Dec 222022

You know how Chooch became obsessed with that dumb radio trivia game last year when I started driving him to school? And he programmed the radio station’s # into his phone so he could call every morning?

Well, it finally happened. Last Monday, he called, and they answered. My reaction? Aw, come the fuck on.

Especially when the co-host Melanie asked, “OK Riley, and who you got with you?” So, he introduced me (Mom Erin) and his friend Zakk who had hitched a ride with us (Friend Zakk) and now we all had to play the dumb trivia game.

I was pretty irritated because I really hate this radio station, and the hosts of the morning show are like, ugh. Not as over the top as some morning show DJs out there, but Bubba especially can get pretty wound up and they just play shitty music overall (Top 40 shit like Post Malone and that SUPER UNCOMFY Nicki Minaj song that plays every single time when they tell people to call for Escalation and I casually turn it way down because that is NOT the song you want your ears to experience in tandem with the ears of teenage boys.

Just, nope.

Anyway, now here we are, on hold while the rest of SUPER FREAK plays on the radio (it is always this song right before Escalation!), waiting for Bubba to put us on the air. Bubba is notorious for SCREAMING the Escalation announcement, super screechy and out-of-tune. As of late, he’s been giving callers the opportunity to weigh in if they want it loud or, I dunno, delicate. I usually turn the volume down because I can’t handle it.

He asked Chooch how he wanted it and Chooch was all, against everything we believe in, “I dunno, go big I guess, sure, why not.” UGH UGH UGH WE ARE SUCH SELL OUTS.

Very quickly, because I’m already tired of writing this since I have talked about it like 27 times since it happened, Escalation is 5 questions, starting at $5. If you get it right, you can give the money back and keep playing for more, or you can take what you’ve won and call it a day. The first question is always really easy. Ours was, “Blank on a shelf.”

Second: “Name a drink you can make with powder.”

I was .00005 seconds away from screaming Tang, but Chooch beat me to it with, “Chocolate milk.”

Mmm, ok. Go off with you chocky milk.

Third question is always – and here, Bubba pauses and makes the caller say MULTIPLE CHOICE: “How many pieces are on a chess board.” I flat out said, “Oh I don’t know this one” but Chooch the savant is over there counting the imaginary chessboard he drew up in the space in front of him and got it right. Thank god someone in our house knows how to play chess!

Fourth question they directed to me since it involved alcohol: Something about what the measurement of alcohol is called in liquor. This was fresh on my mind having just walked past like 7 moonshine distilleries when we were in Tennessee. Chooch was relieved because he didn’t  know it.

The last question, well, I’ll let you watch it:

I mean, yay us for winning $100, but man, I can’t we sold out AGAIN by actually saying, “I love you” back. I always said I would never say it and there I was, being all fake. I told my hair stylist about it today and she was like, “I always thought that was so weird that he says that to every caller. I hate that for you.”

But can I just say that I don’t know where Waterloo came from? You can even hear it in my voice, I do not sound confident about this. In fact, after I said it, I was convinced that it was wrong and that there was some coven of actually smart Bubba Show listener-Yinzers out there scoffing at my blondness. Literally all of my friends were like, “You probably knew it from Abba.”

I assure you, even though I know Abba songs, that is not one of them. (I googled it and laughed so hard when I saw that the literal first line is about Napoleon surrendering in Waterloo?!) I clearly learned it at some point in school and it was just…repressed.

The one good thing is that this show is on so early in the morning, so I figured probably no one I actually know was listeing. But when I was telling my friend Margie about winning on the radio the next day at work, she goes, “Wait–WATERLOO???” She fucking heard us but missed the beginning and didn’t realize it was me. Great, now I’m Waterloo Girl, I guess.

Even back in high school, I never wanted to be on the radio but I was ALWAYS calling in to request songs. Every time, without fail, I would say that I was Susie from Clairton, but 95% of the time, I was calling LiteFM and I’m quite sure I was part of the 1% of teenagers tuning in for their daily dose of Gina Vannelli and Barry Manilow.

I was cruising on this adrenaline autobahn for quite some time because even though I hated hated hated having to be performative on the radio, it was cool to win, you know? But then that night, Chooch came down the steps and, apropos of nothing, scoffed, “I wish the last question was something different, something I knew the answer to.”

“OH, THERE IT IS!” I cried, knowing that this was probably eating him up inside, the little competitive bitch. “You can’t stand the fact that I won it for us!”

“It’s still my $100,” he said, retreating back to his room to pout.

Oct 112022

Chooch wanted to go out for a practice drive over the weekend but we were too busy. Then I remembered that I’m off this week so I told him I would take him after school on Monday BUT we would be driving to a photoshoot location. At first, he tried to resist. The older he gets, the more anti-photo he is, even when offered money! This especially backfired last year when he had a job and didn’t need MOMMY’S MONEY anymore, so I don’t have any “nice” portraits from sophomore year (don’t even get me started on his school pictures – THEY DO NOT COUNT, especially last year’s).

Turns out using my car as leverage actually does work, though!

We drove to my mom’s street (aka my old street too), parked at her house and walked around the lane. I was overcome with nostalgia and heartache and blurted out, “I REALLY MISS LIVING HERE” and Chooch was all, “OK but did I ask.”

Also, it sucks to see my Pappap’s house being ruined by whatever rich asshole bought it. Fuck that rich asshole.

What these pictures don’t tell you is that he is constantly groaning and saying, “Can we be done now? OMG you want me to walk ALL THE WAY TO THAT FENCE, IT’S SO FAR*! I’m hungry. This is boring. I hate this. I hate you.”

*(The fence was like two houses away from where we were standing when I said, “Go stand by that fence.”)

Then he made me ask my mom for snacks so little bitch baby got to go home with a box of Zebra Cakes.

“Stand here and squint into the sun.”

benetton8 copy

I miss Gillcrest Drive so much!

Also, Chooch better get a new job sooner rather than later because if he wants to get his license, he’s gonna have to fork over some money for INSURANCE WITH IS GOING TO GO THROUGH THE ROOF ONCE WE ADD HIM, WHAT A RACKET.

That’s all. I just missed using the “good” camera.

Aug 292022

Hi fam (lol why did I say that). Just popping in here on this lovely Monday at the end of August to give a shout out to Chooch who just started junior year!

Of course we had a fight this morning but then we quietly bonded and made up over our shared disdain for local radio DJ Bubba and his stooooopid game of Escalation that the SAME PPL always get picked for even though Chooch tries to call in every time.

Yep, we’re back to this old routine. Well, probably just for today because I think he will go back to taking the T / bus in the mornings after today.

Anyway, I know summer’s still here for another several weeks but the start of school always makes it feel donezo. I’m so depressed!! I love fall with my whole damn heart but this time of the year makes me feel panicked like time is LITERALLY LIKE SAND IN AN HOURGLASS, a la Days of Our Lives, and winter will be here soon and that is the bleakest time for me.

The lowest.

The coldest.

The saddest.

Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be about Chooch? Sorry, today has been really chaotic, emotionally (you know me! Everything around me is stagnant and quiet and I’m over here in the middle creating waves that aren’t real). Ok fine it all came down to buying NCT127 tickets ok, it really had me stressed the fuck out. You can ask Henry. He was here. Though he wishes he hadn’t been, probably.

We’ll discuss this on another day because I am still in the process of calming down and coaxing my skin to stop fizzing.

So yeah, add to this the fact that I have a son who is a junior in high school now and I’m all over the place, mentally!

And if you’d like to know how his first day back was, it was, in a word, “boring.”


Also, can you believe he really tried to get out of this picture? Like I would suddenly be ok with NOT taking his picture on the first day of school after all these years?

Mm ok.

Aug 032022

Here is what I have been able to snag from various corners of Insta, in addition to whatever crumbs Chooch feels like flicking my way.

They had the actual pinata party thing on week 3. There were a million videos of everyone taking a whack, but none of Chooch, that little jerk!

Yes, yes I am!

I mentioned to Sue at July’s casual lunch that this was something they were going to do eventually, and she was very invested in. I sent her pictures after it finally happened and she said that he should make guacamole for the pie party, and now my mind is spinning with various savory Mexican pies he can make!!

He said his group didn’t win but I even the losers got to enjoy the guac, I’m sure, so to me there were no losers.

I asked him where this was.

“A street.”


They did a cooking class thing. This is a screenshot of a video that CIEE Yucatan posted in their story. I have notifications on and I’m always the first like on all the posts so I imagine I’m always the FIRST VIEW on their stories too. Thirsty but for weird reasons.

I need to ask Chooch what he was talking to that guy about in that small picture up there!!!

I think this was on my birthday, when he Facetimed me!!

And then whatever this is!

Man, I’m so excited to see him this weekend!!! Maybe at some point I can get him to do a recap on here of his favorite moments, LOL j/k we all know that’s not going to happen.

Jul 272022

Now that Chooch has a “squad” in Mexico, we’re getting less and less updates from him and that’s FINE, let the boy live his life, etc etc. But damn yo it’s excruciating being a mom over here waiting to be fed, yanno?

He sends us the dumbest pictures too and then doesn’t even tell us what they are so basically we’re at the mercy of the CIEE Yucatán insta. Let’s see what they shared during week 2:

Except for this! Chooch sent it to me because he went ice skating and had to exchange his skates multiple times and then got a BIG BLISTER. This was right after he went to the beach and got a BIG SUNBURN.

On Monday of Week 2, they made pinatas! I was definitely a little jealous because my Monday just consisted of screaming into the void, which is also known as Monday thru Friday.

Then one day, they went to a museum to look at ART and I did not know this until CIEE posted pictures.

Last weekend, they had an overnight trip to Vallodolid, where they went to the 7th wonder of the world, Chichen Itza, saw spider monkeys which he didn’t tell me about until I ASKED, and swam in a cenote. They ziplined too!

You guys, this is apparently his squad! Why was I worried about him going on this solo trip and being miserable? He always makes friends so fast!

I *am* annoyed that he was one of the few that didn’t have on the CIEE shirt. I’m sure he wasn’t paying attention and missed the memo, which is very on brand.

I think this is his Level 2 group. I’m pretty impressed that he’s only taken one high school year of Spanish and managed to place himself into the middle of three levels! I was laughing though because he told Janna before he left that he didn’t know any Spanish and she seemed concerned about this. I was like, “He’s probably trolling you, Janna” and she was like, “You’re probably right.” I mean, whose son is he?!

It’s so weird, but over the weekend I was going through some boxes of photos that I brought home from my grandparent’s house in 2016 and there was a stack of photos from when my Aunt Sharon visited the Yucatan in the 90s. Then, the same day, I was watching one of my favorite YouTubers and she was showing some stuff from her closet that she was donating to ThreadUp She held up a dress and said, “Here’s the dress I wore recently when I visited Chichen Itza” and then a picture of her from there popped up in the corner and I was like, “Wow. That’s a sign of something, I guess.”

Chooch’s squad again!

He’s only got one and a half more weeks to go and I have a feeling he’s going to be Mr. Miz when he comes home. I always fell into a deep depression/mourning as a kid when I would come home from big trips. Henry was like, “You still do though??” and then I remembered the Post-Korea Depression and laughed sadly. Yes, I still do.

Anyway, I’m excited to find out tomorrow on the weekly CIEE blog post what Chooch has been up to this week because as usual, no info. Which is fine, you know, live your life, bro. Be in the moment, etc etc!

Jul 182022

I’m sure you guys are shocked that my 16-year-old son is barely throwing me the tiniest of crumbs when I ask him mommy-centric questions like, oh I don’t know, HOW IS IT GOING IN MEXICO?






I get one-word answers mostly. Well, it was REALLY dicey the first two days because his phone wasn’t working even though Mexico is included in his plan (I guess it took a few days to figure out what was up??) so he had to use Whatsapp to talk to us and I guess he didn’t like that so we barely heard from him and I thought for sure that he was having a shitty time and kept crying to Henry, “DID WE MAKE A MISTAKE???? THIS WAS ALL YOUR IDEA!!!”

I had to rely on the CIEE Yucatan Insta for pictures and updates.

THIS ONE REALLY WORRIED ME because he looks really tense?! This is unlike him!!!! Corey texted me and was like, “Um….???” and I was like, “Right?!”

But then he sent us pictures of the dogs at his host family’s house!

And this pretty church thing!

And a series of barrio pets!

He sent all those to Henry and when I asked for a picture, he was like:

Once he got his texting ability back, he was like rapid-fire texting me with info and I was like, “OMFG THIS IS GREAT.” Yes, is enjoying his time there! Yes, he likes his host family! He is staying there with another kid, Julian, who is from Seattle and Chooch said he’s nice and they get along well. He just told me right now that they were playing soccer in the park last night at 8pm with a bunch of 9-year-olds lol.

I think he really likes that they get to hang out in the city center at night – I think their curfew is like 10:00 or something so they’re not out gallivanting until dawn or anything. And we all know that Chooch LOVES public transportation (no sarcasm) so he’s living his best life I’m quite sure.

I don’t know what any of this stuff is, he just sends it to me and then dips.

This was Wednesday I think and you can see that he’s smiling! I was 100% relieved by this point and am no longer worried. Yes, I miss him tons but my secondhand excitement is greater!

I think they kid next to him is his roommate.

This is his group’s sign thing, I dunno. He doesn’t tell me!

Other intel I’ve gotten from him is that there are 7 vegetarians including him but the rest are all girls and he doesn’t talk to them. OK cool. But it sounds like he doesn’t have an issue with getting veg meals, except for Saturday when he was at a restaurant and asked for a burrito with no meat and was given a burrito with cactus and pineapple and nothing else and said it was rancid and that he tricked into ordering it (??). And his host family went to the beach on Sunday but all I know is that his back got sunburnt really bad because, even though I sent him there with sunblock, he is a moron when it comes to applying it so I’m sure his back has lots of fun handprints all over it because that’s his signature sunburn style.

I’m telling you, if he was a girl, I’d have a deluge of photos and you’d probably have read about 4 guest blogs by now. Chooch is the worst! He is so much like Henry in that regard. I’m over here like YOU HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. TAKE A MILLION PICTURES!!! SEND POSTCARDS!!! and he’s like, “here’s a picture of my Starbucks that looks like it could have been taken down the street from our house.”

(This is the Insta he created specifically for this trip because god forbid he should post stuff to his actual account that he hasn’t used since like 2020, IDFK.)

We’ll see how much intel I’m able to collect over the next week!

Jul 112022

Yo, I still haven’t recapped our day at Michigan’s Adventure because I’m a shit blogger. And now I’m all, “wah, I miss my kid” like I sent him off to war. Henry said he was surprised at how much maternal emotions are actually contained within my standoffish self. Haha ugh.

That being said (I watch this one coaster review channel on YouTube and they say this so often that I blurt it out when I think they’re going to say it, like it’s some totally stimulating game I play by myself because I have no friends, so now I’m accidentally saying it in my head all the time during my normal non-coaster working hours, so that’s great), here are some pictures of Chooch looking like he’s….

….at the DMV;

waiting to have dental work done;

at jury duty but it’s a boring case; (side bar: Chooch had to rode with that kid and he was petty unhappy about it lololol.)

having a nervous breakdown while babysitting his next-door niece and nephews;

trying to sit on the couch but it’s full of my library books;


He actually *was* pretty unsufferable toward the end of the day but he was mostly a delight.

I miss him. It’s fine.


Jul 102022

2:39AM: A trio of bickering and we haven’t even pulled out of the driveway yet! Chooch almost left without his phone charger and now I’m the bad guy for asking him if he has it, I guess.

Also, Henry cleaned my glasses for me and it’s like looking out of, well, glass. Is this how it was always supposed to be?!

3:07am: been in the check-in line for 3 minutes and two people have asked me questions so far as if I know anything?!

3:18am: I know this is going to shock everyone but we’ve been here for 20 minutes and the American Airlines check in counter has been empty. But 6 of them are now slowly walking out and we’re all like “shut up” when one of them called out good mornings all sing-songily. It’s 3:00am gtfo.

3:56am: At the gate. Henry and I got PARENT PASSES to come all the way with him – I’m sure he is SO happy about this considering he sniped, “you’re so embarrassing” 8x in the last 10 minutes.

I almost took this with the flash on so that probably would have really sent him over the edge lololol.

4:45am: Now we have Dunkin’ Donuts and Henry is waiting in line somewhere else to get Chooch to big boy food. “I’m excited for this ‘home style breakfast.'”

Henry, bearer of bad news, just strutted over to tell Chooch that they don’t have pancakes today and he took the liberty of substituting it with toast. Chooch is not happy about this. Henry walked away and Chooch said, “asshole” in a super conversational tone and I don’t know why, probably because of the whole “2 hours of sleep” thing, but I can’t stop laughing.

Oh yeah! Since we couldn’t send Doll to Mexico with Chooch, we took pictures of her to put in his suitcase as a surprise:

5:15am: There is another CIEE kid here!!! We wanted Chooch to say hi and he said “I’ll say in Mexico.” WOW LOL. Now he’s trying to hide his shirt and avoid her but her dad looked right at him so we’ll see how this plays out.

5:52am: Well, he’s all boarded. Henry said he wished he took a picture of us hugging because it was so awkward considering I usually always slap or flick him to show affection. I’m crying, guys. This sucks.

Henry’s trying to flex his airplane knowledge. “They took the chocks out so the plane should be moving soon.”

6:21am: Just watched the plane take off. I’m a mess.

This is Henry’s version of “sad” I guess.

6:33am: Whelp. Chooch’s plane had to land because the lady behind him passed out and they’re doing CPR so now we’re going back to the gate. We had JUST gotten off the shuttle too and managed to jump back on before the doors closed because otherwise I think we would have had to go through security again and I don’t think our Gate Passes would have still worked since his flight had technically departed.

6:55am: lady has been brought off on stretcher. They’re still doing CPR. :/

While we’re killing time waiting for takeoff part 2, here’s a picture of Chooch’s Bon Voyage dinner, which I had hoped would be at a decent restaurant but when we left it up to him, he just kept suggesting Applebees because of that stupid country song that I hate and I was really trying to internalize my dissatisfaction with this choice since it was for HIS Bon voyage dinner not mine, but then he looked at the menu and realized that there is nothing for us to eat there so then he settled for take out from Moonlit Burgers because they have impossible burgers.

He was actually SO NICE all day yesterday and even treated us like human beings. It was almost as if he realized he was leaving for a month and might miss us.

7:16am: now everyone is getting off the plane.

(Everyone is saying that the lady had a heart attack.)


I just asked him if it was scary and he said, “no. I’m a sociopath.” And then cracked up. Wow.


P.S. Apparently that other CIEE kid is going somewhere else not Merida because Henry just talked to chooch’s chaperone and she didn’t mention any other kids that she will be waiting for??!!

8:56am: Getting ready for takeoff part 2. *fingers crossed* He’s going to be cutting it super close for his connecting flight. Went from a 3-hour layover to basically having about 30 minutes to get to the gate, hopefully his chaperone is actually there. I hate this so much.

9:08am: He’s in the air. Attempting to leave the airport for the second time today.


Outside! I missed you!

10:24am: Went home for a second, consoled the cats after they did a Human Count and realized Chooch was missing, tossed some peanuts to Mr. Gray Guy, and then we came back out to Allegro’s to get some of their morning buns because I am honestly not going to be able to sit still and relax until I know that Chooch has made his connecting flight and is safe in Merida this day is so stressful. How will I ever send him off to college?!!!

Meanwhile, I imagine Chooch is on the plane, watching Better Call Saul, and giving zero fucks about anything because that kid does not know anxiety.

Dude this was good and sort of helped make me feel better…until it made me sick because I ate the whole damn thing ugh.

11:40pm: OK he landed at 12:20 and is off the plane. His CIEE chaperone is not there like she said she would be because why should anything go according to plan, but his gate is at least in the same terminal so he just has to get there. I might puke up that orange roll.

11:46am: Update from Chooch – “you guys are so annoying. I’m trying to walk.” Wow sorry for worrying.

12:38pm: He should be taking off soon! I’m tracking his flight because I’m Stalker Mom. I’m going to go live with this post now but will for sure update when he lands in Merida. Thank you for taking this virtual journey with me lol!

2:11pm: I keep obsessively refreshing the flight tracker. He has like 40 minutes. Since I last left you, I made progress on getting Mr. Gray Guy (a squirrel) to love me and I took a whole ass 30 minute nap, who even am I? A nap?! I mean, I guess I’ve been awake since 2:15AM.

Earlier today Henry was like, “we should have just driven him to Miami for that flight,” and after approx. 1.3 seconds of letting this spin cycle thru my empty mind like a ratty dryer sheet, I cried, “Why didn’t we??!!” I mean, Henry and I weren’t even traveling today but it was just reminder after the next of why I hate flying so much. It’s the whole fucking process for me. TSA especially. I fucking hate it. Travelers are already so stressed and harried and tired but then they gotta contend with these motherfuckers whose job prerequisite is SCHOOL BULLY.

Pittsburgh TSA sucks.

3:13pm: OK he’s there! I only know because of the stalking I’ve been doing not because he had the decency to text to me. He did, however, texted Henry: where’s my immigration form because of fucking course sonny boy didn’t listen to a word we told him the whole 6 hours we were in the airport together this morning but mmm ok.

Anyway, I’ll probably end this here. I’m ok now that he’s there and I will probably continue to be OK until we have to do this all over again in reverse on August 6th god help me.

ETA: I can’t believe I forgot these pertinent tidbits (though I have a vague recollection of typing them so they probably didn’t save because WordPress is trash):

  • the reason everyone had to get off the plane was because it had done a “hard landing” meaning that it made an emergency landing with nearly a full tank which is apparently not great for the plane and can cause stress so it needed to be inspected. The American Airlines guy at the gate kept us pretty well-informed about this which I appreciated but this part freaked me out: the maintenance crew is BASED IN DALLAS so they were essentially walking the Pittsburgh team through the inspection over the phone?!?!
  • Before all the passengers got off the plane, the lady who had the heart attack was wheeled off on a stretcher. They had to bring her off into the gate and then take her onto an elevator to get her back out onto the tarmac where the ambulance was. We saw them doing CPR still as they put her in the ambulance, and at this point it had been at least a half an hour since Chooch had texted me to say that they landed.
  • After the incident happened on the plane, one of the passengers gave her CPR. That passenger was standing near us when everyone got off the plane and people were going up to her and thanking her for helping. One guy was super choked up when he thanked her so I can only imagine how traumatic it must have been for everyone who witnessed it. I asked Chooch if it was upsetting and he said, “No not really but I’m a sociopath” because that’s what I always call him because his ambivalence is shocking at times.
  • Henry went to Brueggers while we were waiting for the plane to be inspected and the co-pilot was in there telling everyone what happened. He said it was literally right during take off and he knew it was bad because normally they’re not allowed to make emergency landings until they’re above a certain altitude but they were given the all-clear because “a passenger wasn’t breathing.” I literally cannot even imagine.
  • I got to talk to Chooch for a millisecond tonight after he got to his homestay. He told me, “I dunno sure I’m tired bye” whatever that means. We still don’t even know he was able to get his luggage because that apparently isn’t an important enough question for him to answer.
  • I legit can’t stop thinking about that lady and I wasn’t even on the plane. I really hope that she’s ok. :(
Jun 222022

Chooch was bitching about wanting to play mini-golf and it got me thinking that I haven’t putt-putted around Sunset Golf in years – maybe 10! It’s always been one of my faves so I declared that we should do this on Saturday. Apparently, this was an open invitation because when we rolled up, it was so crowded that they had someone directing traffic in the lot.

That’s a hard pass.

I promised Chooch that we’d go back on Monday. Henry had to work so I billed it as a MOMMY AND CHOOCH DAY which garnered SO MUCH excitement from surly Chooch, as you can imagine.

I just want to say that i didn’t forget how awesome Sunset is but they have somehow gotten even more awesome with the addition of a bunch of clandestine water features. Maybe they were there last time but I surely don’t remember.

This might seem unbelievable to some and I swear this isn’t Opposite Day, but Chooch and I actually got along swimmingly! Like, we had FUN. And only marginally hated the mom and her kids in front of us who were soooo slow and even when our progress was halted for a solid 5 minutes when my ball got stuck in one of the Rube Goldberg-designed obstacles and Chooch had to go ask for a new one, we still managed to catch up to them.

Ok maybe chooch was also a little annoyed because I was kicking his ass and even got two holes in one.

“Wow, they really phoned this one in,” I said before both of us ended up furiously scribbling in a 7 after giving up.

The stance of a WINNER.

You guys, we had a really fun time! You can tell because m smile is real and not Henry’s favorite forced grimace thing.

Then we were going to eat lunch at the nearby Blue Line Diner but it was CLOSED so we found a place down the street in Bethel Park called PATSY’S PLACE and I think we may have eaten there once a long time with Tommy and Jessy?

I loved that each table had rando’ coffee cups. Mine was Christmas ducks! And our waitress was soooooo personable and exuberant. When I asked for coffee and waiter, her eyes widened and she gushed, “Yeah! Of course!” and she called us dears numerous times too which was cute because I’m pretty sure she was much younger than me.

Chooch and I both got grilled cheese – he ordered for me and said, “But she’ll have tomato on hers” and made a “I know, gross right?” face. We got to choose our bread and I loved that – it’s so rare these days! When she said “rye,” I was like I WILL STOP YOU RIGHT THERE, I WANT THE RYE.

My only issue with this place was that it was $$$. First of all, our drinks were both $3 which seems like a lot, the grilled cheese was $7.99 (!!!) and the fries were extra!!! Our bill was $30!! Hey Patsy, you ain’t Melt!

Whatever, the food was decent at least and the service was great. I overheard our waitress telling another table that she just came back from her honeymoon (Key West, in case you care) and I was like AW I WANT TO SAY SOMETHING but then I didn’t get a chance.

After I paid, I said to Chooch, “OK hurry. HURRY HURRY HURRY” and he was like, “what why” so on the way to the car I told him that I write a note on the check congratulating her on her recent marriage and Chooch cried, “No, you didn’t! WHY? You’re so embarrassing! Now we can never come back here!”


On the way home, I showed him where I used to live in South Park and he was like, “Cool don’t care” until he saw that there’s a 7 Eleven at the end of my old street so that got his attention.

(Literally can’t believe it’s still there, never been remodeled, and still smells EXACTLY the same. America, please tell me why 7 Eleven is so Elite in Korea and Japan – for good reason – but ours are decrepit and full of old hot dog stench??)

Anyway, we had to stop because Chooch has numerous store apps that he loves to use like they’re games and the 7 Eleven app is one of them. He was like, “WE HAVE TO GET ICED COFFEE HERE” which I knew would be disgusting but this was CHOOCH AND ERIN DAY so I guess I was going to get a taste of how modern teenagers live their lives. As I was trying to doctor my cold brew to make it semi-palatable, Chooch appeared next to me and said, “OK let’s go, I paid” and I was like, “But I’m still getting my coffee, how did you pay” and he was like, “I did mobile pay” and I was like, “HOW DO THEY KNOW WE’RE NOT STEALING” and so he showed me how you go over to the mobile thingie and scan the QR code and I was like, again, “HOW DO THEY KNOW WE’RE NOT STEALING.”

Ugh, I’m so old sometimes when it comes to all these new ways to pay. He has to help me use Apple Pay every time, to the point that if I’m alone, I panic and just pay with my regular credit card.

Then we came home and he disappeared to play some game and then went to the gym and visited his old McDonald’s and I barely saw him for the rest of the day. But at least he penciled me in for the morning/afternoon! And we didn’t fight once!

Jun 152022

Tomorrow is the official last day of school for the city of Pgh but it’s a half-day and mostly just for students to return their laptops, etc. and none of Chooch’s friends are going so, I guess we’re counting today as THE LAST DAY OF 10TH GRADE.

It’s been a wild year, and really interesting/great/amazing/heartwarming/sad to watch Chooch really grow even more into his own, independent person. He’s always been super independent, like a mini-adult, for most of his childhood but to watch him start his first job and take it super seriously while maintaining a 4.0 and doing extracurricular things like the mentorship program he participated in at the Carnegie Science Center has been awe-inspiring. Seriously, this guy gets shit done all on his own.

He’s also mastered the Pittsburgh transit system which is a mystery to me (I can take the T and that’s it), rents city bikes and scooters (never done it, don’t wanna), and made some really good friends to adventure with. I really think this has been his year and he has fucking owned it.

Plus, he still goes places with us! We have so much fun together, still! There is no one else I would rather hang out with and my heart hurts because I know soon he will be off to college and I’ll have to let him go….

….at least a little.

Anyway, here’s the obligatory 1st day – last day comparison shot. He’s like almost a man now ughhh! How did he grow this much in less than a year, I can’t take it! The only thing that hasn’t changed is that dumb floop of hair on his big-brained head.

Oh! And I think both shirts are the same brand.

Well, we’ve only got less than a month with him now before he’s off to Mexico. It’s fine. Everything is fine.

Excuse me while I go knock on his door and ask him for hug, to which he will tell me to get lost, and I will say I was just kidding anyway.

Because I am.


Jun 042022

My brain must use up every last ounce of positive energy I have as it tries to keep me alive/afloat during the long winter months, that come June, I have nothing left to give. This happens every year, like clockwork, where I just feel so down and drained, I fixate on every last tiny flaw and inadequacy about me, and my patience is at a deficit.

Is it seasonal depression, because that seems pretty fucked to get depressed every June, of all months. Oh well. Just putting that out there so it doesn’t appear that all I do is ride roller coasters and have fun. Because the in-between exists, too. You know. I’m hoping that going to see Stray Kids at the end of the month will give me a much-needed wellness adjustment. This body needs a kpop concert.

Here’s a picture of one of my emotional support cats, Drew.

That being said, today was decent. We went to ShadoBeni (they have a brick & mortar location now!) for lunch takeout. If you live in Pittsburgh, even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, you gotta try it. It’s Trinidad food and the guy who runs the joint is just really cool and the food is yummo. LOL just kidding, I would never say that. I would say that the food is delicious, like a normal person would say.

Chooch actually came with us! Last night was his last night at McDonalds so we have him back on weekends again! Before we left though, he was cutting the grass so moronically while Henry was out there yelling at him that people walking by our house actually slowed down to laugh. I mean, I was laughing too, as I watched from the window. First of all, he insisted to cut on the diagonal in an effort to put lines in the yard but we have shitty city grass which is approx. 60% weeds so this was an impossible feat to accomplish.

Anyway, we got our lunch and took it down the street to the nearby Uniondale Cemetery which I have not been to since I WRECKED THE CAR THERE last October. Henry smirked at me when I quietly pointed out the SCENE OF THE CRIME, because Chooch, not paying attention in the backseat, still doesn’t know The Truth and thinks that Henry wrecked the car by being foolish and irresponsible.


Dude. I got the SEA MOSS PUNCH not knowing wtf a sea moss is and it was unexpectedly delightful! First, it reminded me of a chunky horchata. Then, I was like NO THIS IS LIKE SIKHYE which is a traditional Korean sweet rice punch in the same vein as horchata. But the more I drank, the more it was tasting like if polenta was a bev.

That is to say, this might be my new favorite refreshment. Except that when I finished it, it looked like remnants of infant vomit was coating the sides of the cup, but I can overlook that if you can.

DOUBLES! If you haven’t had doubles, you need to fix that STAT. We actually had this for Thanksgiving last year, courtesy of ShadoBeni’s Thanksgiving home assembly kit thingie.

Also got some coconut bake with sorrel jelly. I could have eaten a whole loaf (?) of this but instead I shared my order with CHOOCH who realized after the fact that he would have liked to have ordered it too, ugh. I seriously wouldn’t share my food with anyone else, he is so lucky that I have some maternal instinct left in me.

Can we just talk about these dumb shoes for a second? You know I’m not one to ever shy away from outrageous/flamboyant fashion choices, and I think it’s solely just because these are CROCS and I associate them with one of the worst people I have ever worked with: TINA who had a mullet, referred to cars exclusively as “vehicles,” and wore country concert t-shirts to work WITH CROCS.

So in my head, TINAs wear CROCS.

But apparently Crocs are having their moment. I have no idea why, but I see seemingly cool/trendy people in their $$$ streetwear at amusement parks, but then they have ugly ass Crocs on their feet. And I guess those dumb Croc pins or whatever the fuck they are called are like a whole thing. My friend Nate said that his niece has Crocs and those dumb jibbets or whatever cost more than the actual Crocs.

All I can figure is that a rapper or some idiot influencer must have worn a pair ironically at some point, thus causing a craze because they are literally infiltrating walkways all over the country and I actually hate it.

So when Chooch was like “I’m getting these carrot Crocs” and I saw that they cost SEVENTY FIVE DOLLARS, ya’ll, I was like, “YOU, MY GUY, ARE A FUCKING IDIOT.” But hey, it’s his McMoney. So he bought them and got his buddy to also buy a pair and now they’re an idiot duo.

I told my work friends about this yesterday in our group chat and there was a divide: half of them were like EFF NO TO CROCS and the other side were like DON’T KNOCK THE CROC(s). I admitted that it wasn’t the carrot thing that was the deal-breaker for me, it was the Crocs themselves, and that if there were carrot Vans, I would 100% wear them fearlessly.

“Vans are my God-tier brand of shoes,” I said in the chat, to which one of the pro-Crocs people said she couldn’t wrap her head around Vans and the other Croc-head said that “Vans are the new style, Crocs are the hippy-style.”

Nate immediately side-chatted me and was like, “VANS ARE LIKE, FROM THE 60s THO??” and I was all fired up about this but then didn’t have any energy left to care. This week was short yet long.

But I would like to say here for sanity’s sake that CROCS ARE FROM THE EARLY 2000s.


Anyway, if anyone can rock carrot Crocs with aplomb and confidence, it’s Chooch. So, good for you, Chooch.

Anyway, after we ate I needed to do a lap around the cem for digestive purposes, but also because I had a morbid desire to see the thing I ran into last October. Henry was like, “Wow, you can see the paint from the car on it, good job,” and luckily Chooch was waiting for us by the car so it’s still A Secret.

And that’s the main stuff that happened today, on this very low-key Saturday, aside from: more yard work, driving around looking for a notary that’s opened on Saturdays now that Chooch’s renewed passport is finally here and we have some final paperwork to submit for his study abroad thing, and buying plants at Lowe’s.

Apr 252022

Well, guys, it happened. The day has come where MY LITTLE BABY, MY LITTLE PRECIOUS LAMBY, MOMMY’S LITTLE SWEET BOY CHEEKS—ok ugh sorry I was even making myself sick—has turned 16. I’m kind of numb, not gonna lie. I haven’t cried yet at least. But I did drive him to school  this morning (usually he takes the bus) and he was actually a delight. We made fun of the dreadful radio DJs together, mocked the bitch who got picked to play Escalation, and he even said THANK YOU when he got out of the car. I did almost cry a little then.

Henry and I got lucky with this one. I mean, we’re not perfect parents, but we don’t suck either. We’ve always put him first and done everything possible to make sure he has everything he needs and I am not being jokey or sarcastic at all for once when I say that it has been so cool, fun, and rewarding being his parent for the last 16 years and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to be like as an adult!

OK I lied! I can definitely wait. Let’s put the brakes on time for a bit, please. Sheesh.

I know I’m always like, “OMG CHOOCH’S ATTITUDE. CHOOCH KNOWS EVERYTHING. CHOOCH IS ANNOYING. UGH CHOOH NEEDS TO CLEAN HIS ROOM” but in all honesty, all that shit is normal teenager baggage and I don’t really give him as much credit as he deserves. Because the kid is just amazing, really. Consistently maintains a 4.0 with no nagging needed. Got a job at McDonald’s in October and not only does he never call off (he schedules time off though, but doesn’t dick them over), but he asks for more hours. He’s always getting involved in stuff too, like various hikes and excursions at the teen center, a ceramics class he signed up for on Thursdays, etc.

And now he’ll be learning how to drive. Ugh.

Anyway! We had a small cake-eating celebration for him Saturday night. He didn’t want a party, so it was just us, Janna, Corey, my mom, and two of Chooch’s friends. Even that was too much for him! Believe me, if he had left it up to me, and if big celebrations were safe, I’d have had a big blowout in the park like old days or rented out the roller rink for old time’s sake. IT’S HOW I SHOW MY LOVE, OK.

(Those old parties in the park were so legit though! I think the cat one was my fave.)

Well, at least I was allowed to do the whole cake thing which is the part of party-planning that I love the most! HOW CAN I MAKE HIM IRRITATED? That’s usually my first thought in the brainstorming process and then I go from there. Since we were still hot on the heels of our roller coaster road trip, I wanted to use that as the theme for this year’s bitchin’ Bethel Bakery cake.

I love you, Bethel Bakery.

Also, this picture is the first one that came to mind – it’s from Fun Spot Kissimmee (maybe one day I will finish recapping the trip), and Chooch rode this coaster – literally called KIDDIE COASTER – with a bored look on his face the whole time. Way to steal the front row from a little kid who would have appreciated it more!

And then Bethel Bakery had Spanish happy birthday candles! Had to scoop those up as an homage to his upcoming Yucatan study abroad sesh.


Me: Oh yes I will.


Me: WTF do you want it to say, Feliz Cum??

Henry: *grumbles*

Me: Bitch move and let me do my thang.

C’mon now, Henry. I will make that shit work.

And then we all sang bizarrely as usual.

Not as bad as the time we sounded like a fucking funeral dirge / Gregorian choir at his laser tag birthday party! I really wish I had video of that, ugh. MOM FAIL.

We let Chooch do the first cut now that he’s 16 (that’s not really a thing, is it? I think Henry just made it up!??!) and it was chaos. I didn’t get a good picture the first time so I wanted him to cut it again but then Henry was all, “HO HO HO HO!” trying to snatch the knife from him because he didn’t like the way Chooch was about to make the second slice so he made Chooch RE-CUT the same area and it was so sus. Like, how much stake does Henry have in cake-cutting, I don’t get it. He was a few seconds away from hollering, “IT’S MY WAY OR NO WAY!”

Close up!

After Chooch’s friends left on Saturday, he actually hung out with me and Janna! However, all we did was shout about roller coaster manufacturers over Janna’s head and I think she was probably like, “Oh my god, if it’s not kpop, it’s coasters. This is so boring.”

As usual, now that he’s not in the one-digits, I had no idea what to get him. (Yeah, NOT a car, lol.) So we’re taking him and his friend Zakk to Cedar Point in a few weeks for the whole weekend which should be not only a fun gift but also a reprieve for Chooch who always has to ride coasters with his MOM.

I also got him some cool Steel City brand Kennywood shirts, an Iron Gwazi blueprint art, and a Coaster Crew membership so now he can be a real coaster dork and attend actual events and scream ONE TRAIN OPS and have the B&M vs Intamin giga debate.

I freaking love this kid even though we act like we’re frenemies most of the time. I can’t imagine how dull my life would be if I never had him.

Speaking of, when I was telling him yesterday that I wanted him to pose for these pictures, he got all bent out of shape about it and retreated upstairs, so I called after him, “You owe me!”

“For what?!” he called back.


“OK, here we go,” he mumbled.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHOOCHIE CABRERA!! (Shout out to the old-timers who remember when I made a LiveJournal for him when he was a baby and that was the name, lol, OMG I was so lame.)

Apr 052022

I mentioned several times in passing that Chooch has been attending some “Mentors in the Making” program at the Carnegie Science Center’s “Fab Lab” since October.  I had no idea really what it was but he came home with a sign-up thingie from school and expressed interest because all students who stuck around until the end of the program got to keep the laptop they were each assigned, which came loaded with various programs they were going to be using during the…thingie.

I will be honest – I only half-understood what was going on, but I know they made small projects using a vinyl and laser cutter and lots of shit using a 3D printer, which is how we came to be a 3D printing household. Mostly I had no idea what he was doing for two hours on these Tuesday evenings.

What I also didn’t know was that in addition to these small projects, each student also had to develop, research, and complete a capstone project, which they then worked on with their assigned mentor.

Anyway, two weeks ago, I got an email from someone at the someone at the Fab Lab informing me that I was invited to some such “we are done with the program” ceremony thing at the science center. When we dropped Chooch off for his last class, I reminded him to ask if there would be refreshments & he became very annoyed because I allegedly asked him this twice in two days & also the word “refreshments” is annoying in & of itself apparently. These are the things I learn, just from mom’ing a 15-year-old.

The EVENT was last Thursday evening and GUESS WHAT?


The cookies were very good. They also had pizza, and the lady in charge of the Mentor program thingie kept trying to push more and more slices on everyone and I was like, “I ALREADY ATE DINNER I JUST WANT SUGAR THANKS.”

So, the one thing I wasn’t aware of was that the refreshments were essentially a RUSE to get us to sit quietly and endure nearly two hours of the kids presenting their capstone projects. YES, CHOOCH WAS GOING TO BE DOING A PRESENTATION.

“Did you know this?” I whispered to him, and he just casually shrugged because literally nothing fazes this child.

Because he’s Chooch and has my great fortune, he was the first one called up to present. Of course, my heart was racing because WHAT WILL HE SAY?? He is so unpredictable!

First, he introduced himself, his mentor (I already forget his name but he was slated to get his Doctorate the very next day, that I do remember) and his project – A SQUIRREL FEEDER. He explained to everyone in the room that he came up with the concept because, and this is a loose quote though pretty damn accurate because this moment is seared in my mind: “when the pandemic started, my mom had nothing else to do so she became obsessed with the neighborhood squirrels.”

So everyone in the room started to laugh and look over at me which you all know I hate being under the spotlight, so I was sitting there with my face in my hands and a wad of half-chewed cooki in my mouth. Henry loved every second of it, of course. Chooch maybe could have mentioned at least that I was also working from home, instead of painting me as a shut-in, sitting by the window with squirrels climbing all over me.  Meanwhile, the other kids made projects like a distance sensor for the visually-impaired and an anxiety puzzle for people with ADHD & depression.

My kid: SQUIRREL FEEDER for his crazy mom. But…I fucking love it.

And another mentor (the guy in the picture up there) helped Chooch make a very dramatic commercial for the product on Blender:


And he got an award thing!

There was one extremely obnoxious teen girl there but I am trying to turn over a new leaf (for the billionth time) by not publicly dragging children and parents on the Internet but OOOF, it’s hard. I might have to take to my old trusty paper journal to get this one off my chest. I will say that while she was presenting, I lost my cool and texted Chooch a puking emoji because I am just that mature.

I haven’t tried this bad boy out yet because Chooch made the opening too small and peanuts won’t fit in there so now I have to get sunflowers or something.

But yeah, what a cool thing that the Carnegie is doing! The fact that such a fascinating array of brilliant minds took time out of their busy science-y lives to help a bunch of high school kids learn and become more interested in basically engineering is just really heart-warming for normal people who have hearts and I guess I must because I’m getting all SOFT-LIKE just thinking about the impact they made. Ugh. But on the other hand, I can’t imagine being  that kind of person who would choose to work with kids unless it was like, court-appointed or a work requirement. So I guess I still got some charred sections of the ol’ pumper.

And because he completed this program, he is now eligible for internships and other mentor programs (like, he can be the mentor for a younger kid) that they have. Of course, the first thing that was offered to him he had to decline because he will be studying in Merida during that time. I love that he has these options now though! And that this isn’t something we had to force him to do.

Mar 282022

In more “Chooch bought a 3D printer” news, he printed me a topography map of South Korea and it is so beautiful, so perfect, so meaningful. I  knew as soon as he handed it to me that I wanted to make it into an art piece because it’s just too special to lay around on a desk or in a drawer. Or on the floor once a cat discovers it on some surface and desperately needs it to drop to the floor. (Actually, in the above picture, Drew just couldn’t resist slowly touching it with her paw when she thought I wasn’t looking. Cats, amirite.)

We had several oval frames laying around because we always always always buy frames from Goodwill whether we’re in the market for them at the moment or not because you never know, bro. Henry painted it pastel pink and I found this gift wrap that I saved from a traditional Korean jewelry box store the first time we visited (which, at the time of this writing, was exactly 4 years ago; HOW). To be super exact, the box I bought for Barb was wrapped in this paper and after she opened the gift, she asked me if I wanted to keep the paper and I snatched it off her, like, “I THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK.” It’s been chilling in a box in my closet all this time, patiently waiting for its time to shine.

Well, gift wrap, that time be now.

I just love it so much. It brings actual tears to my eyes. I still can’t believe how much of an impact this country and its culture has had on me over the last 6 years. I’m sure it’s very annoying and strange to some, but when I think back to 2016 and how miserable, low, depressed, traumatized, angry, and just honestly even in bad physical shape I was, I am ever so grateful to that fateful Christmas Eve in 2015 when I accidentally stumbled upon KpopX Fitness, even though it took a full year for it to give me that hard push down the rabbit hole to what ended up being an entirely new lifestyle. It literally started with me searching “hiphop cardio dance” on YouTube.

(Shocking, but no I didn’t “discover Korea” because of BTS.)

I made the right choice that night. So maybe some people might think this is a weird obsession or find it hard to understand, but I see it as the catalyst to me making big changes that may have potentially saved my life. When I say 2016 was bad for me personally (obviously also politically), I am not exaggerating. I didn’t think I could ever bounce back from the trauma I went through that year, but Kpop and learning about Korea gave me something to be excited about. So, you’ll understand when I want to surround myself with mementos and art from Korea; it’s very symbolic to me and when I’m having a bad day, I clutch my experiences and memories that I made on those two visits like an emotional support stuffed animal.

It’s like those people who love the beach so much, they hang flip flop art around their house. I just took a step further and hung a giant light-up map of the Seoul subway lines on my wall. You know, for example.

I also like that the paper is gently wrinkled just like my face.

I think it really adds something different to this wall! Plus, we hung up the Old Crafty Man’s bunny!

Underrated corner, to be honest.

While I was at it, I framed this old photo of my grandparents from the 90s in a frame that I finally brought home from work. It used to have fake blood sprayed on the glass, with a picture of Sweeney Todd’s wife and kid inside, which I used for Todd’s Halloween motif the first year I ambushed my coworkers with covert Halloween decorations based on their names. And of course Todd got the Sweeney Todd theme and had no fucking idea what was going on. I even made disgusting meat pie things!

So many things around my house have fun stories but I never get to tell them because I’d need to have visitors for that HAHAHAHA ugh.

Well, that’s all I have to say about this because if we’re being honest here, today was the day of NCT Dream’s comeback and I need to get back to sitting here with my mouth open while watching YouTubers reacts to the video. I don’t pretend to have a glamorous life, you guys. Fair warning, I will probably spam the fuck out of this space with NCT Dream fan-swooning tomorrow.

Anyway, I miss interacting with people so if anyone happens to read this, tell me about an item in your house that is special to you, and why. I love reading about things like that!

Mar 112022

Don’t we always celebrate that jerk tho.

Anyway, Chooch maintained his 4.0 on his most recent report card and we were like, “cool I guess we will feed you at some point” and literally like a full month later, we finally made plans to take him to dinner to “celebrate.”

We had Houlihan’s stuck in our heads because he mentioned it once in passing that he wanted to go there because he had never been, and I got super nostalgic because that was my PLACE when I was in my late teens. I guess because it was like the next step up from Denny’s and my friends and I thought we were SO SOPHIS eating there and honestly we probably mostly only went for dessert. I sincerely can’t remember any actual food I would have eaten there aside from whatever their fried mozzarella app was – maybe the triangles? Or was Dingbats the ones with the triangles?!

The Houlihan’s I used to go was replaced by a WALGREENS ugh many years ago and at some point moved down the street to the Galleria, but I hadn’t been to the new location. Now that I think about it, the last time I was at Houlihan’s may have been in 2001/2002 when I was going through a heavy “meeting people on the Internet” phase by placing personal ads FOR FRIENDS (lololol) and had a FRIEND INTERVIEW with some dude there right around the time Henry and I started dating and you can imagine how well that went over. Don’t worry, I talked about my cats the whole time and never heard whatever that dude’s name was ever again.

We also invited Janna!

Sunday afternoon, while Chooch was still at work, Henry made CHOOCH PINS for us to wear that night.

This is the one Janna wore! I don’t have a picture of Henry’s and he almost blew the whole charade anyway by not having it on at first and then Chooch caught me mouthing “WHERE IS YOUR PIN” across the table; Chooch caught me and immediately asked, “WHAT” in a panicked tone but I said NOTHING and he moved on quickly because he only has so much interest in adults.

So then Henry to excuse himself to go to the bathroom and put the damn thing on; meanwhile, Chooch came down from Teenage La La Land long enough to actually SEE Janna at the table with us. He did a slow doubletake and asked, “Why are you wearing a pin of my face?” which was rather hurtful because I had mine on the whole entire time we were walking around the Galleria before Janna got there and he never noticed because I AM INVISIBLE TO HIM.

I pointed at my denim vest and yelled, “I HAVE ONE ON TOO” right when Henry came back and now Chooch was legit surrounded by people wearing pins of his face. It was like a TEAM CHOOCH huddle.

Chooch, after he realized what was happening.

We had a really stiff middle-aged (ugh probably like my age) waiter who looked like he was late for a Drive-By Truckers show at a craft whiskey festival in Williamsburg, NYC. He made me SO FUCKING UNCOMFY. He was for sure sneering at us and was also visibly anxious and annoyed when Chooch didn’t know what he wanted to drink right away. My favorite was when he asked Henry a question and then walked away before Henry had a chance to answer and Henry said something like, “How am I supposed to answer when he’s already halfway down the road?” and the fact that he said “road ” had me and Chooch dying.

Also, he was wearing a VERY FITTED short-sleeved flannel to show off his SUPER COOL tattoos.

Also, I chose Janna’s meal for her. Fish tacos. You’re welcome, Janna.

Chooch and I both got a veggie burger and it was fine, but also kind of unsatisfying. And they served it to us on these gigantic, oblong plates just to really illustrate how little food we were given. I made some comment about how we should have went somewhere better and Chooch said, “Yeah why did we come here, anyway?”

“Because you wanted to come here!” I snapped.

“Yeah, with my friends,” he snapped back.

OH DANG SON. Wow, just wow!

We didn’t get dessert (ironically, considering that was why I used to go there back in the day!) because the Galleria has a CUPCAKE vending  machine! I already knew what I wanted, and then I told Henry which one to get, and Chooch picked his pretty quickly too, but then JANNA hemmed and hawed like it was A Big Life Purchase, and she kept trying to choose ones that weren’t available!

Meanwhile, there was a young couple waiting behind us and I felt so bad because we were taking so long (well, I wasn’t, I made my selection right away because I’m a pre-planner and thought about which one I was choosing all during dinner to the point where I was nervous none of them would be available). Janna finally chose a vanilla blueberry one or something – it was the very last one and she chose it after the girl behind us told her boyfriend that’s the one she wanted! Chooch and I were trying not to crack up.

Then the vending machine deployed its slowest snail to gather up our selected ‘cakes and I honestly had to walk away after mine was deposited because it was so awkward standing there with those people behind us.

But holy shit, these bitches were worth the hassle and the wait! Mine was matcha and strawberry, and Henry’s was white chocolate pistachio. Chooch’s – not pictured because he absconded to his bedroom with it as soon as we got home – was lemon. The Galleria is only like 15 minutes from my house and I’m seriously considering going back there as soon as I post this for ROUND TWO.

The end Congrats Chooch, on your big brain. Next time we’ll go somewhere you don’t want to go with your friends, I guess.