July 11, 2007
One more day! What a difference these past few days have made! No, the contractors have not yet paid. One is either dodging calls or is genuinely out of town for a long period of time. The other one (the one who works with the Mormons) has assured Eric that he will be paid on Friday, which is very workable. My hope is that it will come through because I have already arranged a payment with my mortgage company for Monday to keep them from calling and pestering me nonstop. HSBC has got to be the most annoying of the 4-5 mortgage companies I've ever used. We did not choose them. The company we signed with, as tends to happen, sold our loan to HSBC and we were stuck. We have a 15 day grace period, so it's not in trouble until the 17th, but on the 10th of the month, they will start calling several times a day, even if you tell them the first time they call that you will make a payment on such and such day. They will keep calling until the payment is officially set up. I have informed them that their grace period is not very graceful and their "courtesy" calls are not particularly courteous (or wanted). We have to refinance before October and I deeply hope we can get with a better company.
So anyway, provided that payment comes on schedule, everything should fall well into place. I certainly hope it does because I plan to spend a good chunk of the mortgage money I do have this week.
I call it faith. It sounds much better than "stupid."
Long talks with Eric have resulted in him finding peace with me going on the trip. He will be here at the house with boys for 4 days, only doing the Grizzly Flats mail, so it will be a break for him from the outside world since the Somerset mail he normally does is about 5 times as big as the route I do. He will have the jeep, so I am sure they will do some running around as well.
The camera I wanted was actually on sale, which was lovely.
I am spending today cleaning the house from top to bottom so that Eric is left with a nice, clean offering. Then later today, I will start packing.
There's not really much else to tell, but I am sure there will be when I get back from Studio City! I am looking forward to this trip more than any I've ever had before. On Monday, when Mercury went direct, I could feel the energy shift strongly. Yesterday, we actually had some good rainfall, which was a real blessing to the land up here. It has been very acrid, dry and hot. Our fire danger was quite high and the earth was really begging for relief. We got a smattering of rain through the day, then I woke up hearing it in the night. The smells outside are amazing. We are supposed to get more thundershowers today and I very much hope that pans out.
The rain felt symbolic: washing away all of the old and dusty mess of before and nourishing the richness that was there. The thirst is quenched.
Oooooh!! I just realized I can check into my flight online now since it's within 24 hours! Woot!!
Love to all and
July 8, 2007
It was a really restless night last night. I get my best thoughts in order by writing them all out like I did yesterday in the huge spillage in my last post.
Of course, those thoughts sparked others and although I did sleep, I kept dreaming and waking up and thinking some more and then dozing again and flopping around. I was like Pooh: My stomach was empty and my mind was full.
Eric and I are not communicating particularly well, as is our way in the Mercury retrogrades. We might as well be strangers speaking a foreign language to one another. There's no less love (or talking); just a lot less productive communication.
I woke up with a headache and a sour stomach. Lately, I can't find anything to drink that tastes good. It feels like no matter what I drink, I taste the worst part of it. If I drink diet soda, I can taste the chemicals and the acid. If I drink tea, I can taste the tanic acid. If I drink milk, it tastes all clingy and sloppy. If I drink juice, it tastes too sweet. I have never enjoyed the taste (or last thereof) of water very much, so it just tastes more watery to me.
Nothing really sounds good right now, so I'm eating when my body says it's hungry and leaving it at that.
I was thinking about an experiment my friend, Karen, and I did about 5 years ago where for a whole month, we played selfish. We are both moms, so the idea sounded really naughty and exotic. If someone wanted us to do something we didn't want to do, we'd say no. If there was one piece of cake or pie left, we ate it. When dinner was served, we took the biggest, juiciest piece of chicken for ourselves. If we were in the middle of working on a column and got up to pee and came back to find some joy surfer sitting in our computer chair playing on the net, we told them to ass up and get out of the chair.
The results were not what we expected, which was something akin to a new world order of chaos and revolt. In fact, almost nobody noticed.
As it turns out, the sacrifices we were making on a very regular basis, downright many times a day, didn't really mean shit except to us. The Pee Wee Herman Syndrome (see previous entry) has been an ongoing problem for me and I guess I needed another go at the lesson. I do things and expect that people will notice and be thankful and that I will somehow be thought better of for the effort. But then nothing happens and I'm left wondering why I bothered.
Like this mail job. Why did I take it? It felt like it was being presented to me for a reason, which would likely be revealed to me later down the path. I took two days of my time and $80 of my money to invest in time, gas and babysitting to get orientated. I then spent 20 hours learning a job I don't like for money I won't later need and no benefits at all, just because a friend of mine could possibly need some help somewhere down the line. I'm not aptly trained for the job by a long-shot and it would easily take 60+ on-the-job hours to learn all the things you have to know to run a post office by yourself. I'm maybe 20-25% capable at this point. I got a few dollars (which will come in after I'm gone to LA) and Delena made some babysitting money for her trip. That's good, I guess. I have part of a new skill and that is good too, but I think the biggest lesson I learned is to not do what I don't want to do and to make sure that I am more pro-active about doing the things I do want to do.
I have done a lot of work this year and most of it I gave with love, but part of it, a really decent part of it, I did thinking it was the right thing and overriding what I actually wanted to do. I made sacrifices that may or may not have been warranted. Either way, I thought it was right.
Now, I'm not so sure. Maybe I was just taking the smaller piece of chicken, so to speak, and leaving the last piece of pie so others would feel good while it actually made me feel bad.
It comes back to that doctor analogy (see previous post). Either way, you end up at the same place and they call you "doctor."
Something made me hit the end of the road and run into a wall on giving and I'm about done with that. I'll do what I want to do and see how that fits into what other people perceive that they "need" from me.
In short, I'm going on my damned trip, I'm going to spend a good bit of my mortgage while I'm gone and if the contractors have not paid up either before I leave or before I get back, then I'll deal with it then. Fuck it. Either way, I'll end up in the same spot, the difference being that I would have had a really great time if I go and I will have a really sad time if I don't go and the payments show up the day after I should have left out.
I'm going to go buy myself a camera and eat what I want when I want and loll about and have a very grand old time.
I figure the grace period is up on my mortgage on the 16th. If I pay with a check by phone, that adds on two days. That gives the contractors a full extra week to get by with no harm and no foul.
But I'm betting they're going to pay this week.
My friend and adopted big sister, JackieLou, is going to dye and cut my hair tomorrow night, then do a makeover for me. We're going to go to town on Tuesday and buy stuff for the trip.
I'm tired as all hell of being practical and logical.
Besides, I have a tiara. Did you really think I wasn't going to be selfish eventually?
July 7, 2007
My pout from a couple of entries ago is threatening to progress into full blown depression and I am trying to head it off at the pass. I'm at the critical stage where I feel as though I'm about a hair away from screaming and bawling my eyes out at any moment. Mind you, thus far I have done neither, but I can feel myself teetering on the precipice. It doesn't help that Eric has absolutely no patience for such theatrics and as I look at him while I try to transmit to him telepathically exactly why I am falling apart, I can watch my stock value declining rapidly in his eyes.
He tries to be a good and supportive husband, but being a GUY and all, he's limited in his understanding of the need of a good meltdown from time to time, his own now and again meltdowns notwithstanding.
I swear to God, I feel emotionally bludgeoned. On Saturday (so a week ago), I went into town and got the final groceries and supplies for Dylan's 10th birthday party on Sunday. Saturday night, my son, daughter-in-law and grandkids arrived. Sunday morning, I got up super early and started cooking for the party, which was to involve all of our friends sitting around with us, eating good food and drinking iced Coronas from the cooler while we yak and talk. By 1pm when everyone was due to arrive, the last egg was deviled, the final kabob was shished and the corn was shucked, boiled, buttered and rolled into foil. People showed up between then and 1pm and it was a really great time. I like for my kids' birthday parties to be as much fun for the parents as they are for the kids, so we try to find fun things for the kids to do that don't involve constant adult participation. This year, like last year, it was a bounce house, which all of the kids loved. We barely saw them except silhouetted against the vinyl.
Monday was blessedly quiet.
Tuesday, we had to go to Jodi's house to decorate the truck that would convey the Queens of Grizzly Flats in the July 4th parade. Delena arrived home from the airport from her Long Beach trip to see her other dad and attend the Anime Expo just seconds before I had to leave.
Wednesday, we got up early to get started setting up for the parade and pot luck, which was a wonderful success. We had so many people show up to actually be in the parade that we wondered if anyone in town would be left to stand along the roadside and watch us go past in all our glory, but we needn't have been concerned. There were people everywhere. I had no clue there were so many people in this town and I am half convinced that people from other towns got wind of our doin's and trekked up the mountain.
The party wound down around 2:30 and we were out the door by 3pm, tired and depleted, but giddy with the success of our latest event. Here is a photo of the Queens of Grizzly Flats, along with their little helpers:
Click it for the big shot. The Queens did such a great job on the truck and it looks as good as it does because I stood back and didn't do shit, letting the creative ones in the bunch take over. I have the creative ability of a freakin pine cone. We had country patriotic music blaring out of the speakers and we threw candy at (or "to" depending on how you look at it) people. It was tremendous fun.
My sash says "Boss Queen" and that is ONLY because my BFF Queens love me and pander to my ego and are so very, very good to me. Or maybe they're afraid I'm going to crack really hard at any given moment. I'm not sure. Best left unexplored, I guess.
We did get our chapter registered with the "real" Queens on www.sweetpotatoqueens.com so we are also now "real" Queens, not that there was ever really any doubt that we were by ANYone who has met us, but sometimes you have to jump through a hoop or two in order to maintain a certain degree of legitimacy.
As we were riding along in the parade, smiling broadly at our constituency standing along the road grinning like possums at us and snapping pictures and so desperately wanting to BE us, Godbless'em, someone, either TammyMarcia or TammyTerrey said, "Looks like someone made the promise!" That will mean something to you if you have read "The Sweet Potato Queen's Book of Love." If not, just go on my word that it's funny.
Of course, after the parade was over, we had a whole passel of people clamoring after us, wanting to be Queens and pretty much begging us for a piece of the action, but what can we say? We don't MAKE people into Queens, you just ARE or you're NOT (and just saying you are doesn't make it so, trust me), but even if you're NOT, we're perfectly willing to adopt you as a wannabe to suck up to us on the remote hope that we might one day slip up and make you a Queen.
All of that made it a day that had us high on sovereignty and success.
We were so danged tired we didn't even go to Placerville to see the fireworks and in about a week, my kids are going to realize that and be devastated, just like last year.
Last night was Burger Night and it was a BBQ chicken dinner (So no burgers, don't quibble with me, OK? I'm not in the mood) to honor our exiting Fire Chief, who is just a doll. Since he's well loved, there were about a million and six people lining up to eat chicken with the guy and since GFORCE helps on the serving line, we were busier than one legged guys in a butt kicking contest.
That being done now, the weekend is wide open for recovery as far as I know. I have to take Delena to town today to pick up provision and get her hair cut into a "chibby" style, which is essentially a really cute little pageboy that she had before. I was very resistant to her getting her hair cut as short as she wanted to the last time a few months ago, but I gritted my teeth and told her to go ahead and do it and I'll be damned if it wasn't just the cutest little thing ever.
On Tuesday, my friend, Jackie Lou is going to dye my hair, something I have not done in a couple of years now, so that should be interesting. We're going to town to pick up a few things for my trip and then she's going to make me over. Lord, I need it.
Thursday, in theory, Delena and I leave out at the buttcrack of dawn for the airport to go to the GH Fan Club Weekend to see our friends and loll about eating and talking and going to General Hospital events to take photos with and of the stars and such. It's such good fun, plus we get to see our buddies who we only see once a year. I look forward to this event every year and of course, it is pricey as all hell. I've already paid along the way for the airline tickets, the events and such, so I have to pony up money for the hotel room and our food while we're there.
NORMALLY, that would not be a problem. Sure, I would do some fancy accounting with the family budget and squeeze the grocery bill a bit, but voila, it would work and all would be well.
Except that the contractor STILL has not paid Eric. The standard in construction between general contractors and subcontractors is "net in 30," meaning that you invoice them for your work and materials and they pay you within 30 days. It has now been well over 60 days since the invoice and this guy still has not paid. Most of the time, before you start a job, you "pre-lien" the job, meaning that you file paperwork saying that you are basically holding the finished job as collateral on the off chance that you are not paid and if they don't pay you, all sorts of crap goes down. Unfortunately, this job was a government funded job at Beale AFB and although the money was pre-authorized and paid in a timely fashion to the general contractor, the general contractor is not paying the subcontractors in equally as timely of a fashion, basically taking advantage of the fact that you can't lien a job that is done for the military. So here Eric stands with his pride in his hands waiting for this guy to stay in town long enough to pay him for a job he finished well over 2 months ago. The next step is that he can contact the company that holds the contractor's bond, which is a very, very aggressive step to take, but does tend to get results. Eric is going to do that on Tuesday if they guy does not have a check cut for him on Monday. What that does is get us enough money for the family to go on for this month since we had to deplete all resources and not pay some bills last month to make it.
Then we have the Mormons. A month or so ago, Eric completed the first stage of replacing out the fire alarm system in the Mormon Temple that is being renovated in a town near here. After he pulls all of the wire for the job, sheet rockers and painters and people like that have to come in and finish their jobs (takes about 6 weeks on a job of this size) and then Eric can go in when they are done and put in the fire panels and alarms and such. He finished the first part of the job and invoiced for that the middle of June. The general contractor told him that the Mormons meet on the first of the month and settle up all of their finances for the month, so he (the general contractor) gets paid then and Eric's check soon follows. If it shows up with no hold ups or complications before I leave, preferably before Tuesday, then I can pay David (my son) back the money I had to borrow to get through this crisis last month, plus pay my mortgage and still be able to afford to get groceries, plus have enough funds to relax and have a wonderful time on my trip.
If it screws up, I will either get to go, but have to live on bologna sandwiches or won't get to go. I can't really justify going when there isn't enough money to get by on at the house.
I am trying to just let all of this go and put it in the hands of the Universe. I'm tired from worrying about it and feeling like I'm going to cry a good bit of the time. This year, it feels especially bitter that I'm once again in this situation at this particular time. All through the year Eric takes time to himself. He is very protective of that time. Every day, he has to have a minimum of a couple of hours on his balcony or out in the woods reading or surfing the internet or thinking deep thoughts and smoking his little cigars. This will always, invariably happen whether he has worked 15 hours that day or spent the entire day lounging around the house.
It took me a long, long time to get comfortable with that. It's not the sense of entitlement that bothers me because as hard as he works to provide for us, he definitely deserves that consideration. He has a brain that works so hard and so fast that he absolutely has to give it an outlet or he'll go nuts. It's the loneliness that gets me. I enjoy going to bed with my husband very much. I like to watch TV together, turn off the TV, snuggle down, talk a little, cuddle a little, then fall asleep together. There is something very domesticated and vital to me about that process. Now that happens maybe twice a month. The first parts all happen, but after "cuddle a little," he has to go outside to the balcony and sit while I go to sleep alone. To me, it feels the same as if we had sex and he stood up right away, zipped his pants and left; just on an emotional level. He has had difficult getting to sleep since he was a little boy and remembers being forced to stay in bed, just awake, looking at the ceiling and praying for sleep to come and get him. This is his way of coping with that part of himself.
Giving up going to sleep with him feels to me like a tremendous sacrifice of something dear to me. If I tell him how much it means to me that tonight, just for tonight, he goes to bed with me and STAYS in bed with me, he will either tell me that he's sorry, but it's not going to be that way or he will do it and act as though he's having to endure torture the whole time.
I said a couple of paragraphs ago that it took me a long time to get comfortable with that and that was a lie. I'm still not comfortable with that and it brings up some pretty strong feelings of what I need or want not being nearly as important as what he needs or want, feelings of abandonment, feelings of knowing I hold 49% of the controlling stock in Rasbold Enterprises while he holds 51% and will always, invariably win no matter how much it hurts me. You can imagine that this has been tearfully discussed at length over the past 10 years and the only result that has come is that I have realized what an incredible waste of my energy it is for me to be sad about it. It doesn't stop me from being sad about it, but it does help me to find some peace with the things I evidently cannot change. I do not give this willingly or with love. I give it because it is taken from me and I do not have the advantage to do anything about it.
I do get time to myself when the kids are in school and I appreciate that very much. During that time, I have looming over me that the time is meant to be spent cleaning my house, doing laundry, doing site work and such things, so really any personal time that comes up is stolen from the family. I am a major supporter of the belief that we have to take care of ourselves in order to care for others and I try to do that as much as possible. Don't think I'm just a ball of stress who never gets any joy in life. It's not like that.
But I do miss going to sleep with my husband and likely will until I die.
In addition to that, Eric sets his alarm, 6 days a week, to go off at 7am. Then he hits the snooze and it goes off again 7 minutes after he hits it. The time between the first alarm and the time he actually hits the snooze is anywhere from 3-15 minutes. So it sits there and beeps and beeps and beeps until I gouge him. Somewhere around 7:30 or so, I will get up out of bed, fully awake from the persistent alarm, and make Eric's coffee for the morning and if he's hungry, the same breakfast as always: two eggs over easy and buttered white toast. He will then get up around 7:45 - 8am and either take his breakfast and coffee and sit in front of my computer (which I turned on to check my email and never did get to because I was busy cooking coffee and eggs and toast) and surf the net while eating or go up onto the balcony and eat alone.
Which brings us back around to the GH Fan Club weekend. I see that as payback. It's my time on the balcony when he is wishing I was home with him and I'm off doing what I want to do. It somehow compensates me for what I give up all year long. I don't mean it as payback as in I want or need to get even with him, but more like me being paid back for what I've been forced to give up.
So with his required 2 hours a day, that works out to about a month a year cumulatively. Since I am only gone away to the GHFC weekend for 4 days, he's getting quite a bargain.
The reason this year is particularly sensitive to me is that this is the first year we've had where overall, things have been financially stable for the whole year. Most of the time, we've had enough to go on and then some. The times when Eye on Soaps donations were not sufficient to pay our web hosting fees, I've been able to make up the difference without breaking the family budget. Eric was able to get his motorcycle a couple of months ago which made him really happy. So when the walls come tumbling down, it's about 45 seconds before I am going out the door (in theory) for my trip.
That is frustrating.
THEN, about a year ago, Eric went off on this kick about how I needed to be more and do more in this world. I had carved out this amazing life where I stayed home all the time, kept the house fairly clean (I'd pretty much mastered the whole house cleaning thing by some miracle) and worked on my websites. It was blissy. But he felt it wasn't contributing enough to the world and stimulating my brain and giving myself sufficient experiences in life. After some fairly persistent encouragement from him, I started GFORCE with my friends and went on to become a very public person. I took over part of his mail route, 6 days a week for many, many months and now a few days a week as he needs me; full time if he's working on a construction job. I took this job I really didn't want at the post office as the fill in postmaster if the postmaster ever can't be there and the other fill in person can't be there. I started exercising like mad and did so for almost 5 months. I demanded a lot from myself and in the process, things I enjoyed doing like being alone, writing for the site, reading for pleasure and watching TV in the daytime just slipped away into a life of activity and "being important." I have gotten some wonderful benefits from doing this like finding out how strong I can be (the exercise) and getting all these wonderful friends, but sometimes, I want to cry because I miss the simple life I feel I was bullied out of and because I miss the things I love to do and can now rarely do or have to rush to fit into about 10 other things.
My spirituality took a fairly dramatic change as it opened up into a broader perspective and in doing so, there were aspects of it that were overwritten. I miss those too.
What this all means when you roll it up together is that I now miss both me AND sleeping with my husband. I feel as though I have given up a lot this year and it doesn't feel fair that this is the year my trip is particularly under threat this late in the game.
This causes an underlying suspicion to surface that reminds me of something I once heard about a guy in medical school. He said, "You can go to medical school and keep your nose to the grindstone and work hard and never sleep and graduate at the top of your class and when you are done, they will address you with 'Dr' before your name. Or you can go to medical school, half-ass your studies, party a good bit, get plenty of sleep and graduate at the bottom of your class and when you are done, they will address you with 'Dr' before your name."
Is my lesson here that it really doesn't matter how much you do for other people or sacrifice in your life, you're going to end up in the same place regardless?
I feel like Peewee Herman in the old HBO special, "The Peewee Herman Show." Jambi gives him a wish and he magnanimously uses his wish to get Miss Yvonne to like Captain Carl when he really wants to use it to be able to fly. Miss Yvonne falls for Captain Carl, sure enough, and Peewee is left feeling empty inside because they are happy and giggly and having a great time and he is just fucked.
In response to that situation, he soliloquizes, "It's not like the boy expects like he's gonna get anything in return or anything, but... but then he doesn't *get* anything in return; nothing happens! Nothing happens at all! Zip, zero, zilch, they're ain't nothing, no advancements, no nothing! It just doesn't seem fair."
To top it off, Carolyn and I made our reservations back in December to stay at our old faithful haunt, the Days Inn, which is a block away from the Sportsman's Lodge where the event takes place. My friend, Debbie, then told me a month or so ago that she had included rooms for us to rent at the Sportsman's when she blocked off rooms for her staff (God bless her). So we confirmed the rooms at the Sportsman's and yesterday, when we went to cancel our rooms at the Days Inn, knowing fully well that with hundreds of rabid GH fans in town, they would have NO trouble renting the rooms, we found out that some tiny, tiny print on our confirmation letter disclosed that no cancellations are allowed and they are going to charge our credit cards $300 for the rooms no matter what, even if we didn't show up and they rented our rooms to someone else for the weekend. *sigh* Yes, we did all the right things like calling the corporate offices and begging and threatening and talking to banks and credit card companies and there is apparently nothing we can do except pay the money.
We are trying to find someone to sub-let the rooms to for that time, which will be a major hassle because we will have to find them, get the money from them, check in for them and then check out for them, hoping whoever they are that they are not checking out late or doing anything to wrack up more charges. Check out time falls right in the middle of an important event I am supposed to attend and cover for Eye on Soaps on Sunday, so that should be interesting.
PLUS Eric's car died a couple of months ago and because these general contractors cannot be bothered to pay him, we still only have one car, which means he will have to get the boys up at around 6am and EVERYBODY will have to take us to the airport, then EVERYBODY will have to pick us up at 11pm on Sunday and make the 90+ minute trek back from the airport.
PLUS out of the blue, my digital camera just DIED. Something inside that controls the opening and closing of the lens is fried, so I need to buy another one. Those don't really come cheap either. Eric has taken it apart and blown compressed air into it and tinkered with it and labeled it not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.
It is just such a headache. I feel profoundly teased and screwed with and I just want to cry.
I am trying very hard to count my blessings and focus on the good stuff in my life, of which there is plenty, but I can't seem to hold my attention to it without something else coming up to club me right in the knees and head.
I did get hit with some pertinent information, that being that we are on the tail end of a particularly aggressive Mercury Retrograde. For those of you who do not normally follow this journal or who have forgotten this part, there are three times a year when, from our earthly perspective, the fast moving planet of Mercury appears to be going backwards in its orbit through the astrological signs. Mercury governs communications, connections, movement and forward momentum and when it goes backward, all of that just goes to shit. People have trouble communicating with one another, messages are misrouted or skewed or misunderstood, CHECKS DON'T ARRIVE ON TIME, vital connections are missed and such things. This goes on for three and a half weeks, then Mercury eases back into a forward "direct" movement rather than a backwards "retrograde" movement and all of a sudden, it's like the bottleneck cleared and everything can flow smoothly again.
Our most recent retrograde started on June 15th and ends on Monday, July 9th. My hope is that once the retrograde energy clears, everything will flow right into my inbox and everything will right itself before I leave out on Thursday.
We are now down to 4 full days and the rest of today for everything to sort itself out and stop messing with me. I have seen miracles occur that can completely turn a life around in a matter of minutes. Surely in 4 days, 4 DAYS, this can all get straightened out.
Meanwhile, I'll be under my desk hiding.
I am a happily married broad of a particular age who lives in a rural mountain community on the edge of the El Dorado National Forest. Grizzly Flats was once a thriving mining town (think "Deadwood"), but is now a quiet, remote town with a few hundred year-round residents and several city folks with a country home up here where they come to rough it a few times a year. No more saloons or hotels or livery stables, just an unmanned fire station, a 2 room schoolhouse, a ranger station and a post office.
I am a writer and webmaster. I am also a rural route mail carrier and a student of life and the world around us.
I deeply honor all religions and whatever (harming none) path others use to reach God and their most sacred selves. I completely reject the premise that there is one path/ one religion that "fits all" and is the "right" one. Just as people speak in different languages to one another, I believe God also speaks to us in different languages. God knows us well enough to understand that our spirits vibrate on different levels and must be accessed in different ways with different words and practices.
Mike Rowe ("Dirty Jobs"): "Are you a religious man?"
Septic Tank Cleaner: "No, but I am a spiritual man."
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