Do Every Blessed Town in Connecticut
Holy guacamole! It’s been a while (2 years, to be exact) and a lot has changed…the abridged version is as follows: I became a “real” aunt, then got married and became a real aunt x5 (that’s 6 in total), traveled to the other side of the world to hold a koala, got a brandy new kitten, Betty Boop (pictured below in her “going to camp” outfit) and then finally settled back into normal life where my *husband* and I made our marriage goal, which is what this post is about. That should pretty much catch you up.
After thinking long and hard, we decided that together we will run a race in every single town in our home state of CT – that’s 169 races! I also want to disclose that I thought this was a COMPLETELY ORIGINAL idea – it was not, but I still think I should get creativity points, because I really did think I came up with this idea. I even told Ben that at races we should make sure we tell every person we meet our plan so a few months from now people will see us and say “Hey look, that’s that power couple who is running races everywhere in the whole state”. Obviously by this point we would have been on the news a few times, probably have a book deal, and definitely would have at least 2 body guards (we needed those ever since our appearance on the Ellen Show). I mean lets be honest, we only have so much time to shake hands and sign autographs.
Anyways, since we have been dating we have run about 10 races together, but the trouble is they were ALL in either Hartford or Manchester…so we are pretty much starting from the bottom. I have personally run races in about 20 towns, before I started dating Ben, but I figured it was a good idea to get really out of shape, fat and slow before starting this challenge with Ben – you know, to boost his confidence. The good news is that the only place to go from here is up. In the past week we have also added two more races to our repertoire: Milford and Enfield.
Race 1: Hartford Scramble Series. We ran this series together when we first started dating. The Scramble series was a cool race where you ran through the woods and also in urban settings and finished off with a free taco and beer. (you’ll come to see that races that end in beer are our favorite).
Race 2: Manchester Thanksgiving Day Road Race. We ran this race when we were engaged in 17 degrees. Frankly, it was one of the more horrific events of my life, but decided to do it that year instead of drinking at my brothers – stupid decision.
Race 3: Milford Road Runners 5K. We ran this race last week on the 4th of July on the face of the sun, a town also known as Milford, CT. I ran into an old friend, who told me at the starting line that it was a hilly course, and I’ve never heard a more true statement. The first half mile was directly uphill…somehow I made it, but it wasn’t pretty. While Ben pranced through the course waving an American flag like a true Patriot, I barely slogged over the finish line. I think its clear that the sunglasses were weighing me down.
Race 4: Enfield Celebration 5K. We ran the Enfield Celebration 5K on Saturday, and it was literally even hotter than the 4th of July. Perfect. My only goal was to keep up with the 83 year old man who (obviously) was drafting off me. At mile two we turned onto a hill similar to Mt. Everest – that’s where I lost Tom. I hope in 50 years I’m still as ambitious as he is.
Anyways, per usual, since all the registration information and reminder emails harped on the importance of bringing your ID, I forgot mine at home. This has happened to me on several important occasions, including a brewery visit for my dad’s 60th birthday and also at my own sister’s Bachelorette party. So I had to do the usual – rely on my charm to get me to the other side (except for the brewery time when my mom got me in by “pulling a JoAnne”). Luckily, I was able to get into the beer tent. Unluckily, we parked “inside” the parade route, so also had to sit through 40 minutes of boy scouts, wheely-popping shriners, karate kids, home improvement companies, and no less than 4 million sirens. cool.
If you have gotten this far down the page, god bless! Going forward, I’ll update more regularly with Do Every Blessed Town In Connecticut (debtiConn) updates! I may even pop in with other fun and interesting things that I come across, because after all, Erin (still) Has Thoughts.
Kitty Cat Confessionals Vol I: I hate cats.
OK, so let me get you up to speed: I had a cat once, Sammy. Two years and 16 stitches later, Sammy is the reason I have three eye brows. (NOTE: Sammy did sleep in my bed after I got home from the hospital that night because, you know…“it wasn’t his fault”, but goddamn was that cat an asshole). It took another 4 years of me crying to my parents to NOT give Sammy away (I never said I wasn’t crazy) and then ultimately Sammy LITERALLY peeing on my mom in her own bed for my mom to “bring Sam to a farm” (tho to this day she will never admit she wished him ill will). I was devastated, obviously. Now I’ve got scars and no cat to prove my story. But anyways, after this harrowing experience I’ve abstained from cats. Cats are selfish, manipulative, tricky, sly assholes (nothing like my sweetheart puppy girl TessieMay). So lets get up to present day – I have this boyfriend who is obsessed with cats (I know, I know…but he has other great qualities, ok?), anyways, turns out I love him more than I hate cats….enter Lucielle Ball.
Until next time…meow
Not For Nothin…
This weekend I was B.U.S.Y. It all started Friday when Paul escaped from his cage – again. We captured him, THANK GOD – and now he is in solitary confinement with his cage taped shut until he can learn how to better behave. Sorry buddy, but that’s what happens when you can’t follow the rules.
Fast forward to Saturday and Sunday, which really did feel like was in double time. My boyfriend, mom and dad all worked their butts off to scrape down the paint on the front of my house (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!). The paint was, in my mom’s words, “alligatoring” (not sure that’s really a word, but the woman gets things done so she can make up as many words as she wants) like crazy, and had about a billion layers of paint either stuck on really really good, or completely flaking off. Needless to say, was absolutely brutal to take off in the 85-90 degree heat and sun! We got the majority of the scraping off on Saturday and Sunday we were able to prime by Sunday afteroon. With only that done, and still needing to actually put the real paint on, it already looks a million times better!
After we finished that project for the day on Sunday, for some ingenious reason I decided it would be a good idea to continue with a million yard chores. I transplanted some monster Hostas, weeded my gardens, put down the rest of the mulch, sprayed my patio with weed killer, and just for the fun of it, cleaned out my garage. While I’m thrilled that I crossed so many things off my never-ending list of busywork, you can only imagine that I was exhausted by the end. (So exhausted, in fact, that I cracked a beer and never even took one sip of it – and if you know me, that’s out of the norm.)
Now for the reason of this post: So after I finished I have a bunch of things at the road for Trash Day, which is Monday. I had a couple tube TVs out there, the old vanity mirrors from my bathrooms, some leave bags and my regular garbage. About 30 feet away, I have my car parked, and next to my car on the curb, leaning up against my car – not visible from the street unless you’re really looking, and clearly not with my pile of trash I have 3-4 bags of empty bottles and cans, a couple boxes of bottles and cans and a big plastic garbage can full of, you guessed it, bottles and cans. I’m guessing this could easily be around 500 bottles and can as it was the past 6-8 months of bottles and cans from me and my roommates and the parties we’ve thrown.
Anyways, I’m in my house and something catches my eye. Its an old beat up pick up truck with a bunch of sh*t in the back. I glance out the window and see if this person is taking one of my TVs or vanities – hey, you know “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. To my disbelief, this stranger was actually parked in front of my trash, but walking over to my car and stealing all my recyclables. In fact, by the time I got to my door she already had all the bags in her truck and had her grubby hands on the (non-disposable) garbage can as though she was going to throw that in the back of her truck too! I don’t know if it was the heat, my exhaustion or my pure disbelief of what was going on, but the whole situation instantly infuriated me. Enough, in fact, that I stooped down to her WT level and opened my front door and yelled at her. I’m sorry, petty as it may be, I worked my ass off all weekend – I’m at least going to get $25 for it.
Listen, I’m the queen of up-cycling. I have absolutely no shame when it comes to taking things off people’s front yards. Truth be told I have gotten tons of things from outdoor furniture, to kitchen table chairs, to mirrors, to a dresser and even a nice desk that I’ve gotten completely for free. The difference, however, is that these items either had a sign that said “FREE” or if I was unsure, I knocked on the owner’s door and asked (hey, I said I have no shame), unlike this scoundrel. Let this be a lesson to you all…unless you are absolutely certain that they are being given away, or don’t care if some crazy lady comes out and yells at you – don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Peace, Love & Yardwork xo!
Adventures with Paul
A few weeks ago, I enthusiastically expanded my family. #blessed. On this specific day, I spent the first half of the morning playing on a playscape with a 4 year old and 2 year old, and the second half of the morning watching the most adorable 2 year old laugh and holding a newborn. Needless to say, by the time we were eating lunch, the only thing I could think about is the fact that there is no way I could live my life another day without something cute to play with at my own house. So, I took the necessary measures and $14 and 2 hours later, meet Paul McNibbler.
Immediately after Paul got home, I knew he was the perfect fit. First off, we have a lot of the same hobbies.
Paul, like me, loves chips. It’s literally his most favorite snack. He tries to save some for later (don’t we all) by putting them in his food bowl when he’s done, but that never lasts long. You know what they say – once you pop, the fun don’t stop. And once he’s done snacking he licks his teeny tiny little fingers. I. die. everytime. We’re (me and Paul, that is) trying to lay off the chips, though, because he’s really started to pack on the grams and I’m starting to get concerned about him fitting through his tunnels.
He also loves running. In fact, his pure athleticism has inspired me to lace up my old kicks and get back out there. My fear, however, is that the combination of his constant carbo-loading and cardio-training has not only increased his curiosity about my homes’ nooks and crannies – specifically the nook of the couch and the cranny of everything inside the couch – but is also giving him olympic-level training.
Sweet Paul has already escaped TWICE. I will admit that the first time he got loose there is a possibility that it may have been because I left his cage open (jury is still out on that one), but this last time…it was really a doozy. Paul escaped sometime after 10PM on Friday from a cage that looked completely closed. By the time I realized his absence it was Saturday morning and I knew I wouldn’t be able to find him until Sunday because he doesnt normally get up until 8PM and I would be out at a concert by then (priorities). When i got home from the concert I put his cage on the floor and opened the door and put a chip (what else!?) in there. I guess I just figured that after a while he’d want to go home, and once he was home and saw his favorite treat he’d want to snack on it in bed with his eyes closed like I do and then go right to sleep…i mean….he’d have the decency to just stay there. I was wrong. Sunday morning comes and the chip is gone; unfortunately, still is the hamster. What a little rascal. So now I know this rodent is just playing me…but at least I now know he’s still kickin around somewhere.
Later in the day I’m watching TV when I hear something – yep, it was Paul…inside my couch. So I do what anyone would do, I flip the couch over and rip the lining of the bottom of the couch – perfectly logical. perfectly efficient. After all, I have been without Paul now for approximately 36 hours, which in hamster time is about 3 months – let’s be realistic people, he’s not going to live forever and I need to make sure I am able to spend the best years of his life w him. I got my wits about me and did the only thing i knew how – bribe him with food. 1 cheese-it and 2 lightly salted lays later (He was so cute for the first cheese-it and chip that I couldn’t get it together quick enough to capture him) I was able to lure him out of the depths of my sofa. I gave him a long talking to about how misbehaved he was and let him know that next time his punishment wouldn’t be so lenient.
There’s so many more adventures to share with you, but not today. Today I’m exhausted. No one ever told me how hard this parenting gig really got.
Stay tuned for more adventures with Paul and other random thoughts.
Peace, Love and Hamsters! xo
I don’t know what you’re selling, but I’m buying it!
Dear teenage boy who literally stopped driving today to tell me I’m beautiful while I was out for my run,
Thank you. You made my whole day.
☮xo – Erin
PS- driving by a second time and giving me a thumbs up was a nice touch. 😉
Once Upon a Time, A Few Mistakes Ago…
I’ve never had much luck in the dating world. No, seriously. It all started with my first boyfriend when I was in middle school. I was pretty sure we would be together forever and get married, have 4 kids, have a house in CT and also a log cabin in ME on a lake (obviously where we’d vacation) and live a picture perfect life, but then he hooked up with my (ex)best-friend. Cool. Back then it didn’t take much time to get over guys. A couple hundred phone calls (remember this was long before the days of cell phone and text messages) to his parents house and a dramatic bike ride over to his house to drop off a “box of his things” pretty much did the trick. From then on there was a series of high school drops outs, drug addicts, and down right boring guys-I mean I’m an independent, smart, fun girl, why wouldn’t I go that route. It really only makes sense, right? Don’t they say opposites attract…?
Now, being in my late twenties, most of my friends are married, engaged, in super-boring-super-serious-super-longterm relationships, or busy chasing their rug rats around Target. I did something I never wanted to, I’m embarrassed that I did, and I can confidently say I will never do again. I entered the online dating world. Some of my friends (and family) tell me I’m picky, judgmental, or not willing to try – my other friends, and the general public, is just too nice to say that to my face-or maybe they just don’t know me well enough. I like those people.
Anyways, back to online dating…how does that saying go? Oh yea, I came, I saw, I
conquered threw up in my mouth a little bit. I was out to dinner with a friend of mine not too long ago and she, newly single, mentioned considering online dating. I gave her the best advice in the world: DON’T. DO. IT. Why? Well because people who online date, in my experience, do it for a reason. Ya, ya, ya, your sister met her husband on plenty-of-fish and he’s a ‘real catch’, your cousin met his girlfriend on ‘match’ and they really hit it off, your grandma met her lova on “Our Time” and they are having the time of their life. I get it. There are fairy tale endings out there, but I’m no princess so that shit just ain’t for me. Just so you can really taste it, let me tell you about my favorite 10 guys I’ve met online and you can tell me if I was too quick to judge or if I saw where it was going and was able to make it to safe room before the tornado.
Time capsule – I call him this for two reasons. 1. because I feel like I talked to him for an eternity and 2. because on our first date – literally the first time we ever met, he made me look at over 1,000 photos on his iphone of cruise he went on with his parents. Somewhere around 1,500 I said “lets save the rest for next time”. Spoiler alert – there was no next time. Seriously, I saw more pictures of his parents than I’ve seen of my own parents-in my whole entire life. I love pictures and will have absolutely no problem making you look at the scrapbooks I made in high school, but this was intense, even for me.
Hey Girl Heyyyyyy – So this guy was…different. I’m not sure if he was trying to convince himself or convince me, but he definitely checked some wrong boxes on that dating site. He loved hot coacoa, “hangin out with the girls”, and his alcoholic drink of choice – mudslides. “Um dirty martini over here please!” <–that was literally what I said as I snapped my fingers for the waiter mid-meal on our LUNCH date. Hey alcohol doesn’t solve problems, but neither does water or milk, am I right?
The Alcoholic – This guy seemed really nice. Actually, I thought he might actually be someone that I could hang out with, but I found out sooner (thank god) than later that he really just wanted to get drunk. Literally- he told me he wasn’t interested in eating because “then he wouldn’t be able to drink as much”, and when I said, well it sound like you just want to get wasted, he said “well I do, I really wanted to get drunk last night but I didn’t” Yea, that date never even happened. Oh, and for kickers, he was actually going to pick me up. Luckily I found his intents before I got into the death chair. He was later known to text me in the middle of the night inquiring why we couldn’t even be friends.
The Petri Dish – OK, feel free to judge me if you want to, but this poor kid’s face was like a petri dish incubating as the perfect temperature. More and more white heads grew in the period of time it took me to choke down a burger and a beer…and if you’re really thinking about what i’m saying and picturing it, that was not a long time.
Siri – Only it wasn’t Siri, it was whatever question-answering thing those huge ass Galaxy phones have. The entire time we were out, in a restaurant mind you, he was talking to her. And by her I do not mean me. And by her I do not mean another person. We’d be mid conversation and get to a point where we’d try to remember someone’s name “Oh it had that guy that was in the Big Bang Theory…what’s his name? <says to his phone> ‘what actor plays Leonard on the Big Bang Theory’ ” Yep, that really happened…at least 15 times.
Too Hot To Trot – This is the guy that is really good looking, but he knows he’s really good looking, which makes him not good looking. This guy literally spent the first half of the date telling me how everyone always tells him how hot he is. According to him, his ex-girlfriends’ sister put the moves on him, his ex-girlfriends’ mother “was totally into him” and he even went as far as to tell ME, the person he’s on a date with, that the waitress was totally into him, he “could tell”.
The Mentalist – This guy “knows your nervous by the way you tilt your head” and knows that you chose blue cheese instead of ranch because the female brain has some extra sensor in the frontal lobeblahblahblah…..omg get over yourself. I can’t even. So you took a psychology class in your undergrad studies, congratulations, so did I. Maybe that’s how I can tell you’re a complete douche.
Full disclosure, the last three guys were all the same guy, all on the same date. He was a diamond in the rough…it got to a point where I was more interested in seeing what bullshit would come out of his mouth next than anything else. It was seriously like a comedy show, and I had a front row seat.
The Lamb – I call him this because he was feeble, like a baby lamb. We went out once. It was fine. He texted me the next day, I texted him back, it was fine. He then texted me the next day…at 6AM…TELLING ME that he was coming over that night. Um…no pal, you’re not. 1. that’s pretty short notice, and lets face it, I book up quick. 2. I’m pretty much all set with having you enclosed in my apartment-I’ve spent all of 3 hours with you. I don’t even know your last name. When I politely told him I was busy that night but maybe we could meet somewhere in the middle over the weekend, he basically started crying. I could feel the tears through the text messages. “He knew I didn’t like him.” “No one ever wants to wait until the weekend unless they dont like the guy”. “best of luck, you were really cool”. uh, yea dude, you were cool too…till you freaked out. No offense, but There’s no way that I’m going to try to convince a guy I’ve known for 3 hours that I’m “really into you”. Ya blew it. bubye!
Friendly Angry Giant – I met this guy one time for coffee. ONE TIME. We then made plans to meet up with some of his friends the next weekend. Something came up, and I wasn’t able to make it. Ok, nothing came up, but I just really would have rather read the Dictionary than meet up with him again. Instead of doing what a normal person would do, such as say “ok maybe another time”, Jolly Green turns King Kong in 2.5 seconds and starts spewing off about what a crazy bitch I am. Now I might just be a crazy bitch, but I’d really appreciate it if you’d get to know me a little better before you start throwing that around. Wow, I’m really regretting cancelling that one…NOT.
The Textwhore – This person mine as well get an iphone implanted into their body. Trust me, if that was possible, I’d definitely consider some cosmetic surgery. I’m just as obsessed with my phone as the next guy. But when I wake up at 6:30AM and I already have a “good morning” text from you…OK, a good morning text might be ok, it’s the “how’s your morning going”, and “how’s work” that starts getting annoying. What really put me over the edge with this fellow was the “Hey! What are you up to?” at 2PM on a Tuesday. Uhhh…it’s 2PM on a Tuesday – what the fuck do you think I’m up to. I’m not even wasting my time to text you back. You’ll figure it out.
So if you’re picking up what I’m putting down here, I’m not telling you that online dating is a bad idea for you. I’m telling you that it’s a bad idea for me. Feel Free to roll the dice on your own.
The Two Kinds of People In This World
So if you ask me, or one of my really good friends at work, there are two kinds of people in this world. People who love Starbucks, and People shouldn’t be allowed to talk to us people who love Starbucks. I know this statement may sound a little bit aggressive, but this is struggle of the world we live in. And, a true Starbucks lover not only loves Starbucks, but also hates Dunkin Donuts. Now I don’t want to hear any mumbo-jumbo about how DD is so much cheaper or how Starbucks is so much more pretentious because it’s just not true-so stop it.
I feel like I can say things like this because my first job, which was one of my favorite jobs ever, was working at DD. I was seriously so good at that shit. Light and sweet, no problem. Black one sweet and low, you got. So I know. I see what goes on, and I know how their burnt coffee tastes. Really, it’s insulting to your taste buds. I’d drink sitting-out-all-day-at-a-random-rest-stop-gas-station-coffee before I pulled into Dunkin. Erin does not run on Dunkin.
To really drill in my point, there as this one day, I did stop at DD on my way to work. I was at a low point. Really low. In fact, I also got a bacon, egg and cheese on a croissant, and hash browns, and the fat person inside of me gobbled that shit down and got crumbs and ketchup everywhere. Like I said, it was a low; I’m not proud. By the time I got to work I was so regretful, and quite frankly, embarrassed by this lapse in judgement I picked up multiple Starbucks coffee cups off the floor of my car and strongly considered dumping my Dunkin brew in so no one would see me this way. I couldn’t find one that I trusted enough to drink out of again, so I did what I had to do and slinked into work with my Dunkin Donuts coffee and pretended everything was normal. No joke, my coworker noted this cup on my desk and came up to me later in the day an inquired on my mental and physical health. <–this seriously happened.
Anyways, this past weekend, I went to Newport, and after a fantastic Crawfish Boil (aka a day that consisted of eating and drinking heavily) and I knew the only way I would get home would be to stop at Starbucks. So I went to Starbucks in downtown – no parking spots, fantastic. So I did what any sane person would do. I parked illegally and ran inside. OF COURSE the line was out the door (why wouldn’t it be, we are talking about Starbucks), but I waited. Sometimes a good coffee is worth risking that your car is going to be towed. After being in line 20 minutes, I made another extremely rational decision: I got not one, but two coffees. A cold one to suck down immediately, and a hot one to enjoy on my ride home. My only mistake was not buying larger coffees, or buying more coffees and asking some hipster sitting at table if they’d help me lug them all to my car. When I got back outside, my car was still there, with no ticket on it. The world was on my side that day.
Newport Crawfish Boiling Fun
This past weekend I was invited to a crawfish boil. I’ve never been to a crawfish boil before, nor have I ever eaten crawfish, but I like shrimp and lobster, so I assumed I’d also like crawfish because they seem to be the mid-ground between the two. My friend’s husband (<– still getting used to saying that) was the boiler. From what I understand, you get the crawfish while they are still alive and have to take out any that are already dead. Then you put the live crawfish into a pot with corn, potatoes, and bunch of spices and let the magic happen. Once they are done, you just dump the whole pot onto a big table and digs in. Take a look at the pics below to get a better idea of what happens here:
The Crawfish in their final moments of life. Also known as “crawdads” or “mudbugs”.
What it looks like on the table – SO DELICIOUS!!
Mike with Lupe
Friends hanging out:
How you eat crawfish: 1. pinch 2. pull off “butt” 3. suck out delicousness…or if you are me, you can (very messily) take the meat out with your fingers and eat.
Our cook, Doug, and his attack dog:
Our host, Bryan – the Birthday Boy
Just a bunch of UConn Alum watching our team win! GO HUSKIES!!
So this is how I know I’m getting old. Back in the good old days of the early 00’s I was (somewhat) of a dare devil. I swang off rope swings into the local reservoir, went on every ride there was at amusement parks and fairs, and I rode on my friend’s motorcycle…one time…I think we almost got up to 30 mph before I threatened that I would jump off. Haha This morning while I was running on the treadmill I saw an ad for the newest ride hitting our local Six Flags and I almost threw up. I literally said out loud “NOPE”. Other people at the gym looked at me. I didn’t even mean to say it out loud, but I couldn’t help it. It was definitely NOPE-worthy.
The ride is twofold. There is the Zumanjaro Drop of Doom which is built within the Kinga Ka Coaster. So the Kinga Ka Coaster is the tallest coaster in the US at over 450 feet. You go from 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds. No thanks. I prefer to keep my speed around 80, while fully encased in metal. Then there is the Zumanjaro Drop of Doom. Sorry, am I the only one that doesn’t want to go on something called the Drop of Doom?? It’s like the Tower of Terror, which I have actually been on, but over twice the size. Yes, twice the size! At over 400 feet you’re more than twice the height of Lady Liberty only to plummet back to earth, hopefully without dying. Oh, and while you’re dropping at almost 100mph you have a roller coaster coming directly at you. Sounds like a heart attack in a seatbelt if you ask me! NOPE.