I Went Camping And Survived

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Okay, so let’s start this off by saying that to call what I did “camping” is a bit of a stretch.

Four nights were in a hooked up RV with running water, air conditioning, and electricity; in an RV park with free Wifi by the beach.

Two nights were in a hotel.

Regardless of those little details, it was camping and I did it and also I survived.

I have a very complicated history with camping.

On one hand, the bulk of my childhood is made up of one camping story after another stitched together. So you’d think camping brought about fond memories.

I camped a lot when I was very little in Girl Scouts. We hiked and made s’mores and eggs in paper bags over campfires and we sang songs and did crafts, and all that other happy horse shit the Girl Scouts do that I currently am at a loss to remember. I think there was some ghost story telling and TAPS playing in there somewhere.

My grandparents owned a lot up at The Pines (near the California-Nevada border), so we went there often when I was little as well. In fact, there’s a huge pine tree on the mountain today that I planted when I was only 6.

As I grew older, though, I became way more high maintenance; the result of which was that camping was no longer something I generally enjoyed. I grew to love my conveniences and my hair dryer and my makeup. And, more so, to dislike things like hiking and allergies, being bored sitting and fishing and getting nothing, and really not liking to be almost eaten by a bear.

…which, for the record, happened once. We were camping when I was 15 at Kings Canyon and after my entire family hiked to a waterfall, someone started screaming because a brown bear was walking up the pathway, straight for us. It ended up turning back (or something); nonetheless, I slept in the car and stayed close to our campsite for the rest of the trip.

Everyone this year was doing big vacations and trips, though; and – by comparison – my kids had an all time shitty summer. It started with a funeral for my husband’s grandmother; and shortly after that my oldest daughter sprained her ankle, effectively canceling all of her summer tennis plans. My younger daughter still played some, but then around mid-summer we found out she has Osgood-Schlatters, further hindering our tennis stuff…and to make matters worse, we have no AC and it has been HOT AS BALLS since mid-June.

All in all it just kind of sucked.

So as summer started coming to a close, I was determined to figure something out to salvage the season. But I was also on a tight budget, it being last minute and all; so when my mother in law offered us up their RV whenever we want it, I knew that was the best option.

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In all honesty, with the amount of a high maintenance, pain in the ass princess I am now – today, 21 years after that day the bear almost mauled us all to death up at Kings Canyon – I considered our four nights in an RV and two nights in a hotel really roughing it.

  1. Have you people ever showered in an RV? First off, it made me feel like Andre the Giant. My head hit the ceiling; and the shower head was effectively a glorified hose. And to make matters worse, calling RV hot water “hot water” is a bit of a stretch.
  2. It was just me and the three kids. That, alone, was absolute craziness. I had to make fires, put together the charcoal grills, use matches – all while keeping the baby from falling out of the RV window, and the girls busy and happy enough to feel like the summer had been salvaged.
  3. The third morning we were there, it rained. This soaked all of our stuff outside, including our firewood. It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal (the sun came out shortly after the rain storm); except that the firewood wouldn’t light in the evening. I came up with the GENIUS idea to pour lighter fluid all over the small amount of flames I had been successful in getting going. I’ll let you guys know when my eyebrows grow back.
  4. The final morning we were there – and this was a big one – the RV toilet clogged. As it turned out, we were using the wrong type of toilet paper. Nevertheless, we couldn’t figure out how to get it unclogged, until finally we found this magic wand my in laws had stored in one of the outside compartments. It sprayed the paper out of the toilet, but after we got it back outside, my daughter started unscrewing it from the hose before the water was fully off; and, in short, there was a large mess.

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Okay, obviously two nights in a hotel was not even remotely like camping. But it was      still roughing it. We were on the first floor with some noisy walkers above us; and there was a local corn hole tournament going on, so the hotel was packed with rowdy corn hole enthusiasts.

We’ve been home, now, for two days and I feel like my entire perspective on life has changed. I can handle a long and rough vacation with the kids, alone. That’s a really big deal. Also, I can figure out how to do things like build fires and unclog RV toilets if I’m given enough time and resources.

I’m definitely more of an all-inclusive resort kind of gal, though. What about you?

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I have some random things to complain about…

… so think I’ll do it here.

Hope you guys don’t mind.

1795567_724115684753_1794814265_nIt all started with – I think – the Superbowl. For one, I drank too much that day. That isn’t saying much for me, because I don’t drink a lot and I also am a super-duper lightweight. Nonetheless, I drank too much because I was annoyed that NO ONE TOUCHED MY FUCKING APPETIZERS.

It was really insulting, mostly because this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. On Christmas I made the only dessert and it went to BINGO with my husband’s grandparents three days later because no one wanted them. Anyway, I said I’d bring the appetizers and that I’d make this stupid stadium-themed “platter” to put them on. Then there were so many appetizers, and my “platter” was sort of out of the way and unnoticeable so tons went in the trash.

Went. In. The. TRASH.

So that started my week of being really annoyed by a lot of things. And it’s only Tuesday. Here are a few others:

1) (Monday) Coca-Cola taught me that people are still very pathetic, racist pieces of shit

I’m trying to understand how a positive and uplifting commercial about the fact that no matter what culture or heritage people attach themselves to, at the very heart of it all, Americans have an ultimate of love of this country – how that turned into a bunch of people posting on the Internet their bigoted shit about boycotting Coke products, and “speak fucking English” and all that crap.

No seriously. How is racism still happening in this country? I mean…really…

I never really got the whole thing about what language people speak anyway. What does it matter what fucking words people use to communicate? How is it more patriotic – in any way, shape, or form – to speak English?

All these awful piece of shit ignoramuses clearly forgot that: (1) America was originally inhabited by the Native Americans – who have countless different languages, and we were the original illegal immigrants speaking a foreign tongue weren’t we; and, (2) the great thing about America has always been that it is THE MOTHERFUCKING MELTING POT OF ALL THIS WONDERFUL DIVERSITY FROM ALL OVER THE FUCKING WORLD.

It made me so sad to hear and read about people’s reactions to that Coca-cola commercial, it was all I could do not to emotionally eat an entire box of Chips Ahoy.

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2) (Tuesday) People are STILL letting their kids cry in restaurants and it annoys me.

Look. I’m a mom. I get it: sometimes kids act up. It’s frustrating and embarrassing when your kid – of any age – starts crying or throwing a temper tantrum in a public place. Especially when it’s over something like not getting ice-cream or some shit – ugh, that is the worst.

But I don’t cut the bullshit on this one. About 5 seconds after a tantrum starts, we get up and walk out. If we’re in a restaurant and we have to pay the bill, we stand up and immediately find the host at the door to help get the food bagged up and expedite the process.

Why? Because I’ve been to restaurants and had meals ruined – completely ruined – by a kid screaming and crying. It’s obnoxious and that some parents think it’s just a given if you go to a restaurant where children are allowed is why more and more places are opting to not allow children, ruining it for the rest of us who have manners and respect for other people.

It’s also because I want to parent without the judging and watchful eyes of all the busy-bodies sitting around me that may or may not think I’m doing it right. Sometimes (not all times – depends on the situation) I ignore tantrums, and I don’t want to hear some bitchy ladies two tables over talking about how sad they feel for my kid because I won’t pander to all the tantruming.

Most of the time I just don’t think other people should have to suffer for my failure as a parent that at some point in time has led my kid to believe that screaming and crying will result in a reward.

Today we went out to lunch and this family of about thirty-five had one baby who would not shut the fuck up with her crying, with intermittent breaks to scream “cookie” over and over again until they gave her one. Then she clearly soiled her little cookie-pants, because they changed HER GODDAMNED DIAPER IN THE RESTAURANT, LAYING DOWN IN HER STROLLER.

Right there, within view of my bleu cheese and strawberry salad.

What’s next? Will the week calm down from these petty annoyances, that always get under my skin because – well – everything gets under my skin? Or will it just continue to get worse and worse until I’ve lost it before the week’s end?

Are you guys having a good week?

I Like The Cold

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People always look at me like I’m a complete moron when I tell them that I like the cold. As in cold outside, you know: snow, sleet, wind chill.

I get jealous when I see that there are blizzards going on somewhere in the world.

I live in California. Particularly, Southern California. We have one dial on the weather-o-meter and that’s about it: 70s and sunny. Sometimes we get fog. Occasionally it rains for a few days. Once in a while the winds blow and it hits 90; or the ocean blows in some high 60s.

High 60s. Anything below that and the city in which we live shuts down.

By contrast, I grew up in Chicago. Those of you that have been hanging around the blog for a while know how much I love the city and its suburbs. In the winter, and sometimes in the fall and spring, it is exceedingly cold in Chicago. Like cold-cold.

And I love it.

I guess maybe you don’t realize what it’s like to live in a place that has virtually no weather variation at all until you have. I’ve lived in Southern California now for almost 14 years and I can say without a doubt that it is beyond boring, mainly because of the weather. Yeah, it’s nice to not have to worry about things like closed-toed shoes or scarves and hats. Sure you have the ocean with the EPA’s estimation that thousands of people take a dump in that water every day while out surfing or swimming (related note: I do not ever go in the Pacific Ocean). Okay, you have the beaches you can go to any time of the year ….unless, of course, they’re closed because of all the hypodermic needles sticking out of the sand.

But there is no changing of the leaves really, especially not as dramatically as in the Midwest. You never have the excitement of jumping in a pile of freshly raked leaves; or by contrast the thrill of knowing that spring is just around the corner.

There will never be a first snow of the year for Southern Californians.

No, there will be first snow in the mountains that people will get in their cars and drive to, only after the snowing has already happened. And only for a little while before getting back in their cars and driving home to the 70s and sunny before nightfall.

You cannot get much more monotonous than that.

What I’m saying is that there are no changes of the seasons, which means there is none of the living that comes along with it. I equate living with having these experiences that are unique and exciting and different. Not monotony. Shoveling. Snow balls. Raking leaves. Seeing fresh flowers bloom. Feeling snow in your hair. Ice skating. Sledding in your back yard. Bundling up in a hat, scarf, and gloves for a football game. Hot chocolate when it isn’t actually hot out.

In 70s and sunny every day, there is not much room for exciting and different experiences when it comes to the weather. I find this ironic because in California we pride ourselves on organic-living, which should extend well beyond just the foods we eat into the way we live. And yet there is nothing organic at all about making fake snow at Disneyland or having to drive four hours in traffic to see orange, brown, and red leaves.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all in my head. I must be biased because I love Chicago and dislike California. I’m sure there is an entire conglomerate of blog followers, family, friends, and people that just like to hate me waiting to tell me how I am making no sense. I have rocks in my brains for liking cold weather, or I’ve just forgotten what a foot of snow feels like.

The bottom line, though, is that I’m home again, in suburban Chicago for the holiday. And I felt more alive as I stood in the snow yesterday afternoon than at any point in the last 14 years that I’ve lived in Southern California. I was cold. My fingers felt numb. But I could feel it, and I knew I was there because of it. There was nothing monotonous about it at all, and that is living.

Calling All Book Reviewing Bloggers…

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… who don’t mind using the word “Bitch” in their blogs…

I’m looking for five, fine and fancy free bloggers to make a solid commitment to review my book, coming out on Tuesday, June 4th – My Wife’s A Bitch. As a part of the review, you’ll receive: a free, signed copy of the book for you to keep, a press packet, and a My Wife’s A Bitch Swag Pack.

The deal is that you have to post the review on your blog no later than June 30th.

If you are interested in doing a review, and getting all that cool stuff that comes along with doing it, please post your best contact information in the comments of *this blog post.* If there becomes an overwhelming amount of people interested, I’ll either increase the number of people doing reviews (and receiving the freebies too); or will choose reviewers on May 28th via Randomizer.org.

… and in case you missed the trailer…

Good News! The Porn Industry Is Coming To My Town!!

So we ran a couple of errands tonight. Those errands included: dropping a frozen turkey off at my dad’s house for Easter Sunday, getting the guinea pig birthday presents for his first birthday (coming up this Monday), and to CVS to get dish soap.

I know. Big night for the B(itch) family.

As I was pulling out of the CVS parking lot, my kid started screaming in the back seat. “Naked!!! AHHHH!” she screamed, and I slammed on my brakes – not really knowing what the hell was going on, and thinking there might be some emergency. Or maybe Ryan Reynolds was visiting our community, and walking around topless. A girl can dream, right?

To my dismay, I saw what she was referring to. Outside this breakfast cafe (which was closed at the time, it being around 7:30 in the evening), there was a grown man getting dressed. He was naked, except his tighty-whiteys. In a public parking lot.

Indeed.

Things are starting to get a little weird around this place. There’s more of that kind of stuff out in public. That whole Korean Hooker Hostage situation went down at my nail salon last year. Kids are doing drugs in our apartment parking lot. And that guy with blue hair last week said I was hot at the Souplantation. So I guess after seeing the guy getting dressed in the public parking lot, it seemed only natural for me to come home to learn that the porn industry is vying to move into the community.

Apparently some months ago the city of Los Angeles passed a law requiring porn stars to wear rubbers when they’re filming their dirty BBW, SBW, MOM, MILF movies. Since then the “industry” (if you can call it that) has been seeking out a new, local hub of operation to take its sales and property taxes. But city after city is creating this “cover your manhood” law, so my town is next in line as the potential successor to the throne of Ron Jeremy.

The weird thing about this is that the small community in which we live is just about the exact antithesis of what you’d think as the new “porn capital of the world.” Probably 90% of our residents are over the age of 90. The other 10% are inbred hillbillies lacking much education. This means that if the local yocals try to get in on all the money-making that is to be had in the porn capital of the world, there will be a lot of senior citizens and rednecks trying to market their homemade movies on the street corners. Just great. Cletis Goes Wild At the BINGO Hall.

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Conversation Stoppers

I’m not a big fan of talking to a lot of people in my everyday life. There aren’t many – mostly my mom (sometimes), my dad (too much), my husband (when his job lets him) – but that doesn’t change the fact that many of their conversations with me turn into requests. Or discussion about shit I just don’t want to hear about. It’s hard to have a meaningful conversation when you’re a mom anyway – I usually avoid phone calls simply because they’ll be interrupted constantly with some bullshit that could have waited.

And there are certain things I just don’t want to discuss, namely: medical problems, work, and my mom’s obsession with doing it. To deal with those “certain things,” I’ve come up with some surefire conversation stoppers. We all have them – some just walk away; others say something as simple as “this conversation is over.”

Mine are a little more attuned to the situation.

When My Husband Talks About His Job

My conversation stopper for my husband’s shop talk is to accuse him of scratching his balls or beating off in my presence. Nothing changes the subject from inane conversation about the film industry and all its subtle, bullshitty nuances like suggesting he has some sort of penile problem.

When I first moved here (and I think I’ve told this story before), I went on something of a date with a guy at the department store I had just started working at. It wasn’t supposed to be a date, and I said it wasn’t a date; nonetheless, the guy still put his arm around me and paid for my movie ticket. About half way through the film, I noticed him scratching himself. A lot. I mean it just didn’t stop; and I was only 18 and naive, so I had no clue that this guy was really jerking off as we sat there on this non-date-pseudo-date, until someone told me that’s what he was doing later on.

Since then, I’ve been a little sensitive when a man puts his hand near his crotch. Even my husband. Granted, my husband does scratch his balls a lot. And then sometimes he just rests his hand on his inner thigh – which is fucking weird of its own right. But usually I’m just making the accusation to get him to stop talking.

Last night was the best incidence of this. We were in bed, watching the new Manchurian Candidate. I was writing my blog, my husband was laying there watching and he mentioned something about the movie or the industry – or something that triggered my conversation stopper instinct – and he was doing that weird thing where he rests his hand on his inner thigh.

Poor Nick: “You know this film is interesting because —”

Me: “Are you scratching your balls?”

Poor Nick: “No.”

Me: “You’re jerking off, aren’t you?”

Poor Nick: “NO. I’m resting my hand on my thigh. See?”

And Poor Nick pulled back the covers to show that he was, in fact, resting his hand on his inner thigh. But as I said, it’s a little weird. Why the inner thigh? Why not the outer leg? Or the stomach? Or why not somewhere else – like on the bed, or hold my hand? Why the inner thigh? So I pressed on.

Me: “Do you ever think it’s weird that you rest your hand on your inner thigh?”

Poor Nick: “What?”

Me: “You know … if I were to rest my hand on my inner thigh, wouldn’t you think it was weird?”

Poor Nick: “No.”

Me: “Oh really?”

And then I slid down my pillow so my legs were spread and proceeded to rest both of my hands on the inner part of both of my thighs to prove my point. I looked fucking weird. Psychotic, in fact.

Not another word was spoken for the rest of the evening. Conversation stopper.

When My Dad Talks About His Medical Issues

It isn’t that I want my dad to stop keeping me up to date on his health. Being the only reliable person he has here (and vice versa for me besides my husband), it’s important I know what’s going on.

But lately it’s gotten to be too much. He’s having hip replacement surgery next Friday, so every day these last few weeks have been about getting ready, attending doctor’s appointments, getting our things over to stay at his house for a month, helping him make decisions, and so on. That doesn’t mean we have to talk about it all into the ground, though – especially at the most inopportune times. In fact, it happened just today where it got to a point that I just couldn’t take it anymore.

484306_665623967623_1261580074_nWe were running errands with my dad, and had a pretty tumultuous time doing it. We couldn’t find a stepping stool we needed to help him get in and out of my Jeep post-op. The doctor called in the wrong pain medication, that he has a sensitivity to. And then a bee flew into the car and we had to pull over and run out, while my dad tried to get rid of it so that I wouldn’t get stung and die (I’m allergic). By the time we stopped to get some dinner, I was so not in the mood to hear about medical shit. I just wanted to eat, get a little wasted, find some frozen yogurt, and go home.

The medical talk was almost avoided this time, too, but then on the way home, we were eating our frozen yogurt and my dad started up with his medical talk. He started telling me about some bleeding drug they were going to give him in the hospital, or some shit; and rather than listen, my conversation stopper instinct kicked in.

With my dad, it’s to sing. The only song I could think of at that very moment was – of course – the “my bologna has a first name…” jingle. Before I knew it, the whole car was singing along, and the medical talk had been averted. Conversation stopper.

When My Mom Divulges Details Of Her Sex Life

So I’ve only met my mother’s husband once. It was for about 15 minutes and he made a total of 5 inappropriate comments about my mother’s vagina to me during that time. Since then, he’s cracked numerous jokes on the phone about doing it with her. The worst was when he basically called her a slut in high school.

Hillbilly Husband: “Yeah, you know your mom and I probably even went to the same drive in movies when we were in high school.”

Me: “Oh really?”

Hillbilly Husband: “Yep. The difference is that I actually saw the movies!!! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!”

Indeed.

To make matters worse, my mom makes these horrifying innuendos to me all the time. When they are separated (as in she’s here, in California, and he’s there, in New Mexico), they have these marathon phone conversations that sometimes last upwards of eight hours. What in the fuck do they do for eight hours on the phone? They can’t possibly have that much to talk about, right?

Right. They don’t. The answer is in two words: phone sex.

Just the other day, my mother told me that she was “too spent” from talking to her hillbilly husband to go over Easter plans with me. She started talking about vibrators and the demands of a woman separated from love, and all that other hypersexual bullshit, and I just couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t want to deal with it; I mean, if you’re too exhausted to talk about something important, shut the fuck up about your little phone sex crap.

So I pulled out my conversation stopper for when my mom starts up this TMI nonsense: “mom, no one wants to hear about your jerky flavored edible panties…” She said ‘OK’ and hung up the phone. Conversation stopper.

Do you have conversation stoppers, faithful blog followers? Do you say something rude? Do you make implications that are just blatantly false? Do you sing, like me? Or do you just listen to people blather on and on and on, until your mind is numb and your soul is destroyed?

My Horrible Evening At Pukeplantation

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Am I overwhelming you most faithful blog followers with too many posts? This is something like the fourth in two days, I’ve just really had a lot to say these past few days. I promise, I’ll slow down (maybe).

Went to dinner this evening. Just me and Pookies, which meant that it ended up being somewhere kid-friendly. I wasn’t in the mood for Denny’s or Panera Bread, though; and fast food was of course out of the question. So Souplantation it was.

Now I do typically enjoy Souplantation. Typically. We used to live in the heart of Los Angeles and had a really nice one. One that had everything, plus amazing customer service. Their space was bigger than any restaurant I had ever been to. And it was walking distance from our apartment – just awesome.

The Souplantation out here is a far cry from that; although it was still decent up until recently. In the last few months, though, it’s become a little ghetto. Or perhaps more accurately, it’s become proof that the town in which we live is going downhill. More white trash. A lot people running into each other and acting like total pigs. Basically the entire swath of the state of nature, all packed into one tiny restaurant with a 210 person capacity.

Sad to say, today was the last time we will ever go to that Souplantation. By the time you get through our experience, hopefully you will support my decision.

4:45 pm

We cruise into the Souplantation parking lot. It looks like the dinner rush is starting to get there a little early, but then again it shares the parking lot with Ross – dress for less – so maybe it’s just overflow from early high school prom shoppers.

4:50 pm

Finally inside, we are beginning to make our way through the line. A family of four has come in behind us. The husband is holding a baby that looks like it hasn’t been bathed. Ever. The husband begins sneezing. I start to push Pookies a little quicker down the salad bar. I notice the fourth in their group is a teenager. He has blue hair, in a flock of seagulls cut. He has handcuffs hanging from his belt buckle. Maybe he’s just broken out of jail. He starts sneezing too.

5:00 pm

I’ve paid and we’ve found a booth as far away from the rest of the people that are already seated. Kids are screaming and running around. The family of four sit near us shortly afterwards.

5:05 pm

I go to get drinks. The drink bar is in complete view of the table, so I go alone. The kid with the blue flock of seagulls hair cut walks past our table, and it looks like he has said something. I rush back to the table.

5:15 pm

Finishing up the salad and it’s starting to get packed. People are sneezing, coughing, belching, and ripping ass everywhere. The woman sitting at the table next to us actually lifted her ass to blow one – I kid you faithful blog followers not. You know I’m not a fan of ass jokes, this is really happening.

I decide we are not at Souplantation. We are at Pukeplantation. Time to get some Pukeplantation soup.

5:18 pm

I’m waiting at the soup bar to get the chicken and alphabet soup. There is a rather portly man in a hooded sweatshirt and khaki shorts filling four bowls. I assume he is getting them for multiple people. Or that he really likes the soup. In spite of all the belching and burping and blowing and puking and sneezing and snotting, I will admit – that soup is tasty. He is taking forever though, so people are getting in line behind me, and I inch a little closer. He turns around and rips a belch so loud, so ferocious, that I swear I see his lips quiver. Like Barney on The Simpsons. Or worse.

As I’m dishing up the soup, I realize he’s belched a piece of chewed food onto my sweater.

5:25 pm

I have had about enough of this place. Having totally lost my appetite wiping the stranger’s food off my sweater, I sit and wait quietly. The lady sitting next to us rips another one. Her husband tells stories about “Rod in seasonal” grabbing his ass. He’s wearing a Home Depot polo shirt. I assume he works at the Home Depot in the same shopping complex. I make a mental note never to go this Pukeplantation or that Rip Ass-Grab Butt Depot ever again. I consider running to my car and speeding home to drink heavily and forget about this place.

But the deal with Pukeplantation is that dessert is always a given. Fat free frozen yogurt is a healthy way to dessert anyway. I sprint to the yogurt machine so that we can leave soon.

5:32 pm

There are four exits from this particular Pukeplantation. The one closest to us is in the back of the building and we are parked in the front, but rather than wade our way through the belches and boogers of this rancid state of hillbilly nature, we walk out the back door and just traipse around the entire building to get to my car.

While walking I am informed of what transpired when the blue haired flock of seagulls, jail break walked past our booth while I was getting our drinks. As he walked by, with his handcuffs clanging against his leg, he leaned over and said “hey … your mom’s hot …”

From there we ran to my Jeep.

We will not be returning to that place. Ever. Again. Would you? It concerns me that so many of these experiences are cropping up more and more around my community. Is it just that I’m hanging out in the wrong places? Or is pigslob hillbilly becoming the status quo?