A Top Ten

I’ve been stuck in bed all day with back spasms.  Mags is happy to hang out with me as long as I remain still and unobtrusive…or have treats to make her experience lying around even more enjoyable.  Because, really…it’s all about her.    The damned laptop is obviously a hindrance to her attempts at sitting right on top of my chest, which obviously is the BEST possible place for her to lie down.  That laptop HAS GOT TO GO.  It’s presence is almost offensive.

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Uh, hi!  Whatcha doin? Move this.  It’s in ma way. 

In the spirit of boredom and any kind of movement causing massive amounts of pain, I’ve collected a list of the Top Ten Things To Do When You Encounter Back Pain, or Held Hostage By a Fanatical Maniac Who Is About to Chop Off Your Legs.  It’s An Either Or Situation.

A long title, I realize but I have nothing else to do, and really they both are kinda the same.  They involve solitary confinement and pain, although having someone take an axe to your legs could be construed as a tad more painful.  On the other hand,  if you’ve ever had back spasms, you would WISH someone would just saw you in half.  So…

  1.  Watch a movie – I spent the morning in bed watching Practical Magic which was an old Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman flick. Not bad for an early morning movie and it was pretty cute.  Who knew Aiden Quinn was such a handsome hero in those days?

9. Eat all of the leftover Halloween Candy – I haven’t eaten it all…yet. But since we had so many kids last night, we had to send son to get some more and are now left with more than we thought.  I’m sending recon missions downstairs for mini Kit Kat bars…

8. Nap – never overrated and the dog joins you.

7.  Send the kids to the store for shit you don’t need – THEY LOVE THAT.  You suddenly realize you are short on pencils or don’t have enough chalk paint for that project you will never get around to.  Send the kids on the hunt for the elusive colour of salmon chalk paint ( does not exist) or number 2 pencils that you have no use for and can’t even sharpen, BECAUSE WHO STILL OWNS AN OLD FASHIONED PENCIL SHARPENER?!  It’s entertaining.  Good. Times.

6.  Write down the cooking instructions for dinner – Make them complicated like lamb chops stuffed with asparagus and goat cheese…Yeah. They will give up right after reading ‘lamb’ in a fury of WHAT THE HELL! expressions and helpless abandon and order pizza.  You get the extra slice with whatever you want on it for allowing them to give up on dinner so quickly.  They will be ever so grateful for not having to burn the house down trying to make that lamb dish a reality.   YOU. ARE. AN. AWESOME. MOM

5.  Organize your Christmas list – JUST KIDDING. Who the hell wants to do that?!  It’s a day where you can lay around watching t.v. and taking naps, and have those people you call family wait on YOU for a change.  Why spoil that with something constructive and practical?  Gawwwdddd.  WORK WITH ME HERE.

4.  Read that book you have been meaning to read – you have all kinds of time and nowhere to be. Get into that novel that’s been sitting on your shelf. A great way to pass the time.  Immersing yourself in someone else’s world is just what you need.

3.  A long soak in a hot bath – good for the muscles, good for the soul.  Make sure a glass of wine is accompanying you.  Or the bottle.  Whatever works.  You ARE in pain.

2.  The awesomeness of pain medication should not be overlooked – It can make you a little sleepy, but also a little loopy. In essence, it’s the one opportunity you can act drunk and disorderly without actually being either of those things.   Feel free to insult the kids or throw a tantrum because your coffee is not 98 degrees Fahrenheit, because dammit you earned it.  Tell those kids to keep it down and when they complain, just say “REALLY?!  I SPENT 25 HOURS IN LABOUR WITH A TEN POUND BABY COMING OUT OF MY HOO-HA, WHICH  BY THE WAY, NOW LOOKS LIKE SOMEBODY RAN OVER A PIZZA WITH A SEMI- FOR YOU TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PAIN?!  OK.  WHATEVER.  YOU DO YOU.”  Then weep wildly.  They’ll feel bad and get you whatever you want.

  1.  Nothing – the number one thing to do, is to do nothing. Ice, heat, rest, eat, repeat.

The pain meds are now kicking in.  Hope you enjoy a lovely fall day and get those kids to pamper you whether you have back pain or are held hostage by a maniacal fan, or not.

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Mother Teresa Died in 1997 And I Feel Kinda Guilty About That Now

The warm weather is hanging around making me believe summer is not yet over, but I know better.  The Weather Gods are just lulling me into a false sense of security with all of this warmth, only to blast me with cold weather in a few days or so.  Then I’ll be shocked and appalled and lighting the fireplace and lamenting the summer.  I’ll be shaking and quivering with the chill, rummaging through drawers looking for warmer sweaters and the Snuggie I bought daughter for Christmas, one year.

Trying to de-clutter my environment is like trying to set water on fire.  I just get one thing away and two new things pop up.  I have so many things I want to do, that doing one thing at a time seems wasteful and boring and not at all accomplishing anything, when really, it would be so much better than spinning my wheels.

Maybe I should get my attention span checked out.  Can someone do that?  I just don’t think I can sit still long enough to take all the tests that are probably required to determine that shit.  Maybe there’s an online version, but then I would get distracted with the other stuff happening online, then one of the adult/children would need me to rescue them from the new devil-printer that seems to be possessed and prints whatever the hell it wants, or Hubby will need me to figure out the phantom pain he has in the back of his neck that’s really not the back of his neck but more like the back of his head that maybe some bug bit him while he on his walk because it really hurts….

Maybe it’s not my attention span at all.  Huh.

It’s a good thing I have hobbies and you people to walk this journey with me and tolerate all of my nonsense.  And wine.

Ps.  I just wrote this on the front of my agenda because at the time, I thought it was funny but now my Catholic conscience is getting the better of me and I feel guilty about the whole ‘dead’ thing.  I’ll be over here saying ten Hail Marys…

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And hoping my water will turn into wine because, Jesus.

 

Top Ten Ways Busy Moms  Can Carve Out Some Precious ‘Me’ Time

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New moms, toddler moms, moms with tweens, teens, young adults and even moms with baby hippos, finding time for oneself in a non-stop kid-infested world can be downright challenging if not impossible.  There is always SOMETHING that NEEDS our attention or SOMEONE who desperately NEEDS our help.  OH MY GAWD, MOM WE RAN OUT OF TUNA.  You know, that kind of drama is just a pimple on the face of a pre-pubescent girl in the world of scenarios.  Being a SuperMom is downright exhausting!

Feeling the pressure?  Especially with the start of a new school year which brings fundraisers, bake sales, the ever popular candy bar sales and of course, who can forget EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY IN THE WORLD IN THE HISTORY OF EVER BEING HELD ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT.

Been there, done that.

Now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’ I’ve had the luxury of sitting back and taking stock of all the madness that was their childhoods.  Here are some of my fave ways of regaining some sanity,  taking some breathing room and really just savouring a few minutes for that much needed break.  I mean wine.  Much needed wine.

Ask for help – For God’s sake woman, you do not need to rule the world all in one day. Ask Hubby/ spouse/significant other/pet llama to pull some weight and help take one of the little darlings to dance class or gymnastics or cyber crime unit day, or whatever it is those young kids do nowadays.  Remember the old ‘take turns’ you learned in Kindergarten?  Yeah, that still applies.  There is no shame in asking somebody you trust to get Kid A to Place A so you can sit down and have a glass of wine.  NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT STATEMENT.  Do we have to review the whole labour/delivery thing?  Okay….

Read a Book – Remember those? They have covers and pages and words that are not accompanied by little bunnies rolling down hills. They have actual words bigger than ‘the’.  You are able to read said book whilst child is swimming, dueling, wrestling, skating…etc.  You do not need to spend every waking minute watching your kid drown in the pool during swimming lessons.   THAT’S WHY THEY HAVE LIFEGUARDS.    Even if you read ONE SENTENCE, you will feel almost adult-like.  Amazing…

Sign up for some scheduled class- Fun Fact: There are adult classes to learn new and exciting things like yoga, or exercise, or spin class or vibrational cooking…whatever the hell you want! Schedule yourself on your mommy calendar just like you scheduled all of your kids’ activities. That way, you practically guarantee a space for you.  STICK TO IT AND DON’T GIVE IT UP OR YOU WILL DIE.  That’s how you have to approach it.  Your health, mental and physical, may depend on it.

Lunch Break Walk-  I admit this one is kinda lame, especially if you work at job where leaving is like an episode from Prison Break, but it does have its merits if you can swing it.  If you work outside the home, it’s probably one of the only times you get to adult so cling to that and hang out with the co-workers you like and invite her/him/them along.  Could be a fun half hour.  Or lame.  Totally lame.  Crap shoot, really.

Repeat this phrase: “No, that doesn’t work for me” – Seriously, you are allowed to say ‘no’ and not just to all of your offspring. I mean to other parents, especially the snooty moms who have all kinds of time on their hands and sit back and drink wine on their porches and bake REAL HOMEMADE ORGANIC PRESERVATIVE FREE COOKIES AT THE BAKSALES and don’t invite you to sit and drink because you’re too busy RUNNING AROUND CARTING ALL OF THEIR KIDS AND YOURS TO ACTIVITIES.   Yeah.  Stop that.  Practice being a ‘snooty mom’.  And baking is overrated.

Extricate yourself from the situation – Just totally remove yourself from being involved.  In anything.  Be involved with your child, but don’t feel you have to join all the PTA meetings and the council meetings or the Society For Being a Mom Organizational Association…thing.   Pick one committee in which you can participate without overstretching yourself and do that.  There is no rule anywhere saying you have to be involved in EVERY school function, committee, organization or whatever.  ONE THING.

Carpooling is your new best friend – It’s best when everyone can lend a hand and carpooling can be a lifesaver….when it’s not abused. Or your generosity is not taken advantage of.  Fair is fair so outline the rules going in with other parent(s) so everyone is on the same page.  Make sure Johnny is aware who is driving or picking up so he can expect Mr. Jones to be there and not Mrs. Lazynski who wears her hair funny and smells a bit ‘off’.

Chores – When the kiddos are in charge of their own shit, it takes on a whole new meaning. As moms, we tend to think that ‘taking care’ of the kids equates to doing everything for them.  Not so fast.  They need to take SOME responsibility for their stuff, so start doling out things they are capable of handling and EXPECT them to follow through.   For example, if Tuesdays are hockey practice give him/her the responsibility of having their bag packed with ALL of their gear and having it ready at the door by the expected time.  If they get to practice and something is missing – a natural and logical consequence would be to miss practice.  They HAVE to take responsibility for their shit at some point.  They won’t forget next time.  I SWEAR TO GAWD IF YOU GET IN THAT CAR AND DRIVE HOME TO GET THE MISSING GEAR AND THEN BACK TO THE RINK I WILL THROW A GLASS OF WINE AT YOU AND MAKE YOU LICK IT UP.  It’s only practice.  They’ll live.

Lie – Sometimes, in life telling the truth can be downright harmful to everyone’s health. Especially, yours.  In the interest of healthy lifestyles, lying comes in as one of the top things to do when you are desperately seeking wine time.   Oh, sure…don’t get on that high horse, you’ll get a nosebleed.  HOW DO YOU THINK THE SNOOTY MOMS GET TO SIT ON THEIR PORCHES.  That’s right.  That headache has suddenly reappeared and Johnny may have to miss ONE NIGHT of Judo.  The kid has been kicking his sister for years, I think he has that move down pat…

Alcohol? Why yes, please –  Basically, it’s all about the wine, so enjoy!  You’ve earned your glass so kick up your feet and indulge in a glass or five before somebody notices you can no longer drive.

That’s it.  Your list to freedom and some peace among the hectic, no holds barred world of kids, activities and school functions that make being a parent the joyous roller coaster ride it is…Good luck and may the wine be ever in your favour.

 

 

Desk Trials

The untidiness of my home desk space remains the bane of my existence, however, it isn’t entirely my fault.  Since Hubby has been home more often, he has settled into daily occupations of my laptop and invades the space that was once my sacred den.  The once organized entity has now been overtaken with papers, hats, random books, notes and nasty sports memorabilia for which I care nothing for.

What the hell happened to my desk?!  I try to clean it up and organize it only for it to return to its unnatural messy state.   I try to hide away the sports caps and the random papers only to see them re-emerge following my day at work.  I tidy up the random notes for them only to be replaced with more random notes that have nothing to do with me.

I’m thinking of getting  a new desk and putting it in a secret location so that no one can find it.  That way, I can relocate my laptop and MY papers and MY books minus the sports caps and flyers and settle in to MY TIDY NEAT SPACE.  Better yet, buy an old desk and re-purpose it.  I could sand it down and paint it a pretty colour.   I could have a clean organized place for each one of my books and notebooks, I could have file containers and a holder for all of my nice pens.  I could even have a nice vase of flowers….ahhh….

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Someone has pictured my new old desk THAT I MUST HAVE…it even has a bottle of beer to drink whilst I type!  Loves…

I know, right?  Funny.  That is never going to happen simply because I have no ‘secret space’ and in fact, I have no ‘space’ at all.  There is not one room or iota of a wall available for me to occupy unless I kick a daughter or son to the curb.  And overtake their room.  And make it into a home office…..sayyy….

That is a great idea, minus the ‘kicking a daughter or son to the curb’ part, because I’M NOT AN ASSHOLE PARENT.

If I WAS AN ASSHOLE PARENT, I would have a nice shiny new desk, in a nice shiny new room with painted walls the colour I like and with organizational files and a pretty lamp and a nice comfy chair and flowers in the corner and shelves with my books…..

WHY AM I NOT AN ASSHOLE PARENT?!

Maybe we can get someone to BUILD ME A ROOM.  Somewhere.  Not in the basement though.

I’ll see if the attic is available….

In the mean time, I’ll be playing ‘search for the missing hats’ with Hubby.

I’ll be in the attic if anyone is looking for me.

Pepe Le Pew Is My Spirit Animal

As far as vacations go, this last one was full of heat, humidity, a dash of crankiness, a little drunkeness with a side of wayward walking AKA falling on my ass.  Again.

Although in saying that, I truly wasn’t drunk when I fell.  Honestly,  I wasn’t.  It probably would have been better had I been as drunk as a skunk.  (By the by, WHO THE HELL THOUGHT UP THAT PHRASE?  How can a skunk be drunk?  I swear that’s how Pepe Le Pew was created.  Some guys were sitting around trying to get a good idea for a new cartoon character and some drunk French Canadian guy was there and they all went  “HEY! WHAT KID WOULDN’T LIKE A HORNY DRUNK FRENCH SKUNK?! LET’S DO THAT!”  And THAT kids, is how all great cartoon characters are created.  The. End. )     At least I would have had a good reason for falling down in the first place instead of the usual I’m-a-klutz-and-have-a-hard-time-balancing-on-actual-feet kinda person.  Ugh.

Vacations around these parts, or SLS, the ‘Hood, ma peeps that live near me…you get the drift, as vacations go we tend to party together, so if one fam decides to vacay it’s inevitable that more will join in.  That was the case this time as well.  One made plans, then another joined in and then it was Bestie’s birthday and how could we not go for that and then another joined in…so really, it was a ‘hood gathering in a hot tropical environment.  Plus alcohol.  Of course, it’s our ‘hood we’re talking about so OF COURSE THERE’S ALCOHOL.   Oh, yeah and the kids were there too.  Hey kids!  Nothing to see here, go back to watching Pepe Le Pew…

After a lovely dinner and A LITTLE WINE, CALM DOWN we went to Bree’s abode for cake…and MAYBE a little more wine.  As we were walking out onto her expansive, yet viewless patio (unless you count the roof top of another building a view, then yes, it had a view.  The LEAST they could have done would to have thrown some nice plants out there,  maybe strung some lights…a few decorative chairs.  COME ON PEOPLE, GIVE BREE SOMETHING TO SEE!)

Anywho, unbeknownst to me the patio was two tiered.  The second level had the smallest of edges but I somehow managed to find it and my wedged sandled foot rolled over it like a car tire over a drunk skunk.  Yes, it was slow and painful.   It was like I was watching a movie in slo-mo only I was the actual person doing the falling.  Twit.   I could feel myself starting to descend, but could do nothing to stop it and hey, did I really want to?  At some point I had the presence of mind to ever-so-gently place my precious iphone on the barren side table just sitting so quaintly to my left…as I was ever-so-slowly  falling on my ass.  When I finally landed, thumping squarely on my bum, I just sat there for a second to digest what just went down.  Me.  I went down.  Bestie turned and yelled if I was hurt, her daughter were desperately trying not to laugh and I was still incredulous that I had done it once again.  I’VE FALLEN AND I CAN’T GET UP.  SHIT.

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As I stupidly sat there on the cement patio contemplating the statistics of me falling at every vacation in the history of ever,  I took in my surroundings.  And waited for the bleeding and pounding headache to start, because let’s face it, that’s usually what happens.   When none of that happened and Bestie was trying to help me up and her daughters were trying desperately to get out of my way frightened I may end up taking them down with me again, I was able to fully assess my injuries.  Or astonishing lack thereof.

I scraped my knee, my elbow and hurt my dwindling pride.  My foot seemed okay at the time and I jumped up to save what shred of dignity I had left, which wasn’t much.

I later limped to my room across the hall.  And awoke to a swollen foot, pain and the inability to walk more than a few feet without sitting down.

Excellent vacation!

It was all a little much.

A week later, my foot has almost healed completely.  The doctor said there is nothing broken, (besides my fragile ego) and I will live to fall another day.

There’s a story from my childhood that, once while we were at the cottage one summer day, I was heard outside calling “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.”  When everyone came out to investigate and see the cat I was calling, I was rushed inside and the door was soundly shut.

Apparently, I was calling a pretty little skunk over to play with me.

Wonder if any of his relatives are still staggering around looking for a drinking buddy.

Here kitty, kitty, kitty….

Pepe Le Pew

 

A Family Photo Wouldn’t Be Complete Without A Diva Not Wearing Pants

I finally found the family portrait I’ve been tearing the house apart trying to find.  I knew I had it, I just couldn’t figure out where I put it.  It’s one of those things I always meant to have framed, but due to the condition of the photograph, I was reluctant to do it.  It was once a coloured photo, but it has since faded with age.  It was taken in and around 1969, putting me at around aged 3.  My parents and my brothers and I are all standing on the porch of our house in Wallaceburg, Ontario posing rather nonchalantly at the guy with a camera pointed at us.   I actually remember the day.  My Dad’s friend agreed to take the photo since he had a good camera and some film.  We all rushed outside.  It was windy and even then, I hated the wind.  Luckily, somebody remembered to put shoes and a jacket on me.  Too bad, no one was worried about my obvious lacking of pants.

Blackford family photo 1969

I’d like to think it was my choice to go pants-less, in a sort of  ‘hell-no, I do want I want’ sort of three year old rebellion.  Not, ‘oh, she’s cute in her pigtails and underwear.  It’ll be fine.’    Thanks. 

My mom had on a nice dress and heels.  Her hair was combed and done nicely.   She even wore lipstick.  The boys wore jackets indicating it must have been a chilly day, and I DID have on a jacket.  Who needs leg coverings, am I right?!   My older brother had the misfortune of growing out of those pants at an alarming rate, while Kirk holds a big dice in his hands that I think was a paper weight.  He loved to play with it.  As long as he wasn’t throwing it and using his little sister’s head as a target, I think my parents were happy he was occupied.  Dad had on his signature cardigan sweater and oh yeah, PANTS.

Apparently, being the youngest affords one the opportunity to not trouble about trivial matters such as clothes, or in this case, pants.  I was more concerned the wind would take my breath away,  which is why my hand is over my mouth in a “OH, MY GAWD CAN SOMEONE TELL THE WIND TO PLEASE STOP WITH ALL OF THE BLOWING AROUND!” kind of moment.  It’s not a look of shock at my lack of attire, like one would normally think.  Not “DAMMIT I FORGOT TO WEAR PANTS TO THIS PHOTO SHOOT” kind of thought.  I think my parents were hoping my pink jacket was a tad longer to make it look like a dress, but sorry guys.  It just looks like I’m standing in my underwear shocked and appalled that someone actually took our picture with the little girl with no pants.

At least my red Keds were okay.  And I had that feathery toy that looks like a boa.  Wait…I HAD A BOA AND NO ONE THOUGHT TO PUT IT AROUND ME?!  DAFUQ PEOPLE, WORK WITH ME, HERE.

If I couldn’t have pants, the very least you could have made me look glam and put that feathery pink thing around my neck.   Gawd….

Parenting Tips For Surviving The Teen Years With Grace, Dignity and A Little Less Drunkenness

Adolescence, otherwise known as the slow descent into madness, or those lost years mommy raided the liquor store in search for more wine, or when the little darlings morph into bigger versions of Teletubbies gone awry, is a trying time for everyone; parents, teens, grandparents, teachers, babies, the dog, the mail-delivery person, the librarian with the big ass mole, the nice policeman who escorted you home after being caught outside the liquor store after hours banging on the doors pleading for them to “PLEASE OPEN I NEED WINE! I HAVE TEENAGERS!!!”….

The brains of average teenagers are still developing and pushing the limits. It’s one of the many fun and interesting ways they determine their place in the family; their role in the world and their intimate social circle. It’s also annoying as hell.

Limit setting and parents sticking to them is the key element to any good survival during this emotional roller coaster. They will yell, scream, slam doors and then use the ever favourite “Jan’s mom let her do it”. “AGAIN WITH THE JAN’S MOM?! I’m not Jan’s mom! I don’t care what Jan’s mom let her do! WHO THE HELL IS JAN?! Jan’s mom can stick it!! “ Natural and understandable responses to an illogical and peer-pressure kind of tactic that only ensues argumentative combative behaviour. BAD FORM, TEEN. But that’s what they know. Knee jerk emotional responses to having their asses slammed into a room with nowhere to go but to a ‘Jan’s mom’ kind of response. Stick to your guns! Not literal guns, but your limits. Stick to your decisions. You get it. DON’T CAVE!  

I could say here that communication is the key to any good relationship and speaking in quiet tones and providing a caring and open environment for them to participate in mature dialogue will assist in curbing the emotional upheaval….but that would be utter bullshit. Seriously. Teens are a ball of emotional crap wrapped up in a brain-fugue ire that speaking at all will only escalate the already shitty attitude they possess. I tend to throw my hands in the air and say “Jesus, help me with this child! Give him the necessary good sense that he needs to see the light!” and then proceed to speak in tongues. This generally confuses the shit out of the teen and he is so freaked out he turns around and goes to his room to try to call his father saying “Mom has lost it! Come home now!” And will never ask to go to another party/borrow the car/jump off a bridge, again.  

As a mother of three teens who are now adults, I can say you will survive. Motherhood be damned, the adolescent years are the most trying times; following of course after toddlerdom when the word ‘no’ was the prompt to put more toys in the toilet; the righteous pre-teen years where buying the right shirt was a major meltdown affair and of course the roaring twenties where there’s university exams, classes and staying out all night. Actually, now that I read that statement, being a parent kind of sucks. There is no decade safe where you can really sit back with your feet up and relax and say, ‘yep. We did it. We raised our kids.’ A parent’s work is never done and even now that my kids are no longer ‘kids’, I can say I still worry. We still argue (yes, Miss H even with Son), we still have to set the limit and toe the line and all that parenting lingo you read in all of the Parenting 101 books that kinda only work when the kid is already well-adjusted, graduated with a PhD and on his way to his own wedding. All those nice parenting books you bought will surely serve better as a nightstand where you can lay your bottle of wine after an afternoon of endless pleading and begging with the mail-delivery-person to please rescue you from your torment only for him/her/neutral to pry your death grip from his/her/neutral arm and run madly up the street….damned mail-delivery persons! (being politically correct is wordy, but not expensive)

Suck it up, Mommy/Daddy you’re a lifer now!

Ahhh, think back to the day when that adorable little pink baby was first placed in your arms and you promised him the world! And now, well now, he’s still kinda adorable and you would still give him the world if he wasn’t so damned stubborn like his father and have the intelligence of a snail. Then he comes home with decent grades and you think “Yesss. Finally, he has turned a corner. He is growing up” then he dents the car, or floods the basement with the garden hose or goes bowling with a frozen turkey and throws it through the front door.  

Yup.  

A teenager. The universe’s way of reminding you that young people can be stupid. We are the force that guides these young impressionable teens into adulthood with common sense, values and a wealth of information to make solid decisions; like bowling with a frozen turkey is way better suited in the basement using the hockey net. Duh…ANYONE KNOWS THAT.  

That’s why we also have wine. For when those guidelines are a little skewed, those decisions are a little off the mark and we struggle with guilt, ire and Jesus.

Good luck, fellow parents. You are not alone during this traumatic and challenging time. Remember, they will be around FOREVER. Also, the liquor store is open daily until 11pm. Make sure to get there early.

You. Are. Welcome.