Jun 122024

I swore I wouldn’t be dramatic about this. But the day has come. MY BABY’S LAST DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL. I was telling some friends today at work that it’s such a bizarre emotion – crippling depression, a sudden awareness of TIME, mortality panic, and also giddy excitement to live vicariously through this next chapter of his life. He seems excited and has been getting shit done and planned, and that’s helping me, you know?

I haven’t mentioned this publicly (lol like I’m a FIGURE or something) but he, out of left field, has chosen Drexel after all. We REALLY thought it was going to be Pitt, but he liked what he saw and heard at Drexel, leaving Pgh is appealing to him, and honestly I think he is just ready for the next challenge.

He has been the easiest kid to parent (OK, there were moments, come on now, come on) but overall – we got lucky. He is self-motivated, scarily clever (that and “funniest kid in the school” was the theme of his yearbook messages), effortlessly smart, independent, has a huge hunger for travel and exploration – he is the greatest and best thing, person, accomplishment – everything!! – in my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. (Eh…maybe found a better place to live while he was growing up but what can you do.)

I love this kid, man! I’m so proud of him. And I love how much my friends love him too. It speaks volumes about his character. He has always been such a little adult!

OK, ugh. Enough. I’m sure tomorrow’s post (COMMENCEMENTS) will be even more sappy so I’m just going to end this with pictures from his first day of preschool, which apparently I should have posted on Instagram with the ones from today, according to my social media manager Henry (seriously, since when does he care?!) so I’ll just post them here in hopes of gaining back some maternal points.


Apr 252024

We all knew this day would come eventually. Chooch (né Riley) turned 18 today. It’s already been a really emotional year with college preparations and I have had several big cries over that, but this morning I woke up to Alan Parsons Project “Games People Play” and actually listened to the lyrics for the first time ever and then lost my ever-loving mind.


Where do we go from here
Now that all of the children have grown up?
And how do we spend our time
Knowing nobody gives us a damn?

Ooof. Not what I wanted to hear first thing this morning!!

It’s been so much fun being his mom (I mean I know I’ll still BE HIS MOM after today but you know what I mean) and I can’t believe that the college years are about to start and he won’t BE HERE. Who will make fun of Henry with me? Henry?!

I really couldn’t be any happier with the way Chooch turned out. Raising him was pretty easy and extremely fun. My travel buddy! My roller coaster partner! My haunted house companion! I think the coolest part about him is that he grew up with my friends as his friends. He’s always been a part of the inside jokes, always been taken seriously, always had adults caring about what he had to say. So thank you to all of my friends – old, new, present, former – who helped us get him to where he is today as a person, because I think he turned out pretty freaking excellent!

Anyway, I forgot that last November, I took some photos of him that were going to be contenders for “Senior Portraits” but I had to let him drive the car through the cemetery as a bribe ugh.

You will note that plenty of these are blurry because MY FUCKING EYES ARE TRASH OK? I legit cannot tell what I’m doing behind the lens anymore.

I’m pretty sure he was making fun of me here.

Wrinkled shirt? Of fucking course!

My brother Corey was texting me today and saying that he was actually tearing up thinking about how he turned into such a solid kid with his head straight on his shoulders, and that he’s so proud. Dude you guys. Just, dude. That meant so much. I love the relationship that Corey and Chooch have!

I don’t know what to “get” him anymore, so we took him to Hershey Park (um, that was also mostly for me because I wanted to ride Wildcat’s Revenge and have fun after serious college stuff) and we’re taking him and some friends to Cedar Point in a few weeks too because what do you get him?! He literally doesn’t “want” anything (except money lol). I did send him the Rock the Vote website though so he can register to vote!

18. Holy fucking shit. When I was 18, I was a goddamn mess. Fresh off the heels of dropping out of high school, dating a psychopathic loser, basically staying in my room constantly to avoid getting  heckled by family members for being “white trash.” It was a really bad time and I had no support system, but I have given Chooch all of things I desperately needed from my parents and didn’t get, and look at what happens when parents do their part. Look at what happens when a kid is loved and included and listened to it. He turns into this. And I am so proud.

And also so fucking depressed.

Apr 062024

Chooch keeps arguing that no one in his class has gotten proper senior portraits taken and even if that’s true (doubtful), I was not letting him get out of this. It’s MOMMY’S LAST CHANCE to photograph her surly son, you know? Let me have this.

Anyway, I wanted to get some nice pictures of him while we were in Korea because of the aesthetics of course, but also because it’s meaningful. I haven’t decided which ones to get printed for friends and family yet, but here are the contenders!

We took these at one of the smaller palaces, RIGHT when it opened to avoid the surge of tourists. However, we had to contend with a throng of older Asian gentlemen who were lining up at the gates with their big-ass paparazzi camera equipment. Was there going to be a celebrity appearance at the Changgyeonggung Palace? NOPE, just spring blossoms. You guys, the older population go NUTS over cherry blossoms, magnolia blossoms, any type of colorful blossom in March is subject to exploitation. And when I say they are packing $$$$$ lenses, I mean it. It’s like TMZ-levels of photography.

These first three photos were taken on the walk to the palace:

I had to take this one extremely fast because the pap were gaining on us.

If we’re Instagram friends, you might have seen that Chooch actually let us buy him a jacket while we were there! NOT because he was cold, don’t even think that. But we wandered into a vintage shop in Insadong and the sweetest halmeoni helped Chooch decided on a jacket. She even gave my arm a loving squeeze at one point and said we were a pretty family and gave us candy and called me umma – this was the best trip to Korea yet. I felt like I belonged there this time more than ever, like what even was my past life because I am sure it involved Korea somehow.

It’s the only explanation.

This palace was just as beautiful as the other more “popular” ones. My tip to you if you ever go to Korea, if you want great pictures without a million tourists in hanbok milling about in the background, come to this one when it opens at 9 and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness. (We were there in March so this might be just as nuts in the summer as the other main palaces, so don’t come for me!)


Obviously this isn’t a contender for senior portrait prints, but I liked the composition of this one!

Celebrity blossoms.

I like this one because you can see the city and a glimpse of Namsan Tower behind his head. It’s nuts how much ancient history is interspersed with the modern city. Seoul is amazing.

Also! We finally saw our first  (AND ONLY) squirrel in Korea here in this palace! Chooch took this photo for me and when one of the old guy photogs saw Chooch pointing the SLR at a tree, he came scurrying over not wanting to miss a bloom I guess. But then when he saw the subject matter was a squirrel, he still seemed into it so he joined Chooch and started snapping away, as well. It was kind of adorable.

I posted a picture of the squirrel on Instagram using what I thought was the Korean word for squirrel, but Jiyong saw it and corrected me via Kakao Talk because the word I used was actually for chipmunk! Fuck you, Google Translate! Jiyong said that actually, most Koreans don’t even know the word for squirrel and just default to chipmunk and that there are more squirrels in the US than in Korea, apparently! What a great morning and learning experience.

I have more non-Chooch pictures from that day so we will revisit with more words (yay for you) at some point. Wow, look forward to that!

Jan 282024

Starring: Chooch, his Pikachu wallet, and PNC debit card.

I can’t really knock Chooch too much for this considering I have “lost” my wallet twice in recent years and BOTH TIMES Henry found it in the garbage. But still, in spite of his big math brain, Chooch is the biggest moron when it comes to life stuff. Especially when the life stuff involves him keeping tabs on important items, like house keys and wallets.

He “loses” his wallet A LOT. Most of the time, I will go into his room and find it immediately. (“But I swear I looked there!”) Or he will find it in the pocket of a backpack he forgot he recently used. But then there are times when he genuinely does lose it outside of the house, like the time he texted me from school and was all, “I had it this morning because I used it at the T!” so I walked to the T platform (luckily, this wasn’t pre-pandemic so I was working from home) and found it laying on the platform by the bench he was presumably sitting on. A good hour had gone by since he realized he lost it so that was some Big Luck.

OK, that’s just one example of Chooch’s butterfingers when it comes to his wallet. Now on to the latest series of wallet events starting in December. It was right before Chingumas. Henry and I had picked him up from work and right when we were nearly home, he was like, “I can’t find my wallet.” They dropped me off and drove back to Chipotle, but alas, no wallet. He apparently even checked the sidewalk where he gets off the bus and I just laughed without mirth because he works in the Strip District and I can’t imagine anyone down there finding a wallet and doing the right thing.

Henry kept telling him to call the bus people (I don’t know what it is called) to see if anyone turned it into lost and found, but Chooch was being an idiot and never did, so he had to cancel his debit card and get a new one. Luckily, he didn’t have any money in his wallet and everything was stuff that was about to expire anyway (park memberships). But he had to get a new school ID, and he realized that the only thing in there that had sentimental value and was irreplaceable was the boating license he got at the end of this cute boat ride at Liseberg in Gothenburg, Sweden. That detail made me kind of queasy too, to be honest, because I am such a memento hoarder. He had at least still had a picture of it that he took after getting it:

Meanwhile, about a week later, Henry called the bus people for shits and giggles, just to see if the wallet had been turned in. IT HAD BEEN! Shout out to whoever was on that bus after Chooch dropped it and did the right thing! So they drove out to wherever the lost and found is and Chooch was reunited with his wallet for, I dunno, the 87th time in his life, probably.

Ironically, I had been saying that I wanted to get him an airtag for the stupid thing for Christmas, RIGHT BEFORE HE LOST IT. Suffice to say, he now has an airtag inside the wallet.

But wait – there’s more.

After getting a new debit card that ended up not even being needed since his wallet was turned in, he clicked on a link that was texted to him from “FedEx” saying that his “package was undeliverable” and upon clicking the link, it asked him to re-enter his credit card number, which he did!?!? HE FUCKING FELL FOR THAT SHIT??

At least he had enough common sense in the reserves to immediately realize the error of his ways, so again: debit card got canceled, new one obtained from the bank. This was two weeks ago.


Last Thursday, he was like, “I’m going to the gas station, BRB.” The gas station is a block away and he often rides his bike there to get a drink or snacks. Goes to gas station. Comes home from gas station. Goes to his room. Five minutes later, comes stampeding down the steps in a panic.

“Have you seen my debit card?” he asked, voice tight with panic, eyes slightly bulged.

“Nope,” I say, barely looking away from the computer because this was during the workday and I do not have time to care about the constant lost state of his personal effects.

“I don’t think I left it at the gas station. I remember slipping it back into my wallet,” he said, raking his hand maniacally through his hair.

“You need to connect that card to your phone!” Henry huffed, hitting the Father Knows Best cue with impeccable timing.


“Are you sure you put it in your wallet?” Henry questioned, the missing debit card version of “did you try turning it off and back on again?”

“You JUST got that card too,” I said, doing the motherly thing by pointing out the obvious. It had been less than a week, lol.

At this point, Chooch looked like he was about to jettison through the roof, and we were in dire need a live studio audience.

Chooch booked it down the sidewalk to the gas station. I have actually never seen him run so fast, if we’re being honest.

Apparently, he had dropped the card in the parking lot of the gas station (probably because he just slipped it into his wallet without actually putting it into one of the card slots) and someone ACTUALLY PICKED IT UP AND TURNED IT INTO THE CASHIER. I cannot believe this idiot’s luck with this stupid wallet and debit card.

Anyway, his card is now back to being connected to Apple Pay, and hopefully he won’t fall for any more scams. Maybe I should make him take the security training we’re required to do at work once a year. Jesus.

AUTHOR’S NOTE, THREE WEEKS LATER: So, I just saw Chooch’s wallet lying on his bed yesterday and um…I need to clarify that it is a KIRBY wallet, not PIKACHU. Deepest apologies for my error


Nov 302023

Hello from 2023 where I am currently stressing out over Chooch / college / etc. When I say it’s eating away at me…well, that’s a lie because then I would be actually losing weight instead of gaining weight, which is what all of this absurd stress is doing to me. IT’S FEEDING ME. Anyway, I was searching for something on my blog yesterday and this old post from 2014 came up which made me feel all nostalgic and sad. Also, it’s apropos because Pitt is in his Top 2 currently which is pretty cool. So I’m resharing this. Enjoy the pictures of 2014 Chooch *cries in Aging Mom*


Sometimes, Chooch and I give Henry a break and venture off on our own, except that by “on our own,” I mean “definitely with a chaperone.” Originally, Chooch and I (+ our chaperone Janna) were going to go to see The Secret of NIMH at the Hollywood Theater, because that was one of my favorite childhood movies of all time but no way does it still make me cry, OK? But then I saw that the sun was going to be out all day and I didn’t want to be in a dark theater during that, and it’s all about me anyway so I didn’t really ask Chooch and Janna if that was OK.

Instead, we went to Oakland because I thought it would be fun to show Chooch the Nationality Rooms at the Cathedral of Learning, which is part of the University of Pittsburgh. (Maybe some people reading this aren’t from here, I don’t know! God.) I’d call it my alma mater, but I didn’t actually graduate and I’m not a liar.

On the drive there, I jokingly said I had to quit college because I became a mom*.

“To who?” Chooch asked, and then within a minute of me posting that exchange on Facebook, someone corrected Chooch’s grammar. Thank God for the Internet. But you know, I guess that’s my fault for typing my conversations verbatim, instead of editing to make my 7-year-old sound like a pretentious grammar douche and not, you know, a 7-year-old. He’s got the rest of his life to learn how to talk like Mr. Belvedere.

*(Anyway, this isn’t true. I quit because I was bored, frustrated and realized that college definitely wasn’t for me. I mean, it didn’t do much to help me, because luk att how turrible i still write-z0rz.)


As soon as I parked the car, I realized that I didn’t have my wallet which was devastating because the plan was to eat lunch there afterward and I’m not going to lie, I was already starving.

When you walk into the Cathedral, it’s like being swallowed by a gothic cavern. There’s this amazing Great Hall that would make Hogwarts’s figurative weener shrink; you set foot in it and it’s like being transported back in time. The Cathedral of Learning was my favorite thing about Pitt. It had been about 6 years since I had gone back, so the novelty of it was definitely there.

You know what else was there? Chooch’s Grand Canyon-esque echo. Just what everyone there wanted: my kid’s ever-running mouth in primitive surround sound.


The audio tour for the Nationality Rooms isn’t free, but the rooms are open to the public regardless, so we just took our own tour, renegade-style. Whatever that means. I’m on my fifth cup of coffee. This was just as well, because Chooch’s attention span did not allow us to stay in any one room for more than 3 minutes. (Except once, and it wasn’t even a nationality room; just a regular classroom as non-descript as Henry’s wardrobe.)



Chooch’s attempt at college math. In his head, this made sense.


A ceiling in one of the rooms, the nationality of which I do not recall because I quit caring after the fourth room when I noticed that Chooch was no longer carrying his phone and Bunny (I didn’t even notice that he brought that damn thing!) so we had to backtrack and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s backtracking.

(I just imagined myself having to backtrack in Alaska and I think I’m done with this day now.)


Chooch made a beeline for the blackboard in every room and immediately left his mark. In a lot of the rooms, there was the same writing in Chinese characters, so Janna and I started saying, “Looks like Chinese Chooch was here” and of course Chooch didn’t get it which made it even more fun to say.

We kept trying to get him to look at the shit in each room, but he was under the chalk’s spell. So basically, it was for the best that I left my wallet at home and couldn’t pay for the audio tour.


 “Guys, come on.” Sometimes I really have no idea where he gets his independence, but that kid walked around like he owned the place.


Don’t worry, Chalkboard NARCS & Religious Zealots, I erased it. (2023 Erin: Wouldn’t it be funny if this was FORESHADOWING.)



Sadly, being a non-traditional student (and part-time to boot) didn’t leave me with too many fond memories, though a painting of Copernicus in the Polish room recalled a time when I made Janna enroll in the same Magic, Medicine and Science class, because see above where: I really have no idea where my kid gets his independence. This was back in 2004, Jesus Christ—TEN YEARS AGO. (See? I don’t need no college degree.) Anyway, that class was a piece of shit and our instructor was some young broad named Holly who hated us because we sat in the back of the class with some lady we befriended and we would literally sit there and write shit to each other in our notebooks while Holly and her class pets would go off on tangents about Plato’s Cave.

Anyway, one of the things Holly would make us do was read a million pages of super-dry Galileo bullshit from our overpriced text book and then write an outline, except that she called it some fancy word steeped in academia because “outline” was too pedestrian. Turns out I was a natural at these bullshit papers, and you know who wasn’t? Janna. On the first one we got back, Holly had scribbled angrily in red marker about how Janna had PLAGIARIZED and to this day, this is the best thing that ever happened to me in college. Not making the Dean’s List. Not having my Creative Non-Writing instructor tell me I was her favorite student (hahaha). Not watching my College Algebra teacher repeatedly Windex herself in the face instead of the overhead projector.

No, it was Janna being accused of plagiarizing her HOMEWORK. That was the best fucking day.


Having to PeeSoBad in the Italian room.


 Seriously, this kid. I tell him, “Go stand there so I can take your picture” and he does something Chooch-y every time.


Ladies Room Selfie. Yeah, that’s right. When Henry’s not around, Chooch loafs in the ladies room.

Haha. “Loafs.”

We walked past the room where I had an English Comp class and that made me think about the time Christina was visiting from Cincinnati during the spring of ’05 and she decided to come with me and hang out on campus while I had class. I specifically told her what time class was over and I made sure she had the room number memorized so I EXPECTED her to be waiting outside the door like a good fucking puppy at exactly 3:30.

Of course, she was nowhere to be found, and this was before either of us had a cell phone (I was notoriously anti-cell phone; she was just notoriously poor) so I marched all over the fucking Cathedral, breaking out into a sweat and eventually having to stop into the bathroom to pee because hide and seek has historically always revved up my bladder. Finally, I ran into her as she meandered out of a stairwell, no big deal.

“Oh, was class over early?” she asked casually, BECAUSE THAT BITCH THOUGHT SHE WAS EARLY. Do you know why she thought she was early? Because she never set her watch ahead for daylight savings time and she was actually an hour late because she was too busy lounging outside in the grass, watching people JOUST.

I was only That Mad because everything Christina did made me That Mad.


Thoroughly interested in reading about this giant tome of sheet music. Thank god.


I’d love to see how he sits in his actual 2nd grade class.


I found the aforementioned College Algebra classroom from 2006. “This is where I used to sit while you were in my belly, I mean, sitting next to me in your unhatched pod,” I sighed with maternal warmth to Chooch, who was 100% not interested.

Like so many dummies, I was forced to take remedial college math courses because my cumulative high school math average was not cutting it. (Somehow in high school, they kept putting me in advanced math classes even though I kept telling my guidance counselor that I was bad, just plain no good at math.) But I didn’t hate college math because I had the best instructor ever. Joanne was the fucking shit and quite literally gave me so many “a-ha!” moments from which I definitely would have benefited in high school. Her classes were the only ones I enjoyed going to and actually spoke to the other students. (I’m still friends with one of them IRL, actually. You know, as opposed to just in Toon Town.)

On the first day of that class, we had to go around the room and introduce ourselves. When it was my turn, I blurted out, “AND I JUST FOUND OUT I’M PREGNANT!” Totally taboo to make such a public declaration so soon into the pregnancy but I was so excited. This class was full of older, non-traditional students, so no one really shirked away from me like the younger students did in my geology class, but that might have been because my pregnant, bloated belly got stuck behind a desk one day, and that was when the professor had to go and get me a desk that had a detachable chair. That was a really awesome memory.

Anyway, this particular math class was split in two, but most of us ended up together during the spring semester too, and those sneaky brats, along with Joanne, had a fucking baby shower for me during class one day! (Much to the chagrin of the men in that class.)

I still get all teared up when I think about it. OK, sorry Janna the Plagiarist, but maybe that’s my favorite college memory.


(2023 Erin again: I hadn’t fallen down the K-hole yet – LOL OK that doesn’t work here, now it just sounds like I’m a drug addict and not a Koreaboo – so I didn’t realize in 2014 that the first thing written there in this picture is HELLO IN KOREAN. I actually assumed that I had written it until I saw that this was 2 years pre-lifestyle change.)

Report if you see bullying to the chancellor’s office, is what that is supposed to say, but Chooch kept saying “chandelier.” This was after he tried to force his way into said “chandelier’s” office. Thank god it was Sunday.

And locked.

Like real life college students, we were starving and thirsty, so Janna suggested that we go to the basement and see if the vending machines took credit cards but they only took Panther Cards, which are the dumb college card things and Chooch was like, “YOU WENT HERE SO WHERE IS YOUR PANTHER CARD? USE YOUR DAMN PANTHER CARD!” But Mean Henry would never let me put money on my Panther Card because what…I’d use it to buy Adderall? Who knows. And even if I did have one back then, hello, I haven’t been a student since 2008; go get your own Panther Card, Doogie.

Look at me, giving my kid a taste of true college life! Spread your wings, Chooch!


Even though we were ready to collapse with hunger and thirst, we’d have been remiss to leave without taking Chooch to the 36th floor to take in the nauseating view.




Man. What a great afternoon.


When we went home to retrieve my wallet, Henry was lounging about like the goddamn Sultan of Brookline.

“I can’t believe you didn’t check in on us, not even once!” I cried.

“I knew where you were,” he said casually, so now I’m convinced he’s having me tailed.


Nov 022023

Wow, why do I even bother acting like Halloween is my favorite holiday? The last handful of 10/31s have been eh, blah, meh, boo. WTF man. I mean, I’m probably sounding super dramatic and it honestly wasn’t BAD this year but just…boring. Cold. Kind of sad because my child is 17 and hasn’t asked me to help him with a costume since 8th grade I think! But I still take the day off work (I use my floating holiday and request the day in the beginning of January every year, why am I so lame) under the pretense that I’m going to live my best creepy life on this day, take a blood bath while listening to the Suspiria soundtrack, etc.

This year, I…read a book. Went for a walk. Watched Taemin videos. Helped my new neighbors. I didn’t even bother putting scary music on during TRICK OR TREATING (well, I did put on some creepy MTV Euro playlist from the 90s and some of the videos were making me very uncomfy in a big way).

And you know what? This year we beat our record of least amount of trick-or-treaters: 2. TWO FUCKING KIDS. And that was only because I verbally accosted (in a friendly way) when they were walking past my house with their dad on their way home from better streets I guess. I was like, “TAKE A WHOLE BUNCH” and literally let them walk off with fistfuls.

Meanwhile, the day before, Chooch decided to go to Spirit and buy a costume to wear to school. I was so excited that he did this of his own accord and that I didn’t positively ruin Halloween for him by following in my mom’s footsteps and hijacking his costume ideas every year. (Sike, love you, Val! I fondly look back on my old costumes every year even though they were borderline traumatic for me at the time LOL.)

He came home with this big blow-up Garfield, totally random but it made me laugh. FOR A STORE BOUGHT COSTUME, THAT IS.

I’m actually surprised that he was allowed to wear it at school, considering how schools have been no-fun zones since Columbine and food allergies.

His school is basically on the Pitt campus and he said that after school, he was a celeb with the Pitt students, people were asking to take pictures with him. “It was totally worth the $60,” he texted me.

SIXTY FUCKING DOLLARS. Oh well, he has a job again and used his own dumb money so what do I care.

I was also happy that he and a bunch of friends went trick-or-treating too! Like a last hurrah, which I think is so important. I know a lot of you Karen types out there don’t think that teenagers should be welcome to trick-or-treat but in my opinion, if you’re wearing a costume, in the Halloween spirit, and not being an asshole, you are welcome to my candy.

Especially if you’re dressed as Michael Myers. And an adult. Please have my candy.

The night before, we took pumpkins over to our new neighbors’ house and helped them carve their first jack o’lanterns! That was really special! We have to communicate through Google translate but it’s worth it. I can’t remember how much I have mentioned about this because so much has happened in the two weeks since they moved next door to us, but they are an Afghan family consisting of a single mom and her three kids: 16, 13, 10. She is from Afghanistan, her kids were born in Russia, and they came here after living in Turkey for the last 6 years. I don’t really know the full details of their story yet because it’s so hard to communicate, but the sitch doesn’t seem great and they were placed here by a refugee agency who is doing the BARE MINIMUM to help. When I say that they are coming to us for everything, I’m not exaggerating.

It’s been really exhausting (being a good person is hard work!!! My inner demon has been fighting tooth and nail on this) but it’s worth it to make them feel comfortable and welcome. I just wish this fucking agency would work a bit harder to get them situated and introduce them to other Afghans or even just anyone who speaks Turkish which is the language they appear to default to, because while it’s OK to hang out and be neighborly here and there, THIS AIN’T 227.

Sorry, j/k. That was mean. But I am trying to establish boundaries because this lady doesn’t realize it yet, but I am literally the last person that anyone should use as their crutch. YOU GUYS KNOW.

So yeah, this October started off strong, but then I gained a spare family and now I just feel very tired, stressed (last week was REALLY bad because of all of the caring I was doing and I was losing sleep over it) and disoriented. Add to that the fact that I barely see Chooch anymore because of his extracurriculars and job, and I’m just like…lost. I don’t know. It’s weird. I’m weird. NO YOU’RE WEIRD. GO AWAY.

Oct 072023

Today was Chooch’s last day of the high school sailing program that he signed up for last April without telling us, as you may remember. It ended up being something that he really enjoyed and took seriously though, so I’m glad that he got involved!

To give the end of the program a proper send-off, there was a regatta today for family and friends to come and watch. There were four teams. Chooch’s team was comprised of Zakk, Ben, and Daniel, and their name was Seagulls, apparently.

I have never watched a sailing race before so I legit had no clue what was going on, but the dad next to me SURELY DID, evidenced by the way he was screaming sailing terms into the air with such shit-straining force that I actually was scared to be near him. He was the dad of someone on Team Bentley, and at one point, he ripped off his hat (whatever a man’s beret is called, you know what I mean), hurled it to the ground, and screamed, “COME ON BENTLEY!!! GODDAMMIT!”

Um, bro. Calm the fuck down. Do you know how competitive I am? Like, bigly to the nth degree. But I knew that this was an “every child gets a trophy” event and that it was mostly just to show us the skills they learned so I was pretty calm and collected through the whole thing (also because just a reminder I had no clue what was going on). Plus, there were 4 separate races and I feel like each team got the chance to shine. (Chooch’s team came in last place for 2 races, 3rd for one, and 1st for one – so it goes to show you that all the kids could sail – there was no clear “best team” – OK fine, boat #1 but only because they were cheating and had some kid on it that I couldn’t stand and was TOTALLY A SAILING TYPE, if you know what I mean.)

I also hated the one mom next to me who was rooting for boat 2 and was wearing an athletic skirt while noshing on homemade granola (I made that part up but I bet she does make her own granola with ingredients that cost like $100 and buy “make her own” I mean that she orders everything online and then has her au pair make it after the kids go to bed).

Yes, Chooch was the only one dressed for a hot July day. It was in the low 50s, FYI. Maybe colder. I didn’t check the weather app, sue me.

Tied for third place with BOAT 2.  They came so close to winning the last race but then the wind did a thing and they stalled out or something I dunno. I also think maybe they didn’t care so much at that point, having already placed first in one race.

Oh! The highlight for me was after the second race, one of the boats came to shore so that they could swap out team mates (Chooch’s team stayed the same, and was also the only boat that consistently ad 4 people as opposed to 3 so they had weight working against them at some points JUST KEEP THAT IN MIND – this is what JOE THE SAILER kept reminding us as he was going the play-by-play over the PA, talking about ‘tack’ and ‘currents’ and ‘wind’ and I was like, “OK Joe whatever you say, sir.”). Anyway, this boat comes to shore and a girl gets out in A HUFF and cries, “I don’t want to do this anymore!” and then STORMED OFF. Her dad had to chase after her and console her. I was like, “THIS IS LIKE WATCHING MYSELF, I’M ENTHRALLED.”

Anyway, Chooch said it was probably because she was on the boat with the son of the HAT THROWER and that he was probably BEING MEAN TO HER, just another reason to hate that effing dad.

Team Seagulls!

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!