We fancy

Today I am rewinding to October, our first Navy ball!  I’m pretty sure military balls were created just to keep the wives happy.  Maybe some guys like getting fancied up, but it’s not really my man’s thing.  He also could not comprehend that I actually got enjoyment out of spending hours picking out the perfect dress (no easy feat when you want a modest one), accessories, and doing my hair and makeup.  But it’s totally my thing.  Unfortunately, they make the guys buy the tickets so it was weeks of nagging him to do something he could care less about 🙂  Also during flight school, everything tends to happen at the most inopportune time so of course he had a really important flight scheduled for the morning after the ball.  Well, I guess the MOST inopportune time would have been if he had a flight that night, so it could be worse! Also a lot of our friends did have flights, meaning we really didn’t know anyone there.  I’m hoping our next ball falls on a weekend where my husband can actually relax and we know some more people there, but it was still a great night for me! I’m not sure we’re going to be able to top our venue though – the naval aviation museum.  It was pretty fun to have dinner under a few Blue Angels with helicopters and jets all around us.  I read a few posts about military balls beforehand, but it wasn’t as formal as as all that.  I’m sure each command is probably a little different, but my advice?  It’s a ball, ladies – not rocket science.  Dinner, some speeches, pomp and circumstance, and dancing (if you’re lucky and your hubby doesn’t have to get home to study).  Lately I’ve been a little frustrated (severe understatement) with some of the aspects of military wife life and for a girl who likes getting fancied up and taken out on a date, it was a little bit of a reward for military wife life.  I hope my husband knows I’ll be expecting it every year 🙂

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I’m back, for now.

I’ve always been inconsistent with journal writing, which is very much what this blogging stuff feels like. You’ll find gaps in every journal I own (well actually, you won’t, because those aren’t for your eyes). But it’s been much too long here. Unfortunately one of the reasons I haven’t written in awhile is because this blog is about our life in the military and for sometime now the military part of our life has been really hard. Not just hard, hard is manageable.  I’m not sure what the word is for it. I think it’s pretty normal when your husband joins the military for it to become a part of your identity.  Some wives avoid that, but I’ve embraced it and found pride in it. But there are also times when you have to step back and let it just be your husband’s job because at times it really sucks. It’s one of those times right now, so I’m not going to write about what’s going on in our lives now. But I will write about what’s happened since the last time I was on here, because my purpose was to connect with military families and share our experiences. So I want to do that – it may take time to catch up but I’ve got to start somewhere right?

Last time I was here D had just completed his first solo in primary flight training.  He’s now in advanced training so obviously a lot has happened since.  Today I’ll just share a few thoughts on primary.  It took D about 6 months to complete primary.  Several times when I told older retired men that my husband was in flight training, they would apologize.  I get it now.  It’s not easy on anyone.  One of the toughest things about their training is that they don’t find out their schedule each day until the afternoon/night before. (Unfortunately this doesn’t change in advanced).  It definitely makes it incredibly difficult on everyone even though you learn to adjust.  I’ve become one of those people who a lot of times just doesn’t commit to things.  Those people used to annoy me.  Trust me, I wish I was not this way.  I would love to have the next twenty years of my life planned, but I can’t tell you what we’re doing tomorrow.  There is also a lot of ups and downs with how busy D is in flight school.  Throughout primary he had weeks where he didn’t have anything and weeks where I went to bed by myself.  Sure, I can create consistency in my life if I want, the military doesn’t run my schedule.  But that’s only if I don’t really want to spend time with my husband, because he will without a doubt be scheduled for the most inopportune times – birthdays, valentine’s day – never fails.  So you learn to adopt the go with the flow free spirit attitude.  Or on days where you can’t do that, you’re just a wee bit angry and resentful 🙂 And you have backup plans.  Backup dates.  I have filled in for husbands on several dates and had wives fill in for mine.  And our puppy regularly fills in as my nightly snuggle companion.

One of the things I don’t understand about primary is why in the world they have it in Pensacola, the no. 2 rainiest city in the country.  It seems like things would be much more efficient if it was in someplace like Arizona?  But of course efficiency and the government are antonyms 🙂 .  I got to go “watch” D’s last solo (formation flying), which meant sitting in the instructors lounge for a LOOONG time while he flew and then having him walk me out to the plane when he was all done and show me around.  Definitely different than watching solos in the civilian world!  But it was still nice getting to be a part of it.  Primary ends with selection, where they are assigned their specific aircraft, but that will be a post for another day.  Can’t get too carried away today!

Me in all D’s flight gear.  Its heavy!

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All done with primary, a very happy day!

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I got that summertime sadness

I feel like I’m much too young to feel that time is going by so quickly, but it is.  I can’t believe it’s almost September already and that we’ve been living in Pensacola for almost a year.  I would say  I’m sad summer is coming to a close, but let’s be honest – summer in the Panhandle kind of blows!  Most days have been rainy (and it’s not an afternoon thunderstorm, it’s an all day thunderstorm) and the days that aren’t are way too dang hot to want to be outside.  It’s recently started to get a bit sunnier and staying around 90, which has meant more beach days for me and more flying for the hubby.   I’m definitely looking forward to the fall so I can spend more time on my paddleboard and on my screened-in porch!  Sure, there will probably be a  few hurricanes scattered in there but we’ve already survived tornadoes and flash floods so I think we can handle it.

After a lot of cancelled flights from thunderstorms, D finally got to complete his first solo in the T6!  The schedule is so inconsistent for him that it’s really nice to have him reach this milestone as a reminder that he’s making progress! Now he’s doing aerobatics i.e. barrel rolls and loops which goes a little quicker than the first phase.  It’s insane how much and how quickly they have to learn.  I’m pretty sure my brain is not capable of holding that amount of information.

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I’ve been working hard to play hard myself.  Since I’ve finally opened up some Saturdays off of work, I’ve been squeezing in some quick out of town weekend trips.  So far I’ve visited Birmingham and Atlanta and had a great time getting away and exploring.  It feels good to cross things of my bucket list for the year.

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Home isn’t too shabby either though . . .IMG_5117

 

 

 

 

 

Happy late 4th of July!

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One goal I will not be crossing off my list this year as accomplished is blogging every week.  Oh well- such is life!  I can’t believe summer is almost half over already. We’ve been trying not to melt in the Florida heat, but enjoying the beaches and paddleboarding and motorcycle rides.  Yes, D bought a motorcycle. I think we both picture this:

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Even though we look more like this:

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D is still in the first phase of primary, he’s done lots of simulator flights and about 5 actual flights in the T-6B.  The crazy summer thunderstorms make it tough for him to consistently fly but the simulator is always ready!  His training wing had a spouse orientation the other week and I got to do a short flight in the simulator, it was pretty fun but I think the Navy should keep me out of their aircraft unless someone else can land it.  Here I am flying over Pensacola.  In a skirt.  Which made it impossible to eject before my crash landing on the runway.

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I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since D commissioned as an officer.  I was reminiscing the other day and thought of just a few things I’ve learned in my first year of being a Navy wife I would want other new spouses to know.

1. It’s hard being away from D, but I don’t have to be miserable. Yes, it sucked being thousands of miles away from my husband when he was at OCS and not being able to talk to him. Yes I hated that the only thing I had to snuggle at night was a pillow with a sweatshirt on it. Yes I spent a few nights sitting at the bottom of my shower crying because I missed a phone call and no way to call D back. But most of the time I had a great time doing lots of fun things – learning to run, yoga classes, girl time, sunbathing poolside, eating breakfasts for dinner – a lot of things that D doesn’t really like.  Being apart is a reality in the military, so if you don’t want to hate it, make a plan not to.

2.  Work is important to me, at least for now.  I’ll admit, I was sad to leave my practice in Oregon, but pretty excited about having some time off of work during the process of moving.  I didn’t realize until after I started working again, however, how difficult it would be for me to not have the confidence I get from working and how strange it would be to go from being financially self-reliant to completely reliant on D.  And I think I was a little bit more of an emotional mess than I wanted to be not working.  The reality of being a military spouse is that your career becomes secondary to your spouse (unless you don’t mind choosing not to live together) – this is harder for some than others, but figure out how you feel about it and do what you can to make the best of it when you can’t have what you want.

3.  Military life is constant change and unpredictability.  Not only do we have no clue where we’ll be living in the next few years, D has no idea what his schedule is in the next few days.  I can rarely predict when D will be home or not since he can’t either.  And there is a constant change in how busy he is.  He will be gone or studying for 12 hrs straight for a few weeks, and then may have a week or months of pretty much nothing.  That constant change in his schedule and productivity can be pretty difficult to adjust to for both of us.  It requires a plan A, B, C and learning to be okay if none of those plans work out.  It also means giving a lot of “I don’t knows” to family and friends who ask questions.  Note: Some family and friends are more willing to accept this answer than others.

4.  Military wives are awesome.  I absolutely love having ladies who are going through the same things as me.  I love meeting new people and building new friendships and having a built in support group.  And thankfully with technology, these friendships don’t have to end with a new duty station. (And I imagine it’s hard being a military husband,  but I bet they’re just as awesome.)

5. Ask for a military discount. I still forget this everywhere I go.

When I asked D what he’s learned, all he said “Hurry up and wait” (*see number 3).  That’s the Navy for you.

It’s definitely been a wild ride our first year in the military, I’m sure there are many more adventures ahead of us!

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Hello again

Well its been awhile since my last post because of course, sometimes life just gets a bit too crazy to blog. There’s been lots of good and bad craziness these last few weeks, but probably most exciting of all was our spontaneous trip to London! D’s start date for Primary got pushed back a few weeks and somehow planning a little weekend trip to Atlanta or New Orleans quickly escalated out of control into a week in Europe. Not sure how it happened but I’m glad it did. It already seems like a lifetime ago that we went, but it was a pretty incredible trip. Ogling the crown jewels at the London tower, boat rides on the Thames, a tech rehearsal of Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, a haunted house under the London bridge, window shopping through Notting Hill, many strolls through Hyde Park, changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, standing on top of lots of dead people at Westminster Abbey, and many attempts to find the Royal family (we succeeded in catching the princes in their helicopter!). I was really hoping for the Queen or Georgie Porgie. We ate a lot of delicious goodies of course including a plethora of french croissants, the most heavenly mash potatoes I’ve ever experienced, lots of Belgian waffles with gelato on top, some beef bourguignon that blew my own attempt at Julia child’s version waaaaay out of the water, and fish and chips from about 5 different places. And yes, we talked in a British accent a lot more than we should have. I kept saying we should stop, but it’s really hard not to do when you’re there.

And somehow, D has already been in Primary for a month! Primary is the first phase of actual flight training, not just ground school. He starts with ground classes and then does simulator flights before moving to actual flights in a T6 Texan. D is doing sims this week and unfortunately they’ve all been scheduled for late at night, which means I’ve reengaged in my addiction to Gilmore Girls and had little motivation to cook dinner (popcorn counts as dinner right?). It was definitely nice that his flight tonight was a little earlier so we had more than a half hour together. He doesn’t really know his schedule til the day before and its crazy to think about how unpredictable our lives are. We can’t really plan for two days from now, let alone further than that. (Hence the crazy trip to London when we had the chance). As a worrier, I actually don’t mind not being able to plan because it gives me an excuse to not worry in advance. I’m sure it drives some people nuts, and its definitely tough at moments, but I’m actually loving being forced to go with the flow. It can get a little annoying when other people don’t understand that though. (STOP asking me how long we’ll be in Pensacola 1. It’s not up to us. 2. I DON’T KNOW!!!) It is nice to have other military families who get it – we had a barbecue with some of our fellow military couples on Sunday and it just reminds me of how lucky we’ve been to have been so many places and meet so many awesome people even before this life and how many more awesome people we’ll get to meet in the future. It’s been a little over a year now that I’ve been a navy wife. I think I’ll compile some more thoughts on that later, but for now enjoy this glimpse into our whirlwind trip to *LONDON BABY!
*must be read with your best Joey Tribbiani impression

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How to have a birthmonth

As previously posted, my birthday is kind of a big deal.  I actually don’t really care that much if anyone else thinks its a big deal, but it’s my day  to put away any thoughts of self-doubt and criticism and just celebrate the wonderful awesomeness of me!  (If you think this sounds weird or conceited, stop yourself now and start thinking you’re as awesome as I am, because I bet you are.)  I try to celebrate all month long and in order to do this, I think it is essential to get as many free things as possible 🙂 I had a friend request I share a guide to birthday freebies and since I just picked up my last one for this year, I thought now would be a good time.  If you don’t care about this post because birthdays are not a big deal to you – you are doing it wrong.  Birthdays rock.

First of all, claiming birthday freebies requires some advanced planning.  Most of them arrive as a coupon through email but you have to be signed up well ahead to get on the list in time.  I recommend signing up for freebies about two months in advance – I will usually just spend some time searching online for birthday freebies and make sure I’m signed up for all the ones I want to take advantage of.

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Here’s the free stuff I got this year:

Krispy Kreme – Get a free donut and coffee when you sign up for their rewards program and get the hot light app – I got two donuts since I don’t drink coffee
Red Robin – Free burger with their Royalty club
Cinnabon – Free Mochalatta chill – I swapped it for a Cinnabon instead
Sephora – Free Fresh brand facial wash and rose mask with a Beauty insider membership (gifts vary every year)
Jersey Mikes – Free sub and drink on your birthday (I think Firehouse subs does the same thing)
Buffalo Wild Wings – Free snack size wings (8 wings)
Baskin Robbins – free scoop
World Market – $10 coupon with rewards – I got a mixing bowl for a dollar
Moe’s Southwest Grill – free meal w/drink purchase
Ulta – Free mini mascara with rewards membership (gifts vary every year)
Starbucks – Free drink on your birthday -you have to register a starbucks card, but I forgot mine and the lady gave it to me for free anyway
Banana Republic – $15 towards a purchase if you’re a luxe cardholder
Panera – free birthday Pastry with MyPanera membership – mmmmm giant chocolate chip cookie
Marble Slab Creamery – $5 towards your ice cream I did splurge $1 extra to get the dipped waffle bowl, download rewards app
Ihop – free stack of pancakes with email sign up

My absolute favorite birthday freebie is the coupon from Benihana, but unfortunately we don’t have one here. You really can’t beat salad, soup, steak, lobster, onions, zuchinni, mushrooms, and ice cream for like $7. There’s quite a few more that I was either too lazy to claim (ie Chili’s dessert, $5 off Red Lobster, dessert at Fuddrucker’s) or we didn’t have close by (Friendly’s, Outback Steakhouse, PF Changs, Rita’s water ice) Some offers are buy one get one, like Qdoba and Dairy Queen blizzards. And then there’s some places that will send you birthday discounts like J Crew Factory and Container Store.

The best thing to do is spend a little time googling before your birthday to see whats currently available, or if you have some favorite places check them to see if they’ve got a birthday deal.
Click here  for another list to get your started on collecting freebies.
If this many restaurants and stores think your birthday is a big deal, shouldn’t you?

My favorite month.

It just goes that the more fun stuff we have to blog about, the less time I have to blog!  A late happy anniversary to this blog, its been a year since I started writing about all our new adventures.  This month has been busy busy busy but thankfully its been a good busy.  First of all, its my birthday month! Yes that’s right, I don’t just have a birth-day, it’s at least a month long celebration.  Especially this year because I turned the big 3-0. I definitely had some anxiety leading up to this one but now that I not only made it through, but thoroughly enjoyed it, I am totally fine with being done with my twenties.  My actual birthday was great, I went out to breakfast with my friend, spent the day at the beach (a first- yay for living in Florida!), got a massage, and then out to dinner with D.  (And watched 13 going on 30 for good measure).

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So I told D I wanted to furnish our screened-in porch for my birthday.  The only thing I absolutely wanted in a house was a screened-in porch, since I felt it was un-Southern not to have one, but its been sitting bare since we moved in other than a few very uncomfortable wooden chairs.

 

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I was happy to finally be able to enjoy some of our nice spring weather on the porch and wasn’t expecting anything on my birthday.  Needless to say I was very surprised to come home to this waiting for me:

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That’s right, D surprised me with an Apple Watch! I’m still not quite sure I know how to use it, but I’ve been having lots of fun this week trying to figure it out. Now to get D one so we can send heartbeats to each other ❤

My friend also turned 30 this month so we celebrated this week with an 80s party at the roller rink.  I did not realize what a workout it would be! I was prepared, however, that I would be a hot mess trying not to fall, and I’m happy to say I only ate it three times, which I’m pretty sure is a record for me.  Besides the black bruise and rugburn on my knee makes me feel legit.  It was a blast.

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And in addition to all the birthday madness, D finished API this week!  Which means a few weeks ago he had his flight suit Friday, basically a little party at the O club (Officer’s club) on base to celebrate being done with academic tests and getting to wear their flight suits for the first time.  It was pouring torrential rains that day, so we took a few pics at the museum before rather than outside the club.  D has had a lot of fun since then doing survival training – experiencing hypoxia (supposedly monitored, eek!), ejection seat training, escaping from an upside down helicopter underwater – you know your typical stuff any pilot does right?  I’m so proud of him for the hard work he’s put in and excited for him to move on to the next step.  (Of course, we’re back to more waiting in between).  He checked in to Whiting Field in Milton and hopefully will find out next week when he’ll start primary flight training.  So excited for him to be up in the air again!

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And here’s a ridiculous puppy portrait for your enjoyment in honor of his 8 month birthday.

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Sometimes I wish states didn’t exist

Like when they have completely different requirements from licensure. MFT is a newer field, so there is no consistency state to state. Unfortunately the board in Florida made me take an extra graduate course to satisfy one of their requirements. They also told me this a week after fall semester started, so I had to wait until January to start the course (rather than taking it during the two months I had off before I started working again . . . grrr). But I’m DONE! I will say, it was pretty easy and not what I would consider graduate-level work except for this last week because I had to write my first paper in 4 years. I am happy to say I survived, everything is in and I just have to wait until next week to get my final grade. Hopefully that means very soon after, I can go back and change everything back to LMFT. I really miss that L.

Note for military spouses: This is definitely something you’ll experience again and again as you move around the world no matter what your field. Thankfully some states recognize this and have expedited processes or reduced fees for military spouses (yay for Florida, boo for Oregon). I have discovered, however, that you do have to do a bit of legwork to make that actually happen (Hint: Very BLUNT, semi-angry emails to the supervisors of supervisors seem to help to get the ball rolling). I also realized I should have looked into scholarships and grant money for spouses a lot sooner. I had to pay for my course before I did enough research, but most programs will only give you money in advance, rather than reimburse you.

D has two more tests left in API- eeek! We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that all continues to go as well as its been going so that we can celebrate (and just take a giant breather) this weekend. Any extra luck sent our way would be appreciated!

Stressed but thankful

So one of the joys of military life so far (please pick up on sarcastic tone here) is the back and forth between D working hard and hardly working.   There’s been a lot of waiting since we moved down to Pensacola, which in some ways was really nice, but its pretty tough to transition from doing practically nothing to working basically from waking up til going to sleep 7 days a week.  Since API started, D has been gone for about 10hrs a day for school and spends the rest of the nights and weekends studying at home or with his study group.  We do Friday date nights which helps, but its kind of hard going from probably spending too much time together to hardly spending time together at all.   D has been doing great on all his tests (he has two a week) but its pretty intense.  If he doesn’t get an 80 or above, then they have to roll back and join another class, which could mean several more weeks (sound familiar?).   And on top of the academics he’s had PT tests and swimming tests (including swimming a mile in a flight suit – eek!).  We’re both really hoping that he continues doing well so this craziness is as short as possible!  As for now, I’m spending lots and lots of time with this guy:

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Last week was especially rough for me because we had another tornado on Tuesday.  If you haven’t heard about it, it was pretty bad – thankfully no one was killed or even seriously injured in our area, but there were a lot of homes and buildings destroyed.  (You can read more about it here.)  When I told D I had rescheduled my clients so I wouldn’t have to work that night, he didn’t even know what I was talking about because he was holed up in class all day.  He was way too stressed with studying to really care, while I was prepping food and water and trying to figure out how to keep us and our fur babies safe.  I finally convinced D to take shelter in our bathroom when the news said that a “deadly and dangerous tornado” was directly over our area of the city and the lights started flickering.  We stayed in there for about 15 minutes and when we came out, found that the tornado path and damage was only a mile from our house.  I felt so weird all week with how close it was.  How people’s lives were completely turned upside down just a mile from us, while we just went on with going to work (driving right by the damage) and living our normal life.  I know  with living in this area there will definitely be more crazy weather, but I really hope we don’t see worse than this.  We’re feeling very grateful to have been spared (again) from any damage.  I hope we can always remember how lucky we are in so many ways.

If you’d like to donate to help the families affected by the tornado you can go to helpNWFLrecover.org

 

Moon pies & valentines

We’ve had a fun few weeks with holidays, family, and new friends!  We survived our first Mardi Gras which, can I say is perhaps one of my new favorite things?  Because I’m pretty sure I won’t be satisfied by a regular parade anymore.  Who wouldn’t love a few hours of having free beads, moonpies, coozies (didn’t even know what these were lol), stuffed animals, teeshirts, and other completely random but totally awesome stuff thrown at you? Word of advice: don’t eat anything but the chocolate moon pies.  Trust me. I also made my first king cake and shared it with some our friends for the superbowl, and I got the slice with the coin so that means I’ll be making another one next year.  And possibly every year after regardless of whether or not we live in the South.  Despite all the crazy things I had heard about Mardi Gras (which I’m sure are all true), the family-friendly version ROCKS.

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And in other news, I’m back to loving on my sweets . . . valentine’s will do that to you.

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D’s parents came for a visit for President’s weekend, it was lots of fun showing them around town a little bit – we were able to visit the beach, farmer’s market, downtown, Joe Patti’s, the aviation museum on base, and of course lots of yummy Southern food.  This last Monday a storm went through – we missed the worst of it while out to dinner and came back to the neighborhood pitch black with lots of massive trees blocking the roads.  I’m feeling incredibly grateful this week that we missed the worst of the tornado and only had to spend a night without power.  My heart goes out to the familes that weren’t so lucky.IMG_2845

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Feeling most grateful for this guy, who finally officially started flight school! He’s in API (Aviation Preflight Indoctrination), which means lots of ground school classes, swimming, land survival, and dunker training.  What D has called “academic hazing.”  That means constant studying for him, and lots of time with the puppy for me.  The next few weeks will be pretty tough for him, but I know he’ll rock it just like anything else he sets his mind out to.  And I can’t wait to see him in his flight suit! (Okay I actually got a preview, but he didn’t have all the patches sewn on and it wasn’t official so doesn’t count.)  Also, looking forward to a few girls nights during the endless amount of study groups.

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