Jul 192010

There was a girl with whom I had a brief friendship in 1995.  Her name was Jessy and she was taken in by the family who lived at the end of the lane. The only thing we really had in common on the surface was that we were both sixteen, but there was an easy comfort when I was with her, and a lot of the times I was sneaking out to go down to her house because I just couldn’t be around my parents anymore. I have vivid memories of dyeing Easter eggs in her kitchen and going to the mall to  buy 2Pac’s “All Eyez on Me” and a pair of purple pants from Contempo that were dangerously close to being bell bottoms.I have no idea what I was thinking.

Then one day she was gone and I never knew why. She wasn’t in school anymore, wasn’t in the house at the end of the lane anymore.

I’m not sure what made me look for her on Facebook, but I found her a few months ago. I sent a friend request with a message that started with, “You probably don’t remember me, but…” I never think anyone remembers me; that’s my inferiority complex rearing it’s gnarly head, I guess.

But she did remember me, and so we started messaging each other. Then we started texting. It took a few months and a lot of rescheduling, but we finally met up last Sunday for lunch at Panera.

She was exactly as I remembered. There is something about her, something very nurturing and maternal, that makes my walls come down. I found that I could speak freely with her, and was admitting things about myself that I would never be so quick to share. Especially with someone I hadn’t seen in fourteen years! I wasn’t even speaking with a stutter, which I often do when hanging out with someone new. But then, I associated calmness with her, because she was sort of my refuge for awhile there when things were bad at home. I’ll never forget that.

“Are you still really clumsy?” she asked. I laughed, but inside, I was really happy that she remembered that about me.

She brought a present with her. She’s been reading my blog (which is the #1 most awesome thing someone can do to prove they give a shit about me!) and picked up on my obsession with my cat Marcy. She found a cutting board that has a Marcy-esque cat on it. It’s the cutest thing!

“Henry can use it,” she laughed, knowing that I don’t cook.

Before we knew it, our Panera lunch  had crept into dinner territory.

I had hoped that this wouldn’t be one of those one-time deals, that we’d make empty promises to hang out again, only to gradually drift apart.

But then she invited me over on Saturday to swim with her and her friend Pixie. I have this phobia where I feel that my friends are embarrassed to have their other friends meet me (Alisha knows!) so right away I was like, “OMG I’m a cool kid now!”

I almost didn’t make it. I didn’t have a bathing suit, and was having the worst time finding a one-piece. The middle of July is a fantastic time to shop for swim wear. I was sending her all of these “I’M GOING TO KILL MYSELF FUCK MY LIFE TODAY SUCKS” texts but she kept coming back with words of reason, plan b’s and c’s and z’s, until finally I calmed down and found something that wasn’t meant for grandmas.

Henry dropped me off at her house, happy that I had a play date that didn’t involve him. And I ended up having a great afternoon in a pool with two cool girls who didn’t make me feel lame or left out. (That is, after I walked into Jessy’s house and promptly tripped going into the living room. And I also entered the pool by basically stumbling and falling off the ladder.) And it turns out her friend Pixie likes A LOT of the same bands as me, like Pierce the Veil, Emarosa and Chiodos. I almost drowned.

When Henry came back to get me, we all stood in the yard and talked while Jessy’s husband Tommy antagonized Chooch. Chooch LOVES IT when grown-ups play with him. LOVES IT.

“You’re family now, babe,” Jessy said, hugging me before I left.

The whole way home, I talked a mile a minute to Henry, like I had just come home from summer camp with eighteen new friends.

Sunday morning, Chooch was like, “I want to go to your friend’s house again and play with her dogs.” And so Henry, Chooch and I spent most of Sunday with Jessy and Tommy at their house and it was pretty much amazing. Henry and I don’t have couple friends! And now he and Tommy are talking about going FISHING together! I can only imagine how much fodder that will give me for Henry’s fake LiveJournal!

Best of all, it was nice to see my kid have so much fun. Tommy rode him around on his quad and set off firecrackers for him. And Jessy and I only nearly let him drown in the pool twice.


Tommy and Chooch, bonding over explosives. (I didn’t bring my camera, because I’m a dummy. iPhone pics for the loss.)

Tommy and Jessy are so fun and welcoming. Apparently, there are plans to put me in a CANOE. If you know me at all, right about now you’re like, “Oh, good luck.”

Feb 272010

Earth-shattering updates throughout the day, brought to you by Tart-Tits. Please try to continue breathing while taking it all in.

  • 14:36 Having extreme regret for all I ate yesterday. Bad food puts me in a bad(der) mood. Hummus and carrots for lunch it is. #
  • 15:09 Bullies, that’s all these Russians are. I’m boycotting white Russians until the #Olympics are over. N/m it’s been 5 yrs since I had one. #
  • 15:12 And don’t even think you’ll see me in my kokoschnik until at LEAST April. #olympics #russiansarebulliesgoeatyourborscht #
  • 16:50 Don’t hurt Jagr, you Russian Ovechfuck!! #
  • 18:54 Been at Altar Bar for 15 minutes and don’t hate anyone yet!! #
  • 20:24 Some beefy guy just clamped his porkchop hand on @saucalisha’s back. Can’t see her face but know she’s scowling. #
  • 20:50 RT @penschat Anyone watching ice dancing or figure skating instead of #TeamUSA vs. #TeamCanada right now should jump off a bridge. #
  • 21:09 Forgot how much i like Nonpoint. Drunk guy to my left is ready to topple. I have fear. #
  • 21:34 At a rock show and STILL watching hockey. No biggie. #
  • 21:51 Countdown to me crying like a baby. #
  • 21:57 But no, don’t play Fleury or anything like that, Babcock. #teamcanada #
  • 22:01 Altar Bar erupted in cheers for #teamusa. I felt so conflicted, like the time I couldn’t decide between rifle and ice pick. #
  • 06:53 This past weekend was the equivalent to escaping Leatherface’s house on one leg. I feel horrible, mentally & physically. #
  • 06:56 The only exercise I got all weekend was jumping to Nonpoint. I’m going to have to join the army or something. Obviously. #
  • 07:06 RT @spacecoaster “Don’t just DO something–stand there!” The closest the Tea Party has to a political platform. #
  • 07:18 I always feel so much more alive after seeing Cold. #
  • 08:38 Sitting here trying to figure out a way to word my resignation without it sounding like “Daddy says I can’t work here anymore.” #
  • 08:46 I’m so exhausted that multiplying 23×2 in my head made me cry. #
  • 10:11 Fuuuuuuck I hate making bad-news phone calls. I guess I’m finishing out the week and I’m done. #
  • 11:47 U know that feeling u get when u put out a hit & the hitman takes out the wrong person? Add a side of toothache & that’s how I feel. #
  • 13:23 IKR?! RT @kausatoday Funny how no one is mentioning Fleury to be Canada’s goalie even though he has 30 playoff wins over the past 2 springs #
  • 16:25 Chooch just explained to me the directions on the Mac n Cheese box; sadly his recipe comprehension exheeds his mother’s. #
  • 17:45 My exhaustion told me that changing the spelling of “exceed” to “exheed” would be ok. Just a little FYI-aperitif before dinner. #
  • 06:57 I’m sincerely hoping that Katy Perry’s turn as a Proactiv spokespizzaface means she’s on her way to obscurity, a la Jessica Simpson. #
  • 07:32 Um. It’s been 2 days and i’m still crying about Cold. #
  • 09:34 All I do is sit around waiting to be told what to do next, like goddamn Kindercare. It’s a wonder I don’t need a permission slip to piss. #
  • 09:52 God I can’t even perform the inherent act of swallowing saliva properly. #
  • 13:50 My boss said he’s bummed Henry had to ruin my job here; called me a good egg. I laughed. #
  • 14:00 I feel like I work in a waiting room. I just SIT here WAITING. Kind of glad I’m done on Friday. #
  • 17:52 Way to keep us posted, @NBCOhockey. #
  • 19:58 Pulling for a #teamcanada win. Wish they’d have played Fleury but I do enjoy hearing the LUUUUU chants. #olympics #
  • 20:06 Henry made a big pot of baby food for dinner; acted surprised when I wouldn’t eat it. #
  • 21:42 I love the “We want Russia” chant from Canadian crowd. Fuck all the other events, #Olympic hockey is too exciting to watch anything else. #
  • 07:22 I am definitely going through a life crisis. Listening to Frank Turner is coddling though. #
  • 08:48 I’m an ugly person. #
  • 09:11 I keep dreaming about someone no longer in my life and it’s stressing me out in more ways than I could have imagined. #
  • 09:16 Fuck I can’t keep sitting here, waiting. My skin is a’tremble; tears springing to my eyes. Don’t care that I’m getting paid to do fuck all. #
  • 11:58 Frolicking in the cem with my nutso kid is way better than playing waiting games in an office. yfrog.com/4erdeij #
  • 12:25 Chooch just praised me for getting him in his carseat without incident. Well, it IS a big deal if you know me. #
  • 13:26 On Words With Friends, you can play “homo” and “lez,” but not “Jew.” Shit, you’re an asshole for trying. #
  • 13:27 Got a box of chocolate cookies in the mail today just for writing @coupesetique’s name in the snow. The world isn’t so bad sometimes. #
  • 14:10 The sight of my three year old thumbing through the new issue of @altpress (& recognizing bands) made my heart swell. #
  • 16:46 That puck really looked like it went in for the Swiss. #teamusa #olympics #
  • 17:00 I feel spoiled by #Olympic hockey. Henry who. #
  • 17:19 If not for Hiller in goal, that Swiss-US game would have been a BLOWOUT. At least Mark Streit is used to losing. #teamusa #
  • 19:38 I wish I had a #teamcanada jersey to wear right now. Oh god, please beat the Russians. #
  • 19:39 GETZLAF! 1-0 Canada. Just think, that could have been doucheknobber Jeff Carter. #teamcanada #
  • 19:42 Will be interesting to see if the Shark line scores against their NHL teammate. I should not be this excited while sober!!! #
  • 19:59 I feel bad for Malkin and Gonch but GODDAMN GO CANADA! Was NOT expecting them to lead 3-0 in the 1st. #teamcanada #
  • 20:17 Henry just ran down a laundry list of all his wifely duties (laundry included) while apparently all I do is watch hockey. I’m Tolhursting. #
  • 20:27 I wish I had a La-Z-Boy and a taste for beer. Time to scour Goodwill for nacho- and Skol-stained flannels. #authenticatingtherolereversal #
  • 21:09 Henry just found Chooch inside a pillowcase. Chooch is our son, by the way; not the family hamster. #
  • 21:10 RT @drosennhl This reminds me of Game 7, Pitt-Wash. Big hype, and one team just dominates because a Russian couldn’t stop a puck. #
  • 21:46 Canada/Russia = most entertaining hockey game i’ve seen in awhile. Tempers are FLARING. Malkin elbowed a benched Getzlaf in the face, lol. #
  • 21:51 Final score 7-3, #teamcanada! Totally didnt predict this! GO HOME OVECHKIN. #
  • 21:56 Mike Milbury, on Russia: I was disappointed that these guys came with their Eurotrash game. #
  • 22:17 Went to HS w/ a girl who told ppl she drove a Hummer b/c she was “rich.” Funny, I thought it was because she was a slovenly American asshole #
  • 07:04 Get fucked, nostalgia. #
  • 07:08 Lindsay Vonn might be good at skiing or whatever it is she does, but she should put more practice in having a less annoying voice. #
  • 07:35 The problem is that I have not rebounded. #
  • 09:04 Just found out the wife of someone I shouldn’t care about died yesterday and I’m at this stupid job trying not to cry. #
  • 09:07 I’m glad I get up at 6am to come to this lame job for entir e hour. I’ve srsly been working just to pay for the gas it takes to get here. #
  • 10:35 On today’s Brightside List: I don’t know anyone in real life like The Real World DC’s Ashley. Certainly something to smile about. #
  • 18:21 I hate it when the pizza guy interrupts my soul-baring moment with Henry. Not that Henry was listening anyway. #
  • 07:01 Me: I was very mature at 4. Henry: Really? Because you’re not very mature at 30. #
  • 07:35 I sincerely need to stop crying everyday on the way to work. Oh wait, this is my last day. Lolsies. #
  • 08:12 Nothing beats an intense joyride through the snow to a job I won’t have after today. #
  • 09:21 Erin, did you make it to work OK? Why, yes Henry, thanks for asking. #
  • 10:31 I was only at this job for 16 days yet my boss almost made me cry when he wished me luck. FUCK SENSITIVITY. #
  • 14:25 Asked Chooch if he wants to play hockey. “How about croquet instead?” he asked. Sure Chooch, I’ll sign you up for lessons w/ the Red Queen. #
  • 15:08 I’m so happy I can end this emotionally exhausting week with two Olympic hockey games. Go #teamusa and #teamcanada!! #
  • 15:31 Finland didn’t get the memo that this is the Olympic semifinal. #teamusa is up 6-0 and there’s still 6 min left in the 1st pd. Massacre. #
  • 22:03 My neighbors have a staircase to infinity on which they walk in cinderblock boots. God love ’em. #
  • 03:42 I might die if I don’t order a Swivel Sweeper G2 RIGHT NOW. I want to see if it’ll pick up the bone fragments in my basement. #
  • 07:53 My cats are 9 sec away from filming a sappy Enya-backed starving cat commercial & I’m like, ” Have you SEEN the chubs on you??” Get a life! #
  • 09:53 I can smell her on my sweat shirt. #
  • 10:24 A little snow doesn’t seem so bad when other places are being ravaged by earthquakes and tsunamis. So fucking scary. #
  • 10:25 I need a backpack that allows me to publicly display a box of tampons. Then I’ll take it kayaking. What’s up, menstruation? #
  • 13:03 I would feel better if there were perhaps some sort of sign. #
  • 13:35 Just overheard Henry say he’s tired of seeing Chooch’s weener. #
  • 14:05 Of all the CDs to choose from, Chooch pulls out Copeland and asks, “Can we listen to this today?” Well. I DID ask for a sign, I guess. #

Automatically shipped by Lo udTwitter. Now you can rest easy, knowing my (sometimes incriminating) inner-most thoughts, actions and tampon-change. Please do not call the FBI.

Jun 022008

(*and by busy, I completely mean lazy.)

Urgent. Will die without reading.

  • 07:14 I’m subtitling 2008 as The Year I Gave My Dentist Too Much Money. #
  • 07:21 Chooch has determined his breakfast to be a red freezepop. #
  • 10:56 On the way home from work last nite I had a clear vision of a jagged piece of glass slicing through half my face and one eyeball. Awesome. #
  • 04:32 At one point last night, Christina noted that an entire hour passed without me mentioning murder. Gold star alert. #
  • 05:07 The dinner Henry made me looks uncannily like dog food, which is apropos I guess. Tastes good though. #
  • 05:56 Was standing still in front of my desk, lost balance and half-fell. Sent a fork catapulting through air. 1 witness. #
  • 06:00 Me: Eleanore, remember when I totally fell? Eleanore: Uh, yeah babe. It was five minutes ago. #
  • 08:36 Shit I hate Tina so bad that it makes me laugh murderously. HAHAHAHAMURDER.#
  • 09:41 were my arms too short to ransom you from leper’s skin and snacks of glue? #

  • 10:52 Henry: what kind of woman are you? You don’t carry Kleenex or have tampons. #
  • 12:47 Henry just explained to me the concept of fire and how it doesn’t get along with clothing. #
  • 14:46 She makes me feel pretty. #
  • 17:43 Saw a dead fish in a pond and henry gently reminded me that animals really do die. Except it wasn’t so gentle. #
  • 20:15 Chooch is now the owner of a neon pink fish named Switchblade. Wagering with Henry on who kills it first: Chooch, the cats, me. #
  • 21:20 Chooch’s head is big enough to use as an ottoman. #
  • 23:36 I think part of my eye just peeled off. #

  • 10:00 I know this comes as a shock, but: 2-year-old + pet fish = what was I thinking? #

Other than that, I spent my weekend chasing my kid through a cemetery, getting all up in Henry’s hair, eating pizza, watching through my fingers as the Penguins lost, being treated to a good grilled cheese lunch by my friend Jess, wishing I was in Ohio, and getting lost in my own ‘hood.

May 192008

III: Pat’s Pizzeria

Corey and I had time to kill before the show started, which was a good thing because our breakfast and lunch consisted of sharing a bag of Munchos in the car. Driving down the main drag of whatever shit hole we were in, we passed strip clubs and adult video stores, liquor stores and dance studios (the exotic kind) on every block. Every couple of intersections, I would start to pull into a parking lot, and then say, “Oh, never mind, that’s just a bait shop” or “Oops, I thought that was an IHOP, but it’s just another whore house.” Holy shit, New Jersey is made with a crust of perversion, filled with a gooey center of booze and g-strings. No wonder Christina is so sleazy — she was BORN in the center of it all.

When the going gets tough, the tough call Henry.

“We need you to find us somewhere to eat, somewhere that’s not too far from our motel, and somewhere that has grilled cheese,” I ordered, skipping the salutations.

“I AM IN PITTSBURGH,” Henry growled.

“Find your own damn restaurant, you’re capable. USE YOUR FUCKING BLACKBERRY.”

“Yeah, OK. So, we passed a sign for Camden, if that helps. Find us food establishments, thanks.”

Henry, probably realizing that I was just going to keep calling him until he fulfilled my wishes, found us some family restaurant back in Gloucester. I followed his directions part-way until I grew tired and nervous that he was leading us straight into a river or over a cliff with dynamite in our mouths, so when we came upon Pat’s Pizzeria, Corey and I both agreed that it’d do.

Despite the neon “Open” sign, Pat’s didn’t appear very inviting. There were no other cars in the lot and a large section of the entrance was cordoned off with yellow Caution tape. We were hungry and running out of time, so we dropped the spoiled siblings act and went inside. But I mean, we REALLY had our hearts set on grilled cheese, just so you know.

We must have missed Pat’s hey day by a few years. It looked like it could have been a decent establishment at some point, but then maybe the owners stopped caring because it’s probably just a drug front anyway. Who cares if the vinyl booths have switchblade slashes in  them and the floor hasn’t been mopped in weeks when you’re hustling kilos and illegal arms out the back of the storeroom.

A shifty guy named Yianni waited on us, never once making eye contact. He seemed surprised that we opted to dine in because apparently the locals eschew Pat’s disheveled dining room for their own. I ordered cheese ravioli and I won’t lie — I was excited to try the edible delights of Gloucester’s famed pizzeria (there’s an advertisement for it on the underpass leading into  town, so you know it’s good).

Somewhere in between spying a shirtless fat man sitting down with a beer in his house across the street and sending pictures of Corey looking scared and miserable to our mom, an older woman who appeared to be a few food stamps safe from vagabondism sat down behind me with a double stroller. Her frizzy red hair was streaked with gray and she was wearing a billowing man’s overcoat; her lips were unable to meet past her buck teeth. We paid no attention to her, and then halfway through our meal, she set her sights on us. She was undeterred by the fact that, moments earlier, Corey loudly postulated, “I feel like this town is swimming in AIDS” and proceeded to solicit us with small talk.

“What is tomorrow? I feel like tomorrow is something special,” she asked aloud, looking directly at our table. I turned slightly and told her it was Mother’s Day, but apparently the proper reaction would have been to box up our food and finish eating in the car, because once we took her bait, she refused to  throw us back to sea. There was a vibe about her, I can’t put my finger on it, but she seemed slightly unstable. Her eyes seemed unfocused, glazed; and I mean, I’ve been known to pick up hitchhikers without a second thought, so my feeling nervous about someone speaks volumes. Corey was unnerved by her too.

She asked Corey and I what we were getting our mothers, and I explained that we’re siblings and have the same mom, and that my present to our mom was getting Corey out of her hair for the weekend, that this was our first sibling road trip and we were there to see the Cure.

“The Cure?” she repeated, brows furrowed. “No, I ain’t heard of it.” Feigning incredulity, I told her that they weren’t a new band, they’ve been around since the late seventies.

“Oh, that’s before my time. I wasn’t around all that long ago.” I was hoping she was being facetious, but something told me she was a little off-kilter. This was around the point where Corey started kicking me under the table.

“Let’s get the fuck away from the crazy broad, plz.”

She began bragging about her older kids. One daughter, who is 21, is in charge of three WaWas. THREE WAWAS, you guys. I wasn’t aware that this was a huge accomplishment, but her face fell a little when I didn’t applaud, so I hurried up and said, “Oh wow! That’s great.”

“Oh yeah, I know! And she just graduated high school last year.” She smiled and shook her head proudly. “My other daughter is nineteen. She just graduated this year. You probably know her,” she said to Corey. “Crystal?”

Corey, who refused to engage her, continued staring in the other direction, so I reminded her that we weren’t townies. Every time I caught Corey’s eye, he widened them into angry and impatient saucers, imploring me to stop talking to her.

He finally took matters into his own hands and went to the counter to get takeout boxes off of Yianni.

“Oh right!” she said, remembering. “You guys are musical. I forgot.” I don’t know what she meant by that, but Corey had returned to the table with takeout boxes, which we sloppily scraped the rest of our food in. Before I left, she pummeled me with sweet sentiments, asking God to bless me and urging me to take care of myself. “Please tell your mother I said Happy Mother’s Day!” she shouted as I shirked quickly through the door. Hey Mom, some crazy fisherwoman from New Jersey might die if you don’t have a blessed Mother’s Day.

I feel like if I had been any closer, she would have stuck me with a pin to have a drop of my blood to keep as a memento.

When we got out to the car, Corey breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief. “What the fuck was wrong with her?

She didn’t even order any food. She was just SITTING there the whole time, like she was lost.”

As we pulled back into the motel’s lot, I theorized that she was probably there to get her weekly fix. The guy who was fighting earlier with his girlfriend no longer was wearing a shirt, and was staring at us from the door of his room. As we got ready to leave for the show, we reminisced of past European vacations. “And look at us now!” I shouted cheerfully, waiting for the bathroom light to warm up.

May 182008

I: Getting There

The night before we left, I had Henry look up lodging for Corey and me while I was at work, since I am helpless and had more important things to do. My only criteria was: close to venue and cheap.

He sent me info for Red Carpet Inn, which had rooms for $49+tax. It was located in New Jersey, and it was only 3.5 miles away from the Wachovia Spectrum, where the Cure was playing Saturday night.

I quickly emailed him and said I’d take it.

“You realize this place isn’t going to be nice,” Henry chided in his reply. The user ratings all said, “You get what you pay for,” and I was OK with that because the more money I saved, the more shit I could buy throughout the trip, like Slim Jims and crack.

“Don’t you dare even think about calling and complaining,” Henry said the next morning, as he armed me with directions and SoyJoy bars.

Corey arrived at my house at 10:00 and, between filling up the gas tank with liquid gold and taking out some cash for the turnpike, etc., I managed to spend $71 before we even left Brookline. 

For the 300+ miles on the Pennsylvania turnpike, Corey and I mainly reminisced about  past displays of family dysfunction, which included Corey’s favorite Father-Daughter fight in which I screamed in my step-dad’s face that I wish he’d get his head cut off by the log splitter we had in our backyard. Corey was laughing, and I was too but the whole time I was thinking, “Yeah, but this was a stepping stone in the rickety path of dropping out of high school.”

I forced Corey to listen to a special mixed CD I made just for the trip, and he sarcastically cheered every time Chiodos came on. However, he is now obsessed with Dance Gavin Dance, which is more than I could have hoped for. However, I ridiculed him every time he disagreed with my musical tastes, you know, like every other obnoxious music snob does.

My favorite moment was when Corey told me he was going through my step-dad’s cell phone and discovered naked pictures of my step-dad’s girlfriend all bent over the back of the couch. Ten minutes later and it was all, “Remember when you found naked pictures of Daddy’s girlfriend?” and then we laughed all over again.

I’m not used to being the responsible one in these trips. My role is usually to wedge my fat ass in the passenger seat, armed with my vacation journal, beverage and snacks, switching up the music like it’s my destiny. Also, flirting with truckers and being  Annoying: Road Trip Edition. But this time, I had to pay attention to shit, like how the car was doing on gas, if all the tires were intact, all while keeping a general sense of where the fuck we were. Oh, the pressure. Corey was in charge of the directions, but every time I would ask him where we were, he’d stare ambivalently at the map and kind of shrug. So then I would call Henry and ask, “Hey, how much farther do we have?” and he’d get all mad because I wouldn’t be able to tell him where we were since I can’t read a map and then he’d have to go and turn the computer on (he was letting it rest while I was away) and by that time I’d be all, “Oooh we’re going through a tunnel! Bubbye!”

Directions-wise, it was smooth sailing until we made it to the Philly exits and had to get off the turnpike. Corey would play with my emotions by saying things like, “We need this next exit, No wait, next one. No wait this one!!” leaving me mere seconds to swerve onto the ramp. I screamed the whole way across the Ben Franklin bridge and somehow managed to take the wrong exit, which dumped us blindly into some small town called Gloucester.



We stopped at Coastal to get gas and when I started to get out of the car, an elderly employee came over and started pumping it for me. I learned later that night that it’s like, some weird law that all New Jersey gas stations are full service, and you would think that with me being such a fucking princess, I’d have really embraced this small display of pampering, but instead I panicked because I didn’t  know the protocol — was I supposed to tip him? Cheer him on? Wait silently in the car and pretend it’s not making me feel like an entitled White Person to have a Mexican work for me? I kept asking Corey but he was all, “I don’t know, this is weird and I think he hates us and I want to go” so we sped away when he was through.

I had to call Henry once again so he could get us to our motel (at this point, I didn’t even know the name of it) and our conversation went something like this:


Henry: What are you near?

Me: A black lady in really high boots.

Henry, sighing angrily: What are you near?

Me: A chocolate covered pretzel store.

 While Henry was busy trying to find out where we were, I pulled over and Corey ran into the chocolate-covered pretzel place to ask a local for help. Henry kept asking me for street names, and I would answer him with very important information, like:

“Ew that guy just looked at me!” and “I hope Corey buys some delicious confections while he’s in there. The sign says they’re the best.”

Corey returned with directions at the same time Henry found us on a map. To keep Henry’s ego from deflating, I chose his directions and proceeded to doubt him the entire time, saying that I should have listened to the pretzel lady’s directions instead, which caused him to yell back and say things like, “I AM NOT THERE. I AM IN PITTSBURGH. I CANNOT SEE WHAT YOU ARE SEEING.” Then he was all, “Fuck you, find it yourself,” and hung up on me.

Both sets of directions ended up being right. The pretzel lady said we’d know we were there when we saw the Pennant night club and Weber’s burger stand, and by golly she was right.

II : Red (from blood stains) Carpet Inn

“It looks like a concentration camp,” Corey groaned as we pulled into the Red Carpet Inn. It was the kind of place that people retreated to after their slum lords evicted them; the kind of place where people crept off to have lunch break affairs; the kind of place that had mattresses broken enough for people to appropriately OD on. Corey and I just may have been the only legitimate travelers staying there.

If you can, try to remember back to the last time you emptied fifty-eight ash trays in the center of your living room and then steeped it with Pine-Sol and the musty stench of your Aunt Mary’s baby doll collection. Yeah, you remember? Well, that’s what it smelled like it in the closet-sized check-in office.

We  had to wait for a man in front of us to check in, which provided us with the idle time necessary for a complete giggle breakdown. It started with Corey, who had to bring a fist to his mouth to stifle the laughter. The old woman on the other side of the bullet-proof windows shot us dirty scowls and I tried to bury myself in a Chinese take-out menu that I lifted from the counter. Corey tried to hide his laughter by turning to look out the window, nearly knocking over the “Free Use for Guests” 1980’s-model microwave off it’s shaky stand.

After receiving no pleasantries from the clerk, not even a nicotine-ravaged “Welcome to New Jersey,” we had our key handed to us and  found that our room was the last one in the row, and luckily for us the door wasn’t visible from the lot. A small vestibule with a flickering overhead light had to be entered to find our door. It was the perfect setting for a late night mugging, stabbing, gang rape, tranny hooker wardrobe change.

 Once inside, I was relieved to find that the room itself wasn’t too bad. It seemed to be clean, as promised by the hand-written note left on the desk, declaring that some broad named Lillian cleaned it with her own bare hands. There were some stains on the towels and sheets, along with the standard array of cigarette burns dotting the shower curtain.

 The lone window in the room gave us a view of the lustrous grounds behind the motel. I looked out and, oh good, saw two shacks — just perfect for stowing murder victims, a troupe of Romanian sex slaves, and bricks of cocaine. Personally, I liked to hope that the Holy Grail was in there somewhere, shoved in the anus of a drug mule.

 The bathroom light seemed a little short-winded, so I walked back to the front desk to request a new bulb. On my way there, one of the residents — a young guy in a brown t-shirt — emerged and sat in front of the door, lighting up a cigarette and staring me down. Probably he was trying to gauge if I was a potential client, maybe trying to size me up for my preference — coke, pot, meth, grande-cocked Mexicans. Hopefully he was checking out my boobs, too.

Back in  the office, I had to ring the bell multiple times, praying that I wasn’t interrupting some underground cock fight or sex party, before the no-nonsense old desk clerk came out of the back room. When I told her the bathroom light wasn’t working very well, she impatiently shook her head and said, “No, it works. You gotta leave it on for about five minutes, let it warm up.” I started to thank her, but she had already turned her back on me.

“I don’t think that old lady in the office likes me,” I whined to Corey, chaining the door shut behind me.

“Well no shit. We were practically laughing in her face when you were checking in.”

A few minutes later, a domestic dispute broke out in the parking lot.

Apr 212008

Kara was in town over the weekend and invited me to lunch at Zenith. It was really her friend Valerie’s idea, whom I was excited to finally get to meet after knowing her on LiveJournal for a few years. However, Kara made the mistake of telling me that her fiancé Chris commented that Valerie and I have really different personalities and he wondered how well we would get along. This of course turned into the Telephone Game and by the time I told Henry what Chris had said, it went something like, "Chris said Valerie is a crazy asshole and she’s secretly hated me for twenty years and is going to be waiting for me in an alley with barbed wire, a chainsaw and a turkey baster and OHMYGOD!"

Turns out, Valerie was really nice and I didn’t hate her and she didn’t seem to hate me either. People usually like me for the first three months, so we’ll check back with her over the summer.

Zenith is half vegetarian restaurant with an amazing tea menu and half antique shop with a mother lode of religious icons and musty racks of polyester muumuus; I saw at least eight dresses that I desperately want to purchase for the animal mask photo shoot, Kara found a new wedding dress, and Valerie found a very Blanche Deveroux bathing suit. It’s a good thing she didn’t buy it, because she totally wouldn’t have looked right in it unless she built a lanai off the back of her house and furnished it with white wicker, which she should actually do and then invite me over every weekend so I can lay out and read some Danielle Steele. Maybe also she can brew up some mint tea and serve me some of that shit.

And even though Zenith has quite possibly the best collection of wall-mounted owl tsotchkes to ogle while taking a piss, my favorite part was our server, Keith. (I’m pretty sure he was Kara and Valerie’s favorite part, too, but I could be wrong. No, wait, I’m always right.) Even in his sleepy state, he was personable and helpful and super cute; he would make lazy laps around the empty restaurant, butting into our conversation now and then. When I asked to take his picture, he initially declined, maybe in fear that I would Photoshop it and he’d find himself on some raunchy, nude waitstaff website — I have that shady, no-good look to me, I guess.  I eventually talked him into it and for someone who, minutes earlier, was so opposed to the prospect of being photographed, he began busting out an arsonal of GQ poses with no hesitation.

This picture does no justice to his awesomeness! I keep wanting to call him Ben, though. He really looks like a Ben to me.

Keith brought us out our side salads, the largest salads I’ve ever seen stuffed into really small bowls; it was like the vegetation version of clown cars. As soon as he set the bowls down in front of us, leaves of lettuce the size of elephant ears began unfolding and springing forth. It was the most difficult, not to mention aggressive, salad my fork tines have ever speared.

After feeling like I had just slashed my way through a jungle in ‘Nam, Keith delivered my black bean burger which was capped with another lettuce leaf the size of a yarmulke. "Oh good, more lettuce," I said before casting it to the side.

Meanwhile, Valerie and Kara talked about cheese and condom-wrapped plunger sticks, but I was too busy trying to keep my mind from detonating over all the photographical ideas that place was feeding me. I want to go back there every day until I exhaust every vision I have, or drink every tea on their menu, whichever comes first.

Valerie's feet in the bathroom!

(More photos here.)

Apr 152008

If there was one moment in my life I’d love to be able to re-watch with a bowl of popcorn, it would be that day in fifth grade when Mike Harrison called Mrs. Glumac — the  obligatory meanest, nastiest, wartiest, tan-quilted-parka-in-the-winter wearingest lunch lady at our school — a bitch in the middle of a high stakes game of kickball, after she called him out unfairly.  Before she even had a chance to threaten him with a paddle, he took that rubber ball and hurled it at her face with the might of a thousand scorned bipolar women, smashing and breaking her glasses against her face.

He smashed them for every kid holding their piss on that playground, every kid that Mrs.

Glumac brought to tears in the cafeteria and every kid whose peaceful sleep was ever jarred into a fitful nightmare of hair nets and deadened eyes and Glumacian orders to line against the wall.

I remember how everyone just got really quiet, and Mrs. Glumac and Mike just stood there at a standstill, both in shock, we were all in shock. Mike was legendary in our eyes after that, having done what every kid thinks of doing, dreams of doing, wishes someone else would do to the cruel lunch lady who makes penises worldwide cower when she walks into a room. It was fucking awesome. I had a crush on him for real after that.

He totally got in so much trouble.

I used to keep a little log of daily happenings back then, just a little miniature spiral-topped notebook that I would write things like, “Spring is wearing a ponytail today — she’s going to be mean!” and “Oops, I have to sharpen my pencil!” It wasn’t a private diary, it was pine green, and everyone knew about it; so when we came back in from recess, everyone was all, “Erin, did you write about it yet, let us read what you wrote about it!” I believe all it said was a very succint “Mike H. called Mrs. Glumac a bitch then broke her glasses!” and everyone cheered when they saw the word “bitch” in actual penciled handwriting.

Jan 182008

1. We ordered hoagies at work and I forgot to put in my implicit request for any and all onions to be removed from mine so now I’m sitting here pulling them out of my mouth and I keep imagining that they’re earthworms. One will slip past me occasionally and the crunch it makes between my molars makes me want to bleed out. How is something capable of being crunchy and slimy all at once? Aren’t those two things diametrically opposed? I’m in Hell is what’s going on here. Fucking onions, they can ruin any meal. I’m doubly swoll about this because the last time we ordered from this place was the night Chooch had his accident and I had to leave work and head straight to Children’s Hospital. I forgot the second half of it was in my purse, and by the end of the night it was all balled up and squished, but I still ate it the next day for lunch. At least it didn’t HAVE ONIONS ON IT. Seriously, whoever decided that onions were OK to eat? Fuck an onion. Additionally, my sandwich was wrapped in a sheet of industrial paper large enough to cover a picnic table, making my re-wrapping attempt awkward and frustrating at best.

2. Wednesday was the first work fight I had since Tina moved to day shift. Collin told me to "die, I don’t care;" and I can’t lie to the Internets: it stung. (By the way, this was completely unprovoked.) I proceeded to not talk to him for the rest of the shift, until toward the end when he and Bob were talking about Rocky Horror Picture Show. You probably couldn’t tell, but I’m one of those people that has to chime in on topics close to the heart. Plus, I like to remind people that I know a lot about a lot (OK, everything). Collin said something crusted with PMS, I believe it was: "Oh, you’re talking now?" I mean, I tried real hard to achieve his suggestion that I "die," but was unsuccessful. Then we had to have a powwow about how to keep interoffice relationships harmonious. I hope he took something away from that (and not just the joy of finding out he made me cry) because I’m serious about asking for a seat change! He was nice yesterday and he’s kind of being OK so far tonight, although I think he implied earlier that I’m dumb. I don’t know what’s up with this week, but there appears to be an epidemic of men developing bleeding vaginas, because Henry was being douche-tastic, too. I felt like dropping some Pamprin in their drinks. Jesus Christ.

3. An order for five animal masks has been placed. Photo shoot on the horizon, reserve your spot soon, holla at yo’ mamas.

4. "X French Tee Shirts" won’t stop looping through my head, and every time Craig Wedren sings the word ‘down,’ I feel suicidal. I should have ordered me a shotgun, too.

Jan 132008

2008 01 04 028 

I don’t know when my son’s obsession with cars began. Sometime in November, I think. He’d stand by the front door and yell, "Caw! Caw!" like a true Bostonian, any time anything with wheels drove past, bicycles and skateboards not excluded.

For Christmas, we told everyone to just get him cars. Cars and juice seemed to be all he had an interest in so why disappoint with airplanes, building blocks, or Backyardigan accessories? When we took him to see Santa, he could have given a shit that he was perched on Santa’s knee. All he had eyes for was the plastic car that the photographer was undulating and squeaking in an effort to eke a smile out of him. "Caw! Caw!" he yelled in a panic with outstretched arms.

Some people got him official Pixar Cars merch for Christmas, and he seemed genuinely appreciative, even though he had never seen the movie. It was on last weekend though, so Henry squeezed what little intelligence he has left in his brain cells and had the foresight to DVR it. Chooch’s first viewing lasted a few short minutes before he moved on to other things, like moving his armada of cars from the floor to the dining room table, standing back to appraise the new lineup, and then relocating them to his tent (which takes up two thirds of my living room).

That ambivalence didn’t last long. I made the mistake of placing him on the couch one morning last week, tucked his blanket and juice cup next to him, and put on "Cars" so I could sneak off into the kitchen and prepare his (frozen) waffles in peace. (And by peace, I mean without him standing on the other side of the baby gate and hurling objects at me.)

We haven’t been able to watch regular TV in his presence since. Even if it seems like he’s oblivious to the movie playing in the background, as soon as we hit ‘stop,’ he whips his head around and comes toddling over to us, chanting, "Caws? Caws? Caws?" Ad nauseum. He gets all cozy on the couch and then demands, "And car!" sending me on an egg hunt for certain cars around the house that he desperately needs to have in lap and I try to fulfill this desire as fast as possible, for fear that he might shrivel up and die. I give him his cars. "And juice!" Thus signals the start of the great juice cup hunt. "And bowl!" he commands, pointing to his bowl of pretzels with an angry finger. We do this every day, until he’s satisfied with the pile of goods burying him on the couch.

He won’t sleep with no less than four of his cars now. It’s a good thing my pajama pants are equipped with pockets, else I’d have had to make two trips getting him out of the crib this morning: one for him, one to retrieve his cars. Failure to do so will send him into a shrieking spell and real tears will flow freely. We have to stuff his backpack full of cars just to  get him to willingly leave the house with us now.

This morning, after the first viewing of "Cars," I lost it. I got all caught up in my pent up resentment to being a Pixar prisoner, and defiantly punched the buttons of the remote until something I wanted to watch filled the screen with a breath of fresh air. Then I promptly sat on the remote. He noticed. Oh boy did he notice. But I held my ground. Henry sat next to me and winced, waiting to see what Chooch’s move was going to be. He turned back and resumed play with his cars. I smirked, basking in the win.

But then something tragic happened: I got up from the couch, unearthing the remote. His eyes, full of car-lust, honed in on the site of the magical "Cars" stick, and he grabbed it. "Caws. Caws. Caws!!!" he droned on and on. Then he climbed up on the couch and sat between us on the pillows so he had a slight height advantage on us. He grabbed a fistful of Henry’s hair in one hand; I laughed too soon. He turned to me, glared, and took a fistful of my hair too, and angrily chanted, "Caws Caws Caws Caws."

He was still watching it when I left to go out to lunch with my friend Jess.

Jan 052008

My friend Lisa is home on winter break, so we did the lunch/hang out thing yesterday. She’s one of the few people from high school worth staying in touch with: she’s not a twat, she’s not fake, and I don’t have to worry about her leaking any behind-closed-doors aspects of my life: a rare trait to find in a person these days. (Am I right, Keri? Dumb cunt.)

Lisa moved to Colorado last year for school, and since I haven’t seen her since she last visited in July, I let her decide which restaurant would be the lucky establishment to have us as diners.  She chose Aladdin’s, where she requested a second basket of pita and proceeded to waste it, but nothing was spilled this time, not even a tiny dribble of olive oil. I was proud of her; she must be drinking less.

After sitting through a meal and hearing things like, “You’re still so weird,” and “There’s always something crazy going on in your life” (and by crazy, I think she met dramatic), we crossed the street for some biscotti, which was sold to us by a very brusque and impersonal shop owner. Lisa bought a giant chocolate cookie and was pleased when he slid a warm and fresh one off a tray straight from the oven, but when we got back to my house, she theorized that he was really only choosing the most deformed cookie in the shop — it was pretty malformed and pathetic-looking.

But tasty, I’ll give it that. The shop was supposedly voted one of the top ten bakeries in America, but I found the biscotti to be so-so. (Of course, I didn’t check to see the source of this high accolade, so for all I know, it could have been some fat kid updating a 5-visitors-a-week blog from a dank basement in Idaho, on which completely reverent articles about Twinkie recipes and World of Warcraft are meticulously scribed.)

I gave Chooch a piece of a chocolate biscotti, and he only needed to see my dunking mine in coffee once before he elbowed his way to my lap and ravagingly tried to dunk his own. A caffeinated Chooch is all we need, so Henry took the lid of Chooch’s sippy cup and let him dunk it in chocolate milk.

Chooch made it down to the last bite before turning his face and making a disgusted “no more” sound in his throat, so Henry popped the chocolate milk-saturated piece into his own mouth and I promptly dry-heaved.

“Chooch dipped that in his milk!” I cried.

“Yeah, so?” Henry answered defiantly.

“You just ate his floaters!!”

Lisa laughed and Henry explained to her that I’m essentially a horrible mother and we all laughed and then took pictures and Nicotina bit Lisa and then Lisa peed while I put my make up on for work and we hugged goodbye in my bathroom — an appropriate place to end a day with Lisa.

She goes back to Colorado on Monday and I won’t see her for at least six months. That’s three friends I had to say goodbye to in one week, the kind of trauma that might make a weaker-willed person hang themselves. Just sayin’.

Then I went to work and my boss told me my hair looked like crap.

2008 01 04 018