Jan 162020

I needed background music while Chooch and I were having reading time on Sunday, and Kpop wouldn’t work in this sense because I always find myself focusing on the words to see if I can figure out any of the Korean (#obsession). So on a whim, I put on a dark synthpop playlist on YouTube. A MILLION MEMORIES AND WARM FEELINGS CAME OVER ME.

So, I’ve gone through a lot of music phases; some of them make me feel uncomfortable when I think about it because of the weird time of life it was, like when I was into very cold, angular indie-experimental stuff like Blonde Redhead and Deerhoof; I actually shudder when I think of those days. But when I was very heavy into synthpop, it was the very, very, very beginning of my relationship with Henry. I was obsessed with this label – A Different Drum – and used to buy all sorts of compilations from them. Henry, in an effort to win my heart, used to make me CDs of synthpop that he ILLEGALLY DOWNLOADED OMG. Can you imagine Henry, 35-years-old at that time, living alone in some weird apartment, burning synthpop CDs for me? I mean, it’s kind of cute.

Those CDs remind me of cozy winters, so even though it was unseasonably warm over the weekend, it still brought back waves of comfort as I curled up on the couch and read a book.

But then I had an idea!

I typed in “Synthpop workouts” in the YouTube search bar and was sad to see that there really isn’t much of a goth/synth cardio niche on YouTube. Look, I have been considering (only half-jokingly) of making my own amateur workout videos for some time now. My only problem, aside from being extremely awkward on camera, is that I have a difficult time moving while narrating what’s coming up and singing out motivational filler. I would want to do just super-casual and fun walking workouts, because those are my go-to videos on YouTube when I need to boost my step-count, I’m too tired/sore/sick for high-impact cardio, or I still have some energy to burn off after doing a strength-training workout.

I’m kind of obsessed with constantly moving. I don’t even watch my K-Dramas without walking in place (here is that part where I make a subtle hint for Henry to finally buy me that treadmill). But the walking workouts on YouTube are…eh. There’s Leslie Sansone, but her shrill Janice-from-Friends laugh gets to me. There’s Jessica Smith, but she always uses that generic cardio music which doesn’t help motivate me. I really like this one broad, Gina B, because her walking workouts are all themed to things like, “Walk to the 80s!” or “Disco Walk!” – so it’s fun because you’re doing these upbeat walking/cardio workouts to good pop music from past eras, and it helps keep you interested. IT DOES THAT FOR ME, ANYWAY.

But man, I would be so down for a synthwalk. Even the real morose dark synthpop still has that thumping bassline which, I truly believe, would translate well to simple box steps, grapevines, step-taps – whatever walks are in the arsenal.

So the other night, I cried out, “I WILL JUST MAKE MY OWN SYNTHPOP WALKING WORKOUTS!” And Chooch and Janna will be my back-up walkers (Chooch already said no and Janna doesn’t know yet but I guess she’ll find out if she ever reads this; say yes, Janna) and we will all black – maybe gowns? Robes? Stompy boots, for sure. And we’ll light candles everywhere, and in between the higher-energy tracks, we’ll do body-weight moves to a slower-tempo funeral dirge, maybe hoist a weighted plank, a move we will call, “The Pallbearers.”

Fun fact about the above song: I once listened to it on repeat for an entire 8-hour shift at this one shitty job I had where I worked with like 8 people in a basement until midnight, and then I genuinely wanted to fucking kill myself afterward. No hyperbole here.

This could be a good cool-down track. PASS THAT INVISIBLE ORB OF ENERGY.

I have a vision of Janna crying at some point, to help keep the ambiance in the room aligned with the tragic vibe of this Mind Side Out track, so perhaps this will be the portion of the fitness video where Henry burns her with a candle off-camera.

I was telling my co-workers about this on Monday and they were like, “Wow. Glad you found your….calling.” I mean, I’ve attempted and failed at making writing, photography, and art a career,  so hopefully fitness figurehead is where my true talent lies!

NO I TAKE IT BACK: My favorite Depeche Mode song would be the PERFECT cool-down song:


See also: Wendy 1999 for a scintillating story sort of about this song.

“So what, are you just going to use your phone to film this?” Chooch asked me in that AWESOME judgmental tone of a middle schooler bracing himself for impending parental embarrassment. But the fact that he’s thinking this far ahead means that he BELIEVES IN ME!

Anyway, hopefully this comes into fruition once I conquer my inability to say motivational things without stepping on my foot. I think it’s going to be way better than my idea from 2004 to open a Crucifixion-themed restaurant.

ETA: I was just filling in Chooch re:The Pallbearer move.

“You made me pause my movie for that?” Chooch snarfled, and Henry Buttinsky was all, “Where are you getting this ‘weighted plank’?” because when he’s not White Knighting, he’s standing in a corner with a needle, punching holes in my logic.

“I mean, it’s just going to be, like, a board with weights on it,” I shrugged, like what else would I use? An actual coff—-


Jun 172019

There’s always some type of confrontation or strange activity going on in front of my house, especially on weekends, and you know I love to gleefully spy on this shit through my front window. Look, I’m not standing there waiting for it to happen but when the commotion is so loud, it distracts from my Korean lesson or playtime with the cats, I’m gonna pop my head out that window to see what’s what.

And it’s usually Chooch’s frenemy Larry drunkenly mowing the lawn at 9:30pm or motherfucking passing cars on our street; or maybe it’s Tourette’s ambling home from wherever it is that someone like Tourette’s spends his days, while screaming obscenities at the imaginary foes around him.

So Friday night, when my language studies were interrupted by screaming outside of my house, I was like, “woo hoo, here we go, Brookline weekend!” I wasn’t even going to give this trashiness any of my attention at first, but then I heard “YOU’RE A F*GGOT” being tossed around at incredibly loud volumes and that’s a big nope for me. I leaned onto the windowsill to get a better look-see at what kind of trash was oozing on by this time, and at first glance, it appeared to be a couple arguing. I did note that the woman was taller and hovered over him every time she turned around to get back in his face to call him the f-word again. I was impressed by the guy’s restraint. He just kept standing there, letting this broad pummel him with derogatory zingers, and when he did speak up, it was at a normal volume so I could barely hear him.

One of those times, after calling him the f-word for the fifth time in front of my house, I heard her spit. Now, I wasn’t looking directly at her when this occurred so I’m not certain if she spit on him or near him, but it was definitely her spit.

Then she said something about ruining mom’s night out, so I decided that maybe they were siblings.

Now they were further up the block, but she was still screaming her face off. She stopped and got in his face again, real close in his face, and said, “Look me in the eyes! I want you to see my face when I tell you that I have no respect for you because you’re a F*GGOT.”

I flung the front door open and Henry was like, “Oh no, here we go.”

“GREAT WORD TO BE CALLING SOMEONE!!!!” I yelled as loud as I could. She just kept stumbling along the sidewalk like she didn’t hear me, so I slammed the door.

By now, Chooch was also looking out the window.

“Um, that lady is like in her forties, and that’s a KID,” Chooch said, always the first one to point out how shitty my eyesight is.

OK now look, I was already fucking PISSED that this broad was out there using a homophobic slur as an insult, repeatedly, for the entire neighborhood to hear (there are kids on our street and bitches like her are the reason why kids keep growing up thinking it’s ok/cool/badass to use these kinds of degrading words). But now that Chooch pointed out it was possibly her SON she was saying this to, the rage shot up inside me so fast that I had chest pains and started to tremble with anger.

“We have to call the police,” I said.

“For what?” Henry asked with a shrug, donning his white knight helmet and flinging one leg over his steed. “She didn’t hit him. The police aren’t going to be able to do anything—”


Chooch was 100% on board with this idea because we are the Brookline Vigilantes (remember when we saved a moth and found a lost dog!?), so Henry reluctantly threw on his shoes and followed.

I’m not going to lie, as I bounded down the front steps of my house, it occurred to me that maybe I might die that night. I didn’t know what kind of headcase I was dealing with, or if she was high on something with superhuman strength. This is the problem with Good Samaritanism these days — you want to do your part in keeping society safe and honest, but you never know at what cost. However, if riding the trolley to work every day has taught  me one thing, it’s that IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. That recording plays on a loop on the platform so it’s ingrained in me.

Well guess what, I saw something and I said something, but now I needed to do something.

Chooch and I had to jog to catch up  to them because they had already made it a block away before we started to follow. My plan was to follow at a safe distance and record her behavior if needed, and  then call the police, but as we crested the slight hill on our street, we saw the blue and red flashing lights — someone had either already called the police, or one had pulled over in passing.

When we reached that part of the sidewalk, we saw the boy standing off to the side, away from his mom who was swinging her purse around while drunkenly gesticulating to the cop.

“I’m so sorry about this,” the boy said to us, his eyes filled with tears. HE FUCKING APOLOGIZED TO US. This simultaneously broke my heart and filled my body with even more rage. Chooch and I both assured him it wasn’t his fault and I asked him if he was OK – dumb question, but I needed him to know that I cared.

He said he was OK, but I’m sure he wasn’t. He might have been used to this though, and that makes it even worse. I wanted to rip his mom apart with my words right then and there but…that wasn’t going to help anything and he didn’t need to hear that. He already heard enough for one night!

I wasn’t sure what to do at this point — was I allowed to insert  myself and tell the cop that I was a witness? Would that escalate the situation? WOULD IT BE ME GOING TO JAIL  THAT NIGHT?? You have no idea how angry cops make me. When Henry finally aught up to us later (lol, you didn’t think he jogged with us, did you?), he admitted that he was afraid I was going to get into it with the cop because UGH COPS.

We lingered several yards away from the scene, trying to figure out if there was anything else we could do. One of Chooch’s friends walked by with her brother and they were like WTF IS HAPPENING so we filled them in and they were like OMG and then right after that another one of Chooch’s friends (an older woman who walks her dogs around the neighborhood) paused on her way by and we filled her in too so she stayed with us for awhile and we talked about how awful it is that parents could act that way and then I realized at this point that I was starting to cry so I guess maybe deep down I don’t really hate kids that much, who knows. But this whole event really had me shook.

I couldn’t get that bitch’s screaming voice out of my head all weekend, so imagine how much worse it sounds inside that boy’s head.

Eventually, we kept walking around town. Henry said that by the time he caught up to us and passed by the scene, the mom was going on and on to the cop about how much better she is than everyone else. Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, HUNTY. We started coming up with scenarios, like maybe Dad told Son to go to the bar to get Mom and that’s what set her off. Obviously some TRAGIC thing happened to spark her shrill comment about how mom’s night out was ruined. Or maybe he had the “audacity” to come out to her, or she found out from someone else, and her vicious name-calling was aimed directly for his heart.

In any case, I don’t care what sparked this incident, no child deserves to be spoken to / screamed at that way, whether it’s on a sidewalk in Brookline or behind the closed doors of their house. I  just kept looking at Chooch, imagining myself going off on him like that, and I couldn’t. I could not picture myself, in any situation, attacking his sexuality or his self-esteem or confidence or TRUST IN ME. The safest place for a kid should be with his mom!

Do I ever yell at Chooch? Sure I do! BUT NOT LIKE THAT! It’s always over something like his shitty attitude and I never insult him or degrade him — it’s always me screaming about how I can’t stand the way he’s acting or something. And it’s not very often.

Henry NEVER yells though. He’s afraid of us, lol.

By the time we circled back to our street, a female cop was also on the scene. She was standing off to the side with the boy, both of them watching as the first cop was straight yukking it up with the “mom.” Honestly, they were carrying on like they were bar buddies, exchanging stories, and the “mom” kept doubling over in laughter.

It was…it was so fucked up.

Back at the house, Henry turned on his police scanner app, or whatever old dorks with cop fetishes like him use, just in time for me to hear a male cop say something about how he was headed back, it was just a “mom trying to parent her child.”




Because what I saw and heard was classic emotional child abuse.

No, I didn’t see her hit him, but abuse comes in many forms.

Abuse is abuse is abuse. And what I witnessed was abuse.

And thus began my nightly hysterical rant about how cops are worthless while Henry tried to hide his toy sheriff’s badge down the back of his pants.

“Look, she probably didn’t give him any just cause to take her in,” Henry reasoned. “And the boy probably didn’t want to say anything against her.”

And deep down, I know these reasons are probably accurate, and that there really isn’t a happy ending in a case like this. He’s either going home with an abusive mom or being taken away from his home. I just kept feeling like I didn’t do enough though!

Finally, last night, I said to Henry, “Can’t I like, email the police or something?” At first, he seemed scared to answer me. But he ultimately agreed that giving my witness account of what happened might be beneficial, so he diligently looked on the Pittsburgh Police’s website for an appropriate person for me  to email. I ended up emailing someone whose title I already forget, but she’s a woman so I have hope that maybe she will actually read my email and take it seriously.  I explained in detail what I saw and that I strongly disagree with it being written off as a “mom trying to parent her child,” like he had just stolen a pack of gum and she slapped his wrist.

That’s how that sounds to me.

I also said that I would like there to be some record of this on file in case it happens again, and if possible, I felt that a wellness check would be appropriate here.

It’s been about 24 hours and I haven’t received a response, and maybe I never will, but I couldn’t in good conscience let this one go. I hope he’s OK. I hope he has people in his life telling him he’s loved and that he has worth in this world. I hope he has a good best friend or a teacher he can confide in. I hope this isn’t every day for him.

Dec 152017

I’m off work today and yet here I am, writing about work. Here are a few Reporting From Work moments that I want to remember, because these things always help remind me that at the end of the day, office life is alright. Except for…

The Great, Horrible G-Dragon Kidnapping

Late Wednesday afternoon, Wendy and Sue were talking to me at my desk, probably about how fantastic I am, or maybe that’s what was talking about, when Sue noticed my BIGBANG coffee cup. Wendy said, “Yeah, show Sue that other G-Dragon thing you have on your desk,” referring to the vinyl thingie that I bought at H-Mart and once adorned the G-Dragon Countdown calendar that Lori made:

I used to have him taped to the side of my computer monitor, but then he kept falling so now I just leave him to the left of my keyboard. I instinctively reached for him to show Sue, but my hand GRASPED NOTHING BUT EMPTY DESK-TOP. That was weird, I thought. I never move him from that spot. So I started shuffling things around, yanking drawers open, moving bottles of fake blood out of the way, tossing fake fingers over my shoulder…I even checked in my Fiji Mermaid’s fishbowl.

I immediately accused Wendy of this because she thinks G-Dragon is dumb and was it just a coincidence that she brought up that G-Dragon keepsake? I THINK NOT.

Sue backed away slowly, clearly not wanting to implicate herself in whatever Great American Crime Story I was writing up in my head. Wendy profusely swore that it wasn’t her, and by now word was spreading that G-Dragon was missing mostly because my voice was getting louder and more hysterical by the minute. Todd walked past to go to the refrigerator and I cried, “TODD DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY G-DRAGON IS!?” and he was all, “What G-Dragon?” because now people were conveniently playing dumb and acting like they had NO IDEA what G-Dragon relic I was talking about.

“IT’S THAT VINYL THINGIE OF HIM! FROM WHEN HE WAS AT THE CHANEL FASHION SHOW LAST YEAR!” I kept using this as the clue that was really going to drive it home, jog that person’s memory. Like someone was going to exclaim, “Oh yes! The one of him in that confusing not-quite-beret!” But every single person I said that to just looked at me like I was a crazy person.

Naturally, my next guess was Glenn. I didn’t see it on his desk and I didn’t want to go through his stuff EVEN THOUGH PEOPLE APPARENTLY HAVE NO PROBLEM GOING THROUGH MINE so I started searching in shared areas, like the supply closet, expecting to see GD’s beautiful, shining face peering down at me but NOTHING.

This continued on when I got back to work yesterday. I immediately confronted Glenn and he was actually scared a little, I think. I think he knows better than to ever, EVER, move any G-Dragon artifact from my desk. He swore profusely that it wasn’t him and the fear in his eyes made me believe him. Lauren suggested that maybe it was Aaron, and I started to consider this and then without any evidence at all, I had him pegged as the perp. When I came back from getting water in the kitchen, I noticed that the supply cabinet door was left ajar – a notorious indicator that Aaron had been creeping around. He never shuts that door all the way! So I flung it open and started digging through things again, thinking that maybe I had actually overlooked GD when I was searching that cabinet the day before, and Aaron had come over to see if his work was still in play.

I still didn’t see anything, but I did find some soft Cars-themed balls on the bottom shelf, and Lauren excitedly asked me to throw her one. I thought we were going to have an impromptu game of Monkey in the Middle since this happened near Glenn’s desk, but then she never threw it back to me. I think she wanted it for her dog.

ANYWAY. I went back to my desk and moments later, I could feel Aaron’s presence nearby, so I spun around and hysterically asked, “AARON DID YOU TAKE SOMETHING OF MINE.” He seemed shocked at first but then coyly said, “Maybe…” but he was just playing along and actually had no idea what I was talking about so then I had to describe the missing GD and once again the Chanel fashion show did nothing to help.

“What did it look like again?” Lauren asked me a few minutes later, and I cried, “WHY ARE YOU GOING TO SEND OUT AN EMAIL!?” and she was like, “Um, no, I was just going to ask anyone who walks by….”

Anyway, I never did find him and I’m honestly beginning to think that I probably accidentally moved him somewhere, threw him out (Lord help me) or maybe he was stuck to my purse or something one day when I was leaving and I dropped him outside I AM THE WORST KEEPER OF G-DRAGON. But! At least I can just easily get another one (all the Kpop shops sell those things) and I’m thankful that it wasn’t the GD doll my mom got me, or the GD keychain Maya made me! Those ones are not replaceable.

“Erin’s Not Going to Know.”

Wednesday, while I was running around with my hands in my hair, interrogating people about the whereabouts of G-Dragon, I overheard Wendy say to Jeannie, “Maybe Erin Kelly knows” and Jeannie responded with, “Erin is NOT going to know!” This stopped me in my tracks. Challenge accepted! I called out, “Wait — I might know!” and immediately prayed it wasn’t something work-related that was going to illuminate my dumbness.

So Wendy started with, “Do you know that toy with the ring that goes around your ankle—-”

“SKIP IT!” I cried.

“Yeah! That’s what it is!” Wendy laughed, and I guess Jeannie was looking for one for her niece for Xmas but couldn’t remember what it was called, so then Jeannie and I looked at all of the options on Amazon and I was feeling so sad because I loved my Skip-It unconditionally, and even had one in my early-20s, but it wasn’t as good as the original one from the 80s.

“If it’s something an 11-year-old girl would like, of course Erin would know what it is,” Wendy said and then everyone within earshot got a great laugh out of that WOW SO SOON AFTER G-DRAGON WENT MISSING, EVEN.

Anyway, I kept going on and on about how much I loved Skip-It and how great I was at it, and finally Jeannie was like, “Oh my god, do you want me to buy you one, too?!” and I immediately said yes so I hope she wasn’t joking because I’m going to be waiting for this to appear on my desk every day from now until Christmas.

Secret Santa Reveal

We did our Secret Santa Reveal event yesterday and I am now safe to scream from the hilltops that I was Amber’s Secret Santa! And Wendy was mine! What a perfect scenario!

Of course as luck would have it, neither Amber nor Wendy were in the office yesterday, so Carrie gave me my gift from Wendy and then someone Facetimed Amber and made me open her gift while she watched through the phone and it was pretty awkward like being on a stage except we were standing in an empty hallway.

Amber had coffee/tea, Qdoba, and plants written on her idea list, and I decided to go the tea route because my childhood friend Chris (not of Chronica fame) is a beekeeper and I have been meaning to buy some of his sweet honey (literally!) for some time now. So one of the gifts I put together was tea-themed, with some type of loose-leaf tea blend from India because she likes Indian things, a tall tea cup thing and these little cuties:

Honestly, we got to do a honey sampling and I was like, “Can I move in here? I’ll help you bottle this stuff all day long.”

And then for the last gift, I wanted to combine all three things on her list into one, at which point Chooch suggested getting a tortilla and filling it with dead plant parts and tea bags. I went with my own idea though, sorry Chooch. Maybe if I was BARB’S Secret Santa, I would have used his idea, though.

I topped it off with some of the TOPSHELF, $8.99 a pound mystery candy from the weird international market by my house.

Eastern European Candy PSA

Speaking of weird mystery candy, I also filled up a bag from the $4.99 shelf for the rest of my co-workers to “enjoy” out of the Plastic Pumpkin of International Horrors. I got several that were large and had some generic Disney prince and princess on the wrapper. For some reason, I want to believe that the bigger the better, not sure where I could possibly be getting that from, so I had high expectations for these ones. I treated myself to one yesterday afternoon and immediately turned to Glenn, making the HAVE I BEEN POISONED??? face.

“This might be the WORST candy out of the whole bunch!” I cried. And Lauren just brought back durian toffee from Thailand, so this is a huge statement on my part. Let me try to describe it:

The base looks like a peppermint patty. Just a chocolate circle thing. The top has four small mounds of what I later learned was “cookie biscuit” when Lori read the wrapper out loud. An interesting structure that I was excited to bite into! But inside the chocolate, which by the way was one of the worst attempts at chocolate I’ve ever had, was that awful firm jelly shit that masochistic confectioners like to slip inside candy sometimes. I don’t even know what flavor the jelly was supposed to be. Raspberry perfume? But when shit really got deep was when the notes of the “cookie biscuit” swam to the forefront of my palate. I couldn’t imagine what I was tasting, but it was familiar. And not a flavor you want in your mouth when you’re eating something sweet. I was standing up at this point, unsure if I should spit it out, google the Poison Control number, write a letter to the President of the Ukraine and demand that the inventor of this candy be incarcerated.

And that’s when I realized that the taste in my mouth WAS BLEU CHEESE.

Chocolate candy with a bleu cheese aftertaste!!! NO, UKRAINE. GO FUCK YOURSELF.


Well, that was going to be the end of my work update, but then I was getting ready to leave the house to walk to the post office, I put my hand in my coat pocket and wondered what the strangely-shaped object was that my hand had grazed, and this is what I pulled out:

BUT HOW!? Either I did this by accident (but I honestly don’t remember and there was nothing else in that pocket that could have potentially been next to it on my desk that I would have intentionally grabbed while accidentally grabbing G-Dragon at the same time) or SOMEONE IS SABOTAGING MY SANITY. I’m off work today but you can believe that this investigation is far from over.

(Also thank god he turned up because I couldn’t remember what these figures are called when I was trying to find one online to buy.)

Nov 192017

Sometime in September, Chooch came home with an order form for some dumb Southern Living cookie dough that the school was pushing the kids to peddle, and I was like, “LOL you can just throw that in the trash because I’m not taking it to work!

” Honestly, I hate fundraising bullshit, and I especially hate asking co-workers to buy things when most of them have their own children who are selling magazines and hoagies and slingshots and fidget spinners, I dunno what kids sell these days.

Flash-forward a week or two later. Chooch said he was going over his friend Wesley’s house and we were like, “Look both ways before you cross the street, don’t take candy from strangers, don’t talk to my Mexican taco cart boyfriend without me.

He came home a few hours later and it turns out, that sonuva took the order form with him and actually made like 8 sales to random people in Brookline!? Of course, his Corgi buddy Bob bought two containers of dough, but I didn’t recognize a single other name on that form! “Oh, that’s the lady who lives next to Bob, she has a dog too. And that’s her mom, who lives across the street. Oh, and that’s Ed’s* girlfriend” because Chooch gets around, man. He fucking gets around.

*(Ed is the guy who owns the gaming place on Brookline Boulevard, and Chooch of course has befriended him because most of Chooch’s friends are adults so why not add another.)

Meanwhile, the order form is all ATTENTION PARENTS, PLEASE SUPERVISE YOUR CHILDREN. DO  NOT LET THEM GO DOOR-TO-DOOR, because the world sucks these days. If this was the 80s, cold-calling would be encouraged! HERE’S THE MILKMAN, SON, ASK HIM IF HE WANTS TO BUY SOME FUNDRAISER FRUITCAKE! He’d have come home with 348 sales!

Unfortunately, Chooch collected checks from two of the houses, and the separate instruction sheet that was sent home from the school says that no checks are accepted, even though the order form states otherwise.

So while one of the checks was made out to Chooch’s school, the other one was made out to “Central Middle School” and we were like, “Wtf is this school?” and it turns out it was what the sample check on the order form had written on it, for fuck’s sake. So Henry had to take Chooch back to these two houses to exchange their checks for cash, which is how we realized that one of the lady’s lives in the house behind us, the same house with the garage window that Chooch busted a few yeas ago which turned into a summer-long odyssey of the husband repeatedly showing up at our door to remind Henry that he still had not replaced the window, because Henry is the king of procrastination, which is one of the things that his mom and I argued about last spring when she blamed me for him not doing all the things he promised her he would do and I was like DO YOU THINK HE DOES EVERYTHING I WANT HIM TO DO THE FIRST TIME I ASK HIM TO DO IT, LADY?! My god, guys like Henry are the reason why women have to nag in the first place.


Anyway, the point of this story is that as soon as I saw that he made some sales on his own, I suddenly morphed into Captain Competition and decided that I would take the order form to work and try to outsell him. Normally, people will bring this shit in and leave it on the table by the kitchen and let it sell itself. Not me. I kept the order form right where I could see it, on the counter behind Lauren, and flat-out accosted everyone who walked past with this super-aggressive opening line, “BUY SOME COOKIE DOUGH.” You’d be surprised how many times it worked! I even got Todd to buy a gluten-free tub, and Mitch too who almost definitely has never baked cookies in his whole entire life, good thing he has a wife now.

You guys, I became consumed by selling. I even told people that I would accept Paypal, so I was able to strong-arm Chris and Monica as well, by sending them pictures of their options. This went on for a week until it was time to return the order form to school, which is when we discovered that whoever NANCY is didn’t pay Chooch. “She said that she will pay when the cookie dough is delivered,” Chooch shrugged. “This ain’t no C.O.D!” Henry barked, prepared to scratch her name off the list, but Chooch was all, “WE CAN’T DO THAT! SHE’S SARAH’S MOTHER!” and we were like WHO THE EFF IS SARAH and apparently she is the lady who lives across the street from Nancy and also ordered a tub. Chooch was so certain that Nancy was good for her word, that he SPOTTED HER THE MONEY.

I am so glad there were no cameras on us the evening before the order form was due, because it was like we were all using math for the first time in our lives. It took all three of us to count the money and add the sales, twice, before we finally arrived at the same number. It was beyond stressful.

I know what you’re wondering: “But Erin, did you sell more than your son?” PFFT FUCK YEAH, YOUR GIRL DID. Chooch sold enough to get some janky prizes worth about $7 but more importantly, since he sold more than 20 tubs, he got to go to Pizza Hut in a limo, so even though he didn’t reach his lofty goal of 125 tubs which would have scored him a Playstation or whatever, he was very pleased.

And then I remembered that I was going to have to bring all this shit to work and distribute it, and I immediately regretted the choices I had made.

Aug 152017

My favorite Pittsburgh ice cream shop, Millie’s, recently opened a second location minutes away from where I work downtown. I thought it would be an awesome idea to skip out on one of our Monday meetings and get some Millie’s instead. I broached this idea to Boss Amber,  paired with the gentile insinuation that it could be a TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE. But Amber was like, “Um it’s ice cream, you don’t need to justify it” and an ice cream outing was officially scheduled!

This has been a rough year for our little group. We lost* two people – Amber1 and Gayle – and plus everyone has had to endure all my DAILY KOREA FACTS all year, so some fancy locally-sourced ice cream was just what we need to boost morale. 

*(I mean, they’re still alive, but still! We miss them.)

Guys, I got SZECHUAN ROASTED PEACH and it was to die for. The only way it could have been better would be it was, I don’t know, gochugaru roasted peach. 

Lauren got coconut lime, Todd & Amber both got Vietnamese coffee, and dumb Glenn probably got a scoop of Plain. Who knows, who cares. 

I took a group picture for our department’s Wiki page—I’m one of two people in our department with editing rights so every once in awhile, random Kpop pictures find their way into the limelight and everyone is all, “Ugh Erin Kelly.” 

On th way back to the office, some deranged street person sidled up to Glenn and started screaming about if Glenn took him to the ATM and gave him $100,000, he’d be his best friend. 

“I come out here every day, and no one bothers me. I come out here with Erin and all her friends come out to attack me,” Glenn mumbled as we crossed the street, leaving his new friend behind on the sidewalk.


Back at work, I was all hunched over, giddily editing our group photo, getting it primed for its public debut. 

After I posted it on our group’s page, I announced, “Ok our picture’s up!” No one said anything. I craned my neck to see if Lauren was going to our wiki page. 

She was not. 

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer so I flat out told Todd to go and look at it. 

“I already saw it,” he said. “You showed us on your phone.”

“Yeah but….just go and look,” I urged, standing behind him to make sure he did it. It took him FOREVER TO GET THERE because he doesn’t have it saved as a favorite. Ugh. 

When he saw it, it took him awhile to register, but then he laughed. 

“Wow,” he said in a total #smh tone. 

Lauren, upon hearing us laughing about it, decided she better go and check it out too. I’m sure she was low-key worried because god only knows with me, you know? But then she started giggling too. 

I had to wait for Amber to come back from her lunch break, but when she did, I practically crashed into her desk and sat on her lap in my excitement to have her look at the picture. 

She doesn’t have our wiki page saved as a favorite either so I had to stand there doing the pee-jig while she clicked through 18 pages to get there. 

She didn’t catch it at first, but when she finally saw G-Dragon’s perfect face, she started laughing and cried, “You’re….so special.”

The best part is fielding questions from the people in our department who have somehow avoided the Kpop-mania on our side of the floor, after they go to our page for actual work-related reasons and see our picture. That’s just the new intern, you guys. Kwon Jiyong. <3

Jun 072017

I can’t believe how good this oatmeal tastes,” I said enthusiastically yesterday at work. 

“Ooh, what did you put in it?” Lauren asked. 

“Nothing,” I shrugged. “I just followed the directions on the box for the first time.”


OK, let’s back up.

Typically I eat cream of wheat or oatmeal everyday for lunch at work because it’s instant gratification and I can barely handle much else, other than slopping some fruit salad (pre-made by Henry) into a tupperware thing and praying that it doesn’t leak in my bag on the way to work.

If I’m feeling particularly whimsical, I will add some sprinkles to it. If Gayle has honey at work, I might add that too. Usually I have a bruised banana that will find its way into the hot slop, too.

I always tell Henry when it’s time to buy me more instant cereal for work, but sometimes — this is going to be hard to fathom for some so make sure you swallow first if you’re eating or drinking — I will go to CVS during my lunch break and buy it myself.




Recently, something crazy was going on with me and I tagged along with Henry to the boring grocery store (as opposed to the magical Asian markets, which I happily visit every weekend). I knew that I needed to restock on my work lunch stash, so I bought kids oatmeal (complete with dinosaur eggs, thank you) and some healthy oatmeal thing that had flax seed and whatever in it.

Turns out, that healthy oatmeal is a kind that I’ve bought before and I HATE IT! It turns out so watery, basically just warm cloudy water with grain things floating in it. Disgusting! Two days in a row I suffered through this sad-sack lunch, complaining about it at length to Glenn who had the Don’t Care glaze over his eyes, until something occurred to me yesterday.

“Maybe I should try to make it the way the box says to make it,” I said mostly to myself, reading the directions at my desk.

“Well, how have you been making it?” Glenn asked hesitantly, probably wishing he could recall his question.


“Well, I dump it into my mug and then fill it up with the hot water from the spout on the coffee maker,” I said. “But then it just stays watery! Nothing happens!”

“Oh my god,” Glenn mumbled, and I couldn’t tell if that meant he was shocked my method didn’t work, or if he had just looked at a really great picture of G-Dragon.

So in the kitchen, I followed directions. I dumped the oatmeal into my cup. I filled the now-empty paper oatmeal pouch up to the line with water (not from the hot water thingie though – I’m not that dumb, you guys! Plus there is a warning sticker on it). Then I poured it over top the oatmeal and baked it in the microwave for two minutes.

And it exploded like a fucking 5th grader’s volcano science project. I had to take the glass thingie out of the microwave and clean it, ugh! Aaron walked by when this was happening and I sheepishly said, “I made a mess…”

“Is that your banana tea?” he asked, because one time he saw me cutting up a banana in the kitchen (with a plastic knife, don’t worry) and putting it in my coffee cup and then for the next year, he secretly thought I was literally adding bananas to my tea and expressed his concern (and disgust, probably) to Jeannie, who later told me about it and we had a great laugh.

Ugh, yes it’s my banana tea.

After I cleaned up the mess (burning my hand in the process), I took the remnants back to my desk and was amazed at how wonderful it tasted!

Glenn said I should have taken it out of the microwave every 30 seconds to stir it.

“Well, how would I know to do that if it doesn’t say on the box?” I cried, and he went back to trolling comment sections on fake news sites.

Later, I struggled to get the burnt oatmeal off my Goonies mug and considered just throwing it out and getting a new one, but then Gayle was like, “Just soak it….?” and hello, I know about that dish-washing secret, but the oatmeal was caked to the OUTSIDE of the cup too. I ended up just scrubbing it really hard and now my wrist hurts and I need to blame someone for this but I haven’t decided who yet. Probably Henry for not training me to be a grown-up, which by the way, he threatened to do over the weekend “in case something happens.” Something happens? Like he grows a pair and leaves?! Monica said she always just assumed Chooch and I would just move into Chez Chronica if that happens, kind of like she and Chris are our godparents.

I still should just get a new mug though. A G-Dragon one!


Today, I remembered Glenn’s sage cooking advice and stalked the microwave, stopping it every thirty seconds and giving the oatmeal a good stir.

With 45 seconds to go, I had a bad feeling. I could sense something wasn’t right, so I stopped it before the timer got to 30 and IT HAD OVERFLOWN AGAIN!!!!

Another day of cleaning the microwave! UGH. Where is Barb when I need her?!

Still though, it’s amazing how wonderful food tastes when you follow directions.

“Did the instructions give you options based on the microwave wattage?” Henry asked me on the way home from work, as we sat in traffic for an hour and he tried to resign from being my chauffeur.

“Huh?” I asked, scrolling through my Spotify kpop playlist.

“Never mind,” Henry sighed.  But then he had the audacity to ask me if I was trying to microwave the oatmeal IN THE POUCH, like I’m so dumb that I didn’t know to dump everything into a cup or bowl first, I AM SO INSULTED.

“It was so weird, it looked like it expanded somehow!” I gushed, as though I was telling the Story of Oatmeal for the very first time, to a bunch of pioneer people sitting on logs around a cauldron.

“That’s because it literally did expand. It absorbed the water, you idiot,” Henry sighed.

WOW. No need for name-calling!

“Anyway, who knew oatmeal needed to be baked. I guess I’m a baker now.”

“You’re not a baker. You cooked it in a microwave.

I’m going to try and bake other things in the microwave this weekend. Baked beans, probably.

Dec 132016

The asshole neighbors are still next door, and while things have (mostly) simmered down (knock on the wood of their severely damaged and beaten front door), there have been some new developments.

Since Henry talked to the landlord, it’s been mostly quiet over there. In fact, we started to think that Boots is living there alone now, like maybe the landlord was all, “Yo, I never said your strung out sex doll can shack up with you, get her out of there.” While Boots drives me nuts with the slamming and the stomping, it’s admittedly Phyllis’s gross smoker’s voice and hearing her scream lazily at him that really makes me feel psychotic.

So Tuesday through Thursday, we heard very minimal noise. An occasional opening and shutting of the front door, but NO SLAMMING. To the point where I was sure it was another person who was there, not Boots. Regular footsteps replaced the cinderblock-stomping on the stairs. I was able to sleep through the night! It was a fucking dream!

I was off on Friday. I heard movement next door, what sounded like the opening and shutting of cabinets in the kitchen, quiet sane-sounding voices. Maybe the landlord was there inspecting? Who could tell without x-ray glasses. But then I heard a dog barking. I looked outside and saw Boots on the porch with a Jack Russell and thought, “OH GOD IF HE HAS A DOG NOW, THEN SHIT’S GETTING REAL” and then I noticed, parked across the street, A U-HAUL. Nooooooo! My greatest fear realized! Boots was legit moving in! That dog probably had the house address engraved on its tag!

Thankfully, from my Concerned Neighbor Watch Post at my bedroom window, I determined that Boots was actually helping Chooch’s nemesis Larry move junk out of Larry’s house. The one thing I saw looked like an old furnace. I’m not sure how this matters to the story, but there it is. Larry eventually drove off in the U-Haul, and then a few minutes later, I saw Boots running down the street with the dog under his arm!?

I heard the dog barking again later, don’t worry. He brought it back.

I think it was actually Larry’s dog. Chooch knows everything about the neighborhood, most of all what kinds of dogs each house holds, and he verified that my description of the dog sounded like Larry’s. So I think Boots was just keeping Larry’s dog in his house so it wouldn’t run away while they had Larry’s door open? I DON’T KNOW, YOU GUYS, BUT THIS IS HOW I SPENT AN ENTIRE DAY OFF WORK. I HATE MYSELF.

Saturday, we heard Boots shuffling around, and still no sign of Phyllis. I was getting to the point where I felt that, if this was how things would stay, I could possibly accept Boots being my neighbor. Without Phyllis there provoking his temper, I wasn’t so on edge.

Still though, I worried about how things would go that night, when I had some friends over for a holiday party. Oh god, please don’t embarrass me Boots!

If anything was unraveling over there that night, I couldn’t hear over the noise in my own house. I hoped that it was annoying Boots! Sandy said that when she left my house, Boots was also leaving his house in a “creepy huff” and she was afraid he was going to abduct her and her girls, but she was at work today, so I guess Boots resisted the urge. I stayed up late that night, hanging out with Janna after my party ended, and Boots had visitors. It sounded like several men, and they were walking around and talking loudly for most of the night. One of the guys was driving a pick-up and he came and went numerous times. I turned up my radio super loud and put it against Boots’ bedroom wall and then I finally fell asleep around 2:30am. God only knows when that asshole went to bed.

Sunday afternoon, we realized that the window in Boots’ front door is busted out and he has a piece of cardboard taped over it. GEE I WONDER HOW THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED HE TAKES SUCH GREAT CARE OF THAT DOOR.

Later, all was bone-chillingly quiet next door, when suddenly, Boots started murdering his front door and bellowing, “MELISSA OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!! MELISSSSSSSSAAAAAAA!!!!!” and then he would kick the door so hard it would shudder our side of the house. Henry looked at me and said, “I honestly don’t think anyone else is over there?!” And so then I started to imagine that Phyllis (Melissa) was dead in the bedroom and he was so delusional that he thought she was going to come downstairs and open the door for him.

So now I wonder if he just has a habit of keeping the front door unlocked?

Anyway, I stood up and said, “OH FUCK NO, I’VE HAD IT” and Henry was all, “OMG PLEASE DON’T DO SOMETHING STUPID” but I was already whipping open my front door angrily. This man is not going to be satisfied until he splits his door in half.

Boots stopped pounding on his door and drug-drawled, “It’s just me, babe, sorry. Don’t tell [the landlord].” I gave him a death glare and made a disgusted noise, then came back in the house with a succinct slam of my door to punctuate the encounter.

HE CALLED ME BABE. Where’s the sewing kit, my vagina’s getting stitched up.

Henry heard him say “don’t tell [the landlord]” and we started cracking up, because clearly the landlord did talk to him and must have given him a warning. While we were laughing, Boots had entered the house through the basement and had begun his rage-stomp through the house, screaming his face off for Phyllis, who never answered him because she’s dead or something.

Later that evening, some man came to his house twice in search of him. He was knocking like a normal person, though he was calling Boots’ name relatively loudly. He left and came back later in search of Boots and I was like, “HE IS CLEARLY NOT HOME GO FUCK YOURSELF ASSHOLE” and Henry was all, “He’s not even doing anything — GET BACK IN THE HOUSE!” because by that point, I was throwing open my door like a wild woman looking for a fight. BOOTS IS RUINING MY LIFE.

I was home again from work om Monday but nothing much went on. I don’t think Boots even woke up until around 11 because I didn’t start hearing his footsteps until then. This is my life now. I am so fucking tuned in to every tiny movement on the other side of the wall.

I got home last night from seeing Citizen (<3) around 10:00 and while Henry was taking out the garbage, I saw a tall man walking through the yard to meet Boots, who was standing on his porch in shorts. The man seemed normal, and I think it was possibly the same man who was looking for him Sunday night. They went inside and had normal-volume conversations, which I could hear only because I muted everything SO I COULD HEAR. Now Henry thinks that maybe it’s his parole officer, because this is what we do in our spare time, sit around in our mismatched PJs, passing judgment and making crude character assessments of those on lower social rungs. (There are not many rungs lower than ours, so let us have our moment to feel better about ourselves, OK??)

Anyway, I know you were al worried but Phyllis apparently isn’t dead because I heard her fucking gross voice last night when I was trying to go to bed. I decided that I hate Phyllis more than Boots. I think I want to fight her.

The best part of my update is that while I was at work today, Henry said he was walking down the street to get Chooch who was at his friend Jaden’s house. He walked past Larry, who stopped him and said, “Hey, please don’t associate me with him,” and pointed to Boots’ house. “I’m trying to get rid of him.” If anyone knows Boots, it’s Larry, because they used to work together. So…sorry Chooch, but Larry is now our BFF and we must join forces to rid our street of Boots. I wish I had been there when this happened because I would have started asking Larry questions about Boots but dumb Henry was just like “Oh OK” and kept walking.

I need a new partner in my neighbor-spying game. Henry sucks.

Dec 062016

More things we know about our neighbors:

  • We are not the only people who hate them!

Monday evening was wonderful. Henry saw the neighbors leave in a blue car shortly after we came home from work, because now they have a car, I guess. This is a new development. It was around 8:30-9:00 that night, and as I mentioned in an earlier post this week, I was just trying to enjoy an episode of The Affair, motherfuckers. Suddenly, someone started banging and kicking on the neighbors’ front door.

I heard a man scream, “I see your light on, you cunt! Come out here!” So I thought, “Great, Boots is locked out again and is rearin’ to start another domestic battle with Phyllis.” But the more he banged, pounded, and kicked, the more it sounded less like he was irritated about being locked out, and more like he was literally ready to beat someone’s ass.

Then he started screaming again. This is when I began to realize that it wasn’t Boots after all. This was some other male. It sounded at one point like he said, “I saw what you did” — did he know someone in the house watched a person drown?! WAS PHIL COLLINS OUTSIDE MY HOUSE?


The way this man was bellowing though, it chilled me to the bone; he was 100% raging in front of our house. He called the empty house everything from punk, prick, cunt, and faggot. And he was kicking the door with such force that it was making things in my side of the house shake.  I wanted to teleport back to m y childhood bedroom, lock the door, and crawl under the bed. But instead I just stood in the middle of the living room, in a frozen crouch, trembling. Henry ran upstairs to  try and get a look at the guy through our bedroom window, while I called 911. Hello, what if that guy comes to my door next, looking for those derelicts!? I don’t want to get caught in that crossfire!

While I talked to the dispatcher, I started to shake really bad. I mean, not that many like violence, but I really truly hate it. I know I’m into murder TV and all that, but when I see violence in real life, I want to throw up. I always think back to the time I was with Janna, my boyfriend Psycho Mike, and our friend Jon on Thanksgiving Eve in 1999. We were driving near the old Sun TV in West Mifflin (you care) when we came upon a man kicking the fuck out of another man’s head in the middle of the road. I got really upset and wanted Mike to stop the car and make the man stop, but he was like FUCK NO and sped away. I don’t think any of us had a cell phone then, either. A few minutes later, we were pulled over because apparently Mike’s mom’s car was similar to the car that the assailant was driving. I started crying and frantically tried to tell the cop what we had seen, but Mike and Jon were like STOP TALKING, LET US MEN TELL THE STORY, WOMAN. Ugh. Anyway, that was a long time ago (I don’t want to do math right now) and I still have random flashes of that night.

So I was pretty happy that the neighbors weren’t home because I don’t want to live next to a crime scene, you know?

Anyway, while I was on the phone with 911, the man finally gave up and stormed off up the street. Henry described him as being in his 40s, white, stocky, bald and wearing a dark sweatsuit. The dispatcher asked which direction he was walking, and then assured us that they would send a squad car but that if the man came back before then, to please call 911 again.


Then I got really nervous and started running around the house panicking because I really dislike cops and I go out of my way to make sure I never have to speak with them. “Will you do the talking?” I begged Henry, and come on, of course Henry will do the talking because he was born to be a hero. That fucking popo sycophant. Never forget the time he got to bro down with a cop the night there was a hit and run in front of our house.

“What if they come in here and mistake Trudy for a black man and shoot her?” I asked, and I promise I wasn’t even making jokes. I AM THAT LEARY OF COPS. Everything scares me these days.

“Why the hell are cops coming into our house with guns drawn and then shooting at a green mannequin!?” Henry asked incredulously.

“Because they think it’s a trap?? And they’re color blind!?” God Henry, try to consider all scenarios — that’s how you win wars!!

Guess who never showed up? THE COLORBLIND COPS.

But the neighbors did. They rolled up a bit after 10 and after a quick conference amongst ourselves, we decided that they should be given a heads up that some angry man was trying to break into their house and kill them.  So I sent Henry to do the dirty deed. I stood just inside the door so I could hear.

“What was he driving?” the daughter asked in her rough-ass hillbilly voice.

“Nothing, he was walking,” Henry answered. “He was bald—”

“Was he FAT?” Boots spat in his warbled mumble.

“I guess. He was pretty stocky,” Henry said.

“Yeah, I know who that is,” Boots said dismissively and then they went into their crack house and slammed the door with vigor. Literally no big deal, you guys. Some guy wants to kill them but they don’t give a fuck! Probably because they’re used to this kind of thing!

If I came home one night and Hot Naybor Chris was all, “Yo someone was trying to break into your house t murder you” I’d be driving to the nearest Amish town, put me in the fucking Witness Protection Program, here Chooch, don this fucking bonnet, your name is Ezekiel now.

So then I was just pissed! Fuck those motherfuckers!

“Wow, you want to talk about a group of strung-out people, holy shit, Erin,” Henry said as he closed the door and double-locked it. “They could barely even stand up straight! And the daughter looked a lot better when she had her hood up the other day,” he said, so I guess that means he hopefully won’t cheat on me with her now. (Season three of The Affair, you guys. I’ll be in a paranoid fugue state for the next few weeks.)

“You made contact! Now he thinks you guys are friends,” I said solemnly.

The rest of the evening was calm.

Until 4am. I woke abruptly to the sound of the front door being repeatedly slammed shut. Then Boots was running up and down the steps. Then the daughter started SCREAMING, “Mom! Help me!” in a deep, drawn-out tone.

Phyllis screamed, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT, GEORGIA?!?!” So hooray, now we know Daughter’s name is presumably Georgia!

But really, Georgia, what the fuck do you want at 4am?!

Then Boots’ garbled bark interrupted, and at this point, I was out of bed and standing in the hallway next to the wall because I’M UP NOW, ASSHOLES, MIGHT AS WELL SEE HOW THIS PLAYS OUT.

As usual,  I couldn’t decipher what Boots was screaming about, but then Phyllis yelled, “I DIDN’T LOCK YOU OUT, YOU FUCKING WEIRDO!” and then it was 30 minutes of Phyllis calling him a fucking weirdo over and over and hollering about not having cigarettes, with random slams of the front door punctuating her nicotine demands.

They eventually stopped, but I couldn’t go back to sleep after that. They make my heart race, and not in some teeny-bopper Katy Perry song kind of way.

The next morning, I called Henry, who had already left for work before this went down. He said that when he was leaving, he saw Boots come out of the house and proceed to sit inside his mystery car. Maybe he was sitting in there and smoking Phyllis’s cigarettes!?

By mid-morning, I was falling asleep at my desk. And then that just made me really angry. So I texted Henry and he said he was going to try and get ahold of the landlord again. AND THIS TIME HE ANSWERED! And HNC was correct, the landlord has been traveling and admitted that he hadn’t been in touch with those dildos. He also confirmed that he has Boots set up with some type of “fix up to live” arrangement, where he’s supposed to literally be renovating the house in exchange for reduced rent, I guess.

“Well, FYI, there hasn’t been any work happening there in about a month,” Henry told him, and then ran down the laundry list of domestic disputes, house calls from the cops, screaming and slamming doors at 2-4am….

The landlord asked if we think there are drugs involved and Henry was like, “Probably most likely yes.” The landlord said that sometime last month, he sent a plumber over there to do work, and the plumber apparently found the daughter unconscious on the bathroom floor?! The landlord told Henry that he was told she has seizures and Henry was just like, “Mmmmm……ok.”

Anyway, the landlord is super pissed and said that this arrangement is obviously not going to work out and that he’ll take care of it. BUT WHEN, LANDLORD?! DO IT NOW. I was so upset yesterday that I didn’t want to come home after work.

Last night, we went over Hot Naybor Chris’s house to fill in him and his Wife-Thing about the recent events because HNC kind of knows Boots from whenever the landlord sent over the (legit) contracting company to do work on HNC’s house. Boots was working for them at that time and was apparently kind of OK?

Here is what we learned from HNC:

  • Boots’ name is George.
  • That is HIS daughter, so I guess it makes sense that her name could be Georgia for sure.
  • The “older woman” staying there is just Boots’s “friend” who is going through a rough time because her husband recently died. But I heard Georgia call her “mom”?! Ugh I’m so confused.
  • He used to work with Chooch’s nemesis Larry*, who lives two houses down, and recently told HNC that he went over there and that “There is no way George is clean” so we know that George has definitely had a drug problem, and most likely still does currently.
  • Wife-Thing said that sometimes when she comes home during the day, Boots comes out of the house and gets all up in her face and she doesn’t like that ONE BIT.
  • HNC said one night he looked out his window and saw Boots dancing in his front yard. They have a blue porch light, so HNC said he thought to himself, “What, is my blue light turning him on?” DEAD.
  • When we started to tell them about Bald Guy (which Wife-Thing heard as it was happening, btw because probably most of the block heard it), HNC interrupted and said, “Was it Dave?” and then described TOURETTE’S TO US! It took everything in me not to blurt out, “OMG now I know Tourette’s name!!”
  • Wife-Thing confirmed that something not right is going on over there and that they will also talk to the landlord about it. HNC wanted to just go straight to Boots and “talk to him” but Wife-Thing was all, “DO NOT GET INVOLVED CHRIS!!!” I agree.

They never came home last night so I was hopeful that maybe the landlord acted faster that I thought he would.

“Maybe they went on vacation,” Henry suggested.

“To where? A tenement across the city?” I spat.

But don’t worry. They’re home again.

Octavia said these assholes are lucky it’s not her husband living next to them because he would have been outside with guns drawn by now and now I wish they lived here. Have you met Henry?? He is the most non-confrontational person ever! He’d be out there not with a gun but with…a wooden spoon, like “Guys, don’t be mad at us. I made you spaghetti! Taste the sauce! Let’s be friends!”

Ugh, maybe Bald Guy will come back and take care of this for us.

*(I have a Larry-centric blog post coming later this week.)

Dec 062016

Let’s go over what we already know about the mystery neighbors in the other half of my duplex:

  • they’re technically supposed to be “working” on the house for our landlord.
  • they could maybe be squatting, though??
  • they’re probably illiterate.
  • definitely smoke too much because I CAN SMELL IT IN MY BEDROOM?!
  • the main players are a man and woman in their 40s/50s.
  • the woman’s name is allegedly “Melissa,” as we learned last week when Man left the house, made it halfway down the street, and then turned around and started screaming, “MELISSA!” At which point she came to the window and yelled “WHATTTTT????” in her patented Yinzer trash throat scrape.

Where we last left off, Henry reported that the cops had made a visit next door one night last week, around 2am. He said they were fighting so bad that he was getting ready to call the police himself, but someone beat him to it. We’re speculating that it was her.

After this happened, I went to work and was ranting about how trashy and psychotic these people are, and how the cops were there, etc etc. And then I had a vision of the cops over there, breaking up a domestic dispute while Henry and I are next door, churning out serial killer greeting cards under the warm glow of our Christmas mannequin. And then I started cracking up because psycho pot calling the psycho kettle black.


Well…not as much as them.

Hot Naybor Chris confirmed that the guy truly does work for a contracting company, because he was one of the guys doing work on HNC’s house a while back. Apparently, HNC was there the day that the landlord brought this guy over to do work, because HNC got to go inside the house and said that our old neighbors really did a lot of damage. Which is crazy because we RARELY HEARD THEM.

The last day I heard them do any work over there whatsoever was when I was home on Veteran’s Day. I heard drilling, hammering, your basic construction noises. Now that I’ve gotten more acquainted with these idiots, I find it hard to believe that they’re capable of hammering a nail into the wall to hang a picture of an egg in a frying pan, let alone operate actual power tools. #concern

Why haven’t we called the landlord, one might ask. Landlord has been out-of-town, apparently, possibly even out-of-country. (His wife is from Japan or something, I don’t care enough about him to keep up.) Also, anytime the landlord has any work done to his properties, he is constantly over there, pacing back and forth in his cowboy hat. This guy is no-nonsense—Henry has a video of him wrestling a shovel off a guy from the gas company who dug up our front yard and then was going to leave without solving our issue. I’m not a big fan of our landlord, but I for sure was that day.

Anyway, ever since the domestic incident, I clench up every time I hear the door slam and then the STOMP STOMP STOMPing of his boots on the steps. Actually, let’s just call him Boots from herein. I know we’ve established her name is Melissa but let’s call her…Phyllis. Because that throaty smoker’s voice, man.

I hear Boots clomping his way through the house and my brain starts screaming to me, “HIDE UNDER THE BED, DRUNK DAD’S HOME AND HIS BREATH STINKS OF JACK AND PUKE!” Something like that.

Late Wednesday night, I heard the door slam and the house shake, and then I heard the stomping of boots up the steps. A short scuffle then BAM – the door slammed again. I looked out the bedroom window and announced in a hoarse whisper to Henry, “He’s leaving again!” I watched him walk down t he street, then stop and get into the backseat of a car that rolled to a stop right in the middle of our street.

The car continued to sit there and I was getting mad. YOU CAN’T STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR ROAD, IT’S A BUSY STREET! But then BAM — the door slammed again and out scurried Phyllis. She got in the passenger seat and the car sped away.

“Maybe it was their Uber,” Henry mumbled, already falling back asleep.

But then! The boots again! His muffled voice slammed up against our bedroom wall, and PHYLLIS started Yinzering back! THEN WHO WERE THE MAN AND WOMAN WHO LEFT THE HOUSE OMFG  THERE ARE FOUR OF THEM!?

Phyllis started screaming, “GO AWAY! GO TO YOUR OWN ROOM! LEAVE ME ALONE!” I was prepared to call 911 because I don’t fuck with this shit, but then it got very quiet. And then nothing for the rest of the night. Either they passed out or died.


On Thursday, while I was at work, Chooch was in the house alone. Henry was across the street in the parking lot probably having an affair, like he does, when he said he noticed that a guy was walking past our house and stopped. The man looked up at our neighbor’s open bedroom window, at which point Boot poked his head out, so the man kept walking. WELL APPARENTLY HE WAS STOPPING BECAUSE UNEARTHLY SEX MOANS WERE EMANATING FROM THE WINDOW, as Chooch proved by RECORDING THE SOUNDS WITH HIS PHONE.

“Um, it sounds like maybe she was hurt or something,” Henry said when they were telling me about it after I came home from work.

“No, I’m pretty sure they were doing it. Now my childhood is ruined,” Chooch sighed dramatically.

I listened to it later and congratulates on recording the audio of your first sex tape, son.

Totally doing it.


The worst part though is that Chooch said it started with her saying “Help, help.”

Was this not consensual? Is he her captor?! Is the prequel to The Room playing out on the other side of my bedroom wall?


Friday was blissfully neighbor-free. Maybe they were dead? We kind of didn’t care.

But then Saturday morning rolled around. Henry was leaving to “go to the store” (i.e. cheat on me behind a pile of empty milk crates in the back of Giant Eagle) and he texted me excitedly because he saw Phyllis on his way out and she nervously said “Morning” to him. GREAT NOW HE’S GOING TO CHEAT ON ME WITH HER, TOO. Anyway, he said she looked young, like in her 20s and I said for sure that couldn’t be Phyllis then because I saw Phyllis once a few weeks ago when she and Boots were scurrying down the sidewalk with their gas station coffee. So now it was really starting to sound like Phyllis’s daughter is squatting there as well, and that’s who I saw leaving the house late Thursday night.

After Henry sent that text, I heard the basement door slam and Boots’ signature stomp began to shake the house.

“Don’t you think it’s weird how Boots always comes in through the basement?” I later said to Henry.

“Yeah, because he doesn’t have a key. The keys are in our house!” And then Henry reminded me that Chooch found keys in the front yard a few weeks ago, and how shortly after that, we heard what sounded like the basement door being kicked in. Because it sounds like Phyllis and Daughter keep Boots locked out, LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Meanwhile, I was sitting at the desk in my bedroom, painting. My desk butts up against our shared wall, so I had a prime seat for when the Real Phyllis woke up and started screaming because “YOU CAME IN MY ROOM LAST NIGHT AND TOOK MY BLANKET OFF MY BED!”

So now we know there’s at least a bed over there! And we think it was left there by the family who lived there before them because this merry band of misfits never actually moved anything in. So ew, gross.

Boots was all, “MWWAAAAHMWWAAAAHHHH” because I can never understand anything when it’s his turn to talk, he sounds like a fucking throatless hobo with three pairs of balls in his mouth. The next thing I knew, he was out on the front porch screaming at her, but she must have been standing in the doorway, because I could only see him from my bedroom window, pelvis a’thrust, arms flapping limply at his side. They were fighting over money at this point. I was barely able to discern the words, “OH YEAH OK, YOU BOUGHT IT, MMMHMMM” and if I were Phyllis, I’d have punched that Coke bottle eyeball’d motherfucker in the face. Ugh. Of course I didn’t have my phone, and by the time I ran downstairs to get it, they had retreated back to home base—the bedroom—where a fight over CEREAL ensued:

My phone shouldn’t be able to pick that up through a WALL. I’ve had plenty of neighbors living over there through the years, and we rarely could hear voices, only occasional bass from TV/radios. It takes some heavy-duty shouting to be heard through those walls.

And then they went quiet for most of the day. Later in the evening, they were gathered in The Room again, but they seemed to be coexisting peacefully so the sound of my radio was enough to drone out their slurred, cigarette-ravaged voices. They could film This Is Your Brain on Drugs commercials over there.

Pretty sure we witnessed Daughter buying drugs in front of the house that night, though.

Sunday: FULL DAY OF QUIET. We decided they must have fired up the caravan and visited some other crack den for the day.

TO BE CONTINUED because I’m still stressed out from living Part 2 last night.


Oct 252016


I wish I could properly explain the wrath I dealt with back in May when Chooch realized he was going to miss a headlining Summer Set show in Pittsburgh because we were in Michigan for Bledfest (something that only I wanted to do and Henry and Chooch got stuck going along for the ride and hated every second of it). “But it’s cool because you’ll get to see them at Warped Tour!” I reasoned, and Chooch seemed pacified by this.

And then there was more, even greater wrath in July when we realized that The Summer Set was only going to be on the second leg of Warped Tour, so Chooch would have to miss them again. 

And then there was no Pittsburgh date for their fall tour, but there was a Columbus show that fell on a Saturday so Henry and I felt it was worth it. Look, The Summer Set is not necessarily a band I would go out of my way for, but Chooch is really taken by them, for whatever reason. And who am I to deny my kid the pleasure of seeing one of his favorite bands? I mean, look at how bent out of shape I get when I have to miss seeing one of my favorite bands!

If you read my lame-o live blog post, some of this you already know. Like, the fact that Henry booted us out onto the curb and then went carousin’ around Columbus for….litter boxes and ginger tea. Henry knows how to live it up.

The venue was the A&R Music Bar. I’ve never been there before and I get really nervous about taking my kid to venues I know nothing about. But…the show was all ages, so I figured we’d be fine. Here in Pittsburgh, most of the venues won’t let you bring drinks out of the bar area, so I assumed it would be like that here too.

But no! It was a fucking free-for-all. The bar wasn’t separate all, and while I imagined the crowd would mostly consist of underaged girls, there actually seemed to be more adults there.

Drunk adults.

All over.

Being rude.

Standing in front of Chooch.

Talking over all of the bands.

I was just really rubbed the wrong way almost immediately and had this dire urge to have Henry come and get us and then we could just go do something touristy or…I don’t know…go home. I hate when I get those bad feelings! And I just couldn’t shake this one at all.


Chooch and I were so hateful of the crowd that we opted to go out on the patio and hang out with the all of the smokers, even though it was about 40 degrees out. We could actually see the stage better from out there and the sound wasn’t muted much at all.

That dude up there in the white shirt was the opener. I think his name was Chase? No. It’s Hudson Thames. I pretended for a second to be committed to the art of blogging and actually researched that shit.

Um…Hudson had a great voice! But I wasn’t entranced.  And then after his set, he took off his shirt and threw it into the crowd, like OK Tacky.

William Beckett was next. I had no idea he was on this tour, and when he walked past us when we were standing in line, I was like, “That guy looks familiar” but then figured it was just because he reminded me of someone who would have been in a Sid & Marty Kroft television show, and didn’t think about it again until we were inside and I was buying Chooch his 374872389465th Summer Set shirt, when I looked over and saw the guy again, and then my eyes drifted to the side of his head and I noticed all of the William Beckett merch on the wall and realized that oh shit, that’s William Beckett from The Academy Is… what the fuck is he doing opening for the Summer Set?!

We only stuck around for two of his songs because, ask Chooch, we were surrounded by drunk broads with really annoying voices. I will never understand why people pay money to go to a show and then stand with their back to the stage scream-talking to their friends. Like, just go to a regular bar for that, or have a fucking house party. I guess I just don’t get it. MAYBE BECAUSE I’M TOO SQUARE. I’M SO SQUARE THAT I USED THE TERM “SQUARE.”

After William Beckett, Chooch and I went back inside, on a quest to find somewhere decent to stand where he could see and we wouldn’t be inadvertently wrapped up in a Snuggie of drunk douchebags. We ventured further and further up toward the front of the venue until we were next to the side of the stage. There were several other people standing there, and Chooch was happy enough with the unobstructed view that he didn’t care if he was just going to see the Summer Set’s profiles.

Eventually though, one of the staff ladies came over and said that we were going to have to move back more into the main area when the band came out, and we were like, “Ugh fine.” However, two girls came into the venue with one of the Summer Set guys (Josh, according to Chooch) and stood next to Chooch and the staff lady was just like, “Fine I give up. Stand there. Create a fire hazard. Oh well.”

I mean, probably that’s what she was thinking, and not, “Gotta catch ’em all.”


You can see how we were keeping an open area so that traffic could freely flow to and from the exit.

I was so pleased with how this night had panned out! Chooch was in a comfortable spot, I had a thing to lean my old ass body against, the band was playing pleasant pop music that I generally wouldn’t care about but have learned to semi-like thanks to Chooch (I REALLY LIKE THEIR NEW SONG “JEAN JACKET” AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT)….Some old broad had migrated to our area with her niece who was around the same age as Chooch, and she and I were exchanging pleasantries, and that’s when I made the mistake.

I said words.

I jinxed myself.

“This is the perfect spot,” I yelled into my new friend’s hair.

“Yeah it really is!” she said, and we leaned back against the bar, smiling as our young companions danced and clapped to The Summer Set.

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Then that lady left. I don’t know where she went, to the back of the room with her niece, I guess. And then suddenly, a group of 6 totally trashed bitches came barreling up from the back of the room and stuffed themselves into the area area between those of us leaning against the bar and the few people in front of us at the barricade.

They were flailing around, screaming like infants, holding their cans of Coors Light like torches over their perfect heads of hair, sloshing beer around like a stinky sprinkler system, and being generally REALLY FUCKING INTRUSIVE.

Luckily, the staff lady swooped in from her station at the door and yelled, “You guys have to move! We have to keep this area open!”

Of course, they wouldn’t move. Why would they move? They were fucking entitled little bitches who owned the place.

All I knew was that they were potentially going to ruin things for Chooch. I had a feeling that if they didn’t move, that broad was going to come back and make us ALL move. So I kind of nudged one of them so she’d move, instead of pancaking me against the edge of bar like she was currently doing. I mean, they brought major pandemonium to our nice little area of the venue, and everything was happening so fast…

But I didn’t think this prissy little girl was actually going to flip out from being subtly nudged.

“That bitch PUSHED ME!” she shrieked to the staff lady, who was just like, “Oh OK” and then walked away. When she didn’t get the attention she craved, she continued to scream her face off about me pushing her, and I was so confused…was she actually talking about me? Because I used like three finger tips to give her a tiny prod in the direction that the lady wanted her to move, and also it was to get her fucking gross Aztec sweater out of my face.

So then she ran over to the lone guy in their crew and hysterically cried, “THAT BITCH PUSHED ME!” but as I would find out later, she wasn’t the one in the group he was fucking, so he just looked at me and then looked at her and shrugged.

Two of her other friends were oblivious to her plight, and instead continued performing their bizarre, primitive vagina dance which involved them leaning back in their best Limbo pose while facing each other, and making sensual “offering” motions with their hands above their crotches. So I’m like completely mesmerized by this weird menstrual witch jig when I suddenly feel a sharp blow to my ribcage because Aztec Sweater finally found a friend who cared, and that friend—a frumpy bitch in a plum sweater—wedged herself in between me and the nice, normal girl who was originally standing to my left, and proceeded to passive aggressively assault me with her basic bitch elbow while the THAT BITCH PUSHED ME dialogue continued.

Like, really. You’re going to stand there and play these middle school games, like you’re trying to bully me in the back of the classroom while the teacher has her back turned? Because that’s what that shit felt like.

So I dug my feet into the floor and started to push back into her because bitch, you picked the wrong girl. I wasn’t going to move.

But I also wasn’t going to ruin Chooch’s night. Because by this point, my whole body felt like a whistling tea kettle. I could hear the blood rushing into my head, like sheet metal crashing in my ears. I was starting to shake, because what I really wanted to do WAS GRAB THIS BITCH BY THE HAIR. Not even the girl I supposedly pushed! But this fucking plum tunic hag. I wanted to actually fight her and it has been a long time since I felt this out of control in public, and I had literally zero sips of alcohol in me. No, this bitch alone was bringing out pure, unadulterated, primal rage.

Then I looked up and saw Chooch, applauding in between songs, and got myself in check real quick.


This isn’t to say I was going to stand there and be steam-rolled by this fucker. So I turned and tapped her on the arm.

“Excuse me, but I didn’t PUSH your friend,” I yelled into her ear.

“WELL THAT LADY YELLED AT US AND TOLD US TO MOVE AND THERE’S NOWHERE FOR US TO GO SO YOU HAVE TO MOVE TOO!” she yelled back, sounding like an actual brat. I mean, that staff lady didn’t YELL at them, she was just trying to do her job.

“I’ve been standing here since before The Summer Set went on, and my kid is right up there, so no, I’m not moving,” I said, and I was so surprised at how RATIONAL AND NON-HYSTERICAL I SOUNDED. I realllly didn’t want Chooch to turn around and see his mom acting like white trash. 

“OK, well then we’re good here!” she yelled, like suddenly everything had changed now that she knew I’M A MOM and not just another basic OSU bitch? I mean, she said it in a totally asshole-y way without a DROP of sincerity, but she moved out of my personal bubble and her fucking elbow never touched me again, and then in a strange twist of events, the weird vagina dancers actually became pretty amusing to me and we had several moments throughout the night where we laughed at things together and I know that infuriated the other two girls WHO I WILL NEVER BE COOL WITH IN REAL LIFE, NOT IN A MILLION YEARS, I don’t care how much Aztec Sweater looked like Missy Franklin and I LOVE MISSY FRANKLIN.

I can’t even put into words how much it ruined my night, my weekend, my joy of being at a concert, my faith in humanity (not that I had much to begin with but still). Shows are safe zones for me. It’s where I feel at home and comfortable in my skin, where I can leave my stress and tension at the door, and I want Chooch to feel that way too. But all this shit was playing out right behind him and even though he never turned around and saw it all, he was still annoyed by these people for his own reasons. It made me feel like I put him in a potentially unsafe situation and that’s a really terrible feeling for a parent.

But he still said he had a great time, and the guitar tech gave him a pick (you can see that in the end of the below video!).


I pretty much raged about this to Henry during the entire three hour drive back home to Pittsburgh and he was like, “OK what do you want me to do” because he’s so SUPPORTIVE, so then I texted Chris and Monica who TOTALLY UNDERSTOOD AND WERE ON MY SIDE SO THERE HENRY. And I’m not going to lie, I kind of half-expected them to follow us outside after the show and start shit with me again, so I spent the rest of the show trying to put together some kind of game plan in my head, which was basically just COMING IN LIKE A WRECKING BALL.

And then running.

There were like six of them!

Well, four. Those vagina dancers were way too drunk to fight.

All I know is that I haven’t felt this way in a long time. Because I don’t know about you, but I try to live my life without getting stabbed or thrown in the slammer. 


I was down about it all day yesterday at work. I only told Glenn, Todd, and Wendy because even just talking about it made me feel so shitty all over again. I’m so glad that these things happen so rarely, because I would probably never go to a show again.

When I saw Chooch after work, I asked him if he told his friends about going to see The Summer Set.

“No, not really,” he said, because his school friends just don’t relate to these things. “Well, I did tell them about how that one girl spilled her beer on my leg.”


Sep 132016


It was after 2pm by the time we were done being dummies at Vent Haven, which means we were precariously close to The Witching Bitching Hour, otherwise known as the hunger twilight, where Chooch and I morph from adorably angelic sweethearts into Regan and Damian in Warped Tour shirts.

Henry had approximately 37 minutes to find us a place to eat before the transformation was complete.

Back when Christina and I were friends, I used to visit her pretty frequently in Hamilton, OH, which is a few miles outside of Cincinnati. Since it was kind of on our way home, I suggested that we eat at Hyde’s, a family restaurant she took me to several times. I remembered liking the aesthetic and the pie, and was prepared to throw a fit if Henry said no, but then something miraculous happened:

Henry’s old SERVICE roommate Tim contacted him because he saw on Facebook that we were in the area! This put Henry in a great mood and he said YES to Hyde’s because now we needed to kill time in order for Tim to come out to meet us from wherever he lived in Indiana which is apparently close to Hamilton, who knew? (People who look at maps, I guess.)

Tim called Henry shortly after we arrived at Hyde’s. Henry jumped out of the booth and went outside to answer it; I’ve never seen Henry run out of a restaurant that fast in my life, not even the time he dined and dashed at HOOTERS in 1992.

(Probably true?)

So then Mr. WE GOTTA GET HOME, NO MORE STOPPING! decided that after lunch, we would be meeting TIM at Jungle Jim’s!


Holy shit, I was so so excited, I could barely eat. Just kidding, I almost accidentally ate my hand while shoving my grilled cheese into my gnashing maw.

We had a really colorful waitress too who made sure she told us how busy she was every time she swung by our table, and I really liked that Real Talk aspect. I want to believe that we were the only table she confided in. I kept hoping she would talk shit on her other tables to us but she never did.

She probably made fun of me to her other tables though after I was a total tourist and asked WTF “sarasotas” are.

Turns out they’re just homemade potato chips served with BBQ sauce.

“That Yinzer bitch over there asked what them sarasotas is, can you imagine,” she probably said to the table of old bitches who came in for pie.

Chooch of course substituted a basket of sarasotas for his fries and Henry was very perplexed by this.

“Why don’t they just call them homemade chips with BBQ sauce, I don’t understand,” he said.


One thing to note is that I honestly don’t recognize any of the scenery in Hamilton, for as many times as I have been there. Like, if you set me loose and said, “Find Christina’s old house or die” well I guess I’m dead. I don’t even remember the name of the street, and I used to mail her shit all of the time!

I think this is my mind’s way of protecting me, lol.

On the way there, Henry and Chooch argued over the fact that meth and methane aren’t the same.

So nothing about Jungle Jim’s was familiar to me but who cares because a REAL LIFE PIECE OF HENRY’S SERVICE PAST WAS THERE.

OMG you guys. My mind almost melted.

Chooch took these pictures because he’s my little spy in training.

Unfortunately, Tim and Henry talked about kind of boring things, mostly just catching each other up on their current lives. So Chooch and I were like, “Eh, screw this” and walked ahead of them, looking for the Romania aisle.

I never grocery shop, but Jungle Jim’s is huge and full of weird international goods and animatronics. It’s like Chuck E. Cheese for grocery shoppers. This is where I bought my first and only durian in 2004!


The last time I was here was August of 2005, when I was about 65% sure I might be pregnant. There was a fortune teller thing there, so I inserted my quarter and asked, “Hey, am I pregnant? Because I mean, I just turned down ice cream in favor of mustard, so….”

I don’t remember when her prediction was, which shot out of a slot at me, but GUESS WHAT I was definitely pregnant. Technically, this was Chooch’s second time at Jungle Jim’s, I guess.

My favorite thing about Tim is that he chided Henry about not marrying me so TIM, YOU CAN STAY.


Here’s a quick Henry Interview!

What did you & Tim used to talk about at night when you were roommates? GIRL STUFF?

Henry: I don’t remember. It was 30 years ago. Literally, 30 years ago.

So, you and Tim lived together in that place in Indiana?

Henry: In the trailer? Yeah.

Did he know you were the town Eunuch?

Henry, sarcastically I think: Hahaha, oh my god, you’re hilarious.

Did he know you were obsessed with being Erik Estrada back then?

Henry: Just answer it yourself. I’m not answering that. You’re making shit up as always.


Hmm, I don’t know Henry. That picture tells a different story. Speaking of stories, I heard you and Tim talking about the time you drove some guy’s car into a ditch. Talk about that.

Henry: It was 1986 maybe? We had just gotten off work at 7:30 that morning and went to the bar. We (guys I worked with, there was maybe 4 or 5 of us) pretty much drank all day. I had to run home to get something* so I borrowed Joe’s car and when I got close to my house I turned the corner too sharp and went into a small ditch on the side of the road. I blew out the tire and bent the rim and then I parked it at my house, took my car back to the bar without telling him I did anything to his. He didn’t find out until the next day when he came to pick it up and he found out it was damaged so I had to pay for it.

*(Probz porn to trade.)

Good, that’s what happens WHEN YOU DRIVE DRUNK, ASSHOLE. Anyway, that was a boring story. Did you ever take a bullet for Tim?!

Henry, in an annoyed/laughing tone: No. Psh, take a bullet for Tim….

What is your most vivid memory of Tim? Was he in Panama with you?

Henry: He was always working on his car because it seemed to always be broken. I don’t remember [if he was in Panama], I don’t think so but I can’t be sure. It’s possible.


Was Tim with you when you went to see CHEAP TRICK in Texas?!

Henry, appalled at this question for some reason: No! That was when I was in training, when I just got out of basic. Tim didn’t come in until my last year maybe…

(So, right before he went AWOL.)

Henry just said he’s not going to divulge the contents of their Jungle Jim’s convo, so basically this was a huge waste of time.


Somewhere outside of Columbus, I was imitating Henry so intensely, that Chooch laughed so hard he pissed his pants, which just made Henry even angrier because now he was going to have to stop somewhere so Chooch could change.

“We’re never going to fucking get home. Thanks a lot, assholes,” Henry barked, which just made Chooch and me bust out our sides from all the laughter.


When Henry set the GPS that morning as we left our hotel in Louisville, it told us we’d be getting home sometime around 4.

We got home just shy of midnight.

Good god, that was a fun whirlwind trip to Kentucky.


Aug 232016

Bun had been haunting Gillcrest for the last 10 decades,

No one had bothered him, not even the wool-clad Mormon mission-maids.

But then one Tuesday a stranger arrived with a bag—

The new resident of Gillcrest, it was a horned stag!

Bun watched this scene unfold from a darkened upstairs window,

and wondered, “How in the hell can I chase off this bimbo?”

The new resident brought with him nine pounds of lunch meat in a chest,

three truckfuls of IKEA and paint swatches tucked near his breast.

His name was Bart and he was quick to make himself at home,

Tucking into bed with a trashy airport tome.

Bun waited for Bart to close his eyes for the night

Before pulling out a nightmarish delight.

A mannequin, green like slime and with nary an arm

Out from the closet to cause all sorts of harm.

When Bart arose the next morn’ with a stretch and a spit,

His heart skipped a beat at the sight of the broad’s plastic tit.


“I swear this tart wasn’t here when I turned off the light,”

He swiped at the beads of sweat along his lip, butt clenching in fright.

Bart fled from his room and sank down into a corner,

Wondering if he was dealing with the supernatural or a burglar.


Bart thought he heard some blips, some gurgles, and a bleet,

Coming from the basement far under his feet.

“That’s probably just the house groaning, or feral cats under the foundation, boning,”

Bart laughed nervously, thinking he might call his Mother for some chaperoning.

Oh, but it was Bun, partaking in his daily routine:

A rousing game of Pacman and a few swigs of hooch at 10:14.

Bun floated back upstairs just in time to hear Bart on the phone,

Talking to his mommy who made him feel a little less alone.

She said to vacate the spooks behind the peregrine doors,

“You need to redecorate, and make this house yours!”

Bart assessed his new home from a red corner chair,

and thought, “How can I change things up around here?

I’ll knock down this wall and tear up that shag carpet,

and turn that grand bathtub into a germ-filled ball pit.”

It was like reliving his midlife crisis of 1994,

Which came with a Porsche and an affair with a Gabor.

(Not Zsa Zsa.)

“He wants to put a ball pit right here in my loo?

I gotta get rid of him with something stronger than ‘boo.'”

Bun needed to sit down and have a good thought.

So he went and did just that on the master pot.


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Bun considered going the poltergeist route,

Tossing around dishes, chucking an old rubber boot.

Not wanting to break his things, he went with something more malleable,

And summoned an army of one of each stuffed animal.

Teddy bears and puppies and some weird doll-thing,

Surged upon Bart, pinning him to the wall like one big butterfly wing.


“It was probably just a fluke, something-something about gravity,”

Bart’s mom sighed over top of her daytime TV.

“You know what you need, a good healthy lay.

Go call up Bernice from 1-900-PONYPLAY.”


Bart knew she was right, some company would do him good,

So he tried to fix himself up, he did what he could.

He lubed up his horn and filled his satchel with smelling salts,

Then when downstairs to wait for Bernice and all of her faults.

(Daddy issues.)

After waiting in his chair for more than an hour,

Bart thought he saw something, a figure the trees tried to devour.

“Is that Bernice?” Bart thought, bringing his binoculars  up to his eyes,

(He always kept them handy in case a neighbor bared their thighs.)

But what he saw didn’t resemble a hag rode hard and put away wet,

No, this looked more like…somebody’s Easter pet.

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And what was that, just behind the bunny and to the left?

A head in a ditch, the chin had a cleft.

Was that Bernice, beheaded by this cuniculus killer

But Bart rubbed his eyes, and the bunny was gone, nothing out there but filler.


Bun came back into the house and changed his clothes,

Killing that stripper bitch left him bloody and anxious for her to decompose.

Bun knew that if he played his cards just right,

He’d have his estate back by the end of third night.

Just a few more moves left in this game by his pawn

Before Bart would be shitting his pants on the front lawn.


Bun spent time in the game room with his clown crew

While elsewhere in the house, Bart’s paranoia grew.

Was this some real life Amityville Horror ghost attack,

Or just another Vietnam acid flashback?

The bedside phone rang on Bart’s third night,

Not once but thrice, the trill giving his  faint heart a bite.

The first two calls were white noise, static silence,

Not even the slightest semblance of a sentence.


But the third call exploded with the angry bellow of Bun:

“Bitch you’re in my house, best run motherfucker, run!”


That was enough to get Bart to peace the fuck out, see,

So he called up a ride from the Teenage Hooker taxi company.

He waited and waited by the window, so harried and eager,

His hooves percussing the floor to the beat of Bob Seger.

“A real man would have lasted more than one day times three,”

He could already hear his mother say in between sips of her tea.

But mother can suck a dick, Bart thought as he ran out of the door,

To jump in the back of the cab driven by a whore.

(Out of Uber territory.)

Bun rejoiced on the deck beneath the sun’s bright rays.

“I got my house back and I have lunch meat for days!”


Aug 192016

I’m so mad about this that now I can’t sleep so I woke Henry up to yell at him about it and he’s like “ok wow” & is sleeping again already while my eyelids are being propped open by STICKS OF RAGE. I’M GOING TO WRITE A LETTER.

What makes me feel even more sad for humanity is that if you replaced the Victorian aspect with  “for arriving with their same-sex partner” or “for looking Muslim,” it would seem almost less shocking because we’re “used” to hearing about that type of discrimination and that’s just fucked up that this is where we are as a society. (This is not to say that being “used” to those types of headlines evokes any less anger because BELIEVE ME BROTHER, it doesn’t.) Life is too short to make people feel like shit for being themselves. I hate that it’s 2016 and this is a real thing that happened. Seems so dumb. Everything is so dumb. 

These people are beautiful and they can come to my garden any day, but just please call first so I can make a garden real quick out of paper plates, construction paper, and Henry’s underwear.   

Sorry for THREE POSTS IN A DAY, what is this–LiveJournal? No, this is mania. 

Mar 152016

 Alternately titled: Another Dumb Idea!
Last week when I was meandering about town during my lunch break, I kept pausing to either tweet or text Henry about all the perils in my path. You know, like Planned Parenthood protestors, city school kids, an errant paper bag skipping across the pavement. (I COULD TRIP!)

And it made me think about how much more fun it would be to SEND A POSTCARD instead of these electronic means of communication. Like my lunch break is a vacation and oh motherfucker, do I wish you were here. 


-snail mail is never a bad thing and gives the mailman something to read other than Pennysavers and campaign mailings. 

-I love handwriting things and it will give me something other than my name to scribble over and over again at my desk. And let’s be real, I don’t have the time/attention span to write full blown letters. 

-I’ll have something to give Last Mail!


If I have your address, don’t be surprised if you get some weird sketch of the Stalker of the Day (I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE SOMEBODY’S WATCHING MEEEE) or a poem about the trash in the river. 

And if I don’t have your address and you want to get a random post card, email me! Butgavincantdance@gmail.com

I’ll probably also send them to random addresses as well because that’s not creepy it’s sweet. 

I’d like to send one a day and I’ll start as soon as Henrh buys me stamps, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. #HenryProblems

And if you wanna send one back from your own lunch break, PLEASE DO! Postcard frenzy!!

Feb 052016

You already know that I’m a horrible mom. I mean, psychologically horrible. I can’t help it! I live and breathe to punk people and no one is easier and more fulfilling to punk than my own kid. And believe me, he gives it back to me! It’s like our thing. We love to fuck with each other.

Off and on over the years, I’ve made loose comments about the man who lives in the attic. The steps to the attic can only be accessed from Chooch’s room, so it’s my way of nudging him down Night Terrors Alley. He’s always just like, “YEAH OK MOMMY” and then we all laugh and go about our day. But lately, it’s been heating up. My response to almost everything has been “manintheattic” and Henry gives me a disappointed look. Like when Chooch had a fever last week and woke up in the middle of night and dressed himself. He was horrified when he woke up because he never goes to bed with a shirt on.

“And now I have on TWO t-shirts?!” he cried, like call up Scully and Mulder, quick.

“Manintheattic,” I half-coughed. “Sometimes he dresses you during the night. You’re like his living baby doll.”

“YEAH RIGHT!” Chooch scoffed, but I could see that there was a tiny glimmer of doubt in his eyes.

The next night, as we all in our respective bedrooms for the night, Chooch made a fake phone number using one of those free text apps and started prank-calling me. I stupidly fell for it too, and I got so nervous when I saw a call coming in from someone with our area code BECAUSE WHO COULD IT BE, WHAT DID I DO NOW!? Then I realized it was the idiot in the next room over. So I made one too and said, “Be quiet down there, I’m trying to sleep.” And then “Good night.”

“You’re a dick,” Henry mumbled into his pillow when I giddily showed him my work.

The other day at work, I decided to create an Instagram account for The Man In the Attic.

Because these are things normal moms do.


Step 1: Find a good snap of Gary Busey’s mug to use as my user pic.

Step 2: Follow Chooch.

Step 3: Comment on Chooch’s most recent video of the kittens.

“You need to put them in the basement while you’re at school. They’re very disruptive during the day.”

Step 4: Post pictures.



I was crying at my desk over this while several of my co-workers clucked their tongues and made various remarks about Chooch’s future therapy bill.

“He does it to me, too!” I yelled in defense.

Glenn just shook his head at me and Todd struggled to wrap his head around how anyone thought it would be a good idea to have a child with me.

“My mom used to do this shit to me all the time when I was kid,” I explained during one of our daily “Dissecting Erin’s Childhood” conversations at work.

“Oh,” Todd said, attempting to understand how this was normal.

“I don’t talk  to her anymore, though,” I added as an after thought, and then we all started to laugh, because: family.

“I’m going to pay someone to hide in the attic one night,” I said, and everyone groaned.


After work, Henry dropped Chooch off downtown because he and I were going to the Pens game. First, we went to get dinner. Over pizza, Chooch learned of the Man In the Attic’s Instagram account.

At first he was like, “Wait. What. How.” But then his brain kicked on and he said, “Yeah OK, I know this is you.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Let me see that. Oh my god, this is so creepy!” I exclaimed, scrolling through Instagram on Chooch’s phone.

“Whatever, I know it’s you.”

I kept denying it over and over, and then we went to the game, where me made jokes about how Henry was home alone with the Man In the Attic. I thought everything was good. He knew I made the Instagram account and was able to find some humor in it, life goes on, Pens win, etc etc.

But later that night, after we came home from the game and Henry retired to bed after a long night of staying home doing nothing while Chooch and I screamed our faces off at Consol, Chooch brought up the Instagram account.

“Honestly, this is you, right?”

I couldn’t believe this was coming up again because I was certain he knew it was me. I mean, Chooch is a pretty bright kid!

But the sinister side of me saw this as an opportunity to continue the fun, so I denied it. Over and over and over.

“Chooch, like I have time to do shit like that at work, really!” I said with faux-annoyance.

(LOL, this was the biggest lie I’ve ever told.


Suddenly, we had a replay of the Doll Episode. He was pissed, and he was also tired: A deadly combination.

He got so angry because I wouldn’t admit to it, that he started sobbing. Like, hands covering his face, body-convulsing sobs.

Since he’s my son, I initially couldn’t tell if he was faking it or not.

Turns out, nope. Thems some real optic-wets right there.

So of course I dropped the gag and hugged him, swearing it was me and apologizing profusely, but he shrugged away from me and shut himself in the kitchen.

When he came out, he spat, “DELETE IT. DELETE THE ACCOUNT.”

I promised I would, and then he retreated up the steps to his bedroom, sniffling and wiping tears with the back of his hand.

I felt like a complete asshole.

“Good for you!” Henry spat with disappointment when I went up to bed later and filled him in. “I’m glad we spent all that money on his new bed, because you’re the one who’s going to be sleeping in it!”


The next morning, Chooch was still bitter, but by the time I came home from a day of being scolded for being a terrible mom by my co-workers, Chooch had cooled down. I honestly think that the biggest issue here is that he hates it when I prank him better than he pranks me. But I’m happy to report that Chooch has now accept The Man In the Attic as a part of this household and has even added my newly-created phone number to his contacts as Manin Theattic. One day, we will laugh heartily about this over Christmas picnic in the cemetery with his children. I just can’t help it—I was born with a very dominant Prankster gene. (Or as some might argue—a Bully gene.


The funniest part about all of this is that I’m the one who’s actually terrified of the attic.