Tuesday, June 30, 2009


A heavy air of sentiment breezes through the Wright Place tonight as Cole's baseball season draws to a bittersweet close. The season lasted far longer than anyone expected for a team entering the second round of playoffs with a record of 8 wins and 8 losses. Ten boys who seemed to have come together at just the right moment in the season, were the underdogs in every match up on their playoff path. As the playoffs began, the boys matched bats with two teams with perfect records, beating one group and dropping into the "loser's bracket" at the hand of the other. That the loser's bracket was a challenge is no surprise. That our 8 and 8 team continued to be victorious was a thing to behold. Victory evaded our little guys tonight, however. . .

Another thing to behold was most likely the bleachers filled with the parents of the ten. Every game except one was a nail-biter. Every game except one caused many a nervous mom or dad to pace behind the bleachers as the stress multiplied with each pitch and each swing. Many of us on cell phones, giving play-by-play commentary to loved ones absent. Most of us yelling warning or encouragement to the whole team, or at least "our boy". All of us wanting it to end with our team taking the tournament. Victory evaded us tonight as well. . .

It was a good season. It was a great season. It was a memorable season. Our guy's first big hit. His game ball winning catch in the outfield. Another big catch to save some runs by the other team, causing him to be target of a pile up of congratulations by his team mates. His mom trying to remember to get his uniform clean and dry before he needed to be in it on game day. Calling grandparents to report on big wins and little victories. His dad taking him to the field to attempt to remedy a batting slump --successfully. The girls enduring game after game after game. Cole sliding safely into third base and covering the spectators with dirt and in the next game getting controversially called out on that same base. Watching 10 little boys grow together as a team and grow individually in to 10 wiser boys as this season's lessons were learned on and off the field. Victory is surely ours!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

American Adventures

Today the Wright family scattered into opposite directions. Divided along lines of gender, we set off for our separate destinations-- the girls and I to a nearby Barnes and Noble for an American Girl event, and "the boys" to Cole's little league baseball playoff game.

Upon our arrival at the big bookstore, we unloaded the van, loaded the stroller's seat with a wriggling 10 month old, loaded the stroller's cup holder with a lovely Caramel Macchiato, loaded the stroller's tray with baby snacks, and loaded the stroller's basket with an overflowing diaper bag, an American Girl doll, and a sassy new purse. It is appropriate to pause here and give thanks to the makers of the how'd-anybody-ever-raise-a-child-without-it travel system (a.k.a. baby stroller). I'm not certain how much this marvel of infant engineering weighed, but suffice it to say that if called upon to do so, we would have been unable to make any sudden stops.

After piloting our craft into the children's area of the store, Meg and Kate took their seats among twenty or so young ladies, most of whom were carrying their own American Girl dolls. I didn't see any other doll who had arrived in the grand manner that Meg's doll did--riding in the stroller basket, hair blowing in the breeze. We had a blast matching each doll with her name and admiring her outfit.

We also enjoyed meeting the latest addition to the American Girl family, the Rebecca Reubin doll, as well as hearing a reading from the new book about her. Actually, Kate and Meg heard the reading about the new doll and her American adventures. I, on the other hand was having my own adventure keeping Molly (our newest American Girl addition) quiet and happy-- tricky business as lunch time approached. Just as I was fresh out of baby kibble, I heard the young college-age reader of the story say, "That is the end of chapter one, do you want me to read chapter two also?"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed quietly to myself in my head.

"YESSSSSSSS!!" screamed the twenty or so young barbarians out loud to the way too-eager-reader of the story.

On they dove into chapter two. On went the battle between me and my youngest. I took her from the stroller and set her beside me on the floor behind the girls. I turned my head to look for my gourmet coffee drink, only to find it on its side, seeping quietly into the carpet. Grabbing it up while there was still reward left to be enjoyed, I looked the other way only to find that in that brief moment Molly had made her way onto the platform and was headed toward the lovely young too-eager-reader of the story. I was very tempted to let Molly take her course, but remembered at the last minute that I was supposed to be among the responsible folks in the group and so, rescued the reader of the story just in the nick of time.

After completing a craft, eating a cookie, and purchasing a book, we trailed back to the van and loaded a cranky baby into her car seat, loaded two happy young ladies into their seats, loaded two American Girl posters, two American Girl crafts, one American Girl doll, one new American Girl book, and one overloaded diaper bag into any remaining spaces in the van, loaded one sassy new purse into the passenger seat, and loaded one bedraggled superhero into the driver's seat (I did rescue the reader of the TWO chapters of the American girl story!).

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Swimming, swimming

in the swimming pool.

When days are hot,

When days are cold,

In the swimming pool.

Breast stroke,

Side stroke,

Fancy diving too...

Oh wouldn't it be nice if
there was nothin' else to do!

(dedicated to Aunt Becky)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


At the Wright Place these days, it seems each one of us is trying out new wheels.

On Monday evening Cole's baseball team advanced to the second round of playoffs. It took four games, three of which came down to the very last inning, to reach the next tournament level. In two years of baseball, this is as far as either of his teams have come. So next weekend, our first born will be driving some new wheels onto the ball field.

Meg's new wheels come in the form of her rapidly increasing knowledge of email. It thrills her to get mail and then respond instantly. Daily she pleads to "check my email" and surprises me with each new trick she's learned.

This morning, during swimming lessons, Kate put her head under the water, and sealed her place in the "big kids class". These new wheels, or flippers as the case may be, mean that Mommy is not required to enter into the pool with Kate for her lessons like we did last year (when I was 8 months pregnant and the water was freezing--I hope to get over it someday!) A pretzel from the mall was the desired reward for her accomplishment and I paid up post haste!

Molly's new wheels are her little fat feet. She's taking them on test runs one baby step at a time. She has yet to put two steps together unless of course, she is behind a toy shopping cart which she maneuvers with great speed and skill around the house.

As for Darrin and I, our new wheels are just that. We had to have new tires put on the family van today! We purchased the van one day before Molly was born and drove her home from the hospital in it. How fitting that she's finding her new wheels at the same time as our van!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'm not sure what "I've had it!!" sounds like in baby speak, but now I know what it looks like. Molly has had an eventful day. She awakened to the usual getting-ready-for-church jig that happens here on Sunday mornings. I spilled the entire bowl of cottage cheese and peaches all over her at breakfast time and managed to include Kate and Cole in the cheesing. Darrin cleaned it up. Molly was so exhausted from the fit she threw waiting for more food, that upon completion of her meal, she was ready for an early nap before church.

During Sunday School she was involved in some sort of altercation with one of her "classmates"--this seemed to upset her a bit, of course, but she endured. She was in mid-diaper change when I arrived to collect her from the nursery and was suffering from a nasty diaper rash. Diapered, Desitined and clothes changed, she was deposited into her car seat and whisked off to her brother's 2 baseball game in as many days.

Mercifully, she fell asleep en route to the game and slept through the first inning in the baking hot sun. It was in this same hot sun that she dined on warm, pureed green beans for lunch. After a dessert of "mixed greens and clover", a ball field delicacy, she attempted to cool her many rolls of skin under an umbrella. Relief came at the end of a victorious game when we loaded her in the the air conditioning of the van and headed home, where she was made to linger outside while her brother took in some batting practice. What a gal! What a day! What does she get in return for such tenacity?

After being allowed to sleep for about thirty minutes when batting practice was over, Molly was rewarded with another trip in the van. What luxury awaited her? That would be the second game of a double header--back to the ball field she went. More sun. More sweat. More mixed greens and clover. The second game of the day lasted two complete hours, neither of which would witness a sleeping baby.

Game over, we headed for good ole McDonald's and then Cold Stone Creamery. Molly enjoyed her french fries and her sweet cream and berries so much that I thought perhaps she might forgive us for dragging her through such a day.

One should never make such assumptions. We made it home with our 4 sweaty, grimy, sticky, exhausted children and began to announce the bathing order. Molly was awarded first bath! I undressed her and moved quickly to the tub, only to find that one of the other, dirtier, more deserving children had jumped line. The line jumper's feet, or rather the color of the water rolling off of the line jumper's feet was such that I decided that Molly would bathe in the kitchen sink instead of the tub tonight.

Bath equipment and naked baby in hand, I headed for the kitchen, turned on the water and paused to grab the baking soda from the cabinet to add to the bath in honor of the diaper rash. This last step would prove to be.....hmmm lets say, problematic. It was at this point that the sweet rolly polly child in my arms began to pay me back for her day. At the same moment that I felt a warm squishy-ness between my toes, I also felt the same warmth in the hand that was "standing in" for the diaper. I squawked for help while holding my filled hand at the ready, my soiled foot in the air, and my vengeful baby between my elbows looking all the world like a child who has just shown her schedulers what it looks like when, "THE BABY HAS HAD ENOUGH".

She's all clean now, sweet smelling and asleep in her own bed. We got the message...and yet again this Father's Day, Darrin cleaned it up.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Safety Town

It all began last night with a terrible storm that struck just as Cole was at bat in the last regular season ball game for his team. The game, at the point of the storm was in extra innings, but was ended because of lightening. The lightening was only the beginning. After bouts of torrential rain, hail and wind, things calmed down enough for us to drive up the hill to our home. As we gazed toward the hill, we saw orange flames and sparks lighting the sky. A very live wire had come down and maybe a transformer was also in jeopardy. The action, thankfully for us but not for our neighbors, was further down our street. That the fire trucks seemed unable to reach our little lane remains a concern to us all.

Nobody was more concerned than Kate, who tomorrow will graduate from Safety Town suma cum LOUDLY.

With her fresh knowledge of fire hazards and fire safety skills, the poor girl was primed for visions of death and disaster. No kidding- she said from the back of the minivan at the first sign of the wire fire, "Mom, I'm just so scared someone is gonna die!"

"Who do you think is going to die?" I asked.

"The people in that house!"

I attempted to explain that the fire didn't involve a house but was (how do you explain a transformer to a freaking out four year old?) only affecting a...telephone-pole-sort-of-thing. My explanation was sorely inadequate it seemed because while trying to get ready for bed, Kate asked no fewer than 15 times if the people in the house were ok. Each time she asked, we explained that no people were in danger, no house was on fire, it was a telephone pole, it was... not helping. I thought about checking the papers that have come home from Safety Town daily with Kate for an "emergency number" so to speak, that I could call and get help explaining this particular emergency. Things seemed to calm for a bit and we were so close to getting our Safety Girl into bed when, during the bedtime story, the electric began to surge, brightening the lights and dimming them, speeding the window fan and slowing it. Poor kid, she went right to sleep anyway and mercifully missed the moment, about 4 minutes later, when her room was bathed in total darkness as our power went out.

I decided to sleep on the couch so that, sans baby monitor, I could hear if anyone upstairs woke up in the blackness. Now, we've got a super sleeping couch and I was drifting off into a comfy sleep just as Kate was beginning to stir and realize that there was no night light, no hall light, and no bathroom light. Not one to suffer in silence, she screamed and yelled and successfully alerted Molly to the situation so that Molly, too, could join her in the screaming and the yelling.

I must've been more asleep than I realized because for the next 5 minutes, I, ipod flashlight in hand, wandered between the two girls' bedrooms trying to figure out what to do. Finally, a voice from below said, "Send Kate down here."

"Great," I thought, "which one is Kate?"

After sending the correct contestant to her father, I rocked Molly in the darkness. Many times I thought she was asleep, but when I made eye contact with her she would point to her window where I had pulled up the blinds to watch the "telephone pole" action. She was a bit undone by the whole situation, so I laid down on the floor beside of the crib and after a bit, child #4 was asleep.

We all woke after fitfull sleep to restored electricity, and little more was said about the whole ordeal...until we pulled up to Safety Town this morning and I asked Kate please not to report that a house on our street was on fire last night. I reminded her that it was just a telephone pole and that everything was all better now. "I know that Mom, but I've just got it in my head that a house was on fire...." In other words, no promises Mom! Which is why each morning when she gets out of the van, I think to myself, "Look out Safety Town!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Molly ate blueberries for the first time yesterday. . .blueberries and peas. A special little girl we love can't eat blueberries yet, so we ate peas too (which she can eat) in her honor!! Molly adored those berries. Not surprisingly, she was covered with purple stains around her mouth causing her to appear to have a five o'clock shadow. No, I didn't get a picture of that-I know, I missed a good one. A picture did jump into my head though as Molly downed blueberry after blueberry.

Front and center in my mind's eye was a picture of an adventure Cole and Meg and I undertook as a result of reading a wonderful book entitled Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. The American Library Association describes this book as the story of "what happens on a summer day in Maine when a little girl and a bear cub, wandering away from their blueberry-picking mothers, each mistake the other's mother for its own." We thought the story and the pictures so delightful that we were inspired to go blueberry picking too. We lived in NC at the time and Mr. Frank and Mrs. Sadie invited us to come to their home and help ourselves to their blueberry bushes. We even purchased a galvanized bucket in which to put our produce so that our berries would make the same sound as Sal's did in her bucket kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! What fun we had that evening. Mrs. Sadie even served us homemade peach ice cream after we finished our berry picking.

Sadly, that precious book has been sitting forgotten on the children's bookshelf for more than a few years. I searched for and found this treasure tonight and have plans to revisit our blueberry adventures of years gone by very very soon with Cole and Meg and two new adventurers--kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


"Great! I love ham!" said a child sitting down for dinner tonight.

"Grandma sent it to us," said I.

"Oh, did Poppy shoot it?" asked the child.

"Ham comes from a pig, not a deer," said I with certainty.



Friday, June 12, 2009


Today I did something I wouldn't want to anyone to attempt. It wasn't really a "don't try this at home" move. It was what you could call an ill-advised course of action. For a gal who has lived her life mostly between the lines, it was pushing the envelope just a bit. I mean really, you'd think a person, a mother no less, would have known better. I have an excellent excuse: I was traveling without the children. I don't do this often and therefore was terribly unprepared for the consequences of their absence.

I was enjoying a sweet tea (the special kind in the styrofoam cup) while riding in the car when I discovered my error. I spilled a drip or two of tea on my hand and in the car. Instinctively, I turned to reach for the diaper bag which, of course was with the baby and not in the car. The reality of the situation sank in slowly...I was like a tightrope walker without a net, an explorer without a compass! I was a traveler with no BABY WIPES!

I remained a bit nervous about this touchy state of affairs, until something wonderful happened. . .we stopped at a gas station and low and behold there they were on the shelf. What a lovely scene--happiness in a box--

You thought it was gonna be a box of baby wipes didn't you!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Tonight I'm without--without the children. I'm going to be attending a Beth Moore event tomorrow and the next day, so the kids have been "farmed out," as we have taken to calling it, two a piece to each set of grandparents. Grandparents, whom, I need to add, were kind enough not only to accept the care of the children for the weekend, but also to come and get them. Talk about above and beyond the call of duty! Everyone is gone now except for Darrin, who will be the chauffeur for tomorrow's event.

So, again I say, I'm without. Without any little person screaming at 2 am for no apparent reason. Without any little people getting into bed with me before daylight. Without anyone to fix breakfast for in the morning. Without any reason to negotiate clothing choices for the day. Without any dirty clothes to toss down the clothes chute. Without any refereeing of tv time. Without any juice spills to clean up or toothpaste remains to wipe down. Without the noise of stomping feet, or arguing, or clapping, or giggling, or whistling, or belly laughing, or singing. Without any faces grinning at me or hands reaching for mine. Without the sounds of lullabies drifting down the stairs. Without anyone saying, "Hey Mom, you've gotta see this!" Without any bedtime prayers to listen to. Without any sports updates before I even get out of bed. Without a coffee partner. Without soft cheeks to kiss good night, or rumpled heads to kiss good morning.

OK. . . . I realize I can't exist without them for very long so I'd better enjoy this time while it lasts. This wonderful, special, restorative time where I can enter the bathroom, draw a bubble bath, get into that bath, and linger --enjoying the peace and tranquility within and the peace and quiet without!

Monday, June 8, 2009


I drove through the Fort Pitt tunnels four times today. I hate those tunnels. Age has plagued me with a bit of claustrophobia which is triggered 100% of the time by those tunnels. It was worth it though, for a few reasons.

First, anytime I start at point A and arrive at point B without getting lost (esp. in Pittsburgh) my foggy mommy brain hears an audible "atta girl" which, let's face it, we could all use from time to time.

Second, I think I impressed my children. After dropping Daddy off to visit at the hospital in the big city, they were amazed that I was able to get them to not one, but two promised book stores on the other side of the big city, without getting lost! That Kate was a bit nervous as we drove away from Darrin at the hospital saying, "We're getting a long way from Daddy......." did not offend me as I was telling myself the same thing with each turn of the wheel. Yet, we made it! We snagged some books, signed up for a summer reading program at the Barnes & Noble, and piloted our Honda back to pick up our guy. Did I mention WITHOUT GETTING LOST? In the interest of full disclosure I was using a borrowed GPS.

Finally, braving the Fort Pitt tunnels four, count 'em four times today was worth it because I got to spend two and one half "car hours" with my man. Car hours are extra special morsels of time in which finds one seated next to her "other one" with no TV playing (in the front seat anyway), no dishes to put away, and no baskets of laundry battling for attention. There are, of course, children in the back of the vehicle who sometimes need attention, but they are by law, required to be strapped in during car time, so how much trouble can they be? Sometimes during car time my other one and I will talk, read, or listen to music. Today we sat mostly in silence -- strange yes, but nice. I think we were trying to regain the energy it took to get this trip "on the road". Like a camera that somehow gains more battery power merely by being turned off for a while.
When we arrived home, we had 65 minutes to eat supper and attend a meeting at church. After church, we met sweet friends for a fun Dairy Queen treat. The kids are in bed now and my other one and I, are weary from a day on the road with four children, but better off for having made the effort to eek out some time together.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Such a simple thing is the sock. The word "sock" is derived from the Latin soccus, the Old English socc and the Middle English word socke. The Romans sometimes wore soccus with sandals and then removed their sandals indoors; the soccus remained on their feet. The "soccus" was also a shoe worn by Roman comic actors. *

We have such comics in our home too! All of a sudden, all of our children were in need of socks. You would think that in a situation of such dire need, not many socks are to be found around the house. Not so! Every time I turn around, someone is "leaking socks". There are socks under the breakfast bar in the kitchen, under the dining room table, in front of the couch in the living room, and scattered on many bedroom floors throughout. Unfortunately, most of them have holes in them or are sporting dirt stains that even the strongest bleach can't conquer.

A few days ago we were shopping up "on the hill" and remembered while in a store selling socks to purchase socks.

Oh my the excitement! Everyone wanted to wear their socks immediately--as in take off the tags in the car and wear 'em even with the flip flops. The next morning, each child (except the sockless baby) came down to breakfast sporting a new pair AND no one left any under the table when breakfast was over! I'm tickled to think that such a small thing made such an everyday difference in their lives. Go figure!

The task in the days to come is to purge the "holier than thou" pairs from our lives. It will be tricky because, as you know there lives in this Wright Place a pair of size 12s who is emotionally attached to ALL of her clothes including her "holier than thou" friends. We will, however, see this task through because really--who wants to be associated with those holier than thou types anyway!!


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Most mornings, Kate wakes before I do. I know this because I usually awaken to find her face directly over my face which is still happily snuggled into my pillow. At the moment I open my eyes she asks, "Mom, is my (fill in the blank with the shirt du jour) clean yet?" She asks this question because she has already been to the clothes dryer to check the mornings latest offerings and has not yet found the "perfect" outfit.

There was a span of a few weeks this winter when I thought that my dryer was broken. Every few loads I would open the door to find damp clothes. I was puzzled because every load was not performing that way, yet some loads were still damp. I tried and tried to discover the pattern leading to the problem: Was it happening with just the towels, just the blue jeans, the white load? There was no rhyme or reason to the dryer dilemma. Finally, one day while I was in a far corner of the basement, I heard those famous size 12s coming down the stairs. Kate marched to the running dryer, popped open the door, and checked inside to see if anything she was interested in was trapped inside. Finding nothing of note, she slammed the door, turned on her heel and marched back up the stairs, leaving a stopped dryer full of damp clothes in her wake. Ah ha!!

After many such days of unsuccessful dryer fishing, Kate spent a day pestering me about one certain shirt that is in her favorites category of late. After I could stand no more badgering about the laundry from a 4 year old, I told her if she asked about that shirt one more time, she wouldn't see it for a week. Kate took the warning very seriously and waited about thirty minutes before saying with a very serious tone, "I hope that tomorrow there are some better choices in my drawer!"

I'm not much of a laundry goddess as it is. I've really tried. I even read three books about laundry, yes, laundry 2 summers ago. I've read all about other's systems and tips and tricks galore. Unfortunately, there's little help for the laundry challenged. There is however, a great helper. Mom travelled 2 hours a few days ago to help me with the laundry. When she left, the laundry was all but finished. The children each had a turn with Grandma's attention, and I had a fresh resolve to keep the laundry caught up over the summer so that next visit we can play the whole time!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Last Day of School

Ahhhhh......another year of school, formal school that is, is complete. I promised the children that when we finished studying World War 1 that we would be finished for the year and today the Armistice was signed! Following a happy, carefree afternoon of non-schooling, we celebrated by taking in a movie.
Up! was great fun. We had forgotten that it was a 3-D movie and the cool glasses added to our enjoyment. Darrin even got to join us. My favorite part of the movie was when the main character realized that to have worthwhile memories one didn't need to have lived a spectacular life, one needed only to have lived. He discovered that there was true adventure in the "everydayness" of life, a lesson that his late wife had learned ahead of him. I appreciated the message of the movie especially at the threshold of this summer: Appreciate everything, not just the grand and the planned, but the trivial and the normal, the hot-dogs for supper nights and the steak on the grill nights as well for in between all of the little moments and the bigger ones, life is happening whether I'm paying attention or not!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Game Ball

Baseball night once again. Tonight's game followed a big day on the road for me and the fabulous 4! We began the day running errands which included the convenience store (we had to get our beverages to sustain us), the bank, the photo shop, and the library where, thank goodness I owed no fines! After round one, we headed home for a quick lunch during which, Cole reminded me that his uniform was still very dirty from last game and needed cleaned. Yikes. It was 2 and we had a graduation party to attend at 4 if we were to get Cole to warm-up at 5:20. I put the load of game clothes to wash, and a pair of capris for me to wear into the washer and ushered the Fab 4 into the van for "Errands: the Sequel". Up to Target we ran to pick up a prescription on which believe it or not, we had to wait 30 minutes! Talk about "hurry up and wait"! Back at home, Cole put the load into the dryer and joined the girls to ride scooters until his clothes were dry. I learned today that baseball uniforms will dry in a dryer set on nuclear in less than 30 minutes, capri pants will not. Capri pants will dry in less than 30 minutes when placed in a nuclear dryer for 25 minutes and then placed under an iron wielded by a praying woman for 5 minutes!

On our way out the door, a few minutes late, we grabbed directions to the ball park and to the graduation party, grabbed Darrin from work, and hit the road--again! Molly finally had more than 10 minutes to sleep on the way to the party and remained asleep until we left for the ball game, which was super for the big people, but unfortunate for the baby, because she didn't get fed. I didn't remember that she hadn't been fed until strolling past the concession stand at the game. Molly, as a result enjoyed her very first hot dog while watching her brother play Little League. There goes my Mother of the Year nomination again this year!! She did seem to love it and ate 3/4 of it with the bun! We may well pay the price for this trick tomorrow.

The ball park for the game was very nice. A cool playground made for happy sisters, and bleachers with a good view of both field and playground made for happy parents. As Cole ran into the outfield, Darrin asked him (he played right in front of our seats) what glove he was wearing because we didn't recognize it as his. Cole had to borrow the glove from the boy playing catcher because he had forgotten his. Our boy played a really wonderful game. He stood bravely at bat as a very skilled pitcher fired away, and stopped two ground balls to cut each runner off at second base. Toward the end of the game Cole made an awesome catch! The ball flew toward the land between the infield and the outfield and Cole made a running catch and snagged it for the third out! I was so proud to watch his teammates clap him on the back as they headed toward the dug out. The boys lost the game, but the night was forever embedded in our minds as Coach Joe placed the game ball in Cole's hand and congratulated him on his big catch.

I was certain tonight would be a challenge after the crazy day. Minivan marathon, unlaundered uniform, over-booked, tardy for warm-up, premature hot dog, weary spectators, skilled opponents, borrowed glove.....GAME BALL!

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