May 082024
 

I was in the office today and sweating through some “trying to love my city” exercises during my lunch break. This time I walked over by PNC Park and I guess a baseball game was about to be happening because it was v. lively over there and I was almost swept up in swathes of black and gold numerous time, but I survived and was able to take refuge a block away by the Warhol Museum where I saw this huge-ass KAWS statue which, since I do not follow the current events and haps of the Burgh, had no idea was being ERECTED here, in celebration of a full-blown KAWS exhibition at the Warhol starting later this month! It’s actually been a bit since I was last year so maybe I should fulfill this year’s culture quota this way.

Or, I’ll forget. We’ll see how it pans out!

Just….gonna leave this picture of KAWS with G-dragon here:

KAWS 首爾個展,G-Dragon 著用 Mira Mikati 聯名夾克助陣! | OVERDOPE 華人首席線上時尚潮流雜誌

Anyway, so that was a nice thing that happened today, a day that started out mildly stressful and here’s why:

Last week, Wendy asked if I was available to come into the office today and I said sure thing because I literally have nothing going on in my life. But then I got a text reminder about am 8am dentist appointment for that same day, an appointment that I made like 6 mths ago, so UGH what dumb timing. I told Wendy that I would probably just end up being a few minutes late and she was like ‘no one cares’ except that she actually said, “OK!” BUT THE FORMER WAS IMPLIED.

I ended up not being able to go back to sleep about my 5:45AM Chooch’s safety net alarm went off, then I had A WAR with the new shower curtain liner – the SECOND new one in less than a week because Chooch and I both agreed that we hated the first new one because it wasn’t weighted and attacked us, so Henry was like “ya buncha bitches” and tried to blame it on the showerhead setting that Chooch and I use, but still dutifully went to Target and bought a new one that has “extra suctioncups” but THEY DON’T WORK. I got so pissed that I punched the curtain in such a way that it folded back into itself while JUST BARELY staying under the lip of tub so that it kept it from billowing out and wrapping me in a wet vinyl embrace. I got out of the shower and just LAID INTO HENRY via text, like the shower curtain was from Henry’s Home Goods But More Like OKs, like Henry’s stretched and hanging flesh itself was what was failing to keep the water from turning the bathroom floor into an electrocutioner’s literal wet dream.

Henry brought up the shower head setting again and I was like OH NO YOU ARE NOT GOING TO INSINUATE THAT I NEED TO CHANGE MY PREFERRED STREAM SETTING BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO BUY A SHOWER CURTAIN THAT HAS MORE DENSITY THAN TISSE PAPER?!

So that was a very annoying start to the morning. I was just a mess trying to get ready. I was HUNGRY too but didn’t want to eat and then brush my teeth again, so I just threw a banana and cream of wheat into my bag for later UGH.

Then! The dentist was FINE but there was a new hygienist. First, she came to the door of the waiting room and called, “Erin?” I started to get up but the old lady next to me was like, “Welp that’s me” and started to leave the waiting room with her?! I was like, “OK maybe we’re both named Erin, what a funny coincidence” so I lowered myself back down but then the receptionist made eye contact with the new lady and shook her head, so then the hygienist looked at her chart, looked at the old lady, looked at her chart, and then asked, “Are you Erin?” and the old lady was all, “OH HO HO HO HO HO! No. No, I’m not” and I was like, “Hi, it’s me, I’m Erin” so that was a real hee-haw moment at the dentist office, I guess.

The hygienist kept apologizing to me like I gave a shit. “Oh it’s fine! I just wanted to see how it was going to play out.”

There was a small pause, and then she started cracking up, so I guess this was the ice breaker that made her think I was OK with talking literally during my whole cleaning with her gloved hands in my mouth, that latex even being a sturdier sheath than the FUCKING SHOWER CURTAIN, by the way.

So that was frustrating because I just wanted to get to work, I wanted coffee, I wanted to eat my breakfast, I didn’t want to talk about how she turned her AC on but then forgot to shut her bathroom window but that’s OK because her son will probably stop by later and she will tell him to shut—

—-THE FUCK UP.

Then of course it was the type of appt where the dentist had to also come in and check and make me feel like I’m lying in a confessional when I say that I floss regularly, and then the hygienist goes, “You’re also due for new X-rays, you wanna get that out of the way tod—”

“Actually, not really?” I interrupted. “Next time?”

Like please get me out of here. Also, SHE DIDN’T GIVE ME AN OPTION OF FLAVORED POLISH LIKE THE OTHER PEOPLE THERE DO??? She just goes, “Oh, I pulled out mint for you today, btw” and then got to work before I could say, “ACTUALLY I WAS THINKING OF TRYING OUT COOKIE DOUGH FINALLY??”

Then back at the office, I had her trying to schedule my next appointment while the receptionist was processing my payment (I have to go THREE TIMES A YEAR so they can keep an eye on my gums and the third appointment isn’t covered by insurance but now I have one of those HSA things because Henry did it for me without my consent, I had no idea what he was doing but now I had an HSA credit card so I used that and it worked! Like grown-up magic!) and it was just chaos, like I was rooted to the spot while everyone else was swirling around me, performing their activities in sped-up movement.

UGH.

Thank god Henry was waiting to give me a ride to work because if I had to take the T after all (ALL THAT! *falls back on fainting couch*),  I would have been like “sorry not sorry Wendy” and just walked my ass straight home and logged on to work from here.

Then what….work itself was normal. It was just the usual suspects: me, Margie, Jeannie, Wendy, Sue. I do like going in occasionally. I don’t think I get more or less done there, probably a comparable amount to home, but it’s nice to have some “Old Times” normalcy.

I got a matcha latte from Rock n Joe’s on my break. It was OK. The barista guy was pleasant. I started to have a rando’ coughing fit come on while I was waiting for it though so I just croaked THANKS and ran out without making eye contact and then started coughing furiously in an alley. Literally felt like I swallowed a bug.

Then!! NCT Dream announced their US tour dates and I was FA-REAKING out to Henry via KaTalk and he was like, “SLOW DOWN.” I didn’t like that, being told to slow down, so I left my office and complained to Margie and Sue that ever since I married him, I don’t like how he’s been talking to me, and Sue just made “eyes” and went back to her office, lol. This was after I told Margie and Jeannie about how Henry ruined Chooch’s and my life with those bogus shower curtains.

“Can’t you just buy a new one?” Jeannie asked.

“JEANNIE, THIS IS THE SECOND ONE IN A WEEK THAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE” and she was like, “OK never mind, Henry sucks, I agree.” That might be me flexing my poetic license there but I am SURE Jeannie said something disparaging about Henry.

Then when I was leaving the office, I saw Monty!!! I was already outside of the lobby, and he was inside, but we made eye contact and I waved happily to him. He held up a finger and came jogging over to the door.

“You ever find that ring??” he asked.

“No,” I said with a frown. “But! I’m married now so I got a NEW ring!” and I held out my hand to show him.

“Aw, that’s awesome! That’s all that matters then!” and we fist-bumped. I love that guy!!

Henry parked kind of far away so I texted him that I was on my way. “Sorry, I was talking to Monty.”

“Monty?” he replied.

OK WOW. He totally doesn’t listen to my stories!!!

Then I came home and ate an Everything bagel and a bowl of roasted peppers because I just can’t be bothered.

Also, Henry ordered weights for the bottom of the shower curtain. TO BE CONTINUED.

 

Apr 152024
 

Hard to believe but some how I am still living life outside of all my S.Korea recaps, so here is a quick post about life lately, I guess.

SUGARSPELL / VHS CRYPT COLLAB:

Amazing vegan ice cream and proceeds when to a good animal cause too, which we love.

WELCOME HOME, ERIN. 

Last Tuesday, I went into the office and ugh, downtown Pittsburgh. Please get your shit together. Literally. All I wanted to do was go for a walk and get an iced latte because it was a gorgeous day. Margie was trying to think of where I could safely walk and then was like, “Just stay here” but of course I ended up going the WORST route which I even SAID I WAS GOING TO AVOID but I wanted to go to the Strip and my feet just automatically steered me down Liberty Ave. where I held my breath so as not to inhale the hot piss fumes, had to dodge an abortion bitch kneeling on a mat with her shitty rosary, and then – AND I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP – had to sidestep some nasty bitch who was standing half in – half out of a doorway to a pizza shop and PUKING on the sidewalk. It was white and foamy whatever that means.

Anyway, I made it to Prestogeorge for a cinnamon latte, which I haven’t had since pre-Covid, but my guy Vincent Gallo behind the counter over there gave me such an INTENSE interaction, mostly with just his piercing gaze that I was actually frightened. I took this picture with a quickness because I was afraid if he caught me, he’d kidnap me and force me to pretend to be his wife for his parents.

I walked back on Penn Ave which is always the better choice and I laughed because some of the trees were blossoming beautifully but no one was lining up to take 1,076 pictures of it.

IT’S A HAWK, IT’S A KITE…

Yesterday after picking up the ice cream and our ShadoBeni dinner, I was idly looking out the car window. There was a woman walking down the sidewalk and I screamed, “OMG I THOUGHT THAT HAWK WAS GOING TO LAND ON HER!”

And then, “Oh wait, that’s a kite. She’s just flying a kite.”

“Erin,” Henry said incredulously. “That’s…a piece of paper. That’s LITERALLY just a piece of paper.”

So…not a hawk. Not a kite.

SHEESH

My current favorite song by the YG rookie girl group Babymonster. Look, I know YG is a questionable agency but if people are still going to support Hybe, then I’ll be staying in YG’s corner. Also, they can actually sing, so.

I love how dramatic this is, lol, oh YG.

And this version is A+++

In case you were wondering what I have been thinking about lately, it’s nothing. I have no room to think about anything with “sheesh. sheesh. sheeshsheesh. sheesh” circulating between my ears 24:7.

PAM IS MOVING TO PGH

Pam is moving to Pgh! I just linked to a random Coaster Crew figuring she is probably in there somewhere. But yeah, my brother Corey helped her buy a house in less than a month and guess what? IT’S IN MY ‘HOOD! When she first looked at it, I told her that I had friends who used to live on that street before they moved to Ohio and that I could walk to their house. That didn’t deter her!

I’m excited to celebrate this big win with her! We are going to be in her city of Philly this weekend for college stuff, but she will be in the ‘Burgh doing home inspection stuff, but soon! I’m excited to have someone to go to Kennywood with now, too! This is amazing.


Well, that’s about it for now. I have some other stuff, but I have a real life bedtime tonight because I’m a sucker and going into the office AGAIN tomorrow. And I guess Korea recaps will also resume tomorrow.  I love/hate these recaps. It’s starting to feel like it was less like yesterday and more like that didn’t really happen. :(

Mar 202024
 

A bunch of us law firm lovers of Barb got together at DiBlasio’s (a certified Barb approved restauran) for a memorial dinner. I was even part of the “party planning committee” lol: Wendy was in charge of reservations/restaurant-related logistics, Jeannie handled the official email invite and kept track of RSVPs, I was on decoration duty, and Aaron…oversaw this I guess lol.

I made prayer cards since that apparently is my fall-back if I ever decide to leave the law firm. The nuns at the church where we had my aunt Sharon’s memorial service went ape shit over my DIY prayer cards and kept asking, “where did you have these made??” My…dining room? Lol.

Sue even took some extra prayer cards to give to some of Barb’s friends <3

Anyway, I made a regular version with like, Mary on it or something but then I made a Barb-version using this picture that Tyler took of her YEARS ago at work:

I was lowkey nervous that some people might find it inappropriate but they collectively proved me wrong!

The attendees were, in addition the Party Planning Committee: Sue, Rachel (who wanted to talk about college things since she had twins who are also waiting to hear back and I was like I AM SO STRESSED CAN WE NOT), Nate, Lucas, Ethan, Lauren, Amber and Tracey who I haven’t talked to in years because she left our dept for another dept years and years ago, so that was really nice and I forgot how effing funny she is.

Anyway, I was sitting with Tracey and all of the directors of our dept and totally felt like the kid who snuck over to the Grown Up Table at Christmas, lol.

But yeah, it was reallllly nice sharing Barb stories, reminiscing about the dept in general (I love hearing stories from the Pre-EK days too and there was plenty of that last night!), laughing uproariously a multitude of times (our table definitely had the most fun!), and eating good food at a place Barb loved.

And it was also nice to talk about my marriage plans for next week which actually relieved some stress, especially at the end of the night when everyone was hugging me (ugh but also aw) and telling me they were excited for me, that things would work out, to post lots on Instagram, etc. I have felt kind of lonely & insane during this not-wedding planning process because there’s a part of me that feels stupid talking about it, I know it’s dumb but I am so bothered by the fact that it has taken this many years and I’m kind of embarrassed? So anytime I get excited about something, I sort of just sit on it. But these last few weeks my friends at work (not work friends – just friends) have made me feel really special and seen. These people are like family to me, honestly and actually. But I am so sad and upset that Barb isn’t here for this. She was one of the biggest advocators of the “Get Erin Hitched” movement! It’s just that I have made so many amazing friendships through work and Barb was at the heart of it all. Barb was one of the people who interviewed me for that job! And she was the reason I stuck it out in the beginning when I wasn’t sure if I liked it, if anyone liked me, if I would ever fit in. There are layers of emotions and issues here that I still need to work through. Losing Barb was one of the worst things ever and the ensuing grief has proven to be more complex than I imagine.

In the parking lot, Sue returned some of the paintings I made for Barb over the years which were found during the house-cleaning process. It was bittersweet. I’m happy to have them back and to keep them in Barb’s honor but also just sad and depressed about it. It still doesn’t feel real?! Like, today I had the urge to text her and tell her some of the things we gossiped about last night and then, with my hand hovering over my phone, I said, “Oh. Right.” Grief is so weird.

Jan 132024
 

Our department had a belated holiday get together last night at Dave & Busters. Would you believe it was the first time I’ve ever gone there?? Just never had the desire, I guess. (BECAUSE I’M NO FUN, OK? I’M A FUCKING DUD. GAMES? EW!)  But I RSVPd because even though it’s always a drag for me to leave the house right after work, it always ends up being worth it once I get there.

And I’m glad I went because our newest department member, Lara, came and it was really wonderful getting to meet her IRL rather than just awkwardly introducing myself on a video call, and you know how I hate those video calls!!

I think there were around 15 of us. Sue gave us 2 drink tickets each to start and there was some food as well. Henry begged (I MEAN, BEGGED) Margie at Chingumas to let him come because he is desperate to be a part of our department. It was actually embarrassing. He drove me there last night and then sat at one of the bars, crying into his wings, until Sue was like, “OMG tell Henry to come join us” WHICH IS JUST WHAT HE WANTED, UGH. So then I had to go and find the little golden boy and tell him that he was allowed to crash our party. He giddily sat down next to Sue, what a suck up.

There were extra drink tickets and I was like, “OOH I SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER DRINK” to which Henry quickly intervened because after two glasses of what I’m sure was super high quality pinot grigio because Dave & Busters, I was half-hammered. Maybe fully hammered. I’m actually embarrassed thinking about it because I know I was being annoying (I can’t hold my liquor) and also every single picture from last night makes me look like a fucking glassy-eyed wino.

Forced Todd into my selfie-web, and he was stoked – can you tell?

Margie and me! Shout out to Margie for helping Sue arrange everything!

WHAT WAS RACHEL CALCULATING?? Also, she is currently going through the college application drama with her TWINS so I can’t even imagine her stress levels knowing how stressed I am doing this with just one kid. We spent a good portion of the night commiserating over that and I gotta say, it was good to have someone to vent with.

Nate and Eric (who also joined us as an honorary department member for the night!) looking super intense.

Nate and #UghLou

5 hours late with this BeReal but I’m glad I remembered to do it while I was actually out of the house and with a table full of good people!

Megan has a selfie ring light for her phone that some of us were coveting, so today she sent the link for it in our group text and an hour later, Henry goes, “‘Your package is arriving on Monday’ – what package?” LOL.

We were totally in everyone’s way. People were there to play games and I’m like, “No it’s selfie time, guys.”

Ugh, you know I’m drunk when I do the huge open-mouth pose in every picture. Is it better or worse that I at least know I’m annoying?

I’m pretty sure Todd was like, “OK I’m leaving” after this because he signed up for food, drinks, and games, not posing for selfies like he’s out with so bunch of sorority girls.

I do love this one so much though!

My favorite part of the night was near the end when the last ones standing (me, Nate, Amber, Lori, Maggie, Lou and Henry) were LOAFING over by the prize room thing, being jealous and also appalled that not one but TWO people had earned enough points to snag the Ramen pillow AND the giant pickle plush.

“Where do people even PUT things like this in their house?” Amber mused.

“You’re asking the wrong person!” I said, and Lori and Maggie started cackling.

“Yeah, you’d redesign an entire room for something in there!” Maggie exclaimed.

Totally could see myself demanding Henry build an altar for a giant plush Dave & Busters pickle. It would match my new clown buffet!!!

Anyway, what a great night with great people. I’m really glad that some of us make an effort to get together and keep the work relationships alive now that we’re all remote. It’s so important, especially since now we have so many people who were hired virtually during the pandemic. For instance, our newer Support person, Wendi is someone that started during that time but she has come into the office for various casual lunches and other after-work social events and she has quickly become one of my favorite people there.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I have been so sentimental about work stuff lately. Sigh.

May 132023
 

Here we will look at pictures of the going away party I threw for one of my longest and favorite work pals. I was shocked to hear that Lauren was leaving the firm, but!! I know that she is on to bigger and better things. As I’m sitting here thinking of all the memories I made with Lauren over the years, I realize that I was remiss in not including a pot of mulch as a centerpiece. :/

Earlier that day, Drew started to become V.AWARE that people were going to come over. Here, you can see her eye-balling the banner I had strung up. Anytime I string shit up from the ceiling – she KNOWS.

Taemin was ready!

Speaking of Kpop idols, Lauren was one of the only people in the department who supported my k-lifestyle from its inception. She never made fun of me; she always welcomed the gossip; and she not only watched the music videos I would send the group, but she always had comments afterward. That is a true friend!

Marlene had said she was coming that night so I pulled out her FAVORITE artifact from my collection, the Fiji mermaid. SHE LOVES HER SO MUCH. (She really doesn’t.)

(Also, LOL ever heard of WINDEX, Erin? For God’s sake, clean that damn fishbowl.)

Fruit spread!

When I first became social media friends with Megan after she joined our department, one of the first things I learned about her was that, wow, homie loves to make themed cheese balls. And now this is the second Megan-created cheese ball that I got to serve at my house! I told her this that night and she was like, “Aw” but also I think she was waiting for me to tack on some awkward statement to kill the heartwarming friendship moment.

Anyway, isn’t this cute?!!? (The M&Ms were just for decoration but now I kind of wish I had tried a bite of both…)

You guys, I can’t believe I got Marlene to come to my house, it was amazing!

Lauren, Nate, Marlene!

YOU GUYS I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT GLENN TO COME TO MY HOUSE. Let me back up here: I had originally sent an email to my old group/Lauren’s current group at the time of her departure, and invited them over. Only two people couldn’t come, but Glenn had not answered. I messaged him in CAPSLOCK on Jabber and he said “shouldn’t be a problem, let me check with the boss.” Well, that was basically where the conversation rolled over and died. Luckily, I am also friends with Glenn’s wife (a nightmare situation for him, truly) so I texted her and said, “Did Glenn tell you about the going away party I invited you guys to?” and her answer, as expected, was, “LOL no!”

So then I had to give her the deets, go on Jabber and yell at Glenn in CAPSLOCK again, at which point he forwarded my party email to her.

Ugh, men!!

Sandy!!! You guys, our department still is smartin’ (I have literally never used that word before and the other day, I called someone a chump because I couldn’t think of anything else to say and Henry was like, ‘DID YOU GO BACK TO THE 50??” OMG what if?!) from her departure nearly a year ago now. Sandy, Nate and I were all hired in 2010, along with another guy, Mitch. Now, Nate and I are the only people left from the ’10 line. :(

(In Kpop, idols are sometimes referred to by the year they were born, so you could say like, “Oh, Haechan, Jeno, Jaemin and Renjun are ’00 liners.)

Anyway, look how precious Lauren looks in that picture!!

The PARTNERS. These guys stuck together a lot because they didn’t want to hear our boring work stories.

At one point, someone asked, “Don’t you have cats?” which made me laugh because even though I thought I picked up all the cat toys, you can see a bunch under the wheelchair that I forgot, plus some cat houses are just always out in the open. But no one ever gets to see my cats because they are soooooo anti-people. Drew fled before anyone even arrived, and it turned out that Penelope was actually in one of her  cat beds under the church pew almost the entire night, and slowly crept out around 11, stretched, looked around, and then went back under the church pew.

NON-FIRM guys sticking together, now in a different room. I’m glad Henry found chat-mates in Tony and Eric, I was worried he was going to feel like the hired help all night, lol.

Amber said the greatest thing about my house that night, that even though there is so much going on and so much to see, there is a flow to it, it makes sense, and it’s curated. THANK YOU! I know this joint isn’t for everyone, but I feel so comfortable here ever since we finally started redecorating everything all those years ago. She had never actually been here before, but had seen it in pictures and in video meetings. She said that it wasn’t the same as actually being in here though and I appreciated that!

Behind Marlene, you can see the clown doll that she immediately turned around so it wouldn’t be looking at her, lol. Amanda was also not thrilled being the clown house but they both persevered!

Marlene’s drinking the MEXICAN SANGRIA I made, which I actually had to refill TWICE. Yo, usually when I make punch for my parties, there is much left over and it’s such a waste. But these fiesta folk came to DRINK. I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of the beverage buffet!

There’s a study* that says that pinatas are the best ways to dull the pain of saying goodbye to one of the best people you’ve ever worked with!

*(That study may have been conducted by me for the OHE University that night.)

Did I already mention that Lauren taught me so much at work? Because she really did. I’ll always be grateful for the years we were on the same team, and will NEVER FORGET when Amber was on maternity leave and Lauren and I had to train the girl who was hired at that same time and it was so fucking stressful and burdensome and for the first time in my life, I had to ask to leave work because I had period cramps so hard that I couldn’t sit up and Lauren was like, “IT’S BECAUSE OF THE STRESS” and she was 100% right. Anyway, we really leaned on each other a lot during that time and I have felt bonded to her ever since.

Paparazzi.

A bunch of group photos were inevitable.

You guys, I was pretty drunk. Ever since I had THREE GOOD BEERS at Shorty’s, I have been on this kick where I think that I am suddenly a beer drinker. Henry kept trying to buy cider and shandy for the festivities, but I kept shouting, “NO, BEER.” So he got some cider and a variety pack of some kind of beer, but then he and Megan kept trying to get me to drink cider all night and I was getting so indignant. Megan put her hands up at one point and said, “Oh sorry, I forgot – you’re only drinking BEER.”

There was this one kind that everyone kept saying I wouldn’t like so I was like “I’LL SHOW THEM.” I nursed it for a good long while but I did finish it!

“Did you like it?” Megan asked.

“No,” I said, free of hesitation.

<3

SERIOUS.

Amanda and Glenn! Did you guys know that Glenn SORT OF helped to facilitate my Trudy acquisition?

I can’t believe this was Nate’s first time meeting Trudy! Sandy was like, “Pfft, we’ve met before.”

I love that people can just hang out in the kitchen like way back when I first moved in and it served as a natural spill-over for party people. I never want to go back to the years of being ashamed of my home, you guys. Never.

NATE CLEANING UP THE CAKE HE DROPPED. By the way, Henry served literal ice cube-sized pieces of cake to everyone and I kept saying, “Why are you cutting it like this, you fucking cake miser?!” It was the only lowpoint of the night for me, Henry embarrassing me with his stingy cake-serving.

“EVERYONE GOT A PIECE, DIDN’T THEY? AND MOST PEOPLE EVEN TOOK SOME HOME, DIDN’T THEY? IT’S FINE!” Henry shouted on our walk home from Pita Land today, when I brough up Cake Gate once again.

I GOT TO HAVE A BE REAL DO OVER and Amber was like, “Oh…that’s all this is?” lol.

Yeah, you can tell I’m trashed.

Eric, Megan, Lauren, Tony, and Nate ended up staying until pretty late – I feel like it was after midnight which is actually way later than I anticipated this lasted but trust me – I was happy about that. I AM PEOPLE-STARVED. I was getting pretty obnoxious and giddy by then so it was probably a good thing that it ended before I suggested ding-dong-ditching HNC or something.

To summarize: I hate that Lauren left, but Nate and I really wanted to do some type of gesture to show her that she matters, we care, and she will be fucking missed forever.

May 042023
 

Sometime back in March, Margie sent out an email about an upcoming social event in May at a RETRO ENTERTAINMENT ESTABLISHMENT called Shorty’s and I was like, “Yes, this is something I will attend.” So right away, I RSVP’d because everything about me is knee jerk. I then set about to strong-arm several of my work-bros to also RSVP. Some were hesitant but I said, “NO, JUST DO IT. IT WILL BE FUN. I WILL BE THERE.”

And then the day came (Tuesday) and it was cold and rainy and I had a headache and I RULLY wanted to bail. I truly did. Erin of Yesteryear most definitely would have. MOSDEF. But I had talked other people into going and what a bitch move that would be, not to mention I know that final headcounts matter when it comes to planning these things and I couldn’t do that to Sue and Margie. It would be different if I had a legit reason, but considering my alternative would be, you know, loafing at home…Look, I’m really trying to retrain myself into being the social butterfly I was in the….early ’00s.

Sigh.

I can’t even blame covid for my awkwardness!

Henry drove me so I could drink irresponsibly. I walked in like a scared baby deer, knock-kneed and hiding behind a curtain of hair. There were other people there and my eyes are bad, so I was heavy-squinting, trying to see if I could recognize anyone considering I never see work people IRL anymore and we have new people hired during and post-covid that I haven’t seen before!  There could have been a whole table of our department already there and I wouldn’t haven’t know. Then a hostess smelled my social anxierty and asked, “Are you here for the party?”

I said yes, and OF FUCKING COURSE I was the first one to arrive. She took me back to the totally empty area reserved for us and on the way, said, “I love your sweater!” As I was saying thanks, she cut me off to add, “AND YOUR PURSE OMG!” It was my “make your own luck” duster from La La and my hamburger purse that I bought at some yoga studio in….Scranton, PA last year.

“I’m secretly still 16,” I stage-whispered because sometimes I’m me again, and she laughed and said she loved it and OH how I wish Chooch had been there to witness it. He hates when I get to flaunt my INDIVIDUALITY.

Then a waitress and some guy came flocking over to me. ‘ARE YOU MARGIE OR SUE?” the waitress asked and when I said no, her faced fell and she said, “Oh.”

WOW. SORRY FOR BEING HONEST.

J/K she was fantastic actually although I think I was starting to get on her nerves as the night progressed because I am a stupid drinker. I forget what her name was now but when she told me, I cheerfully said, “Oh OK, I’m Erin!” and she looked at me like, “Bitch we ain’t friends now.”

:)

Then Margie finally arrived after I festered on a stool by myself for a solid 3 minutes.

Margie gave me my TWO drink tickets and then asked me to hold the stack and I felt equal parts important and anxious. It felt like too much to be accountable for, especially once people started arriving and I had to dole out the rations.

My table originally consisted of Wendi [I need to say that I am so depressed that she started at the firm AFTER we all moved to fulltime WFH because we have so much in common, especially musically (um, she has seen Dance Gavin Dance and knows Emarosa, etc etc)], Megan, Joy, Amber and Lucas – a solid line-up. But as the progressed, people started mingling more but Megan, Wendi and I were like, “No, people can come to us.” AND THEY DID. So, we ended up with Nate, Margie, Jill, Sharon, Regina, Rachel and Aaron at various points and you know what? I am so glad I didn’t punk out. I really miss seeing these guys every day.

Even #UghLou.

I was so excited to play shuffleboard, which I haven’t done since I was underage and sneaking in (LOL there wasn’t much sneaking involved, actually) to Tim’s Corner Bar in West Elizabeth where I quickly became a shuffleboard shark. And there was supposed to be an interactive photo booth, whatever that means, which Nate and I were fixated on when Margie sent out the email a while back.

BUT DID I PLAY SHUFFLEBOARD? NO!

DID WE PLAY IN THE INTERACTIVE PHOTO BOOTH? NO!

In fact, I forgot all about it until the next day, and Margie admitted that she did think of it when we were there but she couldn’t find it! IF I HAD THOUGHT OF IT, I WOULD HAVE ASKED MY WAITRESS FRIEND. She LOVED it when I would beckon her to me, only to say, “Wait….what did I want?” to Wendi, who was basically ordering all of my beers for me.

<3 these guys!

One of my favorite parts was when I was one beer in (and already slurring) and screamed, “OMG I HAVE TO DO MY BE REAL. YOU GUYS CAN BE IN MY BE REAL!” and Amber and Wendi were like “the fuck is be real” and I had to explain it that it’s basically an app FOR THE KIDS but I started using it (much to Chooch’s chagrin) because one of my favorite YouTubers uses it and to be honest, it’s so dumb for someone like me to have because I’m home 90% of the time when I get the notification that it’s Be Real time.

I explained to them that while I take a selfie, it will also take an outward facing picture so  that they can be in too and I made a big production of getting them to pose…

…but my drunk ass wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and this is how it came out lol. They were like, “Wow. Cool. Thanks for letting us….be in your Be Real. I guess.”

My other favorite part was when Sue was looking at my photo card holder attached to my purse and softly exclaimed, “Oh Erin, when did this happen??” and I was very confused, like was she asking me when did my NCT bias change to Renjun? “He’s gotten so old!” she said, so then I was like, “Oh wow, does Sue follow NCT Dream and she’s now realizing that they’re not the same little kids from the Chewing Gum era anymore?

NO. SHE THOUGHT IT WAS A PICTURE OF CHOOCH! Oh my god, it was so funny! Granted, it *was* pretty dark in there and most people would assume that if most grown ass ladies had a photo hanging off her purse, it must be her child.

BUT I’M NOT LIKE OTHER GROWN ASS LADIES.

:)

My other other other favorite part was when I was psyching myself up to leave the house and I said, “I will stay for 30 minutes, maybe an hour. Make an appearance. Be mysterious, say something awkward, then leave.” The “event area” was only booked from 6-8 so it wasn’t like people would be staying that long anyway.

But then it was 7 and I was like, “Well, I might as well at least stay and finish this second beer that Wendi chose for me,” and then it was 7:30 and Sue was leaving and gave some of us a third drink ticket, which I greedily accepted.

And then it was 8:30 and the waitress was giving us strong side eye.

And then it was nearly 10 and I was leaving with the last of us still standing after all the food was taken away and there were no more free drinks. I think it was me, Nate, Amber, Sharon, and Rachel at that point. Megan had left RIGHT before us because she was being stubborn and called an Uber instead of letting Henri the Chauffeur take her home.

I’m really glad that I went, I’m super appreciative of Margie and Sue for planning this to help boost morale and give us all a reason to crawl out of our holes and interact outside of Jabber. Also, this was the first time I have Joy IRL and not via WebEx video since before the pandemic!

I will admit that we had a events committee who tried very hard to get people to engage socially during the pandemic, but it was all virtual, obviously, and let’s be real: I’m not trying to log back on after work hours to play trivia on WebEx. I don’t care if there are prizes. Once I log off, I’m done until morning! No offense to the people who were on that team, I give them a lot of credit for trying to come up with new and creative ways to get people to talk to each other. But even though it might sometimes be a drag for me to leave the house initially, I definitely prefer IN REAL LIFE social engagements like this one!

Mar 172022
 

On Sunday, I went into the office with my Mover Guy Henry in order to *sniff sniff* clean out my desk. I still work there! But because so many of us are either working entirely from home, or adopting a hybrid schedule, we are eventually going to lose space on our floor and move to a shared-space situation. Not thrilled about that, but I also will only be working from the office one day a week starting in April, so I don’t really have much room to complain.

This is the third or fourth time I’ve been in the office, but I realized that I hadn’t been in the bathroom there since March 2020 and I wanted to get a selfie for old time’s sake. Weird fact  but when I first started working there, I was obsessed with the bathroom because it was so pretty. You can’t tell from this picture, but it has really nice fuchsia wall paper when you walk in, and back when I started the Firm had JUST moved into this building, literally like several weeks prior to my start date, so the bathrooms were SPARKLING. I remember thinking the sink was so cool, but then after awhile, it just got really gross because it’s a trough sink and all kinds of shit would congregate in the corner.

*barf*

This is also the bathroom where the infamous WATER BREAKING happened in 2011!

I pitched a lot of things that came out of my desk because it was like Mary Poppins’ satchel for real and I’m really not trying to be a hoarder, but I did keep some stuff that makes me smile – I keep mementos in cute photo boxes in my closet so I don’t feel too awful about it. I guess. Anyway, let’s look at some of the random things I saved:

Both of these emails make me laugh and remind me of better, warmer times in the office! I miss Brad a lot – we were fake enemies and liked to harass each other for fun. I actually tried to hide from him in my office (LOL remember when I had an office, those were….the days) on his last day because I didn’t want to say goodbye. He found me trying to squeeze into my closet and forced me to hug him goodbye. It was sad. I did see him a few times even after he left – he came to some of my pie parties and also Chooch and I ran into him and his fiancee (are they married now I wonder?? I’m not on Facebook so basically am a social pariah) at the Hollywood Theater several years ago when they were showing the OG “Halloween.”

Lou is also my work frenemy! We #UghLou and #UghErin each other all the time. I think the nicest thing I ever said to him was “Have an OK weekend.” He is still currently employed at The Law Firm so we at least still chat here and there. But yeah, these emails are keepers as far as I’m concerned.

All of my magnets live on the fridge at home now :( I mean, it’s OK! I’m just glad I can look at them all of the time again.

Being surrounded by so many metal cabinets at the office made it a no-brainer to start a magnet collection. I think it kind of drives Henry crazy because whenever we’re on a road trip or whatever, I’m always like WAIT I NEED A MAGNET at the last minute. And I get really up in arms when we go to an amusement park and THEY DON’T HAVE MAGNETS?? (See: that Seabreeze post card up there – it was the best I could do souvenir-wise.)

One of my worst magnet memories is when I bought one during the DMZ tour in South Korea and FUCKING LEFT IT ON THE TOUR BUS.

OMG I wish I hadn’t remembered that just now because I am so sad all over again.

I dunno, I think collecting magnets is fun. It’s better than the souvenir spoons I used to collect when I was a kid and I’m pretty sure my mom threw them all away, along with my massive brochure collection.

Here is my citation from when I was forced to JAYWALK with Mean Amber and then she ran back to the office and told everyone about how she made me jaywalk and I was screaming and running like Phoebe from Friends, and then I came back to this CITATION on my desk from NATE.

I can’t remember the significance behind “Just” Erin Kelly.

Conversely! Here is my Gold Star for Excellence in the Field of Excellence from Nate and Sandy! I can’t remember if this was the same time they had an impromptu parade for me and I literally wanted to melt into my seat and be recycled into a shoe.

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Behind that is BARB whom I miss so much it physically hurts me! I have had no contact with her in a very long time and I am so sad about it. I wish she never quit The Law Firm, I miss our shenanigans, I miss getting called into Sue’s office for talking too much or doing shady things with Barb (like when we passive aggressively bullied this guy BOB who was such a jerk and Office NARC). I just miss her being my Office Mom and cracking up together so hard that I would often have to run and I mean run to the bathroom so I wouldn’t pee my pants.

There was one time when I had to go TO JURY DUTY and Barb was so concerned for me because back then (in 2011) I didn’t know where anything was downtown and was somehow even more helpless than I am currently if you can believe that.

Anyway, I shared that picture with Wendy, Jeannie and Aaron today; Aaron said that he thinks it was Tyler who took this picture and that sounds about right!

Oh man, I am honestly sitting here in tears as I write this because of how much things have changed. I know I should be grateful that I get to work from home now but if I could choose to have things go back to how they were then, I think I would choose that.

I just…feel very lonely now. But I am grateful for the handful of Jabber pals I have that keep me company during the long days!

A bunch of wheelchair pictures that I was collecting! I should probably get some kind of frame for them.

I literally have no idea who/what/where/when/why/how. But you bet your sweaty ass that this bitch came home with me and went right into the memento box!

Well, that’s all for now. Times change, life goes on, etc etc.

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But I still have FEELINGS about it, OK??

Oct 162021
 

I decided to sign up for this year’s Global Day of Service at work because it’s been several years since I last participated, one of the options was helping to set up for the Boy Scouts annual Halloween event, and I need to get the FUCK out of this house. Working from home definitely has its perks but the burnout is real. I wanted to see familiar faces and just, you know,  not be strapped in front of my computer all day.

I convinced my work pal Megan to also sign up for this particular event. “It’ll be fun!” I said. The activities listed decorating and helping out with the pumpkin patch. Sounds like good old-fashioned October fun to me, and for a good cause to boot!

Then there was a whole lot of confusion just during the sign-up period: incorrect dates, miscommunication regarding t-shirt pick-up, instructions on where to park etc not emailed out until the eleventh hour. I was so stressed out about this because I like having a clear and concise plan in place when something involves me going to a place I’ve never been before, and the fact that no one was responding to our emails (I think I gave Megan second-hand stress and she was also emailing the global service people for answers lol) had this whole situation INFILTRATING MY DREAMS. Yes, I fucking had low-key stress dreams about this stupid volunteer opportunity, why can’t I be a normal person even in my slumber. Seriously, it’s exhausting being this tightly wound 24:7.

But finally Thursday aka Volunteering Day came and I was prepared. Got Chooch to school, came home and ate breakfast, was at Megan’s house promptly at 8am, made it to the Boy Scout camp in Sugar Spell Scoops Town (aka the town where our favorite ice cream shop lives lol) with a good 15 minutes to spare. And it’s a good thing too because finding the camp was tricky and we kept thinking we were going the wrong way or that we passed it, and then we finally found the street and saw the main building, we proceeded to drive past it to find the gravel parking lot as the instructions told us. It said it was “on the other side of the road past the education center” and we did see a lot there but it wasn’t gravel. And someone named “RANGER MIKE” was supposed to be there to help.

There was no such man there.

So we drove around again and still could not find any semblance to a “gravel lot” so we went back to the first one and parked. Another Law Firm person rolled up and was like “IS THIS RIGHT” and we were like “SHRUG” and then in unison we all said, “IT’S NOT GRAVEL” but then a man came barreling down the road in a golf cart-type thing and we were like THIS MUST BE RANGER MIKE and it was. Law firm people are just smart like that, you know? RANGER MIKE was like “Follow me to the correct parking lot” and he took us further up the road to another parking lot that was also NOT GRAVEL!?!?

Did they just pave the lot after sending out that email?! We were all fixated on GRAVEL. You cannot throw down super descriptive words such as GRAVEL without following through. I am going to dwell on this forever, watch.

OK, on to the actual volunteering. It was just Megan and me from our department, but two other ladies from a different department on our floor were also there so that was really nice to see some familiar faces! Then there were four dudes, none of whom I knew or recognized, from various departments. I think one was an Associate, and the rest of us were all non-lawyers. There were 3 different tasks that needed done that day, and we were split up into groups. The four of us broads quickly raised our hands for pumpkin patch consideration, two guys were on painting duty, and the other two went with RANGER MIKE to do something with life jackets and then set up some sort of game for the Halloween event, I honestly don’t know because I quit listening to the options after “pumpkin patch.”

We went off with another camp person, Kim, down the road to a little area of land next to a picnic shelf and a creek. Basically, we just had to tear apart bales of hay and scatter it so that the area for the patch was completely covered. You’d think this would be fairly self-explanatory but I had to keep sneaking peeks over my shoulder at Kim to make sure I was doing it like she was, I’m so fucking Type A. Once that was done, it was time to place the pumpkins. They still had stickers on them and I was about to ask Kim if she wanted us to remove them, but I saw that she was leaving them on all of hers. I thought, OK, maybe this is like a brand deal or something, and whatever farm supplied the pumpkins asked for the stickers to be left on for marketing purposes. I don’t know the beside-the-scenes shit that goes on at pumpkin patches. OK Randy?

This went on for quite some time, and I was surprised at how mildly worked-out I felt, I wasn’t sweating or anything, but the process of plucking pumpkins from the boxes was full-body, you know? I was grabbing three or four at a time and pretending they were tiny medicine balls.

When we were nearly done, a cart full of three Camp elders scooted on up to us. They dropped one lady off, and she immediately began inspecting our work and mumbling under her breath about the stickers.

“I didn’t really think it mattered,” Kim said defensively. “It’s fine,” she said to the rest of us, now frozen with stickered pumpkins in our hands. But the Camp elder began stooping down and removing stickers.

Kim caught me peeling a sticker from a pumpkin I had just grabbed from one of the boxes.

“No, don’t!” she said. “If she wants to go around and take off all the stickers, she can be my guest. But we are not doing that.” My eyes must have widened or something because she tacked on, “She’s my mother-in-law, so I can say that.” And then we laughed heartily. So, then it became this Thing with the Camp Elder, walking around peeling off stickers and us dumping down more stickered pumpkins. I will admit that every time Kim wasn’t looking, I peeled the stickers off the ones I was putting down because it was honestly bothering me a little bit too. I mean, look how dumb all the white spots look in those pictures! But then I kept reminding myself that the patch was just for the kids and kids could give a shit about the cosmetics and one of the ladies from my floor said, “The stickers will probably make the little kids happy, anyway.” And that’s true, probably.

After getting all the pumpkins down, we helped Kim put up a red plastic fence around part of the perimeter and Camp Elder was trying to hijack this part of the process too by changing the border of the patch. Kim kept saying, “No, we don’t need a fence over there. No, the kids aren’t going to fall over, it’s not a cliff.” It was actually hilarious and the looks Kim kept giving us behind Camp Elder’s back made me feel like we were all camerapeople at Dunder Mifflin.

It wasn’t even 11AM yet so one of the other ladies asked me if I knew what else we would be doing but as far as I knew, it was just the pumpkin patch. RANGER MIKE didn’t say anything else. So we sat for a bit under the pavilion, drinking water and telling horror stories about past Global Days of Service.

“This one was actually really nice,” I said. “It was mild labor and felt very rewarding, plus it was also kind of fun.”

Everyone agreed and one of the ladies was saying that she did a landscaping one in the past and it was hard labor. “I’ll never sign up for anything like that again,” she said, and I had flashbacks of my last volunteering experience with Tree Pittsburgh and how terrible it was. 

No, seriously, I just re-read that right now and I’m having phantom callous pain.

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?” Camp Elder asked, and we all enthusiastically said yes. Then Kim talked to us about what the Boy Scout event is like and encouraged us all to come out to that Saturday. It’s $20 a person, but for a good cause, so I was considering it.

“Are there chainsaws?” one of the other law firm ladies asked. “I hate chainsaws!”

Kim said she wasn’t sure, because the Boy Scouts plan the haunted trail themselves and she didn’t know what they were going to be doing yet.

Right when I was thinking that maybe they’d set us loose early, Kim got off the phone with whom I assume was RANGER MIKE and said, “OK, we’re going to the log splitter.”

We all laughed, like, “Haha very funny, the log splitter, lol-le-lol-de-dee.”

But then she wasn’t smiling anymore. “No, seriously. You guys are going to join the other two guys who finished with Mike.” So we all looked at each other in fear and reluctantly followed her up a path, past THE ASYLUM where a life-sized Hannibal Lecter had been leering at us from a distance all morning. (One of the ladies spotted him earlier and thought he was a real person and started to get angry that someone was staring at us, lol.)

And then we got to the infamous log splitter. Two law firm guys, one from Finance and one from IT if I remember correctly, were already manning it and they did not look like they were living their best lives, let me tell you. RANGER MIKE had rolled up in his stupid cart to bark off orders.

“Two people can be on the splitter while the rest of you stack the cut pieces and bring more logs to them to be cut,” he said and us FEMALES exchanged, “THE HELL WE ARE” looks with each other. I for one did not want to go anywhere near that horrifying device.

STORY TIME:

When I was 17, this was back in 1996 I believe, my dad was in the yard operating a log splitter, and then KAPCHUGGI (my favorite Korean word that means “suddenly” in case you haven’t learned that by now) he came running into the house, legit spurting blood all over the laundry room and into the kitchen. This happened to coincide with Halloween weekend, so my mom thought he was fucking with us, like “haha, great use of fake blood, impressive trajectory” but then he was like THIS IS REAL, VAL and he showed her his hand that was now missing one finger tip and we were all like OMG VOMIT. So she got him to the hospital and they were like, “Hello, did you bring the finger” and she was like, “Excuse me, the what now?” and they were like, “The finger. We need it” so she had to go back home and find his fingertip which was still inside the glove he was wearing, and they were able to reattach it.

But the part of this story that I remember the most vividly happened shortly after The Accident. My dad and I were having yet another knockdown drag-out fight because we fucking hated each other back then (we’re fine now!) and in the heat of the moment, I shrieked, “I wish it had been your head!!!!!!” and then slammed the front door behind me as I ran away.

My brother Corey must have been about 7 at the time and he was a witness to this. Not too long ago, he actually texted me “I WISH IT HAD BEEN YOUR HEAD *SLAM*” lol. Oh, the things that stick with us.

But yeah, me and a log splitter? No thank you. I texted Corey and he was like, “THIS IS A SENSITIVE TOPIC FOR THE KELLY SIBLINGS!”

So, I opted to roll the to-be-cut logs over to the MEN. You can see from this picture that there were several nice looking, clean, dry logs that were already chilling there, and just needed to be rolled over to the other side of the log splitter. This is not so bad, I thought. I mean, they were heavy so I was not pleased with that but at least they were all tee’d up for us womenssss.

I sent the original picture to Corey and he was obsessed with the disgusted expression on my face and sent me this picture in return. I mean, even through the blur, you can tell that I was feeling pretty put-out at this point.

After Megan and I rolled the last log over to the guys, I looked at RANGER MIKE (who was busy texting on his phone, btw!!) and asked, “Is that it?”

“Oh no, those ones over there too,” he said, and pointed to a mound of haphazardly stacked logs on a small hillside AND THEN HE LEFT.

These logs were not nice and uniform like the other logs, but were actually huge chunks of tree, and looked like they had been loitering there for quite some time. That was apparent as soon as I flipped one over and unearthed a family of writhing worms, OMG hold please, the memory of this is making me dry heave. There were so many that they were basically KNOTTED, ugh. And the random bugs!!! Holy fuck, there were so many bugs I have never seen before, skittering all along the logs. The only nice bug I encountered was a fluffy black caterpillar which I transported to safety via a leaf because I didn’t want the poor thing to get the ax.

This was after we already removed a bunch, but you can see that the logs over to the left are basically just an extension of the ground, and that’s how the ones were that Megan and I were fucking with. Once we’d unearth them, literally, the underneath of each log was coated with cold, slimy mud and it smelled mildewy and rotten, the perfect combination to tickle one’s gag reflex. Then there was some kind of disgusting mold on some of them and old-ass fungal growths that could have been poisoning us, but RANGER MIKE was not there to tell us if we should be holding our breath or not. I kept slipping and sliding into the thick, sludgy crevices that were exposed after I’d lift a log and it was not PLEASURABLE.

The fact alone that they didn’t even give us gloves?! Are you kidding?? I had cuts on my hands!

“This is like Cross Fit,” I panted to Megan as I was squatting down to get enough leverage to push a giant log up the ramp to the log splitter. “It’s like Boy Scout Cross Fit.”

Like flipping tires but with the option of getting splinters.

I wanted to go off into the woods and scream, “FUCK!!!!!!!!” repeatedly until my throat was raw.

Did I mention that we were 100% unsupervised during this and were provided with NO safety equipment? No gloves, no goggles. Henry was actually horrified when I told him. I thought he would have laughed and made fun of me for having to do work but he was actually somewhat appalled that this was allowed to happen. I mean, there is a reason we all work in a law firm and not a forest, you know?

Look at that mother-whomping chunk of a tree! Megan and I were in beast-mode. Also, I witnessed several close calls with those guys and the log splitter.

And then Megan flipped over this guy’s house and that was pretty much her cue to throw in the towel.

With every log I flipped and heaved, I heard Camp Elder’s last words in my head:

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

“Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

    “Do yinz think you’ll come back next year?”

                                                    “DO YINZ THINK YOU’LL COME BACK NEXT YEAR?”

                             “dO YInz THInk yOu’Ll ComE BaCK nEXt YeAr?????”

                                   "dO YInz THInk yOu'Ll ComE BaCK nEXt YeAr?????"
                                       
                                                                                                                         ,,¿¿¿¿¿ɹ∀ǝ⅄ ʇXƎu ʞƆɐq ƎɯoƆ l˥,nOʎ ʞuIH┴ zuI⅄ Op,, 
By the tenth log, it sounded like a Beatles record playing in reverse.

Finally, RANGER MIKE came back and said, “OK you guys can be done after these logs here are split” and pointed to the last two that Megan and I had heroically rolled up to the log splitter. I did a celebratory shimmy behind his back and spent my newly acquired logless time trying to work my wrist bones back into place. They were wrecked. Maybe even worse than my back. Then I started thinking about all the tiny bones that make up a person’s wrist and I was getting nauseated. See also: I needed lunch in a big way. I’m a lumber jack now, after all.

The guys got to hitch a ride back to the parking lot on RANGER MIKE’s stupid Boy Scout mobile while us girls opted to walk. I don’t know about them, but I had some anger that needed processed and walking always helps with that.

“I was fine with the pumpkin thing,” one of the other 10th floor ladies said.

“Yeah and the pumpkin thing didn’t have bugs,” I said, and then we all did something that was supposed to be laughter but sounded more like the mewling of our collective broken spirits.

As we passed the pumpkin patch, someone mentioned that we probably finished too early and they put us on log duty because they didn’t have anything else. I said sadly, “Maybe we should have just gone back and taken off the stickers after all.”

This time our laughter sounded more like trying-not-to-cry-ter.

Back at the warehouse or whatever it was, we reunited with the other two guys who had the painting assignment. One of the ladies muttered, “We should have picked painting, instead” because they realllllly took their time with that job and dragged it out so they didn’t get stuck logging.  It just goes to show you that efficiency doesn’t always pay off in the end, you guys. Sometimes the slackers come out ahead!

RANGER MIKE took a group picture and then finally released us. I was so happy to sit down in my car until I got home and couldn’t get out of my car. Ugh, my aching back. I needed a Doans or something. Is Doans still a thing? Because they could have used footage of the day’s activities for their next commercial.

Well, that’s my story about being a do-gooder. I think I’ll go back on hiatus now.

Til next time:

Jesus loves you,

I don’t have to,

so fuck you.

(Don’t worry, I don’t think this will become my new standard sign-off. That was Lumberjack Erin talking.)

Oct 032021
 

Oh hello, Monday. You cunt.

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

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

ERIN GETS HER HAUNT BACK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Castle Blood: The Ultimate Halloween Adventure

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

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

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

THE FANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, with YOUR money, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

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

SQUIDS OVER COASTERS

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

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

Basically this is how I feel though:

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

Everyone: ……………..

TikTok, in 2021: Watch Squid Game yo.

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

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

Ugh.

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

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

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

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

BRB, scheduling an appointment for my Squid Game tattoo.

EH, DONUTS

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

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

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

CRYING IN THE OFFICE

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

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

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

OMG I’m sad again.

Oh! And my haunted house journal WAS NOT THERE.

MISSING HAUNTED HOUSE JOURNAL

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

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

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

A GOOD OLD-SCHOOL HAUNT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUST

MY

STYLE.

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

Not even from a store.

From a desk.

At school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 172019
 

It’s my favorite time at the office you guys! The time when work SORT OF slows down a little (j/k this never happens anymore), co-workers ply us with cookies and nut rolls, Sue brings out all the Christmas wreaths and army of tinsel trees, and my little team has their annual Christmas lunch!

Every year, I try to make our boss Amber a…cute (?) card from all of us. I let Cheryl deal with collecting money for the gift card and got to work on this year’s masterpiece.

I think it might be my best work yet. When I handed it to Glenn to sign this morning, he barely even glanced at it, signed his name, and handed it back. He is truly dead inside when it comes to anything I do. IT’S ALMOST NOT FUN TO TERRORIZE HIM ANYMORE. I THINK THIS WAS HIS PLAN.

Fuck.

Whatever. Amber loved it and I think she is smug because she is always the only one in the office to get an Erin R Kelly original greeting card. I mean, it’s kind of my thing.

I also got her a candle from all of us. Not just any candle.

Related image

Courtesy of alwaysfits.com.

We have weekly meetings and I’m such a huge baby about them. I don’t know why—I guess because I feel like a trapped animal. I actually like everyone in my group so it’s nothing to do with them. So maybe I should have just given myself the candle…

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After I presented Amber with her card and candle, she said, “Thanks, Erin!…..and everyone else.” When I walked past Glenn and Todd, I bragged that she only thanked everyone else as an afterthought, and Todd said, “See, I heard her thank ‘Todd’ and no one else.” Whatever! He wasn’t even going to come in today for our lunch because he was working late shift from home BUT I BULLIED HIM INTO COMING INTO THE OFFICE AND HE DID IT. I have a certain kind of pull around that office, you guys.

We had lunch today at City Works. Lauren and Cheryl were unable to make it, and two of other team members are based out of Chicago, so we missed them!

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BUT we got to bring Joy and Margie with us and that was a fine trade-off!

You guys, I got this cauliflower steak and I was so excited about it!

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Being a vegetarian, I have to plan ahead whenever I’m invited to any sort of work lunch, because it’s usually slim pickins for us meatfree lifetstyle people. When I saw that they had this in addition to the menu-standard veggie burger, I was stoked. (Although their veggie burger was actually an Impossible Burger and that was tempting!)

It was so nice to have an option aside from a veggie burger and salad! This bitchin’ slab of cauliflower was perfectly seared (that’s a thing right) and topped with some kind of greens, like arugula maybe. There was nice red sauce thing that was kind of like tomato sauce I guess, and also there were some slivers of almonds tucked away.

I WAS SO HAPPY! I was so fixated on cleaning my plate that I barely listened to the grown-ups talking about student loan solutions.

Then I made the waiter take a picture of us and he was like, “Can you plz hold the phone* until I clear out the dirty dishes so that you can actually have a nice picture?” and I was like, “WOW. SMART. Yes, let’s wait for that.”

*(Literally–I kept trying to hand him my phone and he was like chill girl you’ll get your damn picture after I do my job.)

(He was a good waiter.)

Before we left, Amber mentioned something about Santa and Joy was like, “Haha, OK” and we were like, “NO, WE ARE GOING TO GET OUR PICTURE TAKEN WITH SANTA AFTER THIS” and she was like, “Have fun with that” and I said, “JOY, YOU HAVE TO DO IT TOO” and I gave her my patented pout and she was like, “Oh for God’s sake how can I say no to that.” I KNOW RIGHT?!

But seriously, everyone thinks they’re getting a free lunch until they realize that the price they’re paying is succumbing to my whims.

This year, there was no line! Santa made a big deal of asking everyone their names, which they calmly answered in an adult manner. When he got to me, he said, “And that means you must be….” and I screamed, “I’M ERIN!” with my hands clasped and everyone groaned.

They took two photos and I’m posting both here because of Todd haha. Also, in the second one, they had Amber stand on a stool and afterward Santa said, “And that was the year you asked to be a foot taller!” and we were like, “OH SANTA YOU…SLEIGH!”

Ugh, I love that these people indulge me! And I love making these dumb office memories. We all spend so much time together, we might as well make it fun every now and then!

P.S. Margie totally wears that hand brace thing for attention.

Oct 262019
 

I’ve been counting down the days for G-Dragon’s military discharge, well, since February 27, 2018 when he went in. Haha. I knew that I wanted to do something to celebrate, but that aside from Janna and those two that live with me, I probably wouldn’t be able to get anyone to join me. Lame!

But then last month, my work friend Margie was showing me pictures of cookies that her daughter Shannon made and they were so GOOD. Shannon went to school for this and is skilled at cake and cookie decorating, so then the antique oil lamp above my head lit up and I yelled, “COULD SHE MAKE G-DRAGON COOKIES?”

Margie shrugged and said, “Probably. I could ask her.”

So I ran to my desk and found an image for her to base the cookies off of, and Shannon came back and said YES.

And this is how it started: a way to drum up some business for Margie’s daughter while also celebrating G-Dragon, because what better place to have a party for him than at THE OFFICE where people could be forced to join in!?

So what started out as 2 dozen G-Dragon cookies to be causally laid out on the snack table at work turned into Henry making “G” and “D” cookies and also the Peaceminusone (GD’s clothing line) one-petal-missing daisy cookies.

And then I needed to make GD photocards for my co-workers. And a “Welcome Back” sign. I managed to find the leftover sheets of craft foam that we used in 2007 for Chooch’s first birthday invitations, and while I was cutting out letters, I decided that Henry should go to the party store and grab a “G” and “D” balloon because that would make it look cooler and also I didn’t feel like cutting out more letters.

Then I was like, “WE SHOULD ALSO GO TO THE ASIAN MARKET AND GET KOREAN BEVERAGES” and Henry was like, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY” like I had just hired some goon to baseball bat his knees or something.

Basically what I’m saying is that, in typical Erin-fashion, it turned into a Thing.

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During one of my order-barking phone calls, Henry mumbled that this was almost as involved as the Pie Party which I opted to stop having because “they’re too involved.”

“I don’t care! Our king—”

“—YOUR king,” Henry calmly cut in.

“—is coming back and this has to be perfect!”

And then Henry gently reminded me that it’s not like he’s ever going to know we did this but I don’t care. I have so much love for G-Dragon, his music pulled me out of a dark place, and I like doing things like this! I also thought it would be a fun thing for my co-workers, even though they’re not into Kpop, to end the week with some treats and frivolity.

Henry spent Thursday night baking the rest of the cookies, and then we took them to the office, along with all the drinks, because there was no way I was going to be able to carry all that stuff on the trolley. Plus, I had some various memorabilia to take in as well.

I woke up extra early yesterday morning and got to work an entire hour early so that I could start decorating. Marlene, who works an earlier shift, was like, “Oh hello, what the hell?” and then I had to explain to her what was going on and she was like, “……….” but she happily helped Margie blow up the G and D balloons and made sure everyone knew it all day long!

When Henry was at the store procuring said balloons, he texted me: Gold or silver?

I thought it was pretty clear but I texted back, “Gold for our king.”

“Your king,” Henry replied.

As I was spreading everything out on the table, Margie was just like, “Wow, OK…” because I might have failed to mentioned that this had morphed into a Big Thing in my head and I needed to execute it exactly as my visions showed or I would never be able to live with myself.

This is what it’s like being a Leo.

DID YOU KNOW GD IS A LEO TOO??

I even wore my special Lip Service dragon blazer that I bought when I was 18 and kept for 22 years even though it didn’t fit me for 20 of them. Thank you, Jillian Michaels, for helping me fit into it again or else this day wouldn’t have been as elaborate!

Margie let me borrow one of her sunflowers to put in the empty G-Dragon iced tea bottle (BIGBANG used to be the spokespeople for a Chinese brand of tea called Nongfu Spring and I went crazy trying to collect them all, you have no idea) and I put my GD heads-on-sticks in the other bottle. Then I filled my GD bowl with Korean peanut balls (such a great snack!), which I made Henry buy specifically so I had something to put in my GD bowl.

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Oh, and I brought in my GD painting too!

These are the Peaceminusone daisies — icing cookies is hard and I hate it!

After an hour, I was satisfied with the spread, so I sent out the department email letting everyone know that there were cookies in celebration of GD’s military discharge. I purposely left Glenn off the email because he’s mean to me about these things and kept yelling, “No one cares!” every time he heard me at Margie’s desk talking about it.

Each photocard had some information about GD on the back and I was super pleased to see that they were mostly gone by the end of the day!

It was so much fun watching people’s reactions, especially the ones who I don’t talk to much because they had NO IDEA what the fuck was going on. The one guy was like, “Wait, what is kpop?” and I was like, “OMG LET ME TEACH YOU, GRASSHOPPER!” I saw him come back to the table later, laugh to himself, and then grab a cookie.

I was moderately concerned that our boss would be not thrilled that I did this without asking her, but I swear to god it wasn’t going to be all this at first and the it just spiraled and by then I was in too deep and didn’t want to say anything to her. But then Jeannie walked in and was like “OH MY GOD” and I was like, “Shit…..is it too much?” because this is the table that our boss uses for her snacks and I totally usurped her territory.

“No, it’s actually really impressive,” Jeannie said. And then she reminded me that I have done way more questionable things in the past without getting in trouble, so she thought I should be fine.

“You mean like when I had my desk decorated like a serial killer’s office for an entire month and someone complained that it was a hostile work environment?”

“Yeah, that’s one example,” Jeannie laughed, and then walked away without taking a cookie or a photocard!!

Guys seriously, the piece de resistance. Shannon did such an amazing job! Hilariously, no one would touch anything on the table for a good hour after I sent the email because they didn’t want to mess it up. This platter of Jiyongs (GD’s real name) looked so adorable, and they tasted even better!

I wanted the G and D cookies to have Asian flavors, so Henry went with black sesame shortbread and matcha (with white chocolate chips) shortbread. They were OK but honestly their only purpose was to display his initials, lol.

Nate was really into it.

And the our boss arrived and I was like, “OH GOD OH GOD” but after a second, she just started cracking up and then she said, “I can’t stand it” and went to her office. However, she did go and tell Glenn to come look at it and I was like, “NO SUE! HE’S NOT INVITED!” UGH!

Of course he happily took a cookie and a pear juice, but I made him pose for this picture as payment. What a jerk.

Into it.

Later in the afternoon, Megan took some “mingling” pictures so I could prove that people cared, lol.

I got some texts and emails throughout the day from co-workers who were either off or working from home and they were actually sad to be missing this! It warmed my heart. I love GD so much and I know he’ll never know that some random broad in America made her coworkers celebrate his military discharge, but I was so excited about it and I cannot just sit alone with excitement exploding out of my heart — I need to share it with people and I feel super appreciative that I work in a place where this can happen.

Even the mail room lady—Betty—was like, “OK WHAT’S GOING ON HERE” and then me, Carrie, and Marlene filled her in and she was skeptical at first because she knows I’m the girl with the weird foreign candy and doesn’t trust me (she said she wants to know where I get my candy so she can give it to her grandkids so that they won’t like candy anymore, lol) but the more she looked at the GD table, the more intrigued she became.

“I’m going to look him up when I get back to my floor,” she said.

But then came down later and asked, “What is that man’s name? Johnny D?” and there was a unison of “G-Dragon!”s through our quadrant. So she was like, “OK, I’m going to remember that. G-Dragon.” And then as she rounded the corner, I heard her walking away, chanting, “G-Dragon. G-Dragon. G-DRAGON. G-DRAGON.”

Jana came out of her office and said, “That was my favorite part of today!”

It really was super adorable.

Betty came back down later and decided she was ready to take a cookie and a melon Milkis. Then she was like, “And who painted that?” pointing to the G-Dragon portrait.

“I did,” I said. “That’s how much I love him.” So now Betty is basically my manager, even though I’m retired from art.

You guys, I love my co-workers. Even when Missy was like, “I like that song with Halsey, is that BIGBANG?” committing the biggest party foul, even bigger than when Sue invited Glenn! When Missy said that, Carrie was like, “Hnnnnnggghhh” because she knew I’d get bent out of shape, lol.

Megan and me! Also, I realized 3/4 of the way through the day that I never changed out of my tennis shoes, way to violate the dress code, Erin.

Here I am with Carrie, holding my G-Dragon bowl.

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I’m just really proud of it, OK?!

I don’t know if you can tell, but I was also wearing a DG pin and my red bull clip that came with my VIP package for his 2017 solo tour!

Speaking of, let’s pause and watch this video Henry took of the highlight of my whole life:

I was two heads back from the barrier during this and my legs shook so bad that Henry had to take my phone and record for me. I was a MESS.

I had the photocards displayed on my BIGBANG candy tray that I made and that MY CAT DREW BROKE so now it looks like shit because Henry glued it back together with weird, gummy glue.

I guess Glenn feels dumb now since people clearly cared!

All of my favorite G-Dragons. I loved his “FXXK It”-era green hair image the best.

Oh, and if it was any wonder, I was also wearing my GD socks yesterday.

Then last night, I watched all the live streams of Jiyong’s official discharge and felt ALL THE EMOTIONS (I’m crying right now thinking about it). I don’t know what the future holds for BIGBANG with Seungri retired from the industry and by that I mean chased out for something that wasn’t even proven but we won’t get into that here because it makes me so angry, and TOP alluding to the fact that he no longer wants to perform. But Daesung and Taeyang get out of the military next month, so we’ll see. If anyone can save BIGBANG and YG Entertainment, it’s G-Dragon.

I wish I could have been there. Welcome back, King!

May 272019
 

A few months ago, there was a bit of a reorg at work and the group I’m a part of expanded. This was great news for us because ever since we lost Gayle and Amber1, it just never felt right. So now we have Nate and Cheryl, and two women who work out of our Chicago office – Vicki and Joyce. So, they have been with the Firm for years and years, but to most of us, they were just names in an email, you know? I never really had any interaction with Joyce, but Vicki was my predecessor when I moved over to the position I’ve been in for the last 5 years, so she used to email me a lot back then with questions.

But now that they’re officially a part of Amber’s group, we’ve been looping them into our daily emails and it’s been fun sharing things like pictures of pets and Game of Thrones memes. So when Amber told us that Vicki and Joyce were going to be in our Pittsburgh office last week, I was SUPER STOKED. Like, stupidly so. I was eager for some new faces and the chance to be social. It is SO QUIET AND BORING in the office most days! Like, no one talks. Most people have their earbuds in all day and if I do dare to speak out loud, no one ever hears. I’m like a fucking tree falling in a forest, you guys.

Anyway, I woke up bright and early Monday morning, bad moods be damned. I got ready, ate my breakfast, considered leaving a few minutes early to grab the earlier trolley just so I would have more time to piss around during the meet n greet Amber set up in our conference room, but instead I left at my regular time. The fare machine was down so my fare attendant boyfriend told me to just go on and not worry about and then he winked which would maybe be creepy if he didn’t have Jamie Lannister eyes.

What a great start to the week, I thought! Free fare, fresh blood and bagels at work…I was actually smiling in public!

But then after I got on the trolley, it only made it three minutes down the track before stopping.

And straight stayed stopped for FORTY-FIVE MOTHERFUCKING MINUTES, ya’ll. I’ll get to that in another post because I have a bunch of trolley tales to regale no one with.

So, yeah. I was like 30 minutes late to work and totally missed the meet n greet because the conference room was already too crowded by the time I got there and my social anxiety was in full effect.

Later that morning Amber brought Vicki over to sit with me and when I went to shake her hand after Amber introduced us, Vicki asked, “Is it ok if I hug you?” and went on to say that I’ve helped her out so much over the years and look I’m not a huggy person but I made an exception because that was so sweet! So then she sat with me for an hour so I could show her some things I do on the daily but mostly we just chatted, don’t tell Amber lolol.

I was worried though because they put Vicki in my old desk right in front of Glenn so I had to go over there and make sure he wasn’t being a jerk to her at which point he was sure to tell Vicki that I’m considered the office bully but I folded my hands under my chin and made angelic expressions so Vicki said she refused to believe I was a bully.

Then I showed her and Joyce my collection of RIP Glenns and they were like OH ERIN HAHAHA and it was then that I knew I had them brainwashed by my charm.

Charmwashed, perhaps?

On Wednesday, we had a meeting with our full group present (actually, this is WRONG because CATHY took the day off!), and usually I’m like, “Ugh, meetings” but this one was exciting because we were all together in one room! Before the meeting started, Joyce and Vicki were asking us if it’s always so quiet on our floor and we were like, “Oh yes” and they were saying how bizarre it is for them because the Chicago office is lively and everyone keeps their office doors open.

Not here!

I don’t know how that happened. But yeah, it’s why I won’t eat anything crunchy at my desk because literally the sound you’d hear in that tomb would be my mastication.

So, in true “stalling-the-meeting” fashion, I started to tell everyone a story about how when I was 19, I quit this one office job that I had because, you know, I was 19 and didn’t want to work, but my mom was paying my rent so I didn’t want her to know that I quit my job because then she’d be like “OH HELL NO, FREELOADER” actually she would have never said that because I also had her charmwashed. Anyway, I used to collect CDs of sound effects and TV show theme songs because I was REALLY INTO having creative answering machine messages. One of the CDs had office sounds on it, like phones ringing and hard typing, so anytime I needed to call my mom during the day, I would play that in the background so it sounded like I was at work.

“OMG ERIN!” Amber and Vicki cried in unison.

“How this story never come up before?” Todd asked, while Glenn just rolled his eyes.

I guess I didn’t realize how idiotic this story was but it was really just an effort to preface my suggestion of playing that CD in the office so it would sound like, you know, an office.

From the 90s.

My other suggestion would be to play soft rock throughout the department. Something nice and soothing that probably no one would object to, like Phil Collins or Richard Marx.

After the meeting, it was time for Nate, Todd and me to take Joyce and Vicki to lunch! Amber was supposed to also go but she had already gone out to lunch with them on Monday and Tuesday and said she was all lunched out, so she gave Nate the company card and put him in charge! WE WERE GOING TO LUNCH UNSUPERVISED. It felt exciting yet scary all at once.

Nate put me in charge of WALKING US TO THE RESTAURANT. When I got to the part where we needed to jaywalk (my co-workers have taught me so many bad habits), I started to freak out because jaywalking is scary, so Joyce was like, “Well….why don’t we just walk to the corner then? I don’t understand…” Yeah, because people in Chicago are normal!

I remember Barb told me this story once about a time she was in Columbus for a hockey game and when she just ever-so-casually and naturally jaywalked, someone said to her, “You must be from Pittsburgh.”

It’s awful, you guys. We are truly terrible people.

Anyway, we went to the Yard and I was stoked because they have Impossible Burgers there! Also, I made Vicki ask the host if we could sit in a corner table and I scrambled past everyone to claim the best seat at the head of the table.

“Ugh, I feel like I was MEANT to sit here,” I sighed and Todd was like “no.”

Meanwhile, Joyce was like, “Who is that one kpop band…BLT or something?” LOL, no, but go on! Anyway, she said that while BTS was in Chicago for their concert, a BTS pop-up shop went up near the Chicago office so Joyce was going to stop in and get me something before they left for Pittsburgh.

“But the line was three blocks long!” she cried. Actually, that seems short for anything BTS-related! I really appreciated the thought though. These ladies are so cool and I can’t believe that in the 9 years I’ve been working here, I haven’t made an effort to get to know them.

This was one of the best work lunches I have ever had! Man, I felt myself growing very attached to Joyce and Vicki. Even Todd, who  never knows who anyone is, knew who we were having lunch with and agreed that it was a good time!

I made Vicki and Joyce admit that of the three lunches they had with coworkers that week, ours was the best and they said yes without hesitating but I did notice that Joyce that looked at a passing waitress with hostage eyes. She learned it by watching Todd.

Thursday was J&V’s last day in our office so our whole entire group, finally together at last, went on a field trip to Millie’s (still mad at them) for ice cream! Todd was like, “Please no more pictures” right as I hollered, “WE NEED SOMEONE TO TAKE OUR PICTURE!” I passed up two normal looking people in line and went straight for the way-too-tanned Miley Cyrus-looking girl who just walked in with her boyfriend and right around the same time I was beginning to get a contact high from their weed perfume, I asked, “Can you please take our picture” but she continued to look straight ahead but I learned to NEVERTHELESS, (she) PERSIST(ed) so I asked again and she snapped her head to look at me in such a way that I thought she was going to go all CASH ME OUTSIDE on me but instead she said, “I WAS JUST GOING TO ASK YOU TO TAKE OUR PICTURE TOO. WE’RE ON VACATION.”

It was really strange because she hadn’t even looked at me up until then, but ok.

I asked her where they were from and she said, “Wheeling WV!”

OK, that’s like an hour away, but whatever. Live it up in the “big city” while you can, I guess.

So that’s how we got this fantastic group picture!

When there was a small moment of silence while we mindlessly gorged on our ice cream, I shot my hand up in the air and said, “I have a great suggestion. What if we keep Joyce and Vicki and send Glenn back in their place.”

Silence….then stifled giggling…then Todd and Cheryl just flat out cracked up, giving the OK for everyone else to laugh too.

“That’s….Erin,” Amber said to Vicki and Joyce in a tone that I couldn’t tell was more proud or disappointed, perfectly summing up my office identity.

Meanwhile, Glenn was too in his ice cream zone to even notice I had spoken, so Amber had to tell him and he for once had NO RETORT.

I miss them already. It was cool to have a bit of a shake up around the office for a few days!

Apr 282019
 

Suh, my pallies (whoever is left – I stopped paying people to read this). Here are some recaps of the current work week, because things happened, as they often do in that game called life. Please also enjoy some photos of DOWNTOWN which I took on Friday. It was a gloomy day.

  1. Staff Appreciation Day

Wednesday was Staff Appreciation Day, which meant there was some breakfast thing in the partnership center which I gave no fucks about because I do not like jostling about with plates of food in front of strangers who also work here. However, we did get a nice gift card from the firm so I definitely appreciated that, and Boss Amber signed off on an email to our group by wishing us a happy Staff Appreciation Day. I smartly responded, “If you really appreciated us, you’d write each one of us a poem telling us so!” and then I went about my day because that’s what I do, reply-all with something dumb and then lose myself in some work duty. But Amber rolled out of her Poetry For Dummies class with this creative ode for me!

Rose are red

Violets are blue

Long live k-pop

And G-Dragon, too!

Of course this turned Glenn’s complexion pallid, Cheryl was like “I needed that laugh,” and one of our new team members based in our Chicago office emailed and asked, “Erin, what is G-Dragon?”

Oh Vicki, thank you for opening Pandora’s Box! I AM HAPPY TO PROVIDE ANSWERS! So I shot her off a reply with a quick summary of who GD is, a picture of his Adonis-esque face, and a link to his wiki. Vicki replied and said that her son also loves kpop and all things Korea and is determined to travel there and has a translation app on his phone, and and and…OMG! I was so excited to make this discovery! We don’t know our Chicago counterparts very well since our only form of communication with them is email and the occasional meeting where they call in, and Amber and I have been trying to find ways to bridge the gap, boost morale, etc. Now I finally have a connection with Vicki! I told her that I went to Korea last year and will be going back this summer, so she asked if I mind fielding some questions for her and her son and I was like “NOT AT ALL!” Trust me, at least once an hour I want to blurt out, “When I was in Korea…” but I sit on it because Hello, Annoying. But when someone actually WANTS to talk to me about it? I start salivating harder than I do when eating a pot of kimchi jjigae that’s just come to a rolling boil.

I shared this new discovery with Glenn and Amber and they were like, “OMG wow amazing cool.” They’re just jealous that I’m over here making strides with team building thanks to my copious interests!

(Seriously, when Chris was new in our department, we because work-bffs because we both like weird fruit. Copious and obscure interests can sometimes help in the workplace, you guys. Don’t be boring.)

2. Bring Your Kids to Little Korea Day

In addition to the Staff Appreciation fun, I had another opportunity to gush about my K-interests on Thursday when Missy briefly brought her two young kids and two nieces into the office. They were downtown with her husband for Bring Your Child To Work Day or whatever, which Chooch gets all up-in-arms over every year because we’re technically not supposed to bring kids to work in my department because of confidentiality or whatever and Henry has been driving again at his job so, like, there’s pretty clear liability issues there with stowing your uninsured minor in the passenger seat of a Big Delivery Truck. Missy only had the kids there briefly after lunch and when she was walking them by our desks on the way to her office, the girls shuffled closer to my desk and gaped at all of my childlike things scattered around. “Who’s that?” one of them asked, jabbing a finger at my standing Taemin vinyl. So I got really excited and gushed to them who he is and they looked at me, and then looked back at him, and then looked at me again like they were perhaps trying to assess my age. “But she doesn’t LOOK like a sixteen-year-old…” I imagine is what they were trying to work out in their minds. Missy was like LEAVE MISS ERIN ALONE and corralled them into her office, where her son and daughter promptly counted the pictures of them that Missy has on display and I couldn’t tell which one was upset but one of them definitely realized that there were more pictures of the other so Missy had to, excuse my WORK PUN, resolve a conflict.

A few minutes later, she ushered them out of her office and down the hall, but those girls walked REAL SLOW past my desk and tossed several lingering glances over their shoulders at Taemin. Yeah girls, I get it. I turn around and look at him many times throughout the day, as well.

Poor Missy kept trying to leave but somehow they ended up at my desk again and her son was like WHAT IS THAT and I was like A FIJI MERMAID and one of the nieces was rummaging through my spiderweb bowl of Asian tea and coffee packets and asked WHAT IS THIS and I was like TEA THAT TASTES LIKE FLOWERS because I can’t say the word chrysanthemum and then the daughter was like WHAT ABOUT THIS ONE and I was like THAT IS GREEN TEA LATTE so in the end, the girls each took a packet of instant green tea latte which became a thorn in Missy’s side because they wanted to make it RIGHT NOW and she was like NO WE HAVE TO GO and it was just the most entertaining afternoon I’ve had at work in some time, that’s all.

Hopefully they went home and looked up Taemin.

3. Co-Workers Try the Inkigayo Sandwich!

After telling some of my work buds about the Inkigayo, nay—EASTERgayo, sandwich we had on Easter, Lauren and Margie expressed interest in trying it. Margie especially was like, “No, it doesn’t make sense and I don’t think it could taste good!” so when Henry was making Chooch one for his school lunch (Chooch’s request!), I asked him to make an extra one for me to take to work. He added crab meat to that one, as the supposedly official recipe for it calls for.

(There are TONS of variations out there! One even adds ketchup to it. I have no idea. I’ve never eaten in the Inkigayo cafeteria and likely never will, unless I get a job there, wearing a hair net and making the actual sandwiches. That’s one way to find out!)

Lauren wasn’t in yet, so I took the sandwich over to Glenn and Todd and explained to them what it was. “No thanks,” Glenn said drolly, but Todd, whom I’m sure wasn’t even listening to my explanation, said, “Yeah, I’ll try it.”

Margie cut a piece for a Glenn anyway and told him not to be a baby, so all three of them ate a piece and UNANIMOUSLY said, “Wait…that’s actually good. But, how?!”

I made sure to point out to Glenn that he was eating a sandwich that G-Dragon likes. He seemed thrilled.

Meanwhile, Cheryl was leaning back in her chair and watching us from her open office door.

“Cheryl, come try this!” I called out and I swear to god she was popping a piece in her mouth before I even had a chance to explain what it was, so I just stopped mid-sentence and surmised it with, “It’s a sandwich that kpop idols eat.” Even she liked it!

Todd said he was going to write about it on his blog which would be awesome if he had a blog. And Margie said it’s what her kids would call a “Do-Over” which is what they say when she makes them something new and they like it, they give her their approval and permission to make it again. So I joked that I would send Cheryl the recipe to put on the department Wiki BUT MAYBE I WILL. I mean, Memorial Day is coming up and this sandwich is basically a picnic between bread.

Then Lauren arrived and I watched her eat the piece Margie had pre-cut for her. She said it was it good but then immediately started asking me work questions and I was like, “This is not why I came over here, Lauren.”

Later, Glenn said that Lauren has a seafood allergy and I started panicking but Lauren was like, “Oh my god, I think you would know if I had a food allergy. I mean, I sit next to this thing, after all!” gesturing toward the Pumpkin of International Food Horrors.

“That’s true,” I laughed. “And I mean, some of the things in that pumpkin might actually create allergies.”

She did not disagree.

The last taste-tester was Carrie, but unlike everyone else, she said when she saw the ingredients, she felt it was something she would like. So now I felt extra-pressure watching her chew, because I especially needed her to like it now! Thank god, she did! We agreed that a godo word to describe it is “refreshing” and I’m not trying to be bossy here or anything but I think she should take this recipe to the new restaurant she works at and see if they’ll add it to the menu.

YOU NEVER KNOW. It could be a sandwich sensation with their collegiate clientele.

4. Altrolleyism (see also: Altruism on the Trolley, duh) Begets Soy Karma

When I got on the trolley Thursday morning, it was pretty packed because of the aforementioned Bring Your Kid…blah blah, so instead of walking as far to the back as possible before plopping my ass down like usual, I took an empty seat near the front. Unfortunately, That Annoying Family I Hate slipped onto the same train as me at the last minute and they always sit at the front (which is why I go to the back). There was one empty seat in front of me, so they sat the daughter down there and then both parents were standing in the aisle, smothering me with their HAPPY VALLEY PTA vibes. Just as the dad started to pull out a Berenstein Bears book to read out loud for the whole front of the trolley, I started to get really anxious and wanted to get out of my seat immediately. I didn’t want to look like an asshole though, you know, so I masked my asshole motives by tapping the mom on the arm and saying, “WOULD YOU LIKE TO SIT HERE?” She exclaimed, “Oh my, thank you!” so I mumbled “no problem” and practically barrel-rolled out of the seat and ran to the back where I was rewarded with ONE EMPTY SPOT next to a very quiet, unassuming passenger, and it was far enough back that I couldn’t hear Dad jawwing off about fictional bear families. Meanwhile, I was acutely aware of people smiling at me for my valiant act of altruism and I was like mentally curtsying in my head over this. I LOVE WHEN I LOOK LIKE AN ANGEL.

Meanwhile, the DAD took the seat and the MOM stood the whole time. That family fucking kills me. (For instance, on Friday, the daughter threw a huge tantrum and started shrieking at near dog-whistle levels about how the dad HURT HER FEELINGS and it was such a blatant display of crocodile tears, it made me sick.)

Later that day, I went to Prestogeorge in the Strip because I was in the mood for a cinnamon latte and their lattes are just really comforting to me. (Not their chai lattes though! They make theirs the same way as Starbucks, by using that refrigerated chai concentrate shit and I hate that because it always tastes like spiced water to me – I prefer when places use the chai power. Perhaps I will write a dissertation about this another day because I have feelings.)

Anyway, none of my faves were working that day, so a guy I’ve never seen before named Josh took my order. He was very jovial and I felt confident that this would still be another great Presto experience. (Seriously, this is the kind of the place that pulls you right into ongoing banter between employees–you’ll walk out of there feeling like you’re a regular even if it’s your first time!) I ordered my cinnamon soy latte and I don’t know why I did this because there was no one standing behind me waiting to order, but instead of leaning against the counter like I normally do, I took a step over the side and stood there instead.

Maybe 15 seconds after I moved, Josh extracted the carton of soy milk from the cooler and gave it a hearty side-to-side shake, except that the cap wasn’t on all the way and ribbons of high-speed soy milk arched through the air, hitting the exact spot I was originally standing in. Josh stopped mid-shake and we looked at each other, our mouths and eyes widening in slo-mo, and he sputtered, “OH MY GOD DID THAT HIT YOU?!” I laughed, like REALLY LAUGHED, and said, “No, but I had literally JUST stepped away from that spot!” and then we were both cracking up and he was like, “WOW, SOY MILK REALLY TRAVELS” as one of the other employees came over with a rag, sighing and wiping up the lactose-free lake.

Then the espresso machine was jammed and the same lady who cleaned up the milkfree mess had to come to his aid again.

“This process has just been a failure every step of the way,” Josh sighed, and I started cracking up all over again. I mean, I felt bad for him but he was really taking it in stride and was quick to bandage the situation with humor. That’s my kind of person—I will small-talk my face off with people like that!

Finally, he crossed the latte finish line and as he handed the cup to me, he said, “This latte is cursed. Drink it quickly and dispose of it immediately!”

The latte, cursed or not, was perfectly crafted, in case you were wondering.

As I sipped it on my walk back to the office, I wondered…if I hadn’t given up my seat on the trolley that morning, would the soy milk’s trajectory have been different? Would I have ended up taking it to the face? I think so. I faked my Good Samaritan act well enough that I scored some good karma for Thursday!

Mar 082019
 

It’s been a minute since I regaled this bleak corner of the Internet with some Lunch Break Tales. To be fair, not much has been happening because it’s been fucking COLD in case you didn’t know, so I spend most of my time on the streets of PGH walking super fast to stay warm, or forcing Henry to talk to me on the phone because I am a lonely person, there I said it. Now that spring’s approaching, things should start to pick up out there, for example, Downtown Jesus should like, rise out from behind his tomb or whatever.

(Seriously, where has he been?! I haven’t seen him…since sometime right after his birthday/Christmas, I think!)

Anyway, let’s see what kind of janky recap I can construct from the last couple of garbage weeks.

  1. LUKE PERRY

I found out about Luke Perry dying while I was out gallivanting on my lunch break (obviously, otherwise this wouldn’t be here in LUNCH BREAK TALES). I got a CNN notification, or Washington Post, some kind of notification. This was right after Henry rudely cut me off mid-Seungri Scandal rant and said he’d “call me back” so I had no one to share my sorrow with and I NEEDED HUMAN INTERACTION RIGHT THEN. Come on, Luke Perry’s death had pretty much every broad in my age bracket shook that day. I started to run up to someone in a winter parka, the kind with the fur-lined hood, because I was sure it was my co-worker Regina, but then she lifted her head at the last second and I was just about to hysterically scream LUKE PERRY DIED but at the very last possible second I realized, AS WE MADE EYE CONTACT WITH MY MOUTH AGAPE, that it wasn’t Regina. Maybe could have been Regina’s mom and wow my eyes are really bad. So then I had to abruptly veer a different direction but it was so obvious.

(I take that back about “every broad in my age bracket” because later that day, Nate came over to my desk and was like LUKE PERRY and we commiserated over that for a bit. He was like, “REMEMBER ON 90210 WHEN HE WAS MARRIED TO THE NOXEMA GIRL AND SHE GOT SHOT” and I only vaguely remember that but I started freaking out because just over the weeken I made Chooch watch “I Know What You Did Last Summer”* and during that my mind started wandering into “other teen horror movies from the 90s” which made me think about “that one that Rebecca Gayheart was in” and I was so relieved when I was able to remember without the aid of Google that it was “Urban Legend” but the whole reason I’m even mentioning this is because who the hell has Rebecca Gayheart pop up twice in less than a week in 2019 aside from like, her mom, or, I dunno, the family of the person she vehicularly man-slaughtered?)

*(Chooch’s main takeaway from this movie was: “THEY HAD LAPTOPS IN 1997!?”)

2. GABRIEL, THE STREET FASHION REPORTER

OK, this is going back several weeks now, possibly even months so I can’t even be certain I’m remembering this bro’s name correctly, but I kept forgetting to write about. Although, I DID send a Postcard From Erin’s Lunch Break about it to my pal Valarie! But there was this one day when I was heading back to work when some young guy crossed the street in what seemed like a purposely attempt to intercept me.

He succeeded.

“I really like your jacket!” he began, and I was like, “Yeah I know, right?! It’s great!” I mean, it really is. It’s COW-PRINT, people.

“Did you buy it somewhere down here?” he asked.

“Oh god no, I bought it like…20 years ago probably at Contempo,” I laughed. (I think that’s where it’s from! I honestly can’t remember but I was definitely 20 when that purchase was made, probably using my corporate credit card that my mom paid, HAHAHAHAH no really, I’m crying because I miss those days.)

“Would you consider yourself someone who’s into fashion?” he pressed, and now I was getting paranoid. I mean, if you’re going to either sexually harass me or pick my pocket, let’s get this over with, boo. You know?

I just shrugged and mumbled something about how wearing clothes without stains or wrinkles was enough for me these days, and he went on to compliment me for mixing patterns.

“I really like when people mix patterns,” he said with a smile and now I was really wondering if he was stalling me while the kidnapper van found a spot to park. “I went to the Art Institute for fashion design,” he explained, so I guess that made a little more sense and I was less worried now about the chance of blood ruining my cow jacket post-kidney harvesting.

He introduced himself as Gabriel and we shook hands which is always weird yet exciting for me, touching another stranger on the street. For as anti-social and introverted I have become over the years, I am also curiously starved for human interaction at the same time.

Then he asked me if I was in a hurry to get somewhere and I was like YES, WORK and he was like, “Oh darn, well, maybe I’ll see you around again sometime, hopefully in another cool coat!” and then I became aware of the fact that all of the people on the sidewalk waiting for the bus were watching this strange not-really-flirtation and I walked away wondering wtf had just happened.

I mean, nice guy. Real nice guy. But way too interested in my clothes!?

3. SIDEWALK LAWS

I can’t remember if I’ve ever mentioned this on here but I hate when people walk down the sidewalk in a three or more person throng, so that they are occupying the entire girth of the damn sidewalk and then NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM does the proper “fall back” when someone approaches from the opposite way. This happens nearly every time I walk through the Strip District and it fucking drives me mad. The one day, I super passively aggressively said, “No it’s fine, I’ll just STEP OUT ONTO THE ROAD so you guys don’t have to break up your yuppie huddle.”

God for-fucking-bid.

I flipped out the one day while walking through the Strip and decided that I’m going to run for Mayor and then when I win (obviously) I’m going to patrol the sidewalks of downtown Pittsburgh, issuing warrants for arrest for sidewalk hogs.

“You can’t do that,” Henry said, white knighting sidewalk slobs worldwide.

“I CAN AFTER I MAKE IT A LAW!” I cried.

It’s too bad I don’t already have power because I really have so much I would like to change. For instance, Pittsburgh needs to get on board with vending machine culture. Perhaps if I suggest a TERRIBLE TOWEL dispenser, that would get the attention of whoever is in charge of Pittsburgh.

Oh yeah, the actual mayor. Lol.

Well, I really think that’s all I have. In my head, so much more has happened on my walks, but “in my head” is the operative phrase there, I guess. I’d have so much more to write about if I lived in Korea, probably.

Jan 182019
 

Wow, I have been slacking with the lunch break tales! I still go outside for a walk everyday, in spite of the gross winter weather, but I have to speed-walk to stay warm and that makes me less observant to all the oddities transpiring around me.

However, human interaction happened 7 TIMES in the last week that have pulled me out of my winter bubble and I declared a revival of thee ol’ Lunch Break Tales positively necessary.

6 of those were on THE SAME DAY. So let’s start there.

The Day of 6 Human Interactions 

Alternately Titled: What Is This, 1954?

It was Friday of last week and I had just stepped out from the revolving door of the law firm and into FREEDOM when I saw an old lady sitting on the ground a few yards away. Immediately, I knew that this probably wasn’t good and the unfortunate part (I mean, aside from  the fact that someone’s grandma had taken a tumble) was that I appeared to be the only person around.

Falalalala-uck.

I fought my inner misanthrope and tiptoed over to assess the sitch. Thankfully, a man carrying groceries was approaching from another direction and together, we reenacted a scene from whatever episode of Sesame Street teaches you to put down your groceries and help your neighbor.  All I was capable of doing was holding out my phone and asking repeatedly if she needed me to call 911 while Grocery Man kept slowly asking, “MA’AM, YOU OK?” But Ma’am continued to sit on the ground with her legs outstretched, rubbing her thighs and not answering.

Now I was starting to wonder if this was a pick-pocketing ploy because that’s what I think everything is, a pick-pocketing ploy, until she slowly turned to look at us, and with ONE SINGLE TEAR FALLING DOWN HER CHEEK OMG, she whispered, “No, I’m OK…..I don’t know what happened. My knees just gave out…”

Grocery Man said he had heard her fall so I guess she screamed or something? I don’t know!

There are chairs inside the lobby of my building so I asked her if she wanted us to help her inside. At least she could sit down and get warm while deciding what she was going to do. She nodded, so Grocery Man and I each took one of her arms and lifted her up. The whole time I was whipping my head around, looking for the news crews, like, “I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT! LOOK AT ME!” in my head, because altruism is not a word in my limited and egocentric vocab.

We had just about got her to the doors of my building when some tall fucking white man in a nice suit and coat strode over with the shittiest shit-eating grin on his pudding face and asked, “Do you need help?” while basically TAKING THE OLD BROAD AWAY FROM US and escorting her into the building himself!!

WOW WAY TO COME IN AT THE TAIL END AND CLAIM ALL THE GLORY, JACKASS. Grocery Man was like, “That’s fine” because he wanted to get back to his groceries, which he left on the ground and we get all kinds of weirdos walking by, like Downtown Jesus may have meandered over and started digging in the bags for bread to turn into fish, or cigarettes, you don’t know.

I started to ask Briefcase Hero if he needed my assistance for anything, but then I was like, “Ah, fuck it” and I went about my merry way.

To….

Crazy Mocha, where I had the fourth human interaction of the day!

The barista was a new one, or new-to-me anyway, because it had been a few weeks since I went to this particular Crazy Mocha. She was young and running on all cylinders, the kind of person who was rearin’ to talk to ANY FUCKING BODY. She was taunting her co-worker about some picture she had taken of him, so then she decided to pull me into the convo and showed me the Polaroid.

“Oh, I keep Polaroids in my phone case!” I said, and showed her pictures of Chooch in the cemetery on Christmas. So then we chatted about Polaroids and she said she liked to surprise her co-workers with snap-attacks so that they wouldn’t have a chance to fake-pose, and I briefly imagined doing this at the law firm and I wonder how well that would go over since everyone knows my motives are questionable.

As the barista in the Polaroid made my chai latte, Polaroid Girl started singing EXTREMELY THEATRICALLY all up in the other barista’s face and he gave her zero reaction which was pretty weird, but then I was like, “Wow, this song sounds familiar…” and then I realized it was a song from Hamilton (“Satisfied”) and I was so proud of myself for knowing that considering that I have still NEVER LISTENED TO THE SOUNDTRACK even though I saw the show and loved it.

Side bar: A few weeks ago one of my co-workers admitted to me that she thought Hamilton was a president and I felt SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF because yo, I thought that too, and she is actually way more educated me so I was like, “OK, it’s not just me. There are others. More of us. I am not alone.” But yeah, during Hamilton, I wondered several times, “So, when does he become President tho….”

Remember when I saved that broad’s life before I met Polaroid Girl? Well, the next interaction I had was when a traveler with suitcases approached me and asked me where the Megabus pickup is and so I told him and then realized I gave him the wrong directions, so I had to chase him down screaming, “Sir! Sir! I gave you the wrong directions!” so then I had him go a different way and I felt better about myself until on my way back from my walk when I saw that the Megabus was picking up people exactly right across from where we were standing when he asked me so it turns out BOTH OF MY DIRECTIONS WERE WRONG. Man, I saved a life and then maybe stranded a guy in Pittsburgh.

I’d call that a wash.

The final interaction of that walk was when a lady walked by me and yelled, “cute coat!”

YEAH IT IS!

Man, what a day! I talked to so many people! I REMEMBERED HOW TO TALK!

The Absinthe Anecdote (AND ANTIDOTE)

Tuesday was a terrible day. I mean, as far as work goes, that is. I had to go into the bathroom and stress-cry at one point, it was that kind of day. I had to sit at my desk and think of worse days that I have had just to bring the perspective, but then I started thinking about the time the church school moms found my blog and essentially met me in the parking lot with torches and pitchforks, and this just made me feel even more terrible so wow that strategy backfired.

Finally, I broke away and went outside for my walk because sometimes that is the only thing that gets me through the day – I need my hour walk, man. Get me away from my desk!

I usually don’t pre-plan my walks, I just walk in the opposite direction of where the derelicts seem to be when I step out the door. On this day, I headed toward the Strip District and then decided that I was going to Prestogeorge for a latte because I fucking needed a treat, OK?! My favorite barista Lori was working – we have had great convos about tattoos, kids not knowing what landlines are, and my awesome phone cases. I really like her a lot so even though I was having a shit day, when she asked me how it was going, I said it was going well and it felt like it was true! She just gives off good vibes, man.

As she was ringing me up, she paused and, with a lowered voice, asked, “Do you like absinthe?”

I said yes without hesitation, but then backtracked and said that while I wasn’t a big fan of the taste, I really appreciated the lore and culture behind it. She nodded and slid a book across the counter.

“I’m going to tell you a story while I made your latte, and you can take a look at this book.”

It was a worn book of absinthe recipes, and her story was about how she met a professional magician in San Francisco some time ago, and it turned out he was one of the authors of this absinthe book but she didn’t find out until afterward and was bummed that she missed her chance at getting the book signed. Apparently, she and her friends have thrown many parties around this absinthe book so it’s very special to her and all I kept thinking was, “How do I ingratiate myself into her circle of friends?!”

Anyway, her story was captivating and culminated in the fact that her realtor friend called her up and said, “You’ll never guess who I sold a house to” and it was THE MAGICIAN – he’s moving to Pittsburgh and bought some huge house on the north side, and so the realtor friend invited Lori to lunch with him and he signed Lori’s book; she showed it to me and it said, “Let’s throw a party” so she is freaking throwing a party in his mansion and I can’t remember the last time I was this stoked for someone I barely know!

There isn’t an actual date yet but I told her I’m going to troll Prestogeorge’s until it finally happens so she can tell me all about it! I love hearing about people obsessing over obscure things and then getting starstruck over something that most people would think nothing of. This is how I felt when PAUL EUGENE the Gospel Aerobics guru emailed me a Valentine and yes I realize it was just because I signed up for his newsletter, but maybe I’m the only one he sent it to! LEAVE ME TO MY DREAMS!

I walked out with my cinnamon latte and realized that the tightness in my chest was gone. Maybe human interaction is actually….THE KEY?! Ugh.