Posts Tagged ‘nanny capers’

My Body Hurts

August 16, 2016

My brain hurts.

Everything hurts.

I am not sure why.

It’s not sick hurt.

It’s like I slept on my back hurt in a strange way.

But I slept like a baby, like a tired baby with hot milk in its belly.

In my own bed for the first time in eight days.

I remember putting my head on the pillow and rolling over and I was out.

I mean.

OUT.

I woke up to go to the loo at some point.

I think.

I mean, I usually do, as I like to have a cup of tea before I hit the hay, but I don’t even remember if I did, it was just an assumption.

I woke up when my alarm went off and got moving.

Now that I remember it, I did feel sore when I woke up, but I think I just shrugged it off.

And perhaps it’s tension or psycho-somatic, or who knows, I certainly don’t have to figure it out, but it is certainly there.

And there is no sleeping in my sweet, cozy, dreamy little studio tonight.

No.

I have made my return to Glen Ellen, to Stone Tree, to a week of being in Sonoma, but instead of being in Petaluma, I am at work.

The family’s vacation spot for the summer.

It’s not a bad bed and fuck, the room I have is huge, I mean, really gigantic.

Bigger than my in-law, that’s for certain.

It’s just not my bed.

I will be wrangling up some ibuprofen in a little while, after I blog and make a cup of tea and I think, yes, an episode of Mr. Robot.

I tried to do some Burning Man stuff, order a few last minute things, but I found I didn’t have the focus in me to do so.

I just paid my phone bill and that was all the online activity I could handle, no Amazon shopping for me tonight.

I made it out here ok, although there was a bit of a miscommunication between me and the mom and I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to lock up the house after letting in the housekeeper.

So I was in and around the Mission for many unnecessary hours.

That being said, I made an appearance at one of many fine church basements in the Mission and got right with God.

I figured, a week out of town, a week away from my fellows, from my favorite cafes and food and San Francisco, from my bed, my home, my things, was going to warrant a little getting steady with my emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.

I will be getting compensated for the additional money I had to spend on the rental car, which is nice, but I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with the parents about it.

The conversation happened via text this morning while I was at the house waiting for the cleaner to show up.

And today when I got there.

Well.

I was too busy catching up with the boys who wouldn’t let go of me.

Dinner was had with one leaned against me and the other in my lap, there was no removing myself.

The youngest was such a little darling, he was napping when I showed up and dad had to run to town on an errand, the older boy and mom were out, and it was just the little guy and me and the dog.

Said dog who was so happy to see me it made my heart warm and fuzzy.

When he woke up, the look on his face, incredulous joy.

“Surprise,” I said softly, touching his sweet face, and wiping his little sweaty brow.

He sleeps hot.

“Carmen!  Oh, Carmen, I missed you, I want to go pick tomatoes with you in the garden and make you a salad,” he said all warm and soft and cuddly and my god, my heart.

So much.

So much love.

He crawled into my arms and wrapped himself around me and told me how much he missed me and how much he loved me, and then he took my hand and we walked to the garden and picked tomatoes off the vine and fresh basil.

When the oldest boy got back, he proudly showed me all the places they had picked blackberries and then insisted that we go back up to the garden and pick even more tomatoes, because he too, missed me, loved me, and wanted to make me a tomato salad.

They remembered from last year.

The tomatoes were out of hand and I probably ate two or three each meal, mostly chopped up with sea salt and olive oil, black pepper, lemon balm (it’s a type of herb), oregano, and fresh basil, splash of balsamic and I am a very happy girl.

Both the boys helped me make the salad and then they both ate out of my bowl and dredged their fingers through the olive oil and vinegar and ate bites of grilled chicken off my plate and just were relentless with touching me, cuddling with me, sitting on me.

“Carmen,” the oldest boy whispered to me, “please massage my back again,” he said, then tugged on my hand, when I had stopped to take a bite of dinner.

I melted, just a little bit.

Ok.

A lot bit.

We sat chair to chair and while his brother basically licked the bowl clean, I rubbed his shoulders and told him about my graduate school adventures and the animals I saw at the institute–hawks, the deer, the does and their fawns, the jack rabbit in the grass, the ears so high and big.

I tried to get a photograph of it, it was just huge, but it loped off into the high grass before I was able to get my phone up and open to the camera.

After dinner, which began to devolve, I think the eldest has a bit of a cold he’s struggling with, I let the boys smack me with pillows.

I had a sense that though they were not necessarily mad at me, there was a need to be a little aggressive with their feelings, get out some of the consternation and energy from not getting to see each other for the two weeks I was away from them.

They had missed me and they had feelings around it and they needed to express that too, not just the snuggly love stuff, which not withstanding was divine to experience, so a pillow fight ensued.

And it was absolutely the best.

I set a timer and let them hit me with pillows for three minutes solid without defending myself or hitting them back with the couch pillows.

It was so much fun.

The giggles.

Mine and theirs.

Then, when the alarm rang, we all just collapsed in a heap on the couch and snuggled more.

I was with them far past what should have been my end of day, but I couldn’t resist catching up and re-connecting.

I’ll be here until Friday.

Drive back into SF in the evening then have the weekend in town.

I’ve got some organizing to do in regards to Burning Man, then depending on what next week looks like, I’ll be heading back to Glenn Ellen in the evening on Sunday, I think, for one more week of summer vacation travel nanny fun.

Then off to Burning Man next Friday.

Oof.

Not quite ready yet.

But not really able to do anything more tonight.

Too tired to figure it out right now.

Time for Mr. Robot, I’m into the second season now, cup of tea, apple, bed.

Night y’all.

See you on the flip.

Ticket Please

May 6, 2016

Wait.

What?

No.

NO.

Damn it man.

I got popped.

My scooter, sans the Childcare Parking Permit, finally got hit today.

At the same time the mom was bringing the boys home from school on the double tandem electric bike the family has.

Argh.

All the boys could talk about was the ticket for a good couple of hours, how I was going to jail, how I was bad, how was I going to pay for it, have I ever gotten a ticket before?

All the little boy questions in the world.

I knew it was coming, I was just hoping to get things sorted out with the SFMTA and slide under the radar until I would have the time to go down to their offices on South Van Ess and get a replacement sticker.

I was going to pay it, the ticket, that is, until I saw that I could contest it online within 21 days of receiving the citation.

I didn’t have it in me tonight to formulate the argument, suffice to say, I have the photo evidence of the parking permit and all the documentation as well as a time date stamp of the e-mail to SFMTA, I just wanted to get on finishing up my paper for Multi-Cultural class and get my reference page typed up and printed out.

Done and done.

And now, I don’t have the stuffing in me to do any more work or to formulate any more arguments.

The lady is tuckered out.

Yoga kicked my ass this morning.

Seriously kicked it to the curb.

Between an intense yoga class and still feeling a little sore and tight from the bike ride yesterday I was already down for the count before even getting to work.

And work.

Well.

It was work.

The mom always has me do weekend food prep for the family, but it increases whenever I am heading into a school weekend since they are without me for three days instead of two.

I did a lot of cooking, laundry, food prep, run to Lucca–where the guys were super flirty with me today, hello, guess I looked cute in my polka dots–and since it’s Thursday, a big outing with the boys to the Mission Farmer’s Market on Bartlett and 22nd.

I love going to the market with the boys.

It’s nanny heaven.

Fruit samples.

Cheese curd samples

Friends from the neighborhood.

Friends from school.

Art projects.

Face painting.

Live music.

It is eclectic Mission neighborhood and a sweet reprieve out of the house for me.

We had a lot of fun at the market today too, since the Golden Gate Parks Department had a mobile ranger station at the market.

Temporary tattoos, badges, stickers, sign up for Junior Ranger Camp.

The boys were over the moon and it was a happy time for them, even as they were straining at the bit to get back to the house and have dinner as soon as possible.

The little guy walked into the house this afternoon, and the one comment out of his mouth before the barrage of “you got a ticket on your scooter,” was: “Oh! Yummy, the house smells yummy, Carmen, CARMEN.”

“Yes, __________,” I said, softly ruffling his head and picking up his little back pack and sippy cup.

“Did you make chicken pot pie for dinner?  I LOVE chicken pot pie,” he asked with serious big round brown eyes, arms wrapped around my knees.

“I did!”

“Yay!”

He jumped up and down and then proceeded to give me all the details on the meter maid.

I have to say that despite my sadness over the ticket and a moments rumination on how I was going to deal with it, pay it, contest it, etc.

I was really proud of how I handled it with the boys.

“Are you unhappy,” the oldest asked me, very serious and solemn.

“Yes, of course I’m unhappy,” I told him, “but unhappy is just a feeling and it will pass and I am already in acceptance about it, I’m ok, I’m not hurt, my scooter didn’t get squashed, there was no accident, I have the money to pay for it, I’ll be alright.”

“Will you go to jail?”  He asked eyes somehow growing wider in his face.

“No, honey, I am not going to go to jail,” I replied and squeezed his shoulder softly.

He breathed a deep sigh of relief, “that’s good, because, Carmen, you’re the best, and I would miss you if you were in jail.”

“Aw, sugar pie, I would miss you too,” I crouched down to look him in the eyes, “but I promise, I’m not going to jail.”

After that.

Well.

It was over.

There was no drama, there was no further story to tell.

It’s interesting, this letting go of the story and of the dramatic.

I find I just don’t have the time for it or the energy and well, it’s not really all that interesting.

I have much more fun stories to tell.

Like.

It’s my last weekend of the year for my graduate school program!

Yes.

I get to see my cohort and friends and participate in my education and show up having written all my papers and having done all my reading.

I am ready to go.

Lunch and dinner are prepped, extra coffee in a Mason jar to take to school, lemon ginger tea, a bag of organic cherries, my books, readers, and notebooks already in a sack.

All I have to do is take the laundry out of the dryer, fold it up, put it away, make a little more tea, watch Daredevil, just a tiny bit, just to unwind a bit, and go to sleep.

I also have a slumber party Sunday night with one of my girlfriends who normally would leave town right after the last day of classes, but is going to stay here and we get to hang out and she’ll get a tiny taste of my SF life.

Plus.

Heh.

I get to have a second date Monday night with the gentleman from last weekend.

Yay.

I’m ready people.

Let’s do this thing!

Replace A Permit

April 28, 2016

But let me start the blog by saying.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems.

Good lord.

I had this odd feeling to read that little bit in my favorite book, not a book that I talk about much, well, here, but I do talk about it a lot, I read it daily, I have a sort of morning routine and it was suggested to me last time I met with my person that I read it.

“Ugh,” I said, “I just read that, I mean, literally, I just read that.”

“Read it again,” she said and continued on making the suggestions.

Of course I totally didn’t read it, I already have my morning routine, I don’t need another thing in it, don’t you know who I am?

Don’t you know how fucking busy I am?

Don’t you.

Um.

Heh.

Shut the fuck up, Martines, and take the suggestion.

And I remember to do so this morning, it was just the oddest little reminder, hey you, remember that thing that was suggested to you?

Yeah, that, read it.

It will come in handy today.

I did my regular readings and then I flipped open the book to that part and I read it again, for the who knows, 100th time, at least, and of course.

I got something from it.

“There are absolutely no mistakes in God’s world.”

Oh yeah.

Thank you.

Yes.

Exactly!

I promptly forgot that, but it came back to me as I prepared to launch out into my day.

Already feeling like I had had quite a day.

Morning routine, little kneel down, say the good words, get the acceptance on, ask for some guidance, ask to be of service, help me get to work safely and home safely on my scooter, be patient, kind, tolerant and loving, you know, the basics.

Breakfast.

Coffee.

More coffee.

God damn I love coffee.

Thank you God for coffee.

I digress.

Writing.

Face Time with Saturday’s date.

Slightly awkward, bad connection, he caught a screen shot of me with my mouth wide open in what looks like a classic horror movie still.

Or.

A really bad blow job face.

Ugh.

Erase that now, I asked.

I don’t think he erased it.

We chatted, it was a bad connection, so phone check in re all the things.

Then off to scooter to the optometrist to pick up my fancy schmancy new prescription sunglasses.

My first ever pair of prescriptions and I spent a pretty penny on them, most expensive pair of glasses I have ever bought, but the frames are gorgeous (I actually rued not getting them as a straight up pair of frames with my regular prescription, I think they may look better as just plain glasses, but oh well, I got them now) and I was absolutely astounded by how good everything looked.

Like.

Man.

I should have done this sooner.

They are fantastic.

I could see everything clear and crisp and there’s not glare on the road and whoa.

Plus, it’s nice to have sunglasses, I haven’t really worn a pair of them, outside of that thing in the desert, since I started wearing glasses again right before my 40th birthday.

Yes.

So lovely to see.

Even though.

Sometimes.

I see things I don’t want to see.

Or I see things that are missing.

LITERALLY.

Fuck me.

My child care parking permit was not on my scooter this morning.

Really?

REALLY?!

Where the fuck is it?

I’m not going to be able to park on the block at work without the permit, I’m going to get tickets, I’m going to have to ride my bike again, I’m so used to the scooter, I don’t want to.

I.

Shhh.

Acceptance.

Ah.

Big old sigh.

It’s not like I got hurt or lost something that can’t be replaced.

Even though when I told my employers, the mom acted like I wasn’t going to be able to get another until the permit expired in November.

Well.

I guess I’m getting back on the bicycle and bike commuting again.

Grrr.

I have to meet my person in the Castro tomorrow night at 18th and Diamond.

I hate that hill on a one speed.

Frogs.

Except.

Hmmm.

I bet I can still ride my scooter in.

I did today and the parking meter dude zipped right past me without bothering to stop and he did not chalk my tire.

“I bet they’re used to seeing your scooter and they know that it’s got a permit,” the mom said.

“You could park it in front of the garage if you think you’ll feel better about it there,” the dad said.

“I think it’s ok and I’ll figure out what I can do to replace it, if I can replace it, and if I can’t, I’ll be riding my bicycle back to work again,” I said, thanking them and getting on with the work that needed to be done.

Run to the market, get fixings, run to Lucca Ravioli, get tortellini and pesto for dinner, make a vat of broccoli soup, cook up some rice, make snacks for the boys, God, they were adorable today.

“I’m going to marry Carmen when I grow up,” the youngest said today.

Now that’s a first, it’s always been the six year old who has said I was his betrothed.

Then.

“No, you can’t, she’s too old for you,” his brother said.

Ouch.

I mean, yes, of course.

“Besides, I’m marrying Carmen, you can marry somebody else,” he finished.

Oh my God.

The cuteness.

He tugged on my hand later as we were walking to the park.

“Yes pie,” I asked looking at him, “what do you need?  Do you need a snack?”

“Nothing,” he replied, “I just need to kiss you.”

Oh.

Heart melting into puddle on sidewalk.

Then he kissed my hand.

Love my job.

Sometimes it just astounds me that I get to do this job, that I am entrusted with these two children, that I have gotten to have a little hand in raising them, loving them, being there for them.

And I have loved all the children I have nannied.

They have all left a little impression of themselves on my heart.

Some bigger than others.

Fingerprints smudged with childish laughter, the first I love you’s, the first smiles, the first hugs, the moments when they fall asleep on my shoulder, soft and heavy and luscious with the smell of sleep.

Luckiest girl in the world.

My little love bunnies.

My heart is full.

Deep and satiated with happy.

And it turns out the I can get a replacement permit from the SFMTA for the small fee of $18.

Although I will have to show up at their office, to do so, it has to be done in person.

Fine.

I can spend a morning doing that.

I think that’s called “adulting” or something like that.

I can accept that.

I was primed to do so this morning.

May I always be so flexible.

It really is the easier, softer way.

Something like this would have wrecked me for weeks, now, today.

Not so much.

I have other things to think about.

Dream about.

Plan for.

Papers to write.

Articles to read.

Ships to sail, tattoos to get, check books to balance, kissing to be had, dancing to be done, bills to be paid, life to be lived.

One beautiful.

Infatuating.

Glorious.

Day at a time.

 

“Pet Me”

August 6, 2015

Oh baby.

Of course.

Curl up in my arms and I will hold you and pet you.

I stroked his small, warm back.

We had us a day.

it started out with one hell of a temper tantrum.

Screaming.

Outside.

Yikes.

It escalated and then.

It stopped.

He blew himself out and then got tired and we sat down on a neighbor’s steps and I held him against my heart and when his breath had slowed I looked at him, “take another breath for me, big deep breath,” I said and demonstrated.

He breathed in.

His wet eyes, mashed eyelashes, brown pools of sweet soft little boy.

“How old are you sweet pie?”  I asked him, brushing the hair off his forehead.

“Three,” he whispered.

“Three more breathes in and out and then we’ll talk about what we can do to make this better,” I cradled him on my lap while his brother hid in the stroller with his hands over his ears.

I am sure that the older brother was not the only one with hands over ears on the block for the duration of the tantrum.

But.

Then.

Peace and the struggle was over.

It was about his stuffed cat, who, yes, I refer to it as a who, sometimes a she, sometimes a he, Meow Meow, has become a source of such comfort for the littlest guy that now, this last week especially, he has insisted on leaving the house to go to the park with the stuffie.

Unfortunately.

The once white cat is now grey.

“Look!”  The five year old said at the park yesterday, “Meow Meow is camouflaged!”

And indeed he was.

The stuffed cat blended right into the dirty sidewalk.

Ugh.

It’s not that I really care all that much if the stuffed toy gets dirty, it’s more that Meow Meow has become a weapon of destruction when the three-year old loses his ability, slight at this age, to communicate his needs.

Reminds me of myself at times, I will lash out unhesitating in my necessity to claim what ever security I can grasp in my small little world.

But the reaction has gotten pretty bad and the cat ends up being used as a device to beat his brother or worse.

He’s used it to hit other little kids at the playground.

So far no real cats have been hurt in our capers, but I am concerned.

“Meow Meow is a lover, not a fighter,” I explained to him today.

More than once.

But we’re working it out.

The summer is coming to a close, in a manner of speaking, for the boys.

School camp starts next week, which is the school’s way of integrating the new students into the system, the pre-school kids and the new kindergarten kids into the system, as well as providing a nice little segue for the parents into the school year.

It is handily timed, as I will be out-of-town next week myself.

I’ll be in school too.

Oh god.

This is happening.

I got a little freaked today and wished for a minute that I could be a little cat, curl up in someone’s lap, hide away from the world with my blanket and be pet and stroked and taken care of.

But it’s just me here doing the deal, so to the best of my ability, I’m taking care of myself with kindness and compassion and breathing through the moments as calm as possible.

Being 42 years old I wonder if I should be taking that many breaths when I get overwhelmed.

It’s not a bad idea.

I had to remind myself to just take the time to sort and look at my books today, get a little more organized, I still have loads of reading to do before I hit the retreat on Sunday.

Check in time is 4p.m.

Granted, classes don’t start until Monday morning, so I do have Sunday to do some reading as well, but I really want to have the majority of it done before I head to the retreat.

I would like to also ask the cohort how the hell I’m supposed to enjoy the retreat if I’ve got hundreds of pages of reading to do to be prepared for just the retreat and as far as I can see I also will have two papers due relatively soon thereafter the retreat–which will be written while I am working with the family in Sonoma.

Retreat my ass.

It feels like boot camp.

But that’s just my perspective.

I had to take manageable little bites with the reading.

And also to be kind to myself.

“MOTHERFUCKER!”

I shouted this evening when I got home from work, looking over the syllabus for one of the classes.

I realized I had overlooked a book on the list of readings that I had to do and it precipitated a great deal of anxiety as I looked over the stack of books and yes, did indeed confirm, that I was missing a tome.

I got online immediately and ordered it through Amazon.

Most of my books I found online and I have bought all of them used.

I would not be able to afford them all at list price and I’m willing to overlook the used quality of the books to just have them in my possession.

Fortunately I discovered that the reading out of that book was not listed for the retreat.

Whew.

And I’ll have it by the time I do have to have it.

And breathe.

I’m sure the retreat will actually be good for me.

I’ll meditate.

I’ll get outside.

The great out doors.

(G.O.D.)

Get right with the trees and hills and sky.

I’ll take walks.

And, fingers crossed, I’ll get myself into the hot tub underneath the bright stars outside the city lights and I will soak away the worry and fear.

I’ll let myself be myself and I won’t be afraid.

Or I will.

But I will remember to breathe and when I have that feeling that I just need someone to hold my hand, someone to pet me, to console me, and stroke my hair, I’ll ask for God to hold my hand through it.

And I’ll get by just fine.

I always do.

Snuggle Britches

July 16, 2015

“I need a snuggle,” I told my friend tonight.

“Are you coming over?”

That’s right.

I have a friend with benefits.

Cuddles that is.

I used to have “friends with benefits” and they were not of the snuggling sort.

I cannot tell you how good it is for me to be having this kind of intimacy.

The simple, sweet, intense, personal connection with a friend who holds your hand and listens to your stories.

Someone who likes listening to your stories.

Everyone has a story to tell.

But.

Sometimes I am just not interested in hearing it or vice versa.

The gift of having someone who is actually interested in what you are saying and wants to listen and you can talk to and happens to live in the neighborhood.

Well.

That is a gift.

A huge gift.

And it’s a new way of interacting for me.

The one who is always ready to jump into a romantic, fantasy, or otherwise, relationship with someone, its new behaivor,  a new way of acting and reacting, a new way of being.

I’m into it.

I am almost obscenely grateful for it.

Especially after the way I stuck my foot in my mouth with my friend last Friday.

We were able to amend the relationship and move forward and we’re still friends, if anything, it seems to have deepened and the relationship moves apace.

I may have even convinced him to go to Burning Man.

In fact, I hit up the list of campers that I am going with and asked if anyone had a spare ticket.

I have never, ever, ever asked for someone before.

And I have had a lot of folks ask me over the years.

Sometimes folks I don’t even know.

Last year I was getting hit up on my Instagram feed for tickets.

I was at the event a week and a half before it started and was posting photographs and complete random strangers were messaging me asking for tickets.

Please.

It was annoying.

And now I am that person.

But.

This person means a lot to me and there’s just something to showing a person who has never been what the event is all about.

Because it’s not about the party for either one of us.

It’s about the art, the experience, the people, the community.

It’s about love.

And I want my friend to see that.

Plus, as much as I don’t always care to admit it.

Burning Man, is for me, an indelible part of my being and person.

I really found a voice for myself and my authenticity within the community that I have only found in one other place and the two fellowships have become rather inseparable for me.

I am who I am because of Burning Man.

And I wouldn’t have been able to go to Burning Man without first being a part of my fellowship.

It all goes round and the two intertwine and overlap and I am grateful for the permeable membrane of love which allows the overlap.

I have my people in both camps and I want my person in this experience too.

So.

Yeah.

You got a spare ticket.

You hit me up.

I got a friend.

I got a lot of busy too.

I have not had the space at work to do some of my regular phone calls and check ins, because well, grandparent visit.

Which on one hand is great.

Who doesn’t want their lunch paid for, and their dinner for that matter?

I have eaten out frequently this week with the grandparents and that is fun.

On the other, at times, I feel alternately too superfluous, there’s so many adults to so many little people, and also busier than usual as I help prep and clean up and do household maintenance along with my nanny duties.

They’ve been here since last Thursday, tomorrow they leave and I will go back to my “normal” amount of work, which is still quite a lot.

The day does just fly by.

But any romanticized idea about being able to do work and school work, like I have had quite a few people suggest–oh you’ll just read while they nap.

No.

I won’t.

I take a break and they aren’t napping.

They have quiet time, but there’s no real quiet time for me.

Yes.

I have a chance to sit down and eat.

But.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen!” The youngest hollered down at me.

“I have to potty!”

He’s three.

Run up the stairs, hustle him into the bathroom, re-settle him, dash back downstairs, get a little more of my cup of tea in me, check an e-mail, think, but not actually do anything about what I am thinking because.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen!”

Jesus kid.

Ugh.

Run up the stairs, retrieve a pillow, re-settle him, dash around, find the stuffed husky dog, retrieve it, give back to older brother, go back downstairs, clean up the kitchen, organize snacks for afternoon adventure, with grandparents, to The Randall Museum’s little outpost in the Mission.

Side bar.

The Park and Recreations Department in the Mission on Treat Street between 20th and 21st is a jewel!

I had no clue it was there and not only is the building housing the Randall Museum’s Live Animal Exhibit until the renovations on the Cornona Heights facility are finished, it also has a large out-door play area/playground with a beautiful open air roof and trellised vines and flowers.

It is stunning.

Well loved, I think is the nice way to say it, and slightly run down, but stunning.

And a delight to find another resource for the boys in the Mission, that’s a little off the beaten track, quiet, and yes, has clean and very accessible bathrooms.

End sidebar.

I sit back down.

I watch the monitor.

The oldest boy is simultaneously practicing head stands on his bed and pulling down every single book on his shelves while the youngest has navigated all the laundry out of his hamper and placed it in a few choice spots that I will have to retrieve later, as well as pulling out the giant excavator from his closet, moving all the blankets from his bed to the top bunk on the bunk bed, to finally, yes, I kid you not, putting his pillow in front of the closed-door and taking his favorite stuffed cat, Meow Meow, and his blanket and falling asleep blocking the door to his room.

God.

I love these boys.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen!”

Yes.

“I need a snuggle.”

Me too, darling.

Now excuse me while I go take care of that.

Full House

June 24, 2015

At least it’s a gigantic house.

But there’s a lot of us here and today I had a moment of needing to be completely alone.

That is not going to happen, but I did take time to reach out to a few people and check in and do the things that I need to do to keep myself centered and sane.

I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked either, one of the boys had night terrors last night and I woke up to a little boy screaming.

Not the best sound to wake up to.

I wasn’t needed to assuage the dreams, but I found it took a moment to drop back off to sleep and the full impact of so many folks in a space, when I am used to my own space has made me desire the silence that I surround myself with in my home.

I am quiet in the morning.

I get up and do my deal and for the first two hours sometimes, two and a half hours of the day, I don’t interact with anyone (granted 45 minutes of that time is devoted to my morning bicycle commute of 6.5 miles through the city).

I read.

I write.

I eat a mindful breakfast.

I check some e-mails and my bank account and make a mental list of any bills that may need to get sorted and the general effluvia of the day that needs addressing.

There is not that same quiet here.

There are four parents, four boys- 2 and 3/4s, a three-year old, and 2 five-year olds, one baby–a five month old baby girl that I just want to squeeze and squish and kiss every time I see her and I cannot help myself, I flirt with her like nobody’s business.

I’m partial to dark-eyed babies with curly brown hair.

Hell.

I am partial to all babies, whatever flavor or color, they all are delicious.

There is also another nanny, a dog, a caretaker that comes by the house every evening without fail right before the boys are being corralled to the dinner table who throws the whole house into complete ruckus as he checks the swimming pool and the garden and waters the plants and does any minor maintenance that needs doing.

That’s a lot of people, personalities, and activity happening around me.

I feel that I have done a pretty damn good job with my self-care, the family has certainly helped with that–accommodating my “strange” food diet, no sugar no flour, and being mindful of keeping the boys out of my room and space.

I have stayed with my current routine, the one that I would do if I was at home, so I get up two and a half hours before my shift starts, which has shifted a bit later here than it is in the city, also keeping me working later in the day than I am used to, but as I said to the mom tonight when I realized I was getting testy, in my brain, not with the family or the boys or the situation (a gentle reminder that I am out of my milieu and my comfort zone and a deep breath) where can I best be of service?

And when I was told, clean up the kitchen.

Ok.

I did it.

I felt a bit like the help.

Then I realized.

Hello.

You are the help.

Then I remembered, I feel best when I am of service.

So I happily scrubbed the kitchen while the boys and baby all went out to the wide swath of green grass behind the house and ran around the verdant paddock, not even realizing until I was half way through, oh, this is nice.

It was quiet.

The noise is not unpleasant, it’s just a balancing act, knowing when I need to engage, when I need to pull back, when I can help the other nanny, when I can help the other family or my family.

I also know that I am not a live in nanny.

I never have been.

I don’t know that I ever could be.

I like the autonomy of my own space.

I love the going home at the end of my day.

And that’s not the case here.

I have not left here since I arrived on Sunday evening and that in and off itself is surreal for me.

Despite the house being large and rambling and the grounds wide, the house is on 13 acres, I haven’t gotten out a whole lot to do exploring.

Mostly I am getting my exercise running up and down the back stairs and hunting down the various swim suits and rash guards for the boys.

I am getting into the pool everyday and that is enjoyable.

I mean, really, how bad is it when I am getting paid to swim in the pool with my charges on a sunny afternoon in Sonoma.

The constant presence of the parents is something I am used to from working in the city, just not the presence of two other parents and another nanny.

I remind myself to take care of myself.

To stay connected with my people.

One of whom is actually going to meet me in Sonoma tomorrow evening.

I cleared it with the parents to go out tomorrow and do that thing I need to do.

The timing has not been great for getting me out to do the deal and I am beginning to feel that, but tomorrow, I get out and I get to meet one of my ladybugs who is going to drive into Sonoma to meet with me.

Thank you Jeebus.

I need it.

I actually called and left her a message telling her I needed her to call and check in with me, because my solutions are sub optimal, but when I hear someone else’s problems, I suddenly have none.

Like really?

I have any problems.

Please.

I found out twenty-four hours ago that I was awarded a second scholarship for $30,000.

Which brings me to my total awards package of $80,000.

Again, who has problems?

I called my mom and she suggested that since things were going so well my way that I should be looking at getting my PhD.

Mom.

Can I please enjoy the moment?

Just let me.

Ugh.

I know better.

And that’s when I knew I was just a little spiritually off kilter, don’t go to the dry well expecting a drink of water.

My mom means well, but I know better.

I wanted something from her, I wanted acknowledgement, love, accolades.

I don’t need to look for validation from outside sources and when I realized I was doing just that I started making the necessary conversations happen to get me out of the full house and off into the world for a sit down in a church basement on a crappy folding chair.

It’s a lot more comfortable place for me to sit then in my head.

The house may be full and I may get overwhelmed at times, but this is a temporary situation and I know I am doing a really good job for the family.

I am grateful for that.

I’ll be grateful for Friday too.

But until then.

I will continue to ask, “where can I best be of service?”

Because when I do that.

I know that I am exactly in the right place.

Full or empty house.

Welcome Back To “Normal”

June 17, 2015

Although there never really is a normal day in my life.

I am just not going on a date, being scammed for all the money in my bank account, or finding out that I won a full ride to graduate school.

It was a big day at work, I had to have the boys out most of the day as the house was being fitted with new heating and air duct work, so crazy amounts of working guys in and out and I had to be off premise from 10 a.m. till almost five p.m.

But.

The mom and dad are so flexible with me and the boys schedule and they have extra space outside their main residence that was used.

It ended up being a restaurant adventure sort of day for me and the boys and one that I marveled at on more than one occasion today.

I got to eat at Tacolicios for lunch, which despite its lame name, I’m sorry, it’s lame, is really quite good.

I had the Marina girl salad with grilled shrimp and sat on the patio with an iced tea while my boys ate the house made refried beans with cojita cheese and had fish tacos on hand-made tortillas and ate corn chips and rice like they were going out of style.

Then this evening, a further celebration with the family for my graduate school acceptance and the scholarship award–dinner out with them at Kiji on 23rd and Guerrero.

Oh my god.

It was so good.

I texted a friend tonight and was like, go, go, go.

I had Hamachi Kama–grilled yellow tail tuna collar-bone–extraordinary; grilled asparagus, Umi Maso, also a first for me, which is ocean trout, sashimi; Unagi–barbecued fresh water eel; Toro–blue fin belly; sautéed Japanese mushrooms; a bowl of the best Miso soup I think I have ever had; and two perfect Miyagi oysters, some of the best I have ever had, super fresh and the presentation was beautiful.

Divine.

I will be going back.

Sans the little guys.

In fact, I thought, definite date night restaurant for upcoming date.

I have many upcoming dates on my mind.

But not obsessively so and I have to say, that is so refreshing.

Just taking it nice and slow.

I’m finding the more I know about myself, the more that taking it slow feels right, good, the thing to do.

Healthy.

I am liking that.

Taking it day by day is how it’s supposed to be anyway and I realize that normal, whatever normal looks like for me, is just staying as much as possible in the moment and keeping the focus on myself and my care; on what I have to accomplish in my day and how to be the best woman I can at any given time during that day.

I’m not perfect and I don’t expect to become so, but I am feeling a whole lot more relaxed about things.

I suppose not having to be concerned with coming up with tuition money for my first two years of graduate school has something to do with that.

And my healthier approach to Burning Man.

I just got off the phone with my best friend from Wisconsin, who echoed how nice it was to hear me doing well and what a big change it was going to be for me to go to Burning Man and not work every day that I am on playa.

It’s coming up pretty fast.

However.

My next focus will be on getting to Sonoma next week and what that will look like work wise.

I’ll be heading up to Glen Ellen to work with the family and stay with them at their place, I believe it’s called Stone Tree?

It’s not their house, they rent it, but it appears to be palatial and has a pool and a lot of space and I’ll have my own room and bathroom.

Which is good.

It’s one thing to nanny at Burning Man, I mean, yes it’s Burning Man, so there’s that; but it’s quite the other to actually be a live in nanny at a house with a family.

For a week.

I’m going to miss my sweet little home by the sea.

Although, it will be sunny and there is the aforementioned pool and I will have down time.

I’m not even anxious about it, really, rather just looking forward to a new adventure with the family.

I really do consider myself so lucky to be with them.

The fit is perfect for my graduate school schedule and goals and they just take care of me and I love the boys.

God.

I love these kids.

I mean.

I know.

I say that about all the children I take care of and I love them all.

I marvel at how they are all so different, but when it comes down to certain things, there is nothing like sitting down somewhere–a stoop, the bench at a playground, on the floor, a bunk bed, or rocking chair–and snuggling and reading stories or just talking.

Yesterday the oldest boy and I sat for a good forty-five minutes on the front stoop bird watching and talking about how much we like spending time together.

“We’re going to have slumber parties in Sonoma!” He said.

And so we are.

Blackberry picking.

And blackberry pie making, the oldest one is adamant about making a black berry pie.

I’m even tempted to break out the old pie crust recipe, although I’m sure freezer ones will do, and weave a crust.

There will be swimming in the pool, hikes along the creek, visits to the llama farm down the road.

I’m excited.

And I get paid.

So there’s that.

I’m excited about all sorts of things.

Some of which I am not going to write about, but you know, read between the lines yo and know that I am happy.

Life is good.

It is generally.

But.

Really.

Life is good.

School’s Out For Summer!

June 9, 2015

Today was my first day, of the rest of my life, for the next three months, of having both the boys full-time.

I guess this is the Universe keeping me busy with regards to not having anytime to worry about school, financial aid, whether I will have enough, what’s going to happen next, why haven’t I heard back yet from financial aid, how come the IRS hasn’t gotten my federal refund back to me (I’m getting audited! No I’m not! Yes I am!) Ugh.

And so on.

I suppose that’s great too, I’m not obsessing about ex boyfriend, dating, or anything else either.

Note to Match.com.

The profile name of “BoozeyMike” is not a match for me, the non-boozy don’t drink anymore kind of gal, I don’t care if we have things in common (works out three to four times a week my ass, maybe lifting a pint to and from his mouth), I’m not interested.

So in a fit of pique I also re-opened the OkStupid profile.

Under a different name with updated photos, since the hair is now pink.

I decided I’d rather have options than not have options and I’m giving it the summer.

Hear that guys, especially guy who asked me out via Facebook, followed up the next day, but then never got back to me to close the deal–which I suspected after a quick Facebook snoop on said guys page–probably not my guy anyhow.

Not anyone who is checking into to Molotov’s and smokes cigarettes.

Pass.

But yeah.

Work is going to be busy.

All the way through the summer.

I’m ok with it though, having defined a time that works best for the family and myself so that I get a break that is restful and the boys have quiet time, though napping now appears out, the youngest is transitioning out of napping.

But I get an hour when the boys are on their own, in their rooms, either playing quietly or reading.

And the rest of the time, well, they are being boys, busy, loud, honking, whirring, siren imitating boys.

Also sweet, huggable, kissable, ran to meet me at the door and threw themselves at me this morning, boys.

The youngest one grabbed my hand and pulled me into the house, “do you like the Beegees?” He hollered at me.

FYI, a three-year old boy asking you if you like the Beegees may be one of the cutest things ever.

We danced around the dining room to Staying Alive, which then segued into a Paul Simon song, and after that, the Muppets, “The Rainbow Connection.”

Having a three-year old dancing on your toes first thing Monday morning may be the happiest way to start my week.

Closely followed by walking with the five-year old to BiRite and buying super yummy fruit for the house and holding his hand and talking about art and airplanes and rescue helicopters and firetrucks.

Work is good.

I am good.

Life is good.

I’m going to be ok with the two boys, in fact, I believe I will be more then ok.  Having two of them all the time can be a handful and it’s a lot of juggling, but they also entertain each other and play well together and the time passes really quickly.

My day flew by.

I barely had time to make a few check in phone calls and organize my schedule for the week.

I also had a slight change-up in my schedule, where I will be going in a half hour early to help out more in the morning and getting done a half hour earlier in the evening.

I will be at work 9a.m. to 6p.m on Mondays, my one long day, and then 10a.m. to 6p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Not bad.

I will have a little more time, that half hour really can make quite the difference in my week, to run errands after work and before I do the deal, to sneak in a little grocery shopping so I don’t have to do it all on the weekends.

So that I can go out on dates and have fun.

I really want to emphasize that for myself, I’m having fun this summer, I’m going to dance and be silly with the boys and wear my hair full of flowers (four today) and put on sparkly makeup and go out on the weekends.

Even if I don’t have a date, I’m going to make plans to see friends and do things at least once a weekend.

I can have down days, like yesterday where I didn’t go much (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, doing the deal with two ladies back to back, cooking, yeah I didn’t do much) and took a nap during the latter part of the afternoon (no hell did not freeze over, but I thought it might) and read a book.

But Saturday’s I’m going to give it my best to be done with the chores and the deal and let myself do something fun.

A date with a guy.

An outing with a friend.

A trip to the Scooter Centre to get a new ride.

I thought about that a bit too this evening, as I rode home out towards the sunset, the smell of the sea washing over my face and the kiss of the sun leaving this part of the hemisphere, what it would be like to save a little time in my commute with a scooter and maybe for exercise I check out the new yoga studio down the street.

I don’t know if I’m going to buy a new scooter outright when I go to the Scooter Centre on Saturday, but I realized, I really am in the market.

I really do want to do it better this time.

I”m ready to have some real fun with a reliable ride.

Get out to more points and places and see more stuff.

And yes.

Have more fun.

That’s what you do when school’s out for summer.

You have more fun.

Bring it on!

So Much To Say

May 9, 2015

So little time to say it.

“You have so much happening,” my mom said to me this afternoon during our brief phone conversation.

I just don’t know what you are talking about mom.

I laughed.

I’m going to be busy until the day I die.

Busy all the time.

My ex, who recently contacted me, said, “congratulations!!!!” in regards to my getting into graduate school; we had few things to catch up on, how things can change, so fast, in a blink of an eye, they change, and then added, “how much less free time is that going to give you?”

I don’t know.

I don’t want to think about it.

I am still missing the rare pork chop that I was just offered as way of incentive to hang out with a dear friend who has come back into my life at NOPA.

Did I really just turn down food at NOPA?

Ugh.

Yes.

I already had dinner and I also needed to get my ass back to the house, said ass having left my house over fourteen hours ago, fifteen? To work, do the deal, cover a commitment, then go share some experience, strength, hope, and crazy up in a room at USF at 10 p.m.

It’s near midnight and here I sit, doing the writing, which is also part of my deal.

“I don’t know what its going to look like when I do graduate school,” I told my employers yesterday, who are hoping, as am I, to continue having me work for them while I go to school.  “I have some ideation, but having never been to graduate school, I just don’t know what it’s going to look like.”

Like I want to work as much as possible.

Like I have no clue how to pay for tuition.

Like I haven’t gotten my financial aid awards package so I don’t know how much money I’m going to need.

Like please give me as many hours as possible.

“Look at how much you worked at the Angelic when you were doing your undergraduate,” my mom said to me on the phone, as she too asked me what I was going to be doing work wise.

“And,” she added, “you weren’t even sober, and you did really well.”

Not to put too fine a point on it.

Thanks for the reminder mom.

She’s correct, though, I was not sober.

I was micro-managing the fuck out of my drinking, afraid to end up getting drunk, because when I did, man, all the wheels fell off.

I control drank my way through my undergrad degree and I did do really quite well.

I am not a unitelligent person.

“You are so smart,” he said to me with a hug, “you are going to do amazing!”

I hope so.

I also get caught up in the minutia, the small shit, the weird, how does this work deal, and though I have somewhat of an understanding of my intelligence, I also don’t, it’s ephemeral to me, I don’t have perspective on it and I often times think that I am not smart enough because I haven’t figured out how to date, or be in a sustaining relationship, or why hasn’t anyone asked me out since my ex broke up with me, or what I’m going to do when I grow up.

Well.

I think I may be a therapist.

We shall see.

“I’m concerned about what I will have to let go of,” I told the dad at work, “it may be my writing practice, I’m not sure,” and as I said that I thought, no, not this, I can’t give up this.

But perhaps I will, can I sustain 30 hours of work (the program is such that you “supposedly” can work full-time, but every single person I have spoken to about it suggest 20-25 or none at all, so I’m already swinging big by thinking 30 hours), going to graduate school, doing the deal, and writing 2,000-3,000 words every day.

And I wonder why I’m single.

Bitch take a break and sit still long enough to get asked out.

AHem.

And then start talking nicer to  yourself.

I do love myself and I do respect myself and I know myself.

That I can run and push and fight harder to fill up the hours, to always be busy, doing, shaking, moving, hustling.

“I missed months of the story, and just know that you did not put it all in the blog, you just disappeared,” my friend said tonight,  after offering me a pork chop.

I’m not fixated.

(maybe a tiny bit)

I just like a pork chop.

He’s right, he knows where to read in between the lines and there are stories to tell that I don’t write here, things that don’t land on the blog plate.

Posts that I could write, that I think about writing, that I don’t.

But, so much is here.

And I love my little forum.

I had someone ask for my blog site tonight and I rattled it off.

“Oh, I’ve heard of that,” he said.

No.

No you have not.

But thanks for saying that, it was sweet.

I have so much to say and the stories, the experiences, they just keep coming.

I don’t actually believe I will stop blogging or writing when I go to graduate school.

Y’all might get tired of me writing about it.

But there it is.

The writing is not going to be the spot that I cut back.

At least, that’s what I can see from here.

Not much else.

And maybe a night shift or two with the family, mom and dad can go out and I can study and do my homework after the boys are in bed.

Jesus.

I sound like I’m in school.

Which is what I’m about to be, but I feel suddenly young and foolish and am I ready for this?

Will have start having the naked in school dreams soon too?

I will state now, that I would like to take a pass on that.

It’s taken me awhile to get to where I’ve gotten, but that’s ok.

And it’s going to take a while to get to where ever graduate school is going to lead me.

“You’re so young!” My mom exclaimed, “you’ve only just begun.”

That’s nice to hear at the age of 42.

I don’t feel 42.

I suspect that will serve me well in school.

I do feel, though.

Grateful.

Lots and lots and lots of that.

That I have more.

That there are more stories to be told.

That I will be around awhile yet to tell them.

Maybe even a few in between the lines.

Although I may reserve those for conversations over tea.

Or.

Pork chops.

Hello Monday

April 14, 2015

Let’s be friends.

I wrote that this morning as I was sitting and thinking about what my day would look like, how it would go, where I would go, what I would do, and then further, how I was going to be.

Happy.

That was my choice.

Happy is a choice.

Sometimes happy happens all on its own and that is lovely and surprising and I am always grateful for it.

Then there are other times, Monday’s, when I have to put myself in that mode and get happy.

I put my hair in pony tails.

I wore some electric blue and some purple.

I stuck a couple of big purple and teal flowers in my hair.

And I did my make up to match–shimmery purple glitter on the whole lid complimented with some teal eyeliner set off by a black winged cats eye and two layers of black water proof mascara.

Waterproofing.

I should have known.

I think I was subconsciously telling myself, but i didn’t hear it.

I was busy getting happy and doing my writing in my pink glitter notebook and thinking I should make a run on Flax and pick up a notebook and that I needed some new stickers, I’m almost out and what could I do to guarantee I would continue bright and upbeat and not let Monday have its way with me.

“Swimming, swimming, we’re going swimming,” the mom was singing to the boys when I walked in this morning.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I whispered under my breath.

Of course.

It was a family swim day.

Spring Break you’re going to kill me.

But, I put myself in the happy place, breathe and pray, and got into it.

“Carmen? Carmen! Carmen!”  The oldest came hustling down the stairs and ran into the kitchen where I was putting together stacks of snacks for the trip to the pool and back.

Swimming makes for hungry little boys.

“You’re here!” He hugged me, “it’s so good to see you, I missed you!”

I missed you too, my sweet guy.

I picked him up and gave him a big squeeze.

“Sometimes you hug so hard I think it’s going to hurt,” he told me, “but it never does.”

I felt a small hand reach inside my heart and squeeze it.

These kids get me.

I have thought before when transitioning to a new family from another that I wouldn’t love the kids as much or there would be differences and I wouldn’t be accepted or, whatever it was, that there wasn’t enough love in me to go out to another child.

And yet.

There always is.

There are times when I have a moment with the little guy and he’s my favorite and the best and wouldn’t trade him in for millions.

Then the oldest does something like hug me and kiss my face and ask me to sit by him and write out “a very secret story that only you and I share,” and he snuggles into me while dictating the words to the secret story, so secret that I can’t even look, and then, yes, he is my favorite.

The best.

The most awesome.

Then I see my little Junebug and Charlie Reno squished up on the top bunk of Charlie’s bed–my screen saver on my phone, Junie’s eyes wide, saucer like, glowing like love lamps and my heart squishes and she is it, oh goodness, so much it breaks me in half and then in half and in half again, times infinity and beyond.

“My favorite number is 20 hundred plus infinity,” the older one informed me out of the blue.

Yeah.

Like that.

Love it doesn’t wear out or go away or get smaller, it just grows, and like a flower forever blooming it only grows sweeter and better even when the person is not close to me or gone another way.

I have this note that a dear friend, who is currently not talking to me, but that’s another story, wrote me this past year about how much I inspire him and that I will never understand how much and that I have loved him more than he deserves and that for that he will always love me more than I will know.

And another note, on two yellow stickies about me on my playa bike and how she thinks of me with love, and it accompanied a necklace sent from my best friend in Wisconsin.

Then there’s the photograph of me and my darling girl friend, who takes a lot of random ass, I’m freaking out, need to talk me down from the ledge moments, of her and I doing the tourist photograph from Alcatraz.

I have postcards and note cards and “love letters” all over my fridge.

I have the most amazing print from a friend who signs it “Love you Carmen.”

And I know she does.

And I love her.

Love.

It’s so nice.

And it’s a good thing to remember when the two and 3/4 year old boy, half-naked, then completely naked, launches into the longest temper tantrum I have ever experienced.

Second only in severity to the one he threw in the bathroom at Mission Playground.

This one happened at La Petite Bailene, in the locker room, that space that is the echo chamber to end all echo chambers, a locker room.

The screams.

It was horror.

He lost it.

Lost it.

Lost it.

The tantrum was prefaced by him not wanting to get out of the pool, which is so amazing, a few weeks ago he was adamantly against the pool and I remember telling the mom that it would change, patience and practice and gentle repetition and before you know it, he will love the pool.

He loves it so much that when the family swim was over, and my eye makeup had been dashed and sprayed and doused in water and he was swimming with nanny the raccoon, he wouldn’t get out.

And he didn’t have a choice.

Open swim was over.

Try telling that to a stubborn child who has his heart set on swimming and all the wonder of it.

Poor baby.

The mom and I managed, the older brother managed, the snickering of the German mom changing her small children out of their co-ordinated racer back swimsuits in the corner, I could have done without, but you know, what ever, tantrums happen and one day you’ll get yours lady.

The mom got him out of his swim suit and wet trunks, but getting him into clothes was impossible.

Executive decision time, out to the car naked, but he pulled the one trick out of the bag to get back into the swimming pool facility.

He stopped wailing and in the calmest voice ever, said, “I have to pee.”

Oh good gravy.

Kid.

You are killing me.

I looked at the mom, “I’ll do it, give me his clothes,” I ran him back inside, got him in a stall, he tried to escape, I knew he wanted back to the pool and the tantrum exploded again.

Mad little naked monkey.

I did eventually get him changed and dressed and out the door and into the car seat and back home and he napped and then the world became a much quieter place, but for a moment, I had the Monday blues.

Oh yes I did.

Then the day ended and he sat in my lap and snuggled and said, “please, oh please, eat your food,” he likes my beans and rice dishes.

He curled up with his stuffed cat in my chair and ate beans and rice and I fed his brother and we did bath time and it was all good.

Love.

It doesn’t go away when things get hard or screaming happens, all the emotions, all the big feels, they are just a part of the journey.

And even though Monday was not quite as happy as I had planned it to be.

It was still full and wonderful even when it was tough and heartrending.

That might be the best definition for love I have.

And I can always use a little more.

Or a lot more.

Like.

20 hundred plus infinity.


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