Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wow, This Is One LATE TToT List! Of course I Have Plenty of Excuses.

This is what I wrote on Thursday:

Hey, guess who's not at home for the umpteenth weekend in a row?  Unfortunately, I'm not at the beach this time.  (All explained here.) I am at a volleyball tournament in Columbus, OH.  I should have plenty of time to read through your blogs.  Can't guarantee I'll be able to comment, seeing as how I'll be reading from my phone, but know that I will be reading.  Phoenix has at least 4 matches on Saturday alone, with one hour rest in between.  I'll have plenty of time.

So, my thankfuls for the week...

1.  Bryan and I did not die in a fiery crash, leaving our children orphans and my mom in a world of hurt.

2.  I have finally joined a gym and have started getting myself back in shape.  I haven't been in great shape for a while, but the knee trauma really messed me up.  It's time to get rid of those extra pounds I put on and start feeling better.

3.  Much of my Christmas shopping is done, and I can't wait to see the reaction of some people's faces when they open them.

4.  The big kids have done a great job taking charge of the wise men.  Giant sent me photos each night to let me know where the little boys would find them.

5.  Instagram was wonderful for keeping up with the kids while we were in the Bahamas.

6.  I finally, FINALLY figured out the theme for our Christmas card this year.  After 9 years, it's getting difficult to come up with something original.  One of these years I'm going to have to give it up and just send a postcard that says, "Nothing happened this year".

7.  

And that's as far as I got.

I ran out of time on Friday to get this posted, and my iPad wouldn't let me once we got to the hotel.

Volleyball tournaments are exhausting!  Even we parents were tired, and we didn't do much of anything besides watch hours and hours of games.

Heard enough excuses yet?

To round out my thankful list...

7.  Phoenix and I had fun, despite the exhaustion.  He had fun hanging out with his team, and I had fun getting to know the parents.  Finally.

8.  Our hotel was across the street from the tournament, so I never had to drive or find a parking space all weekend.

9.  Everything went well at home while we were gone.  The kids had all sorts of fun with Bryan and their friends.

10.  Everyone made it back home safe and sound.

Have a lovely day!


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Never Meant for This to Be a Travel Blog (aka Wordless (As I'm Going to Get) Wednesday)...

So, about a month ago Bryan called from work and asked if I wanted to go to the Bahamas.

I himmed and hawwed for about .000005 seconds before screaming, "Heck ya!"

An opportunity came up and the price was just too good to pass up.  So, despite the fact we had already called on my mom to watch the kids for over a week earlier in the year while we were in Europe, I begged my mom to drop everything she was doing and come watch my kids again.

She agreed, as long as I made dinners for her to serve to the kids ahead of time, got rides for the kids as much as possible, and basically make it as easy as possible for her.

I himmed and hawwed for about .00000000003 seconds before agreeing to her terms and conditions.

This past Friday morning, we kissed the children and headed out the door before they even had their breakfast.

I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

(All photos (except one) taken with my phone and without a filter.  I did nothing but crop them a bit.)

There aren't any terminals in the Bahamas.  You have to hoof it from the plane to the building.  The arrow is pointing to a couple who became our favorite traveling buddies.  We ate dinner with them every night, laughing the entire way through.



One and only selfie



Funny how much more pleasant it is to get up early to watch the sun rise directly across from our balcony than it is to get up early to get 5 kids ready for school. 


Our balcony is far left, second from top.

Christmas concert and tree lighting in Port Lucaya.  

A foot photo is required at the beach, is it not?

We had a lot of these.
To burn off those drinks, Bryan and I went kayaking each morning.  Our new friends happened to see us from the beach both days, and took our photo the second day. 

View from our room. We kayaked around that farthest bend and kept on going.

Sunset on our last night.
Last photo before heading to the airport Monday morning.  I may have been crying.

I promise, that was my last trip for a long, long time.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled horrible weather.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Don't Hate Me, TToT #77

I'm at the beach.

Shall we count that as all ten thankfuls and just end there?

Yes.  Yes, we shall.

This would have been a great place to put the TToT button and close up shop.  Alas, I wrote this WAY before Lizzi put the code together, so that cool ending is out the window.

Might as well do this the right way.

Before I left for the beach...

(Yes!  I'm really at the beach.  With Bryan!)

I was thankful for...

1.  my mom.  The saint agreed to come and watch our kids for us while we are at the beach.

2.  the many folks who are giving our kids rides in order to make my mom's job easier, because I'm at the beach.

3.  leftover turkey.  I was able to make white chili without any hassle of cooking meat. And we ate it 2 days before I headed to the beach.

4. Christmas lights.  We were able to get many of our Christmas decorations up before we left for the beach.

Ok, even I'm getting sick of all the beach talk.

5.  Even though the first thing each of the little boys said (completely independently at different times) when they saw the wise men was, "You put them there", they are having fun pretending the wise men are moving themselves each night.

6.  our Christmas tree's ability to defy gravity.  It is as wide as it is high, and it was a BEAR to get up.  It's not straight, but Bryan is done trying to fix it.  So, we directed the tilt towards the wall and crossed our fingers.  So far, so good.

7.  a working satellite.  The power outage last week took out the satellite box, and the boys (aka Brayn) has been mildly twitchy without his football.  The new box came on Wednesday, so all is well with the world again.

8.  the chance to get some Christmas shopping done.

9.  adorable first grade Christmas programs.

10.  the beach.  And for the opportunity to go there in the middle of winter.

Sorry, I had to one more time.  

Head to Lizzi's to link up!

Have a lovely day!




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What a Mom Wants: My Ultimate Dream Home

Our house was built right at the end of the Civil War.

In 1866, they had no idea what the future held, so plumbing and electricity and wi-fi were not part of the plans.  Our house, while beautiful, has needed lots and lots and lots of work.  There's still plenty to do.  One day we'll have a garage in order to prevent the dogs from going after the opossums that like to hide under the car.  We'll finish the job the little boys have started and tear ALL the wallpaper down in order to paint.  We'll (maybe) have a closet in our bedroom.

But even if I never get any of those things, I'll still love our house and property.

When I read that the theme for this week's Tuesday's 10 is Things We Would Include in Our Ultimate Dream Home, the only thing I could think of was "pick our house and property up and plop it down next door to school".  The commute is wearing me out.

And then I thought, "But this is supposed to be my ULTIMATE dream home"!

Imagine...

1. I want lights that automatically turn on when someone enters a room and turns off when the person leaves.  Sure, I might short it out when I get stuck in one of my enter-a-room-forget-why-I-was-there-exit-the-room-remember-and-return-only-to-forget-again cycles, but it would be worth the call to the service man if it means I don't have to turn lights off all around the house all day long.

2. I want a force field surrounding every single fragile (I'd appreciate it if you pronounce that fra-gee-lay.) thing in my house.  How wonderful would my life be if I didn't have to worry about basketballs, soccer balls, bouncy balls, fuseball balls, and boys'...feet crashing through a window?!?!

3. I want each bathroom to have a door that automatically locks when a child enters the facilities. The door would not unlock to release the child until said child actually flushes the toilet, washes his hands the appropriate length of time and with the appropriate amount of soap, and hangs the hand towel back on the towel bar.

4.  I want a slide.  It would be so much more pleasant for both the kids and me to go "Weeeeee" as we slide down a slide than "OWOWOWOWOW!!" as we slip and bounce down those hard, wooden stairs.

5.  I want a super, jet-engine fan like they have at the end of drive-through car washes in all entrances to our house.  Unlike at the car wash, where the fans dry the cars, our fans would blow off every bit of mud, dirt, bug, twig, poop, and general nastiness from the children.  In an emergency, like running late for church, it could also work to rid the children of milk mustaches, syrup drips, and peanut butter clumped in the hair.

6.  I want a library book tracker that will locate any and all library books checked out in my children's names on the day that I decide to take the books back to the library.  It needs to have an unlimited range for those instances in which a book was left under a bed at Grandma's house in Ohio.

7.  I want sensors in every room that detects when a child is about to leave the room before cleaning up his/her mess.  The sensor would send out a swarm of mechanical gnats to annoy and nip at the child until the child gets back in the room to sets things to rights.

8.  I want a toy magnet.  I could stand in a room, holding the magnet, and every single missing puzzle piece, game piece, marble, playing card, and Lego (aka foot-impaler-in-waiting) would jump from its hiding place and fly to the magnet.

9.  I want an x-ray machine that can scan the many totes stacked in the basement and tell me which tote has clothing that will actually fit the child I have standing with me, thus avoiding said child having to don 100 articles of clothing in order to find the 10 that fit him each and every stinking season.

10. I want a heated walkway and driveway like the car washes have.  I'm afraid this winter is going to be as bad as the last one, and I really, really would like to avoid shoveling the walkway 7 times a day.  I would also like to skip the inevitable get Bryan and other men who can't drive in snow unstuck from the driveway.

Imagine.

OK, so that may not have been what the ladies who host this link-up were thinking when they came up with the prompt, but that's where my brain went.  Feel free to head over to their sites to see what other people dream about.

What would you have in your dream house?

Have a lovely day!


The Golden Spoons


Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm Too Excited to Come Up with a Clever Title! TToT #76

Happy Week of Thanksgiving!

Thankfully, I started this list on Wednesday before we left for Ohio.  I never would have remembered the things that happened earlier in the week.

I am thankful for...

1.  electricity.  We had some serious wind blow through on Monday night and it took out our (and 7500 other families') power for two and a half hours.  Ya'll, it is DARK when there is no power! Two and a half hours is long enough for the temperature in the house to drop to cold levels and the novelty of the dark to wear off.  We were thrilled to bits when those lights popped back on.  (Well, my family was.  I was at the school, where there was power, since I the boys had basketball practice.)

2. the power going out AFTER I finished dinner.  Some boys were in the middle of setting the table and I was pulling the corn bread out of the oven when it went dark.  We were able to eat by the light of the many, many candles I have received from students over the years.



3.  the fact that I have received many candles and that some weren't scented.  I imagine pumpkin spice/sugar cookie/peppermint stick/pine tree/lavender scent might have been a bit overpowering.

4.  Phoenix and Star's hard noggins.  They both took nasty hits to the backs of their heads/necks at their practices on Monday (during the power outage (Phoenix when someone served (badly) and hit Phoenix, and Star when they were having a basketball scrimmage and someone illegally blocked a shot), but only had some soreness by Tuesday morning.

5.  Gordon Food Servie (GFS).  It is a foodservice distributor that has smaller stores where the public can shop.  I was supposed to bring dressing to the 8th grade Thanksgiving feast on Tuesday morning, and I found some already made in the refrigerator section of GFS.  I just had to put it in a pan and heat it up.

6. the respite from the cold we had early in the week.  It actually got up to 50 degrees.  Sure, it rained the entire time, but it gave me the time I needed to wash my filthy fuzzy robe.  I didn't freeze to death while it was in the washing machine and dryer.

7.  my guy.  Well, my three guys.  I always wanted a guy who I could call to fix things around the house.  (Bryan is many things, but a handyman he is not.)  I finally found my dream guys.  It's a father/son/son's best friend team.  They do electric, plumbing, drywalling, painting, roof repairs, and just about anything I can come up with.  They fixed not only the kids' bathroom, but they managed to get the front porch light changed.  It's 30 feet in the air!  We thought we were going to have to rent a cherry picker, but no!  They did it.  And, AND they are the nicest people.  The one guy said he was running out to get a sandwich and asked if I needed anything while I was out.  And, AND, they only charge $35/hour, regardless of what repairs they are doing.  Really, this could count as thankfuls 1-43.

8.  Giant's great hunting abilities.  We have had to buy our fair share of library books that couldn't be found (until the day after we pay for the book).  This time, I wasn't going to pay.  We had one book that had been due June 8.  JUNE!  We had renewed it as many times as we were allowed. I told the kids they didn't have a choice but to find that book.  All the kids were searching the house; under beds, in the mud room cubbies, in backpacks, under couches.  After 30 minutes, Giant found it.  In the basement.  aka the dungeon.  How?  How does a library book make it to the basement???

9. high school friends with whom I still keep in contact.  Two friends from high school and I even went on to room together when we got to college.  I haven't seen either of them for several years, but this Thanksgiving, we were all back in our hometown.  We and our families had a great time catching up again.

10.  the marvelous time we had celebrating both Thanksgiving and my grandma's 90th birthday.  One highlight of the day was the family question/answer/bingo time.  Each Thanksgiving, my grandma brings a bunch of $1 bills and a bingo game.  She plays with all of the grand kids, and the winner of each game wins a dollar.  This year we added a twist.  The winner received a dollar, but also got to ask Grandma a question.  It was a huge hit.  We all got a better idea of what a rebel Grandma was in her younger days.

One of two Bingo tables.  Thanks to my kickin' table decorations, we could play real Bingo with paper cards and daubers.

11.  a compassionate family.  At one point during the festivities, an elderly homeless man walked into the hall.  (Our family has many people.  We can't fit in a person's home anymore, so we rent the FOP hall, which isn't in the wealthiest of areas in town.) Not only did my family welcome him in for a meal, but they gave him some cash and a ride to where he was going.

12. our delay in leaving town today.  We did a few chores around my mother-in-law's house before leaving while she was at work.  She unexpectedly came home for lunch when we were on our way out to the car to leave for good.  Instead of leaving, we took her to lunch.  While at the restaurant, my dad texted me to tell me my sister was in the hospital in labor with her first baby.  I didn't get to stay for the entire labor, so didn't get to meet my new niece, but I did get to run up to my sister's room and give her a few minutes of moral support.

Say a few prayers for my sister and the baby. She just texted me (10 hours later!) and is at 9cm.  So close!

UPDATE:  Baby girl was finally born at 2:30am!  Everyone is happy and healthy.

Ok, only two thankfuls over.  It could have been worse.  You could have had to read 43 thankfuls.

You're welcome.

So, for what did you give thanks this week?

Have a lovely day!




Ten Things of Thankful


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Procrastinate Really Should Be My Middle Name

This is one odd morning.

Things are happening that haven't happened in years.

Or ever.

I hardly recognize myself.

First, I had to get to work on decorations for my grandma's 90th birthday party. With Thanksgiving being only 3 days away, I really can't put it off any longer.

My relatives are going to rue the day they put me in charge of them.  

But besides that, why didn't I just buy some centerpiece flowers and be done with it?

Because I like to make things complicated, apparently.  

Instead of simple, I decided to get all crafty.

FYI, I am not crafty.



I'm making tissue paper flowers, People.  

I actually watched a video

on YouTube

showing me how to make a flower

out of tissue paper.

Whaaaat??

Oh, and I'm making table runners out of Bingo paper, because my grandma went to Bingo at least 3 nights a week for years.  Grandpa was the caller of the numbers.  They helped put me through high school by putting Bingo packets together.  (Oh, the hours we would spend counting and stapling Bingo cards!)  

I bought daubers, too, so we could play some real Bingo at her party.

Mason jars were used because she hates canning.  She and her sisters would help their mom can hundreds and hundreds of jars each year, but her mom gave them no credit when she would say, "I canned 400 jars this year".  It annoyed Grandma to no end.  Actually, Grandma balked when I said I was doing some canning of my own.

And the cards inside the Mason jars are a nod to our family's obsession with playing card games, specifically Euchre, but we also like to throw in some Rummy and Pinochle every once in a while.  

Lastly, there are cards sticking out of the larger jars.  I wrote to all grandkids who are college age and younger, asking them to write down a memory of Grandma.  I even sent self-addressed, stamped envelopes.  

I've  gotten one back so far.

My family, while I adore them, stinks.  (I was thinking of using a stronger word, but...it's Thanksgiving.)

So, there are cards with my kids' and my one cousin's kids memories sticking out of the jars.

I've made less than half the flowers I'm going to need.

What in the world was I thinking?

Making tissue paper flowers is fun the first one or five times, but by the sixth one, it's just plain boring.  So, in order to procrastinate the flower-making, I came up with a new, unnecessary chore:



Ya'll, I made oatmeal for the chickens.  I even added raisins that no one in my family will eat because they are gigantic raisins which were not made my Sunmaid and 50 cent raspberries that no one will eat because they are "squishy".

Whatever.

I'm beginning to think The Backyard Chicken Lady is sending me subliminal messages.  Or perhaps the "girls" have sent word to Zoe, and she's been putting ideas in my head while I sleep.  Who knows.  But I am not the sort of person who normally makes special meals for my chickens.

Also, I'm not the sort of person who likes to clean bathrooms.  I really needed to do that, since the kids' bathroom is getting fixed tomorrow.  

Pretty sure I made oatmeal to procrastinate scrubbing the shower grout.

Lucky for you, I did not take a photo of the shower grout.

"What was Cuckoo doing all this time?" you ask.



It is See How Close I Can Get to Cutting My Fingers Off Day.  Once I finished cutting up the tissue paper for the flowers, he got to slicing up every piece of paper he could find.

Those gigantic scissors at his elbow...He was using those to cut up...I have no idea.  I only know he was NOT running with them.

Skipping perhaps, but not running.

Currently, he is using crimping scissors to cut all of the sliced pieces into teeny tinier pieces.

FYI He's the sixth kid.  First kids never get to have fun days like this.

I'll be getting in the shower next, 'cause I'm really not in the mood to try to vacuum up all of those teeny tiny pieces.

And honestly, the shower is the only normal thing I'm doing today, albeit 7 hours later than normal.

Oh, except for writing this post.  Some people may say that blogging is synonymous with procrastinating.  Some people may be on to something.

So, are you doing anything out of the ordinary today?

Have a lovely day!

And in case I don't see you, HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm 43. Yay Me. TToT Week 75

My birthday was on Friday, so I'm going to go overboard and obnoxious and list 43 things for which I'm thankful.  'Cause it's my birthday and I'll annoy if I want to.

I'm thankful for...

1. my friend's little girl who shares the same birthday as me.  Happy 5th Birthday A!

2. Skip. He's a great, albeit senile, dog of my friend, and his birthday happens to be the day after mine.  Despite his medical problems and oddities, he brings her much joy.

3.  Star's great week.  On Tuesday he played a great game of basketball, and on Wednesday he found out that he scored one of the top scores (Our principal is pretty sure he got the top score.) on the high school placement test.

4.  our school's Moms in Prayer group.  Spending one hour praying for our school, our teachers, the students, and our own kids is a great way to end the week.

5.  the chance to have fun with Turken's first grade class.  Over the years, I have been unable to do much volunteering in the school, but one thing I always do is the Friday reader the first grade teachers do once a month.  I asked to take this week, since it was my birthday.  Much fun and giggling (and Oreos) was had.

6.  chocolate cake.  Bryan bought the best cake in town for my birthday.

7.  a working washing machine.  It even plays a little ditty when it finishes washing a load.

8.  a warm coat and gloves.  It's darn chilly going out to feed those chickens and dogs each morning!

9.  our mud room.  We went more than 7 years without a mud room, and with the cold air, I cannot
appreciate the mud room more.  We have to thaw chicken waterers indoors.  It used to happen in my kitchen, which was beyond gross.  The mud room is a much better option.

10.  a weekend in which no one in the family has to go out of town.  It's the only one we have left until January.

11.  Cuckoo's skin getting back to normal.  He broke out in hives the other day, and while they improved after taking allergy medicine, he was still puffy around the eyes the next day.  Then the hives popped back up that afternoon.  They never itched, and he was perfectly fine, so I didn't really worry about them.  I am glad they are gone, though.

12.  books that are guaranteed to make kids laugh.  I read The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak to the first graders, and they absolutely loved it.  And Saturday morning, the little boys went around making every single person in the house reread it to them.

13.  good meals at new to us restaurants. It was a Mexican restaurant quite close to our house, and we went for my birthday.

14.  Aldi's.  It's the annual food drive at school, and Aldi's is the perfect place for my kids to shop for it.

15.  the chance to watch some of my favorite shows.  I don't get to watch TV very much, but this week I was home and able to watch both The Middle and The Goldbergs.  Those shows do make me laugh.

16.  the healing of my knee.  There are times during the day when I'm walking and my knee doesn't hurt at all.  And I am able to sit Indian style for longer periods of time.

17.  all of the bedding from all 7 beds in the house being clean, blankets included.

18.  sunshine that keeps my car a comfortable temperature when the air outside is frigid.

19.  Bryan's job that doesn't require him to travel.  Besides the fact I would be in a world of hurt without his help with the kids, I wouldn't be able to sleep without his body heat keeping me warm at night.

20.  our dishwasher.  Eight people go through a whole mess of dishes, and I am not a fan of washing them by hand.

21.  clementines.  They are a little bit of deliciousness and so easy to peel and eat when in a hurry.

22.  Lighthouse Catholic Media.  They have hundreds of great CDs covering a wide variety of topics by wonderful speakers.  I just picked up a new batch from church and I'm looking forward to listening while I do my errands around town.

23.  chain party supply stores.  My cousin (who lives in Ohio) and I are in charge of decorations for my grandma's 90th party on Thanksgiving.  She ordered balloon bouquets and sent me a photo of them.  They had the same balloons at the store in Indiana, so I am able to coordinate the table decorations without worrying if they match.

24.  opportunities kids have in high school.  Besides sports, there are over 100 clubs from which to choose.  Buttercup and Phoenix have both joined the Euchre club.  They play every week, but once a month they travel to a nursing home to play with the residents.  I love a fun club that also encourages service.

25.  a dictionary.  It helps me look more intelligent when I'm trying to use big, impressive words.

26.  Facebook.  It's so fun to get pages of birthday wishes from all the people who were reminded that it was my birthday.  Also, it is great to keep up with family and friends far and wide.

27.  the time I had to write the post about a scrapbook I made for my nephews and kids 10 years ago.  People seemed to really like it, so much so that Sarah and her family have decided to make one.

28.  the fact that I followed through with the idea and actually finished the books 10 years ago.

29.  great movies.  Ocean's Eleven is on while I type this post.

30.  jeans that fit.  I actually found some on the shopping trip I took with my mom and sister.  For $39.  Good thing, because the one pair I loved got a gigantic hole in the knee when I was crawling on the floor with Littlest Nephew last month.  A hole in the knee is unfortunate in the middle of a deep freeze.

31.  Cuckoo's desire to skip.  Lately, when we're walking hand in hand, he'll look up and ask, "Can I skip?"  I can't say no to that request.  You can't help but be happy when a cute little 5 year old is skipping ahead of you.

32.  the friendship my children have with with each other.  While I am sad to not have a house full of little kids, it is awesome to have a house full of teens who can have real conversations.  I love to just sit back and listen to them.

33. time to get Phoenix to the BMV.  The boy finally, finally! has his temps and can begin learning how to actually drive.  He'll be getting his first lesson on a real road later today.

34.  Bryan.  I thank God every day for the blessing of my husband.

35.  Phoenix's continued improvement in school.  He's doing so, so well since he began taking medicine for his newly diagnosed ADD.  He is happier, more relaxed, and less anxious.  Which makes our entire house less anxious, more relaxed, and a lot more fun.

36.  pretty chickens.  Looks like we have a rooster in the flock.  He can stay as long as he acts like a hen and doesn't start attacking people.  I'm hope he behaves.  Roosters are such pretty birds.

37.  birthday cards.  While I was thrilled to receive so many well wishes and happy birthdays on FB, I was equally excited to find actual cards in my mailbox.  Snail mail is so rare, when it arrives, it's a seriously special treat.

38.  grocery choices.  While I do think it is overkill that we have 6 grocery stores (7 once Wal-Mart opens) on a three mile stretch of road, it certainly keeps prices down and gives us the ability to find anything that we could possibly need or want at a moment's notice.

39.  the opportunity to lead my teens' Confirmation group.  We Catholics take our sacraments seriously, and before a person receives any of them, he/she must go through classes.  I was able to lead Phoenix's group, and I am currently one of the leaders of Buttercup's group.  Helping these teens grow in their relationship with Jesus and become full members of the Catholic church is inspiring.

40.  wonderful, supportive, fun, caring teachers and administrators in all three of the schools my children attend.

41.  the opportunity my children have to know their extended family.

42.  my hair still being its natural color.

43.  every single day of my 43 years.  There have been rough days.  There have been rough years.  There have been far more good days, good moments, than bad.  I've been blessed beyond measure.

Oh my word.  That took forever to write.  And I didn't even have one single photo.  Sorry about that.

If you made it through half of this list, thanks for sticking with me.

So, where have you been blessed this week?  Don't worry, you don't have to come up with 43.

Have a lovely day!




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