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Walk. Pray. Love.

I’ve had a constant companion for almost ten years.  My dog,  Mr. Cooper.  He’s been with me through the good and the bad, always by my side offering his constant support and love.  A few years ago he even helped me train for a half marathon by walking and running by my side through the brutal training process.  Well, folks, we’re all getting older and just a little grayer and Mr. Cooper is no different.  It seems like it happened overnight, but I know it’s been a steady decline.  I’ve chosen to ignore his arthritic walk and justify his slowing down as a symptom of the hot summer weather.

This morning I finally faced the facts.  Mr. Cooper is thirteen years old.  That’s an old dog.  I think we still have a year or two left, but it’s time to modify our routines.  Trust me, I cannot bear the inevitability of this dog passing.  My eyes fill if the thought just whispers through my mind.  I cannot imagine me, without him.  Anyone that’s loved a pet or shared a life with one knows that I’m talking about.  My Dad once said that he hoped he himself died before his dog so that he wouldn’t have to live a day without him.  I didn’t get it then, but I sure do now.

Mr. Cooper’s favorite thing in the whole wide world (besides my squash casserole) is going for a walk.  He only has to see me put on a baseball cap or hear the leash rattle and he’s spazzing out at 100%.  Sometime’s he worn himself out with enthusiasm before we can even get out the door.

This morning was no different except that it was.  Typically Mr. Cooper and I hit the door running.  We keep a quick pace and I don’t let him dawdle and sniff at every single opportunity.  I realized recently that sometimes our walks are more about my exercise than they are about his enjoyment.  That changed this morning.  This morning, we strolled.

Our walks are getting shorter, you see.  I guess I knew this day would come but lately I realize just how woefully unprepared I am.

I did not look at my watch.  I let Mr. Cooper sniff and pee at his whim.  We dawdled over some flower bushes.   We looked at a spiderweb.  We walked through puddles.  We took in all the smells of a damp August morning.  We watched the sun sparkle and shine through wet Magnolia leaves.  We leisurely chatted with a neighbor on his roof.  We took our time.

I spoke to him softly and sweetly,  stopping frequently to run my hand over his head and tug on his soft fuzzy ears.  I stooped over more than once and planted a big fat kiss on the top of his head while scratching under his chin.  I found myself silently pleading with God to give me another year or two with my best friend.

It was a peaceful morning and a perfect lesson for me to learn.  Be present.  Slow down.  Enjoy the beauty all around you.  And never, ever, pass up an opportunity to tell someone that you love them.

 

My Dining Room has become a Crime Scene, Dammit.

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Okay, I take it alllll back.  This cat is a real troublemaker.  WHY OH WHY didn’t you “cat people” let me in on the little joke I like to call “dismembered remains and entrails LEFT IN MY HOUSE by said beast”?  What the hell kind of sick game is this?   In less than two weeks we have a body count of five and I am kind of exaggerating when I say body count because sometimes THERE ISN’T ONE.  Just a head.  Just what might be a lung or perhaps (?) a stomach.  UNDER MY DINING ROOM TABLE.

Sometimes, as in recently with what I could only ascertain had once been a bird*,  just some wing like protrusions, a torso and feet.  NO HEAD.  And then there was the chipmunk that wasn’t quite dead and proceeded to run through our house and cower under the couch while we tried to lasso killer kitty and shoo the varmin out with a broom and towel.  Ugh.  You wouldn’t think a tiny chipmunk under a big bath towel could be terrifying but you’d be surprised.  For starters, you don’t know where their teeth are.

See that cat up there?  All peaceful and sweet, dozing in the sun?  Don’t let that fool you.  He is a ruthless, heartless killer and I for one am sick of being on brain detail.

Yesterday was my favorite though.  Just a head of what I could only assume was once was a mouse/gopher or mole.  Just grey matted hair, yellow long teeth and whiskers.  I didn’t inspect it too closely but what I did do was scoop it onto a dustpan to chuck it out the back door but decided (as one does) to snap a quick photo of the carnage to send to my sweet husband.  You know, in an act of solidarity for what I was going through.  Turns out, he didn’t find it as amusing but then again, he didn’t have to clean it up…so there.  He also doesn’t find it funny that the infamous photo is now my screen saver.  How awesome is being married to me?

*That is one slow ass bird, seriously.  Killer kitty has a bell on his collar and if he sprinted at me I would hope that if I had wings I could sure as hell get away from him, although now friends of mine are telling me that cats will leap in mid-air and bring down our feathered friends.  Jesus.  I had no idea they were so cutthroat.

I’m sleeping with one eye open.

 

 

Uncle Gary

My Uncle Gary died on Wednesday.

He was an amazing man.  His gentle spirit.   His kindness.   His lack for words spoke louder than any of mine ever could, and I always saw him as an example of grace, kindness and warmth.

I remember him first riding on his John Deere tractor, as I rode behind him on PJ, a horse.   I would chase after him in the corn fields of Michigan, often delivering him his lunch from my Aunt Donna.  That  was back in the day when a 10 year old girl could ride a horse by herself through corn fields unsupervised, mind you.  Uncle Gary never had much to say when it came to me and the horses and Aunt Donna.  He was a farmer, plain and simple and honest.  He was such a sweet and kind man.   Aunt Donna was definitely the lively spark there.   Uncle Gary (as with my own husband) just went along with it.  I always thought their differences were amusing.  She was so alive and boistrous and yet he was semi-silent in the background, but always present and steady.  She, an art teacher, and he a farmer.  Yet united in marriage and I always saw them as a team.  I don’t recall ever seeing them argue.

The one time I went flying outta the saddle Uncle Gary was right there.   Back then I guess I never thought I was supervised and felt the freedom of such but now, looking back, I realize he was watching me all along.  He knew where I was and better yet, he knew where PJ was the whole time I was on their property.   He knew that horse wouldn’t hurt me and would return me to safety in spite of my dumb ass.  I flew off of that horse via a stinkin’ horse fly and that dang horse stood still until I got back up on him and I remember seeing Uncle Gary on his tractor in the distance, making sure.  Now I remember.  He gave me a questionable “thumbs up?” when he saw me on the ground an acre away and I scurried back up and nodded yes.  He kept on with his farming at that point, noting that I was safe.  I don’t think we ever even discussed it.

He was easy to laugh and always had a smile on his face.  Gentle is the best word I can use to describe him.  He was truly a gentle man.  I’m going to miss Uncle Gary.  He didn’t talk much but when he did, he made those words count.  I wish I could say the same.  We could all learn a lesson from Uncle Gary.

My heart goes out to Aunt Donna and her daughter, Genia.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be to lose your best life-long friend.  I’ve only been married 8 some years but I can’t imagine life without Johnny.   Aunt Donna had a life for 54  years with Uncle Gary and I can only imagine the hole in her and Genia’s heart and home.  I would sob just looking at his slippers.  I didn’t know much about Uncle Gary, looking back now but what I do know is I guess what truly matters.  He was kind.  He was gracious.  He smiled a whole lot.  I would be so lucky.

Godspeed to Heaven, Uncle Gary.

 

 

Let’s Get Physical

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For Pete’s sake I was much more optimistic earlier this year, wasn’t I?

I swear to God what a clusterfuck life is.  It’s a good clusterfuck, don’t get me wrong, but still.  I’m JUST NOW getting well from a sickness that tried to kill me, as you know.   Or at least kill my sweet husband.  He’s tried everything to care for me and it even came to buying me “Ensure” this past weekend so that I could keep something down.  My friends, that’s love.  Nothing says love like a nutritional chocalate shake aimed at the geriatric.  But he was at the end of his rope.  Things are better.  I have had two days taking a  a shower and even one of them I wore a bra.   BABY STEPS.

Today I even threw out the Indian food I ordered before Christmas.  I’m a regular Florence Henderson. Crap, Ann B. Davis.

We got a damn cat by accident, did I tell you?  Oh yes, I did, I remember now.  (See him up there trying to fist bump me while I’m trying to nap, WTF? In his defense Elliot and Stabler had just kicked some Special Victims ass but still, manners dude.)  On CHRISTMAS EVE there was a storm blowing through our town and we took the girls to look outside for Santa’s sleigh and this damn fat cat just RAN into our house.  I am NOT a cat person.  NOT AT ALL.  Allergic, intolerant and kind of judgmental.  Don’t care for them.  Well, a month later and here it’s a got a collar, vaccinations and sleeps in my bed.  How did this happen?  I call him “Potato” or “Cat Stevens” or “Cat Boone” or “Sauerkraut”.  Everyone has their own name for him.  That’s the beauty of cats, they don’t give a shit what you call them.  I wish I was more like that.

Anyway, he’s kind of an asshole but I like him alright.  He’s learned to use Coop’s dog door right off the bat.  Kind of impressive.  I didn’t know cats did that.  He eats kibble.  He doesn’t scratch.  He sleeps a lot. Super low maintenance.  Jesus, I kind of wish we were dating.

I have a physical ( MY FIRST) on Tuesday and I’m terrified.  I have ridden on the back of a drunken jerk’s motorcycle at 90 miles an hour down the PCH and this 45 minute appointment terrifies me more.  It’s not the Physical itself, it’s the RESULTS.   Cirrhosis.  Liver damage.  Pancreatic Cancer.  AIDS (OMG, that ONE night in Orange County), Lung Cancer, Blindness, Spleen failure ( I don’t even know what my fucking spleen DOES but I want to keep it like an old purse that might someday go with a new outfit).  Ugh. I’m so, so scared.  High cholesterol?  I’ll take it.   But if I come in for my results and they take me into some small dark room with nothing but two chairs and a box of Kleenex I’m OUT like a scalded dog.

Fingers crossed, my friends.   I will go tits up in the parking lot if they just tell me to take more Fish Oil.

2015, Let’s Do THIS.

It’s my favorite time.

7am.  Any day.  The house is quiet and peaceful and I can hear the mourning doves outside.  The new cat that has adopted me (!) is purring loudly from the bed as I sit at my desk and try to think what to tell you about.  It’s a new year.  A new start.  So many choices to make.  So many changes ahead.  It’s my favorite time.

The last quarter of 2014 can suck it.  I had issues:

1. breast cancer (my Mom’s came back but she’s fine now, thankfully)

2. the painful death of my uncle

3. my dog was put to sleep

4. I had an infected tooth that tried to kill me and the antibiotics subsequently did as well

5. oh wait, I still hate my job and what  I do 40 hours a week

I’ve been sick for almost 90 days.  That’s kind of ridiculous really but it started with the death of my dog and it’s been a downward spiral since then.  Anxiety, depression, etc.  First world problems, I know, but all the same they’ve been taking me down.  I’ve been drinking only more than I’m sleeping, really.  Just in a coma.   FINALLY coming out.  New Year.  New Gal.  GET IT TOGETHER.

Time for change.  For exercise.  For mediation.  For writing.  For new careers and new endeavors.

The Douchebags and I are heading to San Francisco for my 47th birthday.  How fabulous is that?

I’m not sure what’s planned but I know it will be fantastic as long as the four of us are together.  I’m a lucky gal.  Friends, love, laughter and more.  I just need to remind myself more often.  2015 is going to be a year of change.  This is going to be THE YEAR.  For all of us.  Let’s all join together and agree on that, okay?  Make the changes in your life that you want to see and I’ll do the same.

Want some advice?  I read somewhere that if something takes less than two minutes, just do it.  A chore.  A household thing.  Whatev.  If it’s less than 2 minutes just do it.  This little trick has changed my life.   Putting dishes away.  Folding some laundry.  Washing a window.  Taking out trash.  Less than 2, make it happen.  You’ll be surprised.

I wrote this blog in less than two minutes.  Happy New Year.

R.I.P. Mr. C.

I thought I was prepared.  I was wrong.  So, so wrong.

It’s been one month before I could even write this post.

Four weeks ago I got up around 4am and went down the hall to use the bathroom.  Mr. Cooper was lying in the hallway in an odd position.  As I got closer I could hear his breath was wheezy and shallow.  Crap.  I woke up Johnny and told him that I thought we were at the end of the line.  He agreed.  I drug my pillow and a blanket out into the hallway and laid next to him, assuring him that it was alright to go.  I awoke around 7am and he had moved into the living room but again, he was laying in a spot he’s never laid in before.   I decided that work could wait and I’d spend the day with him.  We slept a little while and I kept stroking his head, telling him goodbye.  I prayed he’d just peacefully pass on his own.

After awhile I realized he hadn’t been outside since the night before.  I asked him if he needed to go and he responded with a  meek but certain “yes”, but just laid there.   He slowly lifted his head and his tail gently thumped, and then it hit me.  He couldn’t stand up.  I stood over him and laced my knuckles under his belly and gently tried to help him to his feet as we’ve done lately when he’s fallen.  I put yoga mats all over the house to help with his traction but this was different.

His back legs just buckled.

They say you’ll know when it’s time , and I knew. I called our clinic and miraculously they’d had a noon cancelation.  This Doctor does not normally do house calls but he had examined Mr. Cooper three weeks ago for a “quality of life assessment” so he knew we were in a dire situation.  As I waited to for Johnny to come home I kept stroking his head and whispering to him.  I recounted some of our happy times and told him that we’d had a good run and now it’s time to rest.  He laid with his sweet head in my hands and drifted in and out.

The Doc showed up with an assistant and a gurney.  They couldn’t have been more professional or compassionate.   They explained what was going to go down and consoled me the best they could on what was the worst day of my life.

It was peaceful and perfect and although my heart aches I know I did the right thing.  Laying around waiting to die with a full bladder sounds like no fun to me.  The Doc assured me I made the right decision.   The old Mr. Cooper wouldn’t have stood for 2 strangers man-handling him so I knew he was fading on me by his lack of a response.  They gently slipped the needle into his left paw and I held his head in my hands.  I looked into his droopy eyes and I told him I loved him.  I told him I’d always love him.  I tried so hard to keep my voice calm and peaceful and not to be wracked with sobs, but it was tough.  It’s funny, I never questioned it until it was over and then I questioned everything.  Euthanasia is a weird thing.  His pain stopped and mine started.

Now the house feels empty.  I keep looking for him.  I wake up and think it was all just a bad dream.  I hear his collar shake in the hallway and hear his rear end going out the doggy door.  I go from intense grief to terrible anger in a single breath.  I thought we had more time.  Why didn’t we have more time?  Why is my best friend gone?

People tell me I should get another dog.  I need somewhere for the “love to go”.  I don’t want another dog, I want THAT DOG back.  That scruffy smelly bad breath-having crooked toothed floppy eared dog that shed red wiry hair everywhere possible and that I loved like I’ve never loved anything before.

I hear it will get better.  At least I hope it will. The other day Ella was looking at me trying to hold back tears as I made her lunch.  I was biting my lip and trying to hold it together as she’s only 9 and she loved him as well.  She came up and hugged me and said “it’s okay,  I know your heart is broken”.

It is broken, Ella, and on top of that, there’s a huge hole in it.

This. And that.

Johnny and I went into an Antique store over the weekend and in there was this cracked out meth-head holding a big plastic green M&M complete with legs and arms and everything and he was LOUDLY begging the folks to buy it from him because he needed $40 (bitch down the street is selling one for $75, yo’!) for gas to get to Crossville.  I don’t think I have to tell you that it’s hard times when you’re called upon to sell your green M&M.

Mr. Cooper (my dog) is nearing the end of the road and it’s just as debilitating and miserable as you can imagine.  For me, anyway.  He’s comfy and safe and seems happy, just slowing waaaaaay down.  Getting his medicine in him is a daily challenge and we still haven’t found a winning recipe.  This dog has been known to spit out warm bacon so let’s just start there.  We’ve mashed up the pills and put them in sautéed ground turkey.  Nope.  His once beloved chicken salad (with tarragon) is no longer palatable.  Fuckety.  Tried shoving them down his throat old skool style but that only ended with me getting a thumb gash when he thrashed his head.  He’s stronger than you’d imagine in his old age.  Much like my sweet Grandma, I’m hoping he just passes peacefully in his sleep and doesn’t make me decide for him.  Fingers crossed.  He’s still getting in the trash on occasion so I feel like he’s kinda like my Dad was at the end of his life.  Old and slowing down, but still capable of being an asshole.

I’m really excited about the next installment of American Horror Story: Freak Show.  Y’all watching this?  I loved “Murder House” and “Coven” ( I skipped “Asylum” due to scheduling conflicts) but am ready to get on board on the carnie train.  I’m not one of those people that are terrified of clowns, but I do indeed enjoy a good freak show, as inappropriate and politically incorrect as it seems.  Remember, I lost my virginity to a Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus clown so there’s that.  He was hardly a freak but I think it counts as unique anecdote.   Don’t let the big shoes fool you.   *rim shot*

I am so ready for Fall, it’s by far my favorite season.  Screw that pumpkin spice latte, where’s the hard cider?  Pumpkins.  Hay bales.  Gourds.  Indian Corn.  Cool nights and zero humidity.  Football.  I love all of it and plan on celebrating it’s awesomeness this weekend with a night at the cabin with my fella, my dog, Oprah (magazine) , my knitting and booze.   Do you like how I clarified that it’s not Oprah herself that is attending?  As if.  Although Oprah should know she’s always welcome and she can totally bring Gale.

There’s this guy that I see in my neighborhood that’s, let’s say, a little eccentric.  He looks like an ethnic “Napoleon Dynamite”.  Same big wiry fro hair, glasses, etc. but more latino or such.  Napoleon Gonzales perhaps.  He wears a plaid skirt (not a kilt) every day.  Like a Catholic girl’s uniform.  He wears a grey sweatshirt and carries a backpack and I see him walking all over.  I quite like his style, really.  The other day I went into our neighborhood market and he was there in the produce section and I could barely contain my excitement at seeing him in such a close-up situation.  Up until now, I’ve always been driving when I spot him.  He went to the bakery and bought a big white cake and placed it in his basket.  The cake had to be like $40.  This surprised and delighted me.  I then followed him through the store and watched him pirouette at every turn.  He would stop, do a twirl and then proceed town the aisle.  IT’S NOT EVEN MY BIRTHDAY, Y’ALL.   I tried to get behind him in the checkout aisle because I wanted to hear his voice but some old crow beat me to it and he was out the door before I could catch up.  When I got to the cashier I inquired about him.  She mentioned that he comes in all the time and is quite the quirky fellow.  I told her I enjoyed his dancing at the end of each aisle and she turned to me straight-faced and said, “Oh, he’s not dancing, he just doesn’t like to turn right”.  WHAT.  THE.  HELL.

So.  Upon having to turn right to go down the grocery aisle, Napoleon Gonzales would turn a 360 degree angle to the LEFT and then proceed.  He wasn’t dancing after all.  Needless to say this made my day and I’m thinking of incorporating it into my daily routine.  But seriously, what with the cake?  Was he going to party?  Was he having a tea party with his dolls at home?  Was he just going to eat it himself?  So many questions.

Girl Corrupted doesn’t like the right either.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Puke of 2014

 

So, in sticking with the nauseous theme, I present to you The Great Puke of 2014, ruining my two year streak which of course pales in comparison to Jerry’s.

So the other day at work I started feeling a wee bit woozy.  I had been fine all morning but clearly something I ate at lunch didn’t agree with me.  My belly was doing flip flops and I fluctuated between perspiring and goose bumps and all in all it was totally unpleasant.  I went to bathroom more than a few times with the disturbing feeling that I wasn’t sure what was going come out of where.  I put cold water on a paper towel and put it on the back of my neck.  I loosened my pants.  I swallowed hard and tried not to think about it because you see, I am the World’s Worst Barfer.  Seriously, my Mother can barf anytime, anywhere and without bravado.  She once barfed during intermission in a concert hall trashcan at a Tim Conway/Harvey Korman performance and went right back to her seat to watch the second half of the show.  She’s unflappable.  Me?  Notsomuch.  Terrible at vomiting.  It’s very violent and dramatic and I fight it every step of the way.   The thought of vomiting at work was even more traumatic because I am the only woman in my office and they’re complete pigs and the thought of having to put my FACE near the toilet seat was enough to induce explosive vomiting, period.  It just made it all the worse.

Anyway.  Things settled down.  Ah…thank baby Jesus, I was gonna make it.  I left the office at 5:00 and headed to our restaurant.  It was Friday night and I always help out on Friday’s, but I had to run by the bank first.   I roared into the drive thru right before they closed and as I put in my deposit, I noticed a little Hawaiian bobble head dancing girl in the window.  She was battery operated and was doing a little hula jig.  As I watched her go back and forth vomit suddenly sprang forth in my mouth.  Just a small amount but as with shitting your pants, ANY amount feels like way too much.  Wide eyed and horrified I swallowed it and sped out of the banks’ parking lot.  I jumped on the interstate and gunned it towards the pizza shop.  It became evident pretty quickly that my body was NOT running the show and I was literally going to barf while driving my Jeep.  Jesus.

So there I was on interstate 40 going 75 miles an hour, gagging and sweating and swallowing hard.  I wasn’t going to make it.  I screeched off at the very next exit and peeled into a strip mall of sorts.  I was devoid of privacy or dignity but did not care because I knew I was about to hurl my lunch into oblivion.  As the car came to a halt I flung open my door and lurched over to rid myself of whatever was trying to clearly kill me.

FAIL.  In the extremeness of the situation I had forgotten to unbuckle my seat belt so in effect I completely vomited all down my left side and INSIDE my Jeep.  My buckle jerked me back just as hard as I had jerked forward to barf.    UGH.  My barfing on myself only made me barf harder if you can believe that and I cannot imagine what the poor people walking in the parking lot thought.  As it was happening I made a mental note to chew more thoroughly because I noticed a COMPLTELY WHOLE cherry tomato amongst the remains of my lunch.

After the third wave it was over.  I was wearing a scarf around my neck which now is affectionately referred to as my “barf scarf” as it served to clean me up as well as the floorboards of my Jeep.  I quickly decided to call it a day and head home to change and take a Silkwood shower.   I “may” have taken a picture of it on my phone because who wouldn’t want their epic barf as a screensaver?  Kidding.  I did take picture of it only because of the sheer volume of it all and I wanted to show Johnny how my afternoon had gone down.  I like to share.

What?  It’s not like I put it on Instagram, y’all.

 

 

 

 

Absolut misery.

Hidey ho, internets!   It is I, Girl Corrupted back from another fantastic trip with my life long best friends, the douchebags.  Unfortunately we were down one original douchebag but happily we gained two “honorary” db’s for this adventure.   This time we aimed our sights on Carmel by the Sea in California.  It’s a quaint little town right on the ocean, where Clint Eastwood even served as mayor some years ago.   We had an adorable cottage just three blocks from the beach complete with a wood burning fireplace.  It’s chilly this time of year and a cozy fire was welcome nightly.

We spent four days eating, drinking, shopping, reading, cooking and laughing.  Mainly we just enjoy being together so the landscape doesn’t matter but in this case, it was pretty spectacular.

Oh.  One more thing.  We did this.

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That’s right, we got our whale on.  We bought tickets to a whale watching excursion and roamed around the pier waiting to board the boat.  This is the part where I need to mention that my fellow travelers all took Dramamine but I chose to do a shot of Absolut Peach because I’m a bad ass and I don’t need no stinkin’ tummy pills.

Turns out, I DO need stinkin’ tummy pills.   We own a boat and I have been on a cruise ship but this was a totally different matter.  I was fine in the harbor but when we got out to the roaring ocean it was another game altogether.   The ship lurched side to side and up and down.  So did my stomach.   Y’all, I was GREEN.  I tried everything.  Focusing on the landscape, standing at the rear of the ship, chewing on mints, the whole shebang.  No avail.  One of the ship workers saw how sick I looked and tried to reassure me.  I said “well, I’ll make it for an hour, I’m sure” and then his face told me all I needed to know.  This was not an hour long jaunt.  Oh, no.  THREE HOURS.  I almost burst into tears.

And you know what else?  Whales are douchebaggy show-offs.  They said the last few weeks they’ve hardly seen any but wouldn’t you know the day I’m on that demonic boat they were EVERYWHERE.  Every few minutes a tail would flip and someone would spout off their blow-hole and we’d turn the ship in the direction and go look.  Sure enough on the other side some Humpback is douching out and waving a fin so we gotta turn around and go look at his narcissistic ass.  NINETEEN whales sighted total.  I’m like, “STAY DOWN YOU A-HOLES”.   I never actually threw up but fighting it for three hours was almost worse, it’s not like I haven’t puked in public before.  My counterparts were much more gracious than I’d have been and for that I was grateful.  I’ve never been so happy to be on dry land in my life although I still felt like I was swaying for a few hours afterwards.  So, now we know.

Dramamine = good.  Whales = showoffs.  Girl, Corrupted = dumbass.