This year- Days one hundred and eleven and twelve. (Haunted PA)
2009-10-19/1:50 a.m.

Philadelphia or bust! That's how I felt on Saturday morning when Sarah and Jenni met me over at Lisa's and we walked the dogs up to her car and hit the road. Lisa warned us that she would scream and cry during the haunted house. Sarah warned that she'd laugh at all of us.

I wanted to stop at the new sonic on the way and had Sarah use her phone to get us directions. Big mistake! She didn't do it right and we ended up nowhere near a sonic and therefore drank ZERO cherry limeades. Which is bullshit, but not unlike nearly every other day in my life. We found a huge taco bell though and we went nuts. We were all starving by then and had been gone for nearly two hours but between the sonic gaffe and gas station issues, we spent a lot of time doing nothing.

Taco bell ruled.

taco smells.

Then we got back on the road. I sat shotgun while Howard sat on my lap the whole way. I looked like a molting werewolf when we got out of the car. Lisa pointed out that wearing black jeans was my first mistake. When he laid down and relaxed it was happiness personified. When he stood, rigidly fighting car sickness it was painful and his needle-like toes dug into my thighs. Luckily she'd turn or brake or something and he'd end up laying down again.

Topher wore a shark suit and loved everyone, as per usual.


We went to Lisa's friend Heather's in Philadelphia where we met her sweetie pie dog Delilah and her sweetie pie son, Aiden. Aiden mainly laughs, headbutts stuff, laughs more and drools. He is an incredibly easy going baby. He even laughed while he ate and when a dog barked at him.

aiden loves the doggie.

It was even colder and rainier in PA so we scrapped the corn maze plan and just killed time until it was haunted prison time.

Eastern State Penitentiary was a real federal prison that was abandoned in 1971. It's totally crazy because it's huge and right in the middle of the city, surrounded by row houses and restaurants. In 2007, the show I worked on for the Travel Channel did an episode there but I didn't get to go so I've been wanting to go for a long time.

eastern state penitentiary.

Lisa didn't cry so she deemed it not that scary. She screamed a lot though! There was a big group behind us that had a bunch of 14ish year old boys in it. One boy was not excited and clearly didn't want to be there and a dad kept telling him it would be fine. Sarah heard him tell the kid "your dad would want you to do this." Really? His dad would want him to go through a haunted house? Why? It seemed so jerky. Like 5 minutes in the kid was all "is it almost over?!?!" and I really felt for him. Halfway through other boys in the group were scared too after being really tough and mocking the place before it started.

the ladies- before going in.

It was very well done and interesting. They would also stop you to separate your group from everyone else to make it scarier. Good idea if annoying. Jenni was always up front, getting the brunt of everything. One time a hand came out of the wall and grabbed her and she just took off running way ahead of us. There was a section that was 3d and we had 3d glasses and there were people wearing unitards that matched the walls that would walk towards you. That was really interesting and neatly done. Lisa screamed and then said "That was neat!" and pointed at the person.

Also, they say you won't be touched but all of us were. Not in a bad way, but it seems inevitable. One guy touched Lisa and she screamed and then said "you're not supposed to touch people!" and he was all "you're not supposed to move your arms at me!" and that was that. Even a scared Lisa is attentive to rules.

During one part we were in a prison shower and I was far more afraid of the fact that I was in an old decrepit prison shower than the people running around trying to scare me. I pointed it out and Lisa said "great, now I'm afraid I'll get hepatitis" while Sarah laughed. At another part we were in a circle area and cell blocks were like spider legs off of every direction. We stopped to look at those (which were terrifying) and a guy dressed as a dead person stopped and told us about it. Sarah pointed out that he was out of character and he remembered that he was supposed to move us along but he did tell us to come back and do the day time tour (which I think we will do another day). The beds in particular are small and awful. Small, metal and with a 3" think mattress. Remind me never to go back in time and commit a terrible crime, I need a pillowtop for god's sake.

the cell block that al capone was in.

Al Capone was in prison there and they have his cell on the tour (not in the haunted house). Heather told us he had his own furniture and lived like a king in prison. The criminal justice system is corrupt? Welp, this is news to me!

Afterwards we went across the street to Jack's firehouse and had drinks and dinner (the crabcakes were really good).

all of us at the bar.

We went back to Heather's and picked up the rascals and then hit the road to come home. We had successfully pooped out the dogs so they spent half of the ride back sleeping in the backseat, spooning. It was too cute for words. I was in Heaven.

the boys spoon in the car.

We got back and it was packed and there was no parking so I went back to the parking garage with Lisa, walked the pups home with her and then slept over on her couch. At about 4am something woke up Topher and he barked at something in the kitchen and next thing I knew he was spread out on my legs while I slept. I had snoring Howard at the end of the couch and Topher sprawled on my legs- what an embarrassment of riches. In the morning Howard was snoring (he always makes a noise of some kind) like a cartoon with a high pitched -"oohooohooh" at the end of each snore. I wanted to see a feather floating about his mouth as he slept, being pushed back into the air with each snore.

When I left Topher was so tired that he was letting Lisa lay on him for a nap so I bet they were pooped all day today. Success! We were probably all pooped today.

sleepy heads.

I meant to do some cleaning and organizing today but I mainly watched tv and accidentally took naps. And that was that.


A note I found in a drawer.
The Extra Lens and Adultery.
Books are beautiful.
Ira Glass made me feel better about things.
Something that happened yesterday.