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Yet another New Year.

resolutions

 

Yes, yes, well here we are again.  I just love New Year’s, don’t you?  So full of hope and goals and cookies from this past week. Now is my chance to get thinner, eat better, be a better more patient parent and wife.  I’ll plan play dates for my kids and cook better meals.  I’ll organize the entire house and keep it that way. I’ll organize my business better and be more consistent with marketing. I’ll exercise regularly, meditate daily and get together with my besties more often. I’ll get more involved in social action for worthy causes…

Who am I kidding?.  I can’t even stay on top of the laundry or dishes.
So, what’s the alternative to New Year’s Resolutions?  Don’t make any? Don’t strive to be ‘better’? Maybe pledge to get more comfortable with the chaos of life? Or maybe pick one – just one – aspect of my life to work on. One little piece that’s like a key that could unlock some of the doors standing in the way of everything else.
Why aren’t I more organized, patient, creative and engaged in self care? Well, usually because I’m so tired all the time.  And I’m tired so often because I don’t go to bed early enough because I crave some time alone after the kids go to sleep.  But if I went to bed earlier, I wouldn’t snack as much which would help the expanding waist line thing AND might give me a little more patience during the day and a little more energy for everything else.  What if I just tried for like a week – not a whole year – and then check in with myself to see how it’s going?
See, I think that most of our problems could be solved by little changes that have really big effects.  Like sleeping.  Or drinking water. Maybe moving our bodies a little more. And being kind.  Just a little bit more than usual.
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So, this year, my official resolution is to be kind enough to myself to get more rest on a regular basis.  At least for a week.  Let’s resolve this year to pick one small thing we’d like to change for a small amount of time. And let’s resolve to do our best and be kind to ourselves if that doesn’t go so well.  We can always try again next week, next month or after lunch.

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Berning Down the House

I’ve been a little overwrought lately.  For the last seven days, to be precise.  I knew how much I would hate this election.  I also knew that it would be worse, no matter who won, the day after.  And the day after that.  And maybe even for a few more days.

I hate politics.  I really do.  But I really love living in the United States.  And I’d like to keep it that way.  I know there’s room for improvement.  Ok.  A LOT of room for improvement.  Kind of like my house.  I really love it, but it’s kind of messy.  There is lots of room for improvement.  It’s cluttered.  We have way too much stuff.  I keep trying to fit things in that just don’t fit – in drawers, under the bed, in cabinets…

Speaking of cabinets, I’m sure I can fit in a few more boxes of cereal, maybe some spices, an extra roll of paper towels.  You know what I can’t fit in?  A white supremacist.  I don’t believe there is any room in anyones cabinet for an “alt right” leader.  Not even a tiny one like the size of an expired canister of baking soda.  cabinets-426385_640Not in a drawer or under the bed.  Not in the rain or on a train,  with a mouse or in the White House. And I don’t know what to do about this kind of shit.  I. just. don’t.

So, I called Bernie Sanders today.  Because I figured if anyone knew what to do, it might be him.  Unfortunately he wasn’t available to take my call personally, but his office staff ably answered my questions and provided guidance along with validating that mine was not the first call like this, but that the phone had been ringing off the hook from people all over the country just like me.  She is keeping track of all the calls coming in which will be reported to Mr. Sanders.  She said that Bernie is currently advising us all to stay informed, stay together and to get involved in the issues that are most concerning to us.  Within a few weeks, he will be posting what he is specifically working on and how.  It will be posted on his website under press releases under ‘newsroom’: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom

While I’m waiting for his action plan, I wrote to my 2 senators and 1 house rep:

Kelly Ayotte: https://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact

Jeanne Shaheen: https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/

Frank Guinta: https://guinta.house.gov/contact

My email said something like:

Dear ___________,   I am a NH resident who is very concerned about the results of this presidential election.  I respectfully ask that you urge President Elect Donald Trump to rescind his appointment of Steve Banner to Chief Strategist to the President of the United States of America.  Sincerely, Lorryn Kinkaid

If you don’t know your people in the White House, google links for your state senators and reps in the US House of Representatives.  Copy and paste my letter or write your own.

Think no one hears your voice?  This article in the Times Magazine is promising and proves they are listening.  At least Harry Reid of Nevada is.  http://time.com/4572395/harry-reid-speech-donald-trump-stephen-bannon/       Let’s hear your Senators speak up on your behalf.

 

On my agenda for democracy are a few action items.  This isn’t set in stone so I might revise from time to time as needs arise.  Like laundry could quickly top the list when we run out of socks. But for now:
1. abolish the electoral college
2. abolish super delegates
3. campaign reform

A brief and mostly factual history of the electoral college.
Started in late 1700’s due to lack of internet.  It was difficult to get people to know what what going on politically so people were delegated to fill them in – according to region to represent and vote for them in their best interests.  As the dissemination of information became easier, these delegates weren’t as helpful or needed, but were kept on because the amount of them was based on the population. The higher the population of a region, the more electoral college votes just like it is now.  As people started realizing that slavery was insane, population shifted. door-1781593_640 Numbers were much higher in the south because there were way more slaves there even though neither slaves nor freemen in the north were allowed to vote.  So more votes for the south and they liked that so electoral college stayed.  According to several sources I found. “there have been more proposed constitutional amendments to change the Electoral College than any other topic (700 proposals in Congress in the last 200 years!). Gallup reports that only about a third of Americans support keeping the institution.”  from fivethirtyeight.com  It’s not easy to change.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and continue to try until it happens.  SO…


Here’s what I accomplished today to eliminate the electoral college.  You can do the same.
1. I signed a petition on change.org that would tell the Electoral College to change their vote to the popular vote which would allow Clinton to win.  This is frowned upon, but legal.  They don’t cast their votes until December 19th.  I don’t love this idea, but support it because the popular vote should be the deciding factor.  This is the link:
2. Go to: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/ and click on ‘Easy Way to Write Your Legislators’.  Fill out the form and emails will automatically be sent to your State Reps.  You can also request contact info on your State Reps that you can use in the next step #3
3. Write emails directly to your local legislators.  To find you State Reps for your area go to:
http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/  Then write an email to each one of them.  It can be the same email – just don’t forget to change the name if you’re copy/pasting.  This is the letter I wrote.  Use it/change it/ write your own.
Hi Debra,

I am a Plaistow resident who is very upsetin light of this week’s election.  I am wondering if you support the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact which would allow presidential candidates to win the election based on the popular vote.  I firmly believe that the Electoral College needs to be eliminated, but this would at least be a step in the right direction.  If you have not currently supported this, what can I do as a citizen to help.  Is there someone else I should contact aside from the 4 Reps for Plaistow?  Can I start a citizen’s petition?
Any guidance would be appreciated,
Thank you,
Lorryn Kinkaid
76 Old County Road
Plaistow, NH 03865
4. I will write an update when I hear back from my reps. Perhaps they will have further advice.  If you want further help with doing this.  If you want to, but it seems overwhelming, I will hold your hand and walk you through it.  I will find your reps, help you word letters, provide you with moral support and email addresses.  Really and happily.

My Country Tis of Thee

All memes aside.  Emails (legal or not) aside.  Tax evasion (legal or not) aside.  What I want to know is how have you come to your decision?  Who have you spoken to?  What have you read? What are you basing your decision on?


Who are your heroes?
What at the qualities of your heroes that you admire?  What are the goals in your life and to what values do you aspire?  What would make you a better person, wife, father, brother, partner? Or did you lose your faith in humanity and yourself so long ago that it no longer matters.statue-of-liberty-500700_640

What do you read?  DO you read?  I do.  I read a lot.  I mean really a lot. Like I read the 200 redacted pages that the FBI released.  I’ve fact checked every. single. thing. that I’ve seen on Facebook that seems implausible – from BOTH sides.  I know more about Benghazi and tax laws and email servers and super pacs and Trump’s wives and children and Bill Clinton’s affairs and Evangelicals and the KKK and the second amendment and Roe v Wade than I’ve ever wanted to know.  I despise politics.  But this election is important.  More important than any other I’ve voted in.

You know why?  Because I’ve also read Mein Kamph by Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr’s autobiography and Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela and Profiles in Courage by John F Kennedy.
I will soon vote for the first female candidate for POTUS not because she is a woman though I am moved beyond my expectations at it’s historical significance.  I will vote for her because despite her flaws, despite any wrongdoing, she is the best choice we have for upholding a country and democracy that we hold so dear.  Our country has a long way to go, but it is undoubtedly the land of the free and the home of the brave to every single one of us who are privileged enough to live here. Is it so horrible that we should elect a man who has no experience and who has gained popularity ONLY by tapping into the anger and fear that is inherent in the human experience.  You want change?  Fantastic.  I’m all for positive change.  You know, the kind that will help us to be better people and offer the more people a shot at a good life with the most opportunities possible. What does that look like to you? And how do you think Trump will manifest this in your very own life?  In the lives of those around you?  In the lives of those who need support the most? Please have an answer to these questions before you cast a ballot in his direction.

What I know is this: Clinton will not repeal the second amendment or any amendment.  She will attempt to tighten background checks and gun show loopholes.  Clinton has a lifetime of experience in politics and helping others.  Clinton has not been convicted of any crimes.  Neither has Trump.  Clinton has used poor judgement at times.  So has Trump. Trump has no experience and has marginalized, polarized and insulted many many parts of our society. The KKK endorsed him.  He engages the support of those who support violence.  Not all of his supporters are violent by any means, but the hate crimes that have recently emerged are in his name.  He is the brunt of national and international comedy.  He is denounced by many in his own party.  Listen to these facts.  If respected GOP leaders don’t trust him, why would you?

I will never, ever know how I would feel if Clinton was Republican and Trump was a american-flag-1109393_640Democrat.  I wish I did because I believe that our party loyalty runs nearly as deep as reason itself and definitely as deep as emotion.  It’s a loyalty that runs through our families and upbringing and home on a visceral level.  And would my reason allow my beliefs to change if that’s what was needed?
I don’t know for certain that Trump is dangerous and will destroy our country, but I’m not willing to give him that chance.  I have seen and read nothing that leads me to believe he has the intellectual ability and emotional stability to run our country.  Am I the least bit curious?  Of course I am.  In the same way that I’m curious to see exactly how the tiger will tear the gazelle limb from limb when it gets caught.  I might route for the gazelle, but I’d place my bets on the tiger.

And like I said, I’ve read a lot.   Have you?

So here we are, a mere few days before Mother’s Day.  Retailers are ramped up into a frenzy and greeting cards are flying off the shelves.  Stress levels of husbands and children around the country are rising exponentially.  And for what?

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A brief Google search comes up with this:  Ancient Greeks and Romans paid homage to their mother goddesses centuries ago. Moving along to more modern times, there came to be a Mothering Sunday in some European countries in which people returned to their ‘mother church’ to celebrate their religion. This eventually morphed into giving small (emphasis on small) gifts to mothers.  Across the pond, we got into the game around the 1800’s when mother’s got together to vye for peace during war time.  In Boston, Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation which was an emphatic call for peace in 1870.  Also known for writing the song, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, she first suggested an official Mother’s Day in 1872.  In 1908, Anna Jarvis worked diligently and succeeded in getting Mother’s Day to become a national holiday in the United States in honor of the hard work of mothering and her own mother’s tireless efforts to improve public health through Mother’s Day work clubs around the time of the Civil War.  Outraged by its subsequent commercialism’, she later boycotted the holiday she founded and eventually was arrested for disturbing the peace at a candy convention. She once said, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”  She never had children herself and was in favor of handwritten notes and simple carnations on Mother’s Day.


I know of people who lost their mother’s this past year and are grieving.  I know people who lost their children this year and are shrouded in shock and despair.  I know women desperately trying to become mothers, people whose mothers haven’t said a kind thing to them in years, people whose children are fighting addiction…the list goes on.  Mother’s Day is a painful ‘holiday’ for a lot of people.  They can’t escape the expectation that this Sunday should be a big party of roses and cards and tearful sentiments and brunches and perfection of motherhood.  This isn’t so different from all the crap that goes along with the other ‘holidays’ of Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.  Don’t even get me started on the winter holidays and their origins and expectations.hiding-1209131_1280
I could say something about how if it’s a rough day for you,  try to boycott social media for the weekend or honor the mother within yourself and then give you all kinds of suggestions for how to do that, but I won’t.  Because I have no idea what you will need and what you’ve been through. I will, however,  share some of personal experiences and why I’m such a hypocrite.


I, too, have gone a little bonkers with marketing my massage services for Mother’s Day.  I have mixed feelings about that.  I know that it’s upsetting for some people to see my posts about it and it’s ignored by some whose news feeds are inundated with other stuff.  I try to keep it off of my personal page and contained to my business page, but it leaks out sometimes because I can’t help myself.  The thing is, is that despite my dislike of the commercialization of this day and life in general, if I don’t market my services, people won’t see that I’m there, my phone won’t ring and I won’t be contributing financially to my family.  If people are going to buy Mother’s Day gifts, I need to throw myself into the fray with a product that moms tend to enjoy and honors my skills.  It is what it is whether I or anyone else likes it or not.


Before I had my own children, Father’s Day used to be my big button pusher.  I haven’t had a relationship with my father in over 20 years.  That’s ok.  It’s my choice, but the whole Father’s Day thing used to trigger me – thankfully less and less as the years went by.  And now it’s redefined by taking our boys to the dollar store to purchase gifts for Bob that they are certain he needs (which is hilarious).  I used to call Valentine’s Day Black Tuesday (or Wednesday or whatever day it fell on).  Getting through the day was painful without a relationship and flowers and dinner out.  Even today, I get sad on Easter.  Though it’s not a holiday with any religious significance for me, it’s a day where most people we know get together with their extended families.  Both Bob’s and my family are out of state and knowing that others are celebrating with their families emphasizes that we are not.  Same with Thanksgiving.  Not everyone feels this way.  Some people are thrilled to have a day off the grid to themselves without any expectations.  That’s ok too.
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It would be great if we could just honor the essence of what each day means in the meaningful way in which it was intended.
 Mother’s Day: peace and love,  Christmas: peace and love, Chanukah: light and love, Easter: renewal and love, Diwali: light and hope, Solstice: light and connection.  Can you imagine if we tried to integrate peace, love, light, renewal and connection into every day? Because that’s what’s it’s all about.  Not greeting cards, chocolates, flowers, jewelry, massages, TV’s, cell phones and every other product on sale.
But again, it is what it is and some of us will be triggered on Sunday.  If you are one of those people, be kind to yourself.  Very, very, kind.

“So what do you want to be when you grow up?” asks my Auntie to my five year old self.

Looking her straight in the eye, I thoughtfully respond, “I want to be a muscular therapist.  I want to rub oils and lotions onto mostly naked people to make them feel better.  I want to learn to lie about what I do to men I meet in clubs and bars when I get older because they won’t be able to wrap their brains around this idea in any sort of adult fashion.  And don’t worry, “ I say to my Auntie’s horrified expression, “I’ll always answer kindly to those people who ask me well into my forties if I’m still doing ‘that massage thing’ as though it’s been a cute little hobby of mine all along akin to making shrinky dinks.”

Disclaimer:  The above is not a true story, but wouldn’t it have been cool if it was?  And I would just once like to respond like this to the next person who innocently asks me if I always knew that I wanted to be a massage therapist. Because, well…IMG_3842 (4)just because.

No one knows that they want to do massage for a living until it happens.  That could be changing a little as it’s as viable a career choice as cosmetology these days.  But in the 1970’s?  No way.  When people ask how I got here, I always say through a long line of confusion.  I always wanted to be dancer.  Or lawyer. Or psychologist.  But mostly a dancer.  So I got my BA in psychology with a minor in modern dance.  And then I became a waitress….for a really long time.  Because I had no idea what I wanted.  And then I decided I should be an astrologist or maybe an herbalist or maybe an acupuncturist and that distilled itself down to massage because going back to massage school was affordable and geographically desirable. And voila – 23 years later, here I am still practicing massage.

And whether luxury or necessity, purchasing therapeutic massage sessions is expensive.  Call it an investment in your health (which it is) or call it an exclusive service (which it can be), it means having to have disposable income equal to half a week’s groceries or so.  I receive fairly regular massage because I barter sessions with other therapists.  If not, I wouldn’t be getting it as often as I’d like.  Or would I?  Why is massage so expensive and does it have to be?

Though I have no regrets with my career choice, it’s not always easy and it much more involved and expensive to maintain than you would think.  For starters, most states require licensing.  That costs between $50 – $200 annually.  Many therapists like myself are licensed in more than one state.  And if you own your own business, you need a $100 – $200 a year establishment license.  In order to be state licensed you frequently need to be nationally certified.  The initial cost of that is $250 and $85 every two years after that.  In order to maintain these licenses and certifications, you need to take continuing education.  You need approximately 12 credits a year and the price varies widely depending on the courses.  I’ll base this on my last workshop which was 32 credits and cost $800.  Yes, I took more than is necessary for the two year period and the credits don’t carry over, but it was an oncology certification that I will actually use as opposed to choosing something convenient and cheap like say an online course about ringworm (yes, they really do offer this for massage therapists) that, fingers crossed, I won’t ever, ever need to know.  Oh and then there’s insurance which generally comes through a professional association.  Mine is the American Massage Therapy Association which is $235 a year.  I personally am also a member of a chamber of commerce like  group – $110 year and of the Society for Oncology Massage – $75 year.

I’m not going to factor in initial schooling since it’s not an ongoing expense, but will just mention that the current rate if you’re thinking about going to massage school, is in the ballpark of $6000. – $10,000.  An average massage therapist might see about 20 clients a week.  That sounds so great, right?  Full time pay for only part time work?  If only!   Those 20 hours are what is bringing in actual money.  There’s also many hours behind the scenes that are part of the career, but not paid out in real time.  Things like scheduling appointments, returning phone calls and emails and texts, writing newsletters, creating and maintaining your websites, record keeping, book keeping, supplies, creating marketing materials, doing the actual marketing, staying current with social media and blogs (shockingly, no one will be handing me a check for sitting here doing the research and writing this post!), etc.  And laundry.  Endless, endless laundry!!

Now if you work in an office for yourself, you pay for rent, supplies (linens, oils, tissues), web hosting, domain name, paper products etc. Costs for this stuff can be anything, but let’s say rent is a modest $400 month, web-site $20, supplies $25. I’m not including start up costs like furniture and office equipment.  And if you have children there is child care that you pay for whether or not your client forgets about their appointment.  Being self employed, there are no paid sick days, vacation, jury duty days, personal days, discounted movie tickets, company dinners or picnics, health insurance or any other benefits.  There are so many other ways to incur costs as well, like online booking programs, advertising, linen services, conferences/summits, and on and on and on…

Now if you’re still with me and your eye haven’t glazed over, I want to mention the current massage landscape which is making it really difficult for independent massage therapist to maintain 20+ clients a week.  When I first started doing massage in 1993, it was very difficult to find a job.  This legit touchy feely stuff was still new and a little suspect.  Then, it got really great as people discovered the benefits of massage and the demand was high.  Now there are massage franchises popping up on every corner like laundromats in the big city.  They have a fantastic business model with membership based programs which give the consumer a monthly massage for approximately $50.  But their therapists are only making approximately $17 an hour so it’s mostly new grads with high staff turnover.

And then there are Groupons and the like where you can get a weekly massage for around $35 a session if you’re willing to travel around and never see the same therapist twice.  The franchises make up the difference in price with volume and the fact that many customers won’t use their allotted massage every month.  And look closely, a lot (not all) of the Groupon businesses will end up going out of business or take a long time to be aIMG_3443ble to honor your appointment because one therapist can physically see only so many clients a week. There is something to be said of finding and sticking with a massage therapist who is experienced in the kind of massage that works for you.  Someone with whom you know what to expect and feel comfortable with.  And that person will get to know you and will remember that you hate to have your toes massaged, but you like country music and having the heating pad on your back.  Personally, if I cut back on take out coffee and clip coupons for my groceries especially for the easy stuff like toothpaste and cleaning supplies, there’s my monthly massage money.  So, I guess I would get regular massage if I wasn’t able to  trade sessions. How about you?

The Countdown Begins

(Apologies for the weird formatting.  Am trying to write this from my phone!)
So here we are on the precipice of another new year. So fresh and clean. We can let go of whatever mess we made of last year and hope springs eternal as the days grow ever so slightly longer. As we creep toward the great divide between 2015 and 2016 people are already laying claim to resolutions and bucket lists. A magical bridge to connect our worlds of intention and action. Resolution bridge is like a beautiful rainbow. A magical segway laid in mosaic prisms of light that beckon us to our brave new world of being better and stronger. We will have more patience with our children, clean more, Facebook less, become more tolerant, make more money.
Yes! Yes!! We cry out.  Lured by the ethereal promise of a better year and less caffeine we break into a run over resolution bridge fueled by its promises and glittery unicorns running along side ourselves. The chasm between years is deep so we run faster. We will conquer! Our bodies, our finances and once and for all our hair!!!

It’s a long way down people. And rocky and jagged. Actually no one really knows what’s down there because we keep our eyes on the prize. The carrot on a stick before us in the shape of (drum roll please) The Perfect Diet!! Gosh darn it, we will be thinner this year. Only two more days until the starting gun so line up the cheesecake and wine. Better throw another pie in the oven to eat for dessert after the Chinese food binge before the big day. It’ll be nothing but carrots and celery to munch on during football on January 1st. Well, maybe with just a little of that buffalo dip for flavor. And so it starts. And ends. Simultaneously.

Here’s the thing. There is nothing wrong with goals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn a different language or commit to stripping the beds and washing the sheets more often than never or even to fit back into your favorite jeans. It’s okay to want to look good just for vanity sake and to do something about it. When we like the way look we feel more confident and are more comfortable being a part of this crazy world we inhabit.

Here’s what dieting will NOT do. If and when you lose that 10, 50 or 100 pounds:
1.Your children will not start listening to you.

2.Your spouse will not start helping around the house more.
3. You’re ex boyfriends/girlfriends will not start rueing the day they dumped you.
What CAN happen is:
1. You can spend a lot of money on the perfect plan, equipment, gym membership.
2. You can get hurt by jumping into a new or different exercise routine too quickly.
3. You can lose a lot of weight quickly only to put it back on just as fast.
4. You can get really hungry and irritable.

Here are my words of wisdom for losing weight.

1. Eat food
2. Move your body.
The end.
This might be too simple so let me explain. If you stick with actual food there will most likely not be a problem. You may have to work on portion control and you may have forgotten what food is so let me remind you. Food consists of ingestible materials that contain nutrients necessary for bodily functions. So that cuts out entire food groups.  Like Swedish Fish. And anything cooked by someone who’s name is on a box. Do not let Little Debbie do your cooking. If you wouldn’t feed it to your dog or put it through a food mill for a baby, you probably shouldn’t put it in your own mouth either. And tell anyone who informs you that you’ve packed too many grapes in your lunchbox to shut the hell up. No one ever got fat from grapes or squash regardless of the sugar or starch content.
Now, onto movement. Let me clarify. Movement means taking your body and using it in ways that expend energy for a sustained period of time. Say like 20 minutes or so. You do not need to run marathons or take expensive classes or purchase any special clothing, equipment or smart watches. How about a walk? Throw in a few crunches and wall push-ups and a stretch or two and voilà! You moved! Movement can be playing soccer in the yard with the kids or taking a hula hoop out into the driveway. It can be a dance party in the kitchen.

Body image is so messed up. We will never be happy with our thighs. Believe me. As soon as Eve ate the proverbial apple and noticed her booty, she tried to cover that junk up. It’s been downhill from there.

So how about be a little healthier right this minute. Do something soul filling right now. The better you feel about yourself and your life, the less power French fries will hold over you.

Resolutions are almost always fueled by glitter and unicorns that disappear as soon as the going gets real. And you’re left with only yourself. So be good to you. Take good care of yourself.  Right. This. Very. Minute.