Jun 152021
 

Mostly a photo dump since I was “liveblogging” on Saturday and apologies in advance if I have already posted some of these, my memory is shot and I’m too lazy to look at that post.

We took the metro into the city because who wants to fuck with driving and parking or Ubering amirite. Also, we’re kind of dorks and like to see what each city’s public transportation system is like OK maybe that’s just me. So far, Seoul’s subway system is the mack daddy of all transits, better respect.

I guess this one was OK but we only used to get there and back, no additional excursions because Henry was being a jerk about doing anything on top of the self-guided walking tour we did. Henry is such a great tourist, truly.

So glad Former Guy doesn’t live there anymore and yes Chooch, presidents live in the White House, I’m not sure who told you otherwise, probably one of Blake’s dumb friends in your stupid Discord chat.

Also, Chooch has a bruise on his arm because he’s a moronic klutz and not because Ma & Pa like to knock him around, ya hear?

A thingie.

A cool place.

The crowds were extremely tolerable the day we were there, surprisingly considering it was a Saturday and a bunch of Pride events were happening (we got to catch two small parades and it was so uplifting!).

Now here is a series of pictures of Chooch and me trying to pose naturally:

We really are the worst at having our picture taken together.

Oh also while this was going on, there was this FUCKING STUPID COUPLE that I hated who dinged their idiot scooter bell at us on a sidewalk and then wouldn’t pass us when we moved over for them and you guys, there is something about being dinged at that REALLY GRATES MY CHEESE, and it’s actually one of the few things I truly don’t miss about being downtown everyday – those fucking Pgh bikers can get fucked, honestly. Anyway,  I loudly said, “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ARE YOU GOING TO PASS US OR NOT” and then of course they ended up essentially being on the same tourist route as us and even after they ditched the city scooters, they WERE STILL IN MY WAY and then the guy portion of the couple HAD A MR. GRAY GUY SQUIRREL come over to him and I was like, “FUCK THIS SCOOTER BITCH AND HIS SQUIRREL CHARM!”

And then Henry started lecturing me about how I’m too hateful and you know what that did? THAT MADE ME EVEN MORE HATEFUL. STFU Henry, you Mr. Rogers try-hard motherfucker.

But aside from the scooter cunts, the rest of the day was actually really peaceful and even though the Lincoln Memorial was decently crowded, we were able to have a fair turn at getting our picture and no one was being assholes and no one was hogging the good spots. It was actually a super pleasant experience.

Henry just wanted to stand next to my hot dragonfruit purse (which can also be worn as a fanny pack!!!) and who can blame him, really.

This thing is actually horrifying on person.

I know I definitely already posted this Portrait of a Tree, but bae is too presh not to repost.

Also, Mr Gray Guys in DC are so much friendlier than the Mr Gray Guys at my house!!! These guys were like frolicking right up to people and I was so jealous. I am trying so hard to get the Mr Gray Guys at my house to love me but they treat me like #1 Predator even though THEY WATCH ME WITH THEIR OWN TWO EYES (well, or one if you’re One-Eyed Mr Gray Guy) as I put their food out everyday!! They literally flatten themselves into patties and then slither away like I can’t see them.

We started walking to the Capitol Building after this but it was like we were walking the wrong way on a people mover because it felt like we just kept farther away from it so here is where unanimously decided to break for a late lunch before one of us went from craving food to craving blood, and if you know Chooch and me, you know our hanger gets dangerously close to murder.

But then we made it to the Capitol and it is such a majestic sight when it’s not infested by disgusting MAGA rednecks and QANON derelicts!

The sun was raging on us and of course no one thought to bring sunglasses (thank GOD Henry didn’t bring his Molestor-y Uncle shades). So this was a fun series of posing.

Especially when Henry made us do it again, “unless you want some stranger lady’s ass in your photo,” he scoffed. Also, that discarded face mask on the steps to the left is peak pandemic, isn’t it?

Literally blinded by the light revved up like a DOUCHE blah blah etc la la la.

Then we moved over to a shaded area and that was better but by now the novelty of posing in front of the Capitol had burned off like a vampire’s skin in the sunlight.

Here is Henry consulting his phone and then telling me that nothing I wanted to do after this was reasonable.

SO WE LEFT. Well that’s not true. We had to walk a bit to the closest metro station and Chooch got an iced coffee at McDonald’s because you know what they say, when in DC, get a coffee at McD’s, and then we saw the Bible Museum or whatever it is and I said they should have shaped it like an ark and Chooch was like A WHAT and was ready to mock me because he thought I said arch and honestly, this is exactly the type of thing we would spend 35 minutes fighting about.

Henry had to ask the fare booth dude what side to stand on but Chooch and I were already down on the platform, standing on the correct side, because we can read signs. Henry is such a lame.

And then everything went to hell from there, but at least at the hotel (before I made them leave and find another one at 10:30 at night because I was freaking the fuck out), Chooch put on the shirt he was originally going to wear that day until I pointed out that we were both accidentally wearing red white and blue and then suddenly he realized his shirt was “too short” and changed but brought this one with him under the pretense of changing into it once we got there, which of course he didn’t, just like Henry conveniently left his hat in the car and I HATE IT WHEN HENRY GOES HATLESS because he’s also a dick when his hair is free-flowing and it’s just like how my aunt Sharon was always a BITCH (sorry Sharon, RIP, I love you) on vacation when she wore her hair in a ponytail.

UGH NOW I FEEL SO STRESSED OUT AGAIN.

Jun 122021
 

Hello. It’s 7:42am and we are about to depart from our luxurious gravel driveway in Brookline to begin our little weekend road trip to Washington DC and Maryland, aren’t you so excited. Originally we were just going to go to Maryland on Sunday to see if we have better luck at that Six Flags but then we decided to make a weekend of it and visit DC since NONE OF US EVER HAVE if you can believe that. We were supposed to go in 2019 the day after the Super M concert but Chooch was all, “wah I have a test and I can’t miss school!” Ugh. Scholastic Chooch is annoying.

As usual, refresh for new updates throughout the day OR DON’T this is a free country.

Henry is already so annoying. He was wearing a white shirt with stains on it and I called him out on it before we left so then we had to wait for to rifle through his pile of Faygo shirts before he decided on an ugly gray button-down that I hate and I was wailing, “why can’t you just have a cool T-shirt collection like normal people this is so dumb!” I literally can’t stand it.

7:53am: only made it two miles before HNC texted henry and said, “you’re probably driving but call me when you can” and now I’m panicking because what if it’s about the squirrels and henry is like I AM NOT CALLING HIM BACK WITH YOU TWO IN THE CAR. I WILL CALL HIM WHEN WE STOP AT SHEETZ. So now I guess I will stew in my anxiety until Sheetz.

8:28am: Obligatory Sheetz stop. I got the Protein Showdown like I always do but Henry called it the Protein Showtime and it’s not even that big of a deal, I admit, but Chooch and I are heckling him hard.

8:33am: BIG UPDATE. Henry called back HNC at my incessant urging and apparently a piece of slate fell off his roof and hit his car and he wanted to know if anyone heard it. Henry said no but Chris should have just called me because I HEARD SOMETHING. We could have masterminded a great conspiracy theory together. Hopefully he’s not going to blame the squirrels because I actually think Mr Gray Guy may have been the culprit.

9:25am: we just crossed over the Youghiogheny reservoir thingie and Chooch said, “that looks like Bambi water” whatever the fuck that means and then Baekhyun’s “Bambi” came on Spotify.

That’s all.

10:07am: Hello from the Love’s restroom. Nothing to report. It was crowded so I couldn’t take my traditional road trip bathroom selfie. Then I came out and appear to have lost my family.

Found them, call off the APB.

You can always count on Love’s for clean bathrooms and gross accessories.

11:19am: there was all this traffic because of a truck that was trying to move over and no one was letting him and there was all this maniacal swerving happening. Henry was like turning inside out on his mad effort to defend the truck driver so I said, “why don’t you just pull over and give him a hug. Maybe you could…BUMP DOLLIES.” And then I was choking on my mirth as usual, and henry was pursing his lips trying not to give me the satisfaction of emitting even a sliver of a laugh.

“Those kinds of truck drivers don’t even use dollies,” was his eventual comeback. He sure showed me. Truly.

12:02pm: ugh I had to pee in a legit gas station bathroom:

Henry was like IT WAS NOT THAT BAD and ok at least the toilet was clean but I was afraid Jason Voorhees was going to burst out of that closet like the Kool-Aid Man but bloodier and less fruity.

Also I wish I was this skinny:

12:15pm: Air Supply’s Even the Nights Are Better just came on the Yacht Rock station and I screamed REMEMBER WHEN WE SANG THIS AT NORAEBANG IN KOREA to Henry and both he and Chooch mumbled no which is surprising since I sang my part with such epic gusto.

On the metro thingie getting ready to go to DC and Henry has already caused a commotion trying to get the metro cards thank god the fare booth recognized us a TOURISTS (Henry’s wearing his man purse, so) and came over to help us before henry made a fatal mistake.

It us.

I made Chooch sit in front of us in case I want to chat with him and that already had him set off so then when I told him to take our picture, HOO BOY.

2:04pm:

3:08pm: have had many arguments with SON OF THE YEAR so far but the best one was when he insisted that presidents don’t live in the White House ok cook on.

Also, I hate scooters.

3:36pm: I like to read up on cities before I go there but nothing I read or watched could have prepared me for the actual assault of ice cream trucks and their demonic competing music box sirens.

4:04pm: BIBIBOP STOP

SOOOO satisfying like bibimbap but make it a salad.

4:35pm: We’re enjoying all the little pride parades cruising around town and Henry said WOW THEY ARE EVERYWHERE and I thought he meant like OMG THE GAYS but he was talking literally about the VEHICLES in the parade.

Also how perfect is this tree it’s like God drew it in his mind and projected it here.

5:54pm: on the metro back to Maryland. It was a full day of walking and I am ready to not do that anymore and go enjoy a nice iced coffee somewhere and relax, my peepee heads.

Here are some pictures of chooch and me being blinded by the fiery sun in front of the Capitol. Also, we almost got ice cream from one of the pushy ice cream trucks near there but henry only had a $1 cash on him!!!! What a cheapfuck!

6:19pm: Just got back to the car! When we got back to the New Carrollton station, chooch and I noticed a girl who was also on the same metro as us going into DC! I was like “what are the odds?!” And Chooch said, “I dunno like 5 or 10” whatever that means.

Oh and just for the record I wasn’t ready to leave but Henry and Chooch were like “no, it’s time.” I can’t wait until I’m older so I can travel with my friends! Literally the same thing I wrote in every vacation journal growing up!

6:32pm: We’re at our hotel and it’s across from Mary Main cannabis dispensary and Henry said, “in case you Wanna get hiiiiiiigh” and the way he said it made both Chooch and me very uncomfy.

7:02pm: omg Henry thought the AC was broke and went to the front desk so they sent him back with A Guy who was like “you have to turn it on” and chooch and I were holding in our giddy squeals then the front desk called and Chooch picked up AND DIDNT SAY ANYTHING bc he doesn’t know how to use a real phone??!! So he threw the receiver at henry. It was a whole thing.

7:17pm: Henry did NOT go here because he wasn’t good enough.

Anyway, we’re en route to Old Alexandria for ice cream.

8:58pm: so funny story. We did not get ice cream in Virginia because there was nowhere to park in old Alexandria and the other nearby places had massive crowds and I was like, eventually, screaming that I was not waiting in a line of that length for two flavors of custard. So we started to head back in Maryland which had nothing near our hotel and that’s why we ended up in Virginia in the first place, and I found a place on Yelp called Ice Cream Sweet Shoppe which was closing in 30 minutes. We managed to make it there and THE JOKE IS ON ME, U GUYS, because it was a fairly dingy joint in a rundown shopping center in a sketchy area, slinging those ubiquitous Hershey flavors. Don’t get me wrong, Hershey ice cream is legit tasty and the flavor options are staggering, but I could walk down the street from my house and get this same ice cream from our neighborhood ice cream shop, Scoops. When we’re in other cities, we want real local shit, you know??

But the young guy scooping for us was super nice and pleasant so it wasn’t a total bust.

I got Llamalicious and then traded Henry for his Rocky Road because mine was good but just too CLOYING. (Cake batter with ribbons of frosting.) Henry almost didn’t have anything to trade me because he initially LEFT HIS ICE CREAM IN THE SHOP.

What a fucking experience. Now Henry hates Virginia and also this part of Maryland where he keeps missing exits and really no one is to blame for that but him.

[ETA, the next day: so I never officially signed off on this fucking live account because after we got back to the hotel I just snapped, had a psychological meltdown, because the hotel was so awful and loud and the night just totally unraveled and I was like I MIGHT KILL MYSELF not even making light of suicide but being extremely transparent and honest here. Anyway, it was pretty bad there, and overflowed into the morning but now I am better thanks for asking.]

Jun 092021
 

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

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

***

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

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

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

—THE NEXT DAY—

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

***

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

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

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

Going to google him now TTYL.

Jun 052021
 

I was going to live-blog this day but then I didn’t and now I wish I did.

After we bailed on Six Flags, we drove to Buffalo (maybe the outskirts?) to a vegan junk food joint called Big Mood. Checking out local vegan places is my favorite thing to do when we go on road trips!

Big Mood’s dining room is open but we opted to order online and take the food to a park because it was such a beautiful day. After we placed the order, we had 20 minutes to kill so we decided to walk around the area, which had some pretty impressive motherwhomping mansions. As usual, we didn’t wait for Henry so he had to hustle to catch up. He’s used to it.

We stopped briefly to ogle two bunnies in one of the yards. Henry and I continued walking but of course, Chooch lingered a bit longer. Next thing we knew, he was being interrogated by a man in a car. All I heard was Chooch nervously say, “No, I was just looking at the rabbits. Rabbits. The rabbits in the yard.” And then he ran to catch up with us.

“WTF was that?” I asked, and Chooch said it was the HOMEOWNER who just happened to be coming home AT THAT EXACT TIME, rolling up beside Chooch on the sidewalk to slap him with an authoritative, “Can I help you?”

Leave it to Chooch to make rabbit-watching look suspicious. It would have been better if this happened when Chooch was pulling the waistband of his jeans away from his body to demonstrate to us how big they are (see that previous post where I recommend that he wear a belt and he acted like this was the dumbest suggestion of all time), because to a casual observer who took us for burglars, it looked like Chooch was showing us all the goods he stole and stashed in his pants.

We left that street (it wasn’t even a gated community or anything so dude needs to step off) and rejoined the riffraff on a main street. There was a buffalo statue in front of a building and I said to Chooch, “Go stand by that buffalo.” What follows is real life dialogue from that moment, which is 100% accurate because my phone had been accidentally recording for over 5 minutes after Chooch got yelled at.

C: No

Me: Yeah.

C: No.

Me: Henry, go stand by the buffalo.

C: Yeah, you.

H: I…stood by something today already.

C: I ALREADY STOOD BY TWO THINGS! YOU!

H: You stand by it.

C: No. You didn’t stand by anything.

H: I stood by the…..[indistinguishable murmuring].

C: OK COOL (this is our go-to, ‘fuck you, we’re done talking’ sign-off)

H: *says something provoking that I can’t make out*

C: I literally….It’s your turn. I got the fountain picture. Go.

M: You two are both assholes.

H: I’ll do it.

C: Yeah, now you’ll do it. (As we already walked past it!!)

H: Well, now she’s doing that thing she does where she pouts.

M: That’s not what I’m doing.

It was 100% what I was doing.

Then Chooch found some dried out seed pods from a tree and we talked about that for a while.

Got our food!! I got this Sante Fe chicken sandwich and adored the fact that they call their fake chicken patties “zero clucks.” We drove for a while until we found a good place to sit at a park (on bleachers with like a constant swarm of people milling past us so of course I was like THESE PPL ARE MAKING ME NERVOUS and Henry and Chooch just rolled their eyes because oh look, Erin’s being Erin). Oh man, this sandwich was delicious and FILLING.

Stupidly, we wanted to venture out to the American side of the Falls after this, forgetting that it was a holiday weekend on the tail-end of a pandemic so….yeah. That place a  mad house and we weren’t willing to pay $30 to park so we figured it was time to call it a day and start the drive back home, which was fun for Henry because at this point, Chooch and I were fucking SLAP HAPPY. The only thing Henry hates more than Chooch and I fighting is Chooch and I laughing so hard we are either puking (Chooch) or pants-peeing (me).

Henry had to get gas, leaving us hyenas in the car. Henry’s phone was connected so when he paid for the gas, the text message from the bank popped up on the car screen with a prompt to reply, so I hit the microphone icon and frantically tried to scream FUCK YOU as Henry’s reply to the bank’s text, but it kept coming out like FWAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOOHOOHOOHOOHOOHOHOHOHOUIWUQUP, launching Chooch and me down a laughing spiral for a good hour, making me feel like I popped blood vessels in my eyes; Henry, meanwhile, didn’t laugh once, but did try to kick us out of the car once.

Then we went to the NY Tourist Center which was fanc-ay!

The lighting in the bathroom was excelsiur.

I tried to hide from Henry while he was going to the bathroom but somehow, when I was still outside running to a different entrance to use for a sneak attack, Henry and Chooch managed to leave the bathroom and even proceeded to “fake leave” me behind, nearly running me over in the process when I came flying out of the building. All of this happened after I started to lurch at a man coming out of the bathroom who was definitely not Henry and then I had to play it off like I had just tripped on my way to look blankly at the vending machine.

Went to Six Flags, had more fun at a tourist center. Sounds just like us!

I was even a super sweetie and drove the last hour so Henry could sleep

***

The next day, I mentioned something about the drive home and Henry said, “You mean when you were doing 85?”

I paused. “Well…the speed limit was 70, so.”

“You were doing 85!” Henry reiterated, his tone flecked with slightly more hysteria this time.

“Oh my god, were you spying on me?”I cried, and you can imagine the incredulity.

“My eyes would automatically fly open every time the car lurched forward,” he said, and by now I was bored of the conversation and only like talking about myself when it doesn’t involve someone accusing me of doing something wrong, THANK YOU V. MUCH. Luckily, it’s easy to flip the switch on Henry. You usually just have to point out the window and yell, “OH LOOK AT THAT PLANE” and then he’ll be all concerned with trying to identify it. This also works with birds, cars, 1970s porn plots…

Then Henry and I went for a walk at the Homewood Cemetery on actual Memorial Day and saw this zombie ground hog, which was basically the highlight of the whole weekend for me:

Jun 032021
 

I thought I missed going places over the last year but now that we’re going places again I just want to stay home with the cats and squirrels.

Something something like my mother she’s never satisfied etc etc. – Prince

I originally was v. Gung-ho about Going Somewhere, maybe not for the whole weekend but at least for a day. Originally, we were going to go to King’s Island, then that changed to Six Flags America in Maryland then we tacked on King’s Dominion making it a whole weekend event, but then the weather forecast changed to All Rain All the Time for that part of the country so we started looking at other nearby parks where the skies promised to be dry and I STUPIDLY said hey what about Six Flags Darien Lake and this seemed ok because we bought season passes since there are some other Six Flags we will be hitting up this summer and this one is the closest so even if the park turned out to suck at least we weren’t too far from home and we could just piss around in Buffalo *PAUSE TO BREATHE*

But when I woke up Sunday morning, I was full of excuses (and vitriol) of why I didn’t want to go. I was also extremely tired and PMSing, and the rainy Pittsburgh morning made me want to stay in bed forever.

I eventually came around (“FINE WE CAN GO BUT IF IT’S LAME WE’RE LEAVING” I yelled and so Henry and Chooch obediently stepped into their shoes and off we went.

The drive to Darien Lake is only about 3 and a half hours, most of which Chooch slept and I read (Anna K Away – it was OK!) while Henry drove and probably recalled better days when he was in THE SERVICE and getting RESPECT from FEMALES.

We stopped at our favorite rest stop in that area – the one that appears sometime after leaving Erie and entering NY, where the walkway crosses the highway and this is actually so exciting to me which might inspire you to snap, “Wow, why don’t you go read a book or something” at which point I will tell you that I have already read over 70 so far in 2021, go fuck yer mum (sorry I just finished a British novel and that was used a lot and now I can’t stop saying it all day long to the annoying birds who heckle my cats like it’s their motherfucking J-O-B).

Lessee, did anything exciting happen here…Chooch got an iced coffee from Cinnabun, I encouraged Henry to treat himself to a cuppa soft pretzel nuggets from his beloved Auntie Anne’s (their pretzels are super fucking doughgasmic so I can’t really hate on him too much about this) and I got a chocolate chip cookie from Lavazza which was my lunch, lol. Oh and some dumb preteen boy was yelling about the BTS McDonald’s meal which inspired a big GO FUCK YER MUM mood for me.

Back in the car, Henry liked to occasionally point things out, like, “My tooth hurts” (no one cares) and “There’s so-and-so’s Family Restaurant.”

Me: wouldn’t it be funny if we had a family restaurant?

Henry: how would it be a family restaurant, I’d be the only one working there.

YES THATS WHY IT WOULD BE FUNNY.

We arrived at Six Flags around 12:30 and….wow. Um. Wow, just wow. I did not have high expectations for this place but it was even worse than I expected, lol. But we had already discussed the possibility of just going there to get our passes, checking it out, and then leaving if it was weak since it wasn’t technically a waste of money (see above where I shouted: FINE WE CAN GO BUT IF IT’S LAME WE’RE LEAVING.)

Yeah, we lasted about two hours and in those two hours, we only rode two rides. The park wasn’t crowded AT ALL but every coaster was running only one train, and even though most parks have relaxed their covid restrictions by now, this place was still sending socially-distanced trains on every coaster and not letting anyone in the station except for the people waiting to board the next ride. So the queues were wack and the only coaster we really wanted to ride (Ride of Steel) was a 90 minute wait with one train running, and that was only when it wasn’t breaking down, lol. Great ops, Darien Lake!

We waited about 35 minutes to ride Predator. It wasn’t great but also not the worst woodie I’ve ever been on, but Henry and Chooch basically think it should be set aflame.

Honestly, I barely even bothered to take many pictures and I sure as shit didn’t care about editing the ones I did take. So enjoy Hatless Henry (one of my least favorite Henrys), a lamp post, Swings, and a wooden coaster that desperately needs the RMC-treatment.

He always has to stop to tie his shoes. Also, he complained about needing a belt all day but the last time I told him he needed a belt, he bitched about how he doesn’t like wearing belts, so I’m going back on Parental Hiatus. Wear suspenders for all I care.

The wait for this ride was over an hour and I was like, “Look I am not waiting an hour to ride this” and Chooch was like “preach” so we got in line for one of the other few coasters that was actually running: Motocoaster. It’s basically a baby-launch coaster on a wildmouse-esque track that looked like it was dropped off by a traveling carnival that was passing through. The line seemed pretty reasonable to me but the amount of people who came over, peeped the line, then said, “Aw hell nah” was concerning. I guess this ride usually is a walk-on? The dad in front of us was complaining to his kid that this “was going to be like, a 20 minute wait!” and finally coerced his kid to agree to get out of line. Then, 10 minutes after we got in line, the fucking ride broke down! So there was a mass exodus of people leaving the line, and Chooch was like, “This is dumb let’s go” but I HAD A FEELING so I convinced him to stick it out. Meanwhile, there were these two park regulars behind the family behind us, and one of the guys said, “Look, this happens a lot. They’ll send a guy out, he’ll look underneath it, hit the reset button, send a test car, then it’ll be fine.”

SOOTHSAYER, HE WAS! It was just like in Rollercoaster Tycoon where the maintenance man is dropped down from the sky, fiddles some wrenches, and then voila, ride is back in action. It actually saved us a bunch of time since so many people got out of line! And we got front row!

I made the universal “TAKE PICTURES OF US” sign with my hands before we got on, which Henry dreads. Chooch said this ride was NOT FUN AT ALL yet the SMILE ON HIS FACE in every picture says OTHERWISE.

Look at my meaty thigh lol.

Anyway, we had enough after this and started to make our way back to the entrance. I knew this was one of the smaller Six Flags, but I had no idea it was THIS SMALL. Kennywood feels bigger! Is it? I don’t feel like researching. Look it up and tell me.

Before we left, I got a magnet from the really shitty selection at their lame-ass gift shop (there was a very sweet old lady working there though) and then I made Henry  take pictures of Chooch and me by this fountain which was basically the only pleasant area.

(Darien Lake’s mask rule is that vaccinated people can go mask-free but since Chooch still has one more shot to go – tonight, actually! – I kept mine on my person out of solidarity.)

It took Henry 7348278357034679-3567 attempts to take a picture of me looking even semi-human and finally I just gave up because I’m not getting plastic surgery so I just need to finally, after 41 years, accept my turtle-ish visage.

Surprisingly, none of us were really in a bad mood. I think because the bar was already set so low and we got what we came for – the passes – which we will use later this year at Six Flags Great Adventure, and also the ones in Maryland and hopefully Atlanta because even though that one is also supposed to a shit-show, they have an RMC and I NEED TO STUFF MY ASS INTO IT LIKE IT’S MY NEW FETISH.

May 252021
 

The weekend we went to Hershey, we patronized FOUR Sheetz. Three of them were on Sunday alone, and the first was TERRIBLE. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I am Team Sheetz all the way (Wawa can sit on a dick) but our experience at the one in Elysburg that morning was an exercise in blood-boiling.

FIRST, when we arrived there was a sign on the door that said the KITCHEN WAS CLOSED. I stormed back to the car and Henry, who hadn’t even made it out of the car yet because he is an Elder, asked what the matter was. I told him as we all got back in the car and drove away.

“But, did you even go inside and check? Maybe the sign was old…” Henry started to say because WHY DOES HE DO THIS WHY CAN’T HE TRUST THE INFO I AM PROVIDING. We went across the street to a Subway but I DID NOT ACTUALLY WANT A SUBWAY BREAKFAST SANDWICH BECAUSE I WANTED SHEETZ so we left that place too and Henry was flipping through his mental Rolodex of WAYS TO DISPOSE OF A BODY.

“I have to get gas so I’m going back to Sheetz,” he muttered, so at that point, I was resigned to just go inside and get a protein bar and a fucking banana (SOMETIMES GAS STATION FRUIT IS OK) but when I walked in, I saw people ordering at the touch screen stations so I guess the kitchen was open after all HAHAHAHAHAHAugh.

Even though the CDC relaxed the mask mandate earlier that week, most businesses—including Sheetz—still required people to wear masks before entering. Welp, aside from the employees, we were essentially the only people there wearing masks. And, judging by the customers and the area we were in, I’m guessing we were also probably in the vaccinated minority. To make things even better, there were a group of kids who were probably somewhere between 19-22 standing near us while we were waiting for our orders. The ringleader, a lanky dork-ass motherfucker in a camo yarmulke, kept cutting past everyone to peer back into the kitchen in search of his food that he hadn’t even paid for yet. THEN he started rambling on to his friends about how the Democrats created Covid-19 just to get people to buy masks (WHAT—-WHY!??!?! HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT THEM??) and get vaccinated. I looked at Henry and growled, “I’M GOING TO GET A TABLE OUTSIDE.”

I kept chanting in my head, “I will not let this ruin my day” because hello, we were going straight to Knoebel’s after this and I just wanted to have a good day but now I was worried that all the idiotic rural people I encountered inside Sheetz were also going to Knoebel’s that day. Henry was supposed to say, “I doubt it” when I brought it up, but instead, he said, “OH YOU KNOW IT.” Sometimes I just really really really want him to give me the answer I want to hear, but he clearly did not ace the “Easing Your Fake Wife’s Worries” quiz in the back of one of his 1980s PORNO RAGS.

When Henry joined Chooch and me outside at a table in the back of Sheetz, he withdrew a small pouch of hashbrowns that he ordered along with whatever gross breakfast sandwich he got. While he was busy complaining about the fact that they completely doused the inside of his sandwich with Ketchup, which he did not ask for, Chooch and I eagerly stole a hashbrown round from the pouch.

ACTUAL PICTURE OF SHEETZ HASHBROWNS TAKEN FROM THE INTERNET

“AW COME ON!” Henry cried, but he should know damn well that anything he gets for himself that doesn’t have meat in it is fair game.  Chooch and I are like fucking boxcar kids on the run from the orphanage, the way we scavenge and pilfer food.

I mean, there were still two left, get a grip, Hank!

Henry went back inside to get more napkins to aid in his Operation: Ketchup Scrape. Chooch grabbed another hashbrown and I was like I WANT ANOTHER ONE TOO but noticed that there was only one left. “Were there only four?” I pouted, figuring that we should at least leave ONE for Henry. Chooch groaned guiltily and split the third one in half so we could share. Then Henry came back and focused for a bit on sopping up the pools of Ketchup from his sandwich innards while explaining to us for the fifth time that no, he did not ask for Ketchup on his sandwich, he asked for Ketchup for the hashbrowns.

And speaking of the hashbrowns, he jammed his big meat paw into the grease-laden pouch only to withdraw what appeared to be a crumb. And for the 87th time that morning, he cried, “AW COME ON!”

Immediately, Chooch lurched across the table to follow the path of his jutting, accusatory finger. “MOM ATE THEM ALL!” he screamed.

“No, I didn’t!! I had one, plus the half that you gave me!” I fired back.

“Yeah, and then you had the last one, too. I watched you!” He was now hiccuping through GUILT-GIGGLES. Readers, let me explain something to you that I know all too well because he gets this TELL from me: my son cannot lie without laughing. It’s physically impossible for him.

Now I’m fucking pissed. I hate being accused of things, even the pettiest of things like EATING ALL OF THE HASHBROWNS. So you’ll understand why I, at this point in the story, shrieked, “Stop accusing me of eating it, you little pigbitch asshole!”

Henry tried to interject that he only got a quarter of one hashbrown round and I verbally bitch-slapped him with a, “STFU NO ONE CARES THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU” and went back to The Real World-levels of bickering with Chooch while Henry quietly murmured, “But they were my hashbrowns.”

I DID NOT EAT ALL OF THEM. Now, I also can’t verify that Chooch did either because he’s 15 and Mommy doesn’t have to “keep an eye” on him constantly, and knowing me, I was probably cruising Instagram while he was over there mouth-fucking Henry’s hashbrowns.

I started pounding the heels of my palms on the table to accentuate each syllable of my passionate declaration that I DID EAT THE LAST FUCKING HASHBROWN.

“I had one, Chooch had one – THAT IS TWO. Then Chooch and I split the THIRD ONE. There should be ONE LEFT,” I screamed in my throaty Angry Satan voice.

“Well, there isn’t,” Henry said, all deflated. First the Ketchup and now this.

“WELL THEN CHOOCH ATE IT,” I screamed at the same time my lying son word-vommed, “YEAH BECAUSE MOM ATE IT!”

I was so angry that I had tears in my eyes which almost matched Chooch’s except that his were borne from LYING-LAUGHS.

Meanwhile, Henry refused to say who he believed and this was infuriating me even more and if the fucking table hadn’t been bolted to the sidewalk, I would have flipped it.

Henry gestured up to the security camera pointed at us. “I can go inside and ask to see the security footage,” he said and I was like “YES DO THAT!!!! THEN YOU WILL SEE THAT IT WAS CHOOCH!” and Chooch was laughing even harder now and almost puking and if you think I wouldn’t sift through his stomach contents to try and reconstruct TWO AND A HALF HASHBROWN ROUNDS, well, you’re probably right.

This went on for a good 8 minutes and hoo boy, was I HOT.

You’re welcome, Sheetz patrons, for the Sunday morning show.

We went to a second Sheetz on our way home from Knoebel’s and Chooch was whining because they didn’t cut his pizza so Henry told him to just go back in and ask them to cut it but this was too much for Chooch to handle so Henry wrenched the pizza box from Chooch’s hands in the backseat and, on his way inside to do Chooch’s dirty work for him, announced to the whole parking l to that he lives with idiots.

May 152021
 

Greetings from the car ride home from Elysburg, PA! This weekend was one of many Firsts Since Pre-Pandemic Days, such as: FIRST AMUSEMENT PARK(S)!! But we’ll get that in a later blog post.

The other firsts: EATING INSIDE A RESTAURANT. I realize that both of these things were technically possible before but none of us felt comfortable pushing our luck with no vaccine and soaring numbers.

Things are finally starting to seem like they’re getting better (hopefully??) so we’re making our entrance back into society I guess.

This whole weekend was set in motion several mths ago when one of my oldest Internet friends (as in – we met in the late 90s on Darkchat!) Eresbet sent me an IG message and asked me if I wanted some of these awesome antique carnival toys that her mom collected. Of course I said yes because that’s my aesthetic but mostly because it was an opportunity to finally meet her! It’s crazy because I remember we had even talked on the phone occasionally back in the day, as in: the days when I wasn’t scared of talking on the phone!

We met her at the Soda Jerk diner after leaving Hershey Park yesterday and I was so nervous because hello, I haven’t had to be social in a long time and even before that, my social muscle does not flex very often.

But I feel like it went swimmingly!! She brought her daughter Lana with her and we got to sit in a big round booth which I love and the waitress was so nice (I missed waitresses!!!) and I got to chug diner coffee and eat my veggie panini as soon as it was brought to me instead of driving around and looking for a place to sit outside and eat, and I got a stomachache from a delicious chocolate milkshake and the conversation was easy and comfortable! I am typically the living embodiment of the sweating emoji in these circumstances but this time I felt like the sunglasses face.

Why do the people I get along so well with aways have to not live in Pittsburgh??

Chooch accused me of saying “yeah I’ll meet you but you have to bring me toys.” Also, he claimed the carousel.

Then we drove for a bit to accomplish another First since the pandemic happened: CHECKING INTO A HOTEL!

Henry came out to the car after checking in and gave us the room key and presumably directions to the elevator and we were like Yeah Yeah Ok Mmm and walked away from him. Inside the lobby, we assumed that we had to walk down the hallway because we didn’t see the elevator anywhere.

“Oh this door must be for the stairwell,” I said when we reached the end and still had yet to uncover this mystical elevator. But when I pushed it open, it just went out into the back parking lot.

As we Tweedled our way back toward the lobby, we saw the elevator just as Henry oafed his way through the doors with all the bags.

“What are you two idiots doing?” he asked suspiciously.

“We couldn’t find the elevator,” I said.

“I told you where it was!” Henry cried, and now we had the attention of the ladies at the desk.

“Oh, I stopped listening before that,” I shrugged.

“We didn’t know where they were going or we would have helped!” the one lady said.

“I told them to come inside and turn left,” Henry sighed.

“No left turn was made,” the one solemnly lady said and I am still internally cracking up over this. NO LEFT TURN WAS MADE.

Meanwhile, Days Inn is in the process of remodeling this property and im not sure if anything is going to be added but our room had a gigantic area of open space, it was really crazy. For our first hotel since December 2019, I have no complaints! It was clean & comfortable and the way that lady at the front desk so seamlessly inserted herself into one of our signature family squabbles made it way more memorable.

Apr 292021
 

Wow wow wow wow the first “big time activity” we’ve done in over a year! And we chose YOU, Columbus Zoo! Congrats! Henry and I at the time of this both had the first Pfizer shot (now we have both!!) and I know, I know, you’re not “fully” Covid-immune until two weeks after the second shot, but I still felt better about going here than I would have with no doses.

Man, let me tell you though – the social distancing was NOT happening up in this bitch. Thank god most of it was outdoors or I would have legit flipped out. I will say that mask-wearing seemed like it was definitely being enforced, and in some of the indoor exhibits, there was zoo staff on hand reminding (sometimes in vain) everyone to stay 6 feet apart.

I took advantage of pretty much every sanitation station we walked by, much to the chagrin of my Target-wounded hand.

OWIE.

Chooch is a big animal lover and we thought a little day trip to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio would be a nice way to celebrate his birthday: a little bit of travel-lite, some cute animal peepin’, A SMIDGE OF FAMILY TOGETHERNESS. What 15-year-old doesn’t crave more time with MOMMY AND DADDY. Lol. To be fair, Chooch is only mildly ambivalent when we’re all out together in public. I have no basis of comparison because by the time I was 15, I don’t think I was EVER out in public with my whole family.

It looks un-crowded in these pictures but don’t get it twisted. I have no idea what the point was in buying tickets in advance and reserving a time because the ticket booth was open and while it wasn’t PACKED, it definitely was crowded. Well, at least in the beginning of the day. But the crowds seemed to disperse by the afternoon and we were able to enjoy ourselves a bit more (when we were in the reptile house, it was pretty bad and people were NOT following instructions and while there was a CLEAR LINE that most people were standing in, there were still Those Dumb Fucks completely oblivious to what the rest of us were doing who just strolled on past and wedged themselves in between people.

Also, WOW it was White Trashville there on that Sunday. I think I mentioned it in my liveblog that day but it was like every other mom had just been released from prison. Pretty rough broads swarming the zoo paths. Luckily, we didn’t have any super seriously bad run-ins with any of them but there was this one particular family that definitely had us side-eyeing each other and picking up the pace. I also saw a guy spit his chew over a fence into an exhibit while holding his baby, so that was AN IMAGE.

But mostly, I was content with taking in the beauty of the zoo because it was NICE AS FUCK. Way better than the Pittsburgh Zoo!!

They had a carousel! Of course it was an upcharge but we had to do it.

This was actually an annoying experience because some jack ass kid kept SHRIEKING in line and I have to listen to children SHRIEKING all the livelong day next door to us so I was not pleased.

“KIDS FUCKING RUIN EVERYTHING,” I cried to Henry, who would generally take this moment to don his bascinet and kick his steed before saying, “OH KIDS ARE NOT THAT BAD” but instead, he surprised me by agreeing.

“I know. The zoo should have Adult Day.”

WHOA.

It was Henry’s job to take a carouselfie but he took like 87 horrible ones.

This is literally the best one. That’s what happens when you give someone who doesn’t use an iPhone the task of taking a carouselfie. It literally looks like he used my old Blackberry from 2008 to take this.

The theming of this zoo is off the…chain? Do we still say that? They even have a small amusement park section which doesn’t open until May and it was really torturous to be able to see A WOODEN COASTER THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO RIDE AND NOT ONLY THAT BUT THEY WERE TESTING IT TOO! SO WE HAD TO SEE IT RUNNING!!! Ughhh. So close to that coaster cred…

Oh shit, Chooch and I did something really nice at one point. Well, I did. So, we decided that we weren’t going to eat lunch there because we wanted to get take out from a nearby vegan place afterward, but we needed a snack. Henry was in line to get us soft pretzels, so Chooch and I found a table out of the way and plopped our asses down. Meanwhile! A group of 4 people with BLESSEDLY NO CHILDREN sat down on a nearby bench with food from a Mexican food truck. They had huge burritos and other shit in containers that required them to hunch over and eat from their laps so I murmured to Chooch, “Oh I feel bad, they’re trying to eat actual food on that bench while we’re hogging this table, we should give them our table” and of course Chooch was engrossed in his dumb group chat probably NOT telling them about how he was spending the day with his super chill ‘rents.

So he was like WHAT IS HAPPENING when I got up and approached the bench-group, and offered up our table to them.

“I mean, you need it more than us – we’re just waiting for pretzels!” I laughed and they were like OMG THAT IS SO NICE WE APPRECIATE IT THANK YOU and I felt so smug in my good-deediness and absolutely could NOT WAIT for Henry to come back with the pretzels so I could tell him but when I started to tell him, he interrupted me and said, “Yeah I saw.”

UGH.

LITTLE RED FLYING FOX BATS!

Oh man, I love bats.

And this weird bird thing in the Australia section!

Every time I wanted to take a picture of Chooch on one of these animal statues, there were ALWAYS DUMB CHILDREN SWARMING AROUND. Seriously. Kids ruin everything. Oh! There was one nice kid that I had an interaction with in one of the first exhibits because I couldn’t find what I was supposed to be looking for and she pointed it out for me (it was some kind of rat and it was cute so I was like THANK YOU FOR SHOWING ME, I COULD NOT SEE IT and then I had to go cleanse myself of the INNOCENSE by walking through hellfire.

A ladybug, just passing through.

Oh! I want to give a shout out to the Columbus Zoo for the super organized and socially-distanced set-up of the stingray exhibit, where each group got their own mat to stand on and the line moved super expeditiously and it was just an all-around non-stressful and pleasant experience unlike the reptile house which I considered ducking through an emergency exit to escape the COVID-ignorant crowds.

Just us and the Hanna Fam.

Overall, I would have enjoyed this zoo so much more in non-pandemic times I’m sure, but it was still a really great day and my criteria for that is pretty simple: did all three of us get along? Yes, yes, we actually did. Therefore, it was a great day.

I want to go back and ride that fucking coaster though!!!

Apr 252021
 

Chooch is fifteen today!! It’s still difficult to really do anything big and fun for him during this but we looked into some safe options and decided to combine two things he loves: zoos and road trips. The Columbus Zoo has a good Covid policy so we reserved a time and are currently en route to Ohio which I never thought I’d be excited about but apparently spending a year at home lowers the bar, bigly.

So now it’s 7:19am and I guess I will be trying to LiveBlog. We just rolled up to Dunkin Donuts and I am psychically pantomiming the action of sipping my coffee please get it in my hand ASAP omg.

7:31am: Henry and I just had an argument over car inspections because he is sooooo lazy and weird about it – like, he will let it lapse until it spirals to a point where it’s beyond acceptable and then just throws the towel in and refuses to deal with it. So I said he must not have been born with the gene that all the other men have where they pump their arms and march out to the car grunting about GOING TO GET THE CAR INSPECTED, GET TO BE A MAN TODAY, LOOK AT ME FLEXXIN’ MY MANHOOD and Henry said no man is like this, no man gets excited to take their car to a place for another man to tell them how much $$$ it will cost and I said “yes they do because then they get to say LISTEN HERE and argue about the cost and then end up trying to fix it themselves.”

Duh.

Speaking of cars I forgot our new car has seat warmers! Just turned my own since working from home with a sore back has made me reliant on the feel of a heating pad under me.

8:22am: “I miss road trips!”

8:32am: a truck just let us pass and I was going to wave but I LOST MY NERVE because it’s been so long that I’ve waved to truckers that I have to rebuild my trucker confidence.

8:59am: Stopped at SHEETZ in Zanesville Ohio where apparently no one got the mask memo. Literally got LOOKS from everyone inside that wasn’t an employee. But, here’s my first SHEETZ road trip selfie in forever!

9:56am: I just looked over and caught Henry dancing to Chungha’s bicycle and excuse me while I die from secondhand embarrassment.

10:46 guys something happened. We are near the zoo but had an hour to kill before our appointment so we stopped at a nearby Target because I had to pee and crybaby Chooch wanted a blankie for the car wah wah wah. Anyway, there was a sign outside the bathroom door that demonstrated using your elbow to open the door so I did that except that I didn’t follow directions correctly and shoved my whole arm in the handle not knowing that there was a little pole jutting down that was what I was actually supposed to hook my arm around but now it was too late, my arm was shoved in the door handle and I was in the process of opening it but I had to follow it back with my body because it was bending my arm and I ended up pinned against the wall trying to extract my arm and then I CUT MY HAND in the process.

The worst part was that this took place ENTERING the bathroom so I was still in plain view of everyone in that part of the store.

Anyway now I have a “bravery badge” and Henry is so annoyed bc we have a first aid kit in the car but I wanted to choose my own bandaids.

11:48 oh shit we’re at the zoo and I forgot to tell you lol.

Henry: I’ve never seen a koala in real life before

Me: I HAVE. IN AUSTRALIA.

Henry&Chooch: 🙄🙄🙄🙄

3:25. Still in this hellscape.

Chooch: I’ve ridden a camel before havent I?

Me: I dunno but I have. In Morocco.

😆

3:52: henry just asked with trepidation why we were laughing.

Chooch: because that girl was crying because she was too tall for the playground.

Henry: OH! LISTEN TO YOU TWO! YOU’D BE THE FIRST TO CRY IF THAT HAPPENED TO U! AND U PROBABLY HAVE!

4:07: omg finally just got to the car and are about to leave finally wow what a fucking day. If I had to describe the majority of the people we saw I’d have to say that a lot of the moms looked like they recently got released from prison.

4:19: “I hope when I’m older, I have one of those daily boxes that say like M, T, W—”

“A pill box?” I interjected.

“Yeah, that!” Chooch said gleefully.

5:31pm: Eating our Eden Burger vegan dinner takeout at some place called GOODALE PARK and it is soooo satisfying. My vegan fish sandwich tastes so much like a McFilet but BETTER and that is the ONLY thing I miss from McDonald’s!

5:38: Henry just mused out loud, “what are those things hanging…” and chooch and I were like “why things” but he didn’t answer us so I said to Chooch “maybe he just discovered his balls” and then we both started laughing and Henry glared so I started laughing harder and Chooch switched sides and said, “stop it’s not that funny” and then I laughed even harder and almost peed my pants right as some guy asked us about how to pay to park and henry was like “[parking info]” which made me say, “thank god he asked a question and not like how do you get somewhere” and CHooch was like “yeah thank god he asked a question and not a question” but I meant to say “a question WE COULD ANSWER” but I only said it in my head and skipped over it when I was saying the whole thing out loud so then I started laughing again and I am still doing a throaty giggle much to Henry and Chooch’s chagrin and now you’re all caught up.

6:46pm: a Love’s appreciation segment.

  • The perfectly retro vibes of their branding. Never change that.
  • The fact that a robust farmer in overalls came out of the store WEARING A MASK – big ups to the Love’s clientele.
  • It has a “dog yard” where some man was playing guitar and singing to his dog and thank god Henry pointed this out THREE TIMES or we might have missed it.
  • Clean bathrooms!!

I want to subtract some points for the overly MURICA design of their merch (American flag straw cowboy hats anyone?) but the fact that I was able to pee without risking a STAPH INFECTION in my Target bathroom door wound makes me feel like being generous today.

7:38pm: A Conversation about pills:

Henry: where’s the ibuprofen

Me: I swear you guys just love saying that on purpose in front of me.

Henry: Well I don’t understand why you can’t just say it. Ibuprofen. It’s not hard.

Me: It is though! It’s so awkward to say! Why would they even name it that and not just like, Pain Pill?

8:31pm: hello. We are going to be home in about 25 minutes so I am going to sign off here. It’s been a long time since I live blogged. Was it ok? Don’t answer that!!!

Sep 062020
 

I’ll try to make this short-n-sweet because who cares, but we made it to Erie and the rain miraculously held off the whole time we were there. This was great, but it also scared me a little bit because I worried it would make the fake beaches crowded. (They’re not really fake, but it’s not the actual ocean so it’s kind of like whatever and you know we must be pressed for action when I was like YAY WE’RE IN ERIE!!)

We had to drive past Waldameer Park to get to the entrance of Presque Isle and I was so sad—that’s the closest I’ve been to an amusement park since last year when we went to Silver Dollar City over Thanksgiving weekend. OH, THE PAIN, THE HEARTACHE. To really dump salt into the ol’ wound, you have to drive RIGHT UNDERNEATH Ravine Flyer II on the way into Presque Isle, and that is one of my favorite woodies.

Ode to COVID19:

You really fucking suck

But you sure make me

Appreciate the small things

 

Is that right? I can’t remember the haiku format and don’t feel like looking it up so instead I will spend the same amount of time typing out this sentence, also one time when I was doing Blogathon, I didn’t count my haiku syllables correctly and JANNA WAS A BAD EDITOR AND LET IT SLIDE and of course since it was LIVEJOURNAL, I got eaten alive. People on LJ were ruthless. That’s why back then I used to proofread my posts 8x before publishing whereas now, no one cares about my rookie grammar mistakes and bouts of brain-blackouts.

Oh shit, I can remember this one I accidentally used “don” instead of “dawn” and this one bitch was literally telling me how disappointed she was in me for confusing homonyms (homophones? SEE WHAT I MEAN??) and I’m pretty sure she actually threw a *cringe* in her comment. Whatever. She made really shitty art, so I guess we both suck.

Isn’t it funny how people’s nastiness sticks with you over the years? LIKE CHEWING GUM ON RIBS. Or whatever.

Presque Isle has a bunch of different areas for you to park and be outdoorsy. We went to whatever this place ^^^ was first, and stupid ass Henry forgot to put the memory card in the good camera so he had to stalk back to the car in a huff while I motherfucked him from afar and Chooch was like, “I just remembered that road trips suck” and then it started to rain, hahahahahahahaha.

Anyway, I took some pictures of Chooch with my phone while waiting for Henry to untuck his weener.

There was bird shit everywhere, but aside from that, this was a pretty cool area of Presque Isle.

I’m actually kind of jealous of Chooch’s shirt and I need to try it on at some point because if it fits me, we’re sharing.

Then I made Chooch take a picture of me jumping by this lighthouse thing so that “it looks like we’re having fun” but I guess we were kind of having fun, well, maybe not Henry.

Chooch was just like, “I hate doing this.” Basically, we were relearning a lot of things that day, lol.

Then we got  back in the car and drove some more, looking for a good section of the beach which, I mean, how do you know? You can’t see anything from the little parking lots. But we found one that didn’t have many cars and got really lucky when we converged upon the beach and saw that there was just one other family there, flying a kite (that antiquated activity really seems to have made a big comeback thanks to COVID), and they were really far away.

So I got to take photos of Chooch in peace, well, not really because taking photos of Chooch is like taking photos of a magpie surrounded by Shiny Things; that kid is so fucking easily distracted. I had to keep snapping my fingers to get his attention just kidding I can’t snap my fingers, I was just screaming, “FUCKING STOP MOVING AND DO A POSE THAT TAEMIN WOULD DO!!!”

All he wanted to do was build a “beach house” out of driftwood and trash, so that’s what I had to contend with.

Henry and I actually left him and walked down to another section of the beach because I was antsy from sitting in the car so long and just wanted to walk. We saw a couple taking selfies and I was like “we should do that too so I can post it on Instagram and make people think we still love each other” and Henry was like “ok but I actually do still love you, so” and I was like, “Stop yapping and hold the phone up high so I don’t look fat, thanks.”

Anyway, every picture was shit because the sun was making me squint and also because I’m just bad at posing for pictures anyway, but then I saw this one on my camera roll and deemed it a keeper because god only knows what we were laughing at but I’m sure there were death threats being thrown around too.

We walked back to were Chooch was and pulled him away from his Lake Erie construction site to take pictures of us and Henry was like, “HERE I WILL JUST SHIELD YOUR BODY” since I’m always like, “No I look fat, delete it” and then everyone involved is miserable and tired of hearing me say, “just one more.”

Anyway, here we are trying to look “normal.” Then I was like “Lake Erie is boring and I’m hungry, let’s go eat” and Chooch was like BUT MY HOUSE! Fuck your house, bitch. Mama’s ’bout to show you how the Big Bad Wolf gets shit done.

So we left Presque Isle and Erie has like no good vegan/veg places so we went to Sheetz and got our signature MTO (that’s MADE TO ORDERS for you people whose lives are devoid of the best gas station ever known as SHEETZ) delights, also mostly because we still choose not to dine inside restaurants. We never used to eat out much anyway, pre-pandemic, but we DEFINITELY enjoyed patronized little family restaurants anytime we were on a road trip, so that was kind of a bummer.

Actually, we just drove past this one local restaurant the other day called Frank & Shirleys and I got this really depressing feeling deep within my chest, not because I was a regular and sorely miss their food or anything, but I had a very visceral flashback to the feeling of sliding down into a vinyl diner booth and wow. Lots of emotions. Never would have imagined I would have missed that sensation so much!

Wow. Where was I? Oh yeah, we had a Sheetz feast in the car, nothing too noteworthy, and then on the way back home, we took a detour to Hank’s Frozen Custard, where Chooch and I went last year with Janna. I had their daily special – black cherry – with a scoop of vanilla. It was OK but not nearly as good as I remembered it to be? It was also strange to see the corrals that they made in the parking lot to accommodate social distancing during the busier hours, but luckily when we went, it was still early on a Friday afternoon and only two other cars of people were there.

“‘Just OK.”

It was also dripping everywhere because Henry made me give him a taste and as soon as he did so, it was like he opened a custard dam and that shit just started dripping down in goopy rivulets and I was actually screaming about in the middle of the parking lot while he and Chooch just stared at me, calmly licking their tidy fucking custard cones.

Fuckers.

One final noteworthy thing happened, and it surely wasn’t when I tagged along with Henry later that night when he went grocery shopping (his least favorite place to take me because I simultaneously make him spend $100 more than he anticipated while also whining about being bored within the first 5 minutes). I saw a sign for antiques and made Henry turn around (actually, I yelled, “OOH ANTIQUES” and then waited for him to drive another mile before flipping and saying, “WOW SO I GUESS YOU REALLY AREN’T GOING TO TURN AROUND AND GO TO THE ANTIQUES PLACE THEN, WOW, YOU’RE SO FUCKING COOL” (see also: when Henry can’t remember if I’m his longtime life partner or 16-year-old daughter WOW THAT WAS CREEPY YOU’RE WELCOME).

Henry: Do you want me to turn around?

Erin: OMFG YOU’RE A FUCKING STOOP! CLEARLY YOU DON’T WANT TO OR YOU WOULD DONE IT ALREADY ON YOUR OWN ACCORD!!!

Henry: *calmly turns around while daydreaming about how wonderful his stay in Heaven is going to be thanks to enduring years of my emotional abuse without stuffing me in trunk and pushing the car into a river*

I was actually looking for stuff from the 80s to get for the kitchen, maybe some coffee cups, etc., but what I ended up finding instead was this old Pachinko machine:

I kept ogling it and eventually even Henry got a little bit interested in it and then at one point we actually left and were about to get in the car when I started dragging my feet and saying things like, “I don’t know, I just feel like I’ll regret it if I don’t buy it. No never mind. Wait should I? No it’s fine let’s just go. TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!!” and that is how we ended up going to Erie and coming home with a vintage Pachinko machine that honestly I only bought for the history and art of it, but now Henry is like cruising through Pachinko forums, determined to get it back to working condition.

He probably will, too.

I mean, after he finishes painting Chooch’s room, connecting all the LED lights together under the kitchen cabinets (“it’s basic wiring,” he said when I asked him how he knows how to do this shit), gets the old Conair phone to light up, finishes the coffee table refurb, finishes the Seoul subway sign (that’s a running joke in our house at this point except no one laughs), and helps me with my dining room gallery wall. I’m sure I’m missing some stuff here. I heard him mumble earlier today about needing to fix the lawnmower but I haven’t approved that.

 

Sep 042020
 

OMG you guys, we’ve been so pressed for summer action around our clown house, that a 2-hour day trip to Erie was something that actually gave me the anticipation butterflies. I think that’s one of the only positive things to come out of this pandemic, is that it’s forcing us to appreciate the little things and just be grateful that we’re able to do anything at this point. 

But for real though, I woke up early Friday morning and was READY TO GO. Henry actually took the day off (SIKE! He still went in super early and came home around 7:30am, because he’s a fucking simp* for Faygo.) so we could have family fun time.

*(Chooch taught me this word and I always use it wrong.)

We started fighting almost immediately in the car so it was really like the Olden Times (i.e. 2019)! I forgot how annoying road trips are but also OMG I missed road trips! We fought over where to get our crappy road breakfast and eventually settled on Dunkin Donuts because they have Beyond sausage. Nothing more to really say about that. 

Halfway to Erie, it started POURING. Like, typhoon-style. I got really upset about this because it was beautiful (mostly) ALL WEEK but that dumb dick Henry was hemming and hawing about taking time off work and finally settled on Friday when there were no other days even left at that point, and also this is the second time  this week that I actually typed the phrase hemming and hawing so I think I am officially not a kid anymore, Toto. 

Speaking of Toto, we listened to yacht rock for a bit and that lovely Paul Davis tune, “Cool Night,” came on and I got so warm-feeling. I’ve always loved that song so much! Good ol’ Paul, he just wants to hold you by the firelight, and if it don’t feel right? You can go! No rapey vibes here!

(BENNY MARDONES COULD HAVE LEARNED A THING OR TWO FROM PAUL. )

(Quickly googles Paul Davis to make sure he didn’t lead a secretly despicable life.)

(OK, he seems to check out, dot dot dot question mark. But I admittedly left my Sleuthing Cap at the office, so I might not have really poured much energy into it. Also, his other big hit “I Go Crazy” always makes me want to die, FYI.)

Anyway! We decided that we’d make a pitstop to this place in Titusburg where there’s a lot of fish (it’s on Roadside America as “Where the Fish Walk On the Water” or something because it’s a feeding spot and they’re fatties waiting for those bread crumbs). We were in rural Pennsylvania by this point and I am sad to report that there are many corn fields supporting Trump 2020. I briefly considered canceling corn and Henry was like, “Yes please stop eating corn!” because he always has to scrape the kernels off the cob for me and he hates doing it like it’s suddenly a fucking chore to serve me?? 

While we were toiling around the backroads, looking out for Malachi and Isaac, I had switched the music back to Kpop because my heart was starting to ache without it. I can only go for so long without hearing the Korean language, OK? I put on this one Spotify playlist that I like, that features all the newer songs, and I somehow completely slept on the fact that Wonho (ex-Monsta X) recently came out with solo music and his first single is FU-HAHAHAHA-CKING BEAUTIFUL. Like, tears-spontaneously-springing-forth amazing. 

“I wish someone felt this way about me,” I said wistfully to Henry. 

“Me, too,” he mumbled.

OK, but please listen to this beautiful, heartbreaking song. I haven’t shovel-fed you guys Kpop as much as I normally do, so one video won’t kill you!! (And it’s in English.)

Then we got to the fish place but the fish weren’t at the surface because no one was there feeding them. 

But the seagulls were out and on high alert. 

It was just us and a van full of several disabled Amish people? Mennonites? I always get them mixed up, but I feel like one time we were at a nearby amusement park and there were Mennonites there on a field trip, so I guess that’s what was happening here too. I needed to pee super bad and there was a small group of them congregating over by the restrooms. They watched as I attempted to rip open a locked bathroom door, and one of them spoke to me!!!!! She said, in her German-y accent, “This one is not locked” and gestured to the one she was standing near with someone in a wheelchair. 

I was so excited!

Anyway, the bathroom was a real, well, dump as you can imagine for a public fish-feeding place. Pandemic or not pandemic, I washed my hands so hard that they were practically pure enough to fondle a Mennonite’s bible. Then I spotted some hand sanitizer near the soap and figured I’d go the extra mile because I might not very sane but at least I can be sanitary. 

Except that after I left the bathroom, I noticed that the sanitizer was not drying into my skin as I wrung my hands, but it was LATHERING. Apparently, I had been rubbing regular hand soap into myself and now I couldn’t go back and rinse it off because the MENNONITE HAD GONE INSIDE WITH THE PERSON IN THE WHEELCHAIR. I mean, I had bubbles floating off my phalanges at this point, and Henry was like, “You look stupid,” and then, “Now you look even more stupid” when I resorted to shaking rain water off of a tree and onto my foaming fists. 

Eventually, the bathroom became vacant again and Chooch also had to wash his hands so we went in together and got to have Mother-Son Bonding Time while dry-heaving at the stench the Mennonites left behind. It was pretty bad. Henry went in after us and didn’t mind it though. His big man-man olfactory system is strong & can withstand even the toughest turd fumes with no complaints. 

I’m going to stop here, because I’m listening to a fun audiobook and I want to go back to that! Check back for part 2 which will basically just be a photo dump from the fake beach at Lake Erie. Thrilling!

 

Jun 252020
 

I was just sitting here wistfully perusing the Roadside America website, wondering if things will ever be OK so that I can lasso Henry into driving hours out of the way to see the world’s largest cuckoo clock or some gigantic Mary statue in rural Ohio. My birthday is a little over a month away and I am desperate to find some safe and sterile road trip that we can go, where all of our meals are take out and we do nature things instead of amusement parks and museums.

Or ghost walks :(

SPEAKING OF, when we were in Williamsburg a few years ago, I conned Henry and Chooch into doing JUST THAT and it was kind of dumb but also fun enough that I still think about it from time to time and also, I hated one of the people on the tour so much that I have a framed picture of her on my bedroom wall*

Anyway, please enjoy. Be safe. Wear your masks so that this will go away and I can go and do stuff again, lol.

Love,
A Megalomaniac Leo

***************

July 2015

One of the things I really wanted to do while in Williamsburg was go on a ghost tour. I mean, you can only watch Colonial actors perform Colonial acts so many times, if at all. You know? (Actually, aside from walking down the main street in the sweltering heat, looking for ginger cakes, we opted out of the Colonial exhibits. As I mentioned previously, we were given tickets for that shit from our resort, but we exchanged them for Busch Gardens tickets instead, because we ain’t be needin’ no history on this vacashun.)

When I told Henry about the ghost tour, he was like, “……”

And then when I was like, “Well, we’re doing it,” he was like, “………………………………”

And then when I was like, “I paid $4 extra a person for the EXTREME version,” he was like, “Oh for fuck’s sake, Erin.”

We left a little bit early so that we could go to this peanut shop we saw the day before, because Henry and I are what you might call “peanut connoisseurs,” in that we often like to partake in the mastication of groundnuts. For example, right now I’m at work, eating a small cupful of peanuts that I cribbed from another part of the department. (Yes, I’m still a snack stealer.)

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Chooch wasn’t feeling it.

Then we visited some some large tourist trap of a shop full of moccasins, souvenirs, and bacon-flavored everything. Basically, an “outpost” stuffed with shit no one really needs. They put a fluorescent vintage VW minivan thing out from and a giant bear to sit on in order to lure people in. It works.

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Chooch desperately wanted a pen that looked like a rifle, and of course it was basically glowing in neon letters WILLIAMSBURG! CIVIL WAR! HISTORY! MORE THAN JUST A PEN! It was only $5 or something but Tight Wad Hank was like, “NO” which made Chooch sad, and I have to hand it that kid: he wasn’t being too spoiled so far. Sure, he was asking for everything, but 99% of the time, once we said, he moved on.

Except with this pen. He like, needed this pen. His heart was aching for it. So I gave him money to buy it and then told Henry to go fuck himself, basically. Henry just batted at the air with his blue-collared hand and walked away, leaving me to stand in line at the checkout with Chooch, who was getting really tired of thanking every old woman who stopped to tell him they liked his hair. THEN DYE IT BACK ALREADY!

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We came outside just in time to catch the tail end of Henry taking a picture for two broads who were also drawn off the road by the prospect of sitting on some fake bear’s crotch.

“Hyuk, hyuk, you’re welcome!” Henry was saying after he handed the phone back to them. Of course, Chooch saw right through this ruse and knew immediately that Henry probably had programmed his number into the phone and is by now deep in the throes of an affair. And that’s fine, because Henry’s not my type, anyway.

(Please see: must wear fitted flannels and beanies, be known to attend a Thrice or Circa Survive show BY CHOICE, neck/hand tattoos, preferably in a band.)

I bought our idiot tickets online rather than going to the “general store,” wherever the fuck that is, so once we got back down to Colonial Williamsburg, we walked straight to Bruton Parish, which is where the website said we should all plan on meeting. Since we were already there once that day, I felt less like a tourist since I knew right where to go. (It also helped that it was on the main drag.) Gradually, more and more people started popping up and I was getting angry. How were we going to get the full experience with so many motherfuckers who had the same idiotic idea as us (me)?!

A family of four plopped their asses down near us and naturally, the mom started moving her lips in the shape of small talk; why. Why why why why. Go talk  to your own family!  Henry of course was standing further away with his face firmly planted in his phone, so no one bothered him. This broad was even talking to people who were just passing by. Like, lay off lady!

“What makes this ‘extreme’?” Henry eventually broke down and asked.

“I don’t know, it just says it starts at 9:00* and there’s equipment involved,” I verbally shrugged.

*(Good old 9:00PM. SOME SAY it was the runner-up for the Witching Hour.)

Sometime after 9, some broad from the ghost tour office arrived and started collecting tickets and, thank god, dividing the now-sizeable crowd between several guides. Each group ended up having about 15 or so people in it, and we were separated from the Talker, so I was pleased. Except that in exchange, we got a family of 5 that included A BABY IN A STROLLER.

WHO BRINGS OUT THEIR BABY DURING THE (RUNNER-UP FOR THE) WITCHING HOUR?

We got paired with some hyperactive older woman who Chooch pointed out later reminded him of Ellen, and when Henry had the audacity to ask, “Ellen who?” Chooch shouted in disgust, “SERIOUSLY?! Oh my god” because there is only one Ellen in the world and that is the Degeneres one.

I actually don’t think I ever caught the guide’s name, so we’ll just call her Ellen. Thanks, Chooch.

Ellen was mildly humorous (some of the less intelligent people in our group thought she was a fucking riot, though) and asked us to keep an eye out for horse shit on her behalf since she was backpeddling while telling us historical ghost stories. She encouraged us to take pictures with the flash on. Have you ever taken a picture at night with a cell phone? Well, if you haven’t, get stoked, because you’re about to put your eyes on a shit ton of iPhone night photos, and they are real lookers.

Henry, annoyed before it even started because GHOSTS AREN’T REAL, spent nearly the whole tour trailing behind the group, reading the same status updates over and over on his phone (he only has like, 70 Facebook friends) and probably reading things about the Republican Party and pinning mason jar DIYs on Pinterest. This is what he looked like:

I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this is some kind of paranormal activity that my advanced phone camera picked up.

Turns out that the “equipment” included on the EXTREME tour was one (1) EMF meter. (I had to google that.) Ellen gave it to the vocal non-believer of the group, this broad named Donna, who was there with her husband and two bitch-daughters who were wearing t-shirts that said “Got Ghosts? Williamsburg does.” Chooch hated them right off the bat, and I quickly realized that it was because the one was a huge dickhead whiner just like him.

“I NEED SOMETHING TO DRINK,” she spat at her father through gritted teeth pretty early on into the tour. “I AM LIKE DYING OF THIRST.” God, that sounded familiar. I could almost hear that coming out of her mouth in Chooch’s bitch-voice.

And mine.

Quickly, Father! Run to the nearest haunted Williamsburg well and quench your dumb daughters thirst!

Anyway, DONNA got to hold the EMF meter first and surprise, surprise, she was picking all of the activity! Ellen was delighted. The non-believer was attracting all of the ghosts! Oh ho ho, isn’t that always the way it works? All hail, Donna! She encouraged everyone to bombard Donna with photos because this would be a great time to capture orbs. Of course, Donna’s husband took a photo that basically made it look like Donna was a magnet for paranormal activity. Ghosts were coming down from Salem, for Christ’s sake! DONNA THE NON-BELIEVER’S HERE, GUYS! LET’S APPARATE!

Everyone crowded around to see the poster for Paranormal Activity 6: Douchebag in Williamsburg on her husband’s phone. It was early into the tour so I was kind of interested in what was going on, I wasn’t full-on pouting yet, but I couldn’t get close enough to see what had everyone so excited.

I don’t know what this was supposed to be. Tree. Fence.

Ellen told us a handful of, truthfully, very interesting stories, which had us all gathered around like this:

There was this one broad there with her friends, they were probably in their early 20s, and she was fucking scared out of her mind. I mean, nothing was happening. There were no chainsaws. No scare tactics being employed. And with all the taverns in Colonial Williamsburg, we were far from being the only idiots out there that night.

Henry, closing his eyes to better enjoy Ellen’s stories.

Chooch and I agreed that the best story was about the Ludwell-Paradise House. Lucy Ludwell was the daughter of a prominent family, but her ginger cake was missing some very important ingredients, if you know what I mean.

Let me rephrase that for my non-Colonial friends: she was batshit, guys. I was reading about her on some historical Williamsburg website after the fact, and she is adorably referred to as an “eccentric.” This made me laugh, because I have been called that a lot in my life.

She would get all up in ladies’ grills and tell them that she liked their dresses. And then when they would nervously say thanks, she would ask for the dress! Of course, they’d be like, “The fuck?” and quickly retreat. So she would follow them back to their houses and stand out front, watching through the windows, until she saw that the dress in question was now hanging up outside on the clothesline, and she would promptly go into their yard and take it! Oh, Lucy. Nothing is more charming than a rich person stealing from her neighbors.

Of course, her parents would pay people off to save face. And in order to make people like her, Lucy would invite people to her house and promise them carriage rides, because she had this beautiful carriage that she brought from England. But Lucy’s definition of a carriage ride was to have the help pull the carriage back and forth on her back porch.

Eventually, once her parents were dead and no one was left to protect her, she was thrown in the mental institution, which is now the art museum.

Lucy sounds like she fucking fabulous and the whole time Ellen was regaling us with her story, I felt an electric kinship, like she was watching me through a window of her old house, psychically implanting  me with her lunatic chip. #lifegoals

A tree. Fence.


This was the prison, where Donna was attracting so many motherfucking ghosts it was about time to call in an exorcist, for Christ’s sake. Chooch and I exchanged annoyed eyerolls and silently agreed that Donna was a fuckerbitch.

Chooch’s review: “It wasn’t scary at all and eff Donna.”

The highlight of the tour for me was when DONNA LOST HER PHONE OMG! HER PHONE THAT WAS CAPTURING ALL OF THE GHOSTS IN THE HISTORY OF GHOSTS BEING A THING!

“How the hell did she ‘lose her phone’ when it’s never not in her hand?” Henry grumbled. So we had to linger in front of some house that apparently wasn’t haunted at all but it sure as fuck was scary, while Donna and her husband walked back toward the prison to look for it. Mu theory is that she just needed some extra time to orb-ify more photos with whatever ghost hoax app she was using. Get fucked, Donna.

OMG don’t worry though! Donna found her fucking phone.

FINALLY! MY RUDIMENTARY IPHONE LENS FAKED AN ORB! I was so stoked because I did just as Ellen said and took a series of photos in a row and just like that, one of them produced an orb.

“SHOW HER!” Chooch cried, trying to pry my phone from my hands.

“No!” I hissed. “I don’t want these a-holes passing my phone around!” I mean, what if I got a sext during that time? Talk about a ghost hunt foul.

I just asked Henry for a review and he laughed without mirth, shook his head, and said, “No.” I think he’s still trying to not think about all of the peanuts he could have bought with the money I flushed into this ghost event. My favorite thing to do during the tour was whip my head around and make “OMG!!!!” faces of disbelief at Henry as Ellen told us story after story. He was so mad.

Hilariously, the three of us pretty much walked separately from each other the whole time. God, what a team we are.

I wonder if ghosts and Amish people ever get together and talk about how fucking annoying tourists are.

Ellen showed me some photo of a window on her phone and I have no idea what I was supposed to be seeing, so I just said, “Wow. OK.”

Toward the end of the tour, someone else finally got a chance to use the EMF meter and promptly mistook it as her chance to try out new modeling poses she saw on A Beautiful Mess.  Still not as annoying as Donna though.

I wonder, if no one is paying attention to Donna, does she cease to exist? If Donna falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear her, does she take an Instavid of herself to prove that she made a noise?

Finally, the tour was wrapping up and we all headed back to Bruton Parish, where Donna told us some story about lightning striking and leaving ghoul faces on this grave marker:


And then Donna came flying over to show Ellen more of her doctored photos and I didn’t even try to be subtle about the barfing noises I was making. We left without saying thanks or goodbye to Ellen, but that’s OK because only had eyes for DONNA anyway.

DONNA DONNA DONNA DONNA.

And here I was worried that a baby was going to be the douche of the tour, but no. It was a grown-ass woman. Douchey Donna. I hope she took some evil entity home with her to her Douche Headquarters. She must be so proud of herself, being the star of some dumb ghost tour that no one will ever remember. EXCEPT FOR ME BECAUSE I HAVE A STORAGE UNIT FULL OF GRUDGES.

In summation, I enjoyed the historical and ghost stories Ellen told us (I didn’t write about all of them because they’re all taken from books written by some dude name L.B. Taylor so they can be easily accessed if anyone was interested in learning more) and to be honest, once we ventured off the main drag, it did get kind of creepy. But I would not recommend paying extra for the “Extreme” version because that EMF meter was a fucking afterthought. I don’t even think Ellen even really explained to everyone what it was doing, and she honestly seemed to forget that it was in use most of the time.

As soon as we were out of earshot, I was like, “Fuck Donna.” And Chooch and Henry wholeheartedly agreed, so really you could say that this was family bonding experience. It’s not often we’re all in agreement on something.


*what, you thought I was joking about the picture on my wall??

Apr 062020
 

Hi hello welcome to my dive bar corner of the Internet. I’m currently reading a book about Lizzie Borden so I thought what better time to take a post a picture of a souvenir wine glass I bought way back in 2003 when Big Shot Henry booked us a room at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast for my birthday, back when we was still doing romantic gestures hahaha ugh.

And to make this a real two-fer, let’s also spin this into a Virtual COVID-travel post by revisiting the second time we visited the Borden house, this time with a 7-year-old Chooch because you know, educational, etc. I started doing another Jillian Michaels series which is helping to combat my depression, but my muscles and mind are fatigued AF so I still have no energy for this blogging thing. :/

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I’m going to veer off schedule here for a  minute and share the pictures from our tour of the Lizzie Borden house in Fall River, MA. After an entertaining breakfast at AlMac’s Diner where I had Portuguese bolo and will consequently never be satisfied with a regular old English Muffin ever again, we stopped here on our last full day of vacation. Chooch was pretty fucking stoked to say the least. The kid has grown up in a house where serial killer greeting cards are made, what do you expect? Henry and I stayed over night here back in 2002, but it was worth the return trip for us, too. Mostly to experience it all over again with Chooch, who knows the legendary story and has watched countless YouTube videos about the house. However, when we walked into the gift shop to pay for a tour, the tour guide behind the register looked a little skeptical at these two assholes toting a 7-year-old child to a murder house. 20130629-181651.jpg

But then Chooch sprawled out on the couch in the waiting area, mimicking the crime scene photo of dead Andrew Borden, and the tour guide widened her eyes a bit. “Do you wanna help me out when we get in the house?” At first she suggested that he play the role of Abby Borden, but Chooch quickly said, “No. I want to be the dead dad.” “How old is he?” one of the three old people in our group asked. I could tell that they too were leery of taking an hour long tour with some brat, but I’d like to think they were pleasantly surprised by the tour’s end. 20130629-181700.jpg

I mean, come on guys. You know I’m the first person to call my kid out for being a dick. But he was actually super well-behaved and genuinely enrapt in touring the house. I was so proud of my gruesome little brat!

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Floral patterns suit him.

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The house has changed owners since we were last there. To be honest, I don’t rememeber much of the original tour we got in 2002, other than being a served a plate of cheese and Oreos to snack on while watching some made-for-TV movie about Lizzie Borden, so a lot of what I saw on this day was basically brand new to me. I also feel that the guide we had this time was more knowledgeable. (Side Note: The guide we had in 2002 was also the summer caretaker and ended up being the only other person sleeping in the house with us that night. He was pretty creepy, but affable at the same time. I posted a picture of him on my blog a few years ago and someone commented, informing me that he had perished in a house fire. So sad! I mentioned this to our tour guide last week—I shamefully can’t remember her name but she was really wonderful—and she said that when the new owners bought the Borden house, they had a really hard time getting him to leave.) 20130629-181718.jpg

The house was replicated as best as possible, considering they only had black and white photos to go on. 20130629-181824.jpg

In the dining room, we learned that this is where Abby Borden’s autopsy was done. The guide had pictures of their mutilated bodies and said to me, “It’s up to you if you want your son to see these.” I asked Chooch if he wanted to see, and he shrugged and said, “Yeah, sure.” I found out later that I probably should have asked him if he knew what “autopsy” meant first. While the guide was demonstrating ironing handkerchiefs (one of Lizzie’s alleged alibis), Chooch was chomping at the bit to go into the next room because he recognized the couch immediately. You’d have thought he waited all his life for this one short moment of impersonating some dead dude with a crushed skull and dangling eyeball.

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Chooch’s Shining Moment. The old people on the tour with us laughed uncomfortably during his performance.

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We were all clustered in the foyer listening about Andrew Borden’s final moments on Earth; I was standing at the foot of the steps — the top of which was where Abby Borden’s dead body was first spotted prostrate on the other side of the bed in the guest room–with my back to the front door when the mailman began shoving circulars and bills through the mail slot. The new gray hairs I must have amassed in that moment has got to be a staggering number.

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Chooch volunteered me to play the butchered Abby Borden, which required me to sprawl ass-up on the floor while Chooch giggled devilishly. Thank god there are no pictures. My ass is much wider than the last time I was photographed in this pose. 20130629-181816.jpg

This lady knows her shit! We definitely got our money’s worth. 20130629-181805.jpg

Borden spirits all up in Henry’s shit! J/K. I was just really bored in the car. Best use of a bokeh app! 20130629-181839.jpg

In the corner of the guest room, the actual dress Elizabeth Montgomery wore in the final scene of the Lizzie Borden movie in the 80s is on display. When the guide mentioned Elizabeth’s name, Chooch put his hand up to his mouth and whispered, “Witch!” to me, giving me this faux-serious look. At first I couldn’t figure out why he said that, but then I remembered that the day before, we took him to the Salem Witch Museum and there was a wall of photos of famous witches throughout history, and of course “Bewitched” was one of them. The guide we had that day pointed out each picture and gave a brief explanation, and I guess that little jerk was actually paying attention (because I know I barely was).  Yay for money not wasted for once!

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Actual books that belonged to Lizzie. Check out “With Edged Tools.” LOL right!? Chooch was really into all the vintage cat figures he spotted throughout the house, and also the creepy trunk of toys that the owner keeps in one of the attic bedroom that is supposedly haunted by random children. Chooch said that’s the room he wants to sleep in when we go back and I was like, “That’s cool, bro. But have fun staying up there by yourself.”

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Haunted or not, there is something to be said about standing in a house where one of the most sensationalized double-murders in this country’s history were carried out.  I was definitely on edge the entire time while Henry just looked bored (or probably confused because the only way he understands anything is if the cast of Criminal Minds is acting it out on TV for him). Chooch would get fidgety here and there, but thankfully he didn’t do anything overtly dickish to draw attention to himself. For the most part, he honestly seemed like he was interested in what the tour guide was saying, officially making “7” my favorite Chooch age thus far. When I went back to the gift shop afterward to buy souvenirs, the guide admitted to me that she was a little worried when she saw us walk in with Chooch, and how pleasantly surprised she was at how he conducted himself. I’m so glad she told me that, because as a parent, I’m sure there are times when I think my kid is acting normal but everyone else is thinking, “TAKE THAT BASTARD BACK TO THE ZOO, MY GOD!” My fear is that we’re going to take him somewhere like this and he’s going to break something or cause a general scene by throwing a tantrum out of boredom. I remember the time when I was a kid, just a little bit older than him, on vacation with my grandparents in Europe. I think we had stopped in Assisi, Italy and, right befor walking into a shop filled to the brim with breakables, my grandma gripped me by the upper arm and hissed, “DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING!” Aaaaand guess who knocked over an entire display of glass figurines with her purse? GOOD OLD GRANDMA JEAN. Meanwhile, as the guide was praising my kid’s good behavior, Chooch was in the process of pissing on his shorts in the customer rest room. So, you win some, you lose some.

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Can’t leave Fall River without paying our respects at the cemetery! 20130629-182030.jpg

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Stoked for Lizzie! I really was pleased with how we were able to sneak in educational bullshit on our vacation without it feeling like 5 days of war memorials and dry history lectures. I can’t wait for Chooch to go back to second grade and tell everyone about the shit he did, haha.

Feb 232020
 

We have a little more than a month before we leave for our mini-theme park Euro-trip so I’ve been spending most of my free time scouring the Internet and YouTube to ensure our itinerary is as padded and stacked as possible because I am super high-strung when it comes to DOING THE MOST AHHHHHH WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Now, I have previously been to several places we will be hitting on this trip, but I was a kid and sadly, unless I pull out the old travel journals, I have very spotty memories of these times which is pathetic because some of these cities I have been to more than once.

For instance, my only memories of Amsterdam:

  • Getting stuck in the elevator of the Pullman? Astoria? hotel we were staying at;
  • My Pappap finding a piece of glass in his dessert at the same hotel’s restaurant (I have a vivid memory of the dessert being a peeled pear, like straight of a can, sitting on top of a chocolate sauce pool);
  • Another time being in Amsterdam as a surly teenager and having a huge fight with my aunt Sharon and writing horrible things about her in my vacation journal, and then going on a tour of a diamond factory and her buying me a diamond ring for my birthday and being all, “Dear diary, I take back everything I said about Sharon; I was just tired and hungry. Oh yeah, and she bought me this cool ring!” And I definitely probably didn’t use a semi-colon though because I’m sure I didn’t know how to use those yet, but I mean, do I really know how to use them now.

And Cologne:

  • Milling about in a courtyard and walking along some slanted brick thing, the kind of things that usually have a tree or flowers in the middle, and I lost my balance and fell, sending my camera skidding across the courtyard, batteries popping out and rolling all over the place, and I skinned my knee too probably, that sounds about right;
  • Another time we were in Cologne and I was like, “OH HAY GUYS REMEMBER??” And then I began to do a mocking reenactment of The Fall and then accidentally fell again and injured myself;
  • I think it was also that last time, I spotted these two people who looked like the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock. The lady was straddling the man on a bench and they were slowly rocking back and forth and I was like look at those people, they look like Fraggle Rock and Sharon was all OMG THEY ARE HAVING SEX and then slapped her hand across my eyes and lead me away.

Brussels was the only city in Belgium that I’ve been to and we’ve opted for Bruges instead on this trip, but either way, my only memory of Brussels is seeing the statue of the peeing boy and fighting with Sharon.

We were honestly the WORST travel partners. I mean, it was ok when my grandparents used to travel with us because I could at least seek refuge and reprieve from Sharon in their room.

Anyway, now it’s hours later and this post inspired me to dig through the treasure trove of photos I took from my Pappap’s house when we were cleaning it out in 2016 and I actually found a photo that Sharon took of me in 1995 standing in front of that dumb thing I fell down when I was 10 and you can tell by my scowl that I loved having my picture taken. And right after this was when i was like HAHA I WAS SO STUPID LOOK AT ME I’M ERIN FROM 1989 NOT KNOWING HOW TO WALK and then I accidentally fell down.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

I also found a picture of this guy I was in love with from one of those trips and I have been wanting to write a travel memories post about him for quite some time now so maybe that will inspire me to do so someday when I feel less lazy.I really got away from my point here which is I really appreciate that I had the opportunity to do so much traveling as a kid and thank God I kept travel journals else I would barely remember anything. For instance, we are going to Frankfurt and I have to actually flip through those ancient tomes* at some point because I am not sure if I have been there before?!?! That’s…pathetic.

*(The best edition is the one where I was going through a phase when I spelled ‘really’ as ‘rilly’ and replaced any ‘s’ at the end of a word with a ‘z’ just BCUZ KAY GUYZ? And every paragraph was in a different color ink. Would you believe me if I told you I’m actually less obnoxious now?)

I tried to get Chooch to start vacation journaling when we took him to Disney in 2016 but he is super not into that at all so I guess at least he has my blog to fall back on. For instance, when we were hate-watching these dumb Australian travel vloggers who were in Savannah. They went to Leopold’s for ice cream and I shouted, “WE WENT TO LEOPOLD’S WHEN WE WERE THERE TOO!” and Chooch was like, “I wonder what flavor I got” and I said “Probably something dumb, here, I’ll check my blog.”

“Yep, as suspected: Probably Something Dumb,” I happily reported back.

I think I veered off track somewhere up there but the whole point of this post is that this is my first time traveling to this region of Europe as an adult and without the shackles of an organized bus tour so we will be in full control of the things we do and I want to make sure we do the right/best/most funnest things and eat all the good foods because unless stroopwafels weren’t a thing yet in the 90s which I find hard to believe, our stupid tour guide never made sure they found a way into our mouths, not a single time I was in Amsterdam, how can that be so!? That is just an example of the things on my Erin Returns: The Redemption Trip.

That’s just a name I thought up on the spot. It’s subject to change, a work in progress. We’ll see where it goes.

That’s all for today. I’m revisiting Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program and today I started Workout 5 and still feel slightly nauseous from that so I think I might go and dry heave into a waste basket and then put myself to bed early WHO CAN BE SURE.

(Do I have a waste basket though? Is it just a garbage can?)

Dec 112019
 

True to form, we got to Silver Dollar City right as it opened at noon. Henry LOVED the fact that they have a FREE PARKING LOT with trams so you don’t have to pay $25 on top of the already exorbitant ticket price. I was really concerned while we were sitting on the tram, waiting to depart for the entrance, because it was almost unbearably cold. The weather was allegedly around 38 degrees that day, but the windchill was a fucking Ice Queen. And Chooch almost forgot to bring a jacket AND packed all t-shirts, but thankfully we were only 10 minutes from home on Saturday when it occurred to me to inquire about his coat situation, and then he had a random flannel in the trunk.

Not that it mattered because Henry still had to go to the local Branson Target once we arrived that night in order to buy the dumb kid gloves. Mr. I Don’t Get Cold. Yeah, right. He’d have perished at Silver Dollar City in jeans, t-shirt, and bare hands!

For as much as we travel, you’d think we’d be better at packing. Nope.

You’d also think we’d be better at not leaving things behind in hotels. Nope x2.

As soon as the tram dropped us off (Chooch and I waved to other tram-drivers that passed us by on the way because we’re both in preschool and get super-kicks out of receiving reciprocal waves), we joined the small crowd at the entrance JUST as they were announcing that the gates were opening! Woo! Security was a breeze because only Henry was carrying a purse (lol) so we didn’t have much to be checked. However, I was low-key panicking because Henry the Dishonest LIED when he purchased the tickets online and bought the child’s ticket for Chooch who is TWO YEARS out of the age range for such a ticket!

“No one is going to know, and if they say something, I’ll pay the extra $10—it’s NOT A BIG DEAL,” Henry kept saying. But to me, it was! I never try to cheat the system! But Henry kept saying, “I’M NOT RIDING ANYTHING ANYWAY BECAUSE OF MY BACK SO IT ALL WORKS OUT” but I don’t think they have “bad back trade offs” at amusement parks!

So we stopped by the on-site chapel and asked for forgiveness.

Chooch made fun of me for like an hour because when we were walking out of the chapel, some old couple was on their way in and I jovially said, “It’s nice and warm in there!” THIS IS WHY I DON’T BOTHER MAKING SMALL TALK WITH PPL ANYMORE, BECAUSE SON OF THE YEAR IS SO QUICK TO POINT OUT HOW DORKY I SOUND.

I give up. Take my human card away. I’ll just talk to cats from now on. I have better rapport with them anyway, sigh.

You might be confused why a place like Silver Dollar City would appeal to me, since it’s down-home-y and Bible Belt-y, and this is also true for Dollywood. Look, if there weren’t rides here, there is no way you’d catch me loitering with a bunch of elder-dorks, watching shows and eating skillets. But since this place DOES have rides, I allow myself to enjoy the quaint charms it has to offer. I  mean, it is a theme park, after all, and the people who work there go above and beyond to make you feel like you’re in a world without swears and, I don’t know, porn. It’s very wholesome and sometimes I need some of that cheesy bullshit in my life.

It kind of reminded me of the time when I was a kid and I went to this festival in Ligonier, PA called Ligonier Days and it was like, a place for blacksmith enthusiasts  to really pop off. I remember kind of having fun except that I was with my friend Kristen and her step-dad was weird, but there was a place that was selling the motherlode of slap bracelets and people hadn’t yet begun reporting that the bracelets were slitting the wrists of their children, so I bought a ton of them in designs I didn’t have yet, because I’m sure you’ll be surprised to know that I was obsessed with slap bracelets and had a huge collection.

Me and collections, man.

Anyway, I sometimes say out loud that I want to go back to Ligonier Days sometime but, it’s been 30 years and this bitch ain’t been back since.

But yeah, if you’re into amusement parks themed after mining towns that also has a fantastic Christmas event, then get yer ass to Branson, Missouri, missy. Look at how fucking quaint it is!

During our weekly meeting at work, I was telling everyone about our trip to Silver Dollar City and Nate quickly googled it.

“Yeah, well did you get your picture with THIS?” he asked with a smidge more than a hint of smugness in his tone.

He swiveled his laptop around to show me a picture of the ABOVE SANTA BENCH and I was like, “What, you think I’m some sort of amateur?!”

DOT DOT DOT:

I love this coat so much but fuck if it doesn’t make me look like Big Bird’s chunky bluebird stepsister.

“I want to sit next to him so I can put my hand on his knee!” Chooch shouted, wedging himself in between me and plaster Santa.

We had only been inside the park for 30 minutes before our noses led us straight into the bowels of Nellie’s Homestead, where we got an apple turnover slathered with homemade apple butter.

I wish I hadn’t shared it. I wish I could go back in time and get my own and run to the nearest corner where I could hide and devour it in peace.

It made me think about when I was into Western music and really enjoyed the band Turnover and I went to see them one time and the singer was dressed in a very blatant “Papa H” style. It was weird.

And then we went to Brown’s Candy Factory to watch this pioneer broad making fudge and also to snag some samples. I always think that I’m not a person who eats fudge but then every time I actually eat fudge, I think, “WOW, FUDGE IS ACTUALLY GOOD.” But then some time passes and I go back to believing that I don’t care for fudge.

We really dropped the ball and FORGOT TO GET CINNAMON BREAD. Hopefully we will be going back in the summer though and can remedy this.

Somehow, I didn’t go into the taffy store but Henry did? It must have been one of the many times Chooch and I ditched his invalid ass. Also, we bought so much taffy at that one candy store in Historic Downtown Branson that my teeth actually just twinged while I wrote this portion of the blog post.

Chooch and I got wassail and I cried, “YOU’RE NOT GETTING ONE TOO?!” to Henry, who frowned in response. Chooch realized almost immediately that he didn’t like it so he gave it to Henry and then I couldn’t finish mine so I gave it to Henry, and now Henry had two wassails and mumbled, “This is why I didn’t get my own.”

There are also a bunch of shops that sell down-on-the-farm, Americana home interior bullshit. I’m not about that life, but I didn’t mind perusing. Mostly because it was warm inside those shops. But like, why is everything that boring Rae Dunn-style bullshit these days?!

It was pretty obvious that the temperature wasn’t going to reach the number it needed to be for several of the coasters to open, but I still kept refreshing the weather app all day like a girl sitting at the window waiting for her dad to come home when she knows deep down that he ran off to be with his mistress and bastard.

Chooch always has to get a park map for every amusement park we visit. We were standing near a chicken & waffles cart, trying to find which route we should take to get to Outlaw Run when they dropped the ropes, when some man came over and asked Chooch, “Where’s the nearest bathroom?” He looked like he was a security guard because he was wearing some dumb reflective vest, and he asked in such a jovial way that I thought he was jokingly giving Chooch a pop quiz, but it turns out that he was sincerely asking for the nearest bathroom for the people he was with.

ANYWAY, IT WAS FUNNY BUT I GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE.

(Henry was there and didn’t think it was funny.)

And here we are, standing in front of the famous SDC Christmas tree, pretending to enjoy wassail, before venturing over to one of the roped-off areas of the park and start the final countdown to 1:00pm when the rest of the park opened for business.

Stay tuned for more Silver Dollar City pictures and bullshit words.