Finishing Law School

Finishing Law School

0 comment Tuesday, September 30, 2014 |
This is actually more difficult of late than it should be. He doesn't want to go outside as the kids next door get him in trouble whenever he's out there (they get into mischief over the fence and the father bellows at the lot as a result which frightens son to death). I've tried getting him to clean his room with some results, but this wasn't very easy - it took an hour just to get him to stop screaming and throwing things because it was "too hard" to do. It took five minutes by the time he decided to finally get with the programme. However, attempts to get him to do a long-abandoned Lego project failed considerably - there are Lego pieces scattered over four boxes and it's "too hard" to look for any of them. I suppose this translates to the often-repeated phrase I've seen online when kids say they're "too lazy lol" to check some FAQs, open a search engine and look something up, or anything else which would involve them doing something for themselves.
"Where's the piece, son?"
"It's not here."
"Go look for it, it's in your room somewhere."
"NO!" Cue huge blowup for no reason other than he wants ME to do the work, and then the explosion of various excuses why the piece must be gone, other than it's in his room and he has to look.
"The cats crushed it!"
"Someone came into my room and stole it!" (not entirely inaccurate, I have found the kittens with pieces of Lego, but this is due to there being so much of it strewn round the room).
He has five massive lego constructions, all of which only managed to survive a grand total of seven days. He broke them with his rough handling and he refuses to put them back together, so there are five boxes, filled with amazing work, which could be taken apart and done again within a few hours due to child's brilliance with the stuff. But, on the whole, he refuses to do it.
Instead, he's turning his attention bloody-mindedly to the one set with a faulty piece. Several bits pop off due to some kind of discrepancy with the pegs and holes, no matter what pieces you try and fit on it. Attempts to get him diverted to something else (because I know what's coming) failed utterly and I finally lost my patience and left him to it. I can now hear him started to whine "nooooooo" as the piece has popped off again for the umpteenth time. Within moments, he'll fling the whole set across the room, then refuse to pick up any of the pieces.
Square one, round and round we go.
"You have to buy me new lego, mum," he tells me, as I eye the boxes and boxes of broken pieces and half-finished projects, the toys which entertained him for all of a day, and then he grew bored, wanting the next new thing. I know what my answer must be - these aren't cheap, but if I say "no" he just keeps repeating "You HAVE to." I guess to his mind I'm only saying no because I didn't hear him properly.
I envy the hell out of people who had kids who could "occupy themselves". I don't have that luxury.

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0 comment Monday, September 29, 2014 |
I received a call two days ago that I am receiving a DLA reward for my son. This decision was VERY swift, considering - it only took just over a month, but then I have kept documentation of everything and had a friend in pensions help me with the application - and I must say it was one of the most frustrating, depressing things I've ever done. There's something about seeing everything I do on a daily basis in black and white that horrifies....still, it's done, and sorted. I don't know what rate it will be, but I'm rather certain it's at least medium - I may even have a mobility award as well. This means I will have a bit extra every month to spend on things for my son - and that means the garden funding becomes more and more feasible! With back payments I may even be able to fund some things I have been struggling to sort out myself, such as getting the garden designer and her landscape crew in to do some of the heavier clearing. I may even be able to save up for paving.
Excited isn't the word!
I'm still waiting to hear about the fencing, but I was told that might be sometime in January, so not too long now. The same for the Rotary Club. Little by little I am chipping at things, and not a moment too soon; son keeps asking about the garden, and where D (the designer) is, and when the flowers will come and (to my shock) if he can grow carrots. That my son is asking - ASKING - for a vegetable fills me with equal parts joy and disbelief.
I'm in touch with a few more groups at the moment; to my dismay, even though I live in an area which has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the UK, the population as a whole can be described as apathetic at best to many concerns of the community. This may be why many of the outer areas have formed up their own initiatives to care for itself, rather than rely upon this city to do so. The disabled and elderly are left to their own devices, we seem to have a higher than average quotient of anti-social youth who get off their community service and talk about what trouble their going to get into. Programmes to deal with many of these issues fall through due to lack of funding, which seems ludicrous considering the amount of money the community seems to have (if the house prices and cost of living is any indication). So, while I'm generally cutting my way through getting this done for myself, I'm turning to ideas on how it might be possible to make this more accessible for people in my situation, as surely I'm not the only disabled parent with a stretch of ground which could be put to more useful ends than growing grass.
In addition to this, it has been postulated that this area could do with a community orchard. I think the idea is a great one, actually (though I also think to myself 'oh good grief, woman, will you THINK before you take on other jobs?!"). I don't know how easy it would be to sort something out, where it would go, or who would even be interested, but nothing ventured....
The most daunting thing about the task which currently seems to be getting bigger each time I look at it is I have no practical training; I like to garden, I love fruit and veg and flowers, but I don't have a degree. I am just a single mum. Desperation is my only goad, and I have to fill in the blanks by reading - and sometimes even understanding it, though garden design mostly sails over my head. I put in what I like; however, taking on something which is looking more and more like it might become a larger project means I need to think things through carefully. If I don't know something, I need to find people who do. Documentation and being able to be convincing is also highly important (thank the gods for all that public speaking I did in Secondary and Uni!). There's also the rather unpleasant truth that for whatever reason, I am going to face opposition - someone will come along and insist everything I'm doing is for nought, and they will demand I prove that what I'm doing is of any use. I'm more than aware that such people usually won't listen no matter what evidence you give them - some folks argue "just because". Still they're not going to go away; has to be dealt with, by hopefully a more level head than mine.
I couldn't really say where all this is going. There is potential for this to benefit not merely myself, but many people out there who love gardening and yet really struggle with the practical bits. Sure, there seems to be loads of advice out there, and advice is great - but when it comes to actually getting someone to man a shovel (or to scrape together the dosh to even BUY a shovel) something is missing. Maybe I'm completely mad for even thinking so large when I haven't even taken the first few steps.
But just like eyeing the bright catalogues coming through the post, I suppose it doesn't hurt to dream a bit in advance.

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0 comment Sunday, September 28, 2014 |
You probably can't see the little-spinny-thing due to the sunlight in sprog's bit of garden, but it's there. I've also placed the toms and chillies in the growhouses on his bit - the one bit of stable ground which isn't going to get dug up, though topsoil will get raked in at that point.
You can see the new plants down toward the bottom - sprog chose the white osteopermum to go into one of his blue pots, and there's chamomile growing in the other. Lined up are the medicinal herbs, peppermint, snapdragon, more osteos, a few dianthus, and the psychedelic geranium.
We ate outside today, and played with bubbles in sprog's bit. We planted some more peas and transplanted the sunflowers into bigger pots - the final pot before I instate them in sprog's bit of garden in a month or so. We've still got more digging to do but I'm waiting on the clemantis and the "Red Rum" bush mallow which I think will look really good along the fence.
So my "weed infested" garden is coming along very nicely, thanks!

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After several decades of desperately wanting to write, giving it up for "real" work, trying another go, getting lost in the "real" world again, and then finally saying "Fine, I'll finish it..." I have. A story I started some time ago finally managed to finish itself for me (as that's how it usually goes) and I have published to Kindle. I expect it may get lost in the crush at the moment as a lot of people are publishing to Kindle at the moment - a fair portion of it rather dreadful stuff - and charging cheap cheap cheap. For me, it's not just about publishing or the royalties at the end, but about bringing some quality stuff out there to get the imaginations of readers going. I think Lon'Aite manages to do that, even if it isn't even remotely "mainstream" (I've been practicing my smile when people say 'Gee you could be the next Rowling' - ugh, no thanks, but I'd be more than happy to be the next Mervyn Peake!).
If you like your fairies a bit "gritty"; if you preferred The Brothers Grimm to anything done by Disney; if you didn't find Tolkien's books to be "too long" or the "words too big"; and if wandering a wood full of bluebells gives you a feeling both of wonder and, ever so slightly, of menace, then I'm thinking you may enjoy walking in Lon'Aite for a while.
Provided, of course, you can find your way back.

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0 comment Saturday, September 27, 2014 |
Another lovely day today, and the whole weekend looks to be glorious. This is A Good Thing.
I can't do much today, so I'm just staying chilled and giving myself permission to do the bare minimum. What I am doing today however is gardening; LOTS of gardening. I've potted my toms and peppers up and I'm letting them sit outside in the sun as long as it's over 10 outside, but the toms will take a bit of planning as both varities are interdeterminate. I'm debating doing a wire-system on the eastern wall of the outbuilding, but I don't think that's going to be anywhere near enough light. I could maybe get creative when the fence is installed, provided I can keep Ludo from eating my tomatoes.
Sunflower seeds have been started, and I hope to place them along the back garden fencing if possible, to provide them support and allow them plenty of sun. The zinnias are just about ready to bung into the ground, even though evening temps might drop a bit - I have an old sheet I can use to cover things up toward the end of the day to conserve heat. Swiss chard is planted - I discovered a few years ago that I adore swiss chard, red onion, and bacon fried with a bit of olive oil and garlic, and I can't wait for the stuff to grow! Sprog's experimental turtle bean is potted up (it needs hotter weather though so I don't think it will do much). Peas are just starting to break free from the ground, so it will be time to plant the next lot soon. Round carrots are planted - I normally wouldn't bother with carrot plants bought from a nursery as transplanting carrots is iffy, but I've wanted round carrots this year for sprog and yet couldn't find any seed for them for some reason. So, taking a chance on the experiment and I've got some now. I will still plant the Rothchild carrot seeds I have, however, possibly in between the zinnias. They're a few years old, though, so I have no idea what the germination rate will be like, but we'll see how we do.
I potted up more potatoes but I still have about ten more. Good grief, where to put them?! I have an old-style bin in the shed area which I am considering cutting in half - one half for the rest of my potatoes, the other half for the squash, which is growing like mad and soon will be ready for hardening off. That should do; I'll be utilising the compost in a half-and-half growing mix for both the toms and the squash, to give them a good start.
Even with the pots I managed to salvage from the far neighbours, I'm running out of containers to plant in. I'll be turning my attention to all kinds of stuff kicking about the house which I may be able to press into service; juice cartons, plastic buckets and old storage bins. If I can fill it with dirt and give it a bit of drainage, I will plant in it. I've done it before, and I'll do it again. I may just cut slits in the tops of the compost bags I have and use them as growbags.
Strawberries are enjoying their new planting system, and I am topdressing with compost and watering in well. I want a good crop this year, and this means lot of fertilising. I have used organic strawberry fertilising pellets in the barrels this time round when I planted in, but I'm going to do my best to keep on top of the fertilising this year - the crop last year was pretty crap, so going to do things right this year if I can manage it.
Fruit in general seems to be promising; the rather weedy looking raspberry cane I planted is now going great guns in the compost I've placed them in. The cherry tree is starting to bud out, and seems to be happy in its pot. Just going to nuture this fruit this year and make sure it gets a good start so that it will hopefully produce next season - the raspberry canes may find themselves in one of my big pots, tied to a centre stake, once the spuds are done and I have a large pot free. I still want a mulberry but all in good time.
The water-barrel is nearly empty, which is good as it's never been cleaned out, and the bottom is filled with a rather nasty, slimy sludge - hence I've had to fill my watering can from the top rather than the bottom. In the next few days, I hope to nearly empty it entirely of water so I can give it a clean out in time for what appears to be next week's rain. I seem to collect a lot of rainwater with the system so I'm very grateful for the barrel being there and I want to keep it in good condition.
Wumpy house has been chosen! With luck we can get the ground level enough that we can place the house on supports or some substrate and put it right into position in mid-May. At least that is the hope! Of course, sprog wants it painted blue, so outdoor paint and primer will be sorted, as well as a spider-scarer. Nasturtiums have been planted in the salvaged blue and white pots to go outside the Wumpy House, and I've found a really cool sand pit which has a cover so I hope to get that some time in June, cash allowing.
I've got dirt under my fingernails and my leg is throbbing a rhumba up my nerve endings, but I'm sitting on my bed in sunshine and gazing outside at spring with a huge smile on my face.
Bring it!

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...but it's bitter cold!
I was out and about this morning; dentist trip with sprog (he's got a cavity but with a child who can sit still for only 2 minutes at a time, getting him desensitised enough to sit for it to be worked on can be time-consuming), then round and round getting a few deliveries made and copies run off. It figures, when I got home, the sun decided to come out, but at least it's given all the seedlings a good bit of light.
I visited a friend with Languishment and discussed our various propogation plans for the year - another friend of ours was made redundant this year and she is also turning to growing to supplement her groceries. In our wee social circle, we're trying to get together to trade cuttings, seedlings, surplus plants and also put together a plan for attending Pick Your Owns and how to store our food if we don't have a bunch of freezer space; with the way we've been cut off from grocery deliveries the last two winters, we've all decided we don't want to face difficulties, especially as disabled people, so we're banding together on this and many other levels. We're putting together sewing sessions and embroidery and all sorts of other stuff, tightening our belts and helping one another out - all of course with our own unique touches. Typical hausfrau we are not! Tattooed, pierced, black velvet gawth types but still embracing the Old Skool.
So this means my own efforts of growing from seed is not only for us, but anything extra I can't cram into the ground or a pot will still have a home! The asters and zinnias are doing well, the lavender even coming up - not a great germination rate, but I expected that, at least it's something! Tagetes are doing well and the sage is coming along nicely. I planted the tom seeds after doing a "wet germination" (wrapping them in bits of damp toilet roll) and the peppers have also been started. Sprog insisted we plant some peas even though it's early, but he's so excited to watch them grow I figured it was worth doing - my non-veg eating child happy about peas is a good thing! Even the black bean has sprouted, to my surprise, and I hope it will make it. I still have seed to propogate but I'm still out of dirt - may need to ask next door so I can get some potting soil to get the next wave of seeds going. Then again I may be able to give the compost a check in a few weeks and see if I might be able to mix it with the front compost pile to plant in. We'll see.
I'm still waiting on my potatoes to arrive so I can get them chitting. My shallot and onions sets have arrived, however, and once again it's just a matter of having the dirt to plan them in as my long windowboxes should do the trick for those. They can share space with the leeks and carrots. I've got ideas about where to put the growhouse but I still need to wait on the works in March before I can set up - and the toms won't need it till Aprilish anyway, so no rush.
After a somewhat productive day in the outbuilding I have managed to almost clear the space for the homebrew shelving. I've got my eye on a strawberry cider kit which sounds too good to pass up! My homemade ginger beer is also very nice to have on hand, is easy to make, and I embellish it with mint or strawberries from the garden. I've got my own ginger growing right now and I'm hoping to have a fair stash of the stuff by the end of the year if I can treat all the cuttings well enough.
We're coming to the end of Feb now, and it's time to wait on pins and needles for the first grant decision, as well as cross fingers for the charity work coming at the end of March to clear, pave, prune, and fill in some topsoil so I can start getting things outdoors properly.
It doesn't feel like it yet - and this week is going to get colder still - but spring will happen soon. Can't wait!

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0 comment Friday, September 26, 2014 |
The lotus blooms with the rising sun and close at night. Similarly, our minds open up and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. It remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too can and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances.
This won't be a fun post; this is me lancing a wound which has festered for much too long. This is my attempt to reclaim someone I was, oh, years ago, but who I have had to forget due to just trying to hold things together. When you lance a wound, it smells awful - it lets a lot of horrible gunk out and it gets everywhere. It's not a very antiseptic process, but it allows things to get better.
It will get better.
I have been trying to be "friends" with the ex for some time now - but I've had several bombs dropped on me lately. It's his old behaviour, really; leave me in the dark until he's managed to establish what it is he wants to establish, and then tell me after the fact when it would be even more damaging for me to try and fix the issue. The surrogate child which he has laded time and money on because she's pretty much everything sprog isn't - the room-mate who is now a girlfriend (but isn't really, or something). I already guessed, and tried to call him out on it, but he denied it - even claimed I was being ridiculous. Well, I was right. Thing was I didn't understand the extend of things. How bad it was getting, and how it was affecting my son.
Lately my son has been exhibiting some worrying behaviour; angry and working himself into a nervous frenzy when waiting for his father. When his father came for sprog's Daddy Day on Sunday my son was nearly at meltdown point. I've never seen this before - he used to be all smiles, now his dad showing stresses him out. I realised why soon enough - even though of course his father didn't say anything to me; he'd brought the girlfriend and daughter with him for Sprog's day out. I could see them in the car. I couldn't believe it. A day which is supposed be just for him and Sprog has now turned into a family affair. In short, the one day during the week he gets to see his dad, a day which should be all about HIM, is instead divided up four different ways - 100% attention turns into 25%. For a child with autism, that's - well, that's hell.
When sprog came home, he had a huge meltdown over something completely unrelated. This resulted in ex giving him a softly-softly routine I've never seen him do before; a routine he's obviously been using on a child other than his own. The end result? Even through sprog's yelling, he was smiling. Again, I was stunned; he was acting up because he was getting attention; probably the first completely focussed-on-him attention he'd received all day. I wish I could say I kept my temper but I didn't. I was so furious. I ushered ex immediately out of my house, had to play Evil Disciplinarian to stop the tantrum - and after five minutes of my methods, it was all over. I talked to my son as gently as I could, and found out his father has been bringing his Surrogate Family to every single outing they've had. "She has to come! Daddy said!"
Dear gods...
I talked to three different child professionals, just to see if I was going to blow my stack over something trivial. That's what I've learned being married to ex, you see; all my friends think I'm the "strong-willed one" who rules the roost. It's not true; every time I've ever had a concern or could see something was wrong, I was dismissed as being "illogical". After all, Ex is the one with the IQ no test can measure. That he's also on the Aspergers/OCD spectrum is immaterial - those aren't real diagnosis, they're just trying to hold him back. Any objections I have are due to jealousy (which is true to some point, but after playing the stay at home wife while he was off with girlfriend 1, 2, 3, or 4, that's something I think I can be forgiven), or just not knowing all the facts. That I don't know all the facts because he refuses to tell me them is immaterial. "I'm the only father this little girl has ever had, don't you understand that? What else am I supposed to do?"
I don't know...maybe be the only father your own child ever had? But no, that's just silly, jealous, weak-willed me talking. I've been taught to second-guess every instinct I've ever had. The strong-willed person every single one of my friends thinks I am has completely disappeared into this wishy-washy woman who can't stand up for herself or her son. Well, after all, that was how Ex wanted it.
So, now, I have a son who is desperately using whatever tactic he can to get his father's attention; he'll parrot his father's rationalisations and firmly adhere to them because Daddy is Always Right. But his heart knows something is wrong, and he has no idea what else to do. I can't do anything either - if I tell his father off, forbid the girlfriend and daughter from coming, then I'm the Bad Woman, and my son's ire will come down on my head. It's the way it's always been - ex's family insists I'm the heartless bitch of an ex because they don't realise the girlfriend was in the picture several months before our breakup. They don't know there were seven girlfriends by the time I finally gave up on the Ex; that he was home only three nights out of the week. They "don't know all the facts"; and I don't have the energy to fight the argument.
I know on some level the Ex doesn't realise what he's doing; it's the Aspergers. He truly is incapable of understanding the damage he's doing. But as has been put to me over several days, he is no longer my problem. It is no longer my job to keep trying to explain and explain why this isn't good for our son, and why sometimes I'm not just being a jealous bitch, but I'm actually trying to save the relationship between him and his son. And it's become brutally clear to me that he'll continue to "not tell me all the facts" and just do as he pleases - until I find out, get angry, and then realise there's nothing I can do and have to acquiesce.
He wants to "stay friends"; not for Sprog's sake - but because to a person with Aspergers, change is scary. To actually have to finally sign the divorce paperwork, to have me completely out of his life - that would be a change. He wants everything to stay exactly as it is, for the world to do exactly what he thinks it should do. He's also the most manipulative man I've ever met; physical violence against women is one thing, but let me tell you - mindgames are much, much worse. If I anger my ex, I know I'll pay for it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, it might not come till 10 years from now, but it will come. He'll find a way to completely crush and destroy my world, and he'll never be caught, never be blamed. But he'll make sure I know it was him. I'm completely sure of it.
There is a part of me - the small grieving young girl in me who got enough abuse as a child that i swore I would never ever be involved with an abusive man like my father- who has just realised this is abuse. I've fallen right back into the mess I swore I'd never do. It doesn't matter if he has Aspergers, just like it doesn't matter that the physically violent man is a victim himself and cannot help himself. He's doing it - and I reason I haven't stuck up to him is because I know he'll get back at me. Just like every domestic abuse victim is terrified of leaving her fist-heavy man.
Good god, how did I become this?
"We'll stay friends." But friends are people I can trust. It's become quite clear I cannot trust this man anymore. It may feel like kicking a puppy, he may get that blank look of incomprehension on his face - "What is your problem? I'm not doing anything wrong; I have to move on with my life!" Yes, he does - but he doesn't want anyone else to do the same, to leave him behind and leave him alone. He hates being alone and unadored more than anything else in the world - that's why he needed a harem of women to always be there when he needed the reassurance.
That's not my job anymore.
I want him completely out of my life. I don't want to store his stuff here because he doesn't have the money for storage - if he wasn't spending money on a child that wasn't his, he MIGHT have the funds to do this sort of thing. I don't want phone calls of "Hey, what's wrong?" - that same note of utter lack of comprehension after he's just dropped yet another bomb on me. I need to not only lance this wound, but cauterize it. No contact, no more, at all, ever again. I'm no longer his translator to the Mainstream Social Game. I need to move on with my life too - and that means getting him completely out of mine.
I'm calling on legal aid today - he wanted to avoid the full on divorce route because he said it would "be too expensive" but then he's the one making the upper-end six digit figures. He can stop buying clothes for his surrogate child, stop blowing money on his replacement family and deal with his original one first. Then he's free to do as he likes. But it's time for not just him to move on, but me as well, and not to trust to him to settle things as I know he'll do so in his favour, not mine. I'm tired to constantly looking for traps and wondering if I've being told the whole truth. Let that be someone else's job. And whatever damage will be done with his relationship with his son is also no longer my problem. I can only be there to dry my son's tears and assure him no matter what, I love him.
Somewhere along the line - not now, it doesn't feel possible now - I'll have to learn not all men are scum. I honestly don't know if that's possible. I'll have to learn to rise above the wave of hurt and shock and betrayal and not turn into a bitter woman. I watched my mum do it; and I see myself already following in her footsteps against all my better wishes. I don't want to turn that bitterness to my son, and ruin my relationship with him as well - never being able to move past the man who betrayed her, never moving on.
I want to remember who I used to be; the cackling laughing woman who loved her makeup and her dramatic clothes and wild curly hair. I want to remember what it means to not give a damn when people stare at me - whether it's because they see my ex snogging his girlfriend in front of me, or the way my son starts to scream for no reason, or because I have a piercing and am a tall, fat chick or whatever else they take umbrance to. I want to remember what it was like to dance wherever I pleased and not shrink in the public eye, stammering apologies for being disabled, having a disabled son, for being poor, or black, or too tall, or just for existing. I used to wave the Two-Fingered Salute to greed and cruelty and took care of my own and damn the consequences.
It may mean I Pimp My Ride and tie dye my wheelchair. I'll wear any damn shoes I want because I won't have to walk in them much. I'll watch videos over and over with sprog and we'll shake our bums and play hula-hoops. Fine, and good. But it also means I want to not play "just friends" with a man I no longer even want to see. That I don't have to constantly explain why four different psychologist for children say child time needs to be 100% his time - and no, it's not because they don't understand. I don't want to be clung to in a death grip because someone else can't face change. I don't want to fight a battle I should no longer have to fight, or discover after-the-fact truths.
I fully expect to see a wedding ring on his finger as soon as the ink dries on the divorce paperwork. But then, I also fully expect to hear that the girlfriend of convenience wakes up and realises that a surrogate man she isn't really attracted to isn't worth keeping around, even if it will hurt him to say goodbye. Either way, either way, I don't want it to matter to me. I want that wound lanced, clean and healed over without the scab being constantly knocked off to bleed anew.
I'm trying to get the lotus to bloom. To tend it, nuture it, and make it happen. Let's see if I still have the knack to grow, rather than to just wilt and sink below the waves.

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