Not going to be on much today or tomorrow.  Packing and flying.  But in case I don't make it I want to leave you with a how-to on how to play Zombie Bath Salts.  (This is mine and D.J.'s new favorite game.  Ok, it's at least mine.)

Players: 2-?

One person is the victim and one person is the "zombie" who smoked bath salts.  Zombie person growls and roars and "attacks" (I jump on D.j.) and precedes to "eat" the victims face.  (PRETEND is the key word.  Unless you really did take bath salts, but that turns this into a news cast and not a game.)  The person playing the victim gives a half-assed struggle and then "dies".  You know your victim is dead when his/her tongue pokes out the right side of the mouth.  If the tongue poke out the left, your victim is playing possum.  Keep chomping.  If you have other ppl playing they can be the police.  They will PRETEND to shoot and tazer the person playing zombie.  Unfortunatly, the zombie will not go down and may even go after new "victims".

So there you have it.  That is how you play Zombie Bath Salts.  And yes, on a daily basis we play this.  Often I start playing without telling D.J.  It's more realistic that way.  And we don't play with cops so there is no one there to taze me.  So, yeah, D.J. is always fucked and dies.  Although, last night we played Troll Epsom Salts.  It's similar to ZBS but I PRETENDED to smoke Epsom salt instead and started slobbering and hunched down close to the ground.  I tried asking for a toll for the bridge, but seeing how D.J. is broke (cause I spent all his money on a plane ticket)  he was fucked again.  And, yes, he died.

So today is Father's Day, and it got me thinking about my parents.  Since I didn't write a post on Mother's Day I figured today would be a good time to combine the two and honor both parents at once.

Really what has me thinking today is my upbringing.  I will not say I had the GREATEST PARENTS OF ALL TIME!!!  Nor will I profess a Brady-like childhood.  Honestly, I don't feel like my parents really did a whole lot of the actual raising of me.  They were there to make sure I didn't die, but when it came to the actual parenting, they were a bit lacking.  

In my very early years they were there and did a fairly decent job.  At least, of what I can remember.  I remember my mom soothing back my hair as I spilled my guts into a bucket every time I had the flu.  I remember her giving my popsicles when I was teething.  I remember my dad taking me to see The Empire Strikes back (just him and myself) for my 5th birthday because it was the ONLY thing I wanted for that birthday.  And when I was older I DO remember my dad showing up, sober, for high-school drama plays and choral concerts.  At least, the ones I told him about.

But somewhere in there, I'm not sure when it happened, my mom found drugs and my father found liquor.  And then the hard ships began and my parents fell off their pedestals.

But here's the thing...for all the shit that they put me through, both directly and indirectly, I would not change a thing.  Not.  One.  Fucking.  Thing.  

You know how you sometimes sit around and talk with your friends or whoever and that question comes up, "If you could go back and do it over, and make changes, would you?"  My answer is always a resounding, NO.  See, if I were to do that, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  And I rather like me.  Without all the crap, I would have never learned the tools to take on the things that occur out in "the real world" and make it through.

Today I am a very independent, opinionated, intelligent, strong person.  (Ok, feeling a little less intelligent every time I need to use that spell-check, but hey, I said intelligent, not perfect.)  

When I was in high-school my friend Brian said a single sentence to me that has stuck with me to this day.  "You are the strongest person I know."  I don't know if that is still true to this day.  I highly doubt it.  But, at the time, it was a truth.  Also, at the time, I thought he was absolutely nuts.  I didn't believe it.  I mean, me?  Really?  How the hell was I so strong?  We were talking about a girl who, at the best of times, thought she was losing her mind (my panic-attacks had yet to be diagnosed), would go through horrific boughts of depression, would cry at the drop of a dime and ran from every thing she didn't like.  How was I all that strong?

It took years and perspective to realize that Brian was right.  I am strong.  Over the years I would tell ppl about various things that had happened in my life and was more often than not given a response of, "How are you still here?  I would not have been able to handle that.  I would have probably killed myself by now."  The truth is, suicide wasn't just not an option, it had never even occurred to me.   I mean, I had (and still have) a curiosity about death and what happens when we die, but never to the extent of wanting to find out.  Actually, dying is one of my biggest phobias.

It took me a while to figure out that I was able to get through it all because of my childhood.  Because of the things I had been through.  Because of the personality traits I learned from my parents.  Because of the stick-to-your-guns, stand up for yourself, take no shit way I learned from my mom.  Because of the cool, calculated, pick your battles way that I learned from my dad.  Because of having to see first hand what happens when you make wrong choices, they taught me how to make right ones.  They taught me how to deal with my problems and that there is always something worse.  (I know that last sentance sounds bad, but really it's not.)

Because of that, NO, I would not change it for the world.  I would do it all over again.  If I did, my mom and dad would never have taken me to the hospital.  That act alone resulted in doctors diagnosing my closed-head-injury, clinical depression and the resulting panic attacks.  I would never have known the joy of bowling (before the drugs, my mom was a semi-pro bowler).  Without my dad I would never know how annoying, and funny, a tiny music box outside your bedroom door can be.  Without them both I wouldn't know how to enjoy the little things in life.

So to both of my parents, on this Father's Day, I say thank you.  Thank you for turning me into the person I am.  Thank you for the good, the bad and the in-between.  Thank you for it all.
My first experience with the ocean was not a good one.  I was in Salem, Massachusetts and it was a nasty, smelly, disgusting sight (and smell).  The water was gray and dingy with dead rotting fish floating all over.  NOT the ocean of the movies.  And definitely NOT someplace you would want to go swimming.  Needless to say, I was severly disappointed.  

I am sure this is not how all ocean views are in the north.  First off, I WAS in a harbor.  Second, it is a fishing town.  Third, There were way to many boats in such a small area and may have accounted for the gray look due to shadows and such.

My point being, I don't really have a clue if this will help anyone going into those waters.  But I am sure that there are some very nice ocean beaches in the north, so it may help after all.  But growing up and living in a state where the ocean is not present, and I was surrounded by fresh water, my first experience (as well as my second, third and sixth) swimming in the ocean was quite different from those of fresh water. The ocean in The Gulf of Mexico was VERY different from that in Salem.  It is blue and clean and straight out of a movie.  It is beautiful and inviting. And it looks like this:

The Gulf of Mexico
If you are like me, and have never swam in the ocean, or in my case The Gulf of Mexico (which IS the ocean since it's fed with ocean water), than this may help you.

Let's begin:

1)  Shave the day before.  The ocean is made out of salt water.  This means that if you are going to go into the water after shaving you will feel a dozen fish nipping at your skin.  (If you have ever swam in the waters in MI this is a familliar feeling since the fish are apparently very hungry for human flesh.)  Once you scoot back and get out of the water you will realize that the nipping fish feeling has come with you.  The reason is this... there are no fish.  The saltwater is attacking your freshly shaved skin.  It may take you a few seconds of looking down at yourself for your brain to make the connection, but it will get there.  After coming out of the water this feeling will go away after about a minute, but will come back as soon as you go back into the water.  Avoid it by shaving the night before and giving your skin time to heal a bit.

2)  Don't swim with open cuts.  Remember how I said that thing about the ocean being made of salt water?  Yeah.  If you do this, this feeling will NOT go away like it does in #1.  It will dull down, but immediately upon entering the water, it will feel like the area with the cut (or scrape or whatever) was set on FIRE!!!  Even if you get out of the water, it doesn't go away.  You will need to flush this area with fresh water, but even that won't take it completely away.  Why?  Apparently the salt in the ocean is made out of glue and sticks to the parts of you that hurt the most.  The ocean is evil and likes to see you in pain.   That's why it so pretty, so it can lure you in.  However, I'm pretty sure the water will burn away any infection, so there is a plus side.  Right?

3)  Keep your mouth shut!  I don't mean be quiet, I mean, literally, keep you fucking mouth shut!  The last thing you want to do is swallow a mouth full of that seaweed laced water.  Just trust me on this one.  Although the waves aren't very big, they are very strong.  If you get hit with one (which you will) it's sort of like being in the mosh pit at a death metal concert.  Depending on how big you are (or in my case, small) it may just knock you on your ass.  When that happens the water will explode around you and if your mouth is open it will go down your throat.  If you have ever had a sore throat and had to gargle salt water...times that taste by 100 and you might begin to get an idea of what it's like to taste the ocean.  Maybe.

4)  Plug your nose.  You don't have to do this constantly, but when you see one of those waves baring down on you, plug your nose.  The only thing worse than swallowing ocean water is inhaling it.  It will, however, clear out your sinuses.  Forever.  Unfortunately, it will burn like you just shoved the sun up your nose and lodged it into your brain.  And no amount of blowing will make it stop.  If you are real adventurous, you can do like I did and snort some fresh (bottled) water and this will at least make the tears stop.  Maybe.

5)  There is nothing you can do about the sand.  No matter how hard you try the sand will get EVERYWHERE.  Even fresh water beaches have this problem.  Remember how I said the sand was made out of glue?  Yeah.  Even if you dry off and wipe the sand off or go in one of those shower things and rinse off the sand will find you.  Oh, did I mention that not only is it made of glue, but sand is also derived of ninjas?  The shit is stealthy as all hell!  You will see no sand anywhere on you, but lo and behold, when you pull up in your driveway and look down at your floorboards of your car they will be coated in sand.  For weeks after you will be vacuuming sand out of your living room carpet, sweeping it from your kitchen, brushing it out of your bed and watching it fall from your hair.  And all after not seeing a grain of it anywhere on yourself.

6)  Use sunscreen.  I cannot stress this enough.  Even if the sun is behind some clouds you will still burn.  And I suggest you get some of that waterproof kind.  And reapply. reapply, reapply.  The sun down here is not the same as in the north.  The sun in the north is a weak, pantywaste of a star.  Here it is only about 1 mile above the surface of the earth and will fry you in a matter of minutes.  If you find yourself smelling like a side of bacon, it's time to reapply.  Or go inside.  One of those.

7)  Don't freak out.  If you sit down to go to the bathroom, don't freak when you wipe and it comes away as a slimy green substance.  This will happen.  Much like the sand, the water is full of seaweed that you can't always see.  And also like the sand, this stuff gets everywhere.  Up in all the cracks, in your hair, even in your ears.  When you get home, take a shower.  Don't freak when you see a lot of green booger-like stuff running down the drain.  I can only conclude that seaweed is invisible while on the body and once it attaches itself it multiplies at an exponential rate.

I'm sure there are other tips I could give you, but, for now, these are the most important ones and I wanted to share them so you won;t make the same mistakes I did.  And still do.  That's right, I have made all of these mistakes.  I have shaved before going to the beach and flipped out when I thought something was eating my legs.  I jumped into the water and then jumped out when I thought my toe (that I had cut a week before) was going to fall off.  I got knocked on my ass and carried half-way down the beach by a wave I wasn't expecting to be so strong and swallowed about a gallon of saltwater.  I had the runs for the rest of the week.  I inhaled the water up my nose and then had to snort a whole bottle of water just to get a tiny bit of relief.  To this day I have sand in my car from my first visit.  That was 3 years ago.  I can't get rid of it no matter how often I vacuum my car.  It always LOOKS like it goes away, but then it comes back.  I wore sunscreen, but forgot to reapply.  Needless to say, air hurt my skin.  We won't talk about how my clothes felt.  And if you have ever been a girl you can appreciate wiping and seeing a green jelly come out of an area that should never produce anything green.  

Hopefully you will all find this helpful and not make the same mistakes I did.  Cause that's what I'm here for.  To help through sharing my experiences.  No matter how humiliating.