Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gone, But Not IV-gotten

Sunday night I received a text from MAB, "I heard the Laurel Mall movie theater was closing. RIP." Without hesitation I replied, "I'm devastated." And then yesterday she sent me this to confirm the news:

But being the aspiring detective that I am, I had to investigate further for an absolutely definitive answer. So I called their number, which seemed like a good place to start; the message said, "Thank you for calling Carmike Cinemas IV. We are permanently closed. We thank you for your many years of patronage." Well, it doesn't get much more definite than that. My heart dropped. And then I called back just to make sure.

Thus, to memorialize Carmike Cinemas IV... I offer a few words.

Carmike Cinemas IV,

Yes, I must admit that a part of me is dying right along with you, dear Carmike Cinemas IV. Perhaps you may think this to be slightly dramatic as you are a dead movie theater whose last breath was most likely a sigh of relief. But when you read my thoughts and ideas, you may understand just how important you were in my life.

There are two moments when the you earned your rightful place in the history of HGB. The first was when my grandmother KAB brought my cousin and me to you to see Home Alone. I will never forget how much I loved seeing Kevin McCallister wreaking havoc on the big screen and it remains my all-time favorite Christmas movie ("It's the season of perpetual hope."). I still watch it every chance that I get, especially when wrapping Christmas presents. Note: a close second is A Christmas Story but that's a whole other blog post for a whole other time.

The second moment was a sunny afternoon in the spring of 1994 (a.k.a. the peak of my awkward phase). It was on this day that I went on my first date (even though my mother drove me) to see Maverick with VCG, consequently bringing forth my first French kiss (only because I lost a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors). I was wearing blue and white plaid overall shorts from 579, a white t-shirt, and blue canvas Converse All-Stars (see comment above regarding my awkward phase). Sigh.

In the years that followed, many more dates with my various gentleman suitors (MMR, JEC, and SMR to name a few) and many more shenanigans with my cousins from out of town involved trips to you, because [as anyone from Fayette County can attest] all of the "good movies" usually were in your theater instead of at your younger, shinier sibling Carmike 6 at the Uniontown Mall. Such fond memories...

Were you the swankiest theater in the world? Certainly not. I am pretty sure that your orange seats and mismatched carpets hadn't been cleaned in several decades; your concession stand offered nothing unique. Were there things to do nearby you? Nope. Unless of course one enjoyed eating at Burger King or that weird pizza place inside (that JEC swore was the best), strolling through a skeleton of a mall filled with struggling businesses the Laurel Mall Flea Market, or shopping at Metzler's, Ames, and Montgomery Ward Pechin and Rural King. Nevertheless, dear Carmike Cinemas IV, you didn't lack character, you built character. And you will be missed.

To conclude, I gathered some words memories for you from some of Fayette County's finest...


"I will never forget going on 'dates' in junior high with my parents sitting three rows behind us... and then going on 'dates' in high school and drinking Boone's Farm in the parking lot." -JRT

"My office is near the Laurel Mall, and my co-worker and I went to see Fast & Furious 6  there last year. We made sure we brought our special 'movie theater pants' to change into before venturing inside. These pants protected us from the seats in case we sat in/on something." -LSG

"When I was ten, I saw Home Alone there with my parents. My brother was six. The theater was packed. Montgomery Ward was poppin' and Pechin was still on Dunbar Road." -MRM

I remember thinking I was such a badass when I would wear my white tights with the lace bottoms under my cut off jeans shorts with a sweater hanging off one shoulder. We would hang out at the benches in the hallway outside the entrance to the theater. Sometimes we would sit on the window sill and show each other the cheap eyeliner we had just bought at the junk store in the mall while we waited for the next movie to start. We didn't care what movie it was...we were badasses! -KED

"I am pretty sure I saw Faces of Death there with a group of friends in elementary school, but we had to have a parent escort us inside because of the rating." -SB

"I definitely remember that feeling you'd get when you'd look at the 'Enjoy' section of Friday's paper and the movie you wanted to see was at Laurel instead of Uniontown Mall." -GMT

"I liked the general, old, run-down ambience. So going to see a scary movie, and then coming out into the parking lot, you felt like you were in the movie set. It added to the terror." -KDJ

"If the creepy popcorn guy doesn't make this list, it's a sham." -DSP

"In high school I went to see Saw at the Laurel Mall and had to sneak in because I looked like I was twelve and they wouldn't let me buy a ticket. Then after the movie ended and the lights came on, Josh and Jennifer were literally two rows in front of me. It was one of those weird small town things, finding out your brother is watching the same movie as you and you had no idea. Also he totally could have bought me my ticket (though he probably would have refused to be annoying)." -ADS

"I saw the Fast and the Furious (the original) at Laurel Mall. Afterward everyone went to the parking lot and revved their car engines!" -SEW

"Well this closing is about fifteen years overdue. But my fave memory has to be the time I received my very first French kiss! The credits were rolling and I was swapping spit with a boy! I was so nervous but so excited! So many emotions!" -SAA

"We used to make a game out of how much non-movie theater food we could sneak in. It started with burgers from Burger King, but then we elevated our game. At some point in my early twenties at my very last trip to the Laurel Mall, I was able to sneak in a full course Chinese dinner of sesame chicken, white rice, two egg rolls, hot and sour soup, and a fortune cookie." -MES

"My first date ever was there!" -KCK

"My sisters and I, while looking at the Enjoy section of the paper would ask, 'Can we go see (whatever movie)?' and my mother would say, 'Which movie theater?' We would reply, 'Laurel Mall.' And she would crush out dreams with, 'I guess you're not going to see it, I don't want to drive there.'" -JEF

"I remember sneaking in the colored popcorn from the stand in the mall as well as other snacks." -KLP

"I’m surprised the Laurel Mall movie theater is no more—since it shows different movies than the Uniontown Mall theater and its once dead mall is now a flea market, I thought it could last forever. Then again, when I asked my dad about it, he said, 'I’d rather go all the way out to Greensburg than go there.' He has a point. While I haven’t seen a movie there in some time, I do recall stories of employees having sex in the projection room, and a summer where one screen’s air conditioning malfunctioned, leaving it at a constant, cool 50-some degrees. Flaws and questionable at best cleanliness aside, I have fond memories of the theater. Before my cousin got fired after a kid snapped a picture of her with her arm around her boyfriend while working, I got to attend a few advance screenings for employees and their friends. We reveled in The Dark Knight before the rest of America, even if only by a day or so, and heckled the third movie in The Mummy franchise. I even had my first date with my boyfriend of four and a half years there. Gone but never forgotten, may our memories but not whatever stowed away home with us from those questionable seats last a lifetime." -JSS

You are gone, but not IV-gotten.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The First World Problems Of HGB & MAB cont.

Since the last twenty-six posts of this nature, I have been accumulating many contributions from family and friends in addition to the ones that MAB and me experience on our own. Like the past few times, this particular list piled up quite quickly (LIKE REALLY QUICKLY), which begs the question: Is life in the first world getting to be too hard for us?

As always, you should know that anything posted on facebook and Twitter is totally fair game. It's just too easy for me to pluck your first world problems from there and drop them here on The Steel Trap. Note: Just because these are written in first person point of view, doesn't mean that they are mine. Or does it? You decide.
  • I sliced my finger open with a serrated knife while trying to cut a frozen bagel. I had to leave my delicious eggs and sausage sitting on the plate, get myself as cleaned up as possible and dressed with one hand, drive myself to the emergency room, and go through security before entering. My emergency room copay went up from $35 to $100. I had to take a day off of work because I was in so much pain and couldn't shower. Then, I had to shower with a rubber glove on my hand for the next nine days. Needless to say, I cannot even look at a bagel again. 
  • How am I supposed to jaywalk if you don't use your turn signal? 
  • Even though I am having my dream wedding in Italy, I'm not really pleased with the location for my Pittsburgh reception. 
  • Endless mimosas at brunch and then a trip to Trader Joe's may not have been one of the smartest choices I ever made. "Hi, I'll have one of everything please." 
  • Is it me, or do houses with mismatched holiday lights bother you too? 
  • The only time Cardio Cinema was bearable was when Dreamgirls was playing. 
  • OMG. I found a chain email from 2012 that said I had six minutes to forward it and I NEVER FORWARDED IT. 
  • No better way to start the day then to wake up at 5 a.m. with a panic attack because I forgot to move the Elf on the Shelf. 
  • I have never been to Myrtle Beach. 
  • I am on day two of using a Windows 8 computer. The struggle is real. For instance, I cannot find the internet. 
  • The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was only an hour long. 
  • I am addicted to dipping fries in a Wendy's chocolate Frosty because I am pregnant. 
  • You want to hear a first world problem? I'll give it to you: ELF ON THE SHELF! I can't even remember to move the damn thing and then I feel like the worst mother. A close second is the stupid tooth fairy. I almost had to take money from my son's wallet, but managed to find four quarters after searching the entire house. Then he woke up very confused, because the tooth fairy forgot to take his tooth! Now he's worried. 
  • I put a bag of popcorn in the refrigerator instead of the microwave. Then I went back to studying and waited to hear the ding. Then I forgot for about an hour. Then I went to the fridge to get a drink and... OH. There's my popcorn. Cold and unpopped.  
  • Paris is so overrated. 
  • The only version of Hootie and the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand" on Spotify is the Sesame Street version about crossing the street safely. While the message is good, it's hard to rock out. 
  • Everywhere I turn, creepy pictures of the Elf on the Shelf greet me. I cannot handle it. They are tiny and sneaky and invading my personal space. 
  • I can never fully change my summer wardrobe over to winter because I live in California and it could be 80 degrees Fahrenheit in December.
  • I ordered so much stuff online this month that it's really annoying to have to keep up with all the different sites to make sure I got everything I paid for.
  • My daughter broke into her Advent calendar and ate most of the candy behind each door. So apparently Christmas will be here in three days. 
  • My dog doesn't need me as much as she used to, and I am sad. 
  • I never know how much sushi to order; it's always too much or too little.
  • I dyed my hair a non-office appropriate color and instead of annoying management as I had intended, they LOVED it. 
  • Costco doesn't deliver to the office before noon on Mondays so I never have milk for my cereal on those mornings.
  • I spent a significant amount of time on the Pottermore website at the request of a student. She wanted me to go through the entire process of creating a login, getting ready for my hypothetical first year at Hogwarts (which included getting a hypothetical wand and a hypothetical pet), and getting hypothetically "sorted." After all of that, I got sorted into Gryffindor! I am completely devastated. Who actually wants to be in the same house as Harry Potter? Not me. That's so cliché. I was totally convinced that I was such a Ravenclaw. Totally. 

Monday, December 8, 2014


Here are eight thoughts and ideas on this eighth day of December:

  1. I picked up a prescription yesterday for an aerosol topical spray that will hopefully treat my bizarre form of stress-induced eczema (which we all thought was ringworm). For whatever reason, I happened to look at the actual cost ($446) versus the cost with my health insurance ($35). Rarely am I surprised by anything, but this really struck me. Because I have relatively wonderful healthcare, I tend to forget how bad things actually are for those who don't. Wow. 
  2. I finished painting my living room yesterday. The sense of accomplishment for doing it all myself was nearly tangible. I guess this means I should decorate for Christmas now? 
  3. I got together with some of my closest and oldest friends at Mad Mex last Thursday. A little back story: before TableTopics conversation starters were a thing, SAA was creating conversation starters all by herself. This gathering was no exception. After we ordered and caught up on random nonsense and local gossip, SAA prompted us to cover three topics: a frivolous item that we wanted as a holiday gift, something positive that we have going on in our professional lives, and something positive that we have going on in our personal lives. If you've never done this with your friends, I suggest it. We never have a lack of things to talk about, but sometimes these topics help us get to the heart of the matter(s) and lead us in interesting directions that we wouldn't normally approach. Needless to say, if it weren't a school night (six of the seven in that group are educators), we could have gone on for hours. There's never enough time with the people we love... 
  4. I get my stitches out on Wednesday and I cannot wait! Showering with a rubber glove on my left hand has been awkward. #firstworldproblems 
  5. I went to brunch at Roman Bistro with two friends yesterday. Several things: brunch is sort of wonderful because it's fun to get a Belgian waffle, bacon, pierogis, frittata, hot pepper pasta salad, mimosas, and house made Rice Krispie treats in the same meal; the food was really delicious, and the variety was commendable; and I hope to make this brunch date a tradition because I had a refreshingly nice time. 
  6. My next home improvement project is to paint my dining room. Currently the walls bear an archaic patterned and textured wallpaper, but I have discovered that painting over it yields lovely results. The problem is that I cannot decide on a color. #morefirstworldproblems   
  7. My students' charity We're the cHange has raised enough money that they were able to make a donation to a local family who lost everything in a fire, and will be providing fourteen care package "stockings" for homeless junior high students in our school district. I am so humbled by the donations that we have received, and I have such high hopes for the good work we can do in the future. 
  8. Getting together with exes from my high school years typically has interesting results. In this particular instance, I am enjoying our discussions about how each of us remembers certain parts of the relationship (and has forgotten other parts... selectively or not) and I am pleased that we can be great friends as adults. Truth be told, I suppose that the "Things I Learned From My Ex(es)" post dedicated to him will be slightly different than its predecessors considering that I have spent time with him twice in the past month. Now, if I can just get my hands on that 1997 prom video...   

Friday, December 5, 2014

Afternoon Commute

What better way to end the a Friday in December than with the ultimate 2014 mash-up? Exactly! Enjoy!

Song: "United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do)"
Artist: DJ Earworm

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dear Puppy

Dear Puppy,

It's been several months since I have written you a letter, so here we go!

To start, you are not a puppy anymore despite your small stature. Of course I am struggling with this, and I still refer to you as "Puppy" and "Puppyface" regularly. Anyway, with your maturity, you are much calmer than you used to be and you are much more independent in our new house. In fact, I keep catching you napping all by yourself, which is a whole new behavior for you.

In addition to your independent napping, you've taken a liking to sitting in our dining room window and barking at all of our neighbors. Your favorite toy has been a stuffed Timon (from Disney's The Lion King), which has been reduced to nothing more half of a head because of your relentless ferocity for meerkats. You've also enjoyed the company of friends and family quite often over the past few months, and I have to praise you on your relatively good behavior (pun intended).

Speaking of good behavior, Grammy (PSB) has somehow trained you to sprint to your crate with the simple offering of a treat, and this has made my mornings infinitely less stressful. As expected, Grammy knows best. But please know that you will not be as spoiled at home in Pittsburgh as you are in Uniontown. I will not broil you a steak while the rest of the family eats leftover lasagna, nor will I tell you repeatedly how you are a "pretty puppy."

For the record, I kind of miss the days when you would sit at my feet in the morning and look at me with wistful eyes, longing for me to stay home. Feel free to need my attention and affection before I go to work anytime kiddo. I've got open arms.

Lastly, thank you once again for indulging your Aunt MAB and me in a holiday photo shoot. No one rocks an ugly Christmas sweater quite like you! Don't forget to look under the tree for presents from Santa!

Your "Mommy" (HGB)