Jan 102022
 

As previously mentioned, Henry and I have been going through the tedious and boring chore of cleaning out the attic. Not surprisingly, some historic gems have been unearthed, like this shirt I bought in 1998, perhaps from Hot Topic back when Hot Topic was just regular old mall goth as opposed to whatever den of commercial crap it’s become over the years (don’t they literally seel Spongebob merch there?? 1990s Hot Topic would have never…). Or it might have been from Slacker, which was (is? I think it still exists) a shop on the Southside where you could get cloves and BDSM accouterment, lol. I definitely bought clothes from there on several occasions during my Fake Goth phase but I mostly bought novelty cigarettes to smoke with my purple cigarette holder.

I was really into smoking back then.

What a brag.

But yeah, as mentioned off and on in this garbage dump of words over the years, I went through a solid goth phase from probably 1998 to 2001, except that it was mostly just the music that I liked to enjoy in the privacy of my own home while chatting with Internet friends on Darkchat who probably were actual legit goths with an Ann Rice and Poppy Z. Brite library, and not a POSEUR like me lol.

I don’t think I ever wore this shirt more than twice. Once was definitely post-Dracula’s Ball. I had been wearing a corseted dress all night and this was my CASUAL GOTH LOUNGE WEAR that I changed into apparently. Probably made sense at the time? I have a vague recollection of changing into it in a parked car at like 1AM.

Anyway, Henry was like WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THIS. For a split second, I nearly put it in the donate pile. But then I reconsidered. There might be opportunities to use it for costumes or photo shoots, see also: it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

Of course, I couldn’t resist temptation and had to try it on. You know, just to see if I would feel inspired to dust off my Black Bible goth CD compilation (and then also search the house for something on which to play said CDs…)

I still have the choker that I was wearing in the OG picture and knew exactly where it was too, so recreating this photo was a breeze except that as usual, I was being the Queen of Not Fully Understanding the Assignment and therefore had my hands facing out instead of up.

Wow you guys, I’m happy to report that this shirt is FUCKING COZY. I had no idea! Probably because I was drunk any time I wore it in the past so why would I remember a shirt’s comfort level.

Please enjoy this picture of me with GOTH MICHAEL BOLTON, after me and this broad I was friends with at the time (actually, I had only just met her IRL after sort of knowing her from Darkchat and decided, “Yes, Stranger Lady, I shall get into your free candymobile and attend a goth dance party in Philly and then you will promptly meet some old man who you become convinced is a real life vampire and proceed to sloppily make out with him leaving me to wander around alone and stumble into a veritable DRUG DUNGEON.”

Anyway, Goth Michael Bolton was the sidekick of Real-Life Vampire (but probably actually IT Guy) so I got stuck with him while that broad (with whom I actually stayed friends for several years but she is actually one of the most toxic, habitually-lying people I have ever met) giggled and acted amazed while Real-Life Vampire added HTML to his WebTV email address.

(I actually wrote about this night for a writing assignment when I was taking a creative non-fiction class at Pitt and I got an A but the last time I re-read it, my whole body cringed. I can’t believe I was actually in college for writing lol. )

Speaking of that broad, here she is on another night when we went to this guy SHADOE‘s apartment for dinner and she was like “OMG please let me borrow that shirt, I like this guy so much” and then we got there and she was like, “OMG I DO NOT LIKE THIS GUY” after meeting him in person, yet proceeded to let him tie her up and cut with a huge knife??? IN FRONT OF ME???

Anyway, blood-letting aside, I thought this guy was lovely and we actually stayed friends for quite some time after he found out that she was married and a pathological liar.

It’s also super surprising I even still have this shirt in my possession considering I let her borrow it and she was the most untrustworthy person in the whole world. (Although she did help me get rid of this guy I thought I was in love with from the aforementioned goth chatroom Darkchat and thought that yes, it would be a great idea for him to use his mother’s miles and fly here from Vancouver only for me to immediately feel smothered and creeped out by his constant need to serenade me with Joy Division songs while crying.

My life was very different pre-Henry.

Clearly.

Also, I can tell you that in that picture up there, she was either pouring a glass of Tequila Rose or Manischewitz wine, because those were our go-to alcohols back then, I guess??

Also x2, I was really into cropped rug-like sweaters during those days. I had one that was yellow and my friends Jon and Justin loved calling it the Big Bird shirt. I saw that these were back in style again recently, maybe two or three winters ago, and I almost bought one from the junior’s section of JC Penney’s lol.

Also x3, Shadoe if you’re out there, I miss you. Hit me up. You were a real one. :(

And here’s a close-up of The Choker, which I actually bought from a vendor at the Dracula’s Ball. It’s hilarious to me how much of an impact that one night had on me, evidently. I mean, I have a scar because of it, and if you read the linked post up there, YOU WILL KNOW WHY. #ClickBait

Well, we barely made a dent in the attic cleaning project, so who knows what else I will find? CHECK BACK SOON – lol.

Edited to add this outtake, which cracks me up because you can see my VERY GOTH FitBit:

Jan 092022
 

2021 was still a Not Great Year overall but we definitely curated a nice collection of little memories once we were vaccinated. The best thing about that was being able to safely visit amusement parks again. I know that most of them were open during 2020 but we didn’t want to take any risks by visiting them, even with mask mandates and social distancing. Even after getting vaccinated, it was still kind of weird at first, but we just made sure we slathered on the hand sanitizer and avoided congested areas.

Plus, we got to resume our tradition of CAROUSELFIES! Which is the lamest word I’ve ever come up with but it makes me laugh every time I type it.

Carouselfie.

How fucking dumb, lol.

Anyway, I wanted to share a photo dump of all the carouselfies we took over 2021, starting with this really shitty one that Henry took of us at the Columbus Zoo. You can tell he was out of practice, lol.

This was so bad that I didn’t even print it out for the carouselfie wall, lol.

The first actual amusement park we went to was Hershey Park in May, and the park announced that they were standing down on the mask mandate like, the day before we went and if we’re being honest, I was not OK with that. We still wore ours, but slipped them down for this photo since no one was around. I felt scandalous.

Oh, I should also note that while we went to 19 different amusement parks in 2021, we didn’t take carouselfies at all of them. Some of them either didn’t have carousels (Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags America, Indiana Beach), or we had previously taken a carouseflie on an earlier visit (Kennywood, King’s Dominion, & Cedar Point), or I was pouting over who knows what and said JUST FORGET IT like I did when we were at Six Flags Great Escape, lol. I think also I was pissed off at Carowinds and didn’t even think to look for their dumb carousel because I kind of hated it there, and I was too fixated on the coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure to bother with the carousel but I do have regrets because that one was so pretty! Maybe sometime this year we’ll get another chance?!

Somehow we went to Knoebels a handful of times without ever riding the carousel, but that was rectified in 2021!
 This was at Stricker’s Grove near Cincinnati! I like this one because I’m wearing my cute NOOWORKS shirt and also because Christina and Katie were there and that made it extra fun even though it was approx. 1000 degrees that day.
and this was the next day at King’s Island. I was actually REALLY PISSED when I was taking this picture and I can’t remember why but we can 100% be certain that it was something dickish that Chooch had said prior to mounting our horses.
Chooch and I have a carouselfie from Waldameer, but we needed one with Henry in it too. Can you see the FIFTEEN YEAR OLDness shooting out of Chooch’s eyes like angsty lasers?? (Also, I nearly forgot we went to Waldameer last year!)

Busch Gardens actually has a very small carousel which was disappointing, to be honest. I expected more from them!

I tried to mix it up at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood by sitting in this carriage thingie with Henry while Chooch rode on a horse in front of us. Of course Morey’s Piers had the sweetest double-decker carousel. I miss it there. And look at how perfectly charming everything is in the background!!
Both of the above pictures and the one below are from Seabreeze Park in New York, which was another SUPER CHARMING joint and it was just such a great time. I couldn’t choose just one of these pictures so the obvious solution was: POST ‘EM ALL!
This was from our Labor Day Weekend park-a-palooza where we hit up three smallish amusement parks in New York and it was honestly just such a fun and cute weekend. (Oh don’t worry, there was definitely still arguing, lol.) We’re wearing the same clothes in the next two pictures because….
we came to Sylvan Beach on the same day as Seabreeze. This carousel is in the “park” (it’s almost more like a permanent carnival set-up, very old and kind of run-down but still adorable…and haunted!) but is actually a stand-alone attraction owned by someone with no affiliation to Sylvan Beach. So if you get a ride-all-day wristband (I pity the fool who does, though) it doesn’t include the carousel. I really liked this one because it’s super old and historic.

And the last two pictures are from Six Flags Over Georgia, which we visited over Thanksgiving Weekend. It was a great end to a year of getting our thrills on at as many amusement parks as possible! 2022 is looking pretty uncertain as of now, but hopefully, at some point, we can safely do our thang again.

Dec 222021
 

You guys know I’m like super tightly-wound, right? OK then this next part of the GENESIS night will sound super on brand: So, when I bought the tickets back in May, I opted for the mobile option because I paid $$$ for this shit and am constantly at war with the USPS to begin with. The last thing they need is to lose my GENESIS TICKETS, you know? Anyway, I added the tickets to my Apple wallet a few months ago and noticed that there was no barcode on them like in the past. But then a squirrel probably came to the window and distracted me, so I didn’t think about it again until a few days prior to the show.

“DOES THIS LOOK RIGHT?” I screamed to Henry, who just shrugged and said he was sure it was fine. It didn’t “look fine” to me so I frantically googled “TICKETMASTER MOBILE TICKETS WEIRD HELP” and only found information on how they USED TO LOOK.

You know, with a BARCODE.

To be safe, I made sure I was logged into the Ticketmaster app because the barcode appeared on my tickets there. Then I kept getting all these  intense emails from the venue about the entry process, and learned this was actually a paperless ticket event so I guess I didn’t even have the option to get regular tickets? And then there was the BAG POLICY which had me stressed out too so I tried to make Henry measure my wallet, but he was like, “Um, this is fine. They’re not going to confiscate your tiny wallet” and I was like, “BUT THEY POSTED DIMENSIONS! DOES MY WALLET FALL WITHIN THOSE DIMENSIONS!” and because Henry is a Man who voluntarily took Industrial Arts in high school, he was able to just look at it and say yes.

I hate him.

Even at dinner that night, I was low-key on edge about the ticket thing. When Corey was in the bathroom, I checked my TicketMaster app AND IT WOULDN’T OPEN BECAUSE IT SAID I HAD NO INTERNET CONNECTION. So I was frantically Kakao’ing with Henry who suggested that I restart my phone so I did AND THEN IT LOGGED ME OUT OF THE APP TOTALLY. I literally could not get in to access the tickets so now it was Apple wallet or GTFO.

My only consolation was remembering that it was going to me and about 8465 elderly people in the same boat, and Henry reassured me that there would probably be plenty of people there to help. Who even am I?? One pandemic and suddenly I’m a concert n00b.

I finally admitted my concerns to Corey when we started our walk from Bae Bae’s to PPG Paints Arena but if was also worried about this, he did a great job hiding it. The walk itself was nice and brisk – I knew I was going to cold in that denim jacket but getting a picture of MATCHING SIBLING JEAN JACKETS would be worth it so I only complained a little.

Eventually, we began encountering other GENESIS fans along the way. You could just tell. I mean, one middle aged guy was playing Invisible Touch on his phone and gave us a head nod. Another middle aged guy yelled to us, “I NEED A JOINT HAHAHAHA” as we were waiting to the cross the street and it was so obvious he was only saying it to us in hopes one of us would be like, “OMG HERE YOU GO FELLOW GENESIS FAN” lol.

Anyway!! We finally got to the arena and forget what I said about being so cold because now I was SWEATING in anticipation of someone banging the gong when I attempted to scan my DEFECTIVE tickets. I was on my tiptoes, craning my neck to see if anyone ahead of us had the same-looking tickets and while most people had the barcoded ones from the Ticketmaster app, I did see someone with one that looked like ours. Then we got closer, I saw that the scanner had two options: a spot to hold your phone under to scan the barcode, and a spot up above where you just tapped your phone if you had one of the SCARY NON-TICKET LOOKING TICKETS like we had.

It took all of .0002 seconds to get in and Corey was like, “Honestly, I wasn’t worried at all.” OK COOL THANKS, BRO, GLAD I COULD TAKE ON THE WHOLE BURDEN FOR THE BOTH OF US, LOL.  I was still buzzing after that but then we got in line for merch and my anxiety finally transformed into actual excitement. It’s not easy being me sometimes, you guys. It really isn’t.

Corey and I both snagged a t-shirt (duh) and I also bought an art poster which is my favorite thing to buy at shows and I get so excited when they’re available! I didn’t even care how much it cost. This is pretty likely the last chance we will get to see Genesis (Phil said as much himself) so I was sparing no expense!

This was taken right in front of our seats so you can see that we had plenty of people-free room! If it was a hockey game, we would have been right behind the glass and over a bit to the right of the goal. It was really comfortable! Corey, being a Tall Person, was grateful that he had adequate leg room.

I was so pleased with this picture because the lady who took it for us was really determined to get the right shot. “I got some of the stage in the background,” she said knowingly, and we were both so happy with it!

“Remember when we went to see The Cure and that person took that really awkward picture of us turning around in our seats?” I asked Corey when we sat back down. Of course he remembered, how could he forget? IT WAS SUCH A TERRIBLE PICTURE AND SO AWKWARD TO POSE FOR:

I sent this to Corey after I got home later that night and his response was: Glow Up of the Decade, lol.

We had about 30 minutes to people watch* before the show started and Corey continued to gush over his ample leg room. I looked around and said, “Yep, this is exactly how I pictured it when I bought the tickets, right down to the garbage can positioned right in front of us.”

“Really??” Corey exclaimed.

“No!” I laughed. But that fucking garbage can would prove to be a NUISANCE as the night went on.

*(In case you were wondering, the median demographic for Genesis was definitely 55-70. I knew even I’d be one of the younger people there but I was actually kind of surprised at how few “younger” people I even saw!)

The lights went out a little after 8:00PM and Corey and I were practically foaming at the mouths. I was flabbergasted at how many people were still casually milling about, THROWING AWAY THEIR BEERS IN THE TRASH DIRECTLY IN MY LINE OF VISION, and just taking their good ol’ time getting back to their seats. And you know this was annoying to me because I used the word FLABBERGASTED. I don’t just drop that word down lightly, mmkay Brenda.

Anyway, I truly do not have the words to write a proper review of this show because my emotions are still overwhelming me. First of all, Phil Collins is ill and the fact that he even found the strength and drive within himself to carry out these shows is beyond imagination to me. I mean, what a boss. However, it was extremely sad to see him looking frail, and remaining seated through the duration of the concert. He seemed to be struggling at times with his vocals as well, but just being under the same roof as him was an incredible honor.

I definitely let the tears roll on occasion, but it didn’t fully hit me until the next morning, when I just broke down and sobbed while making breakfast to my usual soundtrack of Tonight Tonight Tonight (seriously, I’m always “Alexa, play Tonight Tonight Tonight” and it’s miraculously one of the few times she will deliver without incident).

 

I didn’t really hate anyone at this show except for the people who kept walking off and onto the floor during the whole entire show. Like, you can’t wait until later to get another fucking beer? Because the last time I checked, fucking G E N E S I S is up there performing for YOU and you’re just gonna walk out to get another IC Light. Wow. Just, wow. My favorite part was when these dumb fucks would come back and proceed to stand in the open space between our section and the last row of seats on the floor and the ushers were too fucking old and ambivalent to tell them to go back to their seats, so then we’d be staring at the backs of drunk Yinzers for a minute before they regained their bearings and staggered to their seat.

But then there was a middle-aged man and his father in the last row of the floor section and they were so fucking adorable with their father-son air-drumming that it canceled out how angry all the in-and-out beer and bathroom break people had made me. (Honestly though, I know how much those floor seats cost and you better believe I’d be holding my pee until Genesis said “No for real this is it, look, we’re taking a bow” and the lights came on.

For me, the highlights were definitely Tonight Tonight Tonight (I have VIVID childhood memories soundtracked by that song) and Mama.

LOL my attempt at getting a picture of Phil’s son on drums. What a prodigy!

This one time, I was standing in line for a haunted house and decided to assign very specific laughs to my friends for us to perform as we ran through the haunt. My laugh was Tom Hulce’s shrill chortle from “Amadeus” (I WAS SO GOOD AT IT), I taught Janna how to emulate the toe-curling throat scrape of the Sleazy Furnace Guy who had recently made like three appearances at my house around that time and it was just A Whole Thing really, and because Christina is so creepy in general I appointed to them the coveted Phil Collins mirthless laugh/groan from “Mama.” So basically, the best one.

This song just hits every time.

SETLIST

  1. Behind the Lines / Duke’s End
  2. Turn It On Again
  3. Mama (!!!)
  4. Land of Confusion (Phil’s intro to this song referenced the current state of the world making this song relevant and there was a video of toilet paper falling from the sky and people marching with face masks on; also I was obsessed with / terrified of this music video when I was a kid, lol)
  5. Home By the Sea (I was imagining Phil was shouting SIT DOWN to all of the PEOPLE LEAVING THE FLOOR OMFG SIT DOWN)
  6. Second Home By the Sea
  7. Fading Lights
  8. The Cinema Show
  9. Afterglow
  10. That’s All
  11. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  12. Follow You Follow Me
  13. Duchess
  14. No Son of Mine
  15. Firth of Fifth
  16. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)
  17. Domino
  18. Throwing It All Away (Watching people throw their endless cans of beer away all night gave new meaning to this one)
  19. Tonight Tonight Tonight (!!!)
  20. Invisible Touch (PEOPLE WERE LEAVING DURING THIS SONG!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?)

ENCORE

  1. I Can’t Dance
  2. Dancing With the Moonlit Knight
  3. The Carpet Crawlers

It was a wonderful show, you guys, and felt very symbolic that Corey and I got to see them together because it felt kind of therapeutic, five years after the 116 Gillcrest Trauma. Music really does heal, and Phil Collins / Genesis really helped scab over many of our emotional wounds, that is for fucking sure.

****

Henry and Chooch were sleeping by the time Corey dropped me off but I woke them and made them watch several video clips from the night (I took very few pictures and videos) and the very next day, Henry framed and hung my Genesis print because sometimes, he just knows the things that are important.

Action shot of The Hanging. (I actually took this to send to Chooch who was incessantly blowing up Henry’s phone about something stupid and I was like STOP BOTHERING HIM, HE IS DOING HIS CHORES. Kids, amirite.)

OMG *tearing up*

I love this wall! Every framed picture is a print from various concerts. I love collecting these! I have a ton of other ones too but I kept all of these ones together because they are the same size. So now every day, I get to walk past this and smile at the memory of seeing Genesis.

I saw Genesis! <3

Dec 202021
 

If I had better blogging habits, I could have written this after I got home from the show and called the blog post TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT, but alas, I am an ambivalent fake-writer and here we are, an entire week later.

Quick back story: I have loved Phil Collins and Genesis since I was in the single digits of age, although I’m certain I probably could differentiate between Genesis and the works of a solo Phil until I was a teen in the 90s. My grandparents always had the radio on in their kitchen and being the early 80s, you were bound to hear “Sussudio,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Invisible Touch,” etc etc. I particularly loved “Easy Lover,” the Philip Bailey and Phil Collins collab. I saw Phil Collins in the mid-90s when I was a teenager (with my friend-at-the-time Keri, who ALWAYS HAD A HEADACHE), and much later in life, I had the pleasure of attending a Mike and the Mechanics show, but I never had the opportunity to see Genesis.

I didn’t even know my brother Corey was a fan until we were mired down with the task of cleaning out my Pappap’s house in 2016 and I got the kitchen stereo to work again. Naturally, I tuned it right to a lite FM station and we were giddy, scrubbing floors and chucking piles of magazines and newspapers into plastic bins to a soundtrack of the BEST soft rock from the 80s. Of course, we heard tons of Phil and Genesis during our laborious days and nights in that house. Giddily making Instavids backed by Phil, Prince, and Mr. Mister was one of the few bright spots during a very, very dark year for us. I even made out with a bunch of Phil and Genesis albums from my aunts’ record collections, and Corey had a custom Phil Collins birthday cake made for me that year:

An Impromptu Birthday Dinner

Then last spring, Corey texted me a HUGE ALERT that Genesis was coming to town. and for the first time since 2019, I found myself having a nervous stomach and The Sweats while waiting in Ticketmaster’s bullshit virtual queue. I got us two tickets in the first row of one of the sections near the floor, which I tried to plan strategically not knowing how the state of Covid would be come December (turns out, worse than last spring) and these seats would put us in a position where we wouldn’t be fully surrounded by people. Then came the months and months of waiting, wondering if the concert would get canceled, praying that Phil, who is already in poor health, would be OK. Believe me, if he had decided to cancel the tour, I would have been bummed, sure, but also I would have been relieved because is this even safe for him!?!? Protect Phil Collins!!

Finally, Genesis Day arrived and I did a pee-jig by the front window, waiting for Corey to pick me up. When he rolled up into the driveway, I barely even said goodbye to Henry before flying out the door like a spaz. As soon as I flung the passenger door open and popped my head inside, I noted that Corey was wearing his jean jacket.

“OMG SHOULD I WEAR MY JEAN JACKET TOO??” I screeched, and he yelled, “YES!” in the tone of LE DUH.

So I crashed back into the house and wheezed to Henry, “COREY IS WEARING HIS JEAN JACKET SO I HAVE TO WEAR MINE TOO.”

“You’re an idiot,” Henry mumbled, as I maniacally traded my fluffy blue coat for denim.

I knew I would probably be cold since the plan was to eat Bae Bae’s and walk to PPG Paints Arena from there, but it would be worth it for the MEM’RIES, I just knew it.

Corey has never been to Bae Bae’s before, and it’s been a hot minute since I was last there, to be honest, so I was happy to be back. And even happier at their mask policy and the fact that the dining area was nearly empty. Thank you. I’m back to being SUPER SKEEVED OUT by eating in restaurants, and if we’re being honest, I guess I never really stopped being skeeved out, vaxxed or not.

During our dinner, Corey was raging because nearly every song that came on was a Top 40 “hit” that he absolutely hated, and I lamented the fact that a Korean restaurant was playing basic white people tunes, to begin with. Now granted, Bae Bae’s is very much Korean American fusion, but I do approve of it because I feel like it’s a good gateway to ease vanilla palates into the wild & crazy world of, I dunno, pickled and ferememted banchan. I mean, they don’t have the proper name for their “glass noodles” on the menu, and the first time I went there and called it by its God-given name of JAPCHAE, the guy behind the counter did a double-take, like, “You know?”

In most traditional Korean restaurants I’ve been to, they play actual Korean music! Granted, that’s predominantly Kpop though lol so I’m sure that’s not appealing to everyone.

ANYWAY! The whole reason I’m bringing this up is to tell you that I cosigned all of the verbal hate mail Corey was spitting to these dumb western artists, ALL BUT ONE:

CHARLIE PUTH. I was unaware that Corey hates him so much, but I have a complete guilt-free obsession with C.Puth. Sorry, little bro! We did agree though that Phil Collins is one of the few musicians that you can say you like to pretty anyone and no one is going to try and make you feel shit for it. Like, even in high school, when everyone is trying SO EFFING HARD to be the most, I never got dogged for my unwavering and blatant love for Phil. (I got DRAGGED when I went through a disco phase in middle school years before that shit made a comeback and became “cool” again, lol.) I think that most humans are in rare solidarity when it comes to the legendary status of Mr. Collins. I’m sure there’s the rare breed out there that “OMG can’t stand” In the Air Tonight, but I thankfully do not know them.

In fact, after Chooch was The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” for Halloween when he was in 3rd or 4th grade, he suggested “being ‘In the Air Tonight'” for the next Halloween and I was like, “HOW THE HELL—-OK. LET’S DO IT” but then he moved on to something else by then, sadly.

But I digress….

Meanwhile, going to a concert together definitely had Corey and I feeling nostalgic for the time we road-tripped to Philly in 2008 to see the Cure, so we reminisced about that a lot during the evening and then the next day, I realized that we also ate out of take-out containers at a restaurant during that trip, just like we did at Bae Bae’s!

(This was an all-cereal joint called Cereality and I honestly can’t believe it’s not still around, even though my choice of “every chocolate cereal and then top it with Whoppers” made me so sick on the drive home.)

OK I’m ending this here. I had a long evening of being annoyed by the MALES in my house and I would like very much to just spend the rest of the night reading a book. I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 2, sound good? Good.

Nov 202021
 

We’re having a pretty A-OK Saturday. I lost my temper momentarily because NONE OF THE MALES in my house had taken out the garbage and that is the only reason why I KEEP MALES IN THE HOUSE in the first place. But other than that, today has been merry. A real pocketful of posies. Etc.

  • Picked up three books at the library!
  • Started to read In My Dreams I Hold a Knife and was worried because my track record with dark academia is bleak but this seems good so far!
  • WENT TO GET CUPCAKES FROM MY FAVORITE CUPCAKE JOINT, VANILLA PASTRY STUDIO!

You may remember that many years ago, I wrote some dumb blog review about that place and one of the bakers saw it and printed it out for the owner, THE SUGAR FAIRY, to read and I found out because SAID BAKER left a comment telling me that owner loved it and I was like OMG IM DEAD but then the next time Henry went there to get cupcakes, that baker came out from the back and said OMG ARE YOU HENRY because she recognized him from my blog so then it became this funny Ha Ha thing where Henry was the face of Oh Honestly Erin etc etc. but honestly, these cupcakes are just…they’re the limit.

Here’s my old post about them from 2009. I haven’t even glanced at it since then so god only knows how atrocious and vulgar it is:

When Cupcakes Surpass Expectations: A Positive Review

OK well we reference a circle jerk in the second line, so that really sets the stage.

Anyway, VPS moved to a new location several years ago and then eventually closed when the Sugar Fairy took a job as a pastry chef at a restaurant downtown. Yeah I know I could have just gone there but it’s not the same. It’s just not. Talk to the hand, etc.

Then last week one of my pals posted in their Instagram stories that VPS was reopening in their OG location?? I went and looked and sure enough, it was a real thing and not something I misread with hopeful cupcake eyes. The soft opening was today at noon. Did henry and I get there 30 minutes early in anticipation of a line? You bet your sweet buttercreamed ass we did.

No one was there yet! So we territorially sprayed our spot at the door while we had a chance. Then some guy came out and said that he was actually first. “I even brought a chair,” he said, pointing through the window at his portable concert chair thingie. Turns out he’s like BFFs with the Sugar Fairy!

Anyway, he was a real treat to talk to, and then another guy strode up and got in line with us and he was really cool too! It was the best line I’ve stood in in quite some time. Cupcakes will do that.

They let us come in about 15 minutes early! There was a decent line that had started to snake out from the door (I WAS SECOND BEHIND BFF) so I was glad that we did get there early.

We got one of each and then told the guy to just continue plopping the ‘cakes in until the dozen box was filled. I was about to spend too much time thinking about what I wanted because it’s been over 5 years since one of the delicate frosted orbs from above melted on my tongue and I wanted them all.

Oh would you look at this smoll boi with the big sugared hair? Look how the cupcake portion is GLISTENING. Look at the specks of legit vanilla bean in that frosting beehive. I am heavy-breathing so hard right now. Thank god no one is currently home. (Chooch is at work as usual ugh and Henry is at one of his favorite stores: JOANN.)

Wow what a happy moment, tonguing a Vanilla Pastry Studio buttercream mound again. Shit son. These cake-muffins are just the best around. Go there. You won’t regret it. (Well. Maybe until you step on the scale. What? I’m a big numbers person, I can’t help it! MY WORLD REVOLVES AROUND MY MORNING WEIGH-IN I CANT BEEAK THE CHAINS, I AM BOUND TO THE SCALE, ITS MH ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.)

We didn’t eat them all! Henry and I split the four in the above picture, so we each had two cupcakes and then felt the SUGAR DOWNS quickly after. But never fear! We took a drive out to Keystone State Park to walk it off. Whew.

“Take a picture of me with the lake behind me.”

“Give me your hat. Now take a picture of me with those things.  No, those things. No, THOSE THINGS. Whatever those things are.”

(Cattails? No. I don’t know what to call these things.)

Also!!! See that box thingie in the tree? That was the thing that started my infamous giggle fit the last time we were here! When I was trying to remember the name of the place I wanted to go today, I kept saying, “You know, that one place where I laughed a lot. No, the one where I laughed like A LOT and you and Chooch were annoyed and didn’t think it was funny. Where I almost peed my pants. I don’t know, it was because of vampires or something and I was laughing.”

And then Henry was like, “Oh. I know where you mean.” Lol.

Keystone Kackling.

“Take a picture of me looking like a stüp*.”

*(What I called stupid people.)

“Take a picture of me holding my jacket open like this.”

I do love this jacket. I got it at Target! It’s Wild Fable or whatever their strange 90s fashion reboot line is called. I’m going to be very sad when it gets too cold to wear this but hopefully I’ll be able to get away with wearing it in Georgia next weekend.

“No wait, I wasn’t doing my PEEING DOG pose yet.”

“Ok, now I’m in prime canine PISSition. I’m ready. Take the picture. Henry are you taking the picture?”

“Wait let me do my SIGNATURE windmill pose now. Do I look cool? As cool as the Dutch ones?”

Henry just diligently snaps away while mumbling, “Sure but you will find something wrong with all of these as usual.”

Fake engagement photo. Ugh.

MY NEW MOUSTACHE.

“Take a picture of me looking scared behind a tree.”

“Take a picture of me pretending like it’s my school picture. EW WHY DO I LOOK SLEAZY??”

“Because you WERE sleazy in high school,” Henry said.

Touché.

Here are canoes.

Henry and I both had to pee after that and I offered suggestions on how we could both pee in the same toilet in the park restroom at the same time and he wouldn’t entertain my ideas because: “I feel like that would burn.”

OK well now I am going to finish my cup of coffee and read some more of my book before it’s time for FAMILY KPOP KARDIO NIGHT. (Chooch doesn’t know this is happening and will likely start a fight in order to get out of it so we’ll see. Check back later for the shocking conclusion, I guess.)

Nov 172021
 

It’s weird not having a legit anniversary date but also cool because yay anniversary SEASON. 20 years is a weird number. How has it been that long while feeling like forever and also yesterday? I was skulking around through my flickr archives (I mean, that’s the natural progression after stalking your own LiveJournal for a solid 3 days) and found some interesting old photos of Henry and me. Sadly, there aren’t a lot because I was waaaay worse then about having my picture taken and even though I have flinched forcefully at the jarring nature of Younger Erin’s….bloated visage (I drank a lot of Smirnoff Ice back then, ok? I was a different person, leave me ALONE), I still wish I had been able to get over myself and just let the photographic memories happen.

This was from 2004, I think. I also think that someone on LiveJournal was like, “It is my dying wish to see you and Henry in such-and-such pose” and I did it because back then I would do anything for the COMMENTS OH THE COMMENTS they literally ruled my life. This was also the start of my downward spiral because I was about 6 months into unemployment after walking out of WEISS MEATS and later filing a complaint with the EEOC and having to go through a mediation process and that was so awful, the whole experience, that it gave me PTSD to some degree without me even realizing it but I literally acquired a nervous stutter (which I couldn’t shake for years) and am still what I consider to be a shell, personality-wise, of who I used to be before that. But Henry stuck with me, even though he was still working at the same place and enduring A LOT OF ABUSIVE PROJECTION from the owners.

Also, I still have that hoodie – it’s from Coachella 2004 but Chooch has claimed it and wears it to school even though he wasn’t even born yet.

Um, this was our first Christmas picnic at the cemetery. I was like 6 months pregnant and looked like I was carrying twins to term. This was in 2005 and we STILL DO THIS! IT IS STILL OUR TRADITION ALL THESE YEARS LATER!

This was our first Christmas as CHOOCH’S PARENTS, 2006.

Henry miserable at a Chiodos show in 2008 lol.

Me, forever scowling at Henry, circa Easter 2007 where I was a year post-child birth and still lookin’ el preg.

Easter 2003 (see also: Corey’s Polaroid phase), an early SCOWL SHOT.

We decided to try and recreate this picture tonight and it was….a real time. A real time.

My scowl was actually real because Chooch wouldn’t help us and Henry was being dumb. Also, it’s annoying that he still has that XFest shirt, lol. That was from our first full summer together I think!? When I made Henry drive me to WISCONSIN for a hard rock festival so I could see my favorite band COLD and then we fought the whole way home because he wouldn’t take me to WISCONSIN DELLS and you better believe he will be taking me there maybe next summer because there are ROLLER COASTERS there that I am desperate to stuff my ass into.

Well, on that note, I have a bunch of nervous adrenaline coursing through my body so I think I need to take myself for a walk. Ciao for now, brown cow.

Nov 082021
 

As someone who really enjoyed the process of getting ready for work every morning, I have really been at odds with this never-ending WFH sitch. I know I have whined about this a million times since 2020 at this point but to summarize: I am ultra-grateful that I work at a place where our safety and health comes first and we have the capability of efficiently and seamlessly doing our jobs from home. I really do like that, I swear.

But I miss all of my clothes! I mean I suppose I could still wear them “to work” even though I’m not leaving the house but it’s not the same and also not conducive to my hourly five-minute jogging in place.

I keep telling Henry that he needs to start taking me on dates so I can wear my nice clothes (while he alternates between two flannels lol but who cares what he’s wearing when all of my clothes are so cute) or else I’m going to find other people to go on dates with. That definitely has not lit any fires under his ass lol.

Anyway, I was off on Monday and felt momentarily motivated to organize my closet but then within the first 2 minutes I spotted one of my favorite blouses that I definitely have not worn since probably 2019 at this point and then I also found a pair of jeans that I took to Korea in 2018 and thought I lost but no, they were balled up and punched into the back of a shelf on top of closet. So instead of organizing, I declared to the cats that it was PHOTOSHOOT TIME, starring Horsey shirt from F21 and guest-starring a striped thermal from H&M that I bought last year and have worn zero times.

Enjoy. Or don’t enjoy. It’s a free country. Um, I will also pepper this bitchin’ stew with some fun-ish facts about me, things that have been on my mind, dot dot dot?

  • Instead of butter, I spray popcorn with Pam. I picked that habit up as a child from my aunt Sharon and grandma, because they were always trying to cut calories (I still have a fondness for Melba toast crackers because of my grandma and also have a pretty chunky fear of food, lol). I’m sure I probably have tumors from this but I’m too afraid to google “does Pam cause cancer” so…Mmm, buttered aerosol!

  • I am off work today (it always gets to this part of the year and I’m racing to use my PTO) so I walked to Mediterra in Mt, Lebanon to get one of their exquisite pumpkin spice lattes. I had to wait at the bar area because it was shockingly bumpin’ for 10:15am on a Tuesday. I was only half-paying attention to the barista guy. He asked me if I was the to-go PSL, and that he had tow more drinks to make but then mine was up. I thought that was considerate of him to tell me, and then I went back to scrolling through Instagram. When he was done with my latte, he set it down without the lid on and said, “Because I wanted you to see that I gave you a heart because I care” and I AM SURE HE SAYS THIS TO EVERYONE but it was literally all it took to get me to have an instant crush because my self-worth is…where is it? Down there somewhere. You might be stepping on it. Anyway, so now I will be going to this place a lot. I called Henry immediately to tell him. “And he was totally my type!” I said breathily. “Korean?” Henry asked sarcastically and I said, “No. Actually, I don’t really know if he was cute because he was wearing a mask. But he was like, mid-20s. And looked like he might like Balance and Composure. So…”

  • When I was little, my dad was friends with this dude who had a daughter around my age named MANDY and MANDY was like TRES PERFECTIQUE. (Fun fact within a fun fact: I do not know French.) Anyway, I just remember that she was like blond and skinny and pretty and popular and I was fat and fat and fat and fat and sometimes we would get invited over to go swimming which was, woo hoo, so great for me, especially since she had an older brother who got to see me jiggling in my swimsuit. The one thing about MANDY in a list of SO MANY GREAT THINGS ABOUT MANDY (I accidentally typed “mandu” just then which is a Korean dumpling and far superior to MANDY) was that she was a Tamburitzen. I had no idea WTF a Tamburitzen was but her mother used to brag about her performances all the fucking time like OK we get it, MANDY is the Gen X MARSHA BRADY. Jesus Fucking Christ. ANYWAY, I just recently saw something about how the Mattress Factory – my favorite local art museum – hosted some kind of event in which the TAMBURITZENS performed and apparently even after all  these years, I am still triggered. BRB going to google MANDY.

  • Did you know that before Henry and I were officially dating, I was still with my current boyfriend Jeff and all this shit went down where I was reunited with my bio dad’s mother and aunt for the first time since he died when I was 3 and they told me all this shit I didn’t know about him and I was having a fucking identity crisis having grown up not knowing my birth dad’s family at all, and I called Jeff all upset whose response was something super sweet like, “Well, if you’re going  to be all upset about this stuff tonight, let’s just go out another time” OR SOMETHING SMILARLY CALLOUS so I went to the cemetery and sat next to my dad’s grave and didn’t know who else to call so I called Henry (OMG on my NOKIA cell phone #2001) and he came to the cemetery with a bottle of water knowing that I was probably crying and dehydrated and then I took a sip of water and it went down the wrong pipe and I started choking and he essentially saved me, almost killed me, and then saved me again all in the span of like 5 minutes and I guess that’s when I knew he was the one lol. OH MEMORIES.

  • Hey speaking of identity crises, can I take a second to bitch about HOW FRUSTRATING it is when people outside of my department at work call me “Kelly” in emails? I mean, I know it’s an easy mistake for people like me with two first names but it’s still annoying. However, there is this one lady who is a part of our sister department in Melbourne AND SHE HAS CONSISTENTLY referred to me as “Kelly” for as long as she has been here, which has been at least five years at this point. It is so fucking insulting!!! And just when I thought she couldn’t offend me any deeper, she copied me on email recently where she referred to me as KELLY ERIN. KELLY ERIN!!!!! I just really fucking can’t. It kills me. How hard is it to know the names of your COWORKERS?!?! We were even in the same GROUP in the department until recently.

  • My all time favorite grilled cheese is on pumpernickel bread with artichoke hearts and dill Havarti. I call it the “Adult Grilled Cheese.” My second favorite is gouda or cheddar and raspberry jam on any type of bread.  I haven’t had either of these in YEARS though!

  • I’m not afraid of clowns because I spent a shit ton of my childhood at my grandparents’ house where my grandma had an entire room full of clowns and she would sometimes pay me to dust in there. I suppose this could have gone either way, though! The two clown paintings in the background are actually from the Gillcrest Clown Room!

  • This one time in 2002 when I worked at the REALLY SUPER TERRIBLE MEAT PLACE that left me a stutter and social anxiety, one of the drivers had apparently stolen money or something, I can’t remember the full details now, but DETECTIVES got involved and I had to sit in a conference room with them for THREE HOURS getting grilled (and the one detective was a super huge prick, I’m sure you’re shocked) because I was responsible for checking in drivers and also one of the salesmen was also getting interrogated with me and after all of that, one of the owners came in and asked the salesman if he wanted lunch from Lotus Garden but DID NOT ASK ME and that is so on brand for the way I was treated there for 4 years. FUCK YOU, WEISS MEATS. Also, I was one of only 2 women who worked there and was referred to universally as The Girl, so I guess being called “Kelly” at my present job isn’t the worst thing in the world BUT STILL.

  • OMG I am perusing LiveJournal entries from 2002 and apparently there was some salesman from the Pennysaver who used to come into Weiss Meats to do ad stuff with them and it turned out that we liked some of the same bands (I was really into hard rock and OMG nu metal back then) and he would sometimes borrow CDs from me but APPARENTLY on this one day as he was leaving, he said, “THANKS, KEL” and I was so angry. He really liked this band called Primer 55 and they were so shitty.

  • OK speaking of shitty bands, this is about to be the BIGGEST SECRET I WILL EVER TELL ON THIS BLOG, OK. I *liked* Nickelback for a hot minute AND EVEN BOUGHT A SHIRT AND HAD THEM SIGN IT when I saw them open for THREE DOORS DOWN in 2001. I ACTUALLY TALKED TO THAT CHAD DUDE AND HE WAS SUCH A CUNT. I KNOW THIS IS A SHOCKING REVELATION. But he was so impatient to sign my shit and move me along so he could get to the bitchin’ metal babe in a tube top behind me. OMG I don’t know what is happening in my head right now but everything is tying together because I just remembered that I WAS WEARING THAT NICKELBACK SHIRT the day referenced in an earlier FUN FAT where I went to meet my birth dad’s mom and then almost drowned on bottle water at Jefferson Memorial. Um, don’t worry. I donated that shirt to Goodwill a really long time ago, lol.

  • Speaking of NICkelback and EMBARRASSING LIKES, Con Air starring NIColas Cage was on TV the other night and I furiously shushed Henry who had the audacity to try and converse with me while I was watching that while painting my nails. “I’ll never understand how this is one of your favorite movies,” he mumbled to which I mumbled that I was going through a heavy John Cusack phase in the 90s, bro and also do I even need a reason and alsox2, I have never NOT CRIED AT THE END and trust me, I cried at the end last week too. You can ask Chooch who was standing there looking uber concerned because we were about to leave for a walk but I held up a hand and cried, “WAIT. I HAVE TO WATCH THE END FIRST” and he was like, “Wait…you actually like this movie?” OMFG houseful of Con Air haters.

  • I also really liked A Perfect Circle and Cold back then too but I have no shame or regrets with those musical choices at all, in fact, this just inspired me to bark, “HEY ALEXA, PLAY A PERFECT CIRCLE. YOU DUMB CUNT.”

  • Hey speaking of Echo/Alexa, Henry tried to program it so that Alexa (or whoever the dude is that talks on our kitchen Echo Show now) will call me a cunt in response, but THEY GOTTA STAY G-RATED APPARENTLY, SORRY HENRY.

  • Sometime in middle school, I found a copy of “Ghost Story” by Peter Straub in my grandparent’s basement and read it over the summer. I remember sitting in the rarely-used living room of my parent’s house and having legit goosebumps in broad daylight because that book scared me so much. I always say it’s one of the scariest books I’ve ever read but I have always been too afraid to re-read it in case it doesn’t hold up.

(Isn’t this fun?? It makes me feel like I’m having lunch with a real life friend and just chatting about life, or you know, sitting on a therapist’s couch.)

  • Since I’m on a 2002 LiveJournal entry kick, here is a riveting tale of PIZZA DAY at Weiss Meats:

Every Friday, my other boss, Elliott, runs up to me all excitedly and says ‘Pizza today!’ which means that I have to don a stupid baseball cap and trudge on down to the cutting room to see what the meat cutters want on their pizzas. Today was no different. Except I forgot to wear the hat, and the Federal Inspector, Dave, was down there. So i asked him if he could go in for me and get their orders. He said ‘C’mon, Erin, it’s me. You think I really care if you go in their with your hair exposed?’ Ha. Federal Inspectors have the easiest job. So I get the orders and John, the foreman, gives me $50. I was like ‘What’s this for? You know Elliott always pays.’ He insisted that I take it because HE wanted to pay. Why is beyond me. But then Pete, another meat cutter, pulled out $60 and said ‘No, I’LL pay.’ The two of them argued it out, and Pete won. Apparently no one wants Elliott doing them any favors. What do I care though? I still didn’t have to pay.

I go back upstairs to the offices and show Elliott the list, so he can calculate how many pizzas to get. This is really fun to watch. Not really. We then must decide where to get the pizza. Italian Village is the fastest, but they ‘really like Firinzi’s.’ Elliott tells me to get it from the latter and that he’ll have someone go and pick it up, so it’lll be faster. Aaron, Elliott’s son, says that HE will call. Which is fine by me, because I hate talking to that Italian woman.

Just when I think everything is over with, Eric comes upstairs with a menu for One Eyed Willie’s and starts getting orders. Joe and Elliott run into the kitchen, panicked, saying ‘The girl already got orders for pizza! What’s going on?’ They were quite literally ricocheting off walls. Eric explained that some people wanted to order from One Eyed Willie’s and that it had nothing to do with the pizza. Mass confusion subsides.

Until an hour later, when Elliott becomes antsy for his pizza, that is. I asked him who was going to pick it up, in which he replies ‘Yanno, I have no idea.’ So then erupts the search for Aaron. When Aaron is found, they find out that the pizza, is, in fact, being delivered.

Fifteen minuted later, pizza arrives. Everyone’s happy. My head hurts.

  • I only bought this splendid popcorn carrier from Everland in Korea because I immediately envisioned it having a second life as a purse.

  • Apparently on November 6, 2002, “I was so pissed off last night because I thought I taped Felicity, but my stupid Tony Little Gazelle tape was in there instead.” Wow,  talk about telling me it’s 2002 without telling me, U NO. (Oh great, here I go on my Scott Speedman kick again.)

Well, this post is spiraling. I’m going to go and try to enjoy the rest of my day off, I guess, now that I have thoroughly depressed myself with skimming LiveJournal posts from 2002. I can honestly say that my life is a million times better at 42 than 23. Y-y-y-y-yikes. Also, how the fuck did Henry and I make it this long?? After reading some of that shit, I truthfully have no idea but thank god, man.

Nov 082021
 

My beloved haunted house tattoo was TINGLING this year. I will be honest here and admit that the last couple of years leading up to 2020, I felt myself falling a bit out of love with haunted houses. It’s a combination of my friends outgrowing it, and then the ones who really do love it moved away (Laura, I miss you so much, but especially in October), so it would usually end up just being me and Chooch, sometimes Henry if the haunt wasn’t too $$$ (Henry is a tight wad, you guys). And then it was just kind of like the same old, same old. You know?

But then 2020 happened and even though some haunts still opened during the pandemic with precautions in place, none of us felt like risking it since vaccinations weren’t happening yet.

So I don’t know if taking that season off was what needed to happen for my heart to grow fond again (lol) or what, but this year reignited that flame and my heart was once again a motherfucking farm bonfire next to a queue for a haunted hayride.

That being said: shit son, this past weekend was rough because I knew deep in my heart that it was time to accept the fact that Halloween/haunted house season is officially over. I mean, it’s always Halloween in my heart and of course it doesn’t have to be with the TikTok kids and influencers call “spooky season” to be able to enjoy horror movies but we all know that majority of haunted houses call it quits on the last weekend of October.

However! There are a handful that extend the creepy fun to the first weekend of November so we took advantage of that!

One of those was Scarehouse. I have a HUGE CHIP ON MY SHOULDER with this one and have actually removed it from my “must visit” list about 10 years ago or so. Long enough ago that Chooch has never been there, let’s put it that way. I started going to this haunt in its inaugural season and followed them through two? three? location changes. And in the beginning years, it was decent! But like Hundred Acres Manor, it grew too big and then they started paying for the “best in Pittsburgh” title and it turned into a shit show. For a while there, they were even  the most expensive haunt in the land and it pissed me off because we would wait in line for upwards of 2 hours just to be herded through like cattle in way too large groups so it just wasn’t scary or fun.

But they moved to ANOTHER new location this season and I figured, “OK FINE I WILL GIVE IT A CHANCE BECAUSE I AM A FUCKING SUCKER.” Plus, you can buy tickets in blocks of time so you’re guaranteed to go in within that 30 minute block – allegedly, anyway. I was correct in assuming that it wouldn’t be crowded on a Friday night post-season so there were only about 5 groups ahead of us and it moved speedily.

I *almost* ate crow that night because they sent everyone in with just their own group, no cattle-herding, and the first part of the haunt was actually pretty cool. I was like, “OK SCAREHOUSE, I SEE YOU.” But then after the first 5 or 10 minutes, about 10 groups had caught up with each other and it was a major traffic jam. Everyone was just slowly shuffling through and next to nothing was happening. Also, I get that their new location is inside a half-desolate mall and I think that part of the theming was like 1990s post-apocalyptic shopping mall rave? I literally have no idea and that actually sounds really cool written down but in reality it was a fucking snooze.

If they could expand upon the beginning section, fucking figure out the pacing issue AFTER 20 YEARS OF THIS BULLSHIT, and I dunno, make it actually scary, then I will go back. But this ain’t it, Scarehouse.

“And that’s exactly why I waited out here,” Henry said when we rejoined him in the empty food court, bloated with complaints that needed to be filed. Oh and also I fell inside one of those stupid inflatable things and have a huge bruise on my knee, so double-fuck you, Scarehouse. The best part of that night was going to a nearby Target afterward and buying a Christmas train cat scratch pad thingie for Drew and Penelope, to add their gigantic collection of cardboard Target cat houses.

However!! The next night while Chooch was at work, Henry and I went to Wells Township Haunted House in Brilliant, Ohio. I always see this one in the listings but I guess the fact that it says “Ohio” always deterred me because in my mind everything in Ohio is at least 2 hours away. This is less than an hour from Pittsburgh though!! It’s actually kind of near Dark View, which we LOVE but sadly didn’t make it to this year.

So, we almost didn’t come to this one because it was a lights out tour and, having never been there before, I worried that it would be a bad “first time” experience. However, our other WE’RE STILL OPEN THIS WEEKEND! option was Haunted Hills Estate in Uniontown and they too were doing a lights out tour. And the big draw for that one is their challenge trail so I thought it would be kind of dumb to go there and miss out on that portion because it seemed like that wasn’t happening. Finally, I was like, “OK, I’m calling it. We’re going to the one in Ohio. At least it’s something to do.”

Because honestly, I have been having so much this season with Henry! It gives me hope that even once Chooch is out of the house, we still have a chance of having fun together! Maybe! Lol!

We got there a bit before 7 and it was really nice because you get assigned a group # once you pay, so just like Rich’s Fright Farm and Demon House, you can mingle about and not have to stand in line for an hour+. They had some hobo fires going and I was practically climbing inside one, I was so cold. (If this was an “out loud” story in real time, Henry would interrupt this part to mumble, “It wasn’t that cold.”) They had super loud hard rock playing on giant speakers with the corresponding music videos projected onto the side of the building, which kept us entertained. Plus there were some monsters milling around too, and at one point the chainsaw brigade was unleashed so waiting for our #16 to display on the LED sign was not a boring activity.

Um, you guys? I get it now. I know why they’re #1. This was the best one I went to all fucking season, and even  the last several seasons if we’re being honest. Possibly the best one since my BELOVED VICTORY HAUNTED SCHOOL SHUTTERED ITS DOORS. I’m not sure if this was just because of the “lights out” liabilities or if it’s always like this, but we had to sign a waiver before entering, and then Henry was given a glow stick to help illuminate the way.

And from the moment that door shut behind us, it was a TOUCHING FREE-FOR-ALL. I don’t think I have ever been touched so intimately in public by so many strangers before, honestly, and I know it should seem like this would be something that me, of all people, would be highly opposed to, but there is something about being groped in the dark in a haunted house by “monsters” that is EROTICALLY  THRILLING TO ME AND CLEARLY I HAVE SOME NICHE FETISHES, most of which revolve around Halloween / haunted houses, I guess.

Henry said they barely touched him at all, but sometimes his beard would get stroked, and I was like, “Oh shit, Mary, they were all over me!” He just laughed and said he noticed. I fucking loved it though. Like, I am giving you my money to scare me (safely though, I won’t do any of that hardcore shit where they give you a safe word and make you do disgusting things – I know my limits) so fucking scare me, bitches. And they did, from start to finish! I screamed my face off and laughed hysterically through the entire building and I couldn’t stop talking about it the next day.

The pacing was *CHEF’S KISS* too. Those actors knew how to run that shit and made sure we either chased through or stalled at various points so we never caught up to any groups until the very end, which (no spoilers in case you feel like going next year!!) was understandable because of the way it ended.

According to their website, being touched there is not just a “lights out” thing but something that they do on regular nights, but the guy who gave us the run-down of the ruled that night did say that with the lights-out tour, the groups are smaller to make it more intimate and it sounds like the regular haunted house tours are guided? So I will definitely be returning next year on a regular night (Henry said we can probably do that one and Dark View on the same night – double-haunt nights are a 1990s throwback dream!) to see if I still think it’s the best one but in any case, I think I will be adding their lights out event to my regular rotation!

OMG I was so pumped after we left this one. What a fucking way to end the 2021 season! And hilariously, I almost made an Instagram post last week giving a shout out to my top haunts of the season, thinking that the ones I went to this past weekend likely wouldn’t change my rankings. Wow. WOWOWOWOWOWOW. I was wrong on both ends, because I added a new top #1 AND and a new “worst” to the list, even though let’s be real, I expected that shit from Scarehouse, lol.

What a season of exceptional scares, high-throttle giggle fits, and acting like a brand new high school couple with Henry!

Nov 032021
 

You know, even though I smashed up the car earlier in the day on Friday, the weekend was still OK. I mean, as long as I could get myself to stop dwelling on it! We kicked off Halloweekend by picking up Surly Son from work on Friday evening and then driving out to a new-to-us haunt in Ellwood City called Fearscapes. Apparently this is its third year but I had never heard of it. Chooch didn’t notice the door when he got in the car, out of the car at the haunted house, or into the car after the haunted house. Captain Obliv.

There were only around 3 groups of people in front of us but they were waiting a good 10 minutes before sending the next people through. Luckily, it was a dry, mild night and we were entertained by a pig-man who liked my jean jacket.

No, not Henry! Like, a guy wearing an actual pig mask.

Chooch was “so tired” because he went to school “all day” and then worked for 2 and a half hours. WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD, SONNY BOY.

Anyway, it was a good haunted house! Well, I wouldn’t call it a haunted “house” as much as a haunted “attraction,” and I think that’s what it was billed as anyway. I don’t want to give anything away but I’ll just say that it was definitely one of the more unique haunts I’ve walked through and there was a special appearance by The Stolen Stitches that was super entertaining! I think if they could just expand a bit and add some more rooms, make it a bit longer, it would be even better. But, at only $15 a ticket (hey, that’s cheap in hauntland), it was pretty exceptional.

I just have been having so much fun going to haunted houses with these guys this season, to the point where it really feels like I’m a teenager again. I don’t know if it’s simply because we took a season off due to covid or what, but I was admittedly losing some of that Hallow-lust over the last several years.

Afterward, we went to Sheetz so Mr. Workaholic could get food, wah wah wah, and this was when he finally noticed that something was amiss with the back door. Henry was getting gas so as Chooch and I were walking into Sheetz together, he was grilling me about the car and I snapped, “Your dad did it OK, it’s actually none of your business, why do you care so much???” and he cried, “Oh OK, as if you probably weren’t pissed off too when you saw that he smashed the car!”

(FYI the car IS NOT SMASHED….just…dented a bit.)

So then later I heard him interrogating Henry about it and Henry shouted, “I HIT A PILLAR OK DROP IT!!”

SEE THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I DIDN’T WANT CHOOCH TO KNOW WHAT I DID. He turns into AggroDad!

My favorite part of all of this is how quickly one little “fib” has spiraled out into A WEB OF LIES. This is jumping out of order, but the next day, Henry parked the car in the driveway instead of the lot across the street like usual, and I freaked out because now the neighbors were going to see The Door. He was like NO THEY WON’T but then his kid Blake came home with his fam and IMMEDIATELY asked Henry “What happened to your car??” Because Blake and Chooch talk every day, Henry had to tell The Lie to Blake now, as well. I heard him say it too, totally effortlessly. “I hit a pillar.” And then he changed the subject, lol.

BUT!! Blake’s BFF works with Henry as a driver. So when he saw the car this week, Henry had to tell him the same thing. And now that this kid knew The Lie, Henry had to continue weaving the messy web all over the Faygo Factory. And of course, since he works with all Big Manly Men, they are all grilling him with additional questions, such as, “Did you tell the cemetery after it happened? Why not?” and Henry just mumbles,  “Because I’m a dumb ass.”

THIS IS SO STUPID YET HILARIOUS TO ME! I mean, it’s not funny that we now have to wait a full month before the shop (or “fixer people” as I like to call them) can take our car in, and that’s only if they’re able to get the new door by then since the car is a 2021 and apparently parts for brand new cars are hard to get, I am learning so much from Henry’s Big Accident.

Meanwhile at Sheetz on Friday, some man kept bending over to look at snacks and was like thrusting his ass out so far that I had to keep going down other aisles because there was no room to pass him. Apparently, he was stealing beef jerky (according to Henry).

I took this picture of Henry doctoring his Sheetz cold brew because I needed a picture to go along with a caption talking about how, in a moment of frustration from Chooch and I following him around the store, he sighed in exasperation and said, “I love you two to the death, but it’s like you’re attached to me by a rubber band.” LOL it’s so true though. We’re like that old ass Nintendo game, Lemmings. If Henry walked off a cliff, we’d be right behind him.

Well…lol.

On Saturday, my Halloween sampler from WeVegan Eats arrived and everything was DELECTABLE. My favorite was the big ass taro cookie sandwich.

One of these days I will go full vegan. Right now I’m about 70% vegan, 100% vegetarian. But I take the full-blown vegan option anytime I’m out and I haven’t eaten real cheese at home in over a year now at this point. (CHAO is my fave vegan cheese brand, in case you were wondering. It is fucking delicious.)

Saturday night, Henry the Car Wrecker and I went to Crawford School of Terror in Connellsville. I HAVE BEEN HAVING THE BEST TIME HAVING HAUNTED DATE NIGHTS WITH THIS OAF, even when he basically wears the same flannel every single time because it’s essentially his “jacket.” We listened to the Black Queen the whole way there and I felt super content. Like, how have we been  together for 20 years and still actually like each other? BRB I’m crying a little.

Um, I’m going to be RULL BRAZEN here but I think this is the BEST HAUNT I went to this season. I was laughing and screaming my fucking ugly face off all the way through it and even Henry was smiling and admitted that some of the jump scares were effective.

But my favorite part was “Georgie,” the weird swamp-mummy thing that was running around outside the school with some short kid in a large suit and old man mask on. His handler I guess? Henry said that Georgie was actually the name of the weird sock-doll thing that he was carrying around, but a bunch of kids were calling him Georgie and kids know it all, so.

At one point, I turned to Henry with my hands clasped over my chest and he knew exactly what I was going to say: “I think I found my new Vlad.”

For those of you who are lucky enough to not be forced to hang out with me IRL, especially in The Younger Years, here is an excerpt from one of my old-ass haunted house journals where I met Vlad for the first time. OMG in 2003!! I have obsessed over him (and this haunted trail which has long since been defunct) ever since. The things I latch on to, tho.

[Original content edited heavily to achieve brevity]
Friday, October 31, 2003
Igor’s Fright Shack
Accompanied by: Hoover, Corey, Keri and Dean

My company and I walked down a torch-lit trail and were met up with our guide. He was wearing a tattered suit and surgical mask, and was hunched over. He jumped around like a monkey and had a raspy voice. We deduced that this was going to be one of those haunted walks that comes complete with a story. We were supposed to be paying attention but Dean was crying like a kindergartner on his first day of school. That made it a little distracting. On top of that, Keri was singing love songs to her breasts.

Our guide led us into “the hollow” which was some sort of tunnel covered with plastic. Once we got to the end, the lights went off and monsters arose from the sides. It was cool. Dean peed himself. Silly Dean.

After we emerged from “the hollow,” my life changed. Here, we met Vladimir, Igor’s project. Vladimir came running down a hill at us, grunting and moaning. Poor Vlad. He was all kinds of fucked up. But as we all know, based on my current and past boyfriends, looks don’t mean a THANG to me, g.

I fell in <3 with Vladimir at that moment. It was instantaneous. My Vlad made me forget all my troubles and for that brief moment, it was only me and Vladimir, running through a pasture of emeralds and homefries. It made my heart swell.

Everyone else continued walking down the path but they were invisible to me. Vlad was all I could see now. His beautifully marred face, one eyeball hanging out of the socket, twisted mouth. What’s not to love? He continued walking with our group, right next to me. Staring at me with those magical eyes. He stretched out his arm, and I stretched out mine, but he was too far away–I got lost in the shuffle of our group and Vlad retreated.

Hold on a second, my eyes are filling with tears of lost love.

[Blah blah blah – technical haunted house stuff because I’m a loser]

We walked onto a covered bridge which smelled weird. Like coal. There were two coffins and someone climbed out of one, which of course, was expected. But given the atmosphere of Igor’s Fright Shack, it still made me jump.

Once we made it across the bridge, monsters started coming out from everywhere and our guide urged us to hurry into the safe confines of a small building up ahead. Corey was pushing and yelling and telling everyone to hurry up because the monsters were closing in on us. But one of those “monsters” was Vladimir! I tried so hard to stay out there with him, but Corey shoved me through the door and our guide locked it. I could see a glimpse of Vlad’s sweet face through the dirty windows and I almost cried. He’s so misunderstood.

Once our guide had all of us safely inside the room, he ripped off his surgical mask and revealed to us his true identity — he’s Igor! I was aghast! I had no idea; oh betrayal, piercing my heart like a broomstick, broken in half so the sharp shards of wood break off inside of me. Or something.

[And then there was a maze and Keri, being her ego-maniacal self, pushed her way to the front of the pack so she could control things.]

Hurray for Keri getting us out in one piece. We should have a parade in her honor.

When we emerged from the shack we realized we were the last group to go through and all the monsters, along with our guide, were beginning to congregate out front by the bonfire.

I searched the grounds for Vlad so I could give him a parting kiss or perhaps take him back to the shack where he could impregnate me with our tawdry love child. But alas, no Vladimir. I’ll forever love him. Now I know what true love feels like.

Igor’s Fright Shack gets five gigantical thumbs up, and Vladimir gets a whole lot of things that will remain undisclosed. Thank you.

I remember that night like it was yesterday, sulking the entire way home and exhaling loudly to make sure Corey and Henry were aware that my heart was breaking. Henry’s remedy? “I’ll take you to Kmart and we’ll find a mask just like Vladimir’s for you to make out with.”

Guys, this is literally what you’re missing out on when I say things like, “SORRY, THIS IS RESERVED FOR MY HANDWRITTEN, PRIVATE HAUNTED HOUSE REVIEW JOURNAL.” Such literary  treasures, I know.

Well, anyway, that was Friday and Saturday of Halloween Weekend. Not too bad, if you ask me.

Oct 222021
 

Good eve. I took these photos ten years (!!) ago when my old friend Andrea was visiting. I’ve been thinking about refreshing these shots for a while now because I was never satisfied with the original ones and today after work I finally felt motivated to search the computer for the raw files (ok Henry to help me lol).

Anyway, I remember this being a really fun day so please enjoy these old relics from when Chooch’s cheeks were chubbacious and he was front-toothless!

Fun facts: these were taken at the same cemetery where Night of the Living Dead was filmed.

Chooch was REALLY into zombies back then and used to shamble around saying, “they’re coming to get you, Barbara” and also was in a heavy phase where he liked to watch YouTube videos of people walking thru Spirit Halloween to the point where some of my friends started making their own walk-thru videos for him.

That hearse just literally rolled up out of nowhere while we were taking pictures and dude driving was like WOULD U LIKE THE HEARSE TO BE IN YR PICTURES. I didn’t feel like edited the other ones with the HEARSE CAMEO, please forgive me.

Wendy was also on site, as a standby Chooch handler.

Henry was there too and did nothing to help.

Oct 032021
 

Oh hello, Monday. You cunt.

I had a great weekend but thanks for breaking up the party, motherfucker.

What did I do, you ask, you piece of shit weekday? WELL, LET ME TELL YOU.

ERIN GETS HER HAUNT BACK

Dude. We didn’t go to single haunted house last season. I know that a bunch of them were open, as were amusement parks, but without vaccinations happening at the time, we opted to keep staying home even if that meant missing haunted house season for the first time since, god, the 90s probably. But this year, we are READY! I couldn’t imagine making my comeback at any place other than the famous CASTLE BLOOD. You have to know by now that this is my favorite haunt, the one closest to my heart, the one that has my ultimate allegiance. It’s creative, original, intelligent, unique, OOAK, A+ haunting, do recommend. 

I was so excited that I kept changing clothes and screaming WHAT ABOUT THIS OUTFIT DOES IT LOOK GOOD and Henry was like “We are just going to a haunted house…?” but it felt like PROM FOR ME OK. Erin’s BIG NIGHT OUT. Getting made fun of. Screaming her face off. SOLVING PUZZLES. This is what I was born to do and I wanted to make sure I had the appropriate uniform to show the haunt world that I’m back AND I AM READY TO BE SPOOKED.

Chooch took this for me and was really happy to assist. But you figured that.

We “let” Chooch invite two of his friends and I was stoked because they were FRESH BLOOD. The one kid is younger and not very well-versed in haunts so he was like WHAT IS THIS PLACE and IS IT REALLY HAUNTED and EXCUSE ME SIR BUT WHAT IS A GYPSY. He had questions. Lots of them. He was also the worst teammate! The whole point of Castle Blood is that you walk through the place talking to (or getting yelled at by, in my case, usually) the Denizens. Somewhere along the way, there are THREE  TALISMAN revealed to you and you have to solve puzzles, make trades, bat your eyelashes (in my case, usually) to earn those talismans. Some of these challenges can be super mind-boggling so if you’re planning on heading out to the Castle at some point, choose your companions carefully. We almost failed because our group was so dense!

But wow, it felt so good to be back there again and to see so many of our undead friends!

I was really excited to bring out my haunted house journal and scribble out the full deets but I COULDN’T FIND IT, DOT DOT DOT TO BE CONTINUED.

I wrote an actual review of Castle Blood several years ago and you should read that and then go purchase tickets.

Castle Blood: The Ultimate Halloween Adventure

After chatting with our friends outside the castle for a bit, we stopped at Sheetz where a bunch of high school kids was loitering because…football game or something. OMG why are teenaged girls so freakishly robotic these days?!? Poor Sheetz was full of frigid vibes and the stench of cheap F21 body spray.

There was a group of them in there who all looked the same, same dead-eyes that bore right through me, same vocal fry monotone, same super-contoured makeup. I was standing there waiting for my PUMPKIN CHAI thank you Sheetz for having semi-imbibable chai, when one of the drones shambled by, looking straight through me with her weird rhinestone-embellished icy eyes, and croaked, “heeeey” to another group of girls, who responded with an equally bored “heeey” and then they just stood there and one of them was like, “I’m going to go outside-UH” because they punctuate all of their sentences with a “just took a swig of La Croix” air expellant. It’s like Valley Girls on anti-depressants, I truly do not know how else to describe this bizarre form of communication these strange suburban teen girls have created.

When the one girl walked away, the other two girls rolled their eyes behind her back. Then the same thing happened with another Gen Z Droid when she did her weird pigeon-walk over to the group and engaged in soulless banalities.  “They all hate each other,” I said to Henry, not even whispering. “Every single girl hates each other secretly.” Then we watched as they all peeled off their faces to reveal their true lizard selves.

THE FANS

I spent a great deal of time on Saturday relaxing and walking around the ‘hood. On one such walk, I encountered these dumb children sitting under a sign that said FANS FOR SALE. Literally, I thought they were selling, like, old box fans and I wondered if their parents knew, but it turns out they were slinging handmade paper fans. I stupidly stopped and took my headphones off instead of acting like I didn’t hear their cries of Desperate Salespeople and then, and I don’t know why I said this, but I did: “I don’t have money on me but I will come back.”

I’m a lot of things. I’m a kid-disliker for one, this we all know. But I am not a LIAR. I literally hate lying so much and I also hate breaking promises because I have had these things done to me so many times growing up that yes, yes I WOULD like some dip with those chips on my shoulder. I thought you’d never ask.

The younger of the two was going to let me pick a fan and pay later and as I was shaking my head and rejecting this offer, her sister (?) was stage-whispering, “Like a presale? I don’t think that’s a thing!”

Smart girl! Don’t give the sweaty stranger anything in advance!

But now I was determined to go home and get money so that they can have a little bit of faith that not all grown-ups will lie to them. I was pretty far from my house so by the time I got home, I was all out of breath and huffed to Henry, “Give me $2.”

“For what?” he asked, like OK dad, didn’t realize I needed to hand over a ledger of how I’m spending your money, but cook on. He actually had to get a dollar from Chooch who is never happy to part with his cash, and I could hear him upstairs asking, “WHY does she need it?” and Henry just mumbled in response. Henry was on his way out to THE STORE when this was happening so I hitched a ride with him because those bitches (lol they’re like 5 & 7) live about a 30-minute walk away and guys, sometimes I get tired.

So we roll up to their house and now they have collected some other child who is hovering on the sidewalk on her bike, watching this transaction go down. So, I thought I would be nice and buy two fans from them, hence the $2, so that they could each have a sale, but GET THIS:

The fan that I wanted was $2!!! “It’s because it’s the best one,” the older, I-Don’t-Believe-In-Presales one said curtly.

Are you effing kidding. What a fucking racket. So I let them pick two $1 fans for me and this is what I got:

When I got back in the car, Henry was like, “Oh. Wow. That is….not what I thought they were going to be.”

The next day when Chooch got in the car and saw them, he was like, “The fuck are these?” And when I explained it to him he yelled, “You BOUGHT these?!”

Yeah, with YOUR money, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I should have asked if they were under warranty though because one broke already. Like, can I go back to their house and ask them for a replacement piece of Scotch tape? How does this work?

SQUIDS OVER COASTERS

We had actually planned to go to Dorney Park on Saturday, but I woke up on Saturday IN A MOOD. I was high key PMSing, and lowkey wanting to finish the last two episodes of Squid Game, so I made the executive decision of staying home (and also because I decided that I would rather wait until next weekend and go to Six Flags Great Adventure instead, lol, my ambition is so dumb). So like, I don’t know what else to say other than if you haven’t watched Squid Game yet, what is wrong with you. It’s crazy to me how insanely popular this has become in the US because god forbid we let other countries do a thing better than us, amirite. But it’s also NOT surprising because as someone who watches a ton of Korean shows, I know how amazing Korean actors are. (I mean, one of my favorite actors of all time has a small cameo in this series and I was screaming!)

There is SO MUCH I WANT TO SAY about this and it is literally all I have been able to talk about (thank god Henry and Chooch also watched it or else I’d be talking into the void as usual) but I will just say that it deserves all the praise and accolades it’s been getting, it’s worth the hype, FUCKING RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT KOREA IS CAPABLE OF PUTTING OUT SOLID ENTERTAINMENT, THANK YOU.

Basically this is how I feel though:

Me, for the last 6 years, screaming into the void: WATCH KOREAN TV SHOWS, THEY ARE AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!

Everyone: ……………..

TikTok, in 2021: Watch Squid Game yo.

Everyone: OMG I AM WATCHING THIS KOREAN SHOW AND IT IS ACTUALLY* GOOD.

*Yep, gotta qualify that with an “actually” because Asian stuff is supposed to be lesser than,  you know.

Ugh.

Also, I drive Henry when we watch Korean stuff together because I can’t get my brain to turn off “must learn this language: desperation mode” and I am constantly straining to parse out what is being said versus what I’m seeing in the subtitles and it is FRUST-to the-RATING. For instance, I kept screaming, “THEY JUST SWORE THERE BUT THE SUBTITLES ARE MAKING IT WATERED DOWN WHYYYYY” and I thought it was just me being ridiculous but this Korean guy I follow on Twitter had a whole thread-rant about it on Saturday and was like, “They are clearly saying Korean swears but the subtitles are making them sound like Napoleon Dynamite” and I was dying because yeah, I got that too.

Ugh there is so much more I want to say about that, because even from a remedial language-knowing standpoint, there was enough that got dropped in the translation for even me to notice. I don’t think it would really affect anyone else watching it though, it is a PHENOMENAL show regardless and I am so proud that my favorite country in the whole wide world is getting its time to shine.

But yeah, I started to watch Midnight Mass after finishing this and can confirm that Squid Game has ruined me for all other TV shows for a bit because Midnight Mass is like a heaping pile of steamed shit after watching that fucking masterpiece.

(THE DYNAMIC, UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS, THOUGH!!!!!!!!! Oh god, my HEART.)

BRB, scheduling an appointment for my Squid Game tattoo.

EH, DONUTS

Also on Saturday, we got vegan donuts from Valkyrie but they were just OK because my PMS Palate was being PERSNICKETY, and also Henry lowkey fat-shamed me and then tried to say he didn’t and then got mad at for being mad at him and that was a whole thing that happened Saturday before Chooch even woke up for the day.

(I’m sorry but one of those was supposed to be French Toast and it actually tasted disgusting. And the one I was most looking forward to, Caramel Apple Pie, tasted like I made it. Like I got a previoulsy-made donut and poured some canned apple pie filling inside of it and then charged a bunch of money because: vegans. Our first two visits to this donut trailer was exceptional so I dunno if it was my mood or what.)

Then I made a garland out of these pumpkins I bought at Target (OK fine, Henry did it) and I love that they match the colors of the kitchen, lol.

CRYING IN THE OFFICE

OK Sunday started off sad. It was suggested to us recently that we might want to go into the office and start bringing stuff home because even when/if we return to WORKING IN PERSON WITH PEOPLE, we will probably have much less office space because the Firm is looking to pare down its real estate. I had a feeling that maybe I left my haunted house journal there because I used to take it to work during the Halloween season to try and write my recaps during downtime and I thought that perhaps I just left it in my desk after the 2019 season.

Henry came with me because I figured I better bring some stuff home (like the entire box of shoes I keep under my desk – Henry was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME, WHERE DID THESE SHOES EVEN COME FROM like they hatched under my desk from rogues Peds or something) and I actually cried a little in the elevator on the way to the 10th floor. It was my first time back there since the middle of March 2020!

Anyway, I threw out a bunch of papers, old candy (super sad face), took down all of my magnets and brought them home to live on the fridge (HOLY SHIT YOU HAVE A LOT OF MAGNETS, WOW, YEAH, WE DON’T GO ANYWHERE Henry exclaimed when I kept plucking more and more souvenir/travel magnets off my cabinets and into a bag), and then even though I knew it would be like twisting the knife in my already bleeding heart, I ventured over to the area where all of the GLENNS live.

OMG I’m sad again.

Oh! And my haunted house journal WAS NOT THERE.

MISSING HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL

So my journal was still missing and Henry was like, “It has to be in the house somewhere. We will find it. I am big strong man. Woof.”

He was tearing up the basement because we thought maybe it ended up in a box when we were redoing the coffee table (we, lololololololol). Meanwhile, I went into my bedroom and opened a desk drawer, and there it was, lying fully exposed, right there, lol. I yelled down to the basement to let Henry know that he could call off the search.

“Where was it?” he asked, and when I told him, he said, “Oh so it was where I was about to look two days ago but you said, ‘No, it definitely won’t be in there, don’t bother’?” and….yeah, pretty much. LOL.

A GOOD OLD-SCHOOL HAUNT

I wanted to go to another haunted house on Sunday (I try to avoid Saturdays!) but I wanted something to new-to-us and also something that was reasonably priced so that Henry would be more willing to join us. I am really depressed at how none of my friends (at least my local friends) enjoy haunted houses. I miss the 90s and early 00s when we would cram into Lisa’s Jeep and hit up two or three in one night and then drink coffee at HOME COOKIN’ until 2am. Don’t get me wrong, I like going with Chooch but now that he’s wanting to bring friends with him, I feel like such a fucking lame-ass tag-along. Like, oh Chooch please let Mommy hang out with you and your friends, please, I’m desperate.

But anyway, I digress. I’ll just place an ad on Craigslist for Halloween friends, I guess.

I found a listing for this one haunted house in Wheeling, WV which is only about 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh AND it was only $15 which is a STEAL when it comes to haunted houses in 2021, you guys. A real fucking steal.

We stopped at Sheetz for dinner on the way, and clearly, Sheetz is part of the spooky process. Henry was being a diva and didn’t get any food, just iced coffee. OK, America’s Next Top Model.

We got to Infernum In Terra right when it opened and ended up being GROUP 3!

Pre-Haunt Selfie – Henry was behind us in the portajohn and if you don’t think I have regERTZ about not waiting to snap the pic until he emerged, then you are dead wrong because I have been dwelling on this all day to the point where I cannot wait for my next chance at a do-over.

I don’t want to put too much in here because I still have to write about it in my JOURNAL and then I won’t be inspired to give it my all (seriously you guys writing hurts my hand so much these days) but I am happy to report that this was

JUST

MY

STYLE.

Old school, low-tech, volunteers giving their whole hearts. I fucking loved every minute of it but my favorite parts were when Satan’s wings hit Henry in the face and some monster called him an Old Man. Also when Chooch was chosen to go to confession and confessed to stealing a pencil…from a desk.

Not even from a store.

From a desk.

At school.

I gushed about how much we liked it when we emerged back at the ticket counter. Usually, I will also blabber on about how I’ve been keeping a haunted house journal since 1995, etc etc but COVID has made me even more anti-social than I was before.

On the way home, Henry stopped at ANOTHER Sheetz and got a meat stick and meat roll.

“I hate the way you breathe when you’re eating meat,” I scoffed in disgust.

“Yeah, it’s him thirsting for more,” chimed in Chooch the Backseat Pest.

“Well, it’s mostly bread,” Henry mumbled. “So fuck off.”

Then we talked about Squid Game the whole way home and it was really a really nice Sunday Night Outing to the Haunted House with Family.

I hope the rest of October is this nice. I mean, minus my PMS pissiness. That was mostly Saturday though. I’m already back to my STANDARD, LOVEABLE SELF.

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.