Sep 212021
 

A few years ago (2014, I think??), we went to Indiana Beach in Monticello, IN upon my insistence and relentless begging. We stayed in a town called Logansport which was not on my radar at all, until we randomly ate at a family-run fast-food establishment called MR. HAPPY BURGER and I became o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d that I demanded we eat at the second location as well AND I bought a commemorative t-shirt. I know, everything in this paragraph sounds so unlike me!

We semi-spontaneously revisited Indiana Beach over the weekend and I was almost as excited to go back to Mr. Happy Burger! It wasn’t that the food was amazing, but they did have grilled cheese on the menu which is almost unheard of for a burger-centric fast food joint, so that was a huge plus for me and Chooch, but it was mostly the VIBES, you guys. You know I’m all about the VIBES.

Sadly, the owner of Mr. Happy Burger recently decided to retire and put one of the locations up for sale. We drove past it and I will admit that I had a fleeting desire to buy that bitch up and rebrand it as Miss Happy Veggie Burger, the vegan mistress of Mr. Happy Burger.

But, I don’t think  that would be very well-received in that part of Indiana, lol.

Oh shit bitches, get ready to grill up some cheeses, because we’re back.

(I tried so hard to get Henry to order a Mr. Pib with his burger but he wouldn’t do it. The cashier was not amused. She had this dour, “Just fucking pick a bev” look on her face.)

There was a small group sitting a few tables over and one of them had just completed an 8-scoop ice cream challenge, not sanctioned by Mr Happy Burger.

“And he ate a double burger, too!” one of the people in his party exclaimed for everyone within earshot.

“Now I gotta go and drink some beer,” he said, completely unimpressed with himself, as they left the building.

Oh, Indiana.

There is something about orange and green as a color combo that is horrific and nostalgic all at once.  I declared that I was going to keep one of the fry wrappers and made a big production of dumping all the crumbs and salt specks onto the table, and then smoothing it out tenderly. I left it off to  the side, on the table, but then HENRY THE OBLIVIOUS put it on the tray with all the trash and I unknowingly threw it out, THANKS HENRY THE OBLIV.

I got really upset about this and he was like I WILL FIX IT, HOLD PLEASE and went back to the dour cashier and went through this whole awkward and confusing exchange before she finally understood what he wanted and he proudly returned to me with a clean wrapper in his hand, like a Viking returning home to his fur-wrapped woman, waving the head of the enemy on a spear.

Cool story, Henry.

I also wanted to get an orange version of the Haps shirt, but Henry just frowned and of course I didn’t have my wallet.

Their grilled cheese is better than most grilled cheeses I’ve had at diners and other restaurants. For instance, we were recently at Hyde’s in Cincinnati and the grilled cheese we both had there was so fucking pitiful, I can’t even believe they charged us for it. It was like they made it with scrap bread slices, and split one entire piece of cheese between mine and Chooch’s. I mean, I could make a better grilled cheese and we all know that’s saying a lot!

But Mr. Happy Burger serves up a substantial grilled cheese with a decent bread:cheese ratio. The bread is thick and buttery, and the cheese is actually thoroughly melted and not just a limp, cold slice between two half-toasted bread rejects.

I Just Said No to ice cream all day at Indiana Beach because I remembered that Mr. Happy has an ice cream parlor in the location that remained open. I dunno why but at the last minute, I happened to see a small menu of froyo flavors taped to the ice cream display. My eyes flickered across the “banana pecan” option and I thought, “bitch why not” so that’s what I ordered, and then almost immediately had remorse but I returned to our table, determined to live with my choice.

Yo, they actually blend up their froyos on the spot, boy! I watched that young ice cream princess cut up a banana and everything. And that was one BITCHIN’ cup of froyo, and also a flavor combo  that I wouldn’t have immediately paired together on my own. Apparently, the ice cream girls aren’t used to getting that as an order either because they had to double check with Henry after I sat back down and they made an unsure, “hmm, ok” face.

Henry for some reason also went the low fat froyo route and went with pineapple coconut. OH SHIT, YOU GUYS, that was motherfucking divine too! I took several hearty spoonfuls of it and felt like I had been personally transported to a beach in a first class seat on the Mr. Happy Burger train. Refreshing! Tropical! Exotic! Without even leaving Logansport, Indiana.

Dang, Mr. Happy Burger, please don’t leave. Surely someone in the Mr. Happy family wants to see the legacy live on!?

Oh, I contemplated bringing my Haps shirt on the trip but is that adjacent to the tackiness of wearing the band’s shirt to their concert? Sike, I don’t really care about that but I just truly forgot to pack it, lol.

 

Um, I never actually realized how lumpy that HB logo is. Is it supposed to be a burger? Mr. Happy himself? A potato??

Aug 302021
 

Lately, Henry and I have been “on our own” because our son “does not want to hang out with us” because he is “too busy/cool/asleep.” I mean, I guess it’s good that he’s easing us into this new SEASON of our relationship since he’s going to be IN COLLEGE sooner rather than later and 100% not going to be like, “YES MUM LET’S GO TO THE HAUNTED HOUSE TOGETHER AND SURE I WILL REVIEW IT ON YOUR BLOG SOUNDS FUCKING FANTASTIC WILL YOU ALSO TIE MY SHOES FOR ME WHILE WE’RE STANDING IN LINE.”

So, we’re trying to get used to….being together…as a duo….like a….couple.  Two people. No kid. Here we are, world!

In this latest episode of Erin & Henry Are a Couple, we went for a hike at Settler’s Cabin in 90 degree heat yesterday because that’s smart. Henry at least had the forethought to bring water with him, I’m lucky I left the house with the right shoes on to be honest, this weekend was rough on my BRAIN POWER. I literally almost passed out several times on Saturday.

Less than a minute into the hike, as in: we were still on the main path and not on HIKEY TERRAIN, Henry the Boy Scout Leader was already teaching me about MILKWEEDS.

Just plucked one right off the stalk and started making it ooze like some alien pimple; I was SCRAMING. STRAIGHT SCRAMING.

Then literal minutes later after pulling one apart, he said “that tells you there’s water there too. Just so you know.”

BUT

DID

I

ASK

?

Then….he came across a vine and fucking swung on it 갑자기 and I was SCRAMING all over again. 

He did it a second time at my insistence just so I could get a boomerang for the ‘gram. And let me just say there was no arm twisting involved. Who is this guy?? Midlife crisis Henry rules. I’m saying!! I dared him to ride some flat rides with us next weekend when we go on our Labor Day amusement park spree, and he said “WE’LL SEE.”

Then he started reminiscing about the good old days in the 70s when he would climb to the tops of sumac trees and make them bend all the way to the ground.

“If I did that now, it’d snap,” he mused and I’m over there googling NEAREST SUMAC TREE.

Anyway, this is our 20th….something. Un-iversary? We never got married and we don’t even really have a “date” that we became a “couple.” But last June marked 20 years since our…”one night stand” lol. So, that’s a thing. It was sometime in the fall of 2001 that we sort of just SHACKED UP as the Elders would say. I’ve been thinking about that a lot too lately. Because somehow, this is the most “together” I’ve ever felt with him and we actually do have so much fun together, as a family and just the two of us, and we always have stuff to talk about even though his stuff is usually boring. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love that Big Dumb. Probably more now than then!

This one’s for Henry, lol:

 

 

Aug 232021
 

We didn’t do much this past weekend but it was a great one just the same. It’s nuts – during all of 2020 and most of 2021, I was pinging off the walls with my urgent need to go somewhere, anywhere. But now that we have been going away on weekends and stuff, I have been antsy to get back home. WHO AM I. Some weird pioneer woman version of myself. Next you’ll be catching me doing actual housework in lieu of having fun.

I did, however, have lunch with my bro Corey at our beloved Blue Flame! I hadn’t seen Corey in A BIT and also hadn’t been to Blue Flame since well before the start of the pandemic, so I was pretty fucking stoked for this. I noticed recently, the few times that Henry and I had driven past Blue Flame, that they had erected numerous signs boasting their new dalliance in serving Hershey ice cream. I wasn’t sure what all the hullabaloo was about since they have always offered ice cream as a dessert option, but figured they were just trying to drum up more business by reminding people that the option to come in just for a quick dessert was also on the table.

But then I was scoping out the menu online, as us members of the Meat-Free Club are wont to do in order to ensure we’re not going to be stuck with just a plate of lettuce and a baked potato. And with restaurants scaling back their menus during covid, I wanted to make sure my grilled cheese safety net was still in place. But then my eyes drifted to MULTI-GRAIN PANCAKES and I became fixated on that because I haven’t had pancakes in a long time and now suddenly, five days before this lunch was even happening, it was now all I could think about.

Before closing down the website, I noticed that once again, Blue Flame was pushing their Hershey scoops on their website too! WTF was so earth-shattering about this ice cream!?

Anyway, then Corey and I met up in the parking lot of BF on Saturday and I immediately pointed out how the windows had HUGE declarations of IT’S ALWAYS ICE CREAM WEATHER with cutesy ice cream cones drawn on the glass with window markers. “See??” I screamed. “They’re like, obsessed with ice cream suddenly!” I was so bewildered by this turn of events because in all the years I had been patronizing this place (literally my whole life, no exaggeration) dessert was never the main attraction. Sure, I have had numerous post-dinner chocolate scoops in the quintessential silver ice cream cup of yesteryear, but it wasn’t like, WHY you went to the Blue Flame.

We walked into the entrance and stopped at the “please wait to be seated” sign and Corey was all, “Um, holy shit, look” and over by where their breakfast buffet set-up used to live was an entirely renovated section dedicated JUST TO ICE CREAM. Yes, they actually added an entire ice cream shop inside their restaurant!

“Ooooh, now it’s all coming together!” I said slowly, and Corey did his patented SUPER LOUD LAUGH-OUTBURST, causing various Elders to toss glances over their shoulders at us. Then I pointed out that the Blue Flame sweatshirt hanging on the wall to advertise their MERCH LINE was folded in a way that it looked like a crop top, which made Corey once again BARK WITH LAUGHTER. Now, more people were squirming in their seats.

Anyway, all of this is to say that when a hostess came to seat us, she led us all the way to the back corner by the bathroom, like, “OK, you guys already gave us a taste of the kind of nuisances you’re gonna be so we’re just gonna tuck you away back here.”

SO TYPICAL!!

Man, what a great lunch. We got there at noon and closed the place out (they close at 2pm now because as with every other place in this new world, they’re understaffed). I think the waitstaff was REALLY HAPPY to see us finally get up from our booth, lol.

We joked later that after all that commotion about the ice cream, we didn’t even get any! So now we’re going to go back with our mom and have an ice cream party.

Terrible picture of me, but I’m keeping it because SIBLINGS.

I don’t even know what I did for the rest of Saturday. Oh! I was racing against the clock to finish a book that was due back to the library that day and hating every second of it because it was SUCH A SHITTY BOOK (“The Book of Accidents” by Chuck Wendig, in case you care). I was able to finish it but definitely didn’t feel like it was an accomplishment of any sort.

I spent most of the weekend re-obsessing over NCT, specifically NCT Dream and I think I finally decided that they are my favorite NCT subgroup?! You already know I’m gaga for Haechan but now suddenly I’m being whipped by Renjun’s voice and I’m not complaining. Anyway, this song from their latest release is really carrying me these days, I love it so much (it’s the first song specifically but FEEL FREE to listen to both because the second one is beautiful too):

I have felt so frantic, wanting to share this with someone, so…here you go Someone!

Sunday was whatever. Henry worked on THE SUBWAY SIGN which he is actually making progress on even though he said he’s been considering starting over from scratch and doing it a different way. You have no idea what a huge pain point this is in our relationship!! After he reached the point where he couldn’t go any farther without the aid of Supply X Y or Z which conveniently is always something that needs to be ordered online, we went for a walk in Homewood Cemetery and then got some Kung Fu Tea, even one for Chooch who has all but abandoned us since Blake and his family went on vacation and left Chooch the key to their house in order to watch their cat. We barely see him anymore unless we’re all away for the weekend, at which point he has no choice but to be with us lol poor him too bad so sad.

What other super scintillating acts took place this past weekend. Henry and I went to Target after dinner on Sunday. Do you still wear masks indoors even if vaccinated? We do. It’s a really weird feeling being in the mask-wearing minority but so far no one has tried to challenge us so maybe we are just shopping in decent, non-rednecky areas, I dunno. Chooch hasn’t started school yet but I’m curious to see how the mask mandate will play out there, but I’m hoping for  the best since it’s a city school and it seems like it’s mostly the crazy ass suburban Karens are pitching fits about their precious Chads and Brylynniahs having to mask-up. I’m just really so fucking sick of this country. Trump opened the floodgates and it feels like it will take a literal act of God to close it back up at this point.

But anyway, back to Target. I found the perfect denim jacket over in the Wild Fable section. You have no idea how picky I am with jean jackets but I have desired one for so long now, if only to have a canvas for my enamel pin collection. And then I thought to myself, “BOY ERIN WOULDN’T IT BE COOL IF YOU TURNED YOUR MISTER SOFTEE TSHIRT INTO A PATCH FOR THE BACK OF YOUR NEW BITCHIN’ JACKET” because I actually hate the quality of that shirt, sadly. It’s so starchy and gross-feeling! So I’ve been sending Henry DIY tutorials so that he can add “patch-maker” to his list of trades.

Also while in Target, we overheard the funniest exchange between two young boys who were probably between 2nd-3rd grade ages, whatever that would be. One approached the other and very confidently greeted him by saying, “Hey it’s me, Scott. Remember? From BLAHBLAHPLACE?” and the other kid goes, “I have NO IDEA who you are.” And Scott kept trying to jog his memory but the kid was all, “Yeah I don’t remember you AT ALL” and the parents were like cringing but I had to run into another aisle because I was on the verge of cracking the fuck up. Kids are wild!!!! They’re just like “nope, you a stranger, sorry” while adults would be killing themselves trying to play along like, “OH YEAH, HEY YOU! WOW! SMALL WORLD!” having no actual fucking clue what’s going on. I mean, I once made it through an entire dinner with someone whose name I couldn’t remember, so.

Well, that was my weekend. Hope yours was tight. Or loose, if that’s how you prefer it.

Aug 112021
 

I WAS SO STOKED FOR MOREY’S PIERS!! Also, I was super worried that it wouldn’t be a magical as it was when I was a kid and obviously I expected that it wasn’t going to be same because a shit ton of rides are gone (RIP Castle Dracula and Keystone Kops). But it still felt the same in my heart, you guys. It still felt the same. I am crying right now.

This bad boy, The Great White, was built several years after my last visit but honestly it looks like it has been there forever. I was so excited to ride this later!

We started out on Mariner’s Landing, because the other two piers don’t start running their rides until 5pm. Our main focus was to knock out all the coasters while it was still pretty uncrowded to ensure that Chooch would get all  the creds. Luckily, everything was running that day!

LOL our first ride, a stupid SBF Visa spinner. These things are pretty terrible but this one was good because….Wildwood, and also because the ride operator was 1000000% more animated than the one who was running it at Waldameer, PLUS Duran Duran’s “Rio” was playing and the day was beautiful and the ocean was RIGHT THERE and the sea gulls were so cute and everything was fucking perfect.

Actually, let me take a minute here to gush over the impeccable music selection of Morey’s Piers. It was ALL 80s, and not bullshit 80s either, but fucking Depeche Mode, the aforementioned Duran Duran, ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN, Talk Talk (their original version of “It’s My Life” and not the shitty No Doubt cover!!). Two fucking Cure songs!! “Boys Don’t Cry” played when Chooch and I were in the station for the Great Nor’easter, and then later that day, “Friday I’m In Love” was playing as our train was being loaded on The Great White, which was located on a pier that was playing primarily 90s music. The next night, as Chooch waited in line for a coveted back row night ride on this bad boy, Bush’s “Chemicals Between Us” and Fuel’s “Shimmer” came on and I was nearly openly weeping. Especially because I had just recently fallen down the Bush nostalgia spiral thanks to the Fear Street movies.

And that Fuel song. Oh god, that Fuel song. That was like my Summer of 1998 but make it a song so that I can lose my mind and cry every time I hear it for the rest of my life while also feeling the uncontrollable need to scream the lyrics until my voice gives out.

And at one point during the day, I am not kidding, Henry and I were walking to the gift shop when suddenly (or, my favorite Korean word: 갑자기) the opening drone of my beloved rollerskating jam, HEART AND SOUL BY T’PAU, sizzled down from the heavens. I grabbed Henry’s arm dramatically and yelled, “STOP. WAIT!” And then pointed up at the sky. When it was clear that Henry had no idea what was going on, I hissed impatiently, “THE SONG?!”

I am 100% sure that he still had no idea what was going on because the song hadn’t even yet fully kicked on and also it was buffeted by screaming sea gulls, the motors of rides in motion, people laughing, modern day boardwalk carnies on loud speakers reeling people in with false promises…my ears are actually super human when it comes to detecting a song beneath layers of miscellaneous cacophony. Henry can never hear the music over the din of talking and silverware scraping plates in restaurants, but I am always ready to scream, “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SONG IS PLAYING.”

Anyway, this Heart and Soul was playing and I had to make Henry sit down a bench with me while I listened to it because I was so obsessed with this jam as a kid that for two years in a row it was my “birthday party song request” at the VIP Roller Rink. It was also one of the first records I bought at National Record Mart and I remember so vividly not knowing who sang it so whoever took me to the mall, probably my mom – I guess I’m not remembering this as vividly as I initially boasted lol – told me to go ask someone to help me so there I was, some idiot elementary school kid probably wearing a corduroy jumper and knee high socks, telling the NRM associate, “I don’t know who sings it but she looks like Tracy Ullmann” BECAUSE I USED TO WATCH THE TRACY ULLMANN SHOW LOL.

It was almost like someone called Morey’s Piers and told them I was coming so that they could play the literal soundtrack to my childhood summers in Wildwood.

Phew. OK now that I got that out of my system, let’s look at some pictures of rides!

Rollie’s Coaster was Chooch’s second credit at Morey’s and it was more fun than we expected! I loved the vintage aesthetics.

The infamous Sea Serpent. I was TERRIFIED of this ride as a kid and never did ride it back then. I was actually kind of dreading this even now because it’s a Vekoma boomerang and I hate boomerangs. They’re usually so painful and kind of worthless!

That guy is totally ranting about how BIGBANG has not yet had a post-military comeback in any capacity.

“I MEAN, CAN G-DRAGON PUT DOWN THE NIKES AND PIC UP A MIC??”

Here’s Chooch and me in the fifth row, I look so thrilled, lol.

OK I’m not just saying this because it’s Wildwood but I really think this was the least worst boomerang I’ve been on. It was surprisingly smooth, but still terrifying. Also, I didn’t know this until recently, but the Sea Serpent is the very first Vekoma boomerang built in the US! Did I run back in line as soon as I got off? I mean…no. But it was still really satisfying on some nostalgic level to ride this coaster that looms in the background of so many old Wildwood pictures.

Goddamn. Life was really good in that moment, as simple as that sounds.

Chooch and I rode this seagull pedal ride thingie and it was fun but he was pedaling too fast and I was trying to enjoy the scenery.

We had to stop because an actual seagull was on the track!

View of the Great White from my perch on the suspended seagull.

When Chooch wasn’t being summoned by the arcades, he was cruising the piers for carnival games to play. This was definitely his scene.

Henry the Tight Wad got a ticket card and put enough money on it to ride the carousel and Great White, what a Dad.

LOVE THIS NEW ADDITION TO OUR CAROUSELFIE WALL!

Runaway Tram!

WATCH THE TRAM CAR PLEASE. I can’t believe it’s the same recording as it was in the 80s. I can’t even be annoyed about it.

This ride was just the absolute cutest! I think it only opened very recently, like in 2019 or 2020. It’s an adorable addition.

Oh god, an SLC (suspended looping coaster), another of my “favorites.”

Another major plus for Morey’s Piers is: THE RIDE ATTENDANTS AND OPERATORS ARE FUCKING AMAZING. Like, Disney-levels of enthusiasm. They smile and wave as every ride starts and you can’t help but feel inspired/obligated to wave back. Well, unless you’re Henry. And they have a program where students from other countries can work there so you get to interact with people from all over the world and it’s just really cool.

It’s been a long time since I went to Indiana Beach, but from what I remember, they have a similar situation  there too. I remember talking to various ride operators with Eastern European-sounding accents and thinking that was so odd and cool since we were in some remote part of Indiana.

But yeah, everyone we encountered from the rides to the pizza parlors seemed genuinely happy to be there.

Even their Wild Mouse is adorably-themed!

OK so as mentioned earlier, I really miss the old dark rides that used to be so synonymous with Morey’s Piers (was it even called that back when I was a kid?!? I can’t remember! I do know that they had more piers back then, that’s for sure). There are three there currently, but two are closed for the season (because of covid/staffing, I assume). Dante’s Dungeon was open though and it was so good! From the creepy ride operator in a pagan-ish robe who whispered, “Are you ready?” before sending our car into the dungeon to the person who jump-scared us from the shadows on  the other side, this was a dark ride that would make any purist happy. And if you remember, dark rides are really where my heart lies, not coasters. So when we find a place that has a good coaster collection and dark rides? Henry, hold my phone. Mama’s going in.

The last coaster we needed was Great White and I was so stoked for this!

I love a good wooden coaster, and this one is an actual delight. Plus, it goes off the boardwalk and onto the beach. What more can you ask for in a wooden coaster? Of course we didn’t wait for Henry so Chooch and I rode without him, leaving him waiting in the station, lol. We were dying because he ended up having a riding companion – some equally-as-old dude who talked to him the whole way up the lift hill and Henry told him about the trip we were on. Henry said, “he’s an enthusiast, too” as he regaled us with the detail of their convo, and Chooch and I were like, “BUT DID WE ASK.”

After this highly anticipated ride that did not disappoint, we walked back to the GOLD CREST NOT THE OLYMPIC BUT THAT’S OK to rest for a bit and then came back for some night action.

God, I love reliving this but it’s also making me mucho sad-o.

Aug 082021
 

I’ve been so excited to finally get to the Wildwood portion of this trip (in real life, and also in blog life too) because it was hands down the most magical time. I am sure anyone reading this is sick of reading about HOW SENTIMENTAL this place is to me but this place is SO SENTIMENTAL TO ME. Some of my earliest memories are from Wildwood because my family (including my grandparents) used to vacation here every summer. I’m not sure why we stopped, but the last time I was here was in 1991, and it makes me sad because my youngest brother Corey would have only been a bit over a year old and has said that he doesn’t really have any memories of this place.

Henry and I had tossed around the idea of vacationing here in the past but then it never panned out for one reason or another, and honestly, as much as I love this place, I was worried that a full week would be overkill. WE.ARE.NOT.BEACH.PEOPLE. I guess I was as a kid, but the thought of spending all day laying on a beach, for multiple days, just sounds horrific to me. I need action and scenery changes. So we decided for my birthday trip that we would spend two nights there and plan everything else around it.

We left our dumb hotel in Baltimore early Wednesday morning (after I pissed around trying to feed a local Mr. Gray Guy* a peanut and didn’t realize that there was a man sitting next to me in his car the whole time spectating me waving a peanut at a tree) and grabbed breakfast at a nearby Sheetz then proceeded to Wildwood!

*(We keep peanuts in the car now for when we run into squirrels away from home, oh my god, we all need help don’t we?)

Ugh but first we had to stop and get Chooch new shoes because he’s an idiot.

But then suddenly we started seeing signs for Wildwood and I was bugging out bad.

Literally started crying when I saw this.

OK I’m not going to get into this because it’s just me being a negative asshole but I got really angry about the place Henry booked and let’s face it, it’s 100% only because it wasn’t one of the places we used to stay when I was a kid and I was FIXATED on that, as I live boldly with one foot constantly in the past. Can’t change, won’t change! So this resulted in me bluffing about how I just wanted to go home and Henry (allegedly *not* bluffing) saying “FINE” and us getting in the car and starting to drive home. We had An Argument about how he is Not My Papppap and cannot afford to give me the Wildwood Trip of My Childhood but that he is Doing the Best That He Can and then after I spat out some torrent of obscenities, the car spoke back to me, “I’m sorry, I cannot find Fuck you Henry you ruin everything you dumb cunt” and then I started laughing so hard that I was crying and Henry turned the car around and we went back to Wildwood and proceeded to have the BEST TIME EVER.

LITERALLY.

THE BEST.

WE ALL GOT ALONG. NO ARGUING. HENRY BOUGHT ME EVERYTHING I WANTED. CHOOCH GOT TO BLOW MONEY IN THE ARCADES.

The Gold Crest 100% wasn’t even bad at all, and Henry if you’re reading this, I’m sorry that I let my emotions control me as usual. It was a struggle for me at first being back there because my Pappap was the greatest person in my whole entire life and I am so totally not over his death and still cry about him often (like right now as I type this) and I low key will admit that this is part of the reason I haven’t been back to Wildwood in over 30 years. I was so worried it wouldn’t hold up, that it was only as Babylonian as it was because my Pappap was there with me, that I had it built up too much in my head and would be disappointed returning there as an adult.

The Gold Crest ended up being perfect for us. It was actually across the street from my beloved Olympic, which, to be honest, might have actually been a let down had we stayed there because shortly after our last time there, they rebranded from the Olympic Motor Inn to the Olympic Island Beach Resort or something and that might have fucked with my brain. I think it’s better that we stayed somewhere different and now we can have a “new” traditional place to stay if we ever go back (LOL we are going back ASAP, bitch try and stop me).

I mean, part of the novelty of Wildwood is staying in a room with Golden Girls vibes and this place provided.

Chooch was happy because he got his own room and TV.

Dude. That 80s hotel art. Perfection.

After we got settled in (we were able to check-in early, thank god), we set off for THE BOARDWALK which was a walkable distance from the Gold Crest and the amount of times we’d walk and forth between the boardwalk and our hotel was staggering and is what helped push me past 40,000 steps on our second day in Wildwood!

Here are some pictures of Chooch grudgingly posing in front of the Boardwalk sign with me. He, at this point, still had no idea the fantastical things, sounds, and smells that were about to greet him once we walked up those steps!

In an effort to keep this post from being a novel, I’m just going to post pictures of the boardwalk and do a separate post about the rides at Morey’s Pier. OK, also it’s because I want to drag this out for as long as possible because this is the most happy and excited I’ve been since Korea. So sue me.

That moment when the RIDES BECAME VISIBLE.

Oh shit, you guys, my family was obsessed with “Hot Spot B” when we used to visit, and I have vague memories of sitting on a stool and eating a hotdog while being super anxious to get back to the rides. Hot Spot B isn’t there anymore but the original Hot Spot is, as well as two others. I was so excited to eat here!!

Chooch wasn’t impressed, he never is.

I mean you can’t really go wrong with boardwalk pizza!

I was just sad because they didn’t have any SHIRTS for sale.

Then Chooch got sucked into an arcade like a…Chooch to a Claw Machine.

This carpet gave me slight Gillcrest Gameroom vibes. </3

Chooch reminded me of Corey Haim’s character Sam from The Lost Boys, except that instead of a comic book store on the boardwalk, it was multiple arcades. He’d just text us when he needed more money. LOOK AT HIM IN THERE. Where did my little BABY GO.

Kohr Bros! I 100% do not remember this from my childhood but it must have been there because it says SINCE 1919??

I couldn’t spend a week on the beach, but I could probably spend a week cruising this boardwalk. Everything about it made me so happy.

A rare sighting of Chooch outside of his arcade habitat.

We left the boardwalk around 7:00pm, went back to the room and rested for a bit, and then came back around 9:00pm for some night ride action, which we will get to in the next post!

Literally, every time we walked past the Olympic, I made sure to make some asshole-y comment about how we COULD HAVE been staying there but Henry just blocked me out. There was a hotel nearby that was gutted and I said to Chooch, “I’m surprised he didn’t just have us squatting there for two nights” and then the next day, Henry tried to make a similar joke when we walked past it but Chooch and I both cut him off and said, “YEAH WE ALREADY SAID THAT TRY TO KEEP UP.” It’s amazing that Henry didn’t attempt to dump our bodies in the Atlantic.

I did really like the red door / turquoise curtains aesthetic that the Gold Crest had going for it though.

Morey’s Pier and boardwalk-after-dark recap coming next. Ciao for now!

Aug 022021
 

One of my favorite things about Wildwood as a kid was all the cool ass neon signs along that main drag of motels. I didn’t know that “doo wop” is not just a music genre but also a type of architecture until I watched a Wildwood documentary last year (BRUCE WILLIS IS IN IT). I’m really glad that this stuff is preserved as best as it can be because it’s glorious.

On Thursday night, I was really close to hitting 40,000 for the second time since I started Fitbitting at least 6 years ago, so I made Henry walk around the block and check out the neon signs with me. It really is like a mini-Vegas strip out there.

Here are some of my faves!

You guys I was OBSESSED with the Waikiki when I was little. We always stayed across from it at the Olympic but one year I got my grandparents to be like OMFG OK and we stayed at the Waikiki!! Here’s a picture of MY MOM AND ME having breakfast in the rooftop restaurant!!

Oh man it gave me chills to see this bitch ip close again!!

Then next door is my beloved, my BAE, the Olympic. This place definitely rebranded since I was last there. It used to be the Olympic Motor Inn and definitely did not have that intense neon bling clinging to the side. Damn.

That’s originally where I wanted to stay when we were planning this trip a few mths ago but holy shit, rates were poppin’ off. Was it that expensive when my family used to go?? Jesus.

So dumb Henry ended up getting a room across the street at the GOLD CREST which was fine I guess (I mean, don’t worry, I still threw a massive it when we got there on Wednesday but that’s a story for another day, Mary) but THE SIGN WAS NOT COOL!!

And the rooms didn’t have cool colored lights outside of them, like our neighbor the Cara Mara. I was really angry about this and finally Henry said, “SORRY. NEXT TIME I’LL ASK ‘excuse me, but can you tell me what you’re night time light package is like?’ BEFORE I COMMIT TO A HOTEL.”

Lol. He gets so mad!

Meanwhile:

The last time I crossed the 40,000 step threshold was EXACTLY four years ago when we were in Toronto for the GDragon concert!

Jul 222021
 

Alternately titled: Tune-Triggered Thoughts

Hasn’t been there in the longest time

The other day, Billy Joel’s “Longest Time” was playing on the radio in my bedroom and it reminded me of this time when I was in high school. I can’t remember who was looking for what in the kitchen, but all I said was simply, “That hasn’t been there in the longest time.”

My dad LOST HIS MIND over this. To this day, I still don’t understand why it was funny (probably like how no one understands my MAN WHO CROSSED THE STREET story) but he mocked me endlessly, repeated, “It hasn’t been there in the longest time,” in this hideous Valley Girl accent that I 100% DID NOT HAVE.

He would bust out with this slogan for years, at any given moment, similar to how he thought it was hilarious that my fifth grade class sang a song about our elementary school on graduation night, to the tune of Cameo’s Word Up, and he would walk around saying, “Gill Hall, yeah, Gill Hall” and just fucking lose his mind in laughter. I mean, just a few years ago, he was telling me about how he got a part-time at Gill Hall, and then he interrupted himself to rap/sing, “YEAH, GILL HALL.”

And this is why I think it’s so interesting that, even though he is not my bio dad, I am SO MUCH LIKE HIM IT’S WEIRD. Especially considering we didn’t even get along for more than half of my childhood.

Fuck the Locomotion

While making breakfast one day recently, I was listening to an 80s dance hits playlist on Spotify because, you know, when in the 80s kitchen…

Yadda yadda.

Everything was going great but then Kylie Minogue’s cover of the Locomotion came on and I was suddenly swaddled in a rage Snuggie. I hadn’t heard this song in quite some time, and the first thing it did was send me flying back to the late 80s, the finished basement of Elisabeth….we’ll call her BOLTZ. Back then, Elisabeth (never Beth, never Liz, never BETTY god forbid) and I were pretty good friends. I used to go to her house sometimes on weekends  to do crafts or whatever, maybe it was only one time actually, because the only memory I have of that was making beaded bracelets while watching Labyrinth for the very first time. Now that I think about it, I remember not liking her house because her dad was such a creep. His name was Donald (my dad called him The Donald, a la Trump, because he acted super high and mighty just because he was in charge of his father-in-law’s plumbing company, AND he used to talk in a Donald Duck voice at  my younger brother’s soccer games to make the kids like him I guess, who the fuck knows. Even back then I knew he was super lame.

Where was I…oh, in The Donald’s basement. This actually has nothing to do with him, so if you’re waiting for me to suddenly un-repress some gross lecherous memory about The Donald showing me his “plunger” in the basement, well….wrong blog but maybe I’ll write a flash fiction about that someday!?!? The real memory I had was being in Elisabeth Boltz’s basement for her birthday sleepover. I can’t remember if she was giving CASSINGLES away as prizes, or if everyone received one as a party favor, just that I was PISSED because I wanted Electric Youth and I wound up with the fucking LOCOMOTION instead. I mean,  it’s not like I couldn’t have just gone to fucking Waves or National Record Mart with MOMMY WARBUCKS and just buy the whole damn tape, cassingle be damned, but it was the whole point that I wanted ELECTRIC YOUTH right then and there, call me Veruca, I don’t care.

So now I’m standing in the kitchen, burning my eggs, fuming at this memory, even more pissed because I’m screaming ECHO, CHANGE THE FUCKING SONG, NEXT SONG YOU DUMB CUNT and it’s still just Kylie braying on and on about this brand new dance and now I’m thinking about Miss-Never-Bess Boltz and how in high school she was uber preppy and dating some star senior football player when we were still underclassmen, and she would roll up to school in some too-nice car looking like a goddamn equestrian and we never had a falling out or anything, but we definitely went different directions (my family was still way richer than hers but who’s laughing now, definitely not me HAHAHAHA ughhhh). I honestly don’t think we ever really talked in high school and it always drove me crazy that people thought she was so RITZY AND CLASSY when she had a perpetual sinus infection and would sniffle SO WETLY all of the time and her face always had that dripping faucet sag to it.

I have a spotty recollection of this part but Janna corroborated parts of it so I think this really happened, but at some point during senior year, one of our mutual friends approached me and started asking me questions about my vegetarian diet. The HARD QUESTIONS like: “what kind of supplements do you take” and other such bullshit. And I’m like, “Bitch do I look like I take supplements, I live off of cheese sandwiches for god’s sake” and it turns out they were asking me this because ELISABETH-IN-THE-RIDING-STIRRUPS over there had been looking uber pale and sickly as of late and claimed it was because she had “become a vegetarian” and her friends were calling bullshit on  this and it turns out they were right to question her new lifestyle because it turns out she wasn’t just not eating meat anymore, she wasn’t eating anything AT ALL.

I don’t know how that ever panned out, if all the PREPS had an intervention at the country club or whatever, but I guess she didn’t die because several years  post-high school, Chooch’s estranged godfather was living in some moderately high-class apartment building downtown and one day he saw her in the lobby of his building because of course she would happen to live there.

“SHE LOOKED ELEGANT AS EVER,” he gushed to me, and I was like, “OH COME THE FUCK ON, MISS SNIFFLES MCGEE OVER THERE?” I don’t care how elegant her clothes were, she was probably dripping snot all over them.

Well, now Present Day Erin is REALLY thinking long and hard about this girl so I had to look her up on the Internet because this is how modern people live their lives now. We put on a Netflix series that we’re barely paying attention on fall down “preppy anorexic fake equestrian” rabbit holes. I couldn’t find anything on her based on her maiden name, so I really did a deep-dive into The Donald and on his dumb plumbing website, I saw a mention of his SON-IN-LAW so now I had her married name and OF COURSE she’s a lawyer now but the best thing ever is that she looks like Hillary Clinton from the mid-90s in her professional headshot and that’s not a dig on 1990s Hillary Clinton, but a dig on the fashion and hair choices of someone who people called CLASSY and ELEGANT back in the day.

And she still has that sneezy look to her, too.

Anyway, thanks Kylie Minogue.

(Honestly I don’t even have anything against this person, not even in high school. We were far from nemeses – we just weren’t really anything to each other at all. Of course, when I told my mom about my findings, she was like, “What was her mom’s name, she was a bitch” LOL.)

Jul 162021
 

Henry and those FUCKING SOCKS, tho.

Anyway!

Our Saturday was very bipolar. Well, in my head it was.

Or did I mean to say, I’M very bipolar?

Not Saturday.

Never mind.

It started out with Henry showing up at some bakery in Squirrel Hill, the name of which is escaping me, because they’re always going on and on via Instagram about how fantastical their chocolate babka is. Apparently, they use coffee and cardamom in their recipe and hello, I, Erin Rachelle, love these flavors. But every time Henry goes there, they’re sold out.

This time he was determined and got there before they even opened and managed to snag an entire loaf of the elusive baked good, even though we only wanted, like, a piece or two.

Nevertheless, he strode through the door like the loaf under his arm was actually his knight’s beistle and he had just returned from fighting a war against the Squirrel Hill serfs.

And you know what, you guys?

Not worth the hype.

I mean, the babka, but I guess also kind of Henry too? LOL j/k Henry, don’t be mad, I still need you to finish some projects.

Where was the coffee flavor? And not even a HINT of cardamom. I mean, it didn’t even taste like it was baked with cardamom IN THE SAME ROOM, let alone INSIDE OF IT.

So then he mentioned something about a vegan bakery in New Kensington that recently opened, and that is where the TOP PICTURE comes into play because I was like, “Fuck this babka, let’s go get vegan stuffs.” (Also, I should mention that 350° Bakery has RUINED us for babka because theirs’ is DELECTABLE and basically the only babka worth the calories.

It is also the only other babka I’ve had, so….lol.

IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT BABKA IS: A babka is a sweet braided bread or cake which originated in the Jewish communities of Poland and Ukraine.

Chocolate Babka Recipe | Chocolate Desserts | Food & Wine

(From Food & Wine.)

ALLEGRO! Sorry, that’s the name of the bakery in Squirrel Hill. Allegro. I won’t be back for the babka, but their chocolate chip cookies are immaculate.

We made it to Sweet Alchemy right as the owner was about to close up shop for the day, but she took pity on Henry, who looked so desperate with his tap-tap-taps on her pick-up window. She still had some stuff left so we (well, Henry, I stayed in the car because I didn’t know what was going on and didn’t want to look like a fool knocking on a bakery window) walked away with some pop-tarts, a maple twist thingies, and a blueberry cake donut.

EVERY SINGLE THING WAS A SUGARED MIRACLE SENT DOWN FROM THE OVENS OF HEAVEN (the vegan branch).

Totally worth the drive out there even though we got stuck in traffic on the way back because there was a one-way lane and the road worker guy decided to let an entire biker parade pass through. I was LIVID.

“Bikers are my least favorite kinds of Americans!” I seethed at Henry who kept telling me to calm down which meant that he was about to pretend that our Hyundai Kona was his valiant steed in order to WHITE KNIGHT in style whatever fucking biker gang this was that had the audacity to hold up my day.

“And the women, especially! Ew look at them, all smug and trashy, clutching onto to the distended torsos of their MANS. So gross! FUCK YOU, INSURRECTIONISTS!” I screamed and Henry was like, “ERIN. YOU CANNOT JUDGE. YOU DO NOT KNOW THAT THEY ARE TRUMP SUPPORTERS.”

Oh, trust me, I knew! Just like I knew that if they weren’t PERSONALLY storming the Capitol on January 6th, they were watching it on the TEEVEE in their shanty by the CRICK, cheering it on, hootin’ and hollerin’. Whatever noises biker bitches make, while their burgundy lipsticks spills out into the creped skin around their too-thin lips.

UGGHHHHHHH1!!!!!

“I don’t know why you’re getting so mad about this,” Henry said as one of the bikers roared past with a giant TRUMP flag billowing in his wake.

“I just wish I had a partner who UNDERSTOOD me,” I cried, feeling alone as usual in my unwavering morals.

“Erin, no one will ever understand you,” Henry sighed.

OMG WHY CAN’T THE MOTHERFUCKER JUST WHITE KNIGHT ME FOR ONCE!!??

*deep breath*

Then we went to Target and Henry refused to buy another cardboard cat house “because we’re always tripping over the ones we already have” and huge correction there: not we, but HENRY is always tripping over them because he’s a big ass fe-fi-fo-fum oaf.

Somewhere along the way, “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk came on and I got angry all over again, this time because I was reminded of how GWEN STEFANI and her shitty cat mewling voice ruined this song for me for a long time. “She sucks,” I said to my forever audience of one, Henry. “And so does Blake Shelton. What an asshole.” Henry just kept driving in silence, probably hoping I didn’t turn on him next.

I also ranted about BTS and then cried about BIGBANG. It was a very full day of me desperately needing to hear the sound of my voice, I guess. That’s what happens when you’re in the house mostly alone all day and only communicating with your co-workers via Jabber and your teenage son sleeps until noon and then leaves the house in search of something better.

Sigh.

Then things got better that night when I made Henry watch Fear Street 1994 – it was EVERYTHING I NEEDED AT THAT MOMENT, HOLY SHIT. I mean, mostly for the music. There was one scene in the beginning that opened with Bush’s Machinehead in the background and I was AWASH, A-MOTHERFUCKING-WASH, with nostalgia. 1995, tooling around Southside with Lisa and Melissa a/k/a Martha a/k/a Poptart, rolling my eyes at their penchant for the grungey alternative things in life when I was a flamboyant yo-girl, though secretly really into their music too. Anyway, Martha LOVED Bush and I can’t believe how long it’s been since I heard any of their music, so of course after the movie was over (Simon & Kate FOREVER), I yanked Henry down the Bush rabbit hole with me, and then suddenly I was ranting with foaming lips about Gwen Stefani for the second time in one day. BUSH WAS SO MUCH BETTER THAN NO DOUBT AND HER SHITTY SOLO CRAP AND I FEEL LIKE MARRYING HER RUINED GAVIN ROSSDALE THERE I SAID IT GOD FORBID I’M SIDING WITH A MANS EVEN THOUGH WE HATE MANS IN THIS HOUSE.

(We do, me and the cats. We have a jingle that goes, “We hate mans, we hates mans, we hate mans in this house.” It’s really good, you’d have to hear it.)

I’d like to take a moment here to apologize to all of the McCoy’s patrons who had to suffer through me singing “Come Down” during karaoke every Saturday night in 2001/2002 except for my mortal enemy Christine–I hope that song haunts her in her sleep to this day lol.

Also, in that movie, they played a split second of White Town’s “Your Woman” and I was fucking drop-kicked back to 1997, driving along Rt 51 with Lisa in her Jeep, flashing a Polaroid of Psycho Mike’s weener out the window at every car next to us at red lights while this song played in the background, much to Lisa’s horror. Vintage Dicks Pics, yo.

Anyway, I would like to end this on a posi-note by sharing a live version of my favorite Bush song. i only just discovered this video the other day because now my YouTube feed is full of recommended Bush videos, in addition to the Korean and roller coaster mainstays. When I first moved into this house, I used to listen to the Cafe Del Mar remix of this song over and over and cry like a basic bitch.  When he says “we’ll wrap the world around it” I lose it every time and I couldn’t really tell you why but don’t worry,  you don’t have to deal with my sensitive music triggers.

Henry does.

LOL.

Shit this song is so good. Blake Shelton is a HUUUUUUUGE downgrade, overall.

Jun 252021
 

These are some things that happened way back in Baby Face Erin’s life that I still think about occasionally like wow what an impact, who knew.

The Acting Class

In the winter of 7th grade, my friend Liz convinced me to take some kind of acting class with her at the Pittsburgh Play House. I can’t for the life of me imagine why I would have said yes, if my mom forced me to do it or if Liz just made that compelling of a case for it. Because I have never in my life been interested in acting, not even when I was super little and my grandparents used to say I should be in soap operas because of the way I could turn on the tears (and it’s true even in present day that I am a master class in drama but ONLY ON MY TERMS, THANK YOU).

OK so now I’m taking these classes with Liz, I think they are on Saturday afternoons or maybe mornings, and the class is small and cold. I vaguely remember us being the younger people in the class and failing miserably when we had to pair up and shadow each other with our eyes closed. There were legit strangers in the class who succeeded in this exercise better than Liz and me who were, at the time, best friends and spent a ton of time together. Well, we definitely could not feel each others QUOTE UNQUOTE ENERGY, that’s for sure.

But the whole reason I’m telling you this now is that there is ONE INCIDENT involving ONE PERSON that flashes through my mind every now and then and I wonder now if it actually seared a bit of trauma into my brain. Anyway, here is what happened. There was one guy in the class who at the time seemed so old, like he could have been in his 20s, but now that I’m thinking about it I bet he was only around 17 or 18. One of our assignments was that we all had to make up a skit (and no I have no recollection of what my skit was, I either blacked it out or quit going before it was my turn to perform, either option seems very On Brand). The skit that the guy acted out for us involved a poker game that got super heated, explicit, and VIOLENT. I remember VIVIDLY that he was was swearing loudly, kicking over chairs, maybe he even flipped over the table?! I just know that I was TERRIFIED because it didn’t seem like he was acting at all, but it seemed like he was actually projecting some REAL LIFE aggressions onto us and I knew at that moment that:

  • this class was not for me
  • I never wanted to play poker

I also vaguely remember the acting teacher stepping in and gently putting a moratorium on the skit.

The reason I was thinking about this recently was because we were in the car a few weeks ago going to Buffalo and, coincidentally, Neneh Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance” came on and I always associate her with this time in my life because that same year she had released a new album that I used to play on repeat because IT WAS SO GOOD and I started playing some of the songs off it for Henry that day and he was like, “No, I really promise you that none of these songs sound familiar to me at all” probably because this was when he was in his COUNTRY PHASE and playing VOLLEYBALL with the GUYS AFTER WORK while I was in MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Anyway, my favorite song from that album was MOVE WITH ME.

This inspired me to message Liz on Instagram and ask her:

  • if she remembers this
  • did this even really happen

And she confirmed that yes, she too remembers it. We also reminisced about the time her mom took us to eat at the Elephant Bar after one of the classes, which honestly was worth the torture of those classes because that restaurant was the best place we had in our little area of the South Hills and I’m actually surprised no one rioted the day it closed. THE CEILING FANS WERE MADE TO LOOK LIKE ELEPHANT EARS, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! THEY HAD THE BEST PEANUT BUTTER PIE! IT WAS LIKE EATING ON THE GOLDEN GIRLS’ LANAI!!

When the Elephant Bar closed, by dad went and stole the big metal ELEPHANT BAR PARKING sign and gave it to me. It was in my kitchen forever and now it’s in the garage. I’m hoping someday when/if I ever buy a house, to have a good spot to hang it. It’s huge!

Do You Even Know How To Answering Machine?

You know how when something humiliating happens to you, that’s always the memory that stays the most VIVID, like fucking TECHNICOLOR VISION, in your goddamn memory pouch? Never mind all those blissful, happy moments that you want to sew into your hippocampus like a serial killer patching up his lampshade with victim skin. This isn’t the MOST HUMILIATING thing that has happened to me by a longshot but it was one of the first ones that really made a lasting impression on me and I think about it A LOT, more than a normal human ever should, because I am just pathetic:

I was in elementary school, maybe in 2nd grade? 3rd? And I was calling my BEST FRIEND CHRISTY who never made me take an acting class, and for the first time ever, I was met with the fuzzy SORRY WE MISSED YOU greeting of an ANSWERING MACHINE. At the sound of the beep, PANIC SET IT. I had no idea what to do! So I hung up! Then I called back, prepared this time for the BEEP, and ready to say “HI CHRISTY IT’S ERIN CALL ME BACK” but instead I started talking before the beep!!! The THIRD TIME, I think I might have said “Hi Erin” instead of Christy, and then made some sort of painful, strangulated cry and hung up again. I so vividly remember doing this AD NAUSEUM because I wasn’t comprehending that my fuck-ups were STILL BEING RECORDED AND SAVED even though I wasn’t saying, “OK BYE” at the end. Like hello CHILD ERIN, answering machines can’t intuit when to step in and erase someone’s ERRONEOUS RAMBLINGS. Otherwise, we never would have gotten that classic FRIENDS episode where Monica leaves a message on Richard’s answering machine!

YOU KNOW!?!!

Yeah, so I left probably between 5-10 messages where I cut  myself off with frustrated exhales and screams and no one ever mentioned it to me but I bet her parents or older brother listened to them all and snickered before telling her to call her neurotic friend back and maybe consider writing her a script to use next time she calls.

I still panic to this day when I have to leave a message for someone, especially at work, thanks CHRISTY’S ANSWERING MACHINE.

In case you were wondering, my face was flushed and I was so disgusted with myself while writing this DUMB STUPID IDIOT MEMORY UGHHHHH BEEP.

Jun 092021
 

Oh SHOOT are you guys in for a treat (“You’re not,” says Henry). I found Vacations with Erin Vol. 3 in the attic (thankfully before the Man in the Attic came back for seconds, j/k I think one of my dogs chewed on this when I still lived at home) the other day when I was looking for old books to drop off at one of the Little Free Libraries down the street from me and so tonight I flipped open to a random page and started to read aloud to Henry, which is truly his favorite thing ever, listening to me fast-talk through super dramatic episodic capsules of my youth.

I landed on a page from when I was in Cordoba with my aunt Sharon in 1992 and she kept ditching me (I was 12!!!) for other people she liked better in our tour group. OK, here it goes:

***

[Sharon’s] back and she wants me to go on a stupid gay [EDITOR’S NOTE: sorry!! I was 12 and this was the 90s, I don’t use that word in that way anymore!!!!] carriage ride w/ her, Janet, Alisha, & Athena. NOT!! I wanted to go for a walk not a group gathering on a carriage. SHE can go, since she ♥s deciding things for the both of us. Well, I’m sick of her little ideas. She can go mingle by herself w/o me. ALone. She won’t even notice that I’m not there. I’d feel left out like I normally do when we’re w/ THEM. [EDITOR’S NOTE: I vaguely remember Alisha and Athena being in their early 20s and getting ALL OF THE ATTENTION everywhere we went and me, as a spoiled Leo, could not fucking handle the injustice of it all] Sharon would probably treat me like a child like she usually does when THEY’RE around. I wish she’d just leave. Good, there she goes. Everytime we’re gonna go somewhere by ourselves, we usually end ↑ in a group. I absolutely hate that. I wish Pappap & Grandma were here. Then I wouldn’t be so bored. I wish I could call them, but it would cost them too much. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Um, my Pappap was literally a millionaire, lol.] And I don’t wanna complain to them anyways. Hey, she’s back. Oh, she just went to the bathroom. You’d think she’d take the hint since I’m not talking to her. Why doesn’t she LEAVE? I could have stayed home & she wouldn’t have cared. She just uses me as a companion until like, the first day. Cuz then she makes frenz & totally drops me & acts like I’m just a mere child & she’s like my guardian or something [EDITOR’S NOTE: I mean, this was basically the nature of our relationship, so….] A babysitter – that’s it. Oh, now she’s trying to suck ↑.

Ugh. I was laying ↓ & she came over & said, “Are you mad at me? Tell the truth. Do you feel like I’m neglecting you?” She wanted the truth so I said, “Since day one” & she goes, “THEN TO HELL W/ THIS VACATION. I THINK THIS IS THE END OF YOU & I GOING ON VACATIONS TOGETHER.” She has quite a lot of nerve! She’s gone now but before she left she kept trying to suck ↑ by asking me if I wanted a churro. Ha! Yeah rite. Give it ↑. She’s trying to get me even fatter but I don’t know why. Aren’t I fat enuf?

Well, it’s only 10:00 but I might as well go to sleep now – what else is there to do in this dungeon cell?

—THE NEXT DAY—

Today we leave for Madrid. A six hour drive. Let’s see how long I last. Last nite I finally fell asleep after many distractions. First, the TV kept going ↑ in volume, & then Sharon’s makeup bag fell off the bathroom counter & it was SO loud. “Elvira” was on & it brought back memories of how Daddy used to make us watch her Halloween special every year. I don’t know what time Sharon came back. She was probably having so much—-

***

And then it continues on into VACATIONS WITH ERIN: VOL 4, which I do not have access to right now because it’s tucked away in a trunk and it hurts my back to open it so CLIFFHANGER. But yeah, that was a little peek into how fantastic it was to travel with me back then! (Somewhere, Henry is reading this, eyebrows a’quiver, thinking, “BACK THEN??”)

Wow, that was fun. I like transcribing. Maybe I will do this more often and then you guys can feel just as tortured and violated as Henry does when I cry out VACATION JOURNAL STORY TIME! and he gets this really scared rabbit look in his eyes. His favorite part of tonight’s story time was when I got to the part where I found out Janet, a lady on our tour, says the word “decrepit” too and then I interrupted my reading to scream, “I USED TO SAY THAT WORD ALL THE TIME DO YOU KNOW WHY BECAUSE SCOTT D*MBAUGH SAID THAT WORD ONCE IN 7TH GRADE AND I WAS OBSESSED WITH HIM AND SO I STARTED SAYING IT TOO AND IT BECAME MY FAVORITE WORD” and then I went back to the reading the next line which was LITERALLY, “I thought me and Scott were the only ones who knew what that word meant! SIKE!”

LOL I WAS SO OBSESSED WITH HIM (I mean, he was the first person I stalked, so) THAT I EVEN NAME-DROPPED HIM IN MY VACATION JOURNAL WHEN I WAS THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY IN SPAIN. That is true, dedicated obsession. Also, I stuck an asterisk in his last name up there because I wrote about him once on here and one of his CO-WORKERS FOUND IT and told him!? AND THE BLOG POST INCLUDED A FUCKING PICTURE OF AN ASSIGNMENT THAT I KEPT WHEN HE WAS MY SCIENCE PARTNER IN 8TH GRADE BECAUSE I WANTED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS HANDWRITING AND NOW HE KNOWS. That was cool. So cool. Really cool. I’m cool. Totally fucking cool. It’s cool.

Going to google him now TTYL.

May 102021
 

Oh hello, here I am to talk about my Mother’s Day, 2021. It started out BLAH – we were tentatively going to take a mini-road trip to some state park in WV to get away from the 100% rain forecast here in Pittsburgh, but I woke up FEELING LIKE A HORNET. I think I just have this bad habit of expecting the worst on any holiday because I just assume that Henry and Chooch will fail me (to be fair, they usually do lol).

I came downstairs like a little bitch, haughtily declined Henry’s offer to make me breakfast, and instead showered all of MY GOOD ATTITUDE upon the cats and squirrels, a/k/a MY REAL FAMILY.

When I opened the door to refill Buddy’s Bistro (that’s what I call the crate that doubles as a squirrel shelter so they can nosh on their peanuts and sunflower feeds with a roof over their little furry heads when it’s raining), I noticed a plain white envelope on the doorstep:

LOL Henry is such a dork. And I know it was Henry who made it because of the half-assed punctuation. I was still in A MOOD so I didn’t give him a reaction right away. LOL forever a b-r-a-t.

When I was younger, I could steady be in a bad mood for like, days. Nay, weeks. But the older I get, the more tiresome it is! I only have so much energy and I need that for exercising and going on copious walks, not scowling and hissing at everyone who dares to look at me.

Sigh. My edge is really getting dull as I age.

Then Henry said he was going to Lowe’s and I was like THAT IS DUMB until I realized he was going to FINALLY check out different options for what he needs to finally finish my subway sign – he was originally holding out for plexiglass but the price HAS NOT gone down at all thanks to the pandemic making it a hot commodity. I opted to go with him because it was raining so hard and I was too depressed to stay home and also I wanted to get a new houseplant because it’s Mother’s Day and that seems like something a Mother would treat herself with, right? I got this big’gun pot of California Elephant Ears and named him SETH.

Because of The O.C.?

California?

No?

I was annoyed the whole time we were at Lowe’s and the only thing I could think of that would make me feel better at that precise moment was boba so we went to Squirrel Hill because I wanted Kung Fu Tea but they were CLOSED for MOTHER’S DAY but it was OK because Pink Box is across the street and even if that was closed too, there are like 4 other places on that street alone that could have curbed my boba cravings and we also ordered vegan sandwiches at Allegro and went for a short stroll in the rain while waiting for it so that was nice I guess.

Came home and Chooch was like “OMG LOOK! IT’S A MOTHER! ON HER DAY!” and then thrust a homemade card at me which made me laugh because he signed it Sincerely.

I like being his MUM even though he eats in his room which breaks HOUSE RULES but whatever I guess let’s all just whatever we want, ugh.

Meanwhile, I told Chooch (and Henry because Chooch never does shit on his own) that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was the ability to be able to work out to my beloved Jacki Sorensen aerobics tape that I have been unable to use in what feels like 20 years almost because it’s a VHS and Henry was like I CAN DO THIS and was trying to find a VCR to borrow so that he could convert the tape to a computer file and put it on a USB so that I could use the Roku to play it so he asked Hot Naybor Chris who probably thought Henry found his old VINTAGE PORN stash and needed a VCR to have a viewing party and he said he would see if he could find one at his camp whatever that means but then Henry was in the attic looking for something completely unrelated and found my old VCR that we didn’t know still existed!!

So I was able to work out with Jacki last night while wearing my beloved Jacki shirt that my mom got when she attended the actual Jacki Sorensen Danceathon in 1984 at the old Civic Arena!!

I have been a BIG FAN of Jacki Sorensen ever since the 90s when I found my mom’s old VHS of one of her aerobics workouts and even tried to make some of my friends workout with me in my basement when they were sleeping over and I was DRUNK (maybe it was THIS NIGHT???).

The tape came with me (as did the shirt) when I moved out in 1998 and over the years, I used it as sparingly as possible because I was so afraid it would just snap one day. Now that everything in the world seems to be on YouTube, I would check every now and then to see if anyone ever uploaded it but NOPE, NEVER NOT EVEN A LITTLE CLIP.

Then I was doing a walking workout on this one guy’s channel that I really like and one of the songs he used was this one:

I SCREAMED. This song is used in one of my favorite segments from that damn Jacki Sorensen tape and it was at this point where I found the VHS, slapped it on Chooch’s desk, and said, “ALL I WANT FOR MOTHER’S DAY IS FOR YOU TO FIND A WAY FOR YOUR MOMMY TO ENJOY THIS AGAIN.”

“What even is this?” he murmured and then promptly forgot about it because he has teenage dementia.

So I had to coax it out of the recesses of his memory and finally, to Henry he said, “Oh yeah. She wants some weird tape converted to a DVD or something” and no, THAT’S NOT WHAT I SAID, but OK close enough.

And Henry made my wish come true yesterday and I was SO HAPPY and also I still cannot do the “Tom Jones” move which is in like every segment almost. But who doesn’t love a workout that warms up with Barbara Streisand and cools down with Barry Manilow?!

This is what the VHS sleeve looks like but god only knows what happened to mine over the years, it probably disintegrated at some point in the attic:

Amazon.com: Jacki Sorensen's Aerobic Dancing Encore [VHS]: Sorensen,Jacki:  Movies & TV

And that was my Mother’s Day.

P.S. It just now occurred to me that Kung Fu tea had some sort of Mother’s Day promotion happening via their app that I was prepared to take advantage of but then they were closed because it was Mother’s Day. What kind of shady fucking mother-crushing shit is that.

 

Apr 192021
 

I stumbled across this old blog post a few minutes ago and immediately needed to give it a second life because I miss Barb and the shit she says SO MUCH. I also miss being a hockey fanatic.


Alternately titled: Shit Barb Said At the Pens Game, 11/17/15.

Barb texted me Tuesday morning to see if I wanted to go to the game with her that night. I was already en route to work but I was like UM YES?! The only thing that would make me say no to a Pens game is if I was already going to a show that night or extreme illness. I waited until I was no longer in the car with Henry before I texted him: “BTW going to the Pens game with Barb tonight, LOL.” I wanted him to be jealous but instead he was just relieved that he wouldn’t have to come downtown to pick me up from work like he does every single evening because I deserve only the best.

I’m always happy to have the opportunity to hang out with Barb since I don’t get to see her every day at work anymore, and going to a Pens game with her is like the Ultimate Hang Out Scenario. The whole night was amaze: it was Fleury bobblehead night; the seats were fantastic; the PENS WON!; and I got to make fun of nearly everything Barb said all night, which brought back memories of the notebook I used to keep of all the dumb things she used to say when I sat next to her at work. MEM’RIES.

Here are some Barb moments for all you BR aficionados to chew on:

  • We were talking about how much Henry resembles Mandy Patinkin (specifically his character on Homeland) and that sent Barb down a Mandyhole. “How old is Mandy Patinkin, I wonder? Let’s Google it. Oh look, he has his own website! He was born in 1952. When was Henry born? OK so that makes him how many years older than Henry….” I was like “I didn’t come to a hockey game to do math, BARB” so we closed that chapter, each content leaving it as “Henry is years younger than Mandy.”
  • Then Barb made the mistake of telling me that she got out of bed the other night and made a list of all the TV shows she watches. “Then the next day I saw the list and said, ‘Why did I write this? I know what TV shows I watch’ so I threw the list out.” This is the part of the story where Barb, forgetting who she was talking to,  recounted her list to me.  
  • And here’s the part of the night where Barb tells a dumb joke: “Did you know that Fedor Tyutin has a brother named Rutin? Say both names out loud. ROOTIN TOOTIN.”
  • Then I thought she asked me if I was on the rag, but she was actually asking if I had the bag that our bobble heads were in. And then that made me wonder if anyone ever even says that anymore? I does seem like something Barb would ask someone, though.
  • “You know what I think when I see [Pens coach] Mike Johnston? MILQUETOAST,” Barb muttered with contempt. (It’s true though! He is like, as blank and non-descript as Henry’s t-shirts.)

  • Barb was really into this one guy’s pepper pants, so I tried my best to get a clandestine photo as he left the game. Don’t be surprised if you see her wearing her own pair sometime soon.
  • “He’s so weird looking,” Barb sneered, pointing to Scuderi’s headshot in the program. “I think he looks like Glenn!” I argued. “Pfft, maybe Glenn’s UGLY BROTHER.” I had no idea she was so  adverse to Rob Scuderi’s face.
  • A face she is decidedly NOT adverse to is that of Pascal Dupuis. We talked a bit about how she has feelings for him. She gets really flustered about it, too, so you know it’s real. A few days later, I told her that I told Chooch about this and he was like “What do you mean, Barb has FEELINGS for him?!” and then Barb was all humiliated and also nervous because god only knows what Chooch may do with this new knowledge.

  • This has nothing to do with Barb, but there was a moment when I got to be A HERO. As I sat down after we scored the first goal, I noticed something on the ground next to me. I picked it up and asked the lady next to me if it belonged to her. “Oh that’s my INHALER!” she exclaimed. “I could DIE without that!” and then her daughter was all, “THANK YOU FOR PREEMPTIVELY SAVING MY MOM’S LIFE!” and I was like, “No problem, that’s just what I do.” Barb missed this entire exchange because I think this was when she was Googling “where to buy pepper pants.”
  • Barb spun many yarns of the days when the glass was lower and pucks where chucked out into the crowd with greater frequency. “One time I saw a lady get hit in the side of the head. Man, was there a lot of blood.” She looked kind of AROUSED by this memory, though.

IMG_0027.JPG

  • Barb took this terrible picture of me and posted it on Facebook but luckily, everyone was too busy fixating on the man behind us to notice my protruding Leno chin. Anyway, that man wound up having the best, most boisterous Ref heckles and he reminded me of the guy who got Kristy and I kicked out of the Pittsburgh Passion game two summers ago. Barb and I bonded with him and his wife later in the game as they openly and loudly complained of the girls behind them who hadn’t stopped talking about everything but the game from the moment they arrived. “I feel like I’m in Charlie Brown Town. ‘Mwahmwahmwah mwah mwah'” We were laughing so hard, and then later Barb was like, “What was he talking about, anyway?” GOD BARB, try to follow along!
  • Speaking of errant pucks! One flew into the netting near our seats and Barb instinctively ducked. “I SAW THAT! I SAW YOU DUCK!” some old man ridiculed her as he walked past our seats. “God, tell the whole arena, why don’t you,” Barb muttered. “God Barb, it’s like it’s your first hockey game,” I said, getting in one last jab while she was down.

  • When Barb was taking me home, she meant to pull into the church parking lot across the street from my house but undershot the entrance and instead drove into the grass. “Oh my god, I”m so sorry!” she cried. “Are you literally apologizing to God since this is His house?” I asked. But she was just apologizing to me, it turns out, probably because she didn’t want this to go on my blog. YOU’RE WELCOME, BARB!

God, what a great night. I got to see Malkin score two goals (I LOVE HIM, HE REMINDS ME OF MY CAT DON; RIP DON), and laugh at all the ridiculous things Barb said.  Thank you, Barb! You’re the best!

Apr 102021
 

Henry and I went to get plant stuff earlier today in an area that’s about 45 minutes away from us and as we drove past this one shopping center, I casually mentioned that I have never been there. Henry said that’s untrue, that we went to a Subway there once and just like that, super vivid memories came flooding back and I screamed, “OH YEAH IT WAS WHEN WE WENT TO THAT ONE WEIRD PLAYGROUND AND BLAKE AND ALISHA WERE WITH US AND THEN WE WENT TO TCBY” and Henry was like “…………………”

I distinctly remembered the pictures I took that day and found them on Flickr. They’re from August 2009 and somehow, I NEVER posted them on here, nor did I even write about the day because I guess this was back when I had a life and didn’t blog every single fucking thing I did because I had a better understanding back then of the idea that NO ONE CARES.

Well, since I have no energy for anything else right now (I expended a lot of it on the squirrels, picking out flowers, and exercising, aren’t you jealous of my full life?), here are the pictures I took that day because Summer of 2009 Chooch was so fucking cute (and sweaty) and also Blake wasn’t a dad yet which is wild and now Alisha lives in ARKANSAS and probably does not miss me making her pose for stupid pictures.

So proud of these ground apples.

Seriously though this playground has a certain type of vibe, yikes.

Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. Maybe I should start taking out my “real” camera more often like the olden days.

And speaking of Dance Gavin Dance (see: Blake’s shirt), their singer Tilian Pearson has a new solo album out and this video is making me CRAVE A DGD CONCERT.

Mar 292021
 

Oh hello, there. It’s another bland Monday here in Pittsburgh! Henry’s phone just notified him of a picture he took three years ago today and as soon as he asked, “Guess what it is” I knew it was going to be from our first trip to South Korea and I immediately felt extreme sadness but also a sick need to actually see the picture and make my Hanguk yearning half past “sad boy Spotify playlist” more toward “rabbit in a pot” psycho ex-girlfriend.

I don’t make  A LICK of sense anymore but who reading this even cares?!

Anyway, the picture he showed me was from the cable car in Songdo Beach, Busan and I felt such a warm rush of nostalgia (or possibly my first ever hot flash). I’m re-sharing this because it was such a pretty day and this post deserves more love.

***

Chooch: Did you write about how I found a dead crab?

Me: No, I didn’t know you found a dead crab.

Chooch, incredulous at my oversight: Yes! And then I buried it!!

God, maybe if he would share these tales on my blog like I’ve asked him to, I would know! And so would you!

After strolling along the Songdo cliffs for an hour or so, we made it to Ansan Park where one of the cable car loading stations was located. Guys, if you are ever in Busan, I highly recommend walking one way and taking the cable cars the other way—if you don’t like hills, then maybe take the cable cars up, though! That last bit was pretty laborious. We got the best of both worlds doing it this way and it was such an enjoyable way to spend a Friday morning! In fact, I don’t even think we argued at all?!

Before we boarded the cable car, Henry had to dispute the price with the ticket lady who overcharged us. I didn’t go with him because I was afraid he’d embarrass me. Aside from that little snafu, everything went smoothly! I read reviews online that said this place was not foreigner-friendly and I have no idea what they meant because this was Tourist Central.

Henry: “NAPTIME.”

Chooch was mad because he was trying to make an Instavid and Henry was junking it up with his booming voice so Chooch had to post it without sound, lol.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg74ghEjOQv/?taken-by=butt_jam

I’m generally terrified of cable cars but goddammit this was so worth it!

That fucking Peachy Boi. Did I mention that since we were leaving that day, we checked out of the hotel before setting off for Songdo, so once again Chooch and I had our entire Korean lives strapped to our backs while Henry carried nothing. Anyway, Chooch was hand-carrying Peachy Boi because there wasn’t enough room in either of our backpacks and he made me hold him for a second when we climbing the hill to Ansan Park. I dramatically opened my hand and let Peach Boi fall to the ground and Chooch started screaming like I just kicked a Corgi and Henry was like WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING BACK THERE?!!?!?

You had to be there.

You can see the walkway over there on the left. I miss it!

Obligatory “Out Here in Busan” selfie.

FAMILY PHOTO, LOL.

We wanted to explore more of the area near Busan Tower after this, so we had to take another bus back. I was nervous that I didn’t have enough funds left on my T-Money card, and I kept panicking about it. Henry was like, “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT” and for some reason, this became another Henryism that Chooch and I latched on to and we were doubled-over in an alley near Songdo Beach, crying in laughter, while Henry stormed off without us.

But guess what guys great news! I had enough funds to get on the bus.

The following portion of this blog post will be photos from our afternoon in Yongdusan Park and the surrounding areas.

You could never go hungry in Korea, guys. We are notorious for arguing over restaurants when on vacation because Chooch and I are so picky and I’m one of those people who will say things like, “It has a bad vibe” or “I didn’t like how the hostess looked at me” or “I don’t feel right in here” so then we leave and Henry is like FML and then we roam around like zombies forever looking for somewhere that meets our specific qualifications and I’m not going to lie, there have been times when we eat from a vending machine and then go to bed angry.

But in Korea, there are freaking food stalls and carts EVERYWHERE!

We ate at one of those aforementioned food stalls because I heard that Busan’s ttkeokbokki is different from Seoul’s, and it really is! The sauce is a deeper color (and supposedly spicier but like I mentioned before, I think I burnt my mouth to the point of no return because I rarely taste spice anymore unless it’s like something deadly) and the ttkeok itself is longer. I loved it! And I appreciated that the old lady who served it to me made the universal “very spicy, hot hot” motion, but I slurped those motherfuckers down like the world was going to end in 2 minutes.

Chooch had a plate of twigum (fried foods) and he was so happy because one of the options was a hardboiled egg, and this was how I learned that my son loves hardboiled eggs which I guess I would know if I spent more time in the kitchen?

That lady was so sweet!

I don’t know what Henry got. Chicken maybe?

Chooch got strawberry rolled ice cream after but I was holding out for more ssiat hotteok.

We didn’t go up into the tower but it was still fun to explore the area around it.

I posted some pictures from this area while we were on the train back to Seoul that evening.

That “sorry I never told you all I wanted to say” heart lock, though… :(

We did some last minute shopping after this (I went into The Saem with the intent of buying one Choco Pie handcream, and then, $100 later….)

It just happened that way.

They have really cute guys who stand outside of the beauty shops, holding signs, and yelling adorable things to lure you in, OK?! And the salesgirl who followed me around wasn’t just suggesting things for me, she was literally telling me what I was going to buy and I was so weak, so so so weak. JUST MAKE ME PRETTY! I’LL DO ANYTHING!

(Jeannie did say that I looked 10 years younger when I came back though, so thanks Korea!)

In line for some ssiat hotteok!

I didn’t buy these and I have regrets.

Chooch bought a knock-off Supreme shirt while we were here because apparently I was supposed to supervise his packing before we left Pittsburgh and I did not do this so he was running out of clean clothes to wear, lol.

By then it was around 4pm and we had to head back to Busan Station and catch our KTX back to Seoul.

We hung out at Pascucci Cafe so Chooch could charge his dumb phone because god forbid he couldn’t watch YouTube videos for the entire 2 and a half hour train ride!

It was a whirlwind 24 hours in Busan and I really hope to make it back someday and give it a proper tour!

Feb 262021
 

Oh why hello there. Warning: this is going to be completely scattered. I mean, when is it not. But you know.

  1.  Math Blasting Myself in the Foot

OK OK OK, listen. It’s no big secret that I was a Big Spoiled B when I was a kid. Good thing that didn’t shape who I am as an adult, amirite guy? Lol. So you’ll understand why I was SUPER PISSED when my Aunt Sharon, who was like my second mom and did her fair share in helping my grandparents spoil me rotten (hence the rotten apple tattoo I have on my arm), told me that her goddaughter Nicky was getting a computer for Christmas.

Now, I HATED Sharon’s goddaughter, probably because I didn’t really understand what that even meant to be a goddaughter, but also because she was only a year older than me and I was supremely jealous anytime Sharon did anything for her. (And it wasn’t even that often! Nicky’s mom was Sharon’s friend and they hung out so infrequently that I think I only actually met Nicky once or twice and just remembered that she was a GINGER.) Clearly, Sunday School wasn’t doing a great job with keeping the hate out of my heart.

So this was back when I was in 2nd grade, in 1987, and home computers weren’t what they are today, obviously, and I had never even wanted one until now that NICKY was getting one, what a dumb bitch! I wanted a computer too, suddenly! I mean, what–no, I had wanted a computer before Nicky, like since before I was BORN, what are you talking about, this wasn’t fair! I was already fuming about this, but to add salt to the wound, Sharon was like, “COME TO THE COMPUTER STORE WITH ME AND HELP ME PICK OUT A GAME FOR NICKY SINCE YOU ARE BASICALLY THE SAME AGE.” Oh.my.fucking.god. I was LIVID about this, like Firestarter-levels of fury. But I let her drag me along to this dumb computer store which no longer exists but we sometimes drive past its former location and every so often I have flashbacks and wonder where that dumb bitch Nicky is today.

ANYWAY!!! So we go to this idiotic store and I’m being SUCH A CUNT and rejecting all of Sharon’s suggestions. Then, I see this totally boring-looking game called MATH BLASTER and imagined Nicky tearing open Sharon’s meticulous giftwrap-job, expecting some Sharon-level present (Sharon always gave the best presents) but instead seeing some dumb computer game that was just an extension of school. Yay, now you can come home from school and do more school! Dumb bitch, that’s what you deserve.

So Sharon was like, “OK I trust  your judgment” or whatever, probably something like that, and she paid for it with her CHARGE CARD probably or maybe wrote a CHECK, because 1986, while I stood there glaring, with my arms folded across my chest I’m sure because this was my standard pout pose. (It might still be, ask Henry.)

Imagine my surprise that Christmas when, after I already opened like 80 gifts because my grandparents loved me best, my Pappap was like, “OH WOW ERIN I WONDER WHAT ALL THESE GIFTS ARE” after unveiling a series of boxes clumped together off to the side of the sun porch, where we often celebrated our Christmases at my grandparents’ house.

My very own Apple II GS and a printer!

And then there was a smaller box, but you already know.

Math Blaster.

Turns out Nicky wasn’t the one getting the computer after all, that was just Sharon’s ruse to see….what kind of games I would want.

WHO’S LAUGHING NOW.

I don’t remember what made this memory pop into my head but the other night when Henry and I were getting ready for bed, I just started babbling about it and he was like “……………” and then I went to bed angry at the recollection of that FUCKING GAME. I was so bad at it!!

Math Blaster Plus Gameplay Pc Game 1987 - Cute766

2. G-Dragon + Jennie

Is it true (okidokido)? At first I was like, “This seems false” because I just can’t picture him with someone like her, and you know obviously I’m SO CLOSE to both of them that I am qualified to make these types of assessments. My friend Veronica speculated that it could be a publicity stunt because maybe GD has an album coming out and I was like DARE TO DREAM because we VIPs are hungry over here, guys. BIGBANG needs to throw us a bone here soon.

But I dunno, it seems like it could be true and if it is, it’s pretty fucking adorable. I mean, they have known each other for quite some time and I know a lot of us were holding out hope that it would be him and one of the girls from 2NE1 (though I personally shipped him with I.U.!), it doesn’t matter as long as both parties are happy! Honestly, when I saw I worry about GD everyday, I’m not being facetious.

Also, my coworkers emailing me to see if I’m OK with this is the sweetest thing ever!

 

3. Bobo Bobolinski

My dad was good friends with this dude who had 4 sons and the one that was my age was my dad’s godson (oh boy, here we go again!) except that I actually liked this kid. Our families hung out a lot at cookouts, birthday parties, etc., but the one who was my age, Shawn, was the one who was with us the most because even though he was the same age as me, he got along real well with my younger brother Ryan. Plus, you know, the whole godson thing – my dad was always inviting him to Kennywood with us and things like this.

Anyway, my mom texted me a recent picture of all 4 boys with their wives and I was like HOLY SHIT THEY ARE SO OLD, OMG THAT MEANS SO AM I. I haven’t seen any of those guys since I was in high school, because my parents eventually separated and then divorced, so there were no more fun hangouts, but seeing that picture made me miss those days SO MUCH.

Shawn was ALWAYS at our house during the summer of ’92 – it’s when we had a French exchange student staying with us and is still to this day the best summer I ever had. This was also the summer that my dad bestowed upon Shawn a nickname that has stuck so well, that I actually hesitated before typing “Shawn” throughout this entire section. One day, we had taken the dumb French kid to Laurel Caverns, which is like a rite of passage for kids in any kind of Scouts-type group and also just fun for a basic family outing too. While we were there, Shawn slipped and smacked his face off one of the rock walls of the cavern, inspiring my dad to blurt out, “Good job, Bobo.” Then later, I can’t remember if it was the same day or not because I actually wasn’t there for this one, my dad had Bobo, my brother Ryan, and that dumb French kid at a place called Ohio Pyle, where once again, Bobo slipped and smacked his face off of rocks, so now the name Bobo had solidified, now with the surname of Boboliski.

Now, this was also the summer of the Atlanta Olympics so this was the backdrop for many of memories that summer, most notably the time my BFF Christy was over and we were all casually watching gymnastics. I remember Bobo laying on his side on the floor, in front of the coffee table, and saying, “Shannon Miller is a good gymnast.” Literally, that was all he said, just some stale statement, superlative-free, about his opinion of one Shannon Miller. Well, too bad he said this in the presence of Christy and me because we turned it into the Love of the Century and ran around screaming “OMG BOB LOVES SHANNON MILLER!” for the rest of ever.

I have one super specific memory of Bobo in our basement, trying his damnedest to play Pacman (we had the actual arcade game) while blocking out Christy and me who were buzzing around him like the most annoying middle school flies, screaming love sonnets involving Bobo and Shannon Miller.

I just told Henry this story the other night and he was like, “Wow. You are the same.”

That’s Bobo on the far right, French dummy on left, Christy then me.

4. Speaking of the Olympics…

I hope that Covid fucks off because I want Henry’s mom to come over and watch the Olympics (if they happen this summer) so I can live-blog. I had SO MUCH FUN watching the 2016 summer Olympics with her.

Watching the Olympics with Judy 

Plus two more!

Olympics with Judy: Part 2

Olympics with Judy: Part 3

5. Weekend Jamz

You guys I am OBSESSED with the new SHINee album. It is QUINTESSENTIAL SHINEE and I cant listen to it without running spastic laps around my house. It is giving me that spring fever-ish zest for life where I want to just forget all of my problems and frolic through a filed of tulips or whatever bullshit you happy-go-lucky people do. So, in an effort to dispel good vibes, I’d like to send you off with two of my current favorite from their new album:

And they have been performing this song in addition to Don’t Call Me, and it too is a bop which is something I don’t normally like to say because it makes me feel like I should be hanging out with Taylor Swift fans or something but this song is so motherfucking upbeat and I’m ready to, I dunno, make Henry dance with me maybe.

SHINee are goddamn pop legends. Please support them!