phone.
“WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE THEM COME OVER HERE!” Chooch cried. And then, “ohmygod” as HUBBY and his wife meandered over to us. HUBBY was a large middle-aged metal head in a Pantera shirt, and his wife was, you know, a wife. I was being over-the-top friendly because I wasn’t sure if they knew we were totally talking shit on them minutes prior to this meet-up, and based on their unsmiling stone faces, I’m going to wager a guess that they might have?
Anyway, HUBBY said, “I take it you’re looking for this?” STRAIGHT OUT OF SOME LAME 1980s CAPER MOVIE, and presented Chooch with a tiny, thimble-sized magnetic capsule. I guess he took it back to his car to open it and write his name in the log, which was a narrow strip of tightly-wound paper that just barely fit inside the capsule. Then he showed us where he found it, which was on the metal stake of the dispenser, right above the compartment for the poop bags.
“It was really obvious where it was hidden, and I was going to actually hide it better, so if you wouldn’t mind doing that for me, I was going to hide it right here—” and then he pointed to an area on the dispenser that was literally right above the original hiding spot, and Chooch just shrugged his surly, disinterested teen shoulders and said, “Sure.”
Then the guy proceeded to tell us his name on the geocache site (which we already knew since we were making fun of it!!) and in order to bring peace upon the situation, I nudged Chooch and said, “What’s your name on there?” Chooch got RULL WEIRD and kept saying “ummm, ummm” while pretending to scroll through the app before whispering in the most defeated tone, “Choochie.”
(Later, he told me that he knew what his name was on there but just didn’t want to say it out loud because it was embarrassing and he was so mad at me for pressuring him, lol.)
Chooch and I awkwardly hung around the dog poop bag thing while the Couple Who Geocache Together Stays Together walked back to their car. “You called him an asshole,” Chooch reminded me. “I can’t believe you.” And then we started laughing our faces off because we are, of course, Forever Jerks. I had to sit down on a nearby bench while Chooch underwent the painstaking task of trying to write his name and date on the tiny paper scroll, because I honestly thought I was going to pee my pants. What are the odds of talking shit on another geochacher and then getting busted for it?
We eventually continued walking a bit farther into the park, and when the couple finally left the parking lot and drove past us, they were both glaring out their windows.
So of course we started cracking up all over again. Thank god there were other people around or it would have been less funny, more scary, I think.
In other Palmer Park news, I spotted an actual metal slide, the kinds from my youth that have been replaced in pretty much every playground with those dumber plastic ones. I was so excited to try it! Chooch went first and as he climbed the rickety ladder, he mumbled, “Wow, now I get why these slides are basically illegal.”
There was one other geocache in the park that Chooch wanted to get, but this one at the entrance. There was nowhere to park so I had to illegal park in some trucking company parking lot while Chooch crossed over the busy road.
“Don’t get hit by a car,” I called out, meeting my obligatory Mom Duty quota for the day.
There was a little man-made rock and mini waterfall feature around the sign for Palmer Park and the geocache was supposed to be there somewhere but Chooch eventually conceded defeat.
“I have no idea where it is and I looked like an idiot over there so I give up. Stupid [insert Pantera Guy’s geocache name here] found it earlier, I wish we had seen him so I would know where it was!”
YEAH, ASSUMING HE EVEN PUT IT BACK!!!