24 August 2022


 So....guess who had to spend time with shmamazon customer service today?  Yep, it's Me.

One week, almost to the hour, I am tracking down where three large boxes of socks have gone.  The tracking numbers state that two of the boxes have arrived. One of the boxes is "damaged" and was last seen in Lathrop, CA.  Because, of course.

(for context, if you're confused: read this first)

The mother-in-law's shmamazon account did not reflect any progress in this return so I went to check their banking account.  Since I last logged in, they have instituted multi-factor authentication, which is great. Until you're trying to hack into your parents account.


Kevin came in right as I was debating my next step.  "Well, it seems like you have to go over there." he says.  "Not it" he says.  Funny, helpful.

We walked over there - he took mercy - and he asked them if they had checked their account recently.  Yes, they said emphatically.  When? Kevin asked.  .....they think it was Monday?... but the money wasn't IN THERE.  I tried to ask how they checked and did not get a clear answer.  I believe they checked because their monthly bank statement arrived.  (I know, right)

THEN...because there's always a then...the mother kind of pouts and says "You would think that they would Call Me to check about this weird order before they sent it."

How did you do with not reacting to that?  It's tough, isn't it?

We explained that there are millions...probably billions...of customers and that was an unreasonable expectation.  She accepted but did not enjoy that answer.

So we came back to the house.  I resigned myself to sitting on the phone with customer service.  Well, to my surprise, it went quickly.  

Here's how to do that:

Search shmamazon customer service telephone number.  (don't try to find it via their site)

It will give you the link to the page to phone them. Go there then Enter your number and click Call Me Now

Your phone will immediately ring but don't panic, it's a robot at first.

Here's the key to THAT:  press either # or * or the ZERO key multiple times.  The system will tell you "Now transferring you to an agent"  This works on all phone trees, usually.  You're welcome.

I got a lovely person named Pam, which made me think of The Office.  I was skeptical that they would allow me access to her account but I had all the right answers to the questions and had access to her email to verify.  WHEW.

Now, how do you succinctly explain that you returned three boxes of one-hundred-ish socks?  And that one of the boxes was "damaged" and not delivered?  

Somehow I managed.  She began to process the refund but then needed to know "How much do you expect the refund to be?"  That's a fair question but MATH.  I explained that how ever much three boxes of socks cost but "I don't math, I'm sorry."

She kind of giggled quietly and said she could help with that.  Then she asked if she could place me on a brief hold so she could complete the transaction.  "Absolutely," I told her.  "I'm just working while you're working"

A few minutes later, she returned and the refund was completed. Unfortunately the transfer of money will take up to seven days.  Key words: up to.  It's usually not that long.  I half-heartedly tried the "They are on a fixed income, is there another way?" tactic but there wasn't.  I sighed and said "Well, this is just a very expensive lesson learned about ordering things."  and again with the quiet giggle from the rep.

Hopefully this will be resolved by Monday and I can stop thinking about it.  I did manage to math and this cost them $143.34, over $50 of which was taxes, shipping, processing, etc.  Those are some expensive socks. It's a bummer but sometimes it takes something like this to get people to understand that they need help.

Finally, Kevin made a joke to the parents about how they "owe" me for fixing this.  Then he followed up with "How about some socks?"  Then he continued with "Fix their phone? Pair of socks.  Make them dinner? Pair of socks.  Let the dog out to go potty? SOCKS."

18 August 2022

144 Pairs

 The other day I thought "It's been quiet, hmmmm"  This is always a mistake. Never, ever, never comment on the quiet of a situation.  Any Situation.

Today the delivery guy was here and I would have missed him except for Lucy running in circles to let me know.  I went outside and asked which house it was for and it was for the parents.  I told the delivery guy to just leave them with me and I will take them next door.

He unloaded one big box, returned to the van, unloaded another then another.  All the same boxes.  Then he said something to himself, got back into the van and retrieved yet another box. 

There were now four large-sized and duplicate appearing boxes in the driveway.  He left and I puzzled about the boxes.  

I am at the beginning of startup for my job and it's been rough.  Early start, more kids, new staff, new schools.  ROUGH.

I stood in the driveway and pondered the boxes.  They weren't heavy and I just couldn't fathom what they might be.  They live in a tiny house so they don't order big things.  I briefly considered leaving them there and phoning my father-in-law to let him know. Then I thought "No, I'll leave them and Kevin can deal with it."  Then I reconsidered because that's just mean. This situation is one of the reasons I'm home all day/every day.

I picked up one box and walked next door.  The siblings-in-law dumb dog was not outside on the parents deck, hooray.  I dropped the box over the gate, returned to get another box, and repeat until all four boxes are now on their deck.

Now I'm standing there, debating whether or not I want to walk in and let them know or just phone them. (they can't see me from the gate)  The boxes aren't heavy or unwieldly so my f-i-l can easily move them.  Also, it's Wednesday and I'm six days away from being in an in-person meeting and we went to an outside event on Sunday.  I'm mentioning this because: I try to avoid close contact with the parents when I've been in that situation.  So, phone them it is.

Returning to the house, I phoned my f-i-l.  He answers the phone the same way, even though he has No Idea who is calling him.  This grates on Kevin but I just find it funny.  I explained that there were four large boxes by the gate.

He sounded surprised.  This is my second clue.  We hang up and I return to work.

About thirty minutes later, my m-i-l phones.  She does this nervous laugh thing that Does grate on my nerves.  "Can you come over?  I need your help"  I answer yes, that I will be over in a few minutes.  "Don't laugh" she says.  Clue number three

I have no choice but to go into the house because they have the air conditioning running. (the lovely PNW is experiencing a heat wave that feels like it will never end)  My f-i-l is giggling.  "See those bags right there?" he points to their table.  "See these?" he says while gesturing with a bag of socks in his hand.

She had ordered...I just can't even...FOUR SETS of THREE bags of TWELVE pairs of socks.  Four big boxes, each one holding thirty six pairs of socks. 144 PAIRS OF SOCKS.

"But those are the Really Good, Best socks" she says as my f-i-l is offering to give bag(s) away to me.  They may be but we don't need dozens of socks.  

As she always does, she said "I don't know what happened. I made ONE order then I didn't think it went through so I went back and just looked."  Yes, her pants are on fire.  She doesn't 100% realize what she's done but she knows that she did Something.

I took her tablet and logged into her shmamazon account.  Sure enough, she had ordered All the Socks In All the World.

I went through the return process and explained to them that I had to take the boxes to the shipping place.  They cannot do it because it's too big of a task for them.  If it had been, say, one bag of socks I would have made them do it.  But not three boxes of socks.

"What do we do with THAT?" she gestures to the remaining box of now opened socks.  

"You keep them because I'm not going to box them all back up to try to return them.  You'll use them, they're socks.  F-I-L, you have socks for the rest of your life!  You can give them to Kevin for his inheritance!"  He laughed, she didn't really.

Now I'm taking the boxes back over to our house and loading them in the suv.  Even though I told my f-i-l that I had it, he came shuffling behind me with a box. Bless his heart.  The boxes were large enough that I had to lay them side-by-side in the cargo area.

I explained that I would return them tomorrow and sent him back to his house.

You might be quicker than me and are thinking "That had to be expensive..."

Because I didn't think about it until I sat back down to work.  I logged into her shmamazon account and OMG.


Almost $600 worth of socks.  Then I panicked, thinking it was put on her debit card.  Somehow, MIRACULOUSLY, it was on her credit card.

I texted Kevin and said "I have to go to town again for the parents", knowing that he would call.  And he did.


All he could do was kind of exhaustedly laugh.  "Let me guess, she didn't do it."  When I confirmed yes, he said something that always makes me laugh "Those bastards ordering things for her."

When I left the house, it was 85 degrees.  Kevin had just fixed the SUV's air conditioning the night before. (because 2022 is so awesome, lolsigh)  I went to a different shipping store, because it's not usually busy.  

It was busy.  And I had three large boxes.  I unloaded them outside of the door, then brought them inside one by one, setting them just inside the door.  Then I waited my turn, I was the fourth person in line...maybe fifth.  Super.

Finally it's my turn.  I took one of the boxes with me, gestured to the other two, and gave her a printout of the QR codes required to send them back.

"Do you know which boxes these go to?"

I kind of laughed, on the verge of losing it kind of laugh

"No, I thought I was being prepared printing those out..."  

She had no suggestions. I went to the internet on my phone, logged into m-i-l's shmamazon account and tried to figure it out.  Realizing it's going to take more than a minute and if I were a person standing in line behind me, I would be resenting me with the power of a thousand suns.

"This is a solvable problem" I tell her "But I will step over here and let someone else be helped. Then I'll step up when I'm ready."  The poor girl looked relieved.

I figured out how to find which box went to which QR code, except I wasn't 100% certain.  I stepped back up to the counter (sorry person who was waiting, I would hate me too) and explained that I had one but the other two were not working.  

She matter-of-factly said "I'll just print three labels and send it then they can figure it out."


She did just that, printed a receipt and off I went. With a Receipt, because I'm not feeling confident about this process.

And I just tried the tracking numbers, twenty-four hours later and THEY WOULDN'T WORK. Cue me, phoning the shipping store to find out that they are in Oregon and on their way to be returned.  I just have to do the one thing I'm not good at: have patience.   However, she said if an issue happens, she can help so that was worth the phone call.

Now we wait. We're assuming this will all work out in the end but we're also assuming that we will eventually get a panicked phone call about a $600 charge on their bill.

Never mention the quiet. 

11 August 2022

Watch and Wait

 I have noticed now that I'm more toward the end of my working career than the beginning, that certain skills I've gained along the way have come in handy in my personal life.

Right now, my job as a data nerd is to review well-child exams to ensure that all exams, immunizations, and screenings are complete.  Sometimes it's tedious, sometimes I learn things that adds to my Grey's Anatomy Medical Degree, and sometimes I learn stuff about the families that I don't need to know. 

 These records are very different than the patient summary that is given at the end of an appointment.

The structure of these records is (usually) this:

  • Health History: any diagnoses, surgeries, procedures, relevant family history, allergies, meds.
  • The patient's narrative (subjective), which is what the patient and/or family member reports at the beginning of the appointment.  
  • Then comes the exam notes, which are the results of all the tests and vitals.  
  • Then there is the summary from the doctor, reflecting on both the narrative and the results.
  • Finally: any action plan. (referrals, prescriptions, etc.)

About a year ago now, I think, because it's all blurry, the parents agreed that I could register for the website where we could see my m-i-l's medical records.  She has since forgotten about it which is exactly why we did that.  They are horrible reporters and always seem to "lose" the visit notes between the office and the way home.

I don't usually look at her health notes but with this last trip to the E.R. I have been.  I reviewed the E.R. notes and the follow-up visit the following day and now weeks.  I wanted to make sure that we were on the same page and that there weren't any surprises for us.

I can't remember if I mentioned this before but while reading her records I'm all "THIS IS A WEB OF LIES"   I do know that I've mentioned before that caring for elderly parents is like raising teenagers. They are lying lying liars.  It's because they want to remain independent and appear healthy and all that, I get it.  But mygawd, the lies. (i.e. she's walking unassisted, she's "eating" properly, she's fine cognitively)

Now it's good to know all of this information that I have gleaned from the records.  However, it's extra frustrating because now we know what is supposed to be being done and also know that it's NOT.  Kevin and I have wavered over whether it's worse or better knowing.  I have had to remind myself/us/them that this is the reason WHY they live with us: so that we can help.

They both will tell you that they are doing good.  If I hear "I'm fine" never again, it will be too soon.  In fact, it just occurred to me, if she has a headstone I am going to lobby to have "I'm Fine" chiseled onto it.  Or "I'm tough", that's the other one that makes us grit our teeth.  It's clear that they're not fine and I think they know they're not fine. But being anything other than that will create the need for big changes.

Along those lines, we can't make them do anything.  We can just explain what the doctors said, we can remind, and we can try to support.  Lesson number 236 of Raising Parents: Say the thing then let it go.

Which brings me to the next part:  After this last fall, there were EMPHATIC discussions throughout the family. EMPHATIC.   Part of the cause of those discussions is that both parents were flip and nonchalant about this whole thing, (see: "I'm fine" "I'm tough") which was making everyone frustrated.  

While WE were feeling all the kinds of frustration with the situation, THEY were feeling judged and browbeaten.  I suspect there was a little embarrassment mixed in there as well.  Again, it's like parenting teenagers and having to decide how much independence to give them before they drive the car into the neighbors mailboxes.  (just an example, not a real thing)  And finding the balance of how to handle it when they do.

As a result, everyone took a giant step back and just stayed in neutral corners for a few days.  That's lesson #237 of Raising Parents - give space when it's needed, even when it feels counter-intuitive.  Kevin has had to stop with his daily "Is everyone alive" calls because they just end in frustration.  And example #eleventy of we're horrible children: She's not going to remember if he called anyway.

Also, to quote my BFF K "the 15-20-minute goldfish-mind reset" has also come into play.  The m-i-l has forgotten some of what has happened, including the post E.R. follow-up visit and it fades more each day.  This was confirmed in the visit notes "the patient is quiet and is having trouble answering questions; such as what year it is, what season it is, and what she ate yesterday."  Also, she will respond "I forgot" when you ask her why she isn't using her walker, etc.  

Gleaning anything to be taken from this post, these are the highlights:

If you can't/don't get a power of attorney, have a family member designated (WITH EVERY DOCTOR) as an advocate so you can call the doctor for updates, advice, etc.

Sign up for the online medical records with each clinic where the parents are patients so a person can read about what's actually happening.

This is the most difficult: Say the thing then let it go.  Back to the teen analogy: you can tell your daughter tens of times that this boy is trouble or they need to study for that chemistry final.  They're only going to listen so much and will still make their own choices.  Sometimes they are going to get hurt and sometimes they are going to fail.

Sometimes all a person can do is watch and wait.  

08 August 2022

Get You A Kevin

 I've noticed on the ticktock app that there is a trend of "Get You A ...." or "I have A..."  where people describe their humans - husbands, friends, parents - in non-traditional loving ways.  It actually made me feel a little better watching and reading these.  Because I have a non-traditional husband...and he a wildly independent wife.

It goes like this:  

Get You a Kevin who won't gently brush your hair away from your face or dance in the kitchen but will touch your bum every time he passes you.  

Get You a Kevin who works all the hours to care for his family and sends his guys home early so they can be with their families.

Get You A Kevin who will sing you verses of a Country song instead of telling you how he feels.

Get you a Kevin who is gentle to the doggies and waves at babies yet wants none of the babies and wants all the doggies.

Get you a Kevin who will eye roll your projects but will help finish them without complaining with an "I told you so" smile.

Get you a Kevin who lets you sleeps in and brings you coffee on the weekends

Get you a Kevin who doesn't want to go anywhere but will fix your air conditioning, worry whenever you leave the house, and wants to see photos of your adventures.

Get you a Kevin who fusses over buying things for himself but will insist on you getting what whatever you want.

06 August 2022

Two Hour Tour

 Wanna hear a horror story?  Okay, good.

Yesterday I spent almost three hours without a phone. 100% no phone, no social media, no texting.  100%  That sounds kind of good...and it would Have Been had it been planned.

What had happened was it was Friday and Lucy and I were on walkies.  Walkies were the first item on a long To-Do Agenda.  But it was Friday (my last off Friday nonetheless), it was sunny and breezy.  We had slept in.  It had potential to be a good day.

Then Lucy unexpectedly pulled on her lead and my phone left my hand, time slowed, and I watched my phone somersault through the air.  It landed on the gravel path, facedown.  While frustrating, I figured that the protector would...you know...protect it.  It didn't.

The screen was shattered and not just the protector, the actual screen.  Only 1/8th of the screen would light and the phone was vibrating.   That seems bad.  Not to worry, thinks the tech nerd, there's always something that can be done.  I held the power button down solid for a really long time and nothing. In fact, I think I heard the phone giggle at me.

Of course we're halfway through our walk so now I'm encouraging Lucy to hustle so we can go to the phone store.  She was not okay with this plan.  Which, fair enough, puppies don't understand that the human's lifeline was just obliterated.

Finally we returned to the truck and I decided to Not drop off recycling, which was less than five minutes away, because no phone.  If it weren't for the parents, I wouldn't have felt so pressed to fix the issue.  In retrospect, I should have just done it but here we are.  (it's now Saturday, mid-day, and I went this morning)

Once settled in the truck, I did pause and take off the case, then remove the broken screen protector in hopes of something maybe changing. Maybe the damage wasn't So Bad.  I even plugged it into the car charger to see if anything would change. Nothing. Not a doggone thing.  It was So Bad. It had hit and thusly cracked on the edge of the phone, next to the power button. This apparently is the kill shot.  (not a good feature of the beveled edge screen, if you have one)

We went to the store that rhymes with horizon.  I've always had good luck there and today that luck ran out: At Least an hour wait time.  He said it could be as less as 30 minutes but probably an hour.  I put my name on the list and returned to the truck with A/C and Lucy to wait.

But...now what?  No social media, no messaging. No MUSIC.  I had to sit there, like a savage, and listen to the RADIO.  (hey, local IRL friends: KBRC & KAPS are on the FM dial now.  Totally weird)  I am going to throw a book in the truck when I finish writing this.

You know what I hate?  Well, that but this too: Commercials.  And static.  And music that I don't chose.   #firstworldproblems #myprivelegeisshowing

I waited thirty minutes then returned to the store.  It would STILL be at least an hour, which is puzzling but okay.  I asked where else I could go.  Across the street to the big store that rhymes with test guy and I left.  They could make an APPOINTMENT for 3:00 pm today.  Because WHY NOT.  

Frustrated, I returned to the original store and they put me back on the list and it's STILL an hour, even though I just wasted 10-15 minutes.  So, I asked AGAIN, where else I could go.  Turns out there is an outlet in the next town, less than five minutes away from where I was standing. 


The store didn't look open upon approach, which would have been on par for the day.  But it was, there was one lone employee helping a woman in her seventies to figure out her phone. (literally: "I have my phone, check. I have my camera, check. I have my contacts, check" ad nauseum.  Again, completely on par for the day.

Eventually it was my turn and I have to ask: is it bad that he flinched when I held up my phone?  At least by that time, it had stopped vibrating.  Oh, and it would chime when I got a notification and I could see what app notification it was, I just couldn't get to it.

I had one question about the phone and then the race was on.  Kevin and I had just talked about new phones last weekend so I'd already decided what I wanted for When The Time Came.   I chose a phone (Samsung Galaxy 22) and a utilitarian case. (why do salespeople always offer me the glitter case?  Do I look like a sixteen-year-old girl named Cher?) 

Then I asked "Is it safe to assume that all the charging cords are different?"  
"Yes, and no." he says.  Then he picked up a black cube and asks if I have one.  It turns out that I did, it is the original end to the charger cable.  We don't use it because we use USB ports to charge.  I knew it was in a box, in Monica's Closet, and just all the sighs.
"Throw in a wireless charger" I answered.  We're at the Nothing Matters Anymore point of this adventure.

Then guess what...I couldn't remember my password for the account that all android phones need.  I could unlock my Phone and my Account but I couldn't open the app that I needed to do all.the.things.  Guess where my password is...in my contacts...in the phone I can't open or at home, twenty minutes away.

AND It just occurred to me that he WAS able to open my contacts, because they are stored in the carrier back-up system.  Mydog.

He put the screen protector on the new phone, something called liquid glass.  It's supposedly durable for people like me.  As he finishes, he mentions in what I can best describe as a Kindergarten Teacher voice "This has to sit, untouched, for thirty-minutes.  So I'm putting it back into the box and you can take it out after the thirty minutes is up."  And he did just that as he was telling me.  Fair enough, my man.

I went back to the truck and a tired/bored Lucy.  I told her that we would just go pick up groceries then we could go home.  EXCEPT.  Except I can't touch my phone for 25 minutes and I need my phone to pick up my groceries.  Sonofabiscuiteatingdog.

Okay, new plan.  "Would you like some FRIES?" I asked Lucy.  That's a dumb question, of course she would like fries.  We went through the fast food drive-through and Lucy shot me a look as I tucked the bag of food under my feet.  "Wanna go the PARK?  Wanna go to the RIVER?"  Yes, she did. But she also wanted fries.  

Two minutes later and we're at the park, sitting in A/C, and eating fries.  When we finished, I asked her "Want to go find SQUIRRELS?"  because at this point, I didn't have the energy to walk all the way down to the river.  We walked through the trees and she hunted and pottied then we returned to the truck.  It still hadn't quite been the thirty minutes.  Sigh. (benefit and drawback of living in a small town)

I drove to the grocery store, parked and unboxed my phone. It had been 35 minutes and I get a sticker for following the rules.  I started it up and plugged in the car charger.  I checked in via phone for my groceries then texted Kevin to tell him I was part of the 21st Century again.

My nerves had noticeably calmed by now, the food and walkies and no longer being isolated from the world had helped.  I started to make a plan "We'll go home, put the phone on the charger, unload the groceries, then I'll finish setting up my phone."  Lucy agreed but she wanted to stop at the coffee stand for treats first.  

As I was driving, I was trying not to awfulize.  I knew I had my password and that it would enable the retrieval of some of my phone stuff.  Usually when I get a new phone, I'll set the new and old side-by-side and set the new phone up accordingly.  I can't do this though and that had me spinning.

Additionally, I knew that one app doesn't have a backup feature, which has frustrated me in the past.  Yet, I still use it.  (the color notes app)  I knew my photos backed up as of midnight the night before so I only lost what I had taken that day.  

Unrelated, I've been working on updating the passwords list and converting it to a spreadsheet instead of written in the address book.  I had concentrated on accounts and wifi and such that I was worried about passwords for social media and apps. 

Then because there needs to be more proof that I'm such a nerd, I went to the photos backup and searched "screenshot" because I KNEW that I had at least one accidental screenshot of the home screen of my phone.  I did, it was a little older but it was a start.  

I made a list based from that photo.  I have three files on my home screen, because NERD.  One is "Fun Stuff" which is all my social media.  The other is "Nerd Tools" which is the calculator, calendar, Maps, weather, Shazaam and IMBD.  The last is Music and Books, which has my music apps, podcast app, and audible.  So, that would be suggestion to everyone: keep one screenshot of your homepage so if this ever happens, you have a baseline to begin.

At least now I had a plan.  Next up, go to the app store and download all the apps.  I knew it wouldn't restore everything but it was a start.  I am trying to ignore the passwords issues.  Download all the apps then worry about passwords was the plan.

And then Kevin's photo showed up on the home page.  Ooooh, there's a tiny glimmer of hope. I had my contacts and home screen.  Suddenly, I realized that I have become that little old lady in the store from a few hours before.  The universe thinks it's so funny.

I redid the pay app and it prompted me to call the bank. I glanced at the clock and it was 4:45 on a Friday.  Whew.  Five minutes later and that part was back up and running again.  Check that off of the list, grandma.

Kevin got home from work and wanted to go to dinner, which is unusual for a Friday.  (sidenote: he's still really tired from the Graves but he's trying to push through/pretend he's not sick)  As we were leaving the house, I realized that I still had to hook up my phone to the truck...and the other truck.  I still had to reload my music and dogdamn it, my downloaded music is NOT backed up anywhere.  Luckily, I only used that playlist for flights or when reception is bad so not all is lost, just add it to the frustrations.

It is simply astounding how much of our lives we have on our phones.  The phone book, the bank app(s) the music, all the social media.  All the tools that used to be found around the house - calculator, calendar, weather - are now stored in this little weird box.

We returned from dinner and I was still messing with my phone.  I wanted to check a ringtone and reached for my headphones.  Well, because of course, the new phone does NOT have a headphone jack.  Everything is wireless.  The earbuds Kevin gave me for Christmas are too big for my child-sized ears.  No worries, I'll grab my noise-cancelling headphones.  

And also NOPE.  It auto-connects with my old phone, which is STILL powered on and I still can't shut it off.  This renders the headphones useless until the phone battery is dead. (it's a little after noon and the phone still has 8% battery. I put it in my desk drawer because I just can't with that)

Kevin knew this was about to the The Thing that sends me over.  "Just order new earbuds" he says in the Hostage Negotiator Tone.  "Tomorrow" I sigh, with the tiniest of a pout.  Because I still have to log into the store app to buy said earbuds.

So, moral of the story: don't drop your phone is the obvious one.  The real moral is Back that Sh*t Up for all the stuff on your phone.  Use the carrier, use the android/fruit apps, use the manufacturer apps, use the app backup features. Use the google and the amazonprime features.  There really is just so much stored on our phones that we have to adult and do these things.  Learn from me and avoid this whole thing. *waving of my hands* 

And: additional happy ending: the notes app 100% restored somehow.  WHEW.  But I'm still going to use another one, just in case.  

And, and  I'm ordering Kevin a new phone too.  And times three: the charging pad is 100% whatever I paid for it.  Recommend!  

Finally, as Kevin patiently reminded me: it can always be worse.  A new phone is not the end of the world.  It just feels like it sometimes.