Running Wild

365 days of Riches

Aug
03

(Get it? RICHmond? Ha Ha Ha)

A year ago today I took a giant leap of faith and followed my heart to Richmond, Virginia. I packed up everything I owned in my little blue(ish) Chevy and drove across the country to unknown territory… Literally.

I’ve learned so much this past year. Everyday I discovered something new about myself and took another step closer to actually becoming a real adult. (But let’s face it, I’m still miles away from true adulthood, which is actually just the way I like it.)

Today at work I went to our website, springfieldvetcenter.com, out of pure curiosity. Under “support staff” if you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, you’ll find me in scrubs with really short hair standing next to some blood machines in our lab at work. I stared at that picture for a long while and I could not help but think about all the things that have changed for me since moving here.

I grew my hair out, started going to church, and had many adventures in learning to be a responsible adult – most of which were “misadventures” (see post re: trying to reinvent the wheel). I started dating again; some didn’t work out, but one did and that’s all I need 🙂

A few days ago I was talking with my mom on the phone and she asked me a very important question: “Okay, it’s been a year almost. Do you still love it there as much as you did when you first moved to Richmond?”

I guess the proof is in the pudding because I said, without hesitation, “Yes, absolutely”.

I have no idea what lies ahead for me, but I’m slowly learning that’s how it should be. Planning is for losers with high expectations (just kidding!). Honestly though, I’m beginning to love the sponteneity of my life and all the “let’s do it!”’s just because I can.

Here’s a look at the year I had: **Not in chronological order.


It’s been one heck of a year and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Lessons learned: How to not change a tire.

Apr
01

I’m about to go into some pretty embarrassing detail at my own expense. I’m fully aware that I may not live this down and will be mocked for eternity, but the important thing to remember is that although I tired to do something pretty dumb, I learned from it.

My work schedule is actually pretty perfect since I get Wednesdays off. So, I work 2 days, get a day off, work 2 days, get 2 days off, and about every 4-6 weeks I work on a Saturday morning. Pretty great, huh?

Well this past Wednesday was not so great for me. It started off really productive. I was up and out of bed by 8am. I did some laundry and picked up the house a little bit. I even unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, which is one of my least favorite things to do next to grocery shopping. Around 11:30am I left for my doctor’s appointment. Nothing exciting happened on the way there, but on the way home that’s when things got annoyingly difficult.

I was a mile away from my exit to go home when one of my dashboard lights came on. It was the orange one with an exclamation mark I think. Anyway, it was alerting me that the PSI in my front right tire was low. When I first noticed it, it read 17. No idea what that means but I knew it couldn’t have been good if my car was alerting me about it. Although, sometimes I think my back-up sensor totally overreacts when I’m parallel parking. I kind of figured that’s what was happening then, too. Well, I should really stop “figuring” because less than 8 minutes later the PSI in my right front tire was now at 3.

Side note: what the heck is a PSI? Like what does it stand for? All I could come up with was “Pressure Something Interesting”. I don’t know. 

Desperately trying to not break down on the highway, I got off at the next exit I saw and was able to park in the Kroger parking lot while I assessed my situation. The assessment wasn’t good. My tire was completely flat and once again my adult life skills were being put to the test.

It didn’t look like I had hit anything or that the tire popped. I just thought the screw was loose or something and it was slowly leaking air. Spoiler, I was the one with the screw loose.

I just would like to stop this story right here before I lose all of your respect, to say that I KNOW HOW TO CHANGE A TIRE. 

Surprisingly, or not surprisingly depending on your opinion of my intelligence level, changing the tire was not the first thing I thought to do. No, the first thing I thought to do…

Are you ready?

Hold on. I just want to say that life is one big trial and error. How does anything get done if we don’t make mistakes?

Okay, I’m ready.

My first thought was to walk a half mile down Cary street to the Carytown Bicycle Company and get a tire pump… for a bike. Yep. I did that.

I literally tried to reinvent the wheel.

And guess what? It doesn’t work. Shocking, right? I know, I was surprised too. I have no idea why a bicycle pump couldn’t inflate my car tire.

Have I lost your respect yet? At what point did you face palm? My face palm moment came when the bicycle pump flew off the tire when I pushed down on it.

I think we should just keep moving with this story though, and not focus too much on the details.

Finally, it dawned on me that I may actually need to change this tire. So I took a deep breath and started tossing everything in my trunk to the back seat. I had forgotten how much stuff I had back there. When the trunk was clear and I could get to my spare tire, the first thing I pulled out was the lug nut wrench thing and two wedges that just confused the heck out of me. I didn’t see anything else in there except for the spare.

I thought if the 2 wedge things were somehow supposed to be a jack, it’s the weirdest looking jack I’d ever seen. But to be fair, I don’t know many Jacks… Ba Dun Tssss.

Okay that was lame.

For the life of me I could not figure out how this thing worked. So I did the most natural thing a person could do in a situation like this: I called my dad. Who did not answer because he was on a plane flying to New Orleans. I officially became an adult in that moment and did the next best thing to calling my dad: I sat there and stared at the parts until someone stopped and asked if I needed help. Use your resources, right? Well a really nice guy did stop to help me. I told him I didn’t understand how these wedges were supposed to lift the car up.

Apparently they’re not. The guy went to my trunk, lifted out the spare, and low and behold there was the jack. It kind of felt like he did a magic trick and found my Jack of clubs. Then I had my second face palm moment. This day was not going so great for me.

The guy was super nice and helped me change the tire. Actually, he kind of did the whole thing. I’m not complaining though.

To wrap up this hilarious story of my not so bright moments, later that day when I went to get my tire fixed I was told all four of my tires had dry rot and that all four needed to be replaced.

My wallet still hurts, but a lot of life experience was gained.

Also, anyone need a bicycle pump?

Let me tell you about my job…

Mar
23

I know I’m about 5 months overdue for a post, and I’m sorry about that. To be honest I’ve been really busy since moving to Richmond, and I also wasn’t sure what I wanted to talk about since there was so much going on. But today I decided I would talk about the one thing in my life that I don’t know what I’d do without: my job.

In general, I will always need a job; if not for money then just for my own sanity. I’m one of those people that just needs something to do at all times. It’s extremely difficult for me to just “sit there” and do nothing. Retirement scares the heck out of me because I honestly don’t know what I would do with all that extra time.

In regards to the job I have now – I love it. Becoming a vet tech was the single most important and best decision I could have made for myself. Especially at a time when I was so incredibly lost I didn’t know which way was up.  If I was meant to do anything, it’s this. I’m still new, so there’s a lot I don’t know about this career yet. To some I may seem super naive. But if I am, then so be it. I’m young and I’m going to use that to my advantage the best I can.

There aren’t many things about what I do that are “easy”; It’s actually unbelievably stressful at times. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There are 2 patients I’m going to talk about. The first is 15 month old canine that was brought in as a head trauma case. She simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time that morning when a giant branch, weighed down by ice, dropped on her head.

She came in being carried by her dad and was bleeding from both her ear and her nose. As one of our doctors who studied in England would put it, she was a bloody mess.

That was a really bad pun, I apologize.

She was examined by one of our doctors and was given an anti-inflammatory to help with the swelling. The major concern was her neurologic status and whether she had broken her blood-brain barrier. Another technician and I tried to clean her up the best we could, gave her some pain medication, and placed an IV catheter. After that we put her in ICU so we could closely monitor her throughout the day. This was all before 9am, mind you.

She was with us for the next 3 days. She would go home at night with her owners, and then would be dropped off at the hospital early the next morning. The point of this story was her recovery. Every day I saw her, she looked so much better than the day before. She had hypertonic saline IV fluids, pain medication, and other non-invasive treatments to help her get better. That morning she first came in, she was miserable. It was hard to assess her mentality. I wasn’t sure she was fully aware of what was happening, but I know that she was in a lot of pain before we gave her an injection of a pain-reliever. And even then, I was sure she wasn’t feeling too great. I mean, if a branch fell on you would you feel awesome? I didn’t think so.

We see puppies that come in for vaccines, patients that have an upset stomach, have an underlying disease that causes them to not act like themselves, as well as patients that come in for euthanasia. It’s not all puppies and kittens and sunshine. Some days really weigh on your heart but you still have to keep moving forward for the next patient that needs your help.

But seeing this little girl carried in all bloody and bruised, and then getting to see her walk out of the clinic while wagging her tail – that makes all those bad days feel a little bit brighter.

 

The second patient is a 6 year old pitbull that came in today for a dental cleaning and to have a couple teeth pulled. She was hands down as sweet as could be. Everything about her anesthesia went well. It was a really long surgery but she was stable the entire time she was under. Her blood pressure never dropped, her oxygen level varied between 96 and 99%, and although she tried to wake up a couple times her breathing was steady. The problem came when it was time to wake her up. (I promise this isn’t going where you think it is – she’s okay.)

Some patients take awhile to wake up. Especially for short surgeries when the pre-medication is still in effect. With them we can try to move the recovery along with a reversal drug so that they wake up a little sooner.

And there are patients like this sweet little pit. She woke up very abruptly. I was expecting this since the surgery was so long, however her recovery was not fun in the slightest. She was immediately dysphoric and trying to thrash around. So much so that she started bleeding from a couple of her mass removal incisions. Eventually when I got her to calm down, Kathleen was at her rear holding pressure to her incisions. They weren’t open – they were just bleeding. These incisions were equivalent to getting a paper cut that won’t stop bleeding. Honestly it was a little annoying.

I didn’t get a lunch today. Once we got her back to her run and she started bleeding again, I sat with her for another 10-15 minutes holding pressure. Not having lunch is perfectly fine with me if it means I get to help her calm down and stop bleeding. Dr. Escobar apologized for the fact that I didn’t get a break. But I told him not to worry about it – the patient was more important. Besides, it’s kind of hard to relax and eat when you know your surgical patient is thrashing around in her run.

 

The takeaway? What I do is just as beneficial to me as it is to them. I am exhausted. I am physically and mentally drained. But when I think about all the animals I helped that day, I wouldn’t want to be anything less.

 

Stay tuned for my next post on August 23rd… just kidding 🙂

So there’s this boy…

Oct
30

When I first moved to Richmond, I knew that I was about to embark on this whole new adventure.

On August 3rd, as I packed up my things and headed East to my new home, I knew a lot of things were about to change for me in ways I could not fathom into words if I tried. And let me just say that although I tried to prepare myself for these changes and to try to embrace them when they come, I was in no way ready for the new life waiting for me in RVA.

I knew that I would love my job and the people I worked with. I knew that I was going to find a church to go to and try to be involved in my new community. I knew that even though I didn’t feel like I would be, somehow I was going to be okay.

What I didn’t expect was that not only do I love my job and the people I work with, but in just a few short months these coworkers have transformed into a family in a place I now call home.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d find a church that made me want to get up on Sunday mornings. I didn’t expect to find a group of young women who I love to see every week.

I didn’t know that this was a life I wanted, much less needed.

I didn’t expect to love the rants of my neighbor who just wants to pet dogs and hand out treats.

I didn’t expect to find solace in a city. in fact I was pretty darn sure that I wouldn’t.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d meet a guy who would slowly but surely change every feeling and outlook on life I had. this was not without a lot of effort and hard work on my part. But just having him in my life has helped immensely.

We’re just friends.

But truth?

I’ve never felt so normal as I do when I’m with him. I have a lot of problems trusting people, as in I trust next to no one unless we have the same DNA.

But with the Cubs down 1-nothing in the bottom of he 8th inning, and my anxiety pouring out of me the way cars flood the highway during rush hour – inevitable and annoying – there’s this boy looking at me and telling me it’s going to be okay.

And I believe him.

I know my journey in richmond  is only just beginning, and that if I’ve learned anything these past few months (reluctantly or otherwise) it’s to just take a step back and let things happen the way that they happen.

I didn’t expect anything that’s happened since I moved here, and I’m so grateful for it, too.

 

Happy Sunday everyone!

 

Update: Not just friends.

 

This ain’t no tea party.

Oct
01

Today I ran the Rugged Maniac 5k.

As the name of the race suggests this 5k I “ran” was certainly rugged and I felt like a maniac for doing it.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain:

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A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?

This race was 3.1 miles long, had 23 obstacles, and a whole lot of mud.

There were moments when I said to myself “I can’t do this.” But it turns out I could. And I definitely did.

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I ran the race my amazing coworkers. Let me introduce you to the SVC crew:

There’s Christine (C-dubs) who went to dance class before the race and totally blew the rest of us out of the water mud.

There’s Kathleen (KV) who works out with her body builder boyfriend at a place called the weight room which is what she did the day before the race.

There’s Cassie who has the cutest prince of a German Short-haired Pointer you ever did see (Deacon needed to be mentioned). She rocked the course as her and Kathleen pretty much lapped me if that was possible.

There’s Jessica who I work with more often than anyone else usually. It was awesome to see her out of scrubs and kicking that course’s a**.

And of course there’s Dr. Kara Kolster  (Kolster or K) who heads up our whole team. Without her there’d be no team to begin with. Oh, and she crossfits before work most days of the week.

Together we make up the “50 Shades of Spay”

screenshot_20161001-183640

(From right to left: K, me, KV, Cassie minus Deacon, C-dubs, and Jessica)

As you can see I am among the elite and not to mention slightly out of my athletic league here. But I kept up a good pace and actually ran when my shoes weren’t being swallowed up by the mud.

We didn’t finish the race together but to tell you the truth it worked out better that way. Having a few of my teammates cheering me on through that last obstacle was exactly what I needed to get over that finish line.

All through the race I eavesdropped on other people’s conversations and I have to be honest I’ve never been a part of a race where everyone was so freaking awesome.

Here are a few of my favorite lines overheard on the course:

1. Dr. K at the beginning of the race: “Embrace the mud.”

2. Girl on the course: ” Oh my gosh, that was only 1 mile?!”

3. Guy after jumping across trenches made of mud: “I think my testicle just dropped” (can’t make that up if I tried)

4. Girl after crawling under barbed wire: “Does anyone have any hand sanitizer?”

5. Girl after crawling through an underground tunnel of mud, singing”: “I feely pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty, and witty, and bright!”

6. Girl running next to me: “Oh good, mile 2.”

7. One of the volunteers running the race: “Don’t slow down! That’s when you go down!” Spoiler, I slowed down. And damn did I go down.

screenshot_20161001-184521

8. Me at the finish line: “Okay, where’s my free beer??”

This race was incredible, exactly what I needed, and totally worth every drop of blood (see above), sweat, and tears.

And yes, there was one tear shed right after I tackled this:

screenshot_20161001-184342

Partly because I was astounded at myself that I actually made it up the wall – ninja warrior style (with assistance). But also because the guy who grabbed my hand and pulled me up, I accidentally kicked him square in the crotch. I felt REALLY bad about that one.

I can’t speak for anyone else who finished the race, whether it be ahead of me, behind me, or right along side me. But this honestly felt like life as an adult all wrapped up in an hour and a half.

Sometimes I was (literally) stuck in the mud.

Sometimes I’d be running and then all of a sudden a very tall wall would appear and I had to hoist my short self up over it. And when I couldn’t, there was someone there hunched down right next to me with hands ready to give me a boost. Someone was offering me help and all I had to do was accept it.

Sometimes when I sized up an obstacle I’d think “I totally got this.” But if I’ve learned anything thus far, it’s that there are some things you can’t do on your own.

Other times on the course I’d size up an obstacle and think “nope, can’t do it” without even giving it a try. But then coming out the other side of it there was always a huge sigh of relief that I proved myself wrong.

And then there were times I found myself completely underwater. But here’s the thing about my head being underwater – I put myself there. I jumped off the slippery ledge to hit a gong and i missed (why? Because I’m a maniac).

Sometimes being fully submerged underwater happens. But I know I would be angry at myself if I had just walked around the obstacle instead of jumping feet first into the muddy waters.

And sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do in life.

Today was amazing and I truly feel myself nestling into a family here.

We decided that this race will become a tradition for the SVC women (and possibly Dr. Kilgore).

And next year, I’m bringing a GoPro.

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Too Legit to Quit

Sep
28

I cannot stress this enough: I. Love. My. Job.
Seriously.
I love where I work. I love the people I work with. I love that I get to help bring new puppies into the world. I love that I get to do lab work. I love it. I love it. I love it.
And tonight, although I am completely drained and had to park 3 blocks away from my house and walk home in a thunderstorm after staying an hour and a half late at work, I seriously just feel blessed to have my job. Today I spent 3 hours monitoring a 17 year old dog for what was supposed to be a dental cleaning turned into a multiple tooth extraction surgery. And not only was he 17 years old, he also had a heart murmur. And I made sure he remained stable through it all. I could’ve gone home at 5pm when my shift was up. The procedure was over and he was off anesthesia. But there was still work to be done. My team needed me; my patient needed me. And it didn’t feel right to go home until I knew he was okay, and the paperwork was done.
I know a lot of people who punch out on the dot of when their shift is up regardless of whether still work to be done and regardless if people still need their help. That’s not me. That will never be me. I punch out when the work is done and not a minute before.
And I love it.

A Season of Change

Sep
28

There’s a strange thing that happens when you abandon your hometown and move 600 miles away from everything you know and everyone you love. It’s something that happens quick and is so subtle that you hardly notice it slipping under your skin. Then one day you go for a run and it’s just there flowing through every part of you.
That thing? It’s called faith.
Faith that I’ll push through that last mile. Faith that I’ll find my wings at work and finally fly solo. Faith that I’m going to be okay here.
When you’re lost in a brand new city and you don’t know anyone other than the people you work with, your roommate who’s never in town, and another friend who never stays in one place for longer than a week unless she’s being paid to, you do the only thing that makes sense. You find your people.
For the first time ever, I did a very grown up thing that I bet no one saw coming.
I went to church.
That’s right. Me. The stubborn girl who doesn’t trust the weatherman unless he has a window in his office, is trying to trust something she can’t even see.
Let me tell you, it’s definitely not easy. Every day I wrestle with the big what ifs and whys of the world. But every week I go to Hope Church a few blocks from my house, and every Tuesday night I meet up with an awesome group of women my age and we hash out those big questions.
I’m in a season of change and I’m just figuring it all out as I go.

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I’m not going to enable comments on this post, particularly because my journey with God is my own. And that’s all it is.
Adventure: Virginia is for Lovers Comments Off on A Season of Change

Park it like it’s hot. 

Sep
18

I love living in Richmond. I really do.

HOW EVER. There are two things I’m not appreciating so much.

         1. It is humid as all hell.

And 2. Parallel parking (aka how I’m the only one good at it)

I can’t really do much about the humidity other than whine, cry, and complain about it.

Parallel parking here is kind of ridiculous and I don’t ever curse as much as I do when I’m trying to find an open spot. So, in the spirit of city living, I have created a simple steps by step guide to finding a parking spot in RVA.

1. Drive to your destination.

2. Briefly scout the area for open spots.

3. Circle the block once.

4. Curse.

5. Circle the block again.

6. Curse.

7. Curse some more because you realize that every car on your street is spaced out taking up 1.5 spots.

8. Drive down the street a little ways.

9. Make a U-turn.

10. Find an open spot on the opposite side of the street which you were just on.

11. Curse.

12. Make another U-turn.

13. Find the spot you saw.

14. Realize it looked a lot wider from the other side of the street.

15. Curse.

16. Drive down the street a little ways.

17. Finally find an open spot but it looks a little small but you say “Why not?” Because you’ve been saying that a lot these days and you squeeze your little blue Chevy between two other cars.

18. Get out and inspect your park job.

19. Self five because you totally just rocked that park job.

20. Walk to your destination. 

21. Find a spot that just opened up directly in front of your destination.

22. Curse.

I wish you all the best of luck in all your future parallel parking endeavors.

Cheers!

You can take the girl out of the suburbs, but you can’t take the suburbs out of the girl.

Aug
10

I don’t keep it a secret that I don’t like big cities.

Or any city for that matter.

I like the idea of them. I appreciate cities in the sense that I like looking at postcards of the Chicago skyline that someone else took. That’s as far as my appreciation for cities goes, and I promise it does not venture out beyond that. Granted, Chicago is huge compared to other cities, but it really doesn’t matter: I. Hate. Cities.

> Drove through Milwaukee – cried.

> Drove through Seattle – cried.

> Lived within 45 miles of Chicago for my entire life – tried my best to avoid it as much as possible.

So for the past 3 months whenever someone asked me why I picked Richmond, VA as my first stop on my journey of independence… my response was always a very flip “well, why not?”

Now, after being here for a week (truly on my own for the first time in 23 years), I’m starting to see the validity in that question.

See, I never meant to actually live in the city of Richmond. I thought I could find a small apartment in the surrounding suburbs somewhere. However when I called around, there were no vacancies anywhere until October. I doubt my parents would be very pleased with me if I remained unemployed for another 3 months. Also I would go absolutely stir crazy and I’m POSITIVE my mother would block my number after the umpteen millionth time I called because I was bored and wanted her to come home and entertain me.

Therefore with the urgency of needing to move out pronto, I found the apartment of all apartments (“it’s actually a 2-flat” – dad) near downtown Richmond. Really it’s pretty perfect. I have my own room, my own bathroom, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and a roommate who travels around the country for about 75% of the time.

It’s perfect… except that it’s in a city.

I won’t lie, I have used the Olympics as an excuse to not leave the house. With the exception of needing groceries, cause you know – food, I have stayed in my little humble abode on Monument Avenue. And so far I’ve been totally fine with my agoraphobic self… until today.

My agoraphobic self and I had a little conversation this morning and we came to an understanding that I needed to leave the house; I mean 2 -flat.

I promise I’m not crazy.. but I was getting there.

I scoured the internet to see what I could do today that would get me out of the comfort zone I’ve created for myself, and settled on Maymont Mansion and Nature Center.

It was actually pretty cool. I took a tour of some old guy’s (James Dooley) really old mansion, and saw river otters. AND I rewarded myself with a Maymont pin to add to my collection. I sort of got lost coming home, but I made it back in one piece. Parallel parking wasn’t too bad either.

Maybe cities are growing on me……. nah.

 

Dear Mom, Dad, Hannah, & Tim

Aug
06

Five years ago as I was packing up my room to head off to my first semester of college, Dad gave me a flash drive that held all the music that I grew up listening to. And I listened to that playlist on repeat for that entire first semester. Somedays I go to Spotify and play Angry Eyes by Loggins and Melissa just for the heck of it. So much has changed in the past five years, but one thing that hasn’t is the music we listen to. My whole life, you all have given me everything I have ever needed and I can’t thank any of you enough for all your unconditional love and support. I could never ask for better people to grow up with, learn from, or be loved by. I might be moving across the country, but home will always be where my heart is – with all of you.

To thank you, (as a start), I’ve put together a playlist of songs that in my opinion best summarize the past five years of our lives. Playlist is on your Spotify account titled “Cheers”. Some songs you’ve heard 10,000 times. Some you’ve heard but not for a long time. And others, this will be the first time. Either way, these are all great songs by great artists that embody the great heart of this family (Tim included).

Enjoy.

Rules:

  1. All parties must be present in order to listen to this playlist. That includes Mom, Dad, Hannah, Tim, Maddy, and Lainey.
  2. Find a night when no one has to work the next day. This playlist is a little over 2 hours long and I’m betting you won’t start it until after dinner – which knowing you guys won’t be until about 8:30 or even 9 depending on how much fun you guys are having while making dinner.
  3. Pick a night when it’s gorgeous outside. You’re going to want to sit on the deck while you listen.
  4. Side note: Someone bring some tissues for Mom. She’s going to need them (spoiler: I did NOT include What a Wonderful World specifically because I wasn’t sure she could handle it along with all the other songs that might make her cry. Love you, Mom!)
  5. Also, sorry dad, there’s no Chris Stapleton on this playlist. I think we all know that if I included him, you would probably switch the playlist over to ALL Chris Stapleton.
  6. NO PEEKING. That means no looking ahead to see what’s next! I have no way of knowing if you will or won’t, but I’m trusting you. However, you MAY look at the current song that’s playing.
  7. Try your best not to replay songs. Only replay the best ones… you’ll know which ones they are. I promise.
  8. Listen to all the songs ENTIRELY. Don’t skip around, you’ll regret it. Don’t mess with the order and don’t interject any of your own songs (Queueing is NOT allowed). Also make sure the playlist is not on shuffle.
  9. I recommend playing a game of “up and down” while you listen, let me know who wins; my bets are on Hannah.

So mix your Manhattans, pour your tequila shots, uncork that 3rd bottle of wine… this is going to be a long night.

Cheers!