I know, you’re like, bring on the water works. I mean with a title like that there’s bound to be a sentimental, emotionally charged poem to follow, right? Well, you’ll have to see, but (Spoiler Alert), probably not . Not all of us have perfect marriages. Frankly, most of us don’t and I kinda think that’s OK. There’s some value in being a sometimes sucky wife – just ask my hubby…
I’m like many of you – going at the last minute to buy some cheesy cards that cost $5 bucks a pop and do little more than add to deforestation. I avoid the overly-sweet ones with watercolor painting on the front because my marriage isn’t perfect and the sentiments in those cards don’t quite reflect my feelings. So, I go with humor.
In fact, I’ve noticed that my husband and I have this weird tendency to re-buy the same multi-fold-out cards for each other on our respective holidays year after year.
The Father’s day card has a cat couple and it goes something like this: Continue reading →
Nearly a decade ago, I moved to the suburbs from NYC (it’s the sole reason I started my blog). In that time I’ve learned some pretty important things to ensure my survival, nay, my sanity.
If my ‘burb sent out a handbook it would look something like this. Feel free to use it as a mini-survival guide. Good luck and in the words of that guy on Hill Street Blues, ‘Hey, let’s be careful out there.’
All children must be signed up for multiple sports and extracurricular activities, to ensure that no family can plan anything on a Saturday until their kids are too old to want to spend Saturday’s with their family.
Do NOT be alarmed if you try to enter the wrong minivan or SUV, this is common. Try to lessen the confusion by putting fun stickers on your back windshield representing each of your children performing their favorite activity.
You can paint your house one of 477 shades of tan. Other colors will be categorically denied, so don’t even try it!
If your child has strep or hand foot and mouth, be aware that the entire town will know about it before you get his/her prescription filled. PS this same urgency in passing news applies to affairs as well!
As a suburban mom you are expected to start some kind of craft business immediately. Your choices are: hair accessories, jewelry, embellished clothing, or things you can print on card stock — anything else must be cleared through the Chamber of Commerce.
If you already have a job, you are expected to purchase these crafted goods, in bulk, at the myriad of local holiday boutiques that celebrate everything from Ramadan to Flag Day. Like PTA meetings, being absent is frowned upon.
If you do not find a grocery store or Starbucks within one mile of your current position, you’re lost and have entered an inferior neighborhood! Please stay calm and return to your suburb immediately.
You are required to join a gym. There, you must take spin classes with disco lighting, pretzel yourself into a reformer, and learn the art-form that is Zumba.
You will be expected to pressure clean anything and everything from your sidewalk to your dog. Be prepared.
Make sure your dog is cute, as neighbors will constantly stop to pet it. Be warned, the same neighbors will turn you in to the association the first time Rufus barks after 9PM. (Don’t name your dog Rufus)
Make an immediate trip to lululemon/Athetica/GapBody/Target … and pick up workout/athletic/golf/tennis gear that’s trendier than simply wearing sweatpants. Wear these goods at least 50 -100% of the time; in the winter, simply wear your athletic gear with Uggs.
You will need to attend a mind-numbing amount of birthday lunches/dinners for ladies turning anywhere from 30-50. Get there early, as who you sit next to (or don’t sit next to) can make or break your day.
Cut back on sex ASAP, as you will find yourself in conversations where moms discuss their infrequent, and unsatisfying sex life regularly — at lunches, parties, dinners, play-dates.
And stop giving blow-jobs! People in the ‘burbs are only expected to give them on birthdays and anniversaries (it’s one of the perks).
Living in the ‘burbs is a little like reading Us Weekly: Everything is sensationalized. It’s fun to discuss “who wore it best,” but not as much fun as playing Fashion Police. You will find yourself looking for cellulite/wrinkles on young skinny moms. And gossip is treated as gospel.
I hope this helps you fit into the suburban life you’ve chosen. Maybe I’ll see you at the next boutique sale — I’ll be selling picture frames with random findings glued on to them!
First promo is out (if you’re a YouTube subscriber, please like it)!!!
It seems like forever that I’ve been waiting for someone to give me my own show. Yes, it’s true… rounding the corner on 40 certainly wasn’t helping. I was making a running list of all the things I WILL NOT DO. You know, like a depressing version of a bucket list? Actually, that’s redundant, but you get the picture.
My looming midlife-ishness was making me realize all the things I haven’t been given that I feel I truly deserved, like: 10million from the Florida Lottery, a Ford Fusion from American Idol, or a Medical degree from Harvard. Granted, I’ve never played the lotto, been a contestant on American Idol, or attended Harvard, but still I feel slighted.
Which is how I’ve felt about the whole getting your own show thing. I mean let’s face it, everyone has a show now a days, EV-ERY-ONE. Really, it doesn’t take much. You don’t even need a full set of teeth (see Gator Boys and Honey Boo Boo) Sure
Honey’s 7 so those will grow back in, but I’d venture to say that she’ll be missing a few in adulthood as well. (Call it a premonition.)
I just want to state for the record that I do have all my teeth, which is usually a plus in the job market search, but now I am considering knocking one out or at least covering it in gold. What? Does Flava Flav not have a show?
I guess the truth is, with everyone having a show, I kinda just imagined that there was a line somewhere, like a make-shift DMV. You wait in it, all annoyed until someone with really long nails and two tone hair looks at you and tells you your gig. “Hmmm, annoying accent, high hair, tattooed, currently intoxicated… JERSEY SHORE, ANY MOB SHOW, CO-HOST ON THE TALK.” “Highly educated, dry, unattractive, interesting and cerebral… sorry, your options are limited NEW YORK TIMES TV Host (only to be watched during air travel), guest on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER.” “Looks good in a bikini – doesn’t prune in hot
tubs or pools – questionable morals… BACHELORETTE, BIG BROTHER.” “Funny, un-pc, likes to talk while standing, attractive enough… LATE NIGHT TV.”
You know, something like that.
So for years, I’ve sought out this “line,” and like unicorns and tooth-fairies – it exists but, only to those who believe… which is why I found it. Or rather, it found me. Yep, my show, THE JENNY ISENMAN SHOW, will be airing on Cafe Mom starting October 16th!
Here’s the first promo!!!
I like to believe my DMV bio went like this: Funny – anxiety stricken – obsessed with cellulite/wrinkles/sagging – annoyed with all the hype about beauty products, juice fasts, scheduled sex – may or may not have showered today – needs answers to cut through all the bullshit and look and feel at least a decade or two younger so that she doesn’t end up in a padded room – attractive enough…. TALK SHOW FOR MOMS, REAL HOUSEWIFE OF SOMEWHERE, GUEST ON DR. PHIL, HOARDERS.
We just finished filming the season last week and it was total insanity… (By the way, it’s a talk show for moms, in case you weren’t sure.) I was sick as a dog! My voice went from Demi Moore sexy, in early episodes to Harvey Fierstein drag queen, towards the end, I kid you not. I had an amazing set, amazing guests, amazing producers, a 15 person crew: filming, trying to keep me healthy, fed, and hydrated… checking hair and makeup. Sounds a bit Christian Grey-esque right? I mean, these are things a girl can get used to!!!
Most importantly, I got a CHEAT SHEET for all the mommas to live by – all while keeping a cynical eye and a sense of humor. Yes, I regaled some embarrassing 80’s moments, as I love to do. And I think with the power of editing, it will end up a Chelsea Handler, meets, Erma Bombeck, meets, Richard Lewis, meets Oprah. Am I aiming too high? Those editors better be freakin’ good, if not, I’m hoping at the very least it’ll be a Wendy Williams, meets the Tiger Mom, meets Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, meets Dog, the Bounty Hunter.
I promise to give behind the scenes play by play! If you like my writing, share this with friends so they can follow the blog and keep up with the show because I guarantee it’ll be as exiting as watching the guys who fish with their hands… and that’s saying a lot, I know.
Oh and thanks, as always for your support! This is a big deal for someone who’s small potatoes.
Sending the kids to camp is supposed to be this delightfully awesome time of freedom and reprieve, but it’s not for me.
So, as you can tell from the last post, (Confessions of an Irrational Mom), I’ve been totally anxiety stricken lately. I wasn’t able to put my finger on why, until I looked at my finger and saw that I’d done this to my beautifully manicured gel nails.
Since this pic, I've ripped the overlay completely off with my teeth and bitten them to the quick. Annie, I'll see you in a month.
Then it dawned on me, it’s camp. Sending my son to camp makes me mildly certifiable. Knowing I have NO control over whether my baby puts on sunblock or brushes his teeth, or eats Fruity Pebbles everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or runs with flip-flops on rocky terrain, or doesn’t make the intercamp team, or gets taken advantage of.
Before having children, I had no idea how much of a control freak I actually was. Yes, I always had the anxiety part, but even that grew 10 fold. My hubby and I lived in an apartment in NYC, where he was able to mask his inability to do simple household things like, change lightbulbs, hang pictures… use a screw driver. We had people to do that. Yes, the maintenance men were my BFFs — a small tip and they were caulking or hammering away.
Then we had kids and moved to the ‘burbs, where I realized that not only was my hubby not the type to do stuff around the house. I was not the type to delegate. My anxieties and need for perfection made his work seem incomprehensibly inferior. (The cause of many an argument)
Saturday was Jake’s Little League Kids vs. Dads game. I arrived late, kind of excited to see Mark at bat. There is something sexy about seeing your husband hit a bomb. Of course the other side of the coin is seeing him strike out or bumble some ball on the ground, which would drastically undermine his appeal.
On my way to the game, however, in no way did I think he would end up assessing my appeal. One of the kids was with his mom, and she was reluctantly talked into playing to represent her family. My son was in the middle of striking her out when I thought, that looks fun. Not the striking out part, but to be a kid for a few minutes, to hold a bat, to cross home plate. How often do us moms get that chance?
“I want next up.” Did I say that out loud? I did.
“Come on we need more players,” one of the dads screamed, probably imagining how amusing it would be to watch me try to hit Jake‘s wild pitches.
I rolled up my dark wash, bell-bottom Hudsons, and kicked off my heels. Yes, I wore heels to the field. Strappy thong wedges, considered perfectly acceptable “baseball mom” attire by the Weston Area Little League official handbook.
“In all my years of coaching I’ve never had a player show up in bellbottoms,” the coach said as I approached the plate.
For the dads, this was just a friendly game. The dads are the ones lobbing the ball around at all the practices, hitting to the different positions, throwing pop-ups and grounders, while me and the moms are relegated to the bleachers to tend to our other children, like pioneer wives. No one wants the moms on the field, but G-d do I always want to be out there.
It felt so nostalgic to walk to the plate. I got into my stance, which I remembered without hesitation. No expectations from any of the dads, just how I like it. First my practice swing. Can I still do it?
“Wow, nice swing,” the dad who invited me to play said in shock. “Guys, you better back it up.“
That’s right. My intimidating swing made a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds move back. Yes, I can still swing, but can I hit? I wanted so badly not to make an ass of myself. Not just not to make an ass of myself, but to be impressive. To let my son see that all his athleticism was not genetically encoded directly from his dad’s DNA, and to show a bunch of middle aged dads that the sarcastic girl who comes to the game in heels can get down and dirty.
Ah, thank G-d I made contact. A solid respectable line drive, Wahoo!. It was clearly unexpected. I got claps, and a “Wow” and when I went to back to the stands my father in law added, “I see where Jake gets his swing, but why didn’t you slide into second? Afraid to get your jeans dirty?”
Okay, I should quit now before I become a one hit wonder.But, it’s fun being a dad. I need more of this feeling.
On my second at bat, I was hoping to improve on my first – and I did. I whaled it. My teammates just started to laugh and the coach yelled, “She’s a ringer.” I took my spot next to Jake who was now playing first. I got a little hug, which was huge –he rarely hugs the other runners as they step onto his base, but he was proud. I played it off like “Yeah your mom’s the bomb,” but really I wasn’t so smug.
What happened next is almost too embarrassing to write about, but that’s what I do right? I was playing second, the atmosphere was light, but in my mind I was still auditioning for a walk on position with the Yankees. A hard grounder was about to whiz by. It was clearly out of reach, but maybe, just maybe… The truth is that ball could have been hit 2 bases away and I still would have run for it. Obviously, I have some competitive issues, which I will be sure to revisit in therapy.
As shocked as each Dad was today, they hadn‘t seen anything yet. I have to stop that ball, it’s coming hard, and if I don’t it will fly past me into the outfield and some 8 year old will get on base. I threw myself face first into the dirt, with my arm stretched long. My hip thudded against the hard ground, and there was a second where all eyes were frozen on my display. I stood up slowly, as I had injured my hip, and grabbed the ball out of my glove. Some dirt and pebbles may have trickled out of my mouth and hair, but I had the ball.
The stunned coach on first base let out a “Whoa. I didn‘t see that coming.” You didn’t see the intense barefoot mom diving to catch a ball in a friendly game against elementary school kids? Well, I am nothing if not highly unpredictable.
I brushed myself off, as I had let my pants get dirty. I thought this would be an amusing time to stop for a lip gloss reapplication.
I looked over at Mark who, though he knows about my unrelenting spirit, was in as much shock as the other guys at my last maneuver.
Jake may be more inherently athletic, but let me tell you something, he could learn a thing or two from his mom’s unrelenting, unyielding determination. He might also take note to of her misplaced intensity and yearning to relive childhood moments. These guys must have thought I was insane, but I took comfort in the knowledge that they would pick me if we ever happened to be in gym class together.
“And the parents win! Game ball has to go Jake’s mom.”
Mark walked over pulled me close and gave me a manly pat on the rear. “Nice job babe. I knew you would hit it, but I had no idea you would start throwing yourself all over the field.”
Thanks guys. I’ll be seein’ ya… from the bleachers.
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Notice who’s representin’ the Suburban Mom? Yours truly. “Props to me”… wait I sound too urban for my title. “Oh, with respect to my most recent publicity, I gladly accept your accolades.” That’s better.
Jen Singer, whoever you are, you are my new BFF 4-ever and I don’t say that often, thank g-d.
Urban, Suburban and Rural Mom Blogs Worth the Trip
I’ve said it before: My mini-van is where toys go to die. Also, mittens, empty water bottles and shin guards. While my experience might be decidedly suburban, I’ll bet most moms could relate to it no matter where they live.
That’s why I like to check out what’s happening with mom bloggers who live in various places across our fine country, suburban, yes, but also urban and rural. Here are three of the best:
Suburban Jungle (http://www.suburbanjungle.net/) Jenny Isenman, a.k.a. “Jenny from the Blog,” says she finds “the humor in the everyday and it keeps me sane. That and I live in a one story house. So every time I jump, I consider it an opportunity to clean up the toys in the yard.” She writes about life in suburbia, and how she feels she needs an > English-to-Starbucks dictionary. She confesses she’s been addicted to sleep as long as she can remember, so you can imagine what she felt like when her toddler asked her at 2 a.m.: “If a dragon falls in a fire what would happen?” (She decided the dragon would be fine thanks to its thick skin.) Whether it’s her friend’s botched Botox (“the phenomenon I call the “Evil Eyebrow”), or her kids’ penchant for words that describe bodily functions (“their Beavis and Butthead phase”), Jenny from the Blog reports from the jungle that is suburbia.
City Mama ( http://citymama.typepad.com/citymama/) Stefania Pomponi Butler’s blog says the writer/producer/blogger “lives in Silicon Valley, California with her husband (and his pile of laundry), their two impossibly cute (and very loud) girls, and about 2,649 plastic horses.” Recently, she warned some Internet bullies that their moms are on Facebook, and she even threw a virtual shower for fellow blogger, Tanis Miller. Stefania, who’s “always cooking something up,” writes often about culinary issues, offering up recipes, reviews and advice on everything from great sauce pans to the perfect pear. She blogged about a photo shoot she did in L.A. which involved “strangers sticking their hands down the front of my shirt.” Ah, the glamour of a City Mama.
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman ( http://thepioneerwoman.com/) Ree Drummond is a “thirty-something ranch wife, mother of four” who writes about her “decade-long transition from spoiled city girl to domestic country wife.” My favorite part is the pictures of horses and cowboys in chaps, but there’s so much more to Ree’s blog, most of it in photos. There are shots of her family rustling the cattle (or whatever it’s called) with captions like, “I remember a day when this little girl was shorter than the calves.” She calls her husband the “Marlboro man,” and reports “There are no spas in the country.” Which is why her daughter made her own avocado facial. Her photography is wonderful, filled with endless blue skies and close-ups of unsuspecting cows. Most of all, it’s a portal to a whole different life than we have in the suburbs, a life where, Ree says, “Getting up at 4:00 a.m. can’t be high on the list of desired summer activities for the kids on our ranch, but it is what it is.”
Well, I’ve gotten a lot of emails asking me why I haven’t posted lately.
Because I’ve spent the last week cleaning my house.
Because my everyday tidier/laundry doer/Mother’s helper, Danay got a job in a physical therapist’s office.
Because she went to college and got a real degree before coming to this country and finding out that her only job options were maid, nanny, or grocery bagger.
Because in America if you don’t speak perfect English you must be unintelligent, even though most of us don’t speak nearly as much of a foreign language as any foreigner does of our’s.
Because we’re lazy, which is the same reason I hate to clean.
I remember the days before I found this woman… I cleaned a lot! In fact, I could not do anything else around my house until I felt it was clean.I would clean in the morning, watch my kids immediately undo my work, and then clean the same stuff all over again. Each time I was amazed at how long it took to clean and how quickly it became undone.
I had to make up fascinating “cleaning games” to justify not spending time playing Nerf dart tag, or doing spin art like the “good Mommies” did.Our play was much more educational… I honed Jake’s eye for detail and fine motor skills:“Jake, let’s see if you can match the socks and roll them neatly into pairs.”I knew Jake was a true genius the day he found matches for the 23 mateless socks.I taught Ryan about the nuances of tone and hue.“Ryan, which colors are dark and which are light?Ryan, that shirt may be white, but the stripes are red, that’s a major oversight on your part. I hope you weren’t hungry cause that just cost you dinner.”
I considered asking Mark for help, but the truth was to watch him try and clean could send us straight to divorce court. He would say, “Just do it once a day, why waste your time?” Which, by the way, is the same argument he has for oral hygiene, so who could listen to him? If you want the job done right i.e. your way… you have to do it yourself.
I couldn’t delegate because I was always too disappointed in the way someone would load my dishwasher.Loading a dishwasher takes serious problem solving skills and visual prowess; done correctly, it is an algorithm of perfectly fitting pieces with not a single one to spare.Okay, I’m beginning to sound pathetic, but some of you actually get what I’m saying. You know who you are, you’re the ones thinking “Please, my dish loading could kick your ass…Bitch!Well you know what I say?“Bring it!”
I was so vehemently against having help because I was sure it would reflect on some inability to be a good Mother/Housewife (a title I never thought I would covet the way that I do). I also convinced myself that having help would weaken my right to be a martyr.However, my need to have “a life” and to resent my husband less won out, and I hired someone.
After a single day I felt like screaming “FREEDOM” while swooshing down a mountain with a cool breeze on my face, or into a deep echoing canyon while blowing my Ricola horn, but alas Florida is flat.So I traipsed into the swamp, I mean lake, in our back yard and screamed at the top of my lungs.Unfortunately, it was “Alligator!” and not “Freedom!” but I feel my point was made.As soon as I zigzagged back into my house, I considered all of my options:Grocery shop, get Starbucks with a friend, shop for my kids, get a mani/pedi, shop for myself, go to the gym, shop for my husband, get Starbucks again, or return things from the last time I shopped.My days were filled with endless monotony and it was exciting.My afternoons were completely open.I could do all kinds of things while my daughter napped- shop, return things, get Starbucks…When my son got home we played Nerf dart tag and did spin art.
Each day I returned to a neat and straightened house, with clean clothes and an organized pantry.I began saying things like, “You know, I don’t care if you rearrange my drawers, whatever is easier for you.”I had to make phone calls to find out where my Love Quotes scarves and my new yellow Hogan bag were, and I reveled in it.I finally got bored with the exciting monotony and decided I would have to do something to distract me from shopping.I tried chewing gum.No luck.I tried the patch, but spent hours trying to find the perfect designer patch on the best sale.I read books by Dr. Oz, and Dr. Drew, and Dr. Phil.I even read a lovely memoir by Dr. J. to no avail.
So I decided to write again.Three weeks after, I felt reborn and my Amex felt dejected, jumping out of my bag anytime we so much as drove past a retail store.It would even put extra groceries in my cart when I walked over to the meat counter.My Amex wasn’t the only one let down.A week later Danay told me a friend called to offer her a job at a physical therapist’s office.I said, “Are you kidding me?Who do you expect to do my laundry, clean the kitty litter, the dog pee, the garage… me? I had that job once, it sucked!”Luckily, when I talk fast she doesn’t understand a word and I slowly said “You have to take it, congratulations!” and gave her a huge hug.She still comes like 5hrs a week because in her own words “I’ll keep helping you out, you need me.”Apparently, she’s never seen me load a dishwasher, but If you don’t tell I won’t.So the short answer to the question“Why haven’t you posted in a week: 5hrs just don’t cut it.”
Every time I take one of my children to see a specialist I am reminded of my first time going to see one with Jake when he was about 4½ months old. Jake, who was 5 weeks premature, cried for the first 4months 13days 16hrs 32min of his life (straight). He would only sleep in an upright position and we found that his car seat was the best option. We would keep it in the Snap n’ Go and park him into bed every night.
When he finally cut back on the tears, it was like walking off a tarmac and into a library- I could think again. I noticed his head looked a little flat and took him to a pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gore or Dr. Bore as I prefer to call her, examined Jake for plagiocephaly, or “flathead,” to see if he should be fitted for a helmet. Yes…that’s correct, a helmet. Looking back on our visit, it seems all of her comments were excessively vague and rather benign, but somehow she managed to coax me into a state of agitation.
Dr. Bore is one of those people who is impressed with her own brilliance, and likes to speak unexcitedly as she tries to overwhelm you with her superior knowledge. Silently, Dr. Bore waited as I changed and then undressed Jake, never uttering a word until I was safely sitting in my chair. This reminded me of the way my father behaved when he had some horrific news to impart which could be something as tragic as selling the family car. “Jenny, are you sitting down?” As if I might faint upon hearing such horror.
With Dr. Bore, however, I sensed the silence was not some kind of soap-opera-esque melodrama. It was more like: I-do-not-waste-breath-on-distracted-ears kind of silence. I literally sat there with fingers crossed trying to remember the rules governing such situations. Do you cross both hands for extra luck? No, no I think one cancels the other out, right? And does that make it zero luck, or does it skip right to bad luck? Oh man, now what do I do? Of course, my toes! I uncomfortably fidget, contorting my fingers into a series of svengali half-crosses in what seems to be verging on an epileptic seizure to erase the obsessive thoughts echoing throughout my head. Speak lady so I can stop torturing myself!
After a long exaggerated sigh, Dr. Snore begins to expound on the two theories as to why his head is flat. The first being a severe complication in which the skull plates prematurely fuse causing the brain to grow out in any way possible- the side, the top, the nose…which could not only lead to deformity, but brain damage as well.
I am about to cry. Why is she speaking volumes on this subject? Just say, this is not the case with your son. JUST SAY THAT! I get frustrated with my vain attempts at telepathy, and interrupt her.
“Do you have any reason to believe that’s his diagnosis?”
“I’m just going through the possibilities, please allow me to continue.”
Oh, I’m sorry my desire to rule out a gruesome existence for my son has gotten in the way of your neurology-for-dummies lecture. Please don’t let my nervous breakdown shorten your diatribe. The sound of the paper bag I’m breathing into helps to drown out her voice until I hear, “…and the second and most likely possibility is called positional flatness. This is caused by spending too much time sleeping or being on ones back.
Hello? Is anyone home? I told you he spent the last 4 months sleeping in his car seat; doesn’t that ring a bell? Why do specialists always insist on discussing the horrible and unlikely option first? I should probably just go now, but I decide to prolong this torture…
“Well you’ve seen a lot of heads, is his severe?”
“Look his head is flat. I’m not going to tell you that something flat is round. Its flat.”
Gee thanks Magellan. Do you get the impression I have a 5th grade education? What tipped you off the finger crossing fiasco?
She goes on to check his tone and development. All that anguish and I get to stay longer for a freebie, what a perk.
“He has poor muscle tone, he doesn’t roll he doesn’t tilt, he doesn’t grab…what does he do?”
“Hmm…tsk, tsk…just keep an eye on him for the next couple months.”
Really, I should do that? Cause us uneducated folk we like to kick our kids out of the nest at say …I don’t know…5months. “Fly free little birdie, and go earn some money it’s time to pay Momma back.” But if you think we should wait…
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