Aug 282023

How is Chooch a senior?! Oh my gourd, you are so shocked that this is my very original, unique only to me, reaction. No other parent feels this way. Look at me, first mother ever of a 12th grader.

It’s never been done before.

I was going to try and go the contrary route, bee-bop down blasé boulevard, and act like, “Who me? Yeah I got a kid in the TWELFTH GRADE. Me and millions of other moms. Just another day in the life. Bitch please.”

Anyway, yeah I’m gutted. It sucks. (For me, obviously yay Chooch, hoorah, etc.) I’m so stressed with college things and I just can’t.

I was so stoked that he was going to go back to taking pubtrans to school, after getting too spoiled/reliant on me taking him and his friend every day after THE KNEE INCIDENT. But I still have to set my alarm to make sure he gets up because our friend Chooch does not always respond to his alarm.

However, on this particular morning, I had my alarm set for 5:30 but then I heard him getting ready to go downstairs at 5:15! All dressed and ready! I was like what is the meaning of this and he was like “something something Senior Sunrise at the Point” and I know he meant it was like his class gathering at the Point to watch the sunrise or whatever but I kept imaging Paul Eugene there filming a gospel yoga class for seniors.

All of this is to say that’s why his FDOS photos al were taken in the house and not outside, because it was still pitch black out there. Ooof. I dunno how he didn’t fall sleep on the T.

Also, nevermind the fact that he has a tennis bag, he insists on using this small child-sized Kirby backpack, which, let’s be real, I would choose that too over a regular backpack.

So yeah, first day of twelfth grade. I actually went into the office today because I needed company/distractions. It was a good decision and seeing familiar faces was really awesome but now my cat Drew and the squirrels are pissed off at me. :/

I need to go stuff some emotional support licorice into my maw. BBL.

P.S. I think I really need to deadname Chooch and start calling him Riley since he’s 17 fucking years old. UGH WHY.

Aug 262023

Actually whipped out the ‘good’ camera in Tallinn, Estonia and forced Chooch to have his picture taken a bunch of times. These are those pictures. (That’s his “get this over with” forced smile :))

One of my co-workers kind of made me feel like a basic bitch for taking a day trip to Tallinn, but I swear it was such a highlight for all of us, really. The Old Town was so enchanting, the people were wonderful, the vibes were right. I will definitely say  more about that in future posts, but I’m just really glad that I was able to get some decent shots of Chooch in this great town of marzipan & amber.

Jun 282023

Dude, you guys! It turns out that Chooch really is sailing when he says, “I’m going to Sailing.” (I know, that sounds weird, but it’s like “I’m going to Sailing Class” or whatever you want to call it.)

Henry and I got to watch him in action this past Saturday after dropping him off at 8am on the North Shore. Right off the bat, I said, “Wow, that boat is longer than I thought it was going to be” to which Henry sighed and said, “That’s not one boat, Erin. Those are four sailboats on a dock.”


Anyway, that’s Chooch and his friend Ben doing things on the first one!

Sailing teacher teaching sailing things.

Anyway, there were three sailboats and I kept saying, “Oh, Chooch is winning! His boat is winning!” because everything is a race to me. Henry was just like, “MMmm, ok. Sure.”

Turns out that sailing lasts like two hours or something. I love my child but I am not that interested in sailing and/or being so close to the river.

So Henry and I bailed for a bit, went to find a cafe/bathroom. We can talk about that in another post.

We came back just in time to see Chooch’s boat pull up to the dock first and then another boat nearly wrecked. Etc etc.

Once all the kids were safely on terra firma (because it turns out it really is a high school calling club thing), the main sailing guy awarded stars to Chooch and Ben for WINNING! See, I was right! It really was a race!

While the guy was giving everyone some post-boat speech, I saw Chooch leave the group to rummage around in a big large green bag. I texted him and asked if he lost something, and when he came over to us to tell us he didn’t need a ride, he mentioned that he had been looking for his sailing cap, which his friend Zakk had kicked away from him last week or something, it wasn’t very interesting so I forgot already.

Then I asked to see this supposed star that he won and it’s one of those little silver star pins. “What are you supposed to do with this?” I asked.

“Put it on the hat that I lost,” he said with a shrug.


Walking back to the car, I saw that  my friend Regina from work was in front of us! It made me laugh because we had also seen her when we were finding somewhere to park, but she was walking and appeared to be talking on the phone, so I didn’t want to roll down the window and shout her name. Coincidentally, when we saw here this second time, she was also walking back to her car, which was parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF OURS. I caught her attention and we chatted for a bit — it’s always so novel seeing work friends out in the wild now that we don’t see each other regularly in the office. Anyway, right away she congratulated Henry and me and I started to say, “For what?” and then I remembered, lol.


And that is the story of how I went to watch Chooch sail and how it turns out sailing is really sailing and not a code word for something insidious.

May 192023

Sometime in the beginning of April, Chooch casually said that he needed a ride to the Northside.

“For sailing?” he said, like we are so fucking dumb for not knowing this.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a teenager in any capacity knows how hard it is to pull one concise strand of information from them. They like to give it in pieces. Over time. Cryptically. Usually omitting pertinent chunks because you’re expected to ‘use context clues’ to ‘fill in the blanks.’ Why should they have to do all of the work!? Relying information is HARD. Especially when it is PROBABLY IN PAPER-FORM HANDED TO THEM AT SCHOOL BY A TEACHER WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT IT WILL MAKE ITS WAY TO THE PARENT/GUARDIAN.

OK, so anyway. All we knew was that some of Chooch’s friends had signed up for some sailing class thing and I guess Chooch decided to also go.

We asked questions like, “Where on the Northside is this?” “What time is it over?” “Does it cost anything?”

Of course, these queries were met with a snarly scoffed, “I don’t know.” 

I thought it was like, a one-time thing? But he’s been going every Saturday and apparently, it’s some type of a certification program!?!? He came home from school one day and said that he had to take a swimming test for this…this…whatever this is. To which I said we’d have to talk to his doctor about first even though swimming would probably be ok with a knee injury (I don’t know!).

He goes, “Ok well, I already took it and passed, here sign this.”

Why do I even bother attempting to parent this person who evidently is an actual adult who doesn’t need any help and goes through his own alternative channels (forging our sigs when needed, obtaining them after-the-fact if possible).

Well, apparently the swimming test was so that he could participate in the CAPSIZING TEST which happened last Saturday. In the RIVER. IN THE RAIN. Ugh.

THEN! One day last week, he didn’t come home from school until around 6. No texts, nothing. Henry and I were like “????” when he strode through the door in a manner so relaxed he should have been also casually chewing on a piece of hay. He looked at us like we were the ones in the wrong, and goes, “I was at sailing?” like we were supposed to know this.

I asked how he got there, and he said, “Dr. K.”

WHO TF IS THAT?? Apparently, a teacher at his school. So now the pieces are starting to fall into place. Somehow his school is involved in this…

And I’m sure SOMEWHERE there are papers that he was probably supposed to give us to read. (Probably already “signed” by us though.)

At work, my friend Nate said, “It’s like National Treasure! You and Henry are racing to figure out the mystery of Chooch’s nautical activities.”

Yes, exactly! Racing to figure out the mystery of his life in general! He has always been like this, dropping crumbs for us and then leaving us to figure it out on our own, for as long as he’s been old enough to leave the house. So, basically since he started school.

I still don’t really know much about this, except that sometimes the location of the “classes” is the Carnegie Science Center, and that now he has a yellow rope which he sometimes absent-mindedly carries around with him, swinging it lazily.

SIDE NOTE: I don’t think I ever knew what Christopher Cross looked like!??

May 032023

Piggy-backing off my last post, here is the goddamn ice cream cake that ruined my Sunday when JOHN from Baskin Robbins left his half-hearted voice mail telling me that there would NO CLOWN CAKE FOR ME THAT DAY. I’m glad we went with it and just waited the extra day though because it really was so fucking cute and also hilarious to watch Chooch roll his eyes when he saw it.

“So, really this was all about you. If you would have just got the cake from Dairy Queen like I asked—” Chooch started, but I cut him off to tell him that sure DQ is great but they don’t have a fucking adorable CLOWN CAKE.

“Yeah, again, this was all about YOU and what YOU wanted,” he said.

“You mean, what I wanted FOR YOU,” I corrected.

“Mm,” he grunted, but c’mon, he loved it. WHO WOULDN’T LOVE A CLOWN CAKE (other than the billions of people who hate clowns)?!

Henry’s clumsy meat-fists smudged the “Riley!” on the first chocolate message board. Good job, asshole! The second one says “Cool. Mm.” as an homage to his irritating signature text response to basically everything I send him and the worst part – THE WORST PART – is that he learned this from me. Sit down, Taylor – I’m the problem.

He claims he wasn’t “admiring” it, but rather inspecting the various scoops which the BR website bills as “the store’s most popular flavors.” I guess that’s how they get away with not leaving it up to the whim of the customer. “No, we can’t use your scoop preference because it goes against what the store has deemed its most popular and why would you want anything less than the MOST popular?”

And here he is disputing the alleged “most popular” flavors because he worked at a Dunkin/BR for THREE MTHS you guys, long enough to run the data. I will say that the first cone I grabbed had some REALLY SWEET raspberry type of flavor that was not great so maybe Chooch is on to something. What if half is the most popular and the other half is comprised of the underdog flavs that they need to get rid of.

THE NOSES WERE FROZEN MARASCINO CHERRIES. Also, this flavor was butter pecan and I have to believe that this is a top flavor. I looooove butter pecan (and pralines and cream!).

Chooch refused to pose for a good picture so this is what he gets. Also, Henry’s fashion is…something else.

This is also how he looks at me every morning when I try to start riveting conversations with him and his pal Zakk on the drive to school.

Janna came over to celebrate the jerk! What she didn’t know was that he had big plans for us to play Trivial Pursuit. Henry was like, “THANKS, I’M GOOD” and retreated to the basement, but Janna was trapped. Chooch and I immediately ganged up on her and board game-bullied her mercilessly until the very end when we turned on each other. First of all, I was cheating bigly every time it was my turn to roll and I kept saying, “Well, you read the rules, Janna, and I’m pretty sure this is correct” but then when she tried doing it, Chooch and I were unanimous in that, “No, we’re not doing that anymore, Janna. You have to go back.”

My favorite moment (OK second favorite) was when I read this question to Janna, something about how do you measure an earthquake, and she kept saying, “Oh man, it’s on the tip of my tongue. I can’t think! It’s….you know, the ‘something’ on a richter scale, ugh what is it??” and she just kept saying this over and over in different variations, looking for something that had to do with the richter scale. “The….hertz? Ugh, I don’t know!”

“It was Richter Scale,” I said, putting the card in the discard pile.

“I said that!” she yelled.

“Mmm, not in the right context, though,” I shrugged. And Chooch agreed.

Have you ever played games with me? Now imagine playing with me AND Chooch. It’s basically like if the Mad Hatter and March Hare had a game night instead of a tea party.

So, what I’m saying is…



Anyway!! Once it became clear that I had a good chance of winning, Chooch suddenly switched allegiances and conferred with Janna to win-block me.

“Ooh, this one! This one!” Chooch hissed, and Janna laughed conspiratorially. They were SO SURE they got me, guys.

The question was, ‘What’s the good kind of cholesterol?”

Oh, did I sock the smugness off their faces the moment I screamed, with NO HESITATION, “HDL!!!!!”

“Goddammit,” Janna sighed, and Chooch cried, “SERIOUSLY??”

Yo. I take the Wellness exam every year at work, since 2012? 2013? I am OBSESSED with my numbers, and I legit have been known to brag about my HDL.

I ran down into the basement to excitedly huff, “Henry guess what I won!” and he muttered, “Yeah, I know. I heard.”


Anyway, that’s how Chooch spent his belated birthday celebration that he didn’t want to have but then agreed that we could have cake with Janna and that was it. No hoopla. No ‘happy bday’ singing. NO FUN FOR MOMMY.

Then I spent literally the next two hours making Janna watch NCT stuff. What a great birthday party for me! Janna was able to name two NCT members – Mark and Johnny – and was really proud of herself but she couldn’t even remember the name of the bias she picked last year!!


Apr 252023

Apologies for this hasty, moments-before-leaving-for-school poor quality photo of my SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD. I’m lucky he allowed this to happen at all – we were soooo close to fighting about it and I was just about to pull the I DON’T ASK MUCH OF YOU Card when he was like, “OMG TAKE THE PICTURE.”

Just another BITCHY MORNING. Speaking of, this one day last week, we started fighting in the house (by fighting, I do mean bickering) which carried over onto the porch as we walked out the door. But HNC and his wife were also leaving their house at the same time, so the four of us stopped and looked at each other and then HNC said, ‘That kind of morning, huh?” which prompted Chooch and me to start poppin’ off over top of one another, like:






And HNC and his wife were just like, “OK cool have a nice day, you two.”


Isn’t funny how moms act like so shocked every year when their kids have a birthday, like, “How are they X-years old now?!!?”


Every single year. It me.

I don’t remember much about my pregnancy other than being absolutely miserable and terrified, feeling absolutely possessed by the devil, do I have enough minutes on my pink Razr to call the Vatican, but one thing that has remained firmly lodged in my mind is someone – can’t remember who, though, maybe the Vatican exorcist – said to me, “Once you have kids, time moves so much faster.”

Probably I was like, “LOL OK lame ass,” after that person walked away, but HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS, truer words. These last 17 years have slipped straight through my fingers LIKE SANDS IN AN HOUR GLASS SO ARE THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES AFTER HAVING CHOOCH.

I’m usually pretty self-deprecative up in these parts but I am just going to go on the record here and say that I think Henry and I did a pretty smokin’ job raising Chooch, even though we saddled him with a nickname that he has grown to hate and can’t shake, sorry RILEY. But to be honest, he made it so easy. He is so smart and independent all on his own – we have never had to intervene with school stuff or nag him to get his work done. For example, over the weekend, I walked past his room and he was “studying math” at his desk for an upcoming AP test, without anyone telling him to. I mean, I didn’t even know this test was happening until I had to pay $100+ for it. Then I FULLY knew.

Anyway, the kid is a solid 4.0 student, is hilarious, sarcastic, and basically just my favorite person in the whole entire world OK? Don’t tell G-Dragon and Taemin.

AS SUCH, I really wanted to do something for his birthday, or at least give him money to go out with his friends, but he has been so adamant about not wanting to do anything, so then I was like FINE I WON’T EVEN HONK THE HORN AND SCREAM HAPPY BIRTHDAY WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE CAR AT SCHOOL.

And then, of fucking course, at 4:30 today he texted me and asked, “Are we doing anything tonight?” UM NO. NO WE ARE NOT AND HERE IS WHY. BECAUSE YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING AND GOD FORBID I SHOULD PRESS THE ISSUE.

So of course, now I just feel like shit for not planning something anyway, but you just never know which way the wind is going to swing his mood. Maybe he will be amenable to a dinner out this weekend, who knows?! He at least hung out with one of his friends after school for a few hours, and then Henry got him a piece of pie from Eat n Park. Woo hoo, happy birthday!

(OK yeah we’re at least getting him a proper cake of some sort this weekend, whether he likes it or not.)


Mar 272023

Chooch mentioned last week that he had to write an argument about Commodus or something, I don’t know, I wasn’t really paying attention, but then he mumbled something about how he had previously only known that Commodus was in “Gladiator” and I snapped to attention. “GLADIATOR? WHY, DO YOU WANT TO WATCH IT?”

“No….I was just saying that I only know Commodus from that—”

“OK but have you ever seen it?!” I cried.

“….no,” he said, backing away from me because I guess MANIACAL MOMMY is not one of my best looks.

I kept pressuring him all week to agree to watch it over the weekend. He was getting REALL PISSED. Like, he was so over it, wished that Commodus had never been born, etc etc.

Finally, I got him to agree to watch it with me Saturday night!

Right off the bat though, when Marcus Aurelius came on screen, I longingly said, “Whenever I think of Marcus Aurelius, I think of my pet orange, also named Marcus Aurelius,” I mused.

“Wow you’re so cool,” Chooch snapped, his standard response. And then, “…pet orange?”


Also, I remember thinking “holy shit Russell Crowe kind of looks like my dad???” when this came out. I mentioned that to Chooch thinking he would immediately disagree but instead he said “yeah, I can see it.” WOW. We agreed on a thing.

I literally have not seen it probably since then.

I know I definitely saw it in the theater, because I used to actually be really into C I N E M A. LOL, why did I just get so dramatic. Honestly though, I fucking loved this movie so much when I saw it. (Who would I have seen it with though??

Ex-bf Jeff?? I literally have no idea.)

Did Chooch fucking love it? Eh….I mean….he may have marginally liked it? I didn’t do the cause any favors when I lied right off the bat and told him it was “I dunno, less than 2 hours long” but then at the 2 hour mark, he grabbed the remote to bring up the movie info and hissed, “THIS HAS BEEN ON FOR 2 FUCKING HOURS AND THERE IS STILL NEARLY AN HOUR MORE TO GO, YOU LIED TO ME, WHY IS THIS SO LONG??”

Meanwhile!! Proxomo looked so familiar to me but I couldn’t place it so I had to IMDB it.


Look, I had the Big Hots for Oliver Reed, “Burnt Offerings”-era specifically.

“You thought that guy was hot?!” Chooch scoffed, sounding like he was holding back bits of barf.

“Well, he’s not hot in this movie!” I said defensively, and the pulled up a picture of him from Burnt Offerings and said, “Look how attractive he was here.” Chooch just scowled at me in disbelief. This prompted me to start Googling more pictures of him and I’m sorry, but Oliver Reed was fucking hot.

I guess because we weren’t getting news alerts every time even the most F-list celebrity bites it, I had no idea that he had even died AT ALL. I think I kind of expected to see that he was dead though when I Googled him, but when I saw 1999 and his age was 61?! That was shocking. You guys, he had a heart attack in a pub! That is either the best or worst way to go. Maybe he died drunk and happy!?

Anyway, of course I fucking sobbed at the end of Gladiator and Chooch only half-made fun of me because by that point, he was too busy googling the kid (well, now ‘man’) who played Lucius. “HE IS STILL ACTING,” Chooch announced before realizing the movie was over and he was still in the same room as his parents, so he quickly said, “ew bye” and that was the end of family movie night.

Mar 012023

Dear Internet Log,

Today Chooch had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital. I actually decided to tag along for this even though I get so queasy with even the tiniest injury.

“Great news!” I said to Chooch on Monday after my half-day was approved. “I’m coming to your appointment on Wednesday!”

“Thats….not great news for me at all,” he mumbled. OH, THE LOVE. I CAN FEEL IT.

Anyway, I’ll skip over all the parts where Henry had parking garage rage and made us get out while he continuing circling for a parking spot and then Chooch fucked up the self-check in by insisting on doing it himself and then we got an ERROR at the end because DUH HE IS A MINOR so we had to check-in with a real person and I was so mad.

Henry had joined us by this point so now Chooch and I got to complain about his heavy breathing which sounds even heavier behind a face mask so then Henry got all up in a snit and dramatically moved to a seat across from us.

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Enjoy the show, everyone!

I was pretty impressed with how seamless everything went aside from Chooch fucking up the self check-in, though. We were even called back to the exam room 10 minutes early!

The first doctor came in and made Chooch bend his leg and he was being a big baby about it but there was also a part of me that wondered, could he be—-nah. No, is he….? Don’t say it, Ma. IS HE FAKING IT?!

She left the room and said that the main doctor would be in soon and we were like, “Bye and sorry our son is a baby.

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” (OK he actually wasn’t being a baby, I just wanted to pretend for a second that he was handling this the same way I would have.) But then about a minute later, she came back in.

“Actually….” she started, “I took a look at the x-rays that were taken at his emergency room visit, and there is a fracture.”


She pulled it up on the monitor and was like, “See?” and I nodded. Sure. Yep. I see. It was like being shown Chooch’s sonogram all over again. “Mmm, yep, I see it, totally a boy….”


Anyway, for a very brief window, I felt moderately relieved. This is good, right?? A fracture is better than a ligament or whatever, right??? Like can we just slather on a bone coozy and call it a day!?

But then the main doctor came in – ALSO VERY AWESOME, I WAS SO PLEASED – and did the same types of probing around the knee and forcing Chooch to flex his leg. He pulled up the x-ray and explained things a bit more, which I am sad to say did not really help my extremely non-medical brain. I cannot compute these things and was too busy feeling nauseous at the mention of these internal pieces that it was hard for me to focus.

But the gist, according to Henry, is that the doctor said IT FELT LOOSE whatever that means, and then he was explaining the fracture in greater detail – it’s a nondisplaced tibial spine fracture.

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Again, whatever that means.

He then explained that when “most people” injure their ACL, it’s a tear, but with Chooch, his pulled from the bone!? At least that’s what his assessment is pre-MRI. I do not know what this means, but looking at the paperwork, if his assessment is correct, this might be able to heal without surgery, and just continued brace-wearing (they gave him a much better one) and physical therapy.

But it all comes down to the MRI, which is 2 weeks away.

There is also a large effusion. #whateverthatmeans

So….we know more now but also still feels like being in the dark.

Then we went to Patron for dinner. This has been my “What was the point of Mother coming to the knee appointment?” blog update. Thanks to all who have checked up on my idiot kid with the bum knee!

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).

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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.”

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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.

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

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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….

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???” 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.

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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!

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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.