Sep 212022
 

Today was babysitting day. We made Chooch come with us for a walk to Scoops on the Boulevard for some ice cream. It was the slowest walk of my life but they were good. And they all actually finished their ice cream without making an utter mess which was very shocking to me. I mean, there was still a mess and I wouldn’t let them touch me, but we did ok.

Then back at their house, I kept saying that I was going to leave because I had to exercise (Henry would have still been there, god don’t report me!) but they were like NO DONT LEAVE US WITH BORING PAP so Calvin suggested that I exercise there. I declined this invitation to use his play room as a gym but then he said “well how about you teach us some exercises?”

SO I DID! We did sit-ups and crab dips! Then Calvin was like OK NOW LETS DO DANCE EXERCISES ALEXA PLAY GUMMI BEARS and I was like OMG GUMMI BEARS? YOU KNOW THE GUMMI BEARS SONG?!

I was so stoked but it turned out it was some different gummy bear thing and not the theme song to the 1980s cartoon like I had anticipated:(

“Just so you know, I put this on the pie party play list,” I said to Henry while it plays loudly on the TV.

“Oh great,” he muttered but I know he secretly loves it even though he was probably IN THE SERVICE when this was on.

Speaking of IN THE, I watched the penultimate episode of IN THE DARK tonight and I am done. Totally exhausted from the sobbing. This show kills me. Which is why today’s blog post is a cop-out because I’m drained and I have actually been doing a lot of weird crying lately?!

Sep 202022
 

I know I mentioned this recently in another post but I am still very sad about the death of a youtuber I didn’t even know in real life. Like what kind of person have I become that I’m this attached to Youtubers but here we are.

Old Hoju Sara videos keep popping up in my feed lately and I wanted to share this one that she did with another YouTuber I like a lot, Fei, because it’s from when they were together in Korea trying various Inkagayo sandwiches which I love so much. You might remember that it’s what we make on Easter! EASTERgayo sandwiches!

I know you can’t really put too much stock into what you see on YouTube but Sara really seemed like a genuinely kind person and it makes me angry that she was taken so young. She really did live her best life though, and she fostered a love for Korea in so many people. I personally really enjoyed her expat vlogs- she was very inspiring to me. I wish I was brave enough to start a new life in Korea! BYE HENRY.

Anyway, please enjoy this video. RIP Sara. :(

Sep 152022
 

Woke up at 5:30am for this and have no regrets. It’s been on a loop in my head all day and I am READY to experience this performed live in LESS THAN A MONTH with my lightstick in hand.

Sep 122022
 

You know how when you have actual adult things to stress out about, sometimes it’s easier to project that stress onto really dumb shit? Not me being the queen of that deflection.

Here’s some dumb shit I’m stressing out about instead of the actual holes in our ceiling that our landlord has been ignoring for two years, etc.

  • The pie party. Why did I think I could handle the stress of planning this? Who talked me into this?! It’s in less than two weeks and we only just kind of had the “what pies should we do” discussion last night. Also I’m worried that the turnout is going to be grim. The announcement seemed well-received but we all know that events are forgotten if the info is not on Facebook. Sigh. Petition to go back to the time when Facebook wasn’t the end all be all.
  • European amusement parks. There are so many I want to go to before I die, but so little money. Some kid (literally he might only be about 17, I have no idea) who I’m subscribed to on YouTube recently did a SEVEN WEEK trip spanning 7 or 8 countries and including 27 parks. His older brother was with him and he has THE BEST coaster scream – it’s infectious and I want to have a scream-harmonize with him now. Anyway, I know it probably sounds dumb but I really want to go to Europe and ride rollercoasters and dark rides and be immersed in all the impeccable and magical theming. Sigh. (His #1 park was Phantasialand and that was one of the parks on the itinerary of our corona-canceled 2020 trip to Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Le sigh – so first world-ish to be sad about this. But you know I’m a big spoiled brat so why hide it. I think the bigger picture here is that I’m panicking about aging and running out of time. UGH.
  • NCT127: they have a comeback later this week and I’m seeing them IN A MONTH and yes, I am stressed out about this. Excited but stressed! Leave me alone.
  • The attic makeover that will never happen. We were supposed to work on it over the weekend but then Henry was like “I have to clean the basement in order to clean the attic so that there is room to move stuff” aka HIS JUNK that should just be thrown out!!
  • Work. But for a dumb reason. My old team organized a group dinner for the 20th – it was actually rescheduled twice and then this seemed like the perfect night so we were all-in but then our Dept scheduled the next CASUAL LUNCH for that day so we were like “ok I guess we are going in to the office” and then my current group is also having an IN PERSON meeting that day so I’m already feel socially zapped but none of this has even happened yet?! Also most of our desks have been pared down to just one monitor and I can’t work like that so now I’m doubly-stressed wondering where I will be able to sit on Tuesday so that I can have my favored set-up. These are stupid things to stress over.
  • Related: I am also going into the office this Friday because I finished Sandy’s GOODBYE gift – SHE LEFT US IN JUNE DID I TELL YOU?! – and I got ETHAN to agree to be photographed with it even though he has no idea what it is and he will be in the office on Friday which is also NCT127 Comeback Day so now I have to spend that downtown in the office sitting in someone else’s office.
  • CONSTRUCTION: THERE IS CONSTRUCTION EVERYWHERE I GO IN BROOKLINE AND I HAVE HAD IT. i am sick of turning a corner only to be met with WORKERS IN HARDHATS AND FLUORESCENT VESTS standing like SENTINELS at the entrance of roads I had wished to traverse. AND now that stupid contracting company that has almost killed me twice has even more of their trucks in the area and I want to literally Hulk out and heave them into a ravine.
  • It’s been 21 years without a proposal so just bear that in mind the next time you’re like OMG HENRY IS THE BEST AND ERIN IS JUST A DUMB BITCH. I’m not bitter or anything lol.
  • Chooch – he always stresses me out but I guess would I even be a parent otherwise?!

Whatever. Goodnight.

Sep 102022
 

Hi it’s me. Your friend, Erin. Just checking in because I’m addicted to blogging but haven’t had a chance to properly sit down and pound out 2,000 words about our day at Mt. Olympus like I had planned on doing today, because instead we got caught up in STUFF AROUND THE HOUSE since we’re not on the go this weekend.

Deep breath. That was a long sentence. I’m whatever the finger-equivalent of being winded is now.

Here is a picture of Drew from this morning:

Also today:

  • I bought a bunch of new plants over the last several days because attempting to care for and nurture fauna is another addiction of mine.
  • I’m redoing the carouselfie wall because I ended up actually hating it bigly. It needs stripes I think. That’s my solution to everything. Stripes and glitter.
  • the Targets we went to today had barely any Halloween stuff set up yet and I’m mad because I want to see if they’re doing the Day of the Dead line of decor again because I LOVE THOSE PICTURE FRAMES. If you see anything LET A BITCH KNOW. (That bitch me is me.)
  • I’m also redoing the cat wall!
  • I split a Nancy B’s snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookie with Henry and now I wish I had just eaten the entire chocolate chip one by myself but the last time I did that was when Sue brought them into work and I was like I WILL HAVE ONE AND JUST EAT HALF but then ate the whole thing and got sick. If you’re from Pgh and have had a Nancy B’s chocolate chip cookie, then you know they’re bigg’uns.

Ok I think we’re painting a wall now so bye.

(These are Target’s Dias de los muertos frames from 2019ish / 2020ish.)

Sep 042022
 

One of my favorite things to do before going on a road trip is look for restaurants in the area. I have a very particular set of requirements so it’s good to be proactive. If we’re going to a bigger city, I will for sure look for vegan joints but small towns have me looking for the greasy spoon time capsules. If a review is bad because the place is outdated, it goes on the list.

If it’s quirky or novel, borderlining on roadside attraction, here comes Erin. (See: Mr. Happy and Pal’s!)

These are the very important duties I task myself with, in case you were wondering what I do when I’m not getting yelled at by attorneys at work or walking my feet off because I’m a slave to my step goal.

So when I came across Mr. Pancake, housed in a structure shaped like a river boat and family-owned dating back to the 60s, I refused to leave Wisconsin Dells until we ate there.

Especially after watching some local news story from 12 years ago highlighting the breakfast spot loved by tourists and locals alike.

That clip of the food-faced bitch getting floaters all up in her apple juice made me dry heave though.

But I was otherwise reminding Henry by way of FACE-SCREAM that we were going to eat at Mr. Pancake and he was like “ok” while pushing past me to finish his chores and Chooch would just curtly say, “I don’t know what that means” and then acted like it was NEWS TO HIM when we drove past it yesterday while going to our hotel.

Anyway, we almost had to scrap the plan because they’re only open until noon so we would have had to go Sunday morning except that we still need to drive to Chicago-ish to go to Six Flags and prefer to get to new-to-us parks when they open because we’re always on a mission, you know.

I’m sure Henry and Chooch were less then thrilled with my declaration that we’d just have to leave the hotel earlier than intended and get to Mr. Pancake as soon as they opened at 7.


We were the first ones here! We arrived at 6:53 and Henry was like I AM NOT SITTING IN THIS PARKING LOT IT WILL MAKE THE WAITSTAFF NERVOUS so we had to drive around the still-sleeping Dells. When we got back at 6:58, the lot was still empty and I told Henry to park right next to the door and he was like I AM NOT PARKING THERE I WILL PARK OVER HERE AWAY FROM THE BUILDING. What a weirdo.


Then I got out and ran over to the door but the CLOSED sign was still up even though it was now exactly 7 so I got nervous but JUST THEN the hostess came over and flipped the sign while smiling at me through the window of the door.

I ran back down the steps and yelled, “SHE CHANGED THE SIGN TO OPEN!” to Chooch who was like “yes I know I’m standing right here, I saw, you’re so annoying.”


MR PANCAKE SELFIE! WE WERE THE FIRST PATRONS! Our waitress’s name was Paula and she was amazing and really helped us navigate the tricky menu.

(It was not tricky but she still held our hands and promised us that we would never walk alone while in her care.)

(Fine. She didn’t hold our hands but her soothing tone implied that was spiritually braiding her fingers into ours while leading us down a path of tulip petals and housemade maple cinnamon syrup.)

FIRST ONES BEST ONES!

Chooch is in the Blocking His Face From Mommy’s Camera stage of his life.


You guys!! I got a blueberry waffle which came with lemon butter! When Paula checked in on us later, I blurted out with such urgency that her face flashed with alarm, “I didn’t know the butter was going to be lemony!” But then I gushed, “I love it!” so her face relaxed into her standard cheerful Wisconsin visage and she proudly declared that it’s made in house. JUST LIKE THE SYRUP.

A few years, two bitches from some local supper club took the reins of Mr. Pancake from the family who had been running it since the 60s. The history on the website says that they kept the OG recipes but added some stuff to the menu and I told Henry I bet the BARISTA section of the menu and the fancy house made butters and syrups were their doing. But for some reason I said it is a disparaging, snippy tone like these uppity supper club broads were really leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth for literally no concrete reason that I can give you to back up my intentions. Sometimes I JUST BE LIKE THAT.

Anyway, I also had my eyes on the Iowa Corn Pancakes (?!?!?!) because they were filled with corn and corn meal!! But I cannot eat three pancakes and there was no down-sizing option. However, Henry got an omelet which came with two pancakes and Paula said that he could substitute any of the specialty pancakes for a small upcharge so I told him to get the corn ones and he did and they were SO GOOD. Actual corn kernels plopped out when he cut into them. I mean, it wasn’t like a pouch of corn cooked into the cakes but more so just interspersed throughout. I love corn stuff, especially when it’s surprise corn like in Korea, where they love to sneak handfuls of kernels in where you’d least suspect it, like pizza and lattes.

음ㅁㅁㅁㅁ, 옥수수 🌽.

By the time we left, Mr. Pancake had filled up with patrons filling up on carbs before a day of water-parking, including a family with a really fucking bratty toddler that proceeded to scream its face off immediately upon being seated and at one point the mom yelled YOURE BEING BAD and I am going to start publicly calling Chooch out for being bad too. It’s what he deserves.

Mr. Pancake gets an A- from me though because I didn’t like their souvenir T-shirts and they didn’t have coffee cups for sale!! I would have bought one for sure. They should make white ones with a red outline of the Mr. Pancake river boat thing.

끝.

Sep 022022
 

Dear blog I can’t believe I forgot to come crashing through your gates screaming my wet face off about the NEW SONG that Pierce the Veil dropped the other night at midnight, after a SIX YEAR HIATUS since their last album (I know, not *that* long but in the Kpop world, groups have like 3 comebacks a year and that is what my spoiled American ass is used to now).

I dunno how they did it, but it all at once sounds super fresh and new, yet nostalgic all at once. Vic’s screams drop-kicked me out of bed (their midnight text woke me up and I had to listen to the song immediately!) and straight to 2008.

We’re on our way to Wisconsin (lol) and I just played it again and even Henry was like “yes I like it” and that is saying a lot because Henry was never a fan of PTV – he wouldn’t even stand with me when I cried in front of their stage at Riot Fest in 2016!

I think PTV is just one of those bands that I will never outgrow. The whole band is a diamond in the rough but Vic especially is God tier in my eyes and I just want to protect him forever. Long live PTV!

Aug 312022
 

Hola, I’m here with a weekend recap. Henry and I both recently finally lost our 2.5 year streak at COVID dodgeball. I actually tested negative but am 100% positive in my heart and mind that I had it. Henry tested positive a few days later. I probably certainly got it somewhere along the way on our recent NJ weekend but luckily, I didn’t go into the office…or anywhere else because I have no life / no friends….between that time and the time when I started to feel NOT RIGHT.

We both just felt like we had the flu – I was more exhausted than anything, no fever or headaches, no loss of taste or smell. Just felt like a sad sack zombie. Henry slept for three solid days and then acted like nothing happened. I dunno, overall, not the worst I’ve ever felt, thanks to being vaccinated / boosted and I can tell you FOR SURE that I am ready for the next booster.

While this was going on, we told Chooch to say away from us and he mumbled, “That’s literally my goal every day.” WOW.

Anyway, all of this is to say that last weekend was the first time since all that went down that we were well enough / symptom-less enough to actually go out.

Chooch had been wanting to go to Duo’s Taqueria, a Duolingo pop-up taco joint next to Duolingo headquarters (did you know Duolingo is based in Pittsburgh? NOW YOU KNOW). He was even texting us about it from Mexico and we were like, “You are in Mexico, why are you sending us stuff that is in Pgh?” Anyway, we finally took him and he ordered for all three of us in Spanish and then acted like it was the most embarrassing thing he’s ever had to do even though he ordered with solid confidence. The lady who took his order said, “For your good Spanish,” and gave him a free taco card :)

Acting like he doesn’t know Spanish. Mmm, ok son.

Took our tacos to the cemetery and ate by the pond like old days.

Later that evening, I watched The Red Queen Kills 7 Times, in an effort to get back to my Italian horror / giallo roots. It’s been so long since I watched 70s Italian horror and that used to be my bread & butter, yo.

In between all of this, Henry was finishing my neon TV which I am still obsessing over whether you like it or not!!

On Sunday, Chooch apparently sat next to me for a second, which was weird.

Henry and I went on a long walk at the cemetery where I fed a deer – she came right the fuck up to me like we knew each other from the corner bar – and tried to persuade some frogs to come home with me. “I used to build hotels for you guys in the 80s! Don’t you know who I am??”

They didn’t care :(

Went to Target and bought the cats their ninth (??) seasonal cardboard scratchpad thing. “Yay, more stuff for me to kick blindly in the dark while leaving for work,” was the SOS pattern that Henry’s furrowed eyebrows emitted.

Aside from me going on a hangry rampage up and down Murray Avenue on Saturday, the weekend was pretty nice (except for the fact that hanging over my head all weekend was the stressful knowledge that NCT127 tickets were going on sale on Monday so that HARSHED MY MELLOW a bit  – sorry I just wanted to know how it would feel to use that expression and it kind of made me feel gross)!

Aug 202022
 

When we registered for the Morey’s Piers Coastin’ By the Ocean event last spring, we knew that we wanted to stay near the boardwalk but it was also extremely hard to find anything with reasonable rates since we were booking that close to the start of the summer season.

But then I (yes, t’was I, the one that Henry never lets anywhere near the booking process) found one that wasn’t too exorbitant (I mean, it wasn’t cheap either but you don’t go to Wildwood without expecting to pay those beach rates). And it just so happened that it was directly across from the pier where we needed to register at 9am Saturday morning.

You.Are.Welcome.

I thought it was ok! I mean, it’s no Olympic but we went through this last year too. So, you know. Expectations were low.

But Henry immediately bonded with the owner, probably because he had tons of Pro-Police propaganda pasted up around the office, which caused Henry to nose-dive into his WHITE KNIGHT armor as soon as I pointed this out in a disparaging tone.

Honestly, we were only there to crash for a bit during the afternoon in between coaster schedules and to sleep.

I liked that there was a live DJ at the pool too. Not that I went anywhere near the pool with my body dysmorphia, but it was comforting to listen to all the people splashing around and having fun while we recharged in our room that afternoon.

Also, you can see the boardwalk from our door!

Also, the proprietor let Henry stay parked in the lot before we checked in on Saturday and after we checked out on Sunday after Henry explained to him that we were still going to be on the boardwalk for the event.

What a nice guy (except for the BLUE LIVES bullshit)!

Good job finding this place, me!

Aug 152022
 

Yo yo yo. Here I am, Erin-Not-Kelly, coming at you live with some updates from the road. It’s 6:12p currently and we are finally on our way back to Pittsburgh after a weekend full of coasters and cry-babying (I didn’t get enough sleep ok??).

We went to Six Flags Great Adventure yesterday after leaving Morey’s Piers and had our best visit yet – it was actually absurd how good it was. I’ll recap that in full later but just to show you how much of a blast we had marathonning El Toro at the end of the night, here’s what my elbow looked like this morning:

I’m glad it’s just a bruise because I was worried that I actually chipped my elbow bone lol ugh.

We stayed in a Hampton in Horsham (LOLOL) PA which is near Doylestown which is where Anthony Green from Circa Survive lives! I know, you’re really fascinated by that. Anyway though the hotel was actually quite decent.

I wanted to go for a walk while Chooch was showering because I’m in this Workweek Hustle FitBit challenge and since I got late start this morning, I was in last place (gasp!). So we told Chooch we were doing this and Henry also grabbed most of our bags while he was at it since we were going outside. The walk itself was uneventful, but when we got back to the hotel, we ran into Chooch in the lobby, holding a plate of breakfast in one hand, a yogurt stick in his mouth, and his carry-on in his other hand, looking utterly lost. He thought we checked out I guess because he wasn’t paying attention to us as usual. He said he got everything out of the room but Henry was like I WILL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT and went back up. He left his Holiday World Voyage shirt and a brush there, plus Henry said the shower wasn’t even turned all the way off.

“It was like he killed someone and ran,” Henry muttered when he came back down, tossing Chooch’s shirt at his face.

So surly.

The breakfast buffet had little cornbread bars which was a nice surprise. I love cornbread unless it’s bad cornbread. This wasn’t the best but it was MOIST and more like a cornbread cupcake tbh.

Then we left for Hershey Park and I will obviously write about that later DON’T YOU FRET, but I will give you a bigly spoiler and say that it was another U G H experience there – not as bad as last year but meh enough that I will not be going back unless the RMC rumor is true because at this point it will take a RMC to motivate me. I just don’t think the coaster lineup there is worth the hype. Is it just me?! Because it seems like it’s just me. I like ONE COASTER there enough to willingly stand in line for it and it’s not even one of the ones all the enthusiasts circle-jerk around (Great Bear, if you’re wondering).

We did go to the Hershey Chocolate Experience thing afterward though to get some gifts for Blake since he checked in on our cats three times in the last month-ish. Chooch and I did the Chocolate ride while Henry shopped. This ride has better ops than any ride in the actual park, IMO.

And now we’re on our way home. I am so tired!! I think being an Old Person is finally starting to affect me. I woke up with a headache Sunday and today.

(Lol Henry just turned up the radio because Saturday Drip – NCT Dream came on and that is his BOP.)

We just stopped at a rest area with a 7-Eleven and it was the most chaotic we’ve been as a family unit in quite some time. We kept slamming into each other and openly bickering and then I got hit with a wave of drowsiness so great that it made me crash into a display of sunglasses (only one fell off thank god) and then when the cashier asked Henry if he wanted a bag, he said NOOOOOOOoooooooo like she tried to hand him herpes and I appreciate his environmental love even if it was performative but the way he said that really bugged me so I spat, “Why did you say it like that??”

“I can say it however I want,” he shout back with a haughtiness that didn’t sit well with me AT ALL and the cashier CHUCKLED so now she can get fucked too.

Now Chooch, he is still pouting because Starbucks was closing right when we got there, is doubly-pouting because he wishes he had got a hoodie in Wildwood – this after just bitching because he can’t feel the a/c in the backseat – and it reminded me that I got a Wildwood sweatshirt so now I’m wearing it.

“Wow you’re so cool,” Chooch mumbled. Lololol.

Buying this yesterday was a whole ass experience. I don’t feel like getting into it right now though.

I don’t know why this trip feels so much more exhausting than others since we we’ve only been gone since Friday night but when I say I am wiped out, I truly mean it. Saturday and Sunday were both exceptionally long & action-packed days. Good god.

But now we only have 90 more minutes until hooooooome!

Aug 142022
 

Hello from Wildwood! We got in around 7a after a night of very little sleep – the hotel was fine but I kept waking up because I was straight freezing and CHOOCH was on a call with MEXICO SQUAD until the wee hours so that kept waking me up too.

Too early to check-in, so we parked near our hotel (Island Breeze) which is right across from Surfside Pier so super convenient since that’s where the Coastin’ By the Ocean event registration and ERT was happening from 9a-12p.

So we used our free time to get breakfast at Andy’s (we all got an omelette variation and I had immediately regertz because I had been heavily leaning toward a waffle but then Chooch ordered first and got a spinach and feta omelette so then I thought IS IT SAVORY ME FOR ME TOO? and changed my order to a mushroom omelette at the final hour and I shouldn’t have done that).

Then we just walked around until it was time to check in to the Coastin’ By the Ocean enthusiast event. More later!

Henry doing the bare minimum, FYI.

Aug 122022
 

Yo yo yo we’re currently en route to Wildwood and I’m not doing a TRADITIONAL LIVEBLOG but here are some PICTURES.

Chooch has been into reading again ever since Mexico (thank you to his new friends for inspiring him to read again! He’s currently reading Bullet Train (Bad Bunny is evidently in the movie and Chooch’s “Mexico Squad” are obsessed with him so I assume this is what instigated his desire to read the book?) and is having such a good time with it that’s he’s intermittently cracking up in the backseat and has already rated it 5 stars on Goodreads even though he’s only 1/3 done.

Meanwhile I’m reading this which is blah:

Stopped at the same rest area in Bedford where we ran into Bridget last fall!

There’s a cool wall of Turnpike artifacts that I never bothered to look at until today.

I thought they were CHEERSing their Starbucks but I dunno what was actually happening. Also it annoys me that anytime Chooch GRUDGINGLY lets me have a sip of his drinks, he immediately gropes for a napkin to wipe off the lid. Dude, I’m your MOTHER?!

We are currently driving thru the stinkiest stretch of Pennsylvania, holy fucking shit.

At another rest stop. This guy is stocking the pastry shelf and HIS GIRLFRIEND JACKED HER FINGER UP TODAY REAL GOOD BUT SHE WON’T GO TO THE DOCTOR.

Omg another rest stop!

I dunno why this is so funny to me but Chooch obv. does not agree.

Trying to get a picture of the super moon that’s been evading him all night.

We’ll be at our hotel in Somewhere, NJ in about 20 minutes (11pm) and then tomorrow we’ll have another hour to drive before WILDWOOD so I am signing off now byeeee.

Aug 102022
 

Right after Chooch left for Mexico, Henry and I started to rearrange his room. Nothing too life-altering! It was just basically swapped out a bookshelf and dresser so that there’s more space to walk into his room now. The dresser was too long for the wall it originally sat in front of. Now you can actually open his bedroom door and walk in without getting Ikea “wood” jammed up into your hip!

We also strung up some fiesta bunting as a nod to his one-month home of Mexico.

I don’t think I ever realized that he has a PRIME VIEW of the Cure corner from his room. I’m sure this is so very thrilling to him.

Honestly, I was a nervous wreck all day waiting for Chooch. So many emotions! Happiness that he was coming home, anxiety for him traveling alone, sadness for him having to leave his new friends…I was a mess.

It didn’t help that his flight wasn’t due to land in PGH until around 10:30p, so it was a long ass day, my friends.

LUCKILY!! The lame-o church carnival across the street had an oldies cover band called THE WURMS performing. They played  Stray Cat Strut for approx. 20 minutes and then abruptly left. Henry said that was because they were “practicing” and by that I think he meant SOUNDCHECKING.

They did eventually come back out and went on to play other songs like my fave SECRET AGENT MAN and I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW, but then they reverted back Stray Cat Strut.

HNC was thoroughly enjoying the show, though, and that’s all that matters.

Drew, waiting for Chooch.

Anyway, then we went to the airport and picked him up but you already knew that.

The next day, Janna and Judy came over for WELCOME HOME TACO PARTY!

We even had a bowl of cactus because apparently that was Chooch’s favorite thing that he ate in Mexico but he was REALLY NERVOUS over the fact that Henry had prepared this for him. I mean, we got it at the local Mexican grocery store, Las Palmas, not from the plant section in Home Depot so I dunno what he thought was going to happen?!

I told him to do something for the picture and I guess he was still riding that GROUP PICTURE wave from Mexico because he actually did something instead of yelling at me for wanting a picture.

We were all so happy to have Chooch back and he actually told us stories and let us look at the SHARED ALBUM he has with his Mexico squad! I’m obsessed with them by the way. Earlier that afternoon, he was on a video call with them in his room and it was the purest thing ever, oh my dumb heart.

<3

Apparently, one of the girls in the group (not in his squad though) was a delinquent who lives in a penthouse in Philly and kept going to clubs all night and missing class and she ended up having her college credit revoked! And a fifteen year old girl in the group made out with a twenty year old local on the beach in front of the group leaders!

I also had to laugh because in addition to the language and culture group, there was a smaller group of students there for leadership and something, and every time CIEE would devote posts to them on Insta, I would get so angry because it meant chooch wouldn’t be in it. I kept screaming I HATE THESE LEADERSHIP KIDS! NO ONE CARES! and apparently the language and culture kids felt the same way lol. Chooch said it was so annoying because they weren’t a part of any of the stuff they were doing but always showed up for the excursions and no one liked them. They looked so boring!!

And that was pretty much the weekend, in case you were wondering. Preparing for Chooch and celebrating Chooch!

Aug 072022
 

true to form, we waited for him to come down the steps forever and then finally started to wonder where he was so Henry texted him and was like WHERE U AT and he was like BAGGAGE CLAIM?! He somehow walked right past us and we didn’t see him?! So our reunion was extremely anticlimactic.

BUT HE IS HOME, CHOOCH IS BACK!! HE IS ACTUALLY TELLING US STORIES RIGHT NOW IN THE CAR SO BYEEEE.

Aug 012022
 


Today was all car, all the time. We left Nashua around 8am after splitting a leftover birthday cupcake (thanks, Alyson!), agreed on an audiobook, and settled in for the long-haul drive. (A bit over 9 hours, plus all the inevitable stopping.)

I didn’t LiveBlog since we were audiobooking but I probably should have because the book was a ZERO STAR for me, son.

(It was “All I Want” by Darcey Bell, in case you care. I will probably have lots of mean things to say about it in my August book wrap-up.)

Anyway, that picture is from a NY rest stop. I thought the flowers were pretty, because I am 43 now and these are things that delight the Elder Eyes.


For lunch, we went to Apple Valley Restaurant in Milford PA (?). This was after we stopped at a Pilot where some tractor trailer had the audacity to block the exit and one of the Pilot guys had to continually get on the loud speaker to call out the truck # and chastise the driver in an overly friendly tone about how it’s rude to do so and other truckers are now blocked in and he is GOING TO HAVE HIM TOWED IF HE DOESNT COME OUT AND MOVE HIS DAMN TRUCK. Then he went back to showers today look for him there! The other guys working the counter were weighing in on this, how they can always tell which driver it is by the guilty look on their faces but how they will never come forward, and it was really quite something. Trucker drama. Wow.

I actually didn’t understand what the guy had done and Henry explained it to me but it sounded stupid aka I still didn’t understand.

But yeah Apple Valley was not our first or even second or third choice but the one place looked permanently closed, the other made me feel uncomfortable when we pulled in the lot (it was fast-foodish but there were a lot of people eating outside and the inside was packed), but Apple Valley claimed to have a veggie burger so winner winner.

Immediately I was mad because Henry asked for a booth and the only one was right by the lobby so I didn’t get to see the bowels on this wood-paneled eatery. I pouted about this for some time and then pretended to act like I was balking at the prices just to see what Henry would say and when he was like “we can leave…” I snapped, “OH OK SO YOU THINK WE ARE TOO POOR TO EAT HERE THEN?”

We stayed and it’s a good thing too because my veggie burger (which I was expecting to be OUT OF STOCK because supply demands / economy stuff I don’t put attention to etc) was actually pretty delicious. It had avo and also some wonderful pesto mayo on it.


Thick Boi! It was thicker than Henry’s Real Meat Burger!

Also I loved the fancy metal plates.

Our waiter was a young guy named Derrick but Henry thought he said Dick. He was ok but kept disappearing and the hostess had to go looking for me because he was probably out back filming TikToks.

Afterward, we checked out the adjacent candy store where I ended up coming face to face with what is now known as Megan’s Birthday Present, and then I spotted a Mr Gray Guy outside who turned out to be a Mrs Gray Girl so Henry went to the car to get peanuts and I fed her!!

Flying J is next to PA mountains, therefore making it an ok place to stop.

Me in the bathroom looking haggard because I’m 43 now and road trips are now very tiring for me.

We only stopped at one (1) Sheetz if you can believe that!! But it was memorable because Siouxsie and the Banshee’s “Kiss Them For Me” was playing and I can’t remember the last time, if ever, I heard that in the wild?! This was after we getting gas at Pilot earlier and the gas pumps were ensconced in the synthy majesty of Running Up That Hill.

And not nearly as unexpected but equally as audibly delicious, S vussudio was playing at some point too today – maybe at a Love’s?! Henry clearly tries to hit them all.

We finished the book about 30 minutes outside of Pgh and ranted about it angrily until we got home. The end.

P.S. The lowlight was the book in case you couldn’t tell.