Dec 312022
  1. A Lesson In Physics

Henry babysits his grandkids on Wednesday evenings, so I often have to make my own dinner if I don’t feel like waiting for him to be done. I mean, he’s just right next door but I’m pretty accustomed to eating right after I log off of work. We had sweet potatoes and veggie burgers in stock, so I figured I would be a big girl and handle dinner for myself. Luckily, Chooch was at a friend’s house, so I didn’t have to also be a parent.

Since I was already using the microwave for the sweet potato, I decided to cook the veggie burger in a pan. This is something I have tackled on my own in the past, so I had confidence in myself. The only problem is that vegan cheese doesn’t melt very fast when I’m doing the pan thing, so I usually have to pop it in the microwave afterward.

But then!!! I had this really great idea that I could use a LID. I have done this before! It kind of works, sort of! Probably would work better if I had the patience to keep the lid on longer, but whatever. A girl’s gotta eat.

When I put the lid on, it immediately made this strong sucking sound and I quickly realized that it was now STUCK on the pan.  I panicked and took the pan off the stove so it could cool off and maybe let the lid pop off, but in my panic, I had slammed it down on the cutting board which is made from plastic, so now the kitchen had become ripe with the stench of MOLTEN PLASTIC AND BURNING PAN, as tendrils of the melted cutting board were dangling off the bottom of the pan like space creatures. I was SCREAMING, fighting for my life, trying to wrench the lid off with my hands wrapped in towels, but only succeeding in loosening the knob.

I really tried to resolve this on my own but after a solid minute of NO SOLUTIONS, NO HOTLINE TO CALL, I cried uncle and texted Henry.

Well, I guess you could say I cried “Henry.”

Now I had to put my shoes on while holding this piping hot pan over my head, while the cats were watching me – one was on high alert, the other was still half-asleep on the couch watching with one eye half-slitted open. I walk into Blake’s house and Calvin and Lily immediately are like FULL OF QUESTIONS.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I can’t cook.”

“Why can’t you cook?!?!?!”


Meanwhile, Henry was performing pan surgery in the kitchen, trying not to swear in front of the kids, but being SO PISSED because he HATES when his kitchenware is abused. Apparently, I used “the wrong lid.” I thought it was the right one because it fit perfectly?

“YEAH THAT’S THE PROBLEM IT FIT TOO PERFECTLY,” Henry grunted, trying to wedge a knife in between the sides of the pan and the lid. And then he realized that in addition to the lid because the wrong size, allegedly, it was also the kind that had “long sides” so that’s what was making it even harder to get it off the pan. The steam/heat made the sides of the lid get sucked right on it. #physics

Literally, how will I ever live without Henry? I just do not have time for this basic adult life bullshit.

2. Doug’s Slow Descent

We had planned to go to Kennywood after work on Thursday. Like most amusement parks, they do a  holiday light thing and it’s included in our season pass, so why not? I had a feeling it was going to be p-p-p-acked, being the week after Christmas and an unusually, unseasonably balmy night of 55 degrees. I mean, we had just come out of a multi-day freezing cold snap so I figured this would bring people out in droves.

And I was correct. It was so crowded that we got stuck in stand-still traffic inside the parking lot. And Phantom doesn’t even run during the holiday season, so we started to question why we were even there. I had billed it earlier as “family fun time,” but Chooch goes, “There aren’t even any rides running?? How are we supposed to have fun together as a family then? You expected us to just walk around, looking at the lights? WOW, SO MUCH FUN.”

Mmm, sixteen-year-old backseat backtalk. Love that.

So, I called it. “Let’s just leave and go out to eat somewhere,” I sighed. It wasn’t that I was that broken up over Kennywood, because we had already been there like 6 or 7 times this season, but I was fucking hungry.

I pulled up Yelp as we left Kennywood, and then we all had a microburst of arguments over where to eat. You would think we’re new to the area the way we can never find a restaurant. Chooch and I both just wanted a veggie burger and Henry will eat anywhere, literally, would probably eat soup from a boot if he had to, so he didn’t care where we went. I just put “veggie burger” into Yelp and one of the options was some place called GOODFELLAS in Swissvale, which should have been the only red flag I needed. But I still said, “Let’s try this place called GOODFELLAS in Swissvale.”

We never go to that area of town really, but since we were still close to Kennywood when I was on Yelp, it came up in the search. I just knew it was a bar/lounge, and we’re fine with places like that. When we got there, the lot was PACKED so I thought, wow that’s a good sign. Maybe this place was good!

This is important to note for the future when you might wonder aloud, “Why is Henry not transitioning into Hero Mode?” – he had to go back to the car because as we were walking through the parking lot, I pointed out that Chooch was carrying his Dunkin’ coffee and he was just going to throw it out at the door until he realized there was no garbage can, so he made Henry take it back to the car, lol.

Chooch and I continued walking through the lot. There was an old man sitting in a chair outside of the place, and some not-as-old guy was standing next to him. The old guy got up from the chair right as Chooch and I approached. In one blurred motion, he turned to the other guy and promptly fell into him. Oh! OK. This is happening. Shit.

The other guy was too busy holding a cigarette and his beer, so he let the old man fall into him and then slide down his body ONTO THE GROUND, LANDING ON HIS FACE.  Literally, this was accompanied by a crumbling sound and a hollow thud as his body became one with the parking lot.

I screamed and the still-standing dude was just like so whatever about this, and proceeded to let the old man lay there??? In my CONCERNED CITIZEN tone, I say, “Oh my god, is he ok, do you need me to call 911?” It turns out, he was just suuuuuper drunk. Meanwhile, Henry is missing this big opportunity to be the HERO because he still hasn’t joined us?! The car was not THAT far away, so I feel like Henry purposely hung back because he didn’t want to get involved? It was so awkward because Chooch and I are so anti when it comes to people.

The standing guy is like, “No, he’s fine. COME ON DOUG, GET IT TOGETHER!” And then he like, nudges Doug with his foot.

The standing guy was really annoyed about this situation, but Doug was squirming face-down on the parking lot and I’m like, “Can I help?” because I feel like this is the thing to say at that moment, but dude is all, “No it’s fine, I got it, sorry guys,” as he’s PULLING DOUG UP WITH ONE HAND AND THEN RE-DROPPING HIM ONTO THE GROUND?? I wanted to flee so bad.

I didn’t know what to do, so Chooch and I stepped over him and started to walk into the place, but as soon as I opened the door and caught a glimpse of the inside, I realized it was just a whole roomful of more Dougs, swaying and falling into each other while hootin’ and hollerin’, so I turned around and said, “Nope, nope nope nope” and Henry had now joined us and was like, “Why is this man being dragged?” Anyway, we ended up having a delicious but uneventful dinner at an Indian restaurant  in Monroeville, where Henry says we ate once when I was pregnant but had to leave after appetizers because pre-Chooch decided he didn’t want any of that.

I was telling the group chat this story at work yesterday, thinking it would get maybe a “lol” and a “aw poor Doug,” BUT NO. It spiraled out into a sensation that lasted the ENTIRE WORK DAY. The Doug references never stopped flying. Nate wanted to change the chat name to “COME ON DOUG.” The Goodellas website was scoured and dissected. (They have a quinoa veggie burger!) Lauren considered switching her gym’s website to the Sinatra WordPress Theme: “Whatever gets me Doug,” she said.

“‘It’s a Swissvale thing, you just wouldn’t understand’,” Wendi quoted from the website. “Well that just says it all.”

Wendi suggested that Lauren also have a classy Last Supper mural in her gym, too, but with like WWE people.

“Like Chyna,” she said. “….and Elvis.”

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at work. I suggested that I have Doug pins made and this was met with a resounding YES PLZ so I called Henry.

“Henry,” I panted breathlessly. Laughing takes so much out of me. “Do we still have the pin maker?”

“Yes, why…” Henry asked, his words dragged down with the weight of so much suspicion. “Are you making Doug pins?” he asked with a sigh, already knowing the answer.

The day before in group chat, we were learning GenZ slang, some of which I knew, some I wish I didn’t.

“Guys, I just asked our Resident GenZ’r – Chooch – for his Doug review and he said ‘it wasn’t that deep. It probably happens to him every day, so.'”

We decided that “That’s so Doug” should be the new “that’s so mid.”

Glenn was disappointed that I didn’t get a video.

“Henry said we could probably go back tonight, and I’d have another opportunity,” I said.

“You could probably go right now,” Nate added.

I also suggested that we throw this place in the pot as a suggestion for our department’s post-Xmas work party and everyone was enthusiastically on board with this.

“We just need to rent a PT Cruiser, tommy guns and fedoras,” Nate said.

Hours later, Lauren said, “100% where even is Swissvale lol.”

Then our west coast crew signed on:

It was, sincerely, the best way to sign off to 2022. My work friends are so chaotic, and I love them with my whole heart!

UPDATE FROM 1/1/23: Henry and I are in the attic, still trying to clean this shit out so that Chooch can have a lounge/game room. Henry found an unopened bank statement from 2005. He opened it, glanced at it, and the first thing he saw was a charge from UDIPI CAFE which is where we ate after the DESCENT OF DOUG. WHAT DOES IT MEAN.

Say it don't spray it.

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